Alex Parrish takes on new training, new trainees, and a whole new terrorist
When we last saw Alex Parrish, she was sitting in the back of an SUV with a take-it-or-leave-it offer from the CIA and a buzzing cell phone. The caller ID was showing Ryan Booth’s name, and she had to make a choice: a future working for the government…or love?
She picked both — sort of. Like the first season of Quantico, there are split timelines in season 2. The first is six months after Alex was approached by Director Keyes; she’s working at the CIA, dating Ryan, and on the verge of graduating into the agency’s clandestine training program. The other timeline, the new “present,” is a year after her recruitment; she and Ryan have broken up, and we have no clue if she’s still a CIA operative.
In this present, Alex is in New York City looking for Ryan, who is now in President Todd’s detail. His team is there for the G20 Summit, where world leaders are meeting. Their get-together is tense and quick. Ryan has to meet with an anonymous “she,” and he asks Alex to wait. Instead, once he leaves the room, Alex pulls out an engagement ring (!), leaves it on the table, and bolts.
On her way out, Alex spots someone who shocks her. She snaps a photo and calls Shelby, whose reinstatement at the FBI remains intact. “I know we’re not supposed to speak,” she tells Shelby cryptically, “but I really need a favor. I just saw a dead man,” Alex adds. How does Alex know said man should be dead? “I’m the one who killed him.”
Cut back to one year prior: A CIA employee is reading a book titled Skyforce: Edge of Shadows. On the back is an author photo for Jeremy Miller, the man Alex just spotted in the future/present. Next, we meet Jeremy Miller at a book signing. He opens the cover of his book to autograph, but finds a blue Post-it note with “1:37” scribbled on it. At a rally in Washington D.C., a handsome photographer gets a similar blue note slapped onto his camera lens. In Boston, a lawyer exiting a courtroom receives one. In Seattle, a traveler returning from abroad finds one on the dashboard of her car. And finally, one appears on Alex’s desktop.
Later, Alex meets Shelby and Ryan for dinner as they catch up on the activities of their former classmates: Nimah busted a cartel in Arizona, Iris put a Miami trafficker behind bars, Brandon got promoted into Behavioral Analysis, and Caleb’s at Berkeley studying law. Ryan is heading on an undercover mission, and Alex is clearly lying about having accepted the CIA job. They think she works behind a desk at a security firm…which isn’t exactly a lie.
As Alex heads up to the bar, Ryan shows Shelby the ring he’s going to propose with later that evening. But it’s 8:18, Alex’s Post-it note time, and her phone rings. “Alex Parrish, you have been chosen for training in the national clandestine services,” says a robotic voice. “You need to leave the bar right now.” She returns to the table, disappoints Ryan, accidentally ruins her own engagement, and heads off. As she goes, Ryan’s phone rings, too.
The voice directs Alex to Camp Peary for training, where Ryan arrives shortly after she does. Alex reacts immediately, angry that his undercover assignment appears to be spying on her — again. Ryan fires back, frustrated with Alex’s deception. (Does this feel familiar?) “I’m here for the FBI,” says Ryan. “So am I,” retorts Alex. Suddenly, “Quantico” is a relevant title all over again.
NEXT: Who is Jeremy Miller?
Back in the present, Shelby tells Alex the man she saw isn’t Jeremy Miller — his name is Paolo Silva. Before Shelby can say much more, her call with Alex drops and an aerial shot shows a string of bombs detonating in lower Manhattan, where the G20 Summit is being held. Ryan tries rushing the president and first lady offstage and to safety as the first tremors reverberate, but before he can, masked assailants storm the lobby of the building and knock out everyone with gas.
A year earlier, things aren’t going very well, either. Alex and Ryan are fuming, angry with each other as well as with FBI Deputy Director Miranda Shaw and CIA Director Matthew Keyes, both of whom are present in their safe house. Miranda explains the FBI and CIA used to be able to do whatever they wanted in the name of “national security.” A “rogue group” with a “nefarious agenda” aren’t crazy about recent laws governing the way both agencies conduct surveillance and espionage at home and abroad, so they’re doing things their own way. Miranda and Keyes suspect The Farm’s lead instructor Owen Hall. (Man, the government sure does have a hard time finding good instructors these days!)
Alex and Ryan’s mission is to get close and get recruited into the rogue group. Ryan is concerned that throwing two former FBI agents (who are romantically involved) into the mix is a bad idea. Keyes agrees and suggests they go back to being colleagues only. (Okay.) “Look, I know it’s the bureau’s job to police the intelligence community,” Ryan says, “but undercover? In the CIA? Surrounded by a bunch of future anarchists?!” Alex finishes his thought, “That’s insane!” It sure is, and that’s why we love you, Quantico.
As training kicks off the following morning, we meet several of Alex and Ryan’s Farm-mates. “Jeremy Miller,” the author; Lydia Bates, who is not a fan of Jeremy Miller’s work; photographer León Velez; and an English-accented man of mystery called Harry Doyle.
Back to the G20 summit in the present, the masked assailants have entered the main room and are holding its occupants hostage. In Swahili, the group’s leader asks who can understand him. Raina, who was at the event as a translator, stands.
Inside the FBI offices, a message comes up on all the computer screens: “We are the Citizen’s Liberation Front. We have taken control of a five-block radius in lower Manhattan. Any attempt to cross our perimeter will result in the release of a biological agent that will devastate the area. Please await further instruction.”
Translating for the group, Raina tells the room their demands: “There are individuals around the world who are unjustly persecuted for breaches of global security and before the day ends, they have to be pardoned or many will die. If you obey, it will be over soon. We will begin with America.” When President Todd refuses to bow to terrorists, they threaten to kill his wife. So after some discussion, the president tells his captor he’ll offer a pardon of the requested prisoner in the United States. After the attackers get him to agree to the deal on camera, the captor leans over, and in perfect English, thanks Ryan for his efforts.
NEXT: 1, 2, 3, Jump!
In flashbacks, Owen Hall is giving the trainees their first assignment: elicitation. At an open bar (as is always the case with the allocation of taxpayer dollars on Quantico), the trainees must match a card with a key piece of information about another trainee. Ryan tries to woo Harry Doyle with a story about a tragically dead wife; León tries to get Ryan to give up info on how close he and Alex really are; and Lydia claims defeat and saddles up to Alex to swap life stories and girl gossip. Instructor Hall returns and says this wasn’t exactly the test they thought: It wasn’t really about getting information on others, but about making sure no one got dirt on you. Harry Doyle wins, as a handful of recruits are sent home, but he can’t celebrate for long. “Sober up quickly,” Owen says. “In one hour, you’re jumping out of a plane.”
Once onboard, the recruits all have to jump without hesitation. Harry does so immediately. Jeremy struggles and ultimately can’t make the leap, so he’s told he’s done with The Farm. As León prepares for his turn, Lydia reveals to Alex there’s something wrong with her harness. She refuses to tell Owen because she doesn’t want to get cut, so she gets up to jump. Ryan slides over and tells Alex that León has pieced together how they’re more than just colleagues. They argue about whose fault it is, and how messed up it is that they can slip in and out of their covers. “You think I want you doubting how much I love you?” he asks, before adding he was going to prove his devotion to her the night before she ran off for training. Ruining her second chance at an engagement, Alex now realizes Lydia is about to jump, so she rushes to grab her.
Alex expects congratulations and thanks when they all land safely — but neither are coming. “Don’t ever ignore my instructions again,” says Owen. “You interfered with a fellow recruit.” As Alex protests, Lydia steps forward and announces she’s not a trainee — she’s their co-instructor, and Alex blew their cover. “The FBI might train you to be a hero,” she sneers. “But in the agency the mission comes first. You don’t.” (Speaking for all of us, Harry quips, “Bit of an extreme example, isn’t it?”)
Despite her heroics, Alex makes the final cut. Back at the safe house and away from training, Alex and Ryan are looking for a cease fire of their own. Alex asks again how Ryan was going to prove his love, so he gets down on one knee with the ring. But Alex stops him. “When this mission is complete, and when we’ve gone through this together, show me then.” He agrees. They promise they’ll lie to everyone else, but never again to each other.
Alex and Ryan aren’t the only people hiding the depth of their connection: As Lydia enters Instructor Hall’s home, we learn he’s her dad! He’s in the middle of sliding a pin into the Philippines, on a world map filled with pins. Suspicions raised.
Moving back to the future, outside the G20 summit, Alex is on the move. She’s snuck into the building and is rooting through the CLF’s crates when one of them catches her. She knocks off his mask — and Jeremy Miller, a.k.a. Paolo Silva, is staring back at her. “You’re dead!” she reasons. “You’re wrong about a lot of things,” he counters, before jumping out of the window and escaping.
After the president’s pardon for Eric Boyer has been granted, Raina realizes there are more terrorists in the room, hiding in plain sight. And as she says so to Ryan, the CLF raises a machete to the first lady. Alex appears just offstage… Can she get there in time? A few other questions linger at the end of episode 1: