Both past and present came to critical heads this week on Quantico: Alex ultimately gets pushed out of the mission on the Farm (but as we should have known, she decides she’ll take things into her own hands), while her real-time experience in New York finds her staring at a weapon of mass destruction and engaged in some hand-to-hand combat with her former flame, Ryan.
Let’s get to it.
Alex and Ryan are “catching up” (wink wink, if you know what I mean) at the Safe House when Nimah calls. She wants to meet with Ryan privately, but Alex isn’t down for that. She sticks around, wanting to know why she’s feeling left out. (Um, Alex, because you are.) Nimah gives her a wishy-washy answer and, after Alex leaves, reminds Ryan he can’t tell Alex he’s been recruited by the AIC. They spent the rest of their meeting discussing who else they think the AIC has tapped. His guesses? Sebastian and Dayana. He wonders if she’s considering León as a suspect, but Nimah tells him he doesn’t need to worry about León — she has her own intel for his potential.
Cue: León, who’s in bed with Shelby. Shelby, going by Jane to her paramour, says she won’t be going home for Thanksgiving this year. The totally normal reason? Her father, a judge, called her an extremist last year because she’s a card-carrying member of the NRA. Some cover, ladies.
Alex is licking her wounds over breakfast with Harry. He questions her intel (the air-gapped computer, the burner phones) as well as how active her duty is, once he’s learned Alex hasn’t been able to get ahold of her handler.
Back at home, Owen and Lydia are still fighting. Lydia tells him he won’t have to deal with her much longer, as she’s gotten cleared for another tour — but, sensing his worry, she tells him she will stay behind at the Farm if Owen promises to drop his obsession over who leaked his name. With a tense agreement between them, they head to class. Today’s lesson is cover stories. People will be granted permission to head home for Thanksgiving break, but only when they can present a believable cover to use with their families when they arrive home. (They also warn the recruits that anyone who asks too many follow-up questions will have to be cut out of their lives entirely.)
Everyone’s covers work on the first or second try — except for Dayana. She doesn’t even try because she doesn’t want to go home. After class wraps, Lydia is waiting for Dayana in her room. She tells her she wrote a cover for her, but Dayana rejects it. She says she refuses to return home just to lie to her family and storms off. Alex and Ryan have an equally not-fruitful meetup, in which Alex asks Ryan what he’s doing for the long weekend and Ryan responds by telling Alex she needs to get in touch with Miranda.
Alex, annoyed with this conversation and having just been blown off by Shelby once again, decides to take matters into her own hands (surprise!) and tails Nimah, following her to Shelby’s new apartment. She and Nimah get there right as Shelby has hung up the phone with León. Quick recap: Having realized handguns make for bad pillow talk, Shelby tries to soften León with a tale of her abusive father. When León gives little in return by way of conversation, she tells him he can either open up and invest in their relationship or see someone else. Shelby and Nimah give Alex the news: She failed and is officially out of the opp.
NEXT: Alex decides to go it alone
The only Thanksgiving we see, ironically, is the one taking place in Britain with Harry. He told the class he was going to be visiting his sister and brother-in-law — but that sister is really a “sister,” which means he’s spending time with his handler and her husband. It turns out Harry’s mission is to try and form as many allies in U.S. intelligence as possible. Once Brexit officially happens and Britain is out of the European Union, they will need sources. He feels confident about Alex, Ryan, and Dayana, and when he doesn’t mention Sebastian, his handler calls him out. She’s been spying on him.
Later that night, Harry tries to sneak out when Phillip (the husband, who goes by Pip) comes down and catches him. It turns out Harry, Charlotte (wife/handler), and Elliott (Harry’s deceased lover) go way back to childhood — and Pip thinks his father-in-law is at fault for Elliott’s death. He wants Harry to look into it, but Harry reminds him how powerful that man is. I like this plot line and a bigger role for Harry, so I’m down with this development!
At home, Lydia left a test for her father by abandoning her bag on the kitchen table. He digs through it. When she returns, she tells him he promised to drop his crusade and failed, so now she’s leaving him for her mission. Before going, she gives him a report that shows that Owen’s name was leaked because of mistakes he made in the field.
The AIC has given Ryan his first mission: Use a stun gun to grab an elderly park ranger and bring him to an address they’ve texted him. He does it, and when he leaves, he sees a gun on the table next to the man. León is next to enter; also an AIC recruit, his job is to kill the man. Later, Ryan and León find each other outside an abandoned warehouse. The third AIC recruit walks up: Dayana. Before they can talk about their day’s events, each of their burner phones receive a video message of them setting up (Ryan), executing (León), and cleaning up (Dayana) the park ranger. The AIC now has leverage, they say.
Ryan and León both find comfort from their partners after these events. Ryan re-proposes to Alex at the safe house. She says yes, again. León arrives at Shelby’s with tears in his eyes. He admits to murdering someone, and shows her his bloody hands to prove it happened today. Shelby says she trusts him and that he had to do it. They embrace.
When Ryan leaves Alex, Miranda comes in. She apologizes about the mission and tells Alex she has a job for her back at headquarters. Alex isn’t interested, though, and says she’s staying at the Farm and will take down the AIC on her own. Classic Alex.
NEXT: There’s a weapon of mass destruction, but it’s not here to destroy New York
Harry, León, Alex, and Sebastian get Dayana to the bunker to clean her up. Alex calls Shelby, who informs Alex there’s a biological weapon inside the perimeter. Alex says “we” will disable it, and Shelby is confused. “You have people you trust?” Back at headquarters with Shelby is Miranda, for whom things are going poorly. It appears the U.S. Northern Command, working under General Richards, will be taking over this crisis — and Miranda doesn’t enjoy that.
Alex and Co., with their collars removed thanks to Alex, agree they will go to 28 Liberty, where Alex suspects the weapon is being held, to thwart the explosive. León doesn’t think Dayana can do it, due to her injuries, and something about the glance between these two makes me uneasy — but there isn’t much time for that. As Harry says, “This is totally mental, but I like it.”
Nimah and Raina sit down for a meeting. Nimah says she joined the CLF six months ago and its mission is to liberate everyone from “America, and the lie it sold for centuries that there is such a thing as freedom.” She adds: “This country would deport you if it could.” Quantico, for the most part, is enjoyable, impractical, and improbable. It’s part of the reason two seasons of plots centered on terrorist attacks in New York have somehow remained (relatively) lighthearted. That overall feeling has been fading lately, as this was one of the show’s most overt, political moments — and I’m still not sure how I feel about the shift.
Raina responds: “What I see is how wrong I’ve been about you,” she says. She explains she thought of Nimah as her other half her entire life, but in actuality, Nimah is her shadow — the dark, ugly, angry parts of her that follow her around. When Nimah leaves, she tells the terrorists outside, “She’s not one of them. Keep her in there until it’s over.”
At headquarters, Shelby tells General Richards she has been in contact with Alex, but Richards doesn’t care. Later, Miranda and Shelby confront her about wanting to use a drone on the region (which would kill everyone). The General says Alex has 48 minutes to accomplish something, otherwise the military will be sending in air reinforcement. I honestly can’t tell what Miranda is thinking or what the “best” option is, given her ties to the terrorists.
Harry says the crew has to travel to the weapon’s location via the air ducts to avoid the terrorists. Dayana can’t climb up there, so she has to stay behind and León offers to stay with her. Alex is suspicious, for sure, but tells them to head back to the bunker as she, Harry, and Sebastian take leave. After a bit of traveling, Sebastian almost falls through the ceiling — and drops the canister they were going to use to disarm the weapon. Harry loses it. “You are one of them!” he accuses. Alex sends Harry to find another blow torch while she continues the search with Sebastian.
When they find the weapon, Alex is surprised to see it’s set up not to kill everyone in New York, but everyone inside the building. (These seem like two very different-scale explosions, but whatever.) Alex says they have to warn the FBI, which seems to confuse Sebastian. As they run away, Harry finds them, as do León and Dayana — which is convenient. As Alex notices this oddity, a bunch of terrorists surround them in the streets. One of them leads Alex away as a gunshot goes off in the background. Alex fights back, and when she rips the mask off of her captor, she finds Ryan. In her moment of surprise, he pushes her back and turns on an electric perimeter. “If you cross this line,” he warns, “the weapon will be set off. Everyone will die.” Holy sh-t!