This week, the NATs get their very own Career Day, and I can’t stop laughing. I love making Sexy FBI High School jokes in these recaps, and this show cannot get any more High School than an actual Career Day. The show acknowledges as much, with Drew Perales actually saying that things couldn’t get any more high school than this.
He’s not kidding, though: O’Connor introduces the NATs to a large team of professional G-men and women, who will introduce them to their post-graduation career possibilities. (It’s only a few weeks away!) In typical Quantico fashion, there’s a twist: They’re not really checking out careers, the careers are checking out … the NATs. Like, whoa.
To this end, the NATs have been selected by the programs interested in them for further evaluation exercises. Just a handful get any screen time: Alex and Drew, who are selected by an elite ops division of the bureau; and the twins, who are assigned a potential new handler, best described as Fake Mandy Patinkin in Homeland.
Both of these situations are pretty straightforward. The twins are frustrated by the fact that their handler is a dick — he’s really into the Mr. Miyagi school of training, so they’re stuck with menial tasks like polishing handguns. They’re also worried that he might have a touch of Training Day Denzel in him, as they just happen to find drugs and cash in plain sight on his desk.
Of course, it’s all a test — as they find out when Nimah calls O’Connor without confronting their new handler. They demonstrated a lack of trust and too much pride, and if their handler can’t trust them, he can’t work with them. It’s a shame, because he was the best possible handler they could have gotten: one of the few people in the bureau who would’ve done more than use their race for modern-counterterrorism purposes. It’s a rough lesson, because the handler they end up getting does exactly that.
What’s unusual about this week’s Quantico timeline is Alex’s insignificance. Her exercises with Drew only serve to set up her internal debate over whether she should report Drew, after his mysterious neuro-muscular condition starts to affect him. (And no one but her notices, for some reason.) Ultimately she does report it, and Drew is on ice until a doctor clears him. Which makes this whole story kind of a weird non-plot. Weren’t they just undergoing physical evaluation last week?
If all of that seems slight, it’s because the Quantico flashback is largely concerned with the conclusion of Caleb’s big Sistemics infiltration. After Will took the fall last week, Caleb finally has a clear path for a meeting with Mr. Sistemics himself, a man named Dan Berlin. But his big sting is nearly ruined by Shelby, who thinks he is actually getting wrapped up in the cult again and bribes her way into Sistemics HQ, nearly blowing his cover. That’s when we find out his big play: Caleb’s been working with his dad to bring the cult down, and his glasses are actually a recording device. (This cracks me up, but I’ll take it, Quantico.) Shelby’s not entirely convinced, but believes Caleb just enough to leave, and he’s able to get the admission of guilt he’s after, as Dan mentions orchestrating the bombing that killed Caleb’s friend.
Unfortunately for Caleb, this comes at a steep price. His father is upset that Caleb told Shelby about their undercover op — which was off-the-books and underhanded — and decides the best course of action is to tell her that Caleb was actually relapsing into his cult-y ways and is now leaving to be deprogrammed. What’s more, Mr. Sistemics himself isn’t getting locked up. He cut a deal that will merely drain his cult of their finances and cripple the organization, which is certainly a net positive, but not what Caleb put his life on the line for. (Or what Will took a beating for.) Caleb, much like Simon, just can’t win.
That extends to this week’s present-day plotline, when it looks like Alex is finally about to get the upper hand thanks to Caleb’s help — and also Shelby’s — although Quantico spends a little time being coy about that. It’s eventually revealed that Shelby was also coerced by the Voice into picking up Will and Simon, but she’s definitely Team Alex. Not long after Ryan and Nimah finally realize that something may be wrong with Natalie (and that Alex was the last person to see her alive), Shelby, Alex, and Caleb track down the Voice to an abandoned church where they find Will Olsen.
He’s sick. Like, bleeding-from-every-orifice sick. Because he just finished helping the Voice make a nuclear bomb.
- Quantico fashion corner. This week, the henleys give way to HOT WORKOUT TANKS, with closeups on MUSCLES and SWEAT. This show really knows what it wants.
- Is that it for Drew? It looks like Drew’s education as a NAT is more or less over, but he hasn’t yet made an appearance in the future timeline. Is that because he’s the Voice? I swear, if he is and this is all just an elaborate revenge plot to get back at Alex for ending his FBI career, I will be very mad. This wouldn’t make much sense, since Drew — as his football career demonstrated — is actually a dude of strong moral fiber. Still, I wonder how he’s going to show up in the present-day plot.
- Caleb. Why are you so good at brooding? You are really good at brooding.