‘Quantico’ 3×07 Review: ‘Bullet Train’

With “Bullet Train,” Quantico gives us a clever title, a moral dilemma and another dash of soap opera, embedded in a slightly scattered action plot. For 8 p.m. on what’s otherwise been a bad day (#SaveTimeless), it was an okay way to unwind.

The Caper Of The Week

This episode starts right in the middle of a mission. The (still-without-a-cool-name) team is on security detail. They’re protecting scientists working on something called “Project Werewolf” at a supposedly secret military development outpost.

Supposedly secret, because one of the scientists get killed by someone from the outside. The team has to evacuate the base. But the only option for getting out is a train. A huge storm wiped out the roads and grounded any air evacuation.

That would probably all hold up better if it had still been storming when they boarded the train. Or maybe if they’d skipped the sequence of boarding and just gone from the no-longer-secret base straight to the train packed with civilians so we don’t notice the weather.

Or you could choose not to think about it. There are some distractions to help you with that.

The Soapy Stuff

This part is the minor distraction: While putting away a duffel bag that he thinks is Shelby’s, Ryan spots a pregnancy test. (Let’s not get into the logic of this duffel bag being open.) He asks her about it (hey, communication in marriage! Good move, Ryan – that’s how it’s supposed to work!), but Shelby says it’s not hers. That leads them both to believe that the untaken test is Alex’s.

The doubtful period on this is very brief, but there’s enough time for Ryan make a comment that Alex shouldn’t be putting herself in danger (which Shelby calls him on immediately), and for the Booth-Wyatts to talk about the potential of having a child of their own (Ryan pictures a girl).

They don’t drag out the “mystery.” Alex quickly admits to Shelby that the test is hers and that she’s afraid to take it, in case she is pregnant. The boyfriend she left behind in Italy is the hypothetical father. She left him for his own protection, and fears bringing him back into her life would endanger him and his daughter.

Like I said, a minor distraction from the haphazardness of the action plot. But it also figures heavily into the promo for next week, so we’ll see what develops.

The Crisis Of Conscience

Project Werewolf turns out to be a gun. Not just any gun. Call it a super-gun. It can fire bullets capable of tracking a cell phone by the phone number and hitting the holder of that phone– right in the heart.

The scientists call it a Silver Bullet. The team calls it a perfect assassin’s weapon. And arms dealers are willing to kill for it.

Once again, let’s not look too deeply at the logic of this weapon. The one time we see it used, the bullet flies in a path that dizzied me. I’ll have to rewatch the sequence at some point because it seemed too magic-bullety. Instead, Quantico focuses on the morality of such a weapon.

The scientist killed at the base had enough qualms about what they were creating to reach out to someone he thought was a reporter. That person turned out to be one of those arms dealer assassin types. One of his colleagues, Leslie, is also having qualms, and shares her doubts with Alex. She compares her design to the guillotine, and mentions that the inventor of it actually died by the guillotine. (A story that apparently is not actually true; the Guillotin who suggested the device bearing his name actually died at home of natural causes. Another man with the same name was executed with the guillotine.)

History lesson aside, the dilemma is: How do you live with yourself when your work is something that costs lives? And when your own mother has denounced you for it, as Leslie’s mother has? Not that she knows what her daughter has designed; she just knows Leslie works for the Pentagon and that’s bad enough in her eyes.

There’s a similar crisis for Deep after the death of his fellow Quantico recruit, Celine. The team got right back to work, but Deep is struggling. Jocelyn believes Deep blames her for Celine’s death. Owen tries to counsel Deep, advising him that he needs to forgive her.

But in the end, Deep’s struggle is not forgiving Jocelyn for what happened. It’s being expected to do a job where lying, manipulating and even killing are all just another day at the office. “I don’t want to wonder who I am,” he declares as he hands in his resignation.

For Deep and Leslie, the answer to this dilemma is to just walk away.

Random Notes

  • I did like the “Trojan Briefcase” gambit to fool some of the bad guys on the train. Well played.

  • Deep’s departure is unsurprising. They really didn’t give him much to do. It seems he only existed to give his exit lecture on morality, just as Celine only existed to die. We never really got to know either character, so it’s hard to feel much now that they’re gone.
  • It looks like they’re moving away from the idea of a Mike/Alex romance. That doesn’t disappoint me. The idea of Alex being “torn” between three men just doesn’t appeal.
  • Why did they make the bad guys a German gun company? Not sure if Quantico has stepped on another political landmine as it did in 3×05 with its India vs. Pakistan storyline.
  • It seems Shelby and Alex have moved past the awkwardness over Ryan’s idiotic attempted kiss.
  • I really would have loved to see some of Harry and Ryan knocking back the whiskey before things went to hell. The past two episodes have had a definite shortage of Harry Doyle.
  • I’m still mesmerized by Priyanka Chopra’s hair.
  • But not to be too shallow, I will mention here that Chopra is on her way to becoming an author, with a book deal announced this week by Random House/Penguin India. Congratulations to her on that!

Quantico airs Friday nights at 8/7 Central on ABC.

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