Quantico has made a lot of changes in its third season, including a shift to episodic storytelling.
After two seasons of highly serialized drama and intricate mystery, Quantico has chosen a stripped-down, more episodic story for its third, and unfortunately last, season.
The show, which originally consisted of a mystery unfolding over multiple timelines, shifted to a simpler model halfway through season 2. Viewers were getting more and more confused with the complex storylines and the constant jumping around, so they were excited when they could just focus on the characters they loved in one timeline!
Although season 1 focused on the NATs being trained at Quantico, and season 2 explored a few of the recruits training for a CIA team, both seasons were structured around a large scale terrorist event.
In Quantico season 3, it looks like they’ll be taking on smaller problems, having their elite squad open and close a case with each episode. While this may not have worked well for the show at its inception, I believe it’s the perfect choice for its third season.
For starters, the stakes were so high in the first two seasons, it would’ve been impossible to raise them to an acceptable level. Anywhere they could’ve taken a large scale mystery likely would’ve either felt underwhelming or ridiculous. Showcasing the skills of the agents with many, shorter cases is a great way to see them in action without them being on the run for their lives.
Now that the agents have been trained for not one, but two special investigation units, this is the most realistic path forward for what their lives and jobs would be. The transition feels natural, and like it’s exactly what should be happening in that world.
This episodic format is so much more effective now than it would have been in season 1. Episodic storytelling is tough with an ensemble cast, since it leaves much less space for character development. Since the characters have been developing for two seasons now, we know them well enough that we don’t need to spend time filling in their backstories or setting up huge dramatic moments. Smaller things have a much more meaningful impact when you already know what makes the characters tick.
In its third season, Quantico is left with only a handful of its original cast of characters. Even if they wanted to create the same amount of drama as in the previous seasons, with so few main characters left, it would be difficult. Adding more case work to the episodes is also a handy way to fill in the time.
It also gives us an opportunity to get to know some awesome new characters through the eyes of our favs, while they’re doing what they do best. The episodic format gives us a chance to get to know and appreciate characters like Jocelyn, Celine and Deep more effectively than if they’d just been thrown into the middle of a huge mystery.
Hopefully, this format will also allow some of our old favorite characters (*cough* Caleb *cough*) to make appearances.
Unfortunately, these changes weren’t enough to keep Quantico from getting axed from ABC’s 2019 lineup, but they should make for a highly enjoyable final season, at the very least!
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