Quantico season 3:Little more than a swanky way to get by with a barely-there plot
Things don't seem to be going too well for ABC's 'Quantico'. The third season just premiered last week and the Priyanka Chopra starrer has drawn a meager 0.5 rating in adults and just 2.8 million viewers - a shocking low compared to its season 1 viewership of 8.05 million! This makes the thriller drama the lowest-rated and least-watched broadcast show in the timeslot like 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'Young Sheldon'. How the mighty have fallen!
If you have watched the first episode of the new season, this dip really comes as no surprise. While the trailer created such an anticipation for the twists, turns and a zillion shockers that the show is known to have, there is one thing that is clearly missing from this season - good content.
The first episode opened with Alex Parrish aka Priyanka Chopra chilling in her floral midi skirt with a thigh-high split paired with a pristine white shirt tied casually at the navel. Her fedora is in place and she even speaks a bit of Italian, which is sort of hilarious. Kudos to her for learning the lines but it just sounds too forced - much like the rest of the storyline.
Alex's backstory is less than believable, for starters. How could a character who has been in love with Special Agent Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin) since season 1 end up leaving him without any explanation to land in the arms of another man? Even if that is plausible, it is highly unlikely if you think it through - Alex has always been portrayed as a strong woman who doesn't back down in the face of a crisis and certainly doesn't leave her loved ones in the lurch for her personal gain.
Logically speaking, she could have gotten help for her PTSD that she clearly has and stuck with Ryan who eloped with her at the end of season 2. But just for the sake of a twist, they had to marry him off to Shelby (Johanna Braddy) and had to create an aura of mystery around what happened with Alex and Ryan after they fled the scene in Washington DC the previous season. Also, incorporating Shelby Wyatt and Alex Parrish's little tiff over a guy? Seriously?
It's a thriller for god's sake - why can't it thrill us this season? Maybe because the makers this year focused more on making it a stylish season rather than a good one. After showrunner Josh Safran quit the series, after making the season 2 finale, 'Code Black's' Michael Seitzman took over.
There were hopes from him, but needless to say, he failed to bring the magical thrill of 'Code Black', the 2013 emergency room drama. It seems to have translated into some sort of fast-paced melodrama featuring an unnecessary good looking character and a kid, just for the heck of it. The whole Alex's Italian getaway just isn't convincing.
I also really missed assistant director of the bureau Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis), and the twins Nimah and Raina (Yasmine Al Massri). The feisty-ness of Miranda and the experienced and impeccable acting of Ellis made the story fun to watch and the twins always kept the audience guessing as to who is doing what. They even had a good moment in the season 2 finale - when we finally figured which one of the two is the bad guy.
The expectations from this season were immense in spite of the low ratings the last season got, mainly because there were so many switches to be made for it. Season 2 had 4.53 million total viewers, which is a trend continuing into this season.
Coming to the narration, though it is a welcome change from the whole flashback storytelling, the plot just doesn't seem to have enough meat to be made into a present wild goose chase. If you've watched the previous seasons, especially season 1, you will notice that the story fits - there are no empty spaces in the stories.
The first episode of season 3 felt like it had too much emptiness in the plot - I'm left wondering why the hunt for The Widow was made so easy? Where is the rush and the chase? While the case started off as interesting - there was an old lady playing an arms dealer, a badass FBI agent trapped in her clutches in an unknown location and a team assembling to fight the whole situation, it was such an abrupt ending.
The season premiere made an internationally infamous arms dealer's gang look like a common criminal's - after the massive build up in the first few minutes. This is quite unexpected from a show that has been portraying the world of crime as anything but simple. When Seitzman said it was going to be easy for viewers to catch up, I didn't think he meant it would be a no-brainer.
It's like a blink and you'll miss it rescue for Shelby and it is a miss when it comes to setting the tone for the rest of the season. Is it going to be the type with one rescue mission each week? If that's the case, then it certainly is a massive risk - because 'Quantico' is known for intensity and the fact that it weaves a lot of subplots into the main thriller plot. The first episode was like a badly written summary of the season, rather than an effective introduction.
Speaking of making the plot easy to understand, the idea seems to have failed miserably. Perhaps because ABC should have ended the show with season 2. It seemed like the most obvious choice after the ratings but I guess they had to make a short season just so they could milk the cash cow a little more. Instead of creating new viewers, this season seems to have lost the existing ones too!
In the entire episode, the only aspect that was good was the performance of the new addition to the black ops gang - former FBI agent Jocelyn Turner played by Marlee Matlin. The concept was on point and what I really like was the portrayal of the character - she is a no charity case. She's working just as hard as everyone else and is just as smart if not smarter. Matlin's character in some ways feels like the replacement for Miranda's.
This season definitely looks like the most stylish one so far - the locations are swanky and exotic (the massive green expanses of Ireland), the fashion is on point (who wants Alex's black turtleneck top?) but what is a season without a content? Apparently 'Quantico' season 3. Know when to stop, please.
Judging from the interviews before the season, it seemed like this time the makers would delve deeper into the characters and it would set the tone of the series. Clearly, we judged them wrong. Not only is there no sign of any of that - except for Alex's character, which we wish they would tone down a little. After all, repetitive analysis of the same issue that a character has throughout 44 episodes is, to put it politely, extremely boring.
The character of Shelby, who has been important throughout the show, is shown in such bad light. She is portrayed as a damsel in distress, unlike the last season. She's such a strong character and if only the showrunners played with it a little - Shelby could very well be the reason to watch this show, honestly. Along with the impeccable Matlin of course!
'Quantico' season 3 has disappointed us so far and one can only hope for a miracle - because only that could save this terrible storyline. But even then, I really hope 'Quantico' doesn't come back again. Three seasons sound like ten already.