Hold on, I’m Changing My Stance on Quantico

[Personal note: I’ll be traveling next week. I intend to schedule a post to come out then, and should have that finished in time–just be aware that if it’s not up, that’s why, and if it is up, I won’t be checking up on it until the following week.]

I know I just gave an initial impression on the show last week. But I’ve thought over the things I was unsure of since, and seen the second episode, and decided that maybe I tried too hard to come up with a uniform reaction. And I’m remembering what I thought about How To Get Away With Murder last year, and it was better than this show. More polished, more well-thought out.

I’m going to try to separate out the parts that work for me from the parts that don’t. So, Quantico, take 2.

Verdict: Uneven. I’m totally going to keep watching, because it’s still entertaining, but not without reservations.

On the plus side, for anyone who likes their fiction a little melodramatic, a lot of the cons don’t apply to those personal preferences–I just happen to not share them.

Borrowed from tvequals.com

Positive:

  • The show is well made, the narrative flows well, and the whole thing is entertaining. Things keep moving instead of getting bogged down, even with so many balls in the air. It’s not surprising that so many people are responding to a show that keeps things interesting.
  • Well put-together. Brief scenes are capable of providing tantalizing hints, sometimes without the characters having to say anything. After Minority Report, it’s great to see a show that can take full advantage of its medium.
  • The characters and actors playing them have charisma, have some spark about them that makes me want to pay attention to them. So far, the characterizations are interesting and leave room for complexity.
  • Priyanka Chopra, the star of the whole thing, is very good.
  • We have a non-white female lead in an action show, which is awesome. The shows seems to be doing mostly good from a gender perspective.

Borrowed from abc.go.com

Unsure:

  • Why is this anonymous tip that accuses one of Alex’s classmates taken as fact by all of the characters? The entire second episode revolved around  the lesson of making sure your sources are trustworthy. And yet we have absolutely no idea why this one is taken at face value. It could be the truth, sure, but the source could also be either misinformed or lying. Whether this is well-handled or not will depend on what reasons we’re given in the future for this trust.
  • Simon’s story is starting to get a little weird, too. I really hope they’re not going where I think they’re going. It doesn’t help that the show seems to be unaware that there’s nothing contradictory about being both gay and sexually inexperienced–why would there be? And that doesn’t exactly provide a reason to be confidence about this plotline.
  • I’ve been thinking more about the touchy subject matter, and it’s starting to feel weird that the show is simultaneously acknowledging racial issues exist in the country but ignoring them in the context of the FBI itself. Even Miranda Shaw, in conversation about the glass ceiling in her career, only acknowledged gender as a factor. She told O’Connor his statements were something only a man would say–it would have been just as easy for her to say ‘a white man’, or even to only include race. But the choice the narrative made was to only acknowledge gender. It may not be fair to say that the show is ignoring race, but it does seem to be sidelining many potential racial issues, which is especially odd given that the show is about counter-terrorism–a topic that brings race to the foremost of people’s minds, even when no one wants to talk about it.

Borrowed from washingtonpost.com

Negative:

  • The sheer amount of secrets, and the weirdness of some of them, is starting to feel like way too much. Borderline soap opera, even, which doesn’t fit well into this genre. Everyone has a secret, okay. That’s possible. Everyone has terrible crazy multi-layered secrets, and it starts to feel a bit contrived. The twin switch is where it began feeling like too much.
  • What is this “I have to make you look guilty to buy you time” BS. That doesn’t make any sense, and is obviously just put in there to justify Alex going off the grid. It’s clunky, and only adds to the feeling of a lot of the plot points being contrived. The only thing that would lighten that for me is if he’s the one actually framing her–and even then, why doesn’t Alex question a plan that just makes the FBI go after her harder? Another example is our protagonist being the only one to solve a test the recruits are designed to fail–too convenient.
  • Having romantic subplots is fine, but the point where Shaw brings up the recruit O’Connor fell in love with and Alex talks to Natalie about “the man we both love” puts it over the top. Again, too melodramatic.

So there’s the new rundown, which paints a less coherent but more accurate picture of my impressions for the show.

On the plus side, Agents of SHIELD is back with Daisy Johnson and co. kicking ass, which I can be pretty much fully positive about at this point. 

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