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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Worth the Watch: “Quantico” might just be your new guilty pleasure


    The Mark Gordon Company

    Isn’t it the worst when you’re all set to hate something, but you end up liking it?

    We’ve all been there; the feeling encompasses someone with a bad reputation, and it can sour before consumption. (See: “Frozen.”)

    That being said, the hype surrounding ABC’s “Quantico,” a new show about FBI recruits and—gasp—terrorism, set the show up to be hated. I didn’t go into the show predisposed to hate it; after all that is, like, rule No. 1 of reviewing something: check your assumptions at the door.

    But I certainly wouldn’t have bet good money that “Quantico” would be one of the more entertaining shows I have watched in 2015.

    “Quantico” is half flavor-of-the-week procedural, with FBI recruits training in a dorm environment, half whodunit flash-forward mystery.

    Priyanka Chopra plays protagonist Alex Parrish and presents a likable-enough character for viewers to get behind. Objectively, as in a previous-Miss-World-winner type of objective, Chopra is likely one of the most beautiful people on the planet. That doesn’t hurt either.

    It’s not like “Quantico” is unaware of Chopra’s looks; ABC made sure to verbalize this important finding by featuring the world’s creepiest voiceover in the teaser trailer: “Imagine 1200 … FBI recruits under one roof. All in the best shape of their lives. Oh yeah. Just keep imagining.”

    Creepy Voiceover Man isn’t wrong, as the ensemble cast certainly looks as if catalog models stepped off the pages and into the Quantico, Virginia, training grounds.

    All of this sets the foundation for the absurd tone of the show.

    “Quantico” is a show drenched head to toe in ridiculousness. It doesn’t veer far enough into the ridiculousness to become an homage à la the recent “John Wick,” but instead hits all of the cheesy hallmarks of network dramas while maintaining solid fundamentals in writing, editing and design.

    After just two episodes, the ridiculousness has reached outrageous levels. A character reveals she is an orphan—plot twist: her parents died in the Sept. 11 attacks. A recruit turns out to be two twins swapping out for one another—plot twist: they are some kind of FBI experiment. One recruit is undercover as a mole for the FBI, another is likely faking homosexuality for some unknown reason, and another reveals her mother shot her father in self defense—plot twist: the recruit was actually the shooter. Finally, for good measure, one recruit dies in the first episode.

    Oh yeah—all of that happened in the first episode.

    At this point, you should know whether the “Quantico” bandwagon is right for you. There are often two types of people who consume stories: those who roll their eyes at such unrealistic occurrences and those who suspend their disbelief as quickly as possible in order to be rid of the burden of reality.

    Type A: Step off here. Type B: Continue on the journey with “Quantico”.

    As for why “Quantico” can pull off such absurdities, the answer comes within the bones of the show itself. The writers of “Quantico” surely realize how insane it is to have a recruit pull the “fake twin” maneuver straight out of “The Prestige” playbook, but they successfully couch such an absurdity within the show’s solid fundamentals. If the basics of storytelling are followed, the twin gag becomes fun lunacy rather than cheesy crap.

    “Quantico” gets the basics just right. Each scene has purpose; the actions and events of Scene A cause entertaining propulsion straight into Scene B. If Scene A occurs, then Scene B must take place; if Scene B unfolds, then Scene C results. So on and so on, rinse and repeat.

    Lead character Alex Parrish is likable and the audience genuinely roots for her to succeed, and this is important as she connects the dual storylines of “Quantico.” The FBI training juxtaposes with a flash-forward terrorist attack for which Parrish gets framed.

    Amid the “Survivor”-esque shenanigans and games the recruits experience, Parrish attempts to solve the whodunit terrorist attack in order to clear her name. The show reveals, within a training segment scene, events that directly relate to the present day, post-terrorist attack action.

    That’s the propulsion of “if Scene A, then Scene B” in action.

    In addition to excellent pacing, “Quantico” benefits from its genial cast of characters. The show invests enough time in each recruit to flesh out who these characters are—a fact that goes a long way in overcoming the various character stereotypes present.

    The pilot cleverly sets up the recruits’ first challenge so that it adds characterization to the entire cast. Each recruit is given a classmate’s FBI personnel file, and must then investigate said classmate until they discover one piece of redacted info. The exercise, although ridiculous and not remotely plausible, simultaneously proves entertaining while still adding depth to every single character.

    It’s the basic yet ingenious story tactics such as this that make “Quantico” heaps of fun rather than soap opera drivel.

    Will “Quantico” win any awards? Probably not. That being said, the show will end up as more than a few people’s guilty pleasure TV show. It’s a mile wide and an inch deep, but I’ll be damned if that mile isn’t fun the whole way through.

    Let “Quantico” take you for a ride, as there are certainly worse ways in life to spend 42 minutes of your time.

    Worth the Watch: YES

    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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