When it premiered last year, “Quantico” invited ample comparisons to fellow ABC drama “How To Get Away With Murder.” In their reviews on the show, many a critic referred to “Quantico” as some variation of “How To Get Away With Terror.”
As the season progressed, “Quantico” unquestionably developed its own voice. Several of the key cast members, moreover, truly made a mark.
“Quantico” nonetheless maintained a lot of the same fundamental qualities as “How To Get Away With Murder.” Like ABC’s Thursday night drama, “Quantico” featured a good-looking cast navigating a high-stakes, fast-paced, action-rich world. Methodical storytelling was not the goal; each week seemingly brought a new surprise twist or shocking reveal.
“Quantico” naturally attracted a similar audience. The fanbase did not necessarily tune in on Sunday nights — the show was actually drawing weak live+same-day numbers late in the season — but it spoke passionately about the show on social networks. It also watched the show, en masse, via DVR, streaming and on-demand means.
Officially billed as “Quan2co,” the second season commences Sunday night.
The premeire, entitled “Kudove,” creates a narrative scenario remarkably similar to that of the first season. The pacing, storytelling, and voice are also consistent with the vibe established last year.
There are some key setting changes and some new characters, but this is ultimately the “Quantico” viewers came to know in season one.
The question of whether to watch is fairly simple: if you enjoyed season one and care at least a little about characters like Alex (Priyanka Chopra) and Ryan (Jake McLaughlin), you’ll feel right at home watching season two. If you did not like season one, the minor season two changes will probably not be enough to make you a fan this time around.
For those who are interested in watching, here are five things to expect Sunday night.
Past & Present
Similar to the first season, “Quan2co” focuses on two separate time periods.
Action in the present concerns a terrorist attack on the G20 Summit. Many of the key characters — some we recognize from season one, some we’ll begin to meet in season two — are present at the scene of the crime. Much like last year, we learn that some of the characters may be perpetrators rather than victims or heroes.
Flashbacks, meanwhile, bring us back to a year before the attack. There, we see how Alex and Ryan end up at the CIA’s “The Farm” training facility. We also begin to meet new characters, including notable trainees and lead instructor Owen Hall (Blair Underwood).
In addition to maintaining the dual-time period structure, “Quantico” maintains a lot of the season one elements. The training scenes (qualification tests, in the case of the premiere) at “The Farm” are very similar to those at Quantico. Like in season one, most of the key characters have secrets — some of the potentially devious variety.
As was the case in season one, Alex will also play a pivotal role in thwarting the present-day terrorist attack. The key difference is that she is not, at least not from what we see in the premiere, a key suspect.
Alex & Ryan
While it may not have been the absolute focus of the show, the relationship between Alex and Ryan was definitely a factor in season one.
It takes center stage at the onset of season two.
In addition to providing us an update on where Alex and Ryan stand following last season, the premiere reveals that their romantic connection will play a big part in the flashback narrative.
Their romantic tension is also a point of emphasis in the present-day storyline.
Alex Isn’t Perfect
Whereas Alex excelled at many of her Quantico tests and challenges, she initially struggles at The Farm. Many of the qualities that define Alex run counter to what is expected – if not required – of a CIA operative.
The present time period will reveal that Alex is still a superwoman of sorts — her physical skill and mental brilliance is essential to her role as protagonist, after all — but her vulnerability in the flashbacks adds a nice dimension to the narrative.
Meet The New Class
Outside of Alex and Ryan, it is new characters that claim the spotlight in Sunday’s episode.
All of the notable new faces — Owen (Blair Underwood), Dayana (Pearl Thusi), Leon (Aaron Diaz), Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor), Sebastian (David Lim), Jeremy (David Call), President Todd (Danny Johnson), and Harry (Russell Tovey) — appear in Sunday’s episode.
Several, meanwhile, receive meaningful introductions. Harry greatly showcases his personality, while Lydia and Jeremy play key roles in the episode’s events. Owen does not necessarily do much, but his importance to the narrative is made clear.
While not as pivotal to this week’s episode as Priyanka Chopra and Jake McLaughlin, returning cast members Aunjanue Ellis, Johanna Braddy, and Yasmine Al Massri indeed appear.
Set in the present timeline, the ending elevates the intensity of the premiere and sets the stage for the rest of the season.
The ending is not necessarily unpredictable — much of what happens in the closing sequence is, in fact, rather obvious — but it definitely possesses the signature “Quantico” energy.
The “Quan2co” premiere airs at 10PM ET/PT on Sunday, September 25.