Quantico: Who’s really the terrorist?

5 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Quantico’ on its way to nothing more than a guilty pleasure.

Months before Alex went on the run, the NATs (new agent trainees) were learning to gather evidence and work with FBI analysts to stop attacks before they happen. While we had our qualms here and there with the first episode of “” last week, we did feel like for the most part the show put out a product that they can feel fairly positive about.

“We just had sex in the vehicle 6 hours ago!”, she says, poker faced, to her colleague, allowing us all a moment’s pause for maybe a collective virtual blush that morphs into the hauteur of the immigrant who has arrived. And though each one of them have secrets they’d rather keep from coming out in the open, one of them is pushed to bomb Grand Central Station and pin the act on Alex (Priyanka Chopra). “The truth of the matter is in the pilot, they’re all suspects,” showrunner Josh Safran tells EW. “It’s important to note that you’ll meet other NATs as the season progresses.

After all, this is one that brought a variety of interesting twists and turns, beginning with the reveal that Alex Parrish is considered a lead suspect in a mass attack on New York City. Tonight on Quantico season 1, Alex must outwit Liam and his team if she plans on getting into her apartment and collecting evidence to clear her name. After rejecting many offers in Hollywood to play stereotypical roles, Chopra agreed to do “Quantico” on the grounds that her character would be ethnically ambiguous. Simon (Tate Ellington) and analyst Elias (Rick Cosnett) played a mini cat-and-mouse game, Shelby (Johanna Braddy) talked to a mystery contact, and Caleb (Graham Rogers) scrolled through a seemingly different identity online. We look at it much like Lost in that you’re meeting new people from different rows of the plane as the series progresses, so you’re meeting new trainees, and the trainees are just as much suspects as anyone you meet in the pilot.” With the season moving forward, EW asked Safran to tease what’s coming for each of the characters introduced in the premiere to help us deduce their odds of being the terrorist: Chances she’s the terrorist: 99/1.

Created by Joshua Safran (“Gossip Girl”), “Quantico” aims to bring soapy, melodramatic thrills to the FBI Academy while mixing in a chunk of terrorist conspiracy. One of her supervisors at Quantico, who turns out to also have romantic feelings for her, is turning his rejection into a cause for ruthlessly targeting her. Reminiscent of fellow ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” the show attempts to be a sexy thriller, but sometimes veers into the absurd. We then fast forward a little to more of their training and classroom stuff and to be honest, nothing really exciting happened other than the trainees being paired up with other trainees from the analyst class.

Meanwhile, in a flashback to the training at Quantico, the NATS are on the hunt for potential threats to national security, which is basically like searching for a needle in a haystack. Some of the show’s twisty revelations make sense — the death of Shelby Wyatt’s (Johanna Braddy, “UnReal”) parents during 9/11 and Simon Asher’s (Tate Ellington, “Straight Outta Compton”) origins as a conservative Jew who went to Gaza to live among the Palestinians provide inventive, yet realistic backstories. A lover of genre shows (like Supernatural and Arrow) and quality dramas (like The Good Wife and Homeland), Clarissa provides on set and event coverage as well as news, spoilers and reviews for all things TV and movies.

Elias continues to dig deeper into the mystery of Simon, especially after realizing at the end of this episode that Simon did indeed switch the glasses out. Here is our major issue with the search for Alex: As she points out herself, she would have to be incredibly dumb to have been the person responsible for the attack. The cast of trainees is the usual network TV ensemble of attractive 20- to 30-somethings all with deep dark secrets meant to leave the audience gasping.

In an interview with Swagata Dam for Miss Malini, she said, “The fact that I am an Indian should have nothing to do with the story – cast me as an actor”. She seems friendly with Alex and the recruits, and certainly has the backstory to convince everyone of her devotion to the country, but she’s also nowhere to be found in the flash-forward to New York. However, “Quantico” tries so hard to draw these gasps with constant reveals that the show stops becoming shocking, transitions into head-shaking and at worst becomes laughable. Meanwhile, Academy instructor Liam O’Connor (Josh Hopkins, “Cougar Town”) and Academy assistant director Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis, “The Help”) are either ignorant or assisting their trainees in keeping secrets.

We find the stories at Quantico themselves more compelling even if this place at the moment does have a grown-up “Harry Potter” vibe with us getting to see more of these characters’ daily routines, how they prepare for classes, and of course the typically twins giving themselves the correct bumps and bruises to avoid suspicion. We later get a flashback look at the director talking to the twins, she is telling them that the only way they can get away with this is to match when it comes to their performance levels. The pair may possess worse judgment than Jack Crawford of “Hannibal.” “Quantico” needs its audience to believe that the information within these flashbacks is of critical importance to Alex as she tries to make a connection.

That brings Quantico’s premiere viewership for the three days after the debut to nearly 16 million, including the encore telecast. “Quantico“, a new crime drama on Sunday nights on ABC, is one of those pulse-racing serials that flashes back and flashes forward, and you’re never sure if anyone is really telling the whole truth. But the show does itself a disservice in this area, as FBI trainees flirt and ogle at one another while an indie-pop soundtrack plays in the background. Sooner or later we do want to see this side of the story take a grand leap forward beyond just the “why are you an agent” stuff, but we will take this for what it is for now.

A few sequences, including an interrogation room exercise where one recruit really doesn’t want something to come out, are particularly effective at ratcheting up suspense. Well, putting him on the outside would have been harder to achieve, but I think where [this decision] came from was, we read an article about how this was the first year that analysts and the NATs were being trained together, and once we read that, we knew that we were going to tell the story of the analysts and the NATs and that it was very clear to make Caleb an analyst … It is definitely not what he wanted or expected. What’s next: Ryan seems innocent for now, but he does get very close with Alex (beyond their tryst in his car) and though he’s a character who seems to be reassuring, that could just be a well-crafted façade. “He’s one of the least likely suspects, but it doesn’t mean that his odds will not change,” Safran says. “It’s clear that Ryan thinks Alex isn’t the terrorist, but maybe he thinks that because he is and he wants her to feel secure.” Chances they’re the terrorists: 40/1. Then be sure to head over to this link, or sign up here in the event you want some other TV news on all we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: ABC.)

For now, their big secret — the fact that they’re twins — is juicy, but we’re not convinced that’s enough to point to them being the ones behind the attack. Back to present day and Alex is at a diner across the street from her apartment building and she is viewing their security camera that is pointing at her front entrance. Plus, they’re working for Miranda, and if Miranda doesn’t know who the terrorist is, we can assume that the Amin sisters are in the same boat, right? Then again, that depends on … What’s next: According to Safran, “Miranda has recruited the twins for a specific purpose.” What that purpose is remains unclear, but as Safran told EW after the premiere, viewers “will learn very quickly who’s better, who’s faster, who’s softer.” Those differences will certainly matter.

The only thing I can think of is the person who shot Ryan in Alex’s apartment must have entered the building way before Alex left that morning, but they would have had to hide somewhere until she left. Still, it could all be a lie — just like that photo of him kissing his “date” he places in his room — so behind those smiles, there could be a sociopath ready to take down Grand Central. While in her apartment, Natalie comes back and they get into an altercation and when she locks herself in her bathroom, she finds a hollow wall behind her linen closet. She runs and Natalie ends up catching up to her and Alex tries to convince her that if she really set off the bomb, why would she leave evidence behind to point them right to her? The figure is Alex as pop music soars and her hair billows back. “Quantico” may be a fun ride, but make sure your brain is turned off before getting onboard.

It’s an unknown number and when he calls it back, it’s Alex and she tells him that she has to make it quick because she doesn’t know if they are tracing the call. And you could be told explicitly that you are not “need-to-know” and that’s that, so Liam is need-to-know about the twins, but Miranda is not about Liam’s operation.

Liam just comes off as a suspicious character — he had some close connection with Alex, which could have driven him to frame her, and has a fraught history with Miranda and the FBI. They show Natalie with the fake scar behind her ear, Simon with the fake glasses and what language was Shelby speaking when she answered that phone call at the very end? There’s still the “getting to know you” phase in episode 2, and then episode 3 is when now that they really know you, what will they do with that?

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