“Ghosts” gets off to a great start, and through most of the episode I enjoyed the twists and turns engineered by nemesis Conor Devlin. I’ve said before that this season of Quantico reminds me in a lot of ways of the old spy shows I used to watch in summer reruns as a kid, and that held true here. Though maybe with a bit more blood spattering.
Then, in the last two minutes, the show trots out one of those old tropes that I never thought about as a kid, but certainly do now. Back in the 60s and 70s, it was considered good romantic drama. Today, it’s a #MeToo moment, but Quantico still plays it as romantic and I’m feeling pretty sour about it.
Let’s start with the sweet, though.
A Fascinating Villain
Quantico spent each of its first two seasons taking you through flashbacks and plot twists to try to figure out who the bad guy really was. As this final season winds down, there’s no need to figure it out. Conor Devlin lives up to an old quote he cited last week, with a “double dose of original sin.”
It was fascinating to watch Devlin pull strings as soon as he (of course) escapes from custody back in Ireland. You couldn’t be sure who could be trusted – and the team gets one bitter surprise because of that.
So does Devlin’s brother.
I won’t get into all the plot intricacies except to say it’s hard to keep those kinds of machinations going through a season (as we saw in previous seasons of Quantico), so it’s just as well Conor was introduced late. Better to have a few good episodes with a good villain than to weaken him by trying to carry him throughout the whole year.
The team does get Harry’s sister back, Owen is out of the secret hospital for spies and everyone is now in Ireland, getting ready to take Devlin down on their own since it seems no one can be trusted. I’ll also give them props for the great locations in Ireland.
Then we get to those final two minutes.
This Is Not Romantic!
After hinting at it all season, Quantico finally went there with Alex and Mike. As the two of them are bantering about blankets in her room, I just sighed and rolled my eyes. Not my favorite pairing, but it’s a canceled show anyway, so – what the hell.
Then a moment later – “WHAT THE HELL?”
Here’s a transcript:
(ALEX and MIKE are kissing in her room.)
I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
You can’t what?
ALEX (pushing him back)
You can’t what?
ALEX (shaking head)
I can’t get involved with someone I work with.
(MIKE leans in to kiss her again. CUT TO them falling onto the bed.)
That’s exactly the kind of scene I used to see in those old spy shows of the 60s and 70s. The woman resists, the man kisses her anyway and she submits in a fit of passion. It was considered romantic back then.
These days, it’s considered anything BUT romantic, and it pissed me off. Yeah, I know Alex went with it. I know she is skilled in hand to hand and could probably beat the already-injured Mike into a pulp if she wanted. But still – there was no affirmative consent given. That lack is a horrible message, saying that a woman’s doubts should just be kissed away.
Mike ignoring Alex’s “I can’t” made him even more unlikeable than before. The story didn’t need to go there. He could have backed off, giving her some time to think. That would still have set up the drama of the last 30 seconds, when we learn that Devlin has kidnapped Alex’s Italian boyfriend and his daughter. We don’t need Alex to be with Mike to be wrenched by that.
NO MEANS NO. We need to enforce that. We need to reject stories that make this sort of thing seem like the height of romance, because it is NOT.
It’s too late for the canceled Quantico, which ABC is barely even bothering to promote these days. But we can and must continue to rally ongoing shows to do better.
Quantico’s series finale airs Friday, August 3 at 8 p.m./7 Central on ABC.