Well, well, well, Quantico has been saving its best for (almost) last. After a frankly confusing start, the season has found its footing — even keeping one final twist in its pocket. When episode 21 opens, everyone is basically waiting to be arrested for treason while the newly minted President Roarke is enjoying his executive order-filled first week in office.
Raina is text-stalking Felix, who doesn’t want to hear from her; Ryan is hiding out and calling Miranda repeatedly asking for a way out; Shelby is texting Clay just as much as Raina is reaching out to Felix, though she doesn’t even get a response. All of them are also watching the news as Roarke conducts his first television interview. He talks about bringing in a new regime full of brainiacs like Alice Winter, signing so many decrees to reverse President Haas’ failings, and, the big one, his desire to call a constitutional convention for just the second time in U.S. history.
Nearly right after, Owen’s computer buzzes. He realizes the cache has been taken offline, and when he seeks out the crew — Ryan, Raina, and Shelby, as Alex is embedded — he’s met with… um… well, Ryan is still really pissed and not looking to help. Same with Raina. Shelby and Owen get to work and beg Alex to take a short break from her fake-nefarious duties to help.
When she gets there, they realize two things: First, the cache would only go offline if the collaborators had an attack planned imminently, and second, they are desperately in need of help. Cut to Matthew Keyes, Miranda Shaw, and Will Olsen entering the bunker. (“If anyone knew I was here, I would have lost the job I should have lost months ago” is Miranda’s best line to date.)
Despite the fact that she was basically a terrorist mere episodes ago, everyone is happy to have Miranda helping devise a plan, and everyone hops to it. The goal is to sort through all the executive orders that Roarke signed to hopefully see the collaborators’ larger aim. Ryan and Raina, meanwhile, look on bitterly from another room. Ryan is clearly jealous of Owen and Alex — which Raina calls him out on — and while I’m happy to see their romance pick back up, I’m also a little surprised. He was literally just “dating” Sasha.
All signs, plus one enormous find from Will, point to the AIC targeting a bunch of planes for remote hijacking to stage another 9/11 — possibly bigger. The team needs to spring into action, but with the FBI combing the Farm grounds, most of the team needs a distraction to get out. Raina offers to surrender herself to the authorities while Shelby, Owen, et al slip away. It works. Ryan and Matthew Keyes stay behind to run the ops.
While Miranda, Owen, and Will head to the FAA and Shelby hunts down Clay, Alex makes her way back to the Greypool headquarters. She corners Alice and tells her how unfair it is that she can betray everyone she knows and still not be clued in on the plot. Alice bites and begins to show her some of the data for how they will commandeer planes — but when Alex asks which planes are going down, Alice hesitates. With some encouragement from Ryan, Alex does whatever it takes and knocks Alice out. She forwards the information before Alice wakes up just so they can fight more.
Shelby is trying to get the code from Clay for how to ground planes, but Clay is very drunk, super high, and passed out in a Virginia hotel. When he comes to, he tells her that Maxine left him. Apparently she was a social climber, and now the Haas family is not so trendy. After one failed attempt at a kiss, he finally gets his act together and finds the code.
With the info for the flights and the code from Clay, Miranda, Owen, and Will are able to safely ground every plane. Miranda has to shoot someone on the way to this happy resolution, and Matthew Keyes has to shoot Ryan’s ego down a bit. The former CIA director admits that he is married to a super-powerful operative and says he’s happy to stay at home with the kids. He understands that Ryan is threatened by Alex’s success but says that letting yourself have the “backseat” makes you a better partner.
It’s the first real victory for the team in the bunker, and while they all know that the collaborators will come for them, they’re definitely enjoying the moment. OKAY! Moment is over. Roarke has summoned the team to the White House to honor them, via a press conference, for their ability to thwart the terrorist attack. Roarke is both blowing everyone’s cover and furthering his own agenda: By proving that the intelligence community works best as one entity, he earns a lot more support for his constitutional convention. Everyone wants to rewrite the laws for one intelligence agency.
But here’s the thing: Having Rourke’s pen anywhere near the constitution is simply too risky. The group has 100 days to form a brand new mission to save the government from itself. This episode debated doing the right thing in the moment and hoping it’s the right thing long term. With that in mind, Alex wonders aloud, “So, who wants to be a terrorist?”
(Oh, and just because Quantico may have gotten better, that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten its love for subplots: Alex and Ryan have a flirtatious convo about how “sexy” Ryan is on her bed, and Clay and Shelby almost go on a date to get a burger!)