As touted in the news recently, the April 10th episode of ABC’s Quantico, titled “ODYOKE,” worked a fictional vote in Congress on a Muslim registry bill into the script. Quantico writers are determined not to miss an opportunity to take a swipe at President Trump this season and the Muslim registry storyline is a clear reference to the president's so-called Muslim travel ban.
A terrorist attack on a mall in Ohio has been carried out to frame Raina, a Muslim American who once worked with the FBI along with her twin sister, Nimah (Yasmine Al Massri). The attack was perpetrated to promote fear in Americans and push the National Entry/Exit Registry – S-322 – through the House of Representatives.
The registry is said to be “a system to allow Homeland to register and track non-citizen visa holders from countries of concern; those countries just happen to be exclusively Arab or Muslim.” Sounds familiar. It has failed two times but the Speaker of the House is determined to pass it, and the Quantico team is equally determined to “make sure S-322 goes down in flames.” They are really crossing the line this time with “FBI agents and CIA operatives actively interfering with the democratic process,” as one character protests.
Earlier in the day, before the terror attack happened in Ohio, Clay (Hunter Parrish) and his old friend from boarding school, Felix (Jon Kortajarena), played squash. Clay is the son of President Claire Haas and leading the team in this operation. Felix is a senior legislative aide to Republican House Speaker Roarke.
Felix: How is the Iron Mommy?
Clay: The President is good. And the Sith Lord?
Felix: The Speaker of the House is happy, rested, and ready for a big day.
Clay: I'd heard Roarke was bringing the Muslim registry back to a vote. I mean, I get it. It's gone down twice. Why not make it a TKO?
Felix: We need to keep your country safe. Henry believes extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
Clay: And what do you believe?
Felix: Whatever he does. He's the boss.
Clay: You're a senior legislative assistant to the Speaker. That's a very big deal. You've been there for a year. You have to know who your boss really is by now. You really want to hitch your wagon to that horse?
Felix: You won't be happy till I'm a Democrat.
Clay: You used to be one. I'm just looking out for you.
Clay decides to use his connection with Felix to determine the names of Representatives that would be open to switching a yes vote to a no vote. Nimah is on the special covert team and is astonished to learn that some Democrats are voting yes on the bill. Shelby explains that “law and order is one of those issues that crosses party lines.” Clay says, “The fate of 3.5 million Americans rests on us – that’s how many Muslims are in this country,” who will “lose their civil liberties.” What a nonsensical line. The registry would apply to non-citizen visa holders.
Charging up to Capitol Hill, the place is busy with staffers rushing around. Clay says, “Places to be, civil liberties to erode.” When the meeting in Felix’s office comes to a close, Felix and Nimah spar a bit and he tells her to come visit again. She says, “I’ll wait for your funeral, you right wing sell-out.” Yeah. She’s lovely.
Felix is an immigrant, too. From Spain, his father is the Spanish ambassador to the U.S. Nimah can’t get over herself long enough to understand his feelings about stopping terrorism that strengthened after his own sister’s death in an al-Qaeda bombing in Madrid. “All hate comes from somewhere,” she scoffs.
Then Felix makes the same candy analogy that Donald Trump, Jr. made to explain the Syrian refugee problem during the campaign last year: “What if I tell you one of the chocolates in this bowl could kill you? Would you play it safe? Or would you take a chance and grab one?” Nimah angrily knocks the candy tray out of his hand, saying, “These are people we're talking about, not cheap political props.”
Throughout the episode our “heroes” show outright disdain and even hatred for any American concerned about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. The only character in the show, I noticed, that spoke in favor of listening to all people and acknowledging that some people hold different opinions was Shelby (Johanna Braddy) but she was quickly rebuffed by the others.
Clay: What "Black Mirror" episode did we wake up in? How can any American support the Muslim registry?
Shelby: Most everyone I grew up with would. My sorority sisters would. Hell, once upon a time, I would have, too. FBI work taught me better, but still, I understand.
Clay: You're apologizing for those people?
Shelby: Those people are a part of this country. If you ignore their voice, how can you expect them to hear yours? Look, I'm not saying they're right. I'm saying they have a right to their opinion.
Nimah: Ah, the real America -- two blond people arguing the merits of my freedom instead of letting me have it. The fact that this is even happening is an atrocity. We've learned nothing from history.
Clay: Turn those votes.
Congressman: Ms. Wyatt, I'm not afraid to cross the aisle when it matters, but the nation is already reacting on both sides. Pro- and anti-Muslim protests are already forming. I can't afford to alienate my base.
Shelby: You won't be if you give your district a big enough win on the employment front -- say, a new McGregor-Wyatt plant and a thousand jobs to go with it.
Congressman: I have to worry about my job first. I just can't take the risk. My apologies.
Congresswoman: I'm not just a Sikh or a woman. I'm a red-state Democrat. That's three strikes. The last thing I can do at a time like this is vote my conscience over my constituents.
Nimah: Well, you may not want your faith to define you, but this bill defines my people by theirs. How is that okay?
Congresswoman: I'm sorry. I've made it too far to lose it all now.
Ryan: Look, Congressman, you know me. I briefed President Todd on the threats of Islamic terror. I've personally had boots on the ground in these countries. I know a dangerous policy when I see one.
Congressman: A list isn't dangerous.
Ryan: No, in and of itself, no, it's not, okay? But when you create a list, you're also creating a recruitment tool. It's making it easier for a kid to choose a life of suicide vests over anything else. Believe me when I tell you this is making us more vulnerable, not less.
Congressman: America is scared, and so am I. They want action. My vote is "Yes," and I'm not sorry.
Clay: Why is it every time a Muslim kills someone in this country, he's a terrorist, but, you know, if a white man does it, he's simply disturbed?
Congressman Kreigsman: Save that claptrap for your buddies in the lamestream media. My vote's "Yes," and it's rock-solid. Your mother should know better than sending you in here like this. It's embarrassing.
Shelby: This is impossible. No one's budging.
Nimah: If these are the swing votes, we're screwed.
Ryan: What's the play? I don't know.
Clay: You don't know?
Shelby: I thought you were the speech writer strategist of our generation. Jon Favreau would know what to do. Maybe we should call him.
Jon Favreau, you may remember, was President Obama’s speech writer. The liberal partisanship runs rampant this season.
The team wasn’t successful and none of the Representatives they targeted were willing to flip their votes because Felix gave them the wrong names. Felix said he was just doing his job, it wasn’t personal. Clay responded, “That’s the problem with your side – it never is.” Right.
The bill passed and when Clay said to Felix that the president would veto the bill, Felix acknowledged that the Speaker knew this. Clay realized then that the Speaker was setting his mother, the president, up so that when the next terror attack happens, she’ll be blamed and ousted from office. Due to the absence of a Vice-President, the Speaker of the House would be next in line for the presidency. The plot thickens and once again it's a Republican who is the bad guy.
The Muslim registry story line was well publicized in advance. The show’s star, Priyanka Chopra, who plays Alex Parrish, is a liberal activist in Hollywood. She is an Indian actress and in an interview published in ‘India TV’, showrunner Josh Safran that with Donald Trump’s win in November, the show will focus on his immigration policy and Muslim registry. He said it was “probably unlikely” that a lot of Trump supporters are tuning into the show. The show’s sinking ratings are a testament to that. The hard lesson still not learned by liberals is that half of the country doesn’t think like them.