We are about a quarter of the way through ABC’s Quantico season two and if I would have to assign it a grade, I would give it a B-. Some TV critics might disagree and think I’m a little generous, and that’s okay. The season started off disjointed and it has taken some time to find its footing in keeping the storyline compelling after a well-hyped and reviewed season one.
It’s fairly evident in the ratings that Quantico has taken a hit, a sophomore slump of sorts. Soapy primetime dramas in ABC’s history like Desperate Housewives and even How to Get Away with Murder experienced similar slumps, but the common thread with all these shows is that they’re still entertaining. Quantico may have faltered a bit in the first few episodes, but the suspense is on in episode six titled ‘Aquiline.’
In the present day, the recruits from the Farm – Leigh (Helene York), Dayana (Pearl Thusi), Harry (Russell Tovey), Raina (Yasmine Al Massri), Velez (Aaron Diaz), and Sebastian (David Lim) – are all together in one of the rooms in the building. As they continue to be perplexed by the situation, Raina poses the question that there must be a reason they are still there and there must be a common thread between each recruit’s travels and experiences that the terrorists are interested in.
In a flashback we see emotions are running a tad bit high on the Farm. Alex (Priyanka Chopra) is asked (a couple times throughout the episode, in fact) to make a statement to the press so the American people can see what it is she’s up to and see how she’s doing. Later throughout the episode, we come to learn it’s been one year since Simon Asher’s untimely and heroic passing.
Owen (Blair Underwood) is continuing his pursuits for justice to find out who or whom ended his CIA field career. He’s making eggs in a basket for Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor), which per Lydia’s past experience with her father means he wants something from her. He wants her to use her security clearance to see who may have outed him, because he thinks it’s “one of our people.” You can tell in this moderately tense scene with Lydia and Owen there is some deep-rooted father/daughter issues that remain unresolved. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next chapters of the season.
Back to the present day, Alex is holding up Lydia at gunpoint while walking toward a building on a mission. In the final scene of the last episode, we saw the two run into each other in the hallway, and now they’re working together to prevent the terrorists from accessing 30 years of valuable intelligence. They need to get the drives the intelligence is on before the terrorists get to it, otherwise national security is at risk. In these interactions you can tell Alex is having a tough time discerning Lydia’s legitimacy. Is she being genuine or is she on the side of the terrorists? As they enter a building where the drives are hidden, Lydia and Alex encounter one of the terrorists. Lydia kills a person to prove that she’s worthy of Alex’s trust. Alex buys the act, but Lydia is up to no good and speaks to the terrorist in Swahili, basically saying she’s leading Alex into a trap.
The cloud of suspicion surrounding Lydia ties into this week’s training lesson: how does an agent know when to use the power to decide when one person lives or dies? This week’s exercise is to use the research provided in case files and answer the seven criteria questions to determine if an airstrike in Aleppo is warranted. Eventually, they’re in a classroom setting and it’s easy to discuss and debate when the stakes aren’t real. Little do they realize that in a few moments they would be taken to a live command center and they all have to work together to determine if they really authorize the strike. After various discussions and arguing about the air strike, they concluded that they will not authorize the airstrike. In order for the airstrike to occur, it had to be a unanimous decision from the recruits to authorize the strike. Alex let her emotions from Simon’s death cloud her judgment about the strike, because she didn’t want the responsibility of potentially another innocent man’s blood on her hands. When Owen realized their decision was wrong, with 10 seconds left to authorize the strike he called it and the suspect they were hunting for in Aleppo was taken out.
In the present day, Lydia and Alex are still strutting along on their quest to find the drives and suddenly Lydia’s collar is choking her neck and she’s gasping for air. When Lydia is on her knees gasping, Alex comes to the rescue, telling Lydia to put her head down. She shoots the device off Lydia’s neck to prevent it from choking her to death.
Back to the training class and Harry Doyle’s acting more suspicious than ever. Harry’s on Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) and Alex’s case about wanting more info about who they are and their mission on the Farm. Ryan gets some intel about Harry’s friend who was suicidal and he eventually adapts that story for his own personal gain. Ryan tries to explain to Harry that one of his friends was pushed to suicide after working on the Farm and he’s here to get justice for his friend. Harry sees through the story in a heartbeat and confesses that the suicide story was all made up and he lied to Sebastian about it. Little did Harry know that Sebastian overheard this and the glimmer of sympathy and rising faith Sebastian had in Harry was eradicated in the blink of an eye.
While Nimah and Shelby are deeply engrossed in handler duties, Nimah figures out that Shelby is sleeping with Velez. Shelby’s phone is blowing up with text messages from “Caleb Haas.” Being the snoop that Nimah is, she comes to realize that Shelby put Velez’s number as Caleb Haas in her phone to throw everyone off. Nimah initially thought this would be a problem, but she thinks it could be an opportunity for Shelby to use her sexual position and interest in danger to get more intel on Velez.
We come to realize as a result of Simon’s death that Raina and Nimah are slightly estranged. Raina works as an interpreter and too much interaction with Nimah basically brings back too much pain about losing Simon.
Flash forward to the present day and we get to the room where the drives are kept. We learn that Alex may have made a bad move in trusting Lydia because Lydia is in fact the ENEMY! Alex and Lydia get into a pretty decent fight and we learn that Lydia has the remote controls for the other collars. Lydia used the remote control on her own collar to continue to show Alex that she was a good guy, but it’s so not true! Alex may have fought a good fight, but Lydia got her good and Alex landed flat on her back and with Lydia’s footprint in her face. (Yeah, that was a cringeworthy moment!)
While Alex is battling Lydia’s evil ways, the rest of the recruits are in the room in the present day and learning more about each other, their travels, and how to find the connection between all of them to discover why are they being held by the terrorists. As they continue to speak about their travels, Leigh mentions that she’s connected to Jakarta. All of a sudden, a woman who claims to be a reporter for CNN grabs Leigh with the assist of other terrorists and escorts her out of the room. Leigh comes back to the room unscathed, a little shaken up, and tells the recruits that she answered any questions the terrorists had about her experiences. She may have come out unscathed, but a few seconds later, her collar closed in and slowly took the life out of Leigh, the event planner. The scene ended with Leigh’s blood splattered over Dayana’s face. RIP Leigh.
As we had into the final few scenes, we see Alex further crumbling and put up against a wall (semi-literally) because she was handcuffed and bleeding on her forehead, looking like she’s slightly defeated. Lydia, scrambling to collect all those drives and on the run, says to Alex, “You’ll never see me again!”
Back to the room where all the recruits are held, Dayana is taken away and is visibly frightened after Leigh was killed in the most gruesome of ways. In addition to Dayana being taken away, Raina is manhandled and they are both taken to separate rooms. When Raina is alone, she takes off her hijab and thinks Dayana has some good intel. We see in a one-sided window that the REAL RAINA is being held captive. The woman who was part of the exchange, interpreting for the terrorists, was really Nimah the whole time. The question remains are Miranda, Will, and Nimah all in on this? If so, why?!
As we jump into episode seven, you see previews of Dayana being beaten viciously and Alex handcuffed to a chair having to witness it all. The terrorists are trying to break both of them mentally and physically to get what they need out of them. Let’s see how Alex and Dayana and the rest of the recruits do on next week’s episode of Quantico!