‘Quantico’ Review: A Clean Slate for Priyanka ‘Alex’ Chopra in S3?
Season 3 of the Priyanka Chopra starrer Quantico picks up three years after the FBI-trainee-turned-CIA-operative, Alex Parrish is forced to go on the run at the end of Season 2. We are never quite let in on how she escaped her quandary from the last season, but the first episode of the season sets the tone for a clean slate.
One of the biggest departures for Quantico, this season is the change of the guard. The showrunner Joshua Safran has handed over the reigns to Michael Seltzman (Code Black), while stepping down to a consultant position.
When you see a perennially gun-toting and keyed up Parrish, picking fruit and speaking in an Italian accent in a pastoral Tuscan town, you know the creators are trying to make good on their promise of a revamp for a show that’s still trying to find its footing. It reads less like a massively popular pulpy book than its earlier outings and attempts to turn over a new leaf.
But as we all know Parrish has the Rescuer complex. Her idyllic existence is predictably shattered when her on-and-off flame, Ryan coaxes her into helping him rescue her best friend, Shelby from a notorious international arms dealer - The Widow, who is holding her hostage. Only Alex can provide what the captor demands.
The action swiftly moves from the sylvan vistas of Montepulciano to Zurich and then to New York.
The episode then slips into the old Quantico pattern and moves at a breakneck pace. Steering clear of its patent dual narrative style, it attempts to get over its Shonda Rhimes hangover and its frequently formulaic nature. It throws the viewers a curveball when it comes to Parrish and Ryan’s relationship. The twist is set to send the fans into a frenzy.
Quantico has always scored high on diversity
Lebanese-born actress Yasmine Al Massri pulled double duty as the twin FBI recruits Nima and Raimah, who made for well-rounded American Muslims - a rarity in US television.
If you are lamenting Al Massri’s exit from the show, take heart. A new differently abled character is here to make up for the loss and up the ante - the hearing impaired, FBI agent Jocelyn Turner, played by Oscar winner Marlee Matlin. It’s heartening to find that the whole cast has picked up the rudiments of American Sign Language for the season. Apart from PeeCee, Matlin’s performance is distinctive, but in a ‘less-is-more’ way. Her character promises to bring the missing ‘nuance’ to the show. New team. New possibilities.
Slow Down Quantico!
The show is so obsessed with plot twists that the very turns are rendered ineffective because of the lack of restraint. The first episode glides with such velocity that it appears more like a capsule of the entire season. The germ is potent but the briskness of the episode suffocates it. Case in point - the blink-and-miss rescue operation in the episode.
Easy resolutions make for lesser stakes. If the lack of regard for character development persists, it is yet again set to serve as a bane of the season. The Widow for instance fails to be a worthy antagonist since no time is spared on building her into a menacing figure.
Parrish - Stellar Action Champ with a ‘Hero’ Complex
Always self-assured, PeeCee’s charisma is undeniable. A glimpse of her wardrobe coupled with her graceful athletic physique, will give you serious style envy. Her character, Parrish is tough as nails and as is the case in the previous seasons, the show is only interested in her ass-kicking stripes without taking more than a moment to delve into her inner life. How does she feel about being dragged back into the crime-fighting game? She is the unfailing saviour but will this season finally give us a more vulnerable Alex?
With 13 episodes, this season of Quantico is leaner than the others. This economy has also apparently extended to the cast of the series regulars. One can only hope the show finally sheds its generic skin, develops its idiosyncrasy, and unravels Parrish because there’s more to this first South Asian who led an American network drama series. PeeCee, For the Win!
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