This week’s episode begins with surveillance footage of our heroine Alex Parrish being splashed all over right-wing cable news, complete with banners proclaiming her ‘Jihadi Jane’. In it, Alex is seen carrying a cardboard box into a building. She hisses to Shelby that it was an innocent delivery and Shelby rightly points out that she isn’t the one that needs convincing.
Agreeing Alex calls Ryan to update him on what’s going on. He’s clearly just woken up, and they quickly debrief the situation. But then the camera pans out and we see Agent Booth is not alone. The mysterious, not particularly nice Agent Vasquez is in bed with him. Which, we guess? You have to feel more than a little bad for Alex, who declared her love for Ryan Booth pretty early on.
Here are our big takeaways from this week’s episode.
No one locks the screens on their phones: We’ve mocked the lack of security measures taken by the FBI recruits before, but we can’t be the only ones who did a double take when we saw that Ryan doesn’t lock his smart phone. Vasquez was able to figure out he was lying about the fact that Alex was on the phone by simply picking it up and looking at his recent calls. A password of 1-2-3-4 would have been more secure than that.
Caleb is also in the family business: Caleb has long been one of the most annoying recruits (remember when he was almost murdered during the pilot episode?), but this week we started to learn a bit more about his backstory. Turns out Alex isn’t the only child of an FBI agent in Quantico. Caleb is one as well. We meet his very senatorial-looking dad when Caleb visits his corporate office. His dad snaps at his son, noting that family members can’t be assigned to the same case. Mysterious! (Caleb, we also quickly learned, is this episode’s Suspect of the Week.)
The curveball of week was a good one: Wait, Shelby is having an affair with Caleb’s dad? It turns out that the reason why Caleb was sifting through all of the surveillance footage was to see who Shelby was secretly meeting. “Drinks turned to dinners…” was how Shelby explained how the relationship with Caleb’s dad evolved after she was briefly sent to New York. (Um, ok.)
Alex learns everything her relationship with Ryan is based on is a lie: While spying on Miranda and Charlie, Ryan is confronted by O’Connor as the latter is sitting openly under the kitchen window. (Again, we’re confused by why Ryan didn’t at least try to hide behind a tree or something.) O’Connor, as he’s inclined to do, blows up when he thinks he’s being spied on and snaps that it was his job to watch Alex, not him. Ryan is, of course, miked and Alex hears the whole thing and storms off. Along with Alex, we later learn that Ryan has been spying on Alex since her departure from San Francisco’s airport to Quantico. (She bought ‘The Atlantic’ and ‘US Weekly’ from the newsstand, he notes.)
Miranda’s son is more troubled than we ever knew: Viewers already had an idea that Miranda’s adult son Charlie has a host of emotional problems and may have flirted with talking to groups like ISIS online. But in tonight’s episode, we learned that Charlie’s problems were even deeper than that. “The boy tried to shoot up a school,” Miranda snaps to O’Connor at one point. (Wait, what?! was the reaction of viewers everywhere.) We also have to admit that watching a would-be school shooter wasn’t particularly fun given that it seems like there is a school shooting every week.
Just how traditional are Nimah/Reina? We’ve made no secret of the fact that the Simon-Nimah subplot has been by far our favorite part of this very confusing show. If you agree, then you’ll probably also concur that this episode was pretty fabulous.
“I made my choice, and I’m proud of it,” Nimah says a little bashfully when she listens to Alex and Shelby exchange stories about their current relationship woes. She also refuses to elaborate when Alex asks her if she’s ever just wanted to have a relationship or a fling. But, and this is when things got interesting, she and Simon continued that weird flirting thing they do and Simon takes it one step further by kind of, sort of asking asking her on a date. Nimah responds by basically running away and rushing to tell her twin. (If this sounds too eighth grade for you, be assured that it was all pretty cute to watch.)
Nimah lets her hair down (literally): Despite running away, Nimah eventually does meet Simon in secret and they have a long heart-to-heart filled with revelations on Simon’s side, at least. Simon finally confesses that he’s just pretending to be gay because - wait for it - “it gave me boundaries” (No, we didn’t get it either.)
This, of course, would have been the perfect time for Nimah to confess about the whole secret twin thing, but she doesn’t. Instead, she carefully takes off her headscarf and they begin kissing.
But then everything comes crashing down: This being ‘Quantico,’ we knew that the episode couldn’t end on a happy, light-hearted note - and it doesn’t. Instead, we end with Simon suddenly and unexpectedly bursting into Nimah’s dorm room, and the twins are so unprepared that they are both standing around in their street clothes with their hair uncovered. Simon is stunned and looks at one sister to the other, demanding to know what’s going on. Things escalate quickly with shouting and angry gestures, and Simon ends up on the floor after hititng his head on either Nimah’s hand or a table.
Nimah runs out to get Miranda (the fixer of all things at Quantico) while Reina stays to look after him. She calmly ends up locking him in a closet and we end our episode with his cries for help echoing through the room.
Raise your hand if you are looking forward to an episode focusing on the twins back story. Our hand just shot up.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.