If you’re one to get squeamish about torture scenes, then there’s no shame in peaking at this week’s episode behind the safety of a pillow. “Guilty” can get pretty graphic especially during Alex’s interrogation, but the brilliant repartee and the mind-blowing plot twists will make it impossible to take your eyes off this week’s episode.
In the Present
At the end of last episode, “Over,” a wounded Ryan is medevacked to safety by the Unknown while Alex reluctantly turns herself in to warn the FBI of a second bomb. Ms. Parrish isn’t expecting a hero’s welcome, nor does she receive one. Deputy Chief Clayton has given the green card to do anything to make her confess to bombing Grand Central Station, so no one objects when Liam orders, “Take her to the vault.” 700 years after the Middle Ages, torture still works best in dungeons.
Enter Elias Harper (Rick Cosnett). The Quantico dropout, whom Parish called before surrendering, is Alex’s legal counsel and best bet to freedom. Sharp-tongued and quick-witted, Elias has no problem shutting down every move the FBI propose (he’s basically paid to sass all day).
Things actually are looking up for Alex since it’s obvious that Liam and Clayton are all bark and no bite. That is until the High-Value Interrogation Group arrives on executive order from Mr. President. Better known as HIG, this Marine-Corps version of secret intelligence will stop at nothing to extract a confession. While the two FBI officers are still trying to figure out how to play bad cop, the HIG whisk Alex away to some secret vault in the basement. Next to ‘master interrogator’ Griffin Wells (Oded Fehr), Haas and O’Connor look as harmless as wet puppies.
Wells knows that Alex’s biggest weakness is her sympathy for others, so rather than torturing her, he’s captured—surprise—Ryan, who obviously didn’t complete his helicopter ride after all. Worse still, his bullet wound is starting to show signs of sepsis and Alex is informed that her best friend will go into anaphylactic shock within an hour. Hoping to force a confession, Wells strings the half-conscious Ryan up and jabs his fingers into the bloody wound over and over. But poor Alex doesn’t have anything to say except that there’s a second bomb out there, so call she can do is scream.
Back upstairs, Caleb learns that special agent Diane Goodwin has been found dead at the morgue with the other bomb victims. Upon examining her body, however, he notices that her phone is missing, and that her body has just been set up to look like she died at Grand Central. Haas Jr. puts two and two together, has an epiphany that Goodwin was murdered because she was the only one who could have ID’d the terrorist, and goes over to Team Alex.
It turns out that the FBI never established a timeline of Alex before the bombing, so Elias and Caleb do a little review on the city’s security cameras. By now, Team Alex has grown to include Natalie, Shelby, and the twins. Together, they figure out that Alex was kidnapped in a blind spot, drugged, and then transported to Grand Central.
Back to the present, this new evidence and the fact that, as Natalie puts it, “the people you trust the most are all on one side and you’re the only one on the other,” is finally – finally – enough to convince Liam that Alex is not guilty. Liam gets his own executive order and rescues Booth and Parish.
At the Academy
This week, the NATs have a guest speaker while Miranda recovers from an attack which coincided with her son’s disappearance. Miranda’s adamant that Caleb was the one who attacked her, but foot tracks near her home suggest that he may have been kidnapped instead.
Dr. Susan Langdon (guest star Anne Heche) is a highly-acclaimed forensic scientist who specializes in criminal profiling. In this week’s assignment, the trainees have to look at serial killer cases to identify the one victim that doesn’t fit—sort of like “find the odd one out,” but with really gory pictures.
Dr. Langdon might be sweet, blonde and petite, but don’t be fooled. When Simon quietly confronts Dr. Langdon about falsifying evidence, he nearly becomes the next victim. Langdon silently threatens him with a syringe loaded with godknowswhat and only a lucky interruption by Ryan allows Simon to escape unscathed. Real lesson of the week: don’t get too good at finding things that don’t belong.
Meanwhile, Liam has been drunk and hungover ever since Alex confronted him last episode about his failure to prevent a terrorist attack back in 1994. Ryan gets jealous that Alex keeps abandoning him to keep up with Liam’s shenanigans, and justifiably so, since ‘looking after’ her instructor entails dragging him out of bed in his boxers and ‘helping’ him take cold showers. Why yes, lots to look at indeed.
At the end of the day, Simon faces a lot of backlash from the other NATs for reporting Langdon, but hey, they didn’t have a needle pressed up against their neck. His surreptitious rendezvous with Oren, the elusive bomb-making friend, is a little less forgivable. The last thing we see is Oren giving him blueprints for all New York train stations. Suspicious much? Whether he’s guilty though remains to be revealed.
In a little post-torture heart-to-heart with Alex, Liam apologizes for being such a dunce and not trusting her earlier. You’d think he’d learned after all she’s done for him at Quantico. Alex is, not surprisingly, extremely forgiving. In order for the real terrorists to believe that their plan is still working, however, Alex pleads guilty to the Grand Central bombing.
This week’s episode somehow managed to be one of the most intense and the most tortuous of the season. While Alex’s experience at Grand Central definitely had me on the edge of my seat, all the drama at Quantico didn’t seem to develop any significant plot lines, besides deepening the not-so-professional relationship between student and teacher, which we know is coming. All in all, “Guilty” is proof that Quantico remains one of the most thrilling and satisfying shows of the year.