The NATs start their second half of training while the world gets mad at Alex all over again

By Dalene Rovenstine
March 07, 2016 at 03:50 AM EST
Credit: Phillippe Bosse/ABC
S1 E12
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Welcome back to the world of Quantico! It’s a different world post-winter hiatus. Instead of the world thinking Alex Parrish is a terrorist they now think she’s…unstable. (Ryan started to call her “crazy” — and it didn’t go so well.) She’s still not in the FBI, though, because Liam and Miranda have placed her on trauma leave.

Here are other changes you need to know before we dive into the episode:

• Clayton Haas died in the bombing, along with 31 others

• Claire Haas seems to be the new “bad government person in charge”

• Shelby’s affair with Clayton is public knowledge; she is very mad at Alex for that

• Alex moved to Williamsburg (so 2010 trendy)

• Natalie is her security detail, and they’re getting along

• And most importantly, there’s a public hearing / trial sort of thing happening with a “Robin Deckerman” presiding (I have no idea if his name is important — but like Alex Parrish, I try to remember all the details)

Let’s talk about this trial: Everyone from Quantico is required to give his or her testimony on events surrounding the bombing. Alex is the only one saying that Elias didn’t act alone. And she’s actively — secretly — investigating it.

She plays her “I bet I can guess 5 things about you” game on the chief technology officer of a telecom company, hooks up with him, and then steals his ID card. With access to said telecom company’s records, she tracks all of Elias’ calls, but nothing pops. But as she tells Nat, “Just because you don’t find evidence doesn’t meant there isn’t any.”

In court, the judge asks to hear a recording of the person calling in the Grand Central bomb threat. The FBI has unscrambled it (is that IRL possible or just TV possible?) and reveals Elias’ voice. Things really aren’t going in favor of Alex’s theory. However, she gets a tiny crack in the case when Duncan, one of the Unknown hackers we met in the first half of the season, commits suicide. Right before he jumps off a bridge, he tells the police to tell Alex Parrish, “I thought I didn’t have a choice.”

But everyone tries to talk her out of her beliefs: Liam tells her she was one of the finest agents he’d trained, but now she’s just falling for Elias’ story. Miranda tells her that you can’t always think that you’re right. (Alex throws out a cryptic “you were right about Charlie” line.) Shelby and Simon are against her. Claire shoots her evil eyes throughout the proceeding. But Alex doesn’t care…until Ryan stops by.

He visits her in her new (very messy) Brooklyn apartment to tell her the FBI knows she hacked the telecom guy’s files. Ryan tells her she needs to stop investigating Duncan, that he actually made a plea deal and THAT is what he meant by no choice. He says he doesn’t think she’s crazy; he just thinks she’s in pain.

And with that, Alex reverses her statement at the hearing. “It’s time for all of us to move on,” she tells America. Even though Miranda has reinstated Alex, Ryan knows what she did: She lied under oath. He’s upset that she adopted his truth, not the truth — which is kind of obnoxious. You wanted her to stop saying Elias wasn’t working alone, and now that she has, you’re upset she didn’t stop saying it with enough feeling? Okay, dude.

And if that weren’t enough frustrations for Alex, now she has people calling and texting her saying she let down America. I can’t imagine why she keeps picking up the phone, but luckily she does because one of the calls is from the terrorist(s). He/she/it gives her a place and time to meet.

At the designated location — which is oddly deserted for any time or place in New York City — she receives a call again. “The first time I saw you at the academy, I knew what you were capable of,” the person on the other end says while using a distortion program to switch in and out of the voices of all the NATs. It’s incredibly creepy. But even creepier: When he/she tells Alex to look at her phone, she sees a video of Duncan jumping to his death. The video is shot through a sniper sight.

“Duncan disobeyed me,” he/she says. “But you won’t.” Alex turns around and someone is walking toward her. It’s Natalie — and she has a scared look in her eyes and a bomb strapped to her chest. Hmmm…

NEXT: Now let’s go back

The second half of the season shows the second half of Quantico training. And now that many of our original suspects have been ruled out or killed, the Quantico writers have given us a whole new crop of potential terrorists: a new NAT class that we’re supposed to believe was there all along.

The Quantico Lesson of the Week is Color Wars. Miranda and Liam introduce our NAT class (let’s call them OrigiNATs) to the class that started a month before them (we’ll call them gNATs … because they’re all annoying). “These are the people who are going to spend the day kicking your ass,” the instructors say.

In Color Wars, the two classes will participate in a series of competitions to determine the best group. The winning group will get to select five NATs from the losing class to go home.

You would think the gNAT class would dominate because they’ve been in training a month longer, but no, our OrigiNAT class keeps up with them because 1) Alex is awesome, 2) We’re supposed to root for this team, and 3) Brandon digs up dirt on the gNATs by flirting with an admissions officer.

After some really low-grade teasing (Alex calls one gNAT, who’s a former NFL player, “Tebow” to throw him off — lame) and a series of competitions, the two teams are tied. Liam says they’ll be performing a tiebreaker at Hogan’s Alley: The gNATs will act as hostages and captors while the OrigiNATs will be the hostage rescue team.

Long story short: The gNATs cheat by hacking the CCTV and disguising the hostages as the captors. The OrigiNATs end up “killing” the hostages and complain to Miranda and Liam about said cheating. Miranda agrees that the tiebreaker wasn’t exactly fair, so she eliminates three from the OrigiNATs (don’t worry — we didn’t know any of them) and two from the gNATs. And the kicker: They’re all the same class now. I guess I’ll have to start learning their names.

Also in flashbacks, we learn a bit more about Charlie’s kidnappers. He won’t tell his mom or the official FBI interrogator or even Nimah about the terrorist cell that took him, but Raina is able to get through to him. They bond over being misunderstood and falsely judged by the world. And that’s when he opens up and says two of the terrorists were his age and all he knows about them is a few first names: Anthony, Noah, Jay, and Derrick.

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Except a funny thing happens when Miranda asks what happened: Raina says she didn’t get anything out of Charlie. Hmmm…

And more questions from the flashbacks: Shelby invites Samar to visit because she wants to know the person who conned her for so long. Samar tells Caleb (she didn’t want to have to give him more blackmail money if he didn’t approve). They both go to the restaurant to meet Samar, but her husband is there instead. And her name isn’t even Samar. Khaled says his wife, Haifaa, agreed to play Shelby’s sister 11 years ago. She had been blackmailed that whole time, but once Caleb contacted her, she felt badly for what she’d done to Shelby and asked to get out. And that’s when Haifaa disappeared.

Khaled asks Caleb and Shelby to help him find his wife…and of course they agree. The only thing Caleb has learned so far is that the emails Haifaa received were from Croatia. Hmmm…

So many hmmms coming out of this episode. Who put the bomb on Natalie? What was Miranda “right about” regarding Charlie? Is Raina in on it? How does this all connect with Shelby’s sister? And most importantly, why are the gNATs SO ANNOYING? Let’s chat below, or you can find me on Twitter @realdalener.

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