She's lethal, she's sane and she's got her eye on the prize: Why Shelby Wyatt makes a better lead for Quantico than Alex Parrish
With Shelby Wyatt that overrated inner conflict doesn't exist making her a much saner person than Alex Parrish, without a doubt.
When 'Quantico' initially aired three years ago, everyone's favorite character was Alex Parrish. Determined and righteous, Alex grew on our hearts almost instantly. Her ambition, her will, it was very attractive - at first. Then, the beautiful mess of a show gave us Shelby Wyatt (played by Johanna Braddy) and I can't help but wonder, would she have made a better protagonist than Alex? Not downplaying Alex's character or Priyanka Chopra's portrayal on screen here but how underrated is Shelby?
Shelby Wyatt, the petite blonde belle joins Quantico with a mission - to become an FBI firearms specialist. From the very beginning of the show, not once do we see her as a loud existence - she's got a quiet presence in the room full of people trying to prove themselves at Quantico. She's very sure of herself and that overrated inner conflict doesn't exist with her, making her a much saner person than Alex Parrish, without a doubt.
Shelby is often seen as a sweet blonde girl who just plays by the rules and doesn't know about the big bad wolves. Here too, she is so underestimated, it's silly. Orphaned at the age of 16, she has been hardened by tragedy. Daughter of Glenn and Laura Wyatt, who were supposed to have died in the 9/11 terror attack; she's rich now - she's the sole owner of the McGregor Wyatt Company. As the show progresses we find that her parents were never really dead and that they lied to protect her. In this scenario could you imagine what kind of crazy move Alex would end up making? Well, I can't either.
Shelby took it so realistically. Though she was mad at first, she empathized with what they had done. She tried to understand, though it would have been impossible for a girl who thought her parents were dead and gone all along. It's a different thing that she didn't know her parents were trying to evade the authorities and die eventually, as she confirms in 'Fast', season 1.
She's been an FBI instructor at Quantico, she was the backbone when it came to holding down the fort in the hostage crisis situation at the G-20 Summit in New York when the Citizens Liberation Front attacked and she was Alex's handler in the last season, as Parrish dove into Camp Peary, the rogue CIA group. And she's also hacked the FBI's computer system in order to locate the terrorist. Not to mention, she's an expert marksman and champion shooter. Speak of smooth moves! It's a challenge to accept that someone who comes from privilege would also be so down to earth and have such a strong grasp on reality, but that's just Shelby Wyatt for you.
Yes, a story must have conflict and drama and there's plenty of it with this character. Unlike Alex's affair with Ryan Booth, Shelby's relationship (colleague with benefits) situation was more on the playful side not to mention extremely controversial. In season one at Quantico, she has this wild affair with Caleb Haas. Then she dates Clay Haas, his brother. Then, the cherry on the cake - she has a heated affair with their dad, Clayton Haas. But through it all, one thing is constant - lust doesn't spell love for Miss Wyatt.
As a character, she's not the righteous type, which gives her as a protagonist bandwidth to experiment with different situations. She has nothing set in stone, even though she's a good friend, colleague and agent. She keeps Alex in control when she's undercover, she gives her space when she needs and even though she is married to Ryan Booth, we don't see the same kind of unsettling reaction that Alex had when they were dating.
I'm almost certain that had Shelby been the center of this plot, this show would have been far more thrilling. Added with their flashback storytelling, it would have been so intense. Imagine a heroine who is totally in control of the situation and herself - has balanced opinions, is focussed at the task at hand with no emotional baggage, doesn't turn into a hurricane wrecking havoc endangering everyone's life and has the mad FBI skills. Alex spends too much time flirting and burying her issues, it's startling how Miranda could even think that she's the future of the FBI.
She doesn't act out or self-destructs in all the seasons we have seen so far. In times of the G-20 summit crisis, the Camp Peary crisis as well as the time she was kidnapped by the arms dealer Widow, Shelby has kept her wits about herself. You cannot really manipulate Shelby.
If she was to be the protagonist, we'd see a lot more tweaks in everything that is there in the rulebooks. Just like every case she is a part of ever, Shelby would find a way to break as little rules as possible but make it her own. She has a roaring side that is rarely seen, but every time we get a sneak peak, it leaves us thirsting for a bit more. It's so controlled and just the right amount, which makes it even sexier. Remember the time she beat Alex's ass so bad that she was left rethinking the whole thing?
Alex Parrish is the obvious candidate for the 'Quantico' lead job, but, Shelby Wyatt is what symbolizes real girl power and it is about time she gets credit for it.