The First Lady is dead. The terrorists have shut off cell service in the blocks around the summit — and hostages are lining the windows of the building, acting as human shields from bullets. Things are not going great.
But before we deal with the mess that is the present, let’s go back a year to the second week of training, where Ryan and Alex kick off the morning in bed together at the safe house, doing, um, bed activities. Alex gets a call from an unknown number and the voice on the other end says a delivery is coming in 10 minutes — which is code for “Miranda is on her way.” Miranda needs to be briefed on Ryan and Alex’s co-recruits to see which are most likely to be enlisted by Instructor Hall for his “nefarious” agenda. (Once someone is accepted into the CIA, their background files are locked, so Miranda can’t search them herself.) Let’s run through it with them:
This is the last Ryan and Alex will be seeing Miranda, as they’ll each be getting separate handlers. “You may be on the same mission,” she cautions, “but you are not on the same team.”
On their first day of spy school, Alex and Ryan arrive late to a yoga session. Instructor Hall has his sights on Ryan: “Out of everyone here, you’re the one I’m most curious about,” he says to Ryan. He’s a bit confused how Ryan’s fellow agent (Alex) was ousted by the FBI, but Ryan got to just go back to his job. “Perhaps if I focus on it,” he says, “I’ll find the answer.” (Is that a threat?)
After yoga comes their first foray into surveillance, as well as Owen Hall’s views on the subject. “Surveillance is the foundation of intelligence gathering,” he says. “While other agencies like the FBI or NSA may emphasize how to run surveillance, we at The Farm also teach you how to avoid it.” He will help them become invisible essentially. Class progresses into a discussion of counter-surveillance formations: The Rabbit is the person being followed, the Eyes are the ones following — there are four of them; they make up the corners of a box-shaped perimeter — and the Trigger is the one running the whole thing. They stay closest to the Rabbit. (This is important.)
As class wraps, Alex is approached by Angie, who says she is another instructor. She tells Alex she is the last recruit who still needs to set up their agency bank account. Alex hasn’t heard of this bank account. “Lydia said she mentioned it to you this morning,” says Angie. “You better get on it.”
Meanwhile, Dayana’s commitment to her phone is ever-growing — and mysterious. After yoga, Alex apologized for not being around much and offered her a shoulder to cry on. To which Dayana responded, “I didn’t come here to make friends.” But maybe she’ll listen to Lydia, who runs into her on her phone. She wants her to pay more attention and stop staring at the ground. She tells a weird and seemingly off-topic story about an assignment she was on in Islamabad a few years ago, but it somehow segues into a conversation about Dayana’s backstory (convenient, since Dayana and Alex clearly won’t be swapping secrets). Dayana graduated at the top of her class from Harvard, worked at an NGO for two years, and now works at her father’s firm, representing human-rights cases.
Anyway, as Alex leaves to go set up her bank account, Harry approaches her. He wants to get a drink together; since she has to go into town anyway, she agrees. As they’re commuting, Ryan is trying to get info out of his roommate back at home. He tells him he found León’s NatGeo profile and was curious about a gap in his work. “Did you burn out?” he asks. (What he really means is, “Why did you go to prison?”) León says nothing until he gets a text. “I’m supposed to tell you that we got an assignment.” Their mission? Follow Alex.
NEXT: Cat and mouse
Harry and Alex hit it off famously at the bar, what with Harry buttering her “You’re a true American hero!” biscuit. Alex says she can be a CIA agent because no one would ever suspect it. She’s hiding in plain sight. As they leave the bar, Alex notices Ryan tailing her. She confides as much in Harry and soon they spot Ryan, Dayana, Sebastian, and León. But where, and who, is the Trigger? Alex suggests they split up to lose their newfound company.
Alex’s plan works, but not because she’s great at dodging. Dayana lost her when she had to take another phone call. Ryan lays into her, and when he’s finished, a townsperson approaches to warn him he’s being followed. It’s none other than Owen Hall, so Ryan tries turning Hall into his Rabbit. When he loses him, he receives a text message of a video someone (probably Owen) took of Ryan running down an alley. This guy is good.
Alex calls Harry to tell him she lost her tails and he responds by saying he thinks he found her Trigger. Shelby comes out of the bar. When Alex gives her a look of warning, she pretends to be a superfan and asks for an autograph. It seems like Harry bought it. Alex, finally, heads for the bank as Ryan gets back to The Farm and is about to have it out with Owen — except Owen isn’t sorry. He says he’s trying to understand Ryan. And his couple days of interaction so far, he says, have led him to the conclusion Ryan left the FBI because he has a problem with authority. How could you not? he wonders to Ryan. Liam betrayed you! But I’m not Ryan, says Owen. He wants Ryan to give him and his teachings a chance.
Ryan doesn’t get it or like it. “You wanted a former FBI agent who couldn’t spot a terrorist right under his nose for years?” he asks. Owen doesn’t see it that way. He says he wants the Ryan Booth who “follows instincts instead of orders,” and who “no matter how many times he gets shot for it, still wants to serve his country.”
When Alex emerges from the bank, Harry is waiting and the jig is up. He reveals he was the Trigger — which, honestly, feels like something Alex never would have missed at Quantico. Alex just led him right to her drop area. (So that bank account was just part of the game, as well?) And just like that, another week of training is wrapped. When the students head back into the classroom, it’s Dayana’s name at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Later, as Ryan gives Dayana a pep talk about actually committing herself to training (even though he’s not even committed to training himself), Alex heads to the safe house to meet up with Shelby. She runs into Lydia, who tells her she did well today. Alex is surprised — by both the compliment and the viewpoint. She’s still beating herself up over Harry. Lydia assures her it’s better than she did in her first week of training, before explaining the reason she’s so hard on Alex is because she believes in her potential. It’s nice, but also odd Lydia and her dad have chosen the exact same day to lay on the love with the two undercover FBI agents in their class?
Shell-shocked, Alex makes her way to Shelby. Alex can’t believe Shelby would ever accept this position as her “babysitter.” Shelby, who I guess is used to Alex insulting her, tells her she’s thrilled to do it. “You’re finding the next Liams before it’s too late.” Alex isn’t so sure: She feels like they were training to do good at Quantico, but here, she’s uncomfortable the training requires lying, manipulating, and deceiving.
Ryan’s handler approaches him while he’s buying wine for the safe house (lol) and it’s a familiar, much-missed face: Nimah! She tells Ryan to cancel his plans with Alex and insults his choice of red. It’s not going to be smooth sailing for the Alex-Ryan ship.
We leave the past behind as Lydia and Owen begin their dinner at home, León hides something in the back of a picture frame in his and Ryan’s room, Dayana ignores a call from work(!), and Harry googles Alex. He finds a photo from Simon’s funeral of Alex and Shelby, and is very amused by the charade from earlier.
NEXT: Terrorists, tunnels, and a ton of problems…
Last week, we left the present moments before First Lady Todd was killed — and we pick up right after. Alex is crouching in the hallway trying to get cell service, and when she realizes she can’t, she pulls out a gun from her waistband. (I suppose this answers the, “Is or isn’t Alex Parrish still in service?” question.) The gun is out of bullets.
Miranda is driving to work with her boyfriend (more on this later) discussing the nightmare that is their day, while downtown the terrorists are lining the windows of the 39th floor of 28 Liberty with their hostages. They’re tightening collars on each of them: If anyone tries to run, Raina explains as she continues to act as the group’s translator, the collar will tighten and the attempted escapee will die.
As Ryan looks around, he gets a final count of who from The Farm is here: “Dayana Mampasi, Lydia Bates, León Velez, Sebastian Chen” and, of course, Harry Doyle, whom we spotted last week. Six CIA operatives don’t just find themselves in one room on accident, Raina points out. Ryan agrees, adding that this is how he knows he can only trust Raina. “And Alex,” she responds. “She could still be here, somewhere.”
Speaking of Alex, she’s happens upon a police officer — the one who welcomed her into the perimeter. He’s been shot and as she helps him, he tells her there’s an NYPD bunker underneath the block they’re on. As they set off, Shelby is at headquarters calling Alex on repeat to no avail. She joins a meeting of Miranda and other high-ranking officials — some domestic, like the police commissioner, and some foreign, like a British aide. Miranda explains to everyone the reason the terrorists have done this is to “sow fear and disrupt the countries of the G20 as they dismantle their surveillance programs and prove that spying is necessary.” They want to prove countries should actually escalate their levels of espionage to ensure that what’s happening this moment can’t ever happen again. Lofty goals, eh?
Shelby has arrived to let Miranda know of Vice President Haas’ location. It’s on Air Force One, operating in a similar manner to 9/11 when President Bush flew above the country for hours until our grounds were secure. Miranda’s boyfriend enters the room and we finally get his business-card info. “Paul Burke, Deputy Chief National Security Council,” he says, before letting everyone know he just talked to the VP and she wants any surveillance footage from inside the building. Also, she wants to be debriefed — but only by Paul. Miranda is not pleased.
Which is exactly when Shelby catches up to tell Miranda she thinks Alex is inside the perimeter. Miranda wants this kept on the DL — but she’s hopeful that if Alex surfaces, they can begin gathering intel on what’s going on downtown.
Speaking of Alex, she’s almost to the bunker. She and the NYPD officer are moving slow because of his injury and after one close call with the terrorists on patrol, they get to the door of the safe room. Except the terrorists are right behind them! The officer flings open the door, shoves Alex inside, and sacrifices himself. After Alex gathers herself she sees it: a phone!
Upstairs, Raina and Ryan have noticed a pattern. The terrorists usher groups of hostages in and out, and when they come back, Raina is convinced the terrorists have switched places with the hostages, dressed in plain clothes. During her own rotation, Raina pretends to trip and scratches the assailant next to her on the wrist. She thinks she has marked him, but when she comes back in the room, every single person on the 39th floor now has a cut on his or her wrist. One of the attackers walks over to her, grabs her wrist, and marks her as well — with a machete. “Why haven’t they killed me?” she asks Ryan.
Miranda answers Alex’s call immediately and tells her she needs to get to safety. “If I wanted to do that, I would have done it already,” Alex responds in the most Alex response ever. So Miranda tells Alex she needs her to gather intel on exactly how many terrorists are there, what kind of weapons they have, how many hostages are there, etc. Alex warns Miranda she may not make it back to this phone. Before hanging up, Alex tells Miranda that Jeremy Miller was one of the terrorists. “This is exactly the kind of attack we thought they’d do one day,” Miranda says.
We’re left with the image of a terrorist receiving a text: “Alex Parris is inside,” it reads from MIRANDA. ARE YOU KIDDING?
Questions lingering at the end of episode 2: