When last we left Quantico, Alex Parrish had managed to evade capture with the help of Simon Asher, but her sketchy former colleague was getting instructions from the Deputy Director to maintain his cover. Is Asher part of the conspiracy to frame Alex or helping her elude capture in hopes of uncovering the true villain? Let’s get into this week’s episode:
The theme of this episode appears to be hard choices. As the episode opens, Alex is on a downward spiral after reading her father’s file. Feeling guilt over shooting what she deems to be an FBI hero, she bristles at everyone and drives herself to be the best at everything. O’Connor approaches Booth and tells him that Alex has been deemed unfit to continue at the FBI and his assignment will end if he’s able to convince her to quit. This week’s exercise is a hostage situation and when Shelby goes lone wolf during the initial exercise, she and Shelby have words. Once the bigger exercise starts, one by one the trainees are getting picked off, but Alex closes in on the hostage situation. O’Connor tells Booth through his earpiece that this is the perfect situation for the overly emotional Alex to fail. She enters the room, but only sees her father holding a gun on her mother. When she freezes, she gets Booth, Simon and herself shot while a seemingly unsure Nimah uses Caleb‘s intel and motivation to complete the exercise first.
This appears to signal the end of Alex’s time at Quantico, but Booth intervenes, finding the file, giving it to Shaw and staging an intervention of sorts where Shaw reveals that Alex’s dad was not only a decorated officer, but he was very much the drunk and disorderly father who could have killed her family and that she needs to feel no guilt for making the hard choice. As this interaction goes on, O’Connor saunters past the room and Booth shuts the door on him. Later, Booth confronts O’Connor that he knows his undercover mission is off book, but O’Connor surprises him when he reveals that Booth’s prior screw up of a past mission resulted in him being suspended and that his re-passing of the training is essential or he’ll be booted from the FBI.
The other major plot developments in the past revolve around Shaw’s motivation for the Nimah/Raina twin twist, as she reveals the son we saw incarcerated in a past episode was actually recruited by a terrorist organization and that she stopped him from gunning down members of a school. Though not spelled out, Nimah and Raina posing as a single agent is crucial to her plan to infiltrate the terrorist organization. Shaw eventually convinces Raina to return. Meanwhile, Elias continues his hardcore investigation into Asher, revealing there’s not a thing about him that appears to be what it seems and that he fears he’s playing a long con when all the warning signs that he’s not who he says are there.
It was a big week in the present as Simon’s allegiances are put to the test. He reveals to Alex that he knows someone who might be able to help in determining where the planted bomb wick came from, but around the same time he gets a text from Deputy Director Clayton that the FBI will be there shortly. As the team closes in, Booth texts Simon that he needs to get Alex out of there. Booth quickly deduces that Simon is also receiving texts from Clayton and gets upset for putting his trust in him. It’s hard choice time, and Simon gets Alex out just in time.
Upon meeting Simon’s “friend,” the supposed former agent and bomb expert converse in Hebrew. It appears as though the friend isn’t entirely sure that Simon wasn’t involved, but he assures him that he wouldn’t be there if was. It’s learned that the wick came from a company owned by Shelby’s parents, which then leads Simon and Alex to Shelby’s house.
We learn during the visit that Shelby was on vacation during the bombing, but Alex reveals to Simon that there’s a lot that he didn’t know about her. Shelby’s parents were reportedly war profiteers and Alex learning the truth about Shelby’s family ultimately led to a major falling out. Shelby arrives and pulls a gun on Alex. She also blows Simon’s cover to Alex. But, just when it appears to be a standoff, Booth arrives, disarms Shelby and convinces Simon they need to leave. While Alex has Shelby at gunpoint, the blonde agent manages to disarm Alex, leading to a major fight in which she handcuffs Alex and prepares to take her in. But the fight isn’t over yet, with Alex regaining the upper hand and finding safety with a knocked out Shelby just as the FBI arrive. As the episode ends, we see Alex ready to interrogate Shelby about how her family’s company fits in.
The other big takeaways from present day include Booth revealing that he was at Alex’s to clear the air after Alex learned about he and Nathalie becoming a couple. Meanwhile, a watchful Nathalie is looking in late in the episode after Booth and Simon have convinced the FBI they’re on the up and up. And Clayton ends the episode by issuing a “shoot-to-kill” order on Alex. So where do we stand now? Let’s look at the suspects:
11. Elias Harper – The analyst has his eye firmly on the motivations of Simon Asher, convinced that the’s up to something. At this point, Elias seems like the clear cut “good” character with no skeletons in his closet as of yet.
10. Caleb Haas – The FBI legacy recruit seems to be settling into his role as an analyst. Initially being the guy that rubs everyone the wrong way, he’s softening a bit. There may be more to his motivations revealed later, but at this point there’s no clear motive for him to be involved in the bombing.
9. Nathalie Vazquez – She may be a rival to Alex as alpha dog, but so far there’s nothing to suggest she’s involved. Her biggest secrets so far are that she has a kid she’s unable to see because she joined the training program and in present day we learn that she’s hooked up with Booth.
8. Alex Parrish – The way the story is being told, we’re asked to follow Alex on this journey. Her devotion to finding the real culprit suggests that she’s innocent. If she wasn’t, she’d be long gone. It would have to be an even bigger con in order for her to take such risks at getting caught investigating her onetime classmates.
7. Miranda Shaw – The director has gone to great lengths to free Alex and offer her support, especially when it appears that O’Connor is doing all he can to get her out of the program. Everything is being set up to make it so Shaw appears to be one of the show’s heroes. But what do we make of her son and her decision to use the twins in such a secretive manner? Did we get the full story on Shaw’s son’s involvement with the terrorist cell? Could she be involved and using the twins as a potential future patsy? Or are her intentions pure?
6. Ryan Booth – Yes he was investigating her, but along the way you get the idea that Booth is a good guy who is becoming close to Alex. He’s gone out of his way to help her in modern day and has even orchestrated the addition of Simon’s help for Alex. We’re not really sure what happened in Chicago that’s got him in hot water, but he appears to be someone compromised by his desire to remain an agent.
5. Nimah / Raina Amin – The twins are having their growing pains during the training process, but we now know that the ultimate plan is to have them infiltrate a terrorist organization. So far, neither Nimah or Raina have been seen in present day. Could that suggest that one or both are already embedded? Could one or both have been turned?
4. Deputy Director Clayton – His character is not fully drawn yet, but his off book employment of Asher as an agent makes his motivations unclear. The fact that he was ready to capture Alex means that he’s above the book in that aspect. But does he want her captured to frame her or to try to smoke out the real culprit?
3. Shelby Wyatt – Alex’s bestie has plenty of family secrets that have now come to light. We’re not sure if the revelation of her half-sister is legit or not, but modern day Alex reveals that Shelby’s folks, the one’s killed in 9/11, were war profiteers and Shelby looks awfully guilty when we learn that the bomb wick planted in Alex’s apartment came from Shelby’s parents’ company. However, Shelby’s explanation that she was on vacation and that the bomb that triggered the explosion could not have been activated remotely appears to rule her out. There’s some trust to be earned here from both sides as Alex readies her interrogation.
2. Simon Asher – There’s something to Elias’ speech about Asher being a “warning sign” playing the long con. There’s nothing real about this guy, but that doesn’t mean that he’s capable of the atrocity that’s happened. Simon is playing all sides right now, but appears convinced that Alex has not perpetrated the crime. Is that because he did it? Simon remains the show’s biggest enigma.
1. Liam O’Connor – The training director sure appears guilty of something. Is it guilt over what happened to Alex’s father? Is it love for Alex herself? Is it something more sinister? What does he have on Booth? What led to his absence from the program that led to Shaw bringing him back? There’s too many questions about the guy heading up the search for the bomber. But is he too obvious a choice at this point?
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