For simplicity’s sake, like my last Quantico blog, I’m going to break this one into two sections – first what’s happening at Quantico, and second what’s happening in the present (or future according to ABC?) around the Grand Central Station Bombing.
All of the NATs are starting to struggle a bit as week 5 begins. Alex is still fighting with her mom over the phone after finally telling her the truth about being at Quantico, Caleb gets in trouble for using the gun range again (analysts aren’t allowed there, apparently), and Nimah oversleeps and misses an hour of training, making Raina rush to take her place. Here’s the latest for all our characters.
Assignment of the Week
The NATs have to come up with cover identities that they get to try out in a real-life setting – a Fortune 500 company’s party where they have to get in to see the CEO to win. Wouldn’t someone notice an extra 50 people randomly crashing their party? Guess the agents are so good no one does.
Alex and Ryan
They continue bonding as they create their identities and scan people at the party for someone who could get them to the CEO. After they both win they find themselves alone in a room together and fall back into each other’s rooms, in a surprisingly sensual moment. As they talk, Alex admits that “One day I just started running.” Ryan talks to her about it, tells her “It’s okay to stop… I’ll help you.”
As for Ryan spying on Alex, at the beginning of the episode he talks to Miranda, stressing because Liam knows Ryan’s onto him. Miranda tells him not to do anything for now, she’ll find out why Liam thinks Alex is a threat to the bureau. When Ryan returns to see her at the end of the episode, Miranda’s changed her tune, and says even though she doesn’t agree with Liam’s methods the op is a matter of national security.
Elias tells Simon flat out that he thinks Max, Simon’s “boyfriend,” is fictional. So Simon friends Max (the guy he took the picture with) online and invites him to the party. He tells Shelby he’s meeting his boyfriend, and makes sure Elias sees him meeting his boyfriend at the hotel. Then he stashes Max up in his room to wait for him there until the party’s over, which seems to defeat the purpose if he wants to convince people he has an actual boyfriend. Elias naturally takes advantage of this and goes up to speak to Max, who tells him the truth about the photo and how they’d never met before. Max does make one interesting comment, too. He says he “asked me to pose for a photo by Grand Central of all places.” Coincidence or something more?
When Simon returns to the room he finds Max is gone and Elias is waiting for him. Elias confronts him about everything. When they get back to the Academy, Simon breaks down crying and confesses “You were right about me. I am dangerous… I was in the Israeli Defense Forces. They sent me into Gaza. I didn’t just see things. I did things. Things that haunt me every single day of my life. After I got back, living undercover was the only way that I could cope with what I did, with myself. So I made myself a lie.” So Simon doesn’t need glasses, and he isn’t gay. Think he’s telling the truth about his reasons?
Shelby and Caleb
When Caleb gets caught using the gun range again, he’s convinced Shelby ratted him out since she knew what he was doing. He decides to harass her throughout the episode, making things as difficult as possible for her and sabotaging her efforts at the Fortune 500 party. Finally Shelby drags Caleb to an empty room to confront him. They yell at each other, Shelby shoves him, and then Caleb tells her “So shut me up already” and she kisses him. It’s probably one of the most forced hook-ups I’ve ever seen on TV, which annoyed me.
The next morning Shelby wakes up in a hotel room alone and realizes she overslept. Out the window, she sees the bus back to the Academy leaving. Caleb waves to her as he gets on board, knowing she’ll miss it. She confronts him once she gets back, and even though he’s an ass to her, they agree to meet for sex again in his car.
Caleb is also still using his Mark Raymond alias, this time replying to an email “RE: Application.” Thank you for your response. Look forward to meeting you in person at the interview. – Mark.
Nimah and Raina
For the party they have to switch places every hour to learn how to trade places on the fly with very little time to brief each other. If they’re caught, they’re out of the academy. They pull it off successfully. As they congratulate each other in their room after the party, Nimah tells Raina that Simon likes her, and if she wants to spend more time with Simon than Nimah will make it work somehow. So back at the Academy, Raina asks Simon to go for a walk with her.
Miranda and Liam
While the NATs are at the party in episode 5, the two of them grab a drink together and reminisce about when they used to to go that bar together. The last time they were there they’d each decided to end their marriages for each other. She almost did, but Liam didn’t, saying he needed more time. Miranda tells him, “And I gave you the benefit of the doubt, a mistake I will never make again.” She asks him why he’s running an off-book operation on Alex. “Does she pose a threat I’m not aware of? Does she have something on you?” In an ominous reply, Liam says, “It’s not just me she has something on. It’s all of us.” The rest of the story he tells her off-camera, so we’re left in the dark for now. Whatever he said convinced her enough that she tells Booth to stop questioning Liam: “What he hired you for is a matter of national security.”
At the end of the episode, Miranda learns her son made parole.
Grand Central Bombing
The media has published a sexy photo of Alex in a bathing suit, dubbing her a Bomb-shell, Terror Babe, and Jihadi Jane.
Alex is still holding Shelby hostage, needing leverage. She also thinks Shelby is guilty because of the wire she found. Shelby points out that the wire could also lead to several other people: it’s military origin, so that’s Ryan, or Simon could have gotten it from friends he made in Gaza, or Natalie could have gotten it from cartels she dealt with as a cop, and Caleb could’ve gotten it from his family.
Ryan, with Simon, then calls Alex to warn her the FBI has issued a new policy on her: shoot on sight. They’ve essentially sentenced her to death. Both men try to reassure her and tell her not to lose hope. They realize since the bombs had to be triggered within a two block radius, they should check to see who from their class at Quantico was around Grand Central Station that day.
Alex, wanting to change the public conversation, goes on the Dark Web to try to find some help. Not sure that’s how the Dark Web works, if you can simply type in a message to anyone who might be out there, but ok. I’ll go along with it, since it works for Alex. A group called The Unknown reach out to her and two members of the group meet with her. First, they want to question her to convince themselves of her innocence or they won’t help her.
It transpires Alex’s missing year in India was spent backpacking through Pakistan and Iran. She spent time that year with Aram Salaam, who had ties to Pakistani intelligence and was responsible for a club bombing in Bangladesh. She last saw him March 3, 2008, and didn’t have any contact with him between then and when he was killed in Bajaur last year. But she also defends him, telling The Unknown, “He wasn’t what you think he was.” She explains she went backpacking to those countries because she wanted to learn more about the world and form her own opinions. “Along the way I met people. You can label them as you want… 10 of the people I met have since been killed. 3, including Amir, in drone strikes…. I don’t even think they were terrorists, it’s just easy to blame them, like it’s easy to blame me.”
Meanwhile, the FBI knows Alex is working with people on the Dark Web, and plan to triangulate the signal for the broadcast. She says whoever framed her knew exactly what they were doing, “They framed the brown girl.” She also explains, “the closer I was to someone at the Academy, the easier it would’ve been to frame me. That’s why it’s so hard to trust anyone right now… Imagine if a friend lied to you from the first moment they laid eyes on you… And worse, the people who knew you best didn’t believe you, no matter what you said. I’m in a nightmare.” The broadcast is streaming to over 12 million people. She tells them “I love this country and I want to protect it… but the country I love shouldn’t shoot first and ask questions later. If it were up to the FBI, I’d be dead already.”
When the FBI traces the signal of the broadcast they see how smart Alex is – they were broadcasting from the basement of a mosque, creating a PR nightmare for the FBI as they all swarm around the building. It gets worse when the media arrives. So the mosque empties out and the FBI has to let everyone walk away. Of course, the women are all covered up, making it easy for Alex to slip away in the crowd. She left Shelby in the basement for the FBI to find. Ryan and Simon both smile at Alex’s brilliance, knowing she got away.
Alex then goes to a nearby hotel that The Unknown booked for her under a name she gave them. Since they now believe she’s innocent, they give her a new ID, laptop, and encrypted phone. They also tell her to let them know if she needs anything else.
The broadcast worked in that the media does report on it, and it makes people wonder if she’s guilty or the victim of a cover up. When Shelby is questioned back at the FBI, she doesn’t tell Liam that Ryan and Simon are helping Alex. They ask her why, and she says, “I have my issues with Alex but I don’t think she did it.” The three of them then see Caleb is the only other person from their class who was stationed around Grand Central that day.
Ongoing Questions (From Pilot to Current Episode)
These will be updated in each blog post. Any questions previously on the list that have been answered will be in next section below.
1. Obviously the most pressing question is who blew up Grand Central Station? And, related to that, who’s framing Alex?
2. Why did Liam have Ryan spy on Alex? What did he tell Miranda to convince her his op is a matter of national security?
3. What happened in Chicago with Liam and Ryan?
4. Who did Shelby transfer a million dollars to? And what’s the deal with her half-sister?
5. Why does Caleb have that Mark Raymond social media page? What’s the email about, and who’s he going to interview with?
6. What happened between Miranda and Liam?
Note: This is partially answered in this episode – they were going to leave their spouses for each other, but in the end Liam didn’t. Seems like there’s more to this story, though, so I’m leaving this question on the list for now.
7. Why does Natalie have a fake scar?
8. What happens between Alex and Liam at Quantico? Ditto Alex and Shelby? How does Ryan go from Alex to Natalie? And why does Simon get kicked out of Quantico?
9. What secret is Alex’s mom Sita keeping involving Liam and Alex’s father? How well did Liam know them? Why doesn’t he ever tell Alex he knew her father?
10. Is Simon telling the truth about why he’s made up this fake persona? Is there any significance to him taking photo with Max at Grand Central or was that just a convenient location?
Answered Questions Previously on the List
Why did Simon go to Gaza?
He was in the Israeli Defense Forces, they sent him to Gaza.