Quantico Season Finale Recap: Graduation Day

By
Yasmine Al Masri as Nimah/Raina, Priyanka Chopra as Alex. Photo: Jonathan Wenk/ABC
Quantico
Show
Quantico
Episode Title
Yes
Season
1
Episode
22
Editor’s Rating
4/5

This is how it all comes together: with a montage that reveals how Liam O'Connor, terrorist mastermind, schemed his way through the entirety of the NATs' training. And also, there's a Peter Gabriel song.

Yes, O'Connor played the longest of cons. We're shown how he watched and studied the NATs as he trained them, all of which set to a wildly operatic cover of "Digging in the Dirt," the most appropriate song choice Quantico has ever made. The montage leads to the closing moments of last week's episode, as Miranda lays bleeding on the floor and O'Connor tells her how he thought she'd like to see everything burn down with him.

That's the most impressive thing about "Yes": It's a remarkably efficient finale, given how often Quantico is a totally bananas show. Although the episodes leading up to it were messy, this finale makes clear that the Quantico team knew where they wanted to end up and set up every domino in a precise spot.

"Yes" is a neatly constructed episode that uses a Quantico-set graduation story line to echo the resolution of its present-day terror plot. It's nice symmetry: Liam is going to set off the nuke at Quantico, as another class of NATs graduates. Further escalating the situation, Miranda and Ryan are taken hostage and tied up in the dormitory where Liam plans to detonate the bomb.

When Team Alex arrives at Quantico, we get the clearest explanation of Liam's motivation: Disillusioned and disgruntled at the things he's seen go wrong (in Chicago, with Alex's father), he wants to burn the FBI down and rebuild it in his image. As Alex and a rescued Ryan hunt Liam down in the dorm halls, Liam gets the drop on Ryan and holds him at gunpoint while he explains to Alex how she foiled his original plans to scapegoat her and how Ryan was supposed to run off with him so they could rebuild the FBI together — which totally isn't a euphemism.

Unfortunately for Liam, he doesn't make any sort of demand or ultimatum. He just tries to surprise Alex by ditching Ryan and taking a shot at her — except she shoots first, as does Ryan, for a totes romantic double-tap kill.

That leaves the bomb problem. And the reason why I'm so angry at Quantico right now.

Oh, you didn't know I was angry? I'm angry, dammit. I'm angry because Team Alex finds the nuke with only minutes to spare, and as they debate how to defuse it, Simon decides to swipe the nuke and drive into the river, sacrificing his life to save everyone.

I just wanted Simon to be happy. I just wanted Simon to get over his angst and guilt and run off with Raina to, like, start a nonprofit and live in the mountains among caribou and maple trees, making their own syrup and sighing heavily whenever Nimah came to visit. A happy ending for Quantico's best character. That's all. But nope. Simon goes out in a weepy, radioactive blaze, sending himself and the nuke to the bottom of the river. (Which, by the way, helps a little bit, but not much.)

I'd like to see the entire story redone from the perspective of its true hero, Simon Asher. If the entire season were told from his point of view, you would have a totally different show on your hands, a prestige slow-mo tragedy about his sordid history.

At Simon's funeral, however, there's one last twist. (And, no, it doesn't involve Simon getting out of his casket and dancing, like in that one My Chemical Romance music video. Simon probably listened to My Chemical Romance, though.) The big surprise belongs to Claire Haas, who is now vice-president. Alex brings up one last piece of the puzzle that doesn't fit: The blood-pressure medication that Liam had her bug. See, Alex found out that Claire doesn't take any medication of the sort, so it made no sense for her to have any — unless Liam was actually going off-book because he was working with Senator Haas in the first place.

That is evil.

Claire does the classic "you have no proof" thing that villains always do (and also points out that Alex has been dismissed from the FBI, so he can't do jack anyway). Alex calls Caleb over and says something like, "No problem bro, we'll be watching, because ALEX PARRISH ALWAYS GETS HER MAN."

Speaking of getting her man, Ryan and Alex reconcile once and for all. Two months later, it even looks like Ryan has finally agreed to that trip they were supposed to take together. He calls her while she's on a run near her Oakland home … and then some government suits show up and order her to get in an SUV.

Inside the car, a guy named Matthew Keyes — who is basically a riff on Kurt Russell's Mr. Nobody character from Furious 7 — talks about how she was treated badly by the FBI, and how the CIA would like to fix that by having her join them. She has to answer before she leaves the car. Ryan calls. The show ends before she answers either.

But, here's the thing.

Quantico follows a particular convention for naming its episodes: The title is always the last word spoken in a given episode. "Yes" breaks from this convention; the final line is Keyes asking Alex, "Are you ready for what comes next?" HMM.

See you next fall, Quantico.

Final Notes:

  • Henleys, man. As the NATs clear out their dorms right before graduation, they're supposed to dump their uniforms in big laundry bins, granting us one final shot of all those wonderful henleys. However, Alex can't seem to let her henley go and sneaks it out. If I had a shirt that fit me as well as it fit every damn character on this show, I'd be reluctant to let it go, too.
  • Locker rooms, man. Is it just me, or did the second half of this season have way more locker-room scenes than the first? There were definitely more shots of the NATs in their underwear. I can't imagine why.
  • Predictions for season two? Alex is definitely joining the CIA. Will there be another mole? Will it be Jack Bauer? Is another building going to blow up? Are they all going back to Quantico to train new NATs, Friday Night Lights–style? IS ALEX'S STOLEN HENLEY GOING TO FACTOR INTO THE PLOT? I've had a lot of fun writing about this show, and I'm pretty sure that the writers had a blast writing this crazy-ass story, so my only hope is that things get even crazier. Maybe the former NATs will go undercover at the KGB's equivalent of Quantico. What's that? The KGB doesn't exist anymore? DOESN'T MATTER, THIS TRAIN HAS NO BRAKES.