“Quantico” on ABC remains a show that is in some ways incredibly interesting, but in others incredibly frustrating. It’ll make moves that push the story forward a few steps, only to then do others that push it backward. We want to love it at times more than we do.
So what did the show do right in the first portion of this season? It all begins with Priyanka Chopra, who is once again extremely capable as a lead and someone you want to root for as the ultimate underdog. She’s bold, smart, passionate, and basically everything that you’d want in a character of her caliber on the show.
From there, you go to some of the supporting cast — Blair Underwood’s been a great tradition — and then take a closer look at some of the stories. The hostage crisis is an interesting change of pace from season 1, given that you’ve got an event that is playing out more on a public scale than Alex covertly looking for a bomber or listening to recordings. It was a nice turnaround from what the show did focus on through most of season 1.
Then, you’ve got the negatives, which start with a question as to whether or not the show chose to circle the wagons with the central premise of putting Alex Parrish into the CIA this season after spending the entire first season with her firmly entrenched over at Quantico and working as an FBI agent desperate to try to clear her name. Seeing more training montages and missions at The Farm weren’t exciting, other than the torture episode, because at times what we were getting was a regurgitation of things we saw during the first season. We also probably had too many new characters too fast in between Dayana, Lydia, Owen, Leon, and others at a time when we were still getting to know some people from season 1. If you’re going to introduce all of these faces, how about spending some more time with them?
We get the feeling that there’s an ABC executive somewhere who has a giant red button with MORE TWISTS marked on it, and anytime that they feel like a show’s not crazy enough, they press it even to the show’s detriment. That is the weakness here more than any other, and it was throughout the first half of this season and the second half of season 1. We have too many examples of playing for the twist as opposed to playing for the people, and “Homeland” paved the way in terms of how you can have suspected traitors and tell the story in a way that is slower and more emotionally gripping. There’s too much going on here; maybe it’s the number of characters, maybe it’s the two timelines, or maybe it’s throwing too many things at the wall. It’s tough to say.
All we know is that if “Quantico” wants to bounce back from its recent ratings woes, it needs to figure out a way to get people talking once more. Focusing on the characters we know, and not the ways to shock us, could be a nice start on the way to that. Midseason Grade: C+. (Photo: ABC.)