[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Sunday's episode of Quantico. Read at your own risk.]
Natalie (Anabelle Acosta) blew up into bits on Sunday's episode. Not by that bomb belt the caller tied around her waste, but by an exploding computer! Actually, she kind of brought it on herself after the caller gave her and Alex (Priyanka Chopra) their first task: get files from the server room of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, where Alex is now assigned under a very angry Hannah (Eliza Coupe).
Alex and Natalie pull some fast ones on Hannah and Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) to get their thumbprint and key card, respectively, so they can access the server room, where Alex downloads files containing the schedules of all the presidential candidates for the following week. Natalie gets the genius idea to attach a worm to the files so they can ping the location when the caller opens them. The tracker takes them to a treatment plant, where they find an abandoned laptop. When Alex goes outside to take another call from the terrorist, the laptop explodes in front of Natalie's face.
RIP Nat. We hardly knew ye and your fake ear scar. It was kind of nice to see her and Alex be friendly to each other in the future, since they got off to such a rocky start in the past. Natalie's death ran parallel to her departure from the Quantico timeline, in which Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) granted her a leave of absence to get custody of her daughter back. Her departing words to Alex: "You should know, no matter where I am, I'll always be better than you."
A distraught (but still perfect as usual) Alex then runs to Ryan's apartment, but doesn't tell him that Natalie is dead. As he places a call to check her in somewhere, the terrorist texts Alex a photo of her and Ryan from across the street, forcing her to flee. Outside, the caller gives Alex another task and she promises to follow the instructions "to the letter" so no one else sleeps with the fishes. Frankly, I'm just impressed she heard the discombobulated voice so clearly after all the bomb blasts she's survived the past couple months.
So now Alex is all by her lonesome again, although Safran says she will get another ally soon. Who has bets on it being Simon (Tate Ellington), who was MIA in this episode? He's still peeved at her, but I can totally see them kiss and make up, especially since he's been so long removed from the FBI. She needs someone else to bounce ideas off of for this lame-ass task game from the caller -- which sounds exciting on paper, but could get as repetitive as everyone jumping on Team Alex episode after episode in the first half of the season.
Elsewhere in the past timeline:
- Shelby (Johanna Braddy) isn't doing much to defy the "dumb blonde" stereotype. Samar's alleged Croatian kidnappers are demanding $5 million for her return, but after Caleb (Graham Rogers) asks Clayton (Mark Pellegrino) to dig deeper, she learns that Samar was never actually kidnapped. She's actually hiding in Zagreb and the $5 million is going toward a new face for this long-ass con. Iris (Li Jun Li) extends her first olive branch to Shelby by offering the contact info for some dude who works for Croatia's main Internet provider. All I can say is, this better lead to something good.
- Raina (Yasmine Al Massri) lied about going home for Christmas, so Nimah follows her and sees her exiting a house.
- Drew (Lenny Platt), who played for Da Bears and was the "concussion king," divulges to Alex that he joined the academy because his ex-girlfriend was killed in a shootout that the cops effed up in 2014. We all see where this is going, yes? Alex fires up Google and finds an article about the shootout that features a photo of none other than Liam (Josh Hopkins). So that's what Agent of the Century Liam O'Connor botched in the Windy City.
- Speaking of Liam, he brings up New Year's Eve to Alex with his office door open. "What about it? It was a mistake. You said so yourself," she snaps. "I won't bring it up again," he says. They totally did it. And Miranda knows what's up.
- The third new NAT, Olsen (Jay Armstrong Johnson), looks like the long-lost brother of Andy and Jamie Murray, which warms my tennis-loving heart to no end. He's also the creepiest, not just because he's your requisite socially awkward Rain Man type. After working with Nimah for the assignment of the week, during which she asks him to read Raina's personality, Olsen empties his underwear drawer to reveal pocket-sized headshots of all the NATs taped to the bottom, some with red Xs over them. He then marks an X over Nimah's. So many questions here. 1) WTF is he doing? 2) He has to be a red herring, no? 3) After Elias' backwards plunge and now this, how many more Revenge homages will we get before the end of the season?
- Can we also talk about how the show has dropped the (unnecessary) "h" from Natalie's name?
Quantico airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.