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'Quantico' recap: 'Stescalade'

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Giovanni Rufino/ABC

Quantico

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
09/27/15
performer:
Josh Hopkins, Priyanka Chopra, Aunjanue Ellis
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
Drama

Ryan is seriously losing his cool in captivity, and Shelby might be inadvertently spoiling Miranda’s agenda — but, again, before mucking through all the present-day drama, let’s return to the Farm where Alex and Ryan are working undercover to reveal a rogue faction within the CIA.

Alex and Ryan are catching up with their handlers, Shelby and Nimah, respectively. They’re running through the list of their fellow recruits, trying to narrow down those most likely to be leading a nefarious-charge, as well as those most likely to be recruited into it.

  • Dayana: “Last week she was falling apart,” notes Ryan. “This week she’s insanely driven.” Both Ryan and Alex think it’s unlikely that she’d be recruited — she seems weak, they explain, before allowing the caveat that such a frail disposition could also be a cover.
  • León: “He doesn’t say much, but he sees everything,” says Alex. “He’s always watching.” Alex admits that he knows more about her than she would like. (He picked up on Alex and Ryan’s relationship status, remember?)
  • Leigh Daviswait what?! WTF is a Leigh Davis?: Leigh appeared two days ago, out of nowhere, according to Ryan. She has two kids back in Pacific Palisades and while Alex thinks she’s elegant and refined, Ryan says she’s out-of-place and high-strung. (Ryan is correct, and it only takes one second of her explaining how she keeps her schedule before you’ll agree.)
  • Harry Doyle: Alex has a soft spot for him, she says. (Absolutely no clue if that means she thinks he’s likely/unlikely to be caught up in whatever illegal surveillance the Agency has going on.)
  • Sebastian Chen: Sebastian is hard to know, they both say. So far all they’ve gleaned is that he was in seminary before he was recruited — and has absolutely no interest in interacting with anyone, ever.

So basically, Alex and Ryan have gotten nowhere, and they know it. Shelby wants to know if Alex thinks that Lydia is part of Owen’s supposed scheme, which Alex and Ryan have dubbed the AIC. As the two are discussing Lydia’s intenseness, the show cuts to Lydia mid-workout. She’s got the news on and when there’s a broadcast of a bombing somewhere, she makes a call to someone named Lucas and leaves a pleading voicemail, asking him to call her back. More on that later…

Nimah and Shelby have a bug that the couple can place in one of the recruits rooms so they can listen and learn more — which is great, except they can only use one bug, and they have to choose which recruit needs spying on the most. (Second problem? Of course there is! The Farm is swept for potential bugs every five days, which means there is a small window of opportunity.)

Nimah encourages them to get people to open up, which means only one thing in Quantico reality: It’s time for alcohol. The entire group goes out for drinks and gossiping. They’re wondering aloud about Leigh and where they might get placed following training. When León muses about returning to Central and South America, Dayana lets on that she knows more about his prison time than he, or we, originally thought.

The following morning, Owen Hall introduces their next skill: assessment. The recruits always need to be aware of their surroundings, the instructors urge. They do a bit of practicing at the dorms and the Gold Leaf bar, and after León’s challenge — guessing how long he was kept in Owen Hall’s hall closet in the dark — he gets sick. Alex voices her curiosity over the matter to Dayana, who says that it reminds León of the six months he did in solitary confinement. When Alex is surprised by the detail, Dayana says León loves to talk, just not to Alex.

Alex, of course, forwards along the development to Ryan, and the two decide to focus their energy there. Did León and Dayana already know each other before arriving at the Farm? Are they in cahoots?

NEXT: Farm Assignment of the Day[pagebreak]​

Elsewhere, Lydia finally gets ahold of Lucas, who, it turns out, is one of her higher ups at the Agency. Lydia wants to be deployed to Mogadishu, where the bombing just took place. She shares intel she has on the suicide assailant, and Lucas curiously asks her if she thinks it was done in retaliation for what happened in the Philippines. (Which is where Lydia was returning from when training first kicked off.) Lucas says he can’t send her to the region — and Lydia is suspicious as to why she has to stay at the Farm. “Don’t lose sight of the forest,” Lucas says, cryptically, “just because you think you’re in the weeds.”

Shelby and Nimah are having an equally frustrating meeting with Miranda. Miranda wants them to pressure Alex and Ryan more. “A good handler pushes,” she says. “Gets in their heads, manipulates. They do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Since they’ve completed their introductory challenges, it’s time for the real meat of the day at the Farm. Instructor Hall explains that everyone needs to pair up and that then they will be dropped off at an office building 10 miles away. Everyone will be assigned an office number, he says, where they will retrieve a red envelope before making it back — and literally none of this is true. As soon as the pairs are outside, vans coming speeding around the corner, people throw black bags over the recruits’ heads, and when everyone comes to, they’re alone with their partners in the middle of the forest. Instructions have been left in black on their forearms: “Be back before dark.”

Ryan was paired with Harry, who is annoying him with all of his Alex-centric questions, and when he spots Dayana walking alone, he heads in that direction. Alex is partnered up with León, who is currently making a compass out of sticks and a stone. They both begin to pepper with questions. Ryan wants to know where Dayana practices law, why she says she’s afraid but then doesn’t act afraid, and Alex wants to know where León learned his sundial tricks and how he got in jail.

Neither Dayana or León are welcoming of the attention, but eventually we learn that Dayana’s info on León didn’t come from León; instead she said she knows a lot of important people who got her info on everyone. (Which means, I think, that she must have gotten the info from someone at the CIA, since once people become recruits at the Farm, their background files are sealed — as Miranda explained last week.) León also cracks. He remembers, tearfully, how he wanted to expose the inner workings of cartel prisons in Mexico, so he got himself arrested to document it from the inside out. He doesn’t talk about it, he says, because he barely survived.

Harry and Leigh pair up because Harry noticed Leigh has a cell phone on her. He persuades her to use the GPS and get back together, first. And while everyone eventually makes it back, before dark, as instructed, Owen Hall is still unhappy. They should have make it back in 20 minutes, not four-plus hours. And as he says, “Never lose sight of the forest, even when you’re in the weeds,” during his admonishment, Lydia’s head goes up. Does her dad have something to do with why she’s still here?

Anyway, Ryan and Alex have to decide who to bug. And while they agree in private to suggest Harry, when Nimah presses Ryan separately — as Miranda encouraged, nagging him for his propensity to just give Alex whatever she wants — he says he actually thinks León is the bigger suspect. And Nimah agrees.

Well it turns out that Owen Hall does have something to do with grounding Lydia. And she is not happy about it. She attacks back. “You know what they say?” she asks him. “That someone probably leaked your name on purpose, so you could never screw up again.” She leaves the kitchen in a fury. Outside she makes a call. “I’m in,” she says to whoever is on the other end of the line. “Tell me what I do next.”

And it turns out that it didn’t even matter who they bugged because when they turn it on, there’s interference which, apparently, can only mean one thing: Someone else has already placed a bug somewhere in the dorms. This means either Alex and Ryan have tipped off the AIC or someone else is running another covert mission. And as we leave this section of the past, we do so as Harry Doyle enters a nondescript bar. He’s found Will Olsen, curiously enough. And when he buys Will a drink, he introduces himself as Julian. Hmmm….

NEXT: Alex infiltrates and the day turns deadly…

[pagebreak]

Back in the present, as the terrorists are leading their hostages into a different building, Ryan devises a plan. He wants to rip one of the masks off an assailant so he can see who they are. As has been her only response this season, Raina hopes out loud that Alex is somewhere inside the perimeter.

Alex, of course, is still inside the perimeter, under the direction of a traitorous Miranda, gathering intel. She finds a crate of the terrorists’ garb and gets dressed. She finds a pill in the sleeve of the uniform, which gives her pause, but only for a second. Now she can move around freely to count weapons, attackers, hostages, and more.

Back at FBI headquarters, Shelby confides in Miranda that she thinks the group Alex and Ryan were investigating might be behind the attack. When Miranda agrees, Shelby tells her that, even though she wasn’t supposed to, she wrote up a report of Alex and Ryan’s work six months ago, detailing everyone who could be in the AIC. Shelby saved the file on her personal computer and Miranda asks her to to retrieve it. Except things go a little haywire when Shelby’s report gets uploaded onto Miranda’s computer. As soon as Miranda plugs in Shelby’s device, her screen goes black and the tech department rush in. “Step away from the computer,” they instruct Director Shaw. Miranda asks Shelby what she’s done as IT confiscates her laptop. Shelby is confused, but when we see Miranda tip the male tech employee, it becomes obvious that they’re working together. This was Miranda’s plot to delete that report.

Ryan’s whole plan is to create a diversion. He’s going to get in a fight with Harry, he says, and then when the terrorists come to break them up, he can rip off their mask. And, truth be told, once he kicks it into high gear, it seems like it might work. Except when Harry lands a particularly powerful kick into Ryan’s chest, Ryan crashes into Alex, in disguise as a terrorist! He’s choking her and trying to rip off her mask and when she whispers his name, her cover is blown. The terrorists usher both Ryan and Alex out of the room, separately.

Alex is being marched down a dark stairwell; she asks about her captor’s plans for her. The terrorist, a female who speaks perfect English, explains that she is going to die, but that the other hostages didn’t need to see it happen. (But everyone needed to witness the First Lady’s beheading?) Alex decides to take her chances now. She spins around and knocks the gun from her guard’s hands, and they begin to fight.

She eventually rips off the woman’s mask, to see a blond, white woman. She asks who they’re working with. Who is behind the attack? They keep fighting and when things are turning in Alex’s favor, Alex finds that pill in her jacket and forces it down her attacker’s throat. The woman dies quickly.

Thank god for Shelby’s over-achieving ways. Excitedly, she pops back into Miranda’s office and says that she found one lone copy of the report. Don’t worry, Miranda, I already gave it to Burke for him to distribute, she says. Miranda almost blows her cover with a pretty poor attempt at trying to act pleased with the news. I start wondering if Shelby has gotten herself in danger…

But then we’re back with the G20 Summit hostages. Raina is trying to get information on where the terrorists have taken Alex and Ryan. Alex is dead, they promise her, when suddenly a body is flying through the glass ceiling above them. It lands with a thud, with a note tied around its neck. “2 Down,” it reads. Raina is relieved. “Alex is alive,” she says — as if Alex tossing people through ceilings is her signature move.

Questions lingering at the end of episode 3:

  • Who was Lydia talking to? And who are they conspiring against? (My bet is on good old daddio.)
  • Is Harry Doyle undercover under the direction of himself, or is he working with another group?
  • If Alex killed someone in the basement, how could they be flying through the roof? And if logic prevails and that was a different terrorist than the one Alex fought with, who else is working to take down this cell?

Episode grade: B

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