Three episodes down and we’re getting thicker into the plot of this season’s Quantico. It’s taking some time to get to the substance of what’s going to happen, but episode four of season two felt a lot more cohesive than episodes past, which is definitely a good thing!
The core of the plot is centered around the hostage situation and how the trade ensues. In this episode, Raina (Yasmine Al Massri) emerges as an instrumental character in the show. Of course, when one becomes important in this show, there could be consequences.
Early in the episode, Raina was kidnapped in a room and her collar was slightly tightened. She becomes the spokesperson for Citizen’s Liberation Front (CLF) where she says the CLF will trade 1,667 hostages for the delivery of Eric Boyer. We come to learn Eric Boyer recently received a presidential pardon despite his hacking activities.
Back on the Farm, there’s speculation that Owen could be recruiting people for AIC. Now that a bug has been discovered, Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) is slightly hesitant to continue the mission considering she learned that an agent by the name of Sylvia Ehrlich recently committed “suicide.” (Notice the air quotes.) It wasn’t truly a suicide; it was a “professional” suicide. Per Miranda’s order, she tells Alex (Priyanka Chopra) and Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) to lay low. Even though they were told to lay low, Ryan and Alex cook up their own little scheme of participating in the training exercise while working around Miranda’s orders.
Before the next training class starts, Ryan receives a package from the Department of Justice that he signs for. When he opens it, it’s a letter from the DOJ indicating that Liam left him a post office key per his last will and testament.
Onto the training classes and the murderboard is rolled out. We see Alex is at the bottom of the murderboard – two times. That means she is supposed to be cut. She gets a little confused and is visibly annoyed that after demonstrating improvement and moving up a couple of spots, she’s once again at the bottom.
This week’s exercise is all about how each individual regulates their emotions, how they regulate their stress levels, and what their physiological reactions are to stress. Everyone is given wristbands AKA a ‘stress-o-meter’ which they are to wear during the course of the exercise. As the recruits are in stressful situations, their meters will go from green to yellow to red. Owen is going to use that data to determine vulnerabilities and turn those into strengths.
Flash forward to present day and we see Raina in the dark boiler room where she is held by the terrorists. Little does she knows that Alex is in undercover and with her in the same room. Alex gets the two terrorists to leave the room to get some alone time with Raina. Alex brings Raina on board to help and ensure the terrorists hold onto the hostages as long as possible, because they are under duress and finding it difficult to manage. Therefore, Alex tells Raina that she needs her help to ensure the hostages stay in Federal Hall to keep exploiting the terrorists’ stress point (see the tie-in to the training exercise lesson). The longer the hostages are held, the more likely the Citizen’s Liberation Front will crumble.
Alex encourages Raina to involve herself in the trade and have her speak for the terrorist group, so that way they don’t get voice printed.
We see a couple messages that Harry (Russell Tovey) and Velez (Aaron Diaz) receive that tie into their vulnerabilities. Harry gets a message that needs to get to the infirmary for testing. Harry’s response – he thought it was an STD. Velez gets a message from Owen indicating someone who was previously after Velez has escaped from prison.
Fast forward again to the present day and we see Miranda begin to act on the terrorist’s request and gets Boyer to make the trade for the hostages. Of course when Boyer resists Miranda’s request to come for the trade, she pushes him to the street and handcuffs him for jaywalking. She takes Boyer into the car and you see her devilish side. She tells him he has to hold up his end of the bargain, which he didn’t do. Boyer asks, “Are you one of them?” Her response is that she’s a representative of sorts. He sort of agrees to go be a part of the trade, but he comes to realize that he will essentially die within a couple of hours. They exit they car and Miranda leaves him with Shelby to babysit him for a few moments. Boyer apologizes to Shelby and says he’s sorry for hacking into McGregor Wyatt. He told Shelby that he didn’t read any of her personal messages, but if he’s alive, she might want to.
Back to the Farm where we see the training exercise in progress. The recruits are at this fancy soiree of sorts to see how they react to stressful situations. We see Alex has some fancy device in her purse that she’s using to try and detect what cell phone tower Owen’s phone bounces off of. Once she knows this, she can pick up some data off Owen’s phone. Even though Alex and Ryan were instructed to lay low this week, this is their way of testing their suspicions about Owen and if he is using the Farm to recruit agents for AIC.
In the present day, the hostage release begins and for every 10 hostages released, Boyer is permitted to take one step forward. As the hostage situation progresses, and Raina and Miranda come face to face. Raina tries to use a code word and instance related to the boiler room to indicate that Alex is alive and is in the building. Miranda either ignores Raina’s prompt or truly doesn’t get it, but the plan to diffuse the whole situation doesn’t work. Alex sees that from the building and starts shooting to create a diversion. As Alex’s efforts continue to fail, Boyer is eventually turned over to the terrorists.
In this episode, more backstory on Owen’s (Blair Underwood) career trajectory surfaces. It seems he was put on the Farm because a journalist outed his identity and as a result he can’t be out in the field.
Alex accomplishes the side mission and figures out what cell phone tower Owen’s phone is beaming off of. As she accomplishes this task, of course, it doesn’t come without a revelation. Owen exposes Alex’s strength – her willingness to go out there and save people at no cost – and her greatest weakness – SELF-DOUBT. She learns the murderboard was manipulated to make Alex feel inadequate on purpose. People within the Farm were in on it as well.
Ryan eventually goes to the post office to see what Liam left him and opens the box and finds a CIA hat with a note that reads, “Hope it fits!” After a heated and feisty interaction with Lydia, Ryan learns that his weakness isn’t his traumatic experience with Liam or authority issues, but it’s Alex. In a later scene, Ryan confronts Alex with this revelation and indicates that he needs a little bit of a break from her in order for him to succeed in this training.
At the end of the episode, we learn everyone’s weakness. Sebastian’s (David Lim) is his mental health (he tried to commute suicide before) and his struggle with his sexuality. Harry empathizes with this situation by sharing his story about his sexuality and saying Sebastian would feel better if he came out. It appears Sebastian’s struggle with his sexuality stems from his religious practice and conservative background. You see some genuine emotion out of Sebastian where he tries to absorb and heed Harry’s words and attempts to gain a greater sense of self-acceptance.
Two eureka-type moments happened at the end of the episode. After going through Owen’s phone, we learn our high-strung party planner, Lee, might be a potential recruit for AIC. The second moment involves Shelby listening to the words that Boyer said while they were standing outside waiting for Miranda. She logs in to McGregor Wyatt and sees an email from Boyer. The email from Boyer says, “She’s one of them.”
In the final scenes of the episode, Boyer kills himself because the terrorists went too far. Boyer doesn’t want to do any more of their dirty work, so he takes his own life.
The Citizen’s Liberation Group is still after Alex and they enter the building that Alex is in. Alex hears them and is determined now more than ever to conquer them. She heads out of the room to take them on and enthusiastically says, “Let’s do this!”