How many moral compromises can one person make?
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/ABC
S2 E20
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  • ABC

Is the only way to fight evil with evil? That question has been bubbling under the surface for the operatives this season, and this week it boils over. As President Haas gets served with impeachment papers and Alex embeds deeper and deeper with the collaborators, everyone has to decide if sinking to the bad guys’ level is how they win — or proof that they’ve already lost.

Clay is not taking his mother’s fall well. As the show opens, he’s lamenting the current affairs in her office while they watch the House vote on her impeachment. She tells him that he and the team have to keep working. Democracy needs protecting, even if she can’t be saved.

At the same time, Owen and Alex are having a tête-à-tête in their surveillance van. “The deeper I go in this, I’m worried you won’t be able to pull me out,” she tells him. But when Fletcher calls and tells Alex to meet the group at the Greypool headquarters, she agrees. There, all our nefarious little masterminds pitch her on her role: She will be the liaison between the new regime and the standing intelligence community. She’ll need to blackmail the leaders at the FBI and CIA, basically, into either giving up their jobs wholesale or falling in line. Despite her moral qualms with it, she starts with Matthew Keyes — and it works.

Shelby and Ryan can’t exactly leave the Farm. Now that their names have been broadcast across national news services, it’s a movie marathon with the shades pulled tight for them. When they get a little stir-crazy, they decide to talk about their feelings. Shelby is worried about Clay, along with the fate of the free world, and Ryan is worried about Alex — but also mad at her. He is frantically trying to find her because, as he says, when she goes rogue, everyone else is left to clean up the mess. (But is that true?)

Before heading to the bunker to rendezvous with Clay, Shelby, and Ryan, Raina meets Felix for breakfast. She thinks she can convince him to help her get some information on Nimah’s whereabouts. When she reveals this to Clay though, he and Shelby are very suspicious. They don’t trust Felix at all, and when Clay receives a text request for a meeting from Felix’s number, he’s given even more ammo: He arrives at the Capitol to find Rourke setting him up. A photographer is outside, he tells the president’s son, who will grab a picture as Clay leaves, and Rourke will be able to tell the nation that they are in cahoots. When Clay returns to the bunker, he and Shelby decide to use Raina to frame Felix and Rourke for communicating with Russian intelligence. Everyone’s moral compass is starting to waver…

After assassinating Matthew Keyes’ career, Alex is feeling really guilty. She seems to be the only one who recognizes the potential downfall of their character. Owen tells her that a compromise in the short term leads “good” to prevail in the long term. This will continue to plague her at the next stop of her introductory collaborator tour: Alice Winter sneaks a chemical agent into the FBI headquarters via Alex’s purse, and Alex is forced to either stop the attack and blow her cover or let the collaborators’ plan go off without a hitch.

Ryan, who finds Alex at the office as this is all unfolding, wants to stop the attack. When Alex is convinced by Owen to keep the plan going, Ryan is livid — well, actually he is unconscious. Alex has to knock him out to protect the collaborators’ mission. Afterward, back at the Farm, he’s mad at Alex and Owen. He blames Owen for corrupting her, but Alex fires back, saying that all the decisions made today, she made on her own. Ryan leaves, furious. I don’t know why, but I’m surprised that he doesn’t get it. He did, after all, go along with the AIC when they recruited him and had him kill that park ranger…

Shelby and Clay’s plan, meanwhile, doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch. Raina somehow figures out that they are using her and tips off Felix. When Felix finds Clay, after, he tells him how sad he is that Clay crossed him — that one of his oldest friends would actually try to throw him in jail. Clay somehow thinks he can make it better by saying that he totally would have tried to get Felix acquitted of the crime he framed him for. Shelby takes her frustrations out on Raina, who can’t believe how fine Clay and Shelby are with risking their own good character to try and beat these people. This point is very much lost on Shelby.

The week wraps with Clay writing his mother’s concession speech, Alex being fully welcomed to the collaborators’ transition team, and Ryan taking off for who knows where.

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