WOW! Tonight is “Quantico’s” winter finale, but I need to brace myself before tuning in at 10 p.m. because last Sunday’s episode (10) was full of action and if you need to catch up on the drama, read our review of episode nine before jumping to 10!
Nimah is heading the “let’s make sure Simon knows he’s not worthy to be in our presence” party, dragging Raina along for the ride. While I like the characterization of the twins, Nimah is now coming off as a bit arrogant. I understand how dangerous it is that a killer could be released because of false evidence against them, but maybe the FBI agent in charge shouldn’t have falsified evidence in the first place.
Simon stands by his decision, and I really feel for him. He keeps trying to do the right thing, and everyone seems to despise him for picking what’s right over what will keep him best friends with the rest of the team. Raina seemingly does not want to condemn Simon, but her desire not to go against her sister outweighs these feelings.
Later, we find that Simon, who was in the Israeli army as a translator, was also tasked to get close to the wives and female companions of the army’s targets and discover things they could exploit. Simon thought his platoon leader was just going to ask questions as he normally did, but it is implied that said leader went rogue and sexually assaulted the women for information.
Simon is filled with guilt as he knows he was responsible for the pain those innocent women went through, and everyone is horrified by the revelation. But after Raina discovers Nimah exposed Simon’s secret, she tells her sister off and Ryan addresses the group in support of Simon. He reveals his special agent status and explains that as a former soldier, he understands what Simon was going through — dealing with pain, guilt and trauma. When Simon pushed him against the wall in week three, Ryan could see that Simon was dealing with the same feelings. Unfortunately, because Simon did not report this violent incident to Miranda — which is against the rules — Simon is kicked out of Quantico.
Meanwhile, Caleb tries to prove his father wrong about Shelby’s half sister, which turns out to be a bad move, as Shelby is furious when she finds out. Shelby does return, however, and tells Caleb that he made her doubt her sister’s motives. She orders him to dispel that doubt, which he does in a heartbreaking scene. Caleb has a Skype conversation with Shelby’s sister and reveals that he knows she is scamming Shelby out of a lot of money. Caleb explains that for his silence, he wants a 10 percent cut. Shelby is horrified to hear her “sister” negotiate for 5 percent and realizes that she was being conned all along.
So, what about Vasquez? We already know the scar she wears is fake, but what we don’t know is why she wears it. Until now.
It turns out Vasquez has a restraining order against an emotionally abusive ex-partner. When she got pregnant, she finally left him and fought for full custody. But because emotional abuse is hard to prove and Vasquez clearly feared for her child’s safety, she added the fake scar on her neck to prove visible signs of abuse to the judge. But when she decided to go to Quantico, it was around the same time her ex-partner finally turned his life around and sued sue for full custody and won. Vasquez now wears the scar to remind herself of the person she was before she left her ex, and how he had turned her into a shell of her former self.
Oh yeah, Alex and Ryan continue to go back and forth, ending with them admitting their feelings for each other. And Miranda’s back, but Charlie isn’t mentioned once. Don’t ask me why, he just isn’t. I assume he evaporated.
I guess all of that is interesting, too.
In spite of Priyanka Chopra’s performance, which is much better than the earlier episodes, her plot at Quantico isn’t that interesting. Even the arc involving her father is a bit of a letdown.
IN THE FUTURE
The rest of the team who were originally left in the dark about Alex faking her confession is let in on the secret. As they attempt to discover where the second bomb could be — by combing through all the evidence they have now that the suspect pool is confirmed to be a fellow Quantico classmate — they also have a deadline and location: In 24 hours, the Democratic Nomination Convention will take place in New York City.
Miranda and Liam tell Alex they need to watch Alex’s friends too — Raina, Nimah, Simon, Vasquez, Ryan, Caleb and Shelby are all put under surveillance. While Alex does not want to watch her friends who have put so much on the line to prove her innocence, Miranda points out that one of them could still be the bomber biding their time. Alex sees the logic and agrees to be the watch.
Raina goes to the hospital to see the head of the extremist cell she and Nimah had infiltrated. It’s pretty clear Raina has feelings for him, And Nimah is none too pleased. Raina tells Nimah the leader is fighting for freedom in the only way he knows how, but Nimah tells her that she has to be careful, as Nimah realizes over the course of the episode that the sisters are being watched by their own.
Caleb is still understandably angry with Shelby, and now that they are no longer tasked with proving Alex’s innocence to the FBI, Caleb has gone back to his old ways of shooting Shelby snide remarks. Caleb reveals he told his mother about Shelby and Clayton’s affair because he wanted to protect her.
Finally, there’s Simon. At first, he is seen going to meet his bomb-expert friend, but they don’t exchange any important information, as both are aware they’re being followed. After Simon returns, he reveals a shocker: He was responsible for Grand Central. How? He designed the bomb set-up at Quantico, and someone obviously stole it.
He proves it by explaining that his plans were intentionally flawed and that Grand Central wasn’t a target — he had planned to target a mosque and a synagogue and that the bomb squads would find both before they went off. He wanted to create a dialogue between Muslims and Jews so that they could stop being at war with each other because peace is the only solution. But if his design was changed, then someone at Quantico must have stolen it.
Simon then turns the tables on Alex. If the team finds the bomber, yes, they save countless lives, and Alex’s name is plastered all over the newspapers as a hero. But what happens to the rest of them? Will their careers be safe? Alex negotiated for their immunity once they find the bomber, so they’re safe from prosecution, but how will they ever move up the ranks of the FBI? While they agree Alex is not a terrorist, they don’t feel like they can trust her anymore. They all leave and Alex is heartbroken. Miranda and Liam tell Alex she did the right thing, but she still feels guilty.
At the end of the episode, we are no closer to finding the identity of the bomber. Alex goes to find Simon, who seems to be heading into his house. She pleads with Simon to keep helping her as she was one of the only people who stood by him when he was kicked out of Quantico and told him that she did not see him as invisible, only as her friend. She wants things to go back to the way they used to be, but he’s not so naïve. After everything they’ve been through, they can’t go back to the way things were at Quantico. He brushes her off and she leaves, upset. As he takes out his keys, someone in a black turtleneck and toque jumps him from behind and puts a rag over his nose and mouth as he struggles to get free.
I’m loving the amount of action and supporting character exploration. However, there are a few things that deserve criticism. First, Nimah’s characterization. She seems very high-and-mighty in this episode, not just towards Simon at Quantico, but also towards Raina in the future. She is very logical and is willing to risk it all for the good of the mission, but she also seems to think everyone around her should be exactly the same. They should be just as self-sacrificing, up front with the truth and have hands just as clean. Simon, who has not been truthful because of his trauma, is not someone worthy of being a NAT in her eyes, which seems too harsh.
Secondly, was it really necessary to make Shelby’s half-sister some random con artist in Saudi Arabia? Let’s hope that plot line will get fleshed out further.
Thirdly, it seems insane for Raina to get emotionally involved with the leader of the extremist cell. He might be misunderstood, but according to Nimah, he seems to share the ideologies of people who would support the Grand Central Station bombing. And that’s not someone with whom you want to be involved. This plot line makes Raina seem foolish and too idealistic, especially considering Nimah’s polar opposite cynical and suspicious nature.
And finally, I agree with Miranda that it is possible one of Alex’s friends could still be the bomber. But if I were in Alex’s shoes, I would have told Miranda and Liam to take a flying leap and do their dirty work on their own, even if that means spying on Alex, too.
It’s like the episode went out of its way to demonize its female characters, except Vasquez, whose behavior with regards to the scar, while dishonest, was to keep her daughter safe from a man who was emotionally abusive. Vasquez seems to be the only one who had the right reasons for doing what she was doing. Even Miranda seems less honest after telling Alex to spy on her friends.
The episode was excellent; don’t get me wrong, and I can’t wait for tonight’s season finale. I just wish they didn’t throw the female characters under the bus to further the plot.
Raisha Karnani holds an Honours BA in English and Drama from the University of Toronto and has been writing professionally for nine years. Raisha enjoys anything Harry Potter related, munching on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and painting her nails.
“How could the British bring the Indians without the cows?”That’s one of the jokes you’re very likely to hear at comedian Priya Guyadeen’s show. In fact, the 53-year-old just wrapped up a set of shows with her troupe: Cougar Comedy Collective. The Guyanese-born comic spearheads the group of mostly women of “a certain age,” as she puts it.
She says the group was formed in 2021 but she started dishing out jokes back in 2020 during the pandemic, over Zoom. She was always labeled the “funny one” in her family and decided to take her jokes to a virtual open mic, hosted by her friend, where she says failure was less daunting.
Cut to 2023, and the comic was able to take her show on the road. Guyadeen and her fellow performers recently hit the East coast for a set of shows called “Cougars on the Loose!” The shows even featured two male comics.
Guyadeen’s comedy routines touch on her Indo Guyanese background, highlighting stereotypes and a clash of cultures. In one of her jokes, she tells her audience that her Guyanese mom is bad with names when she introduces her white boyfriend, Randy, and he gets called Ramesh.
Out in the Bay Area — where she spends her days now — she tries to connect the sparsely Caribbean population to her jokes.
That includes talking about the 1978 Jonestown Massacre which had ties to San Francisco and ended in Guyana. She uses this as a reference point — trying to connect her audience to her background with historical context. She says this does come with its challenges, though.
The single mom also practices clean jokes. Once she finishes up her daily routine with her eight-year-old son and day job as a project manager for a biotechnology company, she tries to find time to write her material.
It’s a balancing act. I’m like the day job-Priya for a few hours or for a chunk of time. And then I’ve got to put on my comedian hat and do that for a period of time because with comedy, I’m not just performing. I’m also producing, managing the shows, booking talent, seeking venues.
Though it’s not easy, she says she’s learning through it all — the business side of comedy and discipline.
Guyadeen, who’s lived in Brazil and Canada, says her young son really contributes to her comedy. A lot of her material focuses on jokes for parents, and single parents like herself, because she feels:
[We live] in a society that doesn’t really create a support system for single parents.
Her nonprofit, Cougar Comedy Collective, was born out of all the great reception she received. She noticed a “niche market” of women in their 50s who loved to get dressed up and come out to the shows to hear jokes that related to their own lives that aren’t typically touched on. These were jokes about menopause, aging and being an empty nester. Guyadeen says her nonprofit,
…bring[s] talent together in our age group to celebrate this time of life; celebrate this particular juncture in a person’s life.
As Guyadeen continues her comedic journey, she says she hopes she’ll be a role model for other Caribbean women to follow their dreams despite their age. She also hopes to see more Caribbean people carving out their space in the entertainment industry.
Featured Image of Priya Guyadeen taken by Elisa Cicinelli Photography
South Asian representation in entertainment and media is rapidly increasing nationwide. “We are making strides in the industry, and I am excited about the journey ahead,” said Indian American actor Teresa Patel, known for her roles as Paramedic Harvell in the NBC medical drama, “New Amsterdam,” and Neela Patel in the ABC soap opera, “One Life to Live.”
As a rising star, Patel is breaking barriers for South Asian women nationwide. We, at Brown Girl Magazine, had the opportunity to speak with Patel, a pharmacist by day and an actor by night, about her journey into acting and how she balances both careers.
While her love for Bollywood is common among South Asians, her background and continued work in pharmacy are what make her stand out the most among other creatives.
“I went into pharmacy school knowing that I wanted to do both,” Patel said.
She added that while she knew she was interested in both, she wasn’t sure how to pursue them initially. She never let that dream or passion die down.
“I’ve always known I wanted to pursue acting. I knew I would have to pave a path to pursue acting, and I figured I will work as a pharmacist until I could make it possible — because acting is an investment.”
Patel shared her experiences and emphasized the importance of financial stability, especially for women.
“I believe in strong independent women who can finance their own dreams and build the life they want to live. You don’t want to have to rely on anybody else to do it for you.”
She shared that while it was something her parents did want her to pursue, being a pharmacist was something she eventually loved doing and ultimately helped her pursue her dreams of acting, due to the financial stability it provided as she built her acting career.
“I enjoy what I do and that’s what I love about the life I created. I have grown to love my pharmacy life and I love pursuing acting. I feel fulfilled with both.”
When talking about balancing two demanding jobs, Patel walked us through a day in her life. We spoke about the importance of organization and how she managed to juggle both, but of course, it didn’t all come easy. She shared how she worked during the day and simultaneously enrolled in an acting conservatory which she attended in the evenings.
She also noted that she had to make a lot of personal sacrifices since her time was limited with work, training, and auditioning. But despite how difficult the times were or how much she initially “struggled” to find that balance, Patel shared that those were some of her “most memorable” times.
“It felt like a hustle, and I had the chance to experience two very different parts of my life. Looking back, a lot of my growth as a person happened during this time — which is what makes it so memorable for me.”
Speaking about representation and how the media has changed over time, Patel noted that while South Asians are still often given stereotypical roles, recently, a change can be seen in the roles they have been playing and creating.
“There’s just more inspiration and more out there now,” she said, speaking of the different emerging writers, actors, and shows depicted in the media.
“South Asians are starting to be seen as leads, as people who can have love interests, who have their own issues, not just white-collar professionals on screen.”
She added that change cannot happen overnight but is slowly occurring in media spaces. Patel also noted that more roles that don’t just highlight one’s identity are needed, adding that roles should not just represent a culture but be able to be played by anyone, despite identity or color.
Reflecting on roles that emphasize characteristics only associated with one culture, she said:
“Women have so many types of backgrounds, that’s what I want to see more. A role shouldn’t be just for South Asians,” Patel said. “Like any woman should be able to take a role, my identity shouldn’t define what roles I can get.”
Outside of acting and being a pharmacist, Patel wears several other hats including directing her own short film. Without giving any spoilers — we learned that Patel’s film will revolve around the bond between herself, her sister, and her nephew.
“Instead of waiting for the right role or opportunity, I realized I can invest in myself and create my own.”
In terms of advice, she would give to others,
“I don’t believe we are all meant to do only one thing all of our lives. We are full of potential, but you do have to believe in it and try your hardest to live up to it,” she said.
She noted that people often “glamourize” the acting world and forget to talk about what brought them to where they are, emphasizing the importance of training, marketing, and networking — all of which can cost money.
. “While you have a full-time job, you can still invest in yourself financially to live out your dreams.”
Patel can be seen in American medical drama “New Amsterdam” on NBC.The show currently has five seasons available.
Being a teenager is scary. Hormones, high school, trying to fit in — add to it a flesh-hungry demon from the Indian subcontinent and it becomes downright terrifying. At least, that’s what award-wining director Bishal Dutta’s debut feature “It Lives Inside” will have audiences thinking when it hits theaters on Sept. 22.
From the producers of several blockbusters including “Get Out” and “Us,” “It Lives Inside” stars Megan Suri as Samidha. Samidha is an Indian American teenager growing up in a quintessential small town, where she’s one of only a handful of South Asian faces at her school. She has a sweet, hardworking dad (Vik Sahay) and a caring, but stern mother (Neeru Bajwa). Both of them like their daughter home early to make prasad for prayers and insist no one whistles in the house, fearing it’ll attract evil spirits.
Much to her traditional mother’s dismay, when Samidha enters high school, she begins to resist her Indian culture. She prefers to be called “Sam,” and speak English, leaving her homemade lunch tiffins on the counter on her way out the door. Most significantly, she distances herself from her former best friend and fellow Indian, Tamira (Mohana Krishnan)
Tamira has become the center of school gossip carrying around an ominous black mason jar, dwelling beneath the gym bleachers. One day, she corners Sam in the locker room, begging her for help from the “monster” trapped in the jar, but Sam is rigid. Her desire to fit overcomes her emotions. Tamira storms out — and then mysteriously goes missing.
Little does Sam know, her childhood friend’s behavior and disappearance were brought on by the Piscacha — a flesh-eating Hindu demon drawn to negative energy — and Sam’s disbelief has just unleashed its terror back on her.
“It Lives Inside” is a breath of fresh air. It has the nostalgic backdrop of a 1980s teen movie (think “Sixteen Candles” or even “Halloween”) but adds the thrill of an exciting new monster for horror fans, and looks for the final girl.
Audiences have spent decades watching and screaming at faith-based horror stories like “The Exorcist,” “The Conjuring,” and “Carrie,” but “It Lives Inside” is the first of its kind for Hollywood, drawing from Hinduism for its frights.
Now, I can’t lie…when I first learned the story would be rooted in Hinduism, I was nervous. I worried that religion and culture may be used as a gimmick, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Dutta’s approach is reminiscent of Bisha K. Ali’s with “Ms. Marvel” on Disney+. Characters speak Hindi and we see South Asian religious practices, foods, and clothing displayed prominently, in a natural and authentic way that other groups can easily learn and understand. The culture merely rounds out the story, it’s not the main character or conflict.
The Piscacha, feeding on the despondence of its prey, may remind some of Vecna from season 4 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” but Dutta offers a fresh angle, alluding to the characters’ negative feelings toward their culture being the source of its power.
He offers South Asian American audiences relatable family dialogues and dynamics, but also steers clear of cliches like showing popular kids as mean or Sam’s American crush unlikeable.
“It Lives Inside” isn’t a horror movie you’ll lose sleep over, but that doesn’t mean it’s without palpable moments of fear.
Thanks to Dutta’s creative shots, smart pacing and sensory visuals, in addition to the emotion-packed acting of its cast, the film successfully makes your skin crawl and your jaw drop on several occasions.
The characters are smartly cast with several standouts. Suri is a welcome new face for the horror genre’s final girl and she delivers her role with the right amount of escalating fear and desperation. Meanwhile, Bajwa leans into hers with the passion you’d expect from a protective brown mom, though, at times, some of her Hindi dramatells come through.
“Get Out’s” Betty Gabriel is also noteworthy as Sam’s teacher Joyce and an early confidant. Her support of Sam was a refreshing break from the “this person must be crazy” trope we see so frequently in demonic films.
All that said, “It Lives Inside” does border on being formulaic. It follows a template and scares we have seen numerous times and ones that have done well historically.
But in its familiarity, it also manages to feel fresh. With its South Asian twist, the film proves that even formulaic horror films can find new life through diversity and inclusivity. It raises the idea that they have the potential to scare wider audiences and tell more spooky stories by exploring new cultures and casts.
While “It Lives Inside” is not perfect — the climax may leave you with a few lingering questions — it is a stylish and well-made film and a welcome piece of mainstream South Asian representation.
Recent past has seen South Asian stars delve into many different genres on television and the big screen, but horror has remained largely untouched. Thankfully, “It Lives Inside” has set the table for some brilliant South Asian-based horror films in Hollywood for years to come.
“It Lives Inside” made its world premiere at SXSW and has made its way through the film festival circuit. It will be released theatrically by Neon on September 22.