All good mysteries are filled with juicy secrets and lies and ‘Quantico’ — at its heart — is a mystery filled with red herrings, disguises and twists.
We begin Quantico’s third episode (titled ‘Cover’) at the beginning — Alex’s beginnings, that is. We’re taken back to her childhood home in San Francisco, the site of both her worst memories and her mother. As a neighborhood boy looks on in shock and horror, a SWAT team raids the house while her mother sleeps inside. In a dramatic twist at the end of the opening scene, we see a framed photo of mother and daughter fall to the floor before smashing into pieces.
Flash back nine months to a teambuilding exercise in the pool, which basically serves as an excuse for all of us to see our Very Attractive FBI Recruits (™) in swimsuits before they leaded off to yet another emotionally grueling, fairly cultlike training exercises.
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‘These are the faces you present to the world, the stories you tell yourself,” Assistant Training Director Miranda Ellis tells the group. “Before you know the enemy, you have to know yourself.” (Cue the mental DUN DUN DUN music here.)
Continuing our theory that Alex Parrish is basically the Tracy Flick of the FBI, our leading lady wastes no time telling her pals that she’s the best thing ever. “I never have problems reading people’ she tells the group as they leave class. Simon then points out that it’s the cleverest people that always have the biggest blindspots. If you’re like us, you carefully added that line to your mental list of clues as to who the real terrorist is.
Here are the biggest takeaways from tonight’s episode:
Who is Simon, really? “Nobody knows anyone else ever,” Simon ominously says at one point. And throughout this week’s episode it becomes clearer and clearer that no one knows Simon. We discovered last week that Simon is probably not gay and wears fake glasses (the latter fact particularly puzzled us at the time.) The viewer began Sunday’s episode thinking that Alex was completely alone in her fight to clear her name and was probably surprised to see her pay a visit to a (non-glasses wearing!) Simon in a trendy New York City office building.
But wait, there’s more!
We quickly learn that Simon was kicked out of FBI training, for reasons that are yet unclear. He’s now working for a mysterious startup that somehow works with government contracts (and we once again just shook our heads at this fictional FBI’s background screening process.)
“Why should I trust you?” Alex emotionally asks Simon before doing just that. “Because I’m good at this,” Simon replies. (But is trusting Simon a mistake? A mysterious phone call indicates that it probably is.)
Sita’s story: Three episodes in and we still don’t know much about Alex Parrish’s background, except for the fact that her childhood was turbulent and filled with violence and abuse. Knowing that made watching her mother be interrogated by agents particularly difficult. “Your daughter blew up a landmark,” agent Natalie tells Sita Parrish. “We haven’t even talked since she graduated Quantico,” Mrs. Parrish tells them. Given that we haven’t seen Alex make any phone calls or send any emails since then leads us to believe her.
Hold on, is the name Sita a clue? Like any good mystery watcher, your resident recapper is trained to look for clues everywhere. So we took a minute to wonder why the residents of the ‘Quantico’ writers room decided to name Alex’s mother after the wife of Rama in the Hindu epic ‘Ramayana.’ As the Encyclopedia Britannica notes, Sita was often looked at “as the embodiment of wifely devotion and self-sacrifice.” It was Sita Parrish, after all, who said she shot her husband in self-defense, even though we now know that it was Alex who pulled the trigger.
Both devotion and self-sacrifice were also apparent during all of the scenes Sita Parrish appeared in during this week’s episode. It’s clear that Sita is working hard to protect someone, though it isn’t clear if it’s the memory of her husband or her anxiety for her daughter that is driving her. What is clear is that Sita Parrish clearly knows something. “I wasn’t just protecting Alex that night,” she tells senior FBI agent Liam O’Connor in the middle of her questioning. “I was protecting you.”
This isn’t the first time Alex Parrish has disappeared. One of the weirdest moments of an already pretty weird episode came when Sita also revealed a bit more about Alex’s childhood. We learned a while ago that Alex was sent to India to live with relatives after her father’s death, but it all seemed innocent until now. “We sent her to India for 10 years to live with my family,” Sita explains. “But we only knew where she was for nine of them.”
(Editor’s note: Are you confused right now? Because we are VERY confused.)
Odds and ends:
Did you notice how Alex Parrish’s/Priyanka Chopra’s boxing stance was pretty near perfect during the punch? She’s had practice. Chopra played Indian Olympic boxer Mary Kom in a Bollywood film last year.
We were also impressed by Nimah’s full-body swimsuit that allowed her to adeptly complete her swim training exercises while also protecting her modesty. (Bonus points for the fact that the suit was so much nicer looking than the average burkini.)
What did you all make of the fact that Nimah’s twin sister disappeared? The disappearance occured after the twins had a Very Serious Conversation (™) about life, identity and tradition. “If you leave now, the only person you’ll ever be is someone’s sister, daughter or wife,” one twin says to the other.
We have to admit that we were a little taken aback by Alex’s focus ont he fact that her father was either a hero or an abusive alcoholic. Anyone who has lived long enough in the world would know that the two are not mutually exclusive.
But Chopra’s Indian fans have the chance to decide for themselves whether they like the show or not. ‘Quantico’ recently began airing in India. Significantly, the actress speaks in her Indian English accent rather than her Americanized one. (Plus, everyone else is subtitled.)
Lakshmi Gandhi is Metro's Social Media Manager. Follow her on Twitter@LakshmiGandhi.