QUANTICO Review: “Cleopatra”


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And we’re back! And depending on how attentive you are to these sorts of things, you may notice I am not the previous reviewer of here. I’m Paul, and I have never seen an episode of Quantico in my life. UNTIL NOW!

I kind of wish I could go back to before.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme. You’ll notice at the bottom of this review is a big fat “C” for the ABC drama’s mid-season premiere. That is technically passing. I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt, seeing as how some of these network dramas returning after a long hiatus are really held down by trying to catch the viewer up to speed on where they left off. You can hear the exposition in the dialogue and feel it in your heart (actually I don’t even know what that means, sorry). But I understand this may not be the show’s best foot forward out of the gate.

And out of the gate they came. This show is INTENSE. People barely take a breath to stop talking and relaying information to one another. Amazingly, I think I followed most of what was going on here. Alex Parrish, formerly of the FBI, but now put undercover by the FBI into the CIA operative training program known as “The Farm,” is at the center of a unique conspiracy that nobody but she magically knows about. When we pick up, Alex is being interrogated by a sassy woman (whole lotta sass on this show) named Wyland, who needs to be convinced that Alex is not a part of said conspiracy.

QUANTICO - "CLEOPATRA" - The recruits are schooled in the art of seduction, which Alex sees as a perfect opportunity to get closer to Owen, but will it threatens her relationship with Ryan? And in the future, Alex finally gets the answers she's been looking for about who and what the terrorists are on, "Quantico," MONDAY, JANUARY 23 (10:01-11:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Giovanni Rufino) PRIYANKA CHOPRA

The conspiracy revolves around a terrorist group calling itself the Citizen’s Liberation Front taking a few thousand people hostage at the G20 Summit in New York City, who Alex believes to actually be a rogue group inside the CIA called the AIC (see what those brilliant agents did THERE?) Alex was present during the terrorist takeover but managed to evade being held captive for most of the first part of the season, acting as a free operative within the CLF hostage territory John McClane Die Hard style while trying to get to the bottom of it. Oh, and basically everyone she knows and has been training with at the CIA (and FBI?) is there for some reason so she doesn’t know who is in on it and who isn’t.

Also, I think Wyland mentions something about Alex’s fiance Ryan (prime suspect for being the fellow Farm trainee turned terrorist) being her ex-husband? No wonder she’s full of sass.

The show flashes back to Alex’s days with Ryan and co. training at The Farm and trying to figure out with the AIC is really all about. Their instructor, Owen, also happens to be a criminal mastermind, or so I heard a character say. From what I’ve read, it appears a theme of this season has been that each episode we flash back from the hostage situation to Owen teaching The Farm trainees a different lesson about being a CIA operative. In this episode, it’s “seduction.”

QUANTICO - "CLEOPATRA" - The recruits are schooled in the art of seduction, which Alex sees as a perfect opportunity to get closer to Owen, but will it threatens her relationship with Ryan? And in the future, Alex finally gets the answers she's been looking for about who and what the terrorists are on, "Quantico," MONDAY, JANUARY 23 (10:01-11:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Giovanni Rufino) PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JAKE MCLAUGHLIN

Here’s my problem (well, one of my problems) with the show. Every character is beautiful. They are all stunningly attractive and young and charming and likable. I just can’t suspend my disbelief that everyone in the CIA is a model. Go Google freshly confirmed CIA Chief Mike Pompeo. That guy couldn’t even play a janitor at the CIA in this world. This is for sure the ABC Primetime version of the CIA/FBI.

Look, I understand you gotta give the people what they want to see. So I shouldn’t have been shocked when Owen instructs the trainees that their first assignment is to get as many numbers in a bar in one night as possible. Is this still a show about terrorists or is this one of those MTV game shows you’d marathon when you were sick from school in 8th grade? Like, seriously?

It gets worse.

Their NEXT assignment is to crash the Estate Night Club for a wedding reception. They will each be assigned a wedding guest to seduce. It is required within the assignment that in order to pass they’ll need to spend the night with their target and wake up next to them the next day.

First of all, WHOSE WEDDING IS THIS THAT THE CIA HAS DECIDED TO COLLECTIVELY RUIN? Second of all, WHO DOESN’T NOTICE A MULTITUDE OF CIA OPERATIVES CRASHING THE WEDDING RECEPTION? Third of all, WHY would it AT ALL be difficult for any of these insanely attractive people to find somebody to sleep with at a WEDDING where there is plenty of booze and convenient hotel rooms with double beds a short walk away???? Fourth of all, I get that The Farm is the part of the CIA that’s a little more comfortable working outside the typically accepted standards of ethics, but Ryan and Alex are assigned to sleep with the bride and groom, respectively. ON THEIR WEDDING NIGHT. And because it’s the sexy primetime CIA show, the bride and groom are both REALLY into it immediately.


In other plotlines, Alex’s best friend Shelby is deep undercover dating Alex’s fellow Farm trainee Leone. They’ve been at it for about a month. She kind of just decided to take on this mission on her own. Unclear why, but I am hoping that it’s because this is the first episode I’ve ever watched. Leone, after learning at the Farm about seducing information out of people and what that looks and sounds like, suspects Shelby, who he knows as “Jane,” of being an undercover operative. She however is expertly able to put his fears at ease. Something tells me this won’t last for long.

And in a C story, Farm trainee and all around good guy Sebastian Chen has returned from some sort of religious excursion, and is struggling with the moral implications of his assignment. After successfully sleeping with his target the night of the wedding reception, it’s revealed he gave her his actual number and is going to continue the relationship. He does so while holding a cross and Rosary beads, just in case we the viewers didn’t pick up that he’s a good Christian boy from the million other hints and lines of dialogue telling us.


Is this a show that does twist endings every episode? I hope so, I usually like those, if done right. This episode ended on an interesting note. Alex escapes the interrogation building with the help of Miranda (who I believe had previously betrayed Alex earlier this season, seemingly working with the terrorists). It’s not much of an escape, she kind of just walks out of the room and next thing we know she’s getting in Miranda’s car outside. In perhaps the DUMBEST part of the entire episode, Wyland realizes Alex has very recently escaped, then tells a subordinate to “Let her go, she’s the only one who can end this.” Then shakes her head and says “I’m SO gonna regret this.”

????? Is this woman a believable law enforcement agent, or what! She may as well have shaken her head smiling, looked to camera and freeze-framed, 1980’s heartwarming family sitcom credits roll. This is just sloppy, sloppy writing.

Anyway, once in Miranda’s car, Alex tells her “Give me one reason to trust you.” Miranda replies that she is one of the terrorists. “And after what I’m about to tell you, you will be, too.”

Okay, gotta say, I need to know what she’s gonna say now. Well played, ABC, well played. Until next time!


Season 2, Episode 9 (S02E09)
Quantico airs Monday at 10PM on ABC

Read all of our reviews of Quantico here. 
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.

Paul is working as an undercover operative at The Tracking Board, investigating a rogue group from within, and is currently at the center of a conspiracy that nobody but he magically knows about.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulgulyas
Keep up with all of Paul’s reviews here.

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