During the very first moments of “Found,” the fifth episode of ;Quantico’, the viewer is immediately made aware of the political climate Alex Parrish is up against as she continues her fight to prove her innocence.
“They say she’s American. But what kind of American murders 130 people,” says one Bill O’Reilly-esque political talk show host as a series of slightly scantily clad photos of Alex flashes on the screen. ““I don’t know where she was born. India? Egypt? But it’s time to catch her.”
The newspapers are no better, with one calling Alex “Jihadi Jane” and another declaring her a “Terror Babe.”
Meanwhile, back at Shelby’s house, Shelby is still chained to the banister in her home, as her hostage taker Alex tries to plan her next move.
Here are the highlights of this week’s action packed episode:
A touch of freedom: Our recruits are getting a bit restless and Assistant Director Miranda Ellis realizes that. To that end, they’ll be able to leave Quantico for the first time since beginning training. But (as you might expect) there is a catch.
“Can you create a person so real, that you can convince the world you are who you say you are?” asks Agent O’Connor. The budding agents are about to go out into the world in disguise.
By far the cutest part of Sunday’s episode was when we got a glimpse of Alex and friends carefully crafting their identities, down to their favorite shows and the backstory of their prom dates. For the record: Alex has a heavy hitting documentary of the Indonesian justice system on her DVR, along with a bunch of episodes of ‘The Good Wife.’
Let’s talk about Alex’s fake identity: Alex Parrish’s alter ego is … Jordan Weaver? (C’mon, Quantico writers! Embrace Priyanka Chopra’s ethnic identity a little! I personally, would have named her something along the lines Priya Patel.) The Jordan name choice makes a bit more sense when Agent O’Connor decides to shake it up yet again by telling everyone to switch identity with the person on their left, but we can’t help but think this was a missed opportunity.
Tor just got the best free advertising ever: Tor, the site that bills itself as “a system enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet” played a key role in tonight’s episode. Alex decides to use it to “finally tell my story” and reaches out to the community with proof she is who she says she is.
So what is Alex’s story? Well, it’s complicated. We learned last week that Alex spent ten years living in India after her father’s death, and her mother revealed to FBI investigators that she disappeared for the entirety for one of those years. Speaking to her new Tor friends, Alex fills in the gaps a bit:
“I spent a decade in India. I traveled to Pakistan, I traveled to Iran. Along the way, I met people…. I’m sure you’re not saying that just because I knew them, I am a terrorist.”
(Editor’s note: WHOA.)
She continues: “I spent time in India and Pakistan, in this country that makes me an easy person to blame.”
This scene may go down in ‘Quantico’ history as a turning point in the show’s history. Fourteen years since the seemingly never ending ‘War on Terror’ began, we still haven’t often seen Hollywood portrayals of the effect various post-9/11 policies have had on Arab and South Asian Americans living in the United States (let alone abroad.) There was definitely lots of food for thought here, but if the Quantico writer’s room really want to launch a dozen Monday morning think pieces, may we suggest they name drop the yet-to-be closed Guantanamo Bay next time?
Another notable scene: The FBI’s raid on a New York City mosque that Alex and a still-under-hostage Shelby broke into as a means of providing Alex with an escape. The ensuing raid sees dozens of worshippers being forced to exit their house of worship under the watch of various agents. We then see Simon and Booth attempted to stare various heavily veiled women down as they attempt to identify Alex. (Alex, of course, gets away.)
Simon’s ruse falls apart completely: Throughout this week’s flashback scenes, viewers kept seeing an increasingly uncomfortable Simon as he struggles to live a lie. It was the openly gay fellow agent Elias Harper who finally pieces together the real story by interrogating Simon’s fake (and very nice) “boyfriend.”
The twins back story gets even weirder: “The whole point of having twins is that one person can collect intel, while the other one reports back to the FBI,” Agent Ellis admonishes the twins at one point. (It should also be noted that reasoning makes no sense.)
Odds and ends:
There were a bunch of quotable lines during this week’s episode. Here are our favorites:
Nimah: Simon, where did you learn to fight like that?
Simon: Hebrew school.
When Alex tells Shelby that she needs to tell the story that will convince the world of her innocence, the sarcastic (and still-captive) Shelby quips that “I’m sure that Rachel Maddow would love to have you on.”
Alex: The first thing I left after 10 years in Mumbai? A cheeseburger.
(Although no one on the Quantico set probably knew it at the time it was written, this was sadly one of the most political and timely lines of the night, for the most troubling of reasons.)