Quantico: “Inside” — Dec. 13, 2015
One day there was a pitch meeting at ABC someone went in and said: “Hey Guys, what if we did a show about terrorists? But not grim like Homeland, we’ll have sexy characters living together like on Melrose Place, and we’ll add some How to Get Away with Murder twists.” And then someone in the meeting said, “Works for me.” That is how we got the glorious concoction that is Quantico. As if the show wasn’t delicious enough, it offered up the first ever terrorism-related holiday special on TV. It’s everything you could ask for: jaunty Santa hats, drunk dialing, Christmas carols, Marcia Cross —who was on Melrose Place, by the way— and explosions. Like A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life, A Very Merry Quantico Christmas should be an annual event. Let’s go!
Quantico before the attack
The trainees have decked the halls at the FBI Academy. It’s a week after Christmas, but the show wants to incorporate jaunty Santa hats with a subplot about New Year kisses so think of it as Crew Year’s Eve (TM).
After everyone supposedly goes home, our heroine Alex Parrish wanders the decked halls by herself and hears her frenemy Natalie Vasquez doing very bad things to “O, Holy Night.” It goes like this:
Alex: Hi. I thought you were leaving. What are you doing here?
Vasquez: My mean ex fixed things so that I can’t visit my child for the holidays so I’m just going to wear the tiniest towel I can find and sing at the top of my lungs.
Alex: This is the most upbeat we’ve ever seen you. I’m here because I don’t want to go home and see my mom.
Shelby Wyatt and Nimah Amin: Hi. We both fibbed about going home, too.
Alex: Okay, let’s get loaded, walk around the locker room in towels and fret about how we don’t have anyone to kiss at midnight.
It turns out Quantico head honcho Miranda Shaw also stayed behind because she too has a bleak life. She doesn’t strut around in washcloths, though. She thinks about how her son stabbed her and ran off. Upside: He’s such an annoying brat that it’s fine if he’s disappeared. Downside: We all know he’s probably innocent and is going to turn up again. Spoiler: He turns up again all bloodied and slumped on her porch.
Alex is sorry she pushed away Agent Ryan Booth, so she drunk-dials him. It goes like this.
Alex: I could say hi but since I heard a woman in the background I’m going to hang up without saying anything. Shortly, I will awaken on top of a pile of rubble, be falsely accused of masterminding a terrorist attack on Grand Central Terminal, go on the lam, swim the Hudson from Manhattan to Riverdale, surrender and plead guilty while maintaining flawless hair and makeup. The only thing I can’t do is just say hello and clear things up.
The pity party is interrupted when Caleb Haas shows up at the dorm in a tux. He doesn’t want to be left alone with his family, so he begs Shelby to attend the Haas Christmas party. It’s a package deal, Shelby wants Alex and Vasquez to come along. Nobody mentions Nimah, who is hanging out with Miranda. As soon as Alex gets to the party, she meets Agent Hannah Wyland. It goes like this:
Hannah: Hi. Check out this blinding wedding ring. I’m waiting for my man to show up. I’ll just use pronouns instead of his name.
Alex: All this relationship talk makes me think that I should phone Ryan again. Hey, it’s weird that I can hear his cell phone ring. I mean his ringtone isn’t distinctive, it could belong to any other phone but let’s just go with it.
Ryan: Oh, Hi Alex. We’re both at this party. Hannah is my ex-wife, but it’s not what you think. We are such a good team that we are working undercover, which sounds like it should be against FBI policy, but this is Quantico. Let’s kiss.
Hannah: Ryan talks about you constantly and even wrote a song about you.
Hannah: I’m totally jealous of how perfect you are. You’re going to end up hurting Ryan, go away.
A weepy Alex runs into Quantico instructor Liam O’Connor Liam and gets a ride away from the party. Instead of going home to cry, she asks Liam to take her somewhere. Assume there is an off-screen midnight kiss.
Caleb tells Shelby that his mom, guest star Marcia Cross, will be surprised to see him with someone “old enough to vote.” What the hell does that mean? Does it involve a punishable offense? Caleb also keeps up his pattern of inserting pop culture references into every sentence. He actually namechecks Kimmy Schmidt, American Beauty, Magic Mike, and Hogwarts in one episode. That’s a punishable offense. Caleb’s parents are estranged, but it looks like they will get back together. Caleb gets pissy because he thinks the reconciliation is just for show since his mom is about to get nominated for a VP spot on the presidential tick. He makes a fuss and ruins everyone’s night. Shelby finally dumps him. So this means that Caleb made his dad upset by reminding him of how much Marcia Cross doesn’t care about the marriage, and then he irritated Shelby, which led to Shelby’s eventual affair with his dad. We also learned that when he was in the antigovernment cult, Caleb flirted with terrorism and at some point he scouted locations near Grand Central.
Happy Crew Year!
New York after the attack on Grand Central
Even though Alex pled guilty and is headed for the federal prison, Miranda and Liam have a few hours to “interview” her but they are, in fact, working with Alex to find the second bomb and clear her name. Miranda, by the way, is back to her impeccable style. Wasn’t she still under arrest the day before? She has a fetching outfit and a glamorous ‘do. Miranda must pack all kinds of fabulousity in her go-bag.
Elias Harper, the guy who crushed on Simon Asher, shows up with some jive story about being nearly killed. Elias—the character not the performer—is a terrible actor, but everyone goes along with it. The evidence points to Simon, as usual. Everything that goes wrong always points to Simon. With all these accusations, Simon is obviously innocent—unless the show pulls a bullshit Scream Queens maneuver. The terrorism shenanigans get more complicated. Elias was blackmailed into framing Alex, and now he’s been blackmailed into framing Simon and blah, blah, blah.
Whoever grabbed Simon in the last episode strapped him to a bomb. Simon, who has had just about enough of being the patsy explodes, so to speak, and rants about how great it would be to blow everything up. This is not the time to act crazy. Blah, blah, blah, plot. Elias jumps out of the window, but everything is okay because the agents find the second bomb. Yay, it’s all over! No, it’s not. That second bomb was a decoy; a third bomb just went off at the FBI’s command center. Uh-oh, which agents were in the building?
It turns out that all this bombing coincides with the Democratic National Convention. Caleb’s mom is on the ticket and Caleb hates her so J’accuse! Seriously, though, Caleb looks guilty. It’s the winter finale. Quantico is guilty of making us wait until March for answers. That is a punishable offense.
Quantico returns March 6 on ABC.