The Stammering Dunce

Jan 28, 2017

4 min read

Quantico: a myriad of (personally) lovable characters

Also published on my Wordpress blog.

I didn’t expect to like it. Yet, here I am, craving for new episodes. Why was it unexpected?

Well, it’s an action TV show. I can’t stand the genre. Never intrigued by imaginary physical actions. I can love action…if it’s mixed with other genres. I love Hot Fuzz because it’s humorous. I love Inception because it’s surreal. I love Quantico because it’s a suspenseful mystery.

I’m a sucker for the “ scary unknowns”. In the first season, almost every major character is suspected as the villain. It’s unpredictable. It’s terrifying. It’s helping me stay grounded in reality while being entertained at the same time. Sounds too far-fetched, I know. But, that’s what entertainment like Quantico does to me.

So far, the “scary unknowns” aren’t present in season two. But, the mystery is still strong. Also, season one showed how the characters aren’t what they seem. I hope the theme lingers. It’s a useful life lesson for all of us.

Speaking about the characters, I’m intrigued by three supporting ones in particular (nope, not a fan of the main one). One is Raina Amin, a hijabi Muslim. The lack of pigeonholing intrigues me. As a Muslim, I find it refreshing. Even in Indonesia, portrayals of hijabis are still stereotypical.

This character won’t be praised by conservative Muslims because she’s had pre-marital sex with more than one men; one was a Jew with whom she fell for. She’s also flexible with her hijab; she’s willing to take it off in certain situations. The best thing of all, she’s not a preachy B.

But, she will be hated by many liberal Muslims who think hijab is inherently oppressive or political. It doesn’t matter if the actual oppression or politics is there. Hijab triggers them. They think symbols only have one universally-accepted and never-changing meaning. You know, pretending to be open-minded.

Her major strengths are kindness, warmth and sensitivity. Her empathy is blind to human differences. She’s the complete opposite of her twin sister.

Nimah is irreligious…….and the winner of Ice Queen pageant. Seriously, it’s either she’s emotionally suppressed or she’s an android. She deserves “Mean-Ah” as a nickname. For me, she’s “that Lebanese C”.

Okay, I’m being too hard on her. Despite everything, she cares about her sister. Her “coldness” makes her a good FBI agent. She just wants the best for her sister, who often let emotions taking over. Oh wait, never mind. She was so mean to another character, the one that I also like. Yeah, still a big C.

That other character is Simon Asher. Unlike him, I’m not interested in the military or the law enforcement. I’m not being eaten by remorse. I also don’t have his strong sense of humanity. But, like him, I’m a bitter persona non grata.

We are deeply misunderstood who have done many good-intentioned actions. But, the bovine, reactionary, self-decepting and pseudo-pragmatic majority (which Nimah belongs to) only care about our “unacceptable” approaches. Our intentions never matter. They immediately staple damaging labels on us. Then, they are shocked by our antagonism, as if they deserve our altruism after this whole time.

Okay, it sounds like self-pity. But, I’m sick of the swollen-heads around me. Simon Asher’s existence as a character of a popular show restores my faith in mankind. I feel less lonely because of him.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have two other reasons to like him. First, Reina was the man she fell for; I love how the feeling was mutual. Second, he was the one who called Nimah “Mean-Ah”. He shared my habit to bad-mouth others.

The last character is Caleb Haas. He first appeared as an arrogant stud who have unwittingly turned someone suicidal. Very one-dimensionally unlovable. Of course, he veiled his own insecurity.

As the show progresses, his intelligence starts showing. The audience start seeing him as a capable law enforcer. He is trustworthy. Then, he starts showing his heart.

It’s kind, warm and sensitive, comparable to Raina’s. It’s the source of his insecurity, provoked by the familial troubles. But, it also makes him an ideal boyfriend (debatable) and friend. You can count him with his help, whether you ask for it or not.

He may be less interesting and a bit formulaic as a character. But, he’s still lovable and kind-hearted. I can see myself in Simon Asher. But, I also want to be Caleb Haas. A part of me want to be kinder.

Season two is still ongoing. As I said, the characters aren’t what they seem. My feelings for them may get more hostile, more affectionate or stay the same.

I have my share of art works and entertainment. Quantico is one of the few where I immerse myself in character anatomy, kindling contemplation about myself and how I judge others, especially the ones I hate. I learn a lot.