After five episodes of break-neck plot progression, this week’s Quantico slowed down and spent time developing and putting pressure on their characters and relationships.
The episode opens in the present, where Alex is holed up in a hotel room with Shelby, trying to figure out how they’re going to find Caleb Haas. The problem is that, despite the fact that they were an item in Quantico, Shelby and Caleb are no longer on speaking terms. They contact Ryan and plan to tap into the surveillance the FBI is using to look for Alex, and use it to find Caleb. Thanks to the early morning phone call, Ryan’s girlfriend, Natalie (also an FBI agent and fellow Quantico-classmate) becomes suspicious and snoops through his phone – in which he has cleverly changed ‘Alex Parrish’ to ‘O’Connor’ – their boss. She joins him in the shower and through a seamless transition in which Natalie becomes Alex, we’re transported back in time eight months.
At this point in the character’s lives at Quantico, everyone is either having sex or thinking about having it. Ryan and Alex are having shower sex, Caleb and Shelby are having secret sex, and Simon and Nimah are finally dealing with their sexual tension. Miranda Shaw, however, is having much less fun. She has been missing in action from the Academy for three days, unwilling to leave the house now that her son Charlie’s parole was granted and he came back home to live with her. O’Connor comes looking for her, and gets Miranda to go back to work by offering to try and talk to Charlie.
The NATs’ lesson for the week has to do with surveillance, and, as it has every episode, their training exercise ties into the present day terrorism story line. They are introduced to D2, a program that monitors computers on the internet in real time, which is being used to monitor all media and security footage in order to find Alex and any other evidence on the attack. Only, the analyst running the surveillance is Caleb Haas, which means he can easily wipe any data that makes him look suspicious without anyone noticing. Team Alex (consisting of Shelby, Simon, Ryan and, of course, Alex) plan to have Simon bug Caleb’s computer so she and Shelby can see what he sees.
Back in the past, Shaw returns to the Academy and gives them their assignment: bug a house and hopefully extract some data from a seemingly normal couple. Everyone, save for Simon and the twins (Nimah and Raina) pass the exercise and are instructed, by Shaw, to surveil her own house.
Alex and Ryan are on stakeout duty, parked outside Shaw’s home in a fully equipped surveillance van until an interference issue with their mic causes Ryan to be caught by O’Connor, who assumes Ryan has taken to stalking him over his operation looking into Alex. This ends up blowing his cover as Alex is listening in, and she takes off in the van.
Meanwhile, Simon and Nimah are drinking tea together in her room, where he tells her the truth about his sexuality – he’s been pretending to be gay. Nimah, moved by his honesty, takes off her hijab and lets her hair down before they kiss. Elsewhere, Caleb confronts Shelby about lying to him. She confesses how much she likes him, but that being with him is making her lose her focus on becoming an agent. They agree to keep things casual and uncomplicated; however, in the present, their relationship is anything but uncomplicated.
Alex, now able to monitor everything Caleb is doing on his computer, watches as he discovers a video of his father (Deputy Director of the FBI, Clayton Haas) kissing Shelby. Caleb, it turns out, wasn’t involved in the bombings at all, but rather was looking for the identity of his father’s mistress. Shelby rushes to apologize to Caleb, insisting that they “never meant to hurt [him]”. It’s genuinely wrenching to watch Caleb, who’s spent his whole life feeling inadequate, realize that someone he loved and confided in went on to sleep with his father.
As Shaw lectures about the nature of surveillance back at the Academy, she makes it clear that although surveillance can teach you things about people, it can never tell you why they make certain choices. This is further emphasized when Caleb, in the future, notices Nimah (or Raina) at the station before the attack (meaning the twins are the next likely suspects). Through surveillance, he is able to determine that they were in New York before the bombings, but not what they were doing there.
“God” ends in the past, with Simon walking into Nimah’s room to find both Nimah and Raina caught completely unaware, and thus, discovering their secret. Nimah and Raina have been taking turns throughout their training, appearing as one trainee. They all panic and in the ensuing struggle, Simon gets knocked unconscious and is trapped in the closet by the twins.
In an episode all about surveillance and the secrets people keep, it’s fitting that we end with Simon uncovering the massive secret that Nimah and Raina have been keeping from him and the other trainees. The hour was focused on developing the relationships between the characters, and because of that, the audience knows and understands each one better. There are still plenty of secrets to uncover, but thanks to this episode, I’m now actually invested in the outcome.
Quantico airs Sundays at 10pm on ABC.