When we last saw Alex Parrish — the FBI trainee-turned-CIA operative played by Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra on Quantico — she had, as usual, saved a bunch of important people from imminent death. But because this is Quantico, Alex had no time to celebrate her heroics. Instead, the season finale last spring left Alex on the run once again as she was pursued by nameless operatives.
But since that episode aired last May, much has happened behind the scenes of the ABC drama. While Quantico was touted as the show that would make the Chopra a superstar in the United States, the show often struggled to find its footing, both in terms of its storylines and in its ability to connect with viewers. Shaky ratings throughout its second season left many wondering if it would be renewed and it was clear that ABC was looking at ways to streamline things.
Chopra herself hinted major changes were coming in interviews over the summer. “It’s going to be a new show. It’s a total revamp,” she told NBC News while promoting her film Baywatch last May. The show’s creator Joshua Safran parted ways with the show around then and cast member Yasmine Al Massri (who played twins Nimah and Raina Amin) also revealed that she would not be returning. Al Massri’s departure was seen as a particular blow to many, as the twins were two of the most multifaceted Muslim female characters ever to be seen on American television.
Given all of this, we jumped at the chance to watch the season three premiere when it became available to critics. Our short review is simple and to the point: Chopra is correct in that Quantico does feel like a brand new show (and fans who may not have seen much of the first two seasons don’t have to worry much about catching up.) We’ve rounded up our other three big takeaways below.
Alex goes back to the future: Season three picks up three years after the events of Quantico’s second season. We’re never quite clear on how Alex escaped the tangle she was in back in May’s finale, but it really doesn’t matter because the opening scenes of Thursday’s premiere are so stunning. It is there that we meet Alex Parrish picking fruit in a beautiful Italian villa, in a beautiful outfit to match. Longtime viewers probably aren’t used to seeing Alex happy and carefree, but that’s exactly how she appears to be, at least for those few precious moments. We won’t spoil it for you and reveal what Alex is doing in Italy but, yes, there are some sweet scenes with a charming Italian boyfriend.
The wonderful Marlee Matlin joins the cast: One of Quantico’s major strengths has always been the diversity of its cast. The show introduces its first disabled character this season with FBI agent Jocelyn Turner, who is played by Oscar winner Marlee Matlin. Interestingly, Jocelyn was not born deaf but became so during a bombing that injured her on the job. Thursday’s script allows Matlin’s character to deftly handle ignorant comments Ryan has about her disability and also pleasantly reveals that Alex and the rest of our favorite agents and operatives are quite adept at American Sign Language.
Alex and Ryan’s will-they-or-won’t-they relationship has a major twist: As the above-mentioned Italian boyfriend suggests, things are still complicated between Alex and FBI agent Ryan Booth. While Ryan seemed ready to propose three years ago, much has happened since then (although their connection does still seem strong.) It’s at this point where it’s particularly hard to keep things spoiler free because the Quantico writers’ room threw a curveball here that most fans probably will not see coming. Needless to say, we expect Twitter to light up when fans discover what it is on Thursday.
The season three premiere of “Quantico” airs on Thursday, April 26 at 10 p.m. on ABC.