If ABC hasn’t optioned a Quantico-branded Clue game to Hasbro, it’s a complete missed opportunity. It was Caleb in the Sistemics headquarters! No! It was Miranda getting back at the FBI because of Charlie. No! It was Shelby’s fake-dead parents sabotaging America from Jordan. Every week there’s another possibility!
And although this week’s present timeline eliminated another NAT, the flashbacks gave us a new one to be suspicious of. If there’s one thing this show doesn’t need to give us, it’s more options. Let’s get to it…
In their final days at Quantico, the NATs have a career fair: Representatives from different divisions of the FBI come to the headquarters to meet the trainees. After chatting with all of them, the NATs are given an envelope. A red envelope means one bureau is interested; a red one means multiple are; a green one means an elite unit is interested. So naturally our girl Alex is given a green envelope. For further testing by these elite bureaus, the green envelope receivers do a hostage rescue team training drill, which requires them to rappel from a tall building, land on a 20th-floor balcony, and take out the bad guys.
Alex is paired up with Drew, which is problematic for her because she’s seen his hand trembling for days now. She knows it’s her duty to report another NAT’s medical condition, but she doesn’t want to ruin Drew’s life. So instead she puts her own life in his hands: As they rappel down the building, he loses the line and free-falls, while getting tangled up in Alex’s line. They make it to the 20th floor and finish the drill, but that decides things for Alex. She has to report him.
Alex, Ryan, and Liam confront Drew about his tremor. Liam puts him on leave until he gets a doctor’s clearance. Drew doesn’t want to hear what a doctor has to say — he knows it’s CTE — so he just leaves the FBI instead. Is this enough to make him so mad that he’d bomb two buildings? I’m thinking no, but I’m not ready to rule him out completely yet.
While all the other NATs were interviewing bureaus, Raina and Nimah are already assigned the JTTF in New York and placed with a handler named Marshall Freed. Freed is a grouchy “dinosaur” (as he calls himself) who acts like he doesn’t care about the twins — he makes them clean his guns and says offensive things to them. In the end, though, he says he’s trying to teach them more than just how to infiltrate a terrorist cell (he’s like the Mr. Miyagi of the FBI), but it’s too late. The twins told Liam they didn’t trust Agent Freed, and the one thing an agent and a handler must have is trust. So the twins are assigned a new handler, Agent Coombs, who only cares about them infiltrating terrorist cells.
So while the NATs are getting interviewed by bureaus and the twins are getting interviewed by handlers, Shelby and Caleb are doing none of the above. Shelby goes to Liam with the information about Will, but he says to drop it. The story is that Will was mugged while jogging and Caleb is out on a family emergency. Shelby won’t drop it, though. She first calls Clayton to warn him about his son’s relapse into the cult, and when he doesn’t answer, she decides to do some spying on the Sistemics herself. The fastest way to get into the inner circle is with money, and Shelby has no shortage of that. She heads to the headquarters and gives them a $500,000 check. She’s led straight to the executive’s office…where Caleb is sitting.
Caleb pulls her aside and says that he’s working undercover with his father on an off-the-books op. He’s trying to get head honcho Dan Berlin to admit he ordered the courthouse bombing in Kentucky, which is why Caleb wears those glasses. They are spy glasses! So Shelby gets out of there, and Caleb meets with Berlin, who welcomes Caleb back into the fold with open arms. He even opens up about the Kentucky incident…which is exactly what Clayton needs…to get Berlin a plea deal.
Caleb wanted Berlin to serve life behind bars for all of the people he’s killed, including Caleb’s friend (who the Sistemics say hanged himself), but Clayton just wanted a way to revoke the organization’s tax-exempt status. He says they’ll eventually be bled dry and exposed for what they are. This shady deal means that Caleb can’t tell anyone about the op — not even Shelby.
Which could be okay if Clayton didn’t tell Shelby that Caleb was actually in the cult again. He tells her that Caleb was just saying that it was an op so no one would believe he was involved. What a sneaky, sneaky dad. Clayton takes Caleb away from Quantico for “deprogramming” and then asks Shelby to come work at his office after graduation. It’s almost as if he planned to have an affair with her!
NEXT: Things aren’t going better for Caleb in the future either [pagebreak]
When we see Caleb in the future, he’s handcuffed to Alex’s bathroom radiator while in drug detox. He tries to get Alex to stay out of the FBI office that day (he even talks to someone on the phone about it), but she goes in anyway. She wants to figure out what’s going on with her friends and The Voice.
Caleb and Alex have been trying to track down Shelby, but their efforts prove worthless when Alex sees her sitting in the FBI office. Turns out Shelby is converting all the FBI security software to her company’s system per Miranda’s approval. As Alex points out to Caleb on the phone, this could be very bad for the FBI if Shelby is working for The Voice. So Alex does the only thing she knows to do to stop it: She tells Miranda the truth about Shelby’s parents.
Once Miranda hears the Wyatts are alive and sold weapons to the Taliban, she puts a hold on the software upgrade. She interrogates Shelby, who asks to “face my accuser” — which is unnecessarily dramatic. When Alex comes in and tries to question her, Shelby just says she trusts the FBI, her parents are dead now, yada yada yada. But all the while she is tapping Morse code with her finger. I can’t even write this recap while listening to music. How is Shelby able to hold a conversation while tapping out a completely DIFFERENT conversation with her finger!? Forget FBI agent, Shelby should be an international spy!
But while Shelby is able to multitask to the max, Alex can’t even figure out what the Morse code means in her head, so she writes it out and then slowly decodes it. She realizes Shelby is saying “I’m on your side. Stairs.” Miranda comes in after that and says the FBI did know about Shelby’s parents (it was on a need-to-know basis, and Miranda didn’t know), so she asks Shelby to get back to work on the security upgrade.
Instead, Shelby meets Alex in the stairway, where she says she was the one who rented the van under Mark Raymond’s name and drove it on command from The Voice. She had no idea she was picking up Simon and Will. Shelby says that installing the upgrade allows her to have a backdoor on the FBI system. From there, she’s used software and learned that The Voice is a mashup of all of the NATs’ voices. Well, DUH. All of us viewers — who aren’t spies — picked that up week one just from listening. Maybe I was too generous with that international spy idea.
Anyway, Shelby says she dropped Simon and Will off at a warehouse in Yonkers, but by the time she was able to get back, they were gone. And twist — she’s actually been the one communicating with Caleb. Shelby and Alex finally hug it out (I’m glad they’re back on the same side) and then track down the next Voice call to East Harlem.
They rush to that location and find a church. It’s empty…except for Will. He tells them to stay away, that he’s sick and doesn’t have much time. He says that they made him build a nuke; and he tells Alex and Shelby that they have to find it. And then he falls on the ground and dies.
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Now, this isn’t good. But it’s really not going to look good for Alex because the FBI already thinks she killed Natalie. The whole episode, Ryan and Nimah have been trying to figure out where Natalie went. Her mother flies up to New York to try and find her, and she tells Ryan she hasn’t heard her voice for more than a week. Thanks to cell phone tracking and FBI access, Ryan and Nimah tell Miranda that the last person to see Natalie alive was Alex.
Although she may be a free woman, here we are 19 episodes later, and Alex is still enemy No. 1. Only this time, the number of people alive and willing to help her is dwindling.
Who do you think is behind all of this? Were you sad to see Hot Drew leave the timeline? Are you over Cranky Ryan? (I am.) Throw your craziest theories below, or you can find me on Twitter @realdalener.