The terrorists demand a trade, and double agents get played
Credit: ABC/Giovanni Rufino
S2 E4
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Miranda has her department under her traitorous little thumb in the present — but before we sort through all the lies echoing through the FBI halls, let’s rewind a year to when Miranda, Alex, Ryan, Shelby, and Nimah found a bug planted in Alex’s room.

Miranda wants to end the mission, but Director Keyes refuses. He tells a story about how the AIC, as Alex and Ryan have dubbed it, took out one of his operatives in Berlin. She was selling secrets to Russian intelligence and Keyes was building a case against her, but the AIC got there first. If they don’t find the vigilantes who infected the agency, he warns, they will become the agency. The mission, its decided, continues at full speed. And we’re left wondering when Miranda flips to the dark side if she’s still actually looking out for Ryan and Alex here.

Everyone in training seems to be getting bad news: Dayana learns that her witness is recanting her testimony. Ryan receives a package from Liam O’Connor’s estate. And when they get to class, Alex finds her name at the bottom of the murder board. As class begins, Owen introduces the Lesson of the Week: concealing emotions. Owen promises to rattle everyone and show them how to turn their vulnerabilities into strengths. As they all slip on bands that measure vitals, another CIA instructor tells Harry he has to do a follow-up blood test at the CIA infirmary. At the same time, Owen approaches León to tell him that there was an escape at the Mexican prison where he was held. León is worried that the fugitive will come looking for him — and absolutely no considers that all of this is happening to expose weaknesses.


Alex tries to find an excuse to stay near Owen long enough. She fails at her first attempt, and during her second, Owen tells her that while he “knows Alex is good with teachers,” he “doesn’t play on that side of the pool.” I know he warned that he was going to rattle everyone, but the slut-shaming even has me uncomfortable. Plus, the upload didn’t work, so she’ll have to try again.

Other interesting things that happen during this “party”:

  • Lydia chats with Director Keyes about how Owen is only talking to counter-intelligence officers. “He’s digging,” says Keyes. Lydia says that don’t know that yet. Are these two in cahoots?
  • León is discussing the escaped convict, Anaya, with the operative from the Mexico desk. She tells him that Anaya didn’t escape, he was released.
  • Director Keyes and Owen have a brief conversation. Owen Hall’s name was printed by a journalist with absolutely no aiding by the CIA, Keyes insists.
  • Sebastian tells Harry he might as well kill himself now since he’s not willing to live while he still has a chance.

NEXT: It was all a game

Alex goes for take three with Owen, who says Alex’s biggest weakness is doubt. She’s always wondering if she did the right thing, if she did enough. Then, he reveals this has all been a manipulation — even the murder board isn’t real. At the end of their conversation, Alex’s upload is up to 59 percent. Close, but still not there.

Lydia approaches Ryan and asks about the package from Liam; and he decides to go to the post office and get it right then. When he opens the P.O. box, he learns what Alex just has. As he pulls out a Central Intelligence Agency hat, a note from Lydia falls out. “Hope it fits!” The rest soon learn, too — and they aren’t pleased. Owen doesn’t care. Everyone has one weakness, he argues, and the enemy will always find it and exploit it.

Dayana and León console each other over a gallon of ice cream. They tell each other what their weaknesses are. Dayana has a fear of making a mistake while León has a fear of his past coming back to haunt him. Upstairs, Harry checks in on Sebastian. He learns that Sebastian tried to kill himself at 14 years old, and Harry reveals that someone close to him struggling with his sexuality did the same. Sebastian says he isn’t gay. “That’s what he said as well,” Harry replies.

Ryan shows up at Lydia’s to return her hat and tell her that they misidentified his weakness — which, to me, seems like his dumbest move yet. If they haven’t figured out how to exploit you, why would you help them get closer to the answer? At the same time, Alex is waiting in Owen’s classroom for him. “Do I belong here?” she asks. He tells her she is special, that he recruited her himself. As he leaves, he promises that they are going to have a talk very soon. When the door slams, her upload is finally at 100 percent.

Alex and Ryan meet at the safe house, and Ryan reveals his real weakness to Alex: “It’s you,” he says. “Worrying if you’re okay. Worrying if you’re ever really going to trust me, or if we’re going to make it out of this together.” He apologizes for being distant lately but says he has to be. If they’re going to succeed, the CIA can’t know how connected Ryan is to Alex. Alex says she understands. “Let’s get back to work.” And so begins their undoing. (Sidenote: Is Ryan even remotely bothered that he is not Alex’s weakness?)


Back at the Hall home, Lydia and Owen are teaming up. Lydia feels like the CIA is positioning her against her father so she’ll do their dirty work for them, and she tells her father as much. She says she will help him find out who outed him — but Director Keyes is none the wiser. She calls him and lies, says that her father is done digging around. Keyes promises to get her back out in the field in return.

NEXT: Eric Boyer returns home, and someone’s onto Miranda…

Back in the present, Alex is listening to two terrorists complain about the burden of holding nearly 2,000 people hostage. As she continues snooping, she sees a pair of assailants interrogating Raina — she tells them that she won’t speak for them anymore, but they remind her of their power and tighten the metal collar around her neck.

Meanwhile, Shelby is leading a briefing of the AIC to top officials, but the meeting is interrupted by a new live broadcast from inside the terrorists’ camp: “In one hour’s time,” Raina says into the camera, “the Citizen’s Liberation Front will be prepared to trade 1,667 hostages in exchange for the delivery of Eric Boyer.” The FBI office is confused as to why they would want the hacker, but Raina warns them that if they don’t cooperate, more blood will spill.

After, Raina is being held under watch by a single guard when Alex approaches dressed as one of the terrorists. She almost blows it by not speaking in Swahili, but then she goes ahead and speaks in Swahili. The other guard departs, and who knew she knew Swahili?! Raina is equally surprised by her linguistics and absolutely thrilled to see her — although, they’re both confused by the terrorists’ plans. They have thousands of hostages, and hundreds of world leaders, but they only seem to be concerned with the smaller group that includes Ryan, Dayana, Harry, etc.

Here Alex reveals her CIA Lesson of the Week: The large group of hostages is the terrorists’ weakness. The longer they have to deal with all of these people, the better. To prevent Eric from getting inside, Alex’s asks Raina to do the translation for the trade and slip a code in that only Miranda would know. Alex’s suggestion? “Tell her, ‘It’s like the boiler room down here.’” (That’s where Miranda found Liam’s decoy bomb after Grand Central.) Alex also tells Raina to find Lydia Hall: “We don’t get along, but she’s very good at what she does,” she says.

Back at headquarters, Paul is hearing Shelby’s argument for why they should not make the trade and Miranda’s insistences that they should. He ends up siding with Miranda, who reveals that Eric Boyer landed at LaGuardia an hour ago. So she and Shelby go find him. Of course, having just returned stateside after receiving a presidential pardon, Eric doesn’t really want to talk to the FBI. Miranda makes him get in her SUV to talk privately. “You didn’t live up to your end of the bargain,” she tells him once they’re alone. Eric can’t believe she’s one of “them.” “Consider me a representative,” she explains. She tells Eric that he knew what he was supposed to do and since he didn’t, “Now, I’m going to have to turn you over to them, which we both know is going to be far worse.” Eric says that if she does that, it’s suicide. “Not for me,” she retorts.

After exiting the car, Miranda steps away to call in her progress and Eric apologizes to Shelby. He hacked McGregor Wyatt in 2012, apparently, and says it was a fun system to break into. “I didn’t read your personal messages,” he promises and then suggests Shelby should.

When Raina re-enters the hostage cell, she finds Lydia, who immediately disagrees with Alex’s plan. “She’s not a government agent,” she says — so I guess Alex does not finish her stay at the Farm? — before explaining that the goal needs to be saving as many lives as possible. “Clearly, Alex told you you could trust me. Trust me.”

When the FBI arrives with Eric Boyer, Raina is across the dividing line, and Miranda and Eric are on the other side. Alex is watching from a window several stories up. As they release hostages in batches of 10, Eric and Miranda take one step closer. As the final group comes out, Miranda and Raina are standing face to face. Raina gives Miranda the code — and even though Miranda understands it, she still hands over Eric Boyer. Alex fires several shots from the window. It’s pandemonium downtown as the terrorists begin their search for Alex. Their only instruction: “Shoot her on sight.”

Miranda returns to headquarters and suggests that they let the hostages go after brief interviews. Shelby is shocked that she could be so cavalier when terrorists could be hiding in the hostage group. Burke sides with Miranda since she was right about the trade.

Dejected and alone in her office, Shelby logs into McGregor Wyatt and checks her 2012 folder. There, she finds a new message from Eric Boyer (!!). The subject line reads “Re: Miranda” while the note is simple: “She’s one of them.”

Eric, our mysterious criminal turned savior, is at a computer with terrorists giving him orders. “It wasn’t supposed to go this far,” he argues. Suddenly he grabs a gun off the the one closest to him and shoots himself in the head. While relieved that the terrorists are back at square one with whatever they needed hacked, this death is sad. We just met Eric and he accomplished so much.

Episode grade: A

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