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ABC’s “Quantico” Returns Tonight; 8 Things To Expect In The “Cleopatra” Episode

Quantico [ABC]

Off since late November, ABC’s “Quantico” finally returns this week.

And it does so in a new timeslot.

After spending its first season-and-a-half on Sundays, the drama moves to Monday at 10PM ET.

The new timeslot positions “Quantico” immediately after “The Bachelor,” giving the series its best lead-in (by far) yet. Will the lead-in support help “Quantico” rebound in the live+same-day ratings?

We’ll soon find out.

Entitled “Cleopatra,” the episode airs in the immediate aftermath of the midseason finale. Alex has escaped the hostage situation and entered the FBI facility. Her task now involves briefing the FBI team on what is going on — and convincing them to hold off on the missile strike.

Monday’s episode also features the show’s customary flashback scenes.

“The recruits are schooled in the art of seduction, which Alex sees as a perfect opportunity to get closer to Owen, but will it threatens her relationship with Ryan,” says the ABC synopsis. “And in the future, Alex finally gets the answers she’s been looking for about who and what the terrorists are on.”

Headline Planet screened the episode in advance of Monday’s broadcast. Here are some things you should expect:

Hannah Is Back
Hannah (Eliza Coupe) returns, and she has a simple task: interrogate Alex. The character remains skeptical of Alex, but based on what happened last year, she knows she cannot totally rule out Alex’s insight. She also knows Alex probably represents her only chance of understanding the true nature of the hostage crisis.

The interrogation provides the episode with a sense of narrative structure: the flashback scenes are introduced as Alex shares her story with Hannah.

All About The AIC
The AIC plays a pivotal role in the flashback and present-day storylines.

In the flashback scenes, we see how Ryan, Dayana and Leon are dealing with their apparent “selection” for the secret group — and with the murderous task that came along with it.

In the future, we get a sense of how the AIC is connected to the hostage situation. The connection may not be the one viewers (or the major characters) were initially anticipating.

Art Of Seduction
As confirmed by the synopsis, this week’s lesson at “The Farm” involves the art of seduction.

The first test involves getting phone numbers from different patrons at the local bar.

The second, more intense test takes place at a wedding party. Each trainee is tasked with getting a specific guest (including the bride and groom!) to spend the night in their hotel room. Sex is not required, but it is obviously the most bankable way to ensure the target comes back to the room and spends the night.

While the targets are presented as random and inconsequential to the main action, this is “Quantico.”  Would it really be shocking if there were a twist?

The Alex-Ryan Divide
On the one hand, past Alex and Ryan are engaged and clearly in love.

On the other hand, Alex’s split from the FBI heightens the tension between the two. While they agree to be honest with each other, neither is entirely comfortable about sharing operational details with the other: Ryan is not supposed to reveal how the FBI is handling the AIC, while Alex cannot entrust Ryan with details of her personal, unsanctioned investigation into the group.

The Alex-Harry Partnership
No longer part of the FBI and clearly in a tense situation with Ryan, Alex now sees Harry as her most trusted ally. The two are running their own investigation into the AIC.

In this episode, they specifically partner in an attempt to extract information from/about Owen.

Broken Owen
Lydia’s departure seems to have taken a negative emotional toll on Owen. He is something of a broken man, and that leaves him vulnerable to Harry and Alex’s investigation.

Conflicted Sebastian
During the fall portion of the season, Harry’s persistence finally seemed to break Sebastian: he kissed his fellow trainee.

Sebastian subsequently went on a retreat, and he comes back invigorated. Confident that he has reconnected with his faith, he appears to be confident and upbeat. More notably, he is completely comfortable around Harry.

Do not judge a book by its cover. We soon learn that Sebastian is anything but comfortable, and this week’s task exacerbates Sebastian’s internal conflict.

Asking Sebastian to use seduction as an intelligence tactic is asking him to cheapen love and ignore his virtue (not to mention the feelings of his “targets”). It asks him to abandon his beliefs as part of the effort to save the world — a task important to him because of his beliefs.

Leon-“Jane”
As his class learns about using sex to extract intelligence, Leon begins to wonder whether he is also being victimized by such a tactic. Shelby’s undercover persona “Jane,” after all, is sleeping with Leon, getting access to all kinds of information and sharing very little about herself.

The “Cleopatra” edition of “Quantico” airs at 10PM ET/PT on January 23.

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]headlineplanet.com.

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