There’s no messing about with the seventh episode of Quantico season two, because there is SO MUCH to cover. Let’s cut the intro and get right down to it, shall we folks? When last week’s episode ended, we saw Alex put in a precarious situation thanks to the shenanigans of Lydia Hall (Tracy Ifeachor) who tied up Alex to a structure with the hopes she would be found and eventually killed. This week’s episode picked up right where that ended, and you see Alex trying to figure out how to get out of this situation. I’m a huge Quantico fan and I’ve seen Alex Parrish, played by the lovely and talented Priyanka Chopra, be the quintessential modern badass, and once again she took it up a notch. In order to release herself from the structure she was tied to, she basically knocked her shoulder out of the ball and socket joint so she could undo the cuffs. Of course it hurt, and we all winced in pain with her. And, of course, we winced once more when she got up and pushed her shoulder back into the socket and played on. Let’s take a moment and absorb this image, shall we?
The next part of the episode takes us back to the Farm. Alex and Shelby (Johanna Braddy) arrive at their secret hiding spot on the Farm where they meet with Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) to discuss their progress on the mission. When Alex and Shelby arrived, we see Ryan (Jake McLaughlin), Nimah (Yasmine Al Massri), and Miranda already in conversation. Alex’s suspicions are raised and can’t ignore the possibility that something odd is happening between those three. Shelby tries to placate Alex and tells her to calm down and move on. Alex pushes down her angst and joins the group to discuss the progress on the mission.
Per Miranda’s notes, there hasn’t been much progress on the mission and she doesn’t appear to be pleased. Seven weeks in and too many eyebrows are raised, but no fall guy or woman has been identified. Miranda presents the group with a diagram of Owen’s house where she indicates there is a secret wall in the house where something could be hidden. As a result of this discovery, the task at hand is to get close to Owen and discover what he’s really hiding. Ryan officially takes on the task and Alex is eager to do the same, because she feels like she’s gotten closer to Owen in the past several weeks. Ryan indicates he wants to work on this alone, which further raises Alex’s suspicions about the pre-meeting they had without her and Shelby.
In the next scene, the recruits have a little fun at their local watering hole where they’re playing a riveting game of darts but with a CIA twist! Their goal is of course to land on the bullseye and anytime they don’t, they must answer a question posed by the other recruits. Ryan, Alex, and Dayana (Pearl Thusi) each play darts and some witty and relevant banter is revealed. However, the key moments come when Sebastian (David Lim) comes to play and he lands on the bullseye on his first attempt. This is key because Sebastian has been quite mysterious so far this whole season. He is attacked on his faith, his introversion, his decision-making abilities, and his sexuality.
When Harry (Russell Tovey) comes to play, he doesn’t exactly nail the bullseye. At all. Sebastian uses this as an opportunity to seize on Harry’s vulnerability and asks him about his friend who committed suicide and whether he loved him or not. You see Sebastian able to break through the tough, witty, sarcastic persona Harry plays consistently and expose his vulnerabilities about this traumatic experience in his life. Score: Sebastian – 1, Harry – 1. While at the bar, Ryan steps away from the crew a bit to refresh his adult beverage and runs into Owen. He uses this as an attempt to get close to Owen, but he’s shot down cold. In that moment, Ryan learns that Owen is one hard nut to crack!
After a night of fun and camaraderie at the bar, we check into the training room and learn the next exercise in store for the recruits. The recruits will be put under tough duress to test their emotional and physical strength. When a CIA recruit is undercover, they need to be ready for anything – and they mean anything. Regardless of the circumstance, the recruit needs to be ready to handle it in order to protect the mission and the country they serve. We see Harry wearing headphones with heavy metal music blasting in his ears to test his ability to handle excessive noise. Ryan is put in a chair under bright lights, while Owen is trying to break him emotionally with a barrage of rapid-far inquiries. Alex does a low squat with her hands behind her back and a wood beam tucked in between to test her physicality, her balance, and strength.
Although it may be interesting to see how the recruits do under duress, it gets exciting when they are the ones who have to “break” someone and that someone is Owen. Owen makes himself the guinea pig, so to speak, and puts himself in a room in 90 degree plus heat where he hasn’t slept or eaten in hours. The purpose of this is to give the recruits an opportunity to use their skills to try to break Owen within government parameters and practices.
Time travel to the present day and we see Alex running around to make sense of the situation. She gets a hold of one of the black phones the terrorists are using and reaches Shelby. Alex tries to make this phone call fast, because the battery is dying. (Of course it is! It wouldn’t be Quantico if it weren’t.) She makes a call to Shelby and tells her someone is communicating from the outside and asks her to write down the phone number the call is coming from. Before she could get all 10 digits out, the phone dies. As she makes her next move, the terrorists see her. She tries to run away and then she runs into the fist of another dynamic duo of terrorists who cornered her. On the outside, Shelby reports Alex’s call to Miranda and pretends it’s good news, but the wheels in her scheming mind start to turn again.
Alex is dragged into another quiet room where she wakes up from her daze and is tied to a chair in the middle of a dimly lit room. Moments later, a young gentleman by the name of Mike is thrown to the ground in front of her, begging Alex to give up what she knows to save his life. Alex believes it’s tradecraft, where the terrorists are using one of their folks on the inside to play innocent and manipulate Alex into thinking he’s an innocent civilian. Mike claims he isn’t a terrorist and Alex continues to not believe him. Alex is proven wrong in the cruelest of ways after the terrorists come in and shoot Mike in the head, execution style.
Let’s time travel back to the Farm and we see Alex essentially lived through what they put Owen through. The recruits start going in one by one and try to break Owen. They go individually and it doesn’t work. Collectively, they go in and cut off his clothes and he’s left exposed down to his boxer briefs. Alex takes advantage of this situation and steals Owen’s keys from his back pocket, so she can fulfill her role in the mission. Recruits try to drown him in a big bucket of ice water and once again it doesn’t work.
The recruits take a break to figure out their next steps on how to break Owen. In the meantime, Alex sneaks into Owen’s place to see what is beyond that mystery wall. She uncovers what appears to be a laptop and some pre-paid cell phones, but can’t do much with it because the chivalrous Harry sees Alex through his own window and warns her that Lydia is en route. Lydia came back to Owen’s house to get him a fresh set of clothes, because she feels her dad pushed the exercise a tad too far. Harry tries to derail Lydia and he does so with moderate success – just enough for Alex to sneak out of the window and jump off the roof, landing with everything in perfect place and with just a twig in her hair. (Come on, ABC!)
While Alex is jumping off a roof, Shelby and Nimah are continuing to scheme. Nimah eventually proposes that Shelby become part of the mission full-time. Nimah wants Shelby to use her connection to Velez to work him (pun intended) full-time to see if he is one to watch. Since this requires full-time commitment, that will require her to cut ties with Alex as her handler. In the end, Shelby chose danger and excitement over loyalty to her friend Alex.
After getting frustrated that nothing is working, all the recruits come back, engage in a little bit of group-think, and decide to push on Owen harder. Dayana steps up and comes up with a solution: use something or someone close to Owen to break him. Answer – Lydia. The recruits collectively capture Lydia, bring her into the room, lay her back in a chair, and start waterboarding her. Dayana keeps giving the instructions to waterboard Lydia – not once, not twice, but three times. Each time she gives the go ahead, she says, “MORE!” with a certain shrewd and cunning disposition that is a far departure from what we’ve seen from the more demure and timid Dayana. Eventually, Owen breaks and gives up his alias to the recruits. Lydia is in shock and looks at Owen with a sense of disgust. Later, she tells Owen that she isn’t proud of him and understands that he definitely isn’t capable of being in the field and is barely qualified to instruct future recruits.
In addition to Dayana confronting her past experiences with torture, the waterboarding exercise had an effect on other recruits as well. Sebastian threw up like a kid who just walked off a roller coast after eating a corn dog, cotton candy, and popcorn. The friction between Alex and Ryan continue to grow stronger because Alex can’t believe Ryan was comfortable with that approach. Ryan responded, saying it’s all about the job. The tension between Sebastian/Harry keeps building, because Harry keeps pushing Sebastian’s buttons about his closeted sexuality. They come close to getting physical, but it doesn’t quite reach that level….yet!
Back to the present day, Alex is still in the room where Mike is shot, then Dayana is brought in front of Alex. This is the point where we really see how strong Dayana truly is. As the terrorists prep to torture Dayana, Alex tells Dayana, “Be strong!” Dayana responds, “You too!” A tad ominous, eh?! The terrorists start out by stabbing Dayana and she doesn’t even flinch, wince, scream, nada. She’s a boss! That broke down Dayana little bit as she is bleeding out, but the terrorists decide to go harder themselves and pull out a hammer. They indicate four places where they could hit Dayana with the hammer on the spine, which could be prevented if Alex just gives up who has the drives. Right before they attack Dayana, Alex breaks, just like Owen did in the training exercise. Alex saves Dayana and says Lydia Hall has the drives. Although Dayana is quite thankful to Alex for not having to go through the pain, there is also a sense of defeat on her face.
We all know Miranda is up to no good and she wants to continue to throw suspicion off of her and her role in this fiasco. Miranda kisses her CIA/FBI boyfriend and takes the phone from her purse and plants it in her boyfriend’s bag. Shelby, with the help of her team, eventually uncover the four digits Alex couldn’t give earlier, dial the phone, and they nab Miranda’s boyfriend. As he’s taken away, he senses she had something to do with this while Miranda plays all kinds of innocent and deals the “love is blind” card.
Soon enough, Alex and Dayana are rescued from the room where they were held captive by Harry, Velez, and Sebastian. Alex takes them to a bunker where medical supplies are plentiful and can be used to save Dayana and patch up her wounds. Question is, why are they there and are they trustworthy?
One final time travel back to the Farm reveals Shelby is now a full-fledged member of the mission. Alex realizes she’s left out when Miranda, Nimah, Shelby, and Ryan are colluding together about the next steps. Alex makes her way to a bar where she runs into Owen and possibly has a breakthrough with him. This affirms that she’s the person to break him and she may not need her colleagues to discover what’s behind that secret wall in Owen’s house.
The final scenes of episode seven basically heighten the endless OMG moments of the episode. Harry and Sebastian make out briefly. You see Ryan lying in the dirt in the middle of nowhere. He answers a phone call from someone who says, “You’ve been selected. Take this phone. You must go.” Ryan takes this as an order and moves forward. Dayana tests her ability to handle torture by pouring scalding water from a kettle on her hands. Once again, she doesn’t flinch.
This episode has raised so many questions rather than providing more answers. Is Dayana the terrorist? Are Harry, Sebastian, and Velez truly genuine people? Why is Miranda doing this? And what is happening to Ryan’s character this season? Is he truly loyal to Alex and his country? I’ll be taking a break next week because the American Music Awards will be taking the Sunday night time slot, but I’ll be back with my final recap of the year with the latest and greatest from Quantico’s Winter Finale. Gosh, it’s going to be a brutal December with reruns and bad weather.