Throughout the week, I’ve been seeing Quantico previews of Harry, Alex, and Ryan lying next to each other under some sheets on a bed in the training room. Let’s just say, I’ve been eagerly awaiting season two’s episode five and what the heck these shenanigans are all about.
After we left last week’s episode, we see Shelby’s (Johanna Brady) suspicions are high and her guard is up against Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) because Boyer (Derek Klena) sent her an email indicating that she has some connection to the terrorists. Throughout the episode, you’ll see Shelby play nice with Miranda to make sure she doesn’t tick her off and attempt to get to the bottom of her motives. Of course, Shelby needs to consult someone to test her suspicions and she calls on Will Olsen (Jay Armstrong Johnson) to test the legitimacy of Boyer’s emails. Per Will’s cyber expertise, he indicates the emails aren’t legitimate and Miranda isn’t really in on the scheme. Or is she? We’ll get to this part later – it’s juicy!
Time travel back to training on the Farm, and we see Will and Harry – or “Julian” as Will likes to call him – getting quite intimate at a secret hotel in DC. Ultimately, Will doesn’t know he’s being played by Harry. Harry (Russell Tovey) wants information from Will and he gets it. He uses Will’s phone to “check traffic and the weather,” but in reality he blocks Shelby as a caller on Will’s phone. At the same time, he records Will’s voice on his phone, which he later uses in a very stealthy way. More to come on that!
While Harry is up to no good on his end, Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) and Alex (Priyanka Chopra) go into Leigh’s room to catch any intel they can on her. Since she’s a person of habit in every respect, they sneak into her room in the wee hours of the morning while she’s out on a morning run. Ultimately, they get caught by Harry. This has an effect on Harry’s interactions with Alex and Ryan and his manipulations. Harry’s onto them, but before he can probe further, the three of them are injected with a needle in their necks. This eventually leads to them being knocked out, and they wake up 77 minutes later on a mattress in the middle of the training room.
This little set up sets up this week’s training lesson. This week is all about the “Art of Illusion” – how you craft the narrative, how you make something look like something else, or make it seem like you were never there at all. Their assignment for the week is to get the dirt on Tom Crawford who checked into an elite club to hide because he allegedly shared secrets with a foreign enemy. For this exercise, Harry eagerly volunteers that he’ll partner up with Ryan and Alex. He isn’t backing down from these two, as you can tell.
Although the backstory is riveting, we’re wondering what’s happening to Alex in the present day. Alex finds herself “blending” in with the terrorists while they are actively hunting for her. As they’re searching, one of them says, “No sign of her!” and then bam she comes out of the woodwork and says, “Cuz I’m right here!” and conquers the ones who were after her. Of course, she knows she isn’t completely safe, so she goes on the hunt for her next kill.
Back to the Farm and the recruits are knee deep (and hands deep) in their exercise. They work on cadaver bodies (Tip: If you’re in the least bit squeamish, this is where you turn away!) to basically teach them to think on their feet and create a narrative if they encounter a dead body on the job. As they work on cadaver bodies, Owen (Blair Underwood) asks Velez (Aaron Diaz) if he can help him with an off-book assignment.
Harry is ultimately trying to uncover if Ryan and Alex are FBI and he’s using his relationship with Will to find out, because he suspects Shelby is one of their handlers. Harry uses Shelby’s number that he stole from Will’s phone after their tête-à-tête at the hotel in addition to Will’s recorded voice to call Shelby, telling her he needs to meet with her and he’ll text her the address. Of course, when Harry meets Shelby she’ll be utterly surprised!
Back to the present day, Shelby continues to lean on Will to invalidate (or validate) her suspicions, and the terrorists are still on the hunt for Alex. They up their game a couple notches and find the utility box and kill the lights in the building. They have night goggles, but Alex doesn’t. Her vulnerabilities are exposed and you see some of Priyanka Chopra’s finer acting chops in this episode, where you see a little doom in her eyes since she is left in the dark. Literally.
Back to the training world and we see the recruits in the thick of their training exercise trying to get to the bottom of this Tom Crawford business. Shelby runs into Velez (again!) after running into him the same morning. Shelby gets a little flirtation with Velez going, and he asks to meet her later that day. Velez is one to watch out for, especially because Owen asked him to help with his off the book assignment. Velez invites a salacious woman to sit on Tom’s bed, takes a screenshot of some surveillance footage of Tom in his room, and then photoshops this woman’s picture on the bed to create an illusion and make it seem like Tom has something to hide. Owen uses this image as leverage to get some information out of Tom. Owen wants the names of those who outed his identity, which ultimately ended his career as a field agent.
Nimah (Yasmine Al Massri) is on the scene during this training exercise and wants to make sure Ryan and Alex don’t fail in their pursuit. She’s also serving as this pseudo guardian angel for Shelby to make sure she doesn’t go down a wrong path with Velez. Will is trying to get a hold of Shelby but is unsuccessful because of Harry’s wrongdoing, so he calls Nimah. Will figures out that Harry is manipulating him and Nimah works with Alex and Ryan to put Harry away. There ends up being a dead body in Tom Crawford’s room, and Alex and Ryan put a scheme together and set up the illusion that Harry killed this individual. He’s taken away by the cops and it’s presumed that he’s out of training. Owen said that if they get in trouble and have to use their “get out of jail free” card, they are off the Farm.
Now that the exercise is over, Ryan interacts with Leigh in the kitchen. He listens to and becomes a confident for a lonely Leigh who we learn has kids back home who she misses dearly. Ryan gets her to open up and they commiserate over Scotch, which is really apple juice, but that isn’t the point. The point is he gets her saliva and his mission from that same day is accomplished.
Harry eventually shocks Ryan and Alex after getting Leigh’s saliva and states that he’s still on the Farm. He doesn’t make it totally clear how he did that, but he didn’t use his get out of jail free card. Alex, Ryan, and Harry chat it up at a bar and they all come clean (or as clean as covert government officials can get). Ryan and Alex come clean about their connection to the FBI and Harry basically says he’s already a British spy participating in some kind of “spy exchange program.”
Back in present day, Alex is found by the terrorists, drops her ammunition, and anticipates being shot. However, all of a sudden the terrorists fall and a woman speaking Hindi helps Alex by creating the illusion that she’s been killed. Alex then runs.
Shelby continues her danger streak and takes Velez’ offer and meets him in a diner. This should be interesting how this rolls out in the coming weeks.
Finally, we are in the present day and we see Miranda is visibly on edge given the situation. She gets a call on the Zack Morris-like cell phone and it turns out to be Will. He admitted that he threw Shelby off by saying the email from Boyer was fake. Will is a player in whatever this mystery is and wants to help Miranda further.
Final scene: Alex is running down the stairs away from the diversion that was created for her and all of a sudden runs into Lydia on the stairs. How Lydia will play into this season’s mystery … well, it’s still a mystery.