We are winding down to the last few episodes of the second season of QUANTICO, and the second half of the season is proving to be infinitely better than the first. For one thing they have recently been tackling some hot button issues that we as Americans are facing today, including a Muslim ban and, in this most recent episode, the country feeling more divided than ever to the point of looming violence.
We open with Alex making good on her promise to Owen she made last episode to help get him into fighting shape after he froze in the field. She has him doing training exercises in a pool, and you can tell Owen is feeling unhappy and frustrated with himself. Yet, as she always does, Alex persists and remains optimistic and supportive.
Raina is still pretending to be Nimah this week, as Nimah sent herself away to be locked up by the authorities in place of her twin sister. Meanwhile Raina is supposed to be figuring out how to clear her name of the terrorist attack in Ohio last week. HOWEVER, as you could have guessed, there are more pressing matters at hand this episode, so that takes a back seat (poor Nimah!). Also, Ryan is still dating the reporter Sasha, and they have a lot of sexy time. But per usual just when you think Ryan has really fallen for this girl, he ends up showing that he is still using her as an asset; he bugs her dresser before leaving one morning. Of course Sasha, being as sharp as she is, figures it out and bugs Ryan back with her keys!
All this is interrupted when it is revealed that the cache has been accessed multiple times over the night. It appears the the infamous Collaborators are trying to split apart America by instigating a riot in one of five cities rife for violence. The fact that President Haas vetoed the Muslim ban that was up to pass last week isn’t helping calm people’s fury. At any rate, the team realizes they have to figure out what city the riots are going to happen in, get there, and try to subvert the Collaborators’ dastardly plan.
Clay isn’t having it, though. He’s a mess this episode, reeling from the teams incapability of staying a step ahead of the AIC. He announces to the team that he believes they’ve already lost and will be going to his mother, President Haas, to recommend they disband the task force. What a Debbie Downer. Alex, naturally, is not hearing any of it, and she steps up to a leadership role when they figure out the riots are going to go down in Cleveland (after ruling out a Black Lives Matter protest in Detroit and pipeline protesters in North Dakota). Alex rounds up the group and they head to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio!
Their plan is to use their FBI badges to help shut down the violence there, but they are surprised to find that Miranda is heading up the FBI outpost in the city, trying to get back in the good graces of the FBI after the G20 summit debacle and eventual cover-up. Miranda knows they are up to something else, and she even outs Raina to Shelby and Alex, who are shocked. How she realized it and not Nimah’s peers she works with almost every damn day, I don’t know. Anyway.
The city is on the verge of a riot over a looming court decision dealing with gun laws (sound familiar?). The gun used in defense in a home invasion was made illegal due to a law President Haas herself passed, making her look pretty, pretty bad. The jury is almost hung on the verdict and the team at first searches for the juror that may be trying to sway the decision one way or the other, but it ultimately ends up being the Judge himself influenced by the AIC, and there’s nothing the team can really do.
But there’s one person who can save the day! When Clay goes to his mother, as he said he would, he finds who else but his brother Caleb there, in sombrero and all. Shelby called him last week, distressed with the way Clay was handling things. Clay and Caleb are at each other’s throats. Caleb says his brother is doing a shoddy job of heading up the team, and that of course he’s failing because he hasn’t switched up his tactics at all. When Clay looks to his mother for support, the President surprisingly sides with Caleb, saying she was maybe mistaken to put Clay at the head of the task force. Maybe Caleb should run the team? Ouch.
That’s when Clay contacts his buddy Felix, assistant to the Speaker of the House Rourke, who we know is behind a lot of the subversion trying to undermine the presidency. Clay goes to Rourke telling him he wants to work with him on something, and Rourke is obviously at first skeptical. Rourke admits that he isn’t so much a Republican as he is a person who supports the stacking of power for elected leaders (pointing out Clay’s mom wasn’t elected, so she doesn’t count). Rourke is in fact looking to build an American oligarchy. In the end, he offers to work with Clay, telling him it would be could for them to come together to show the American people opposite sides of the political spectrum can accomplish things together.
Rourke’s next move is to head to Cleveland just in time for the hotly contested jury decision. When a guilty charge is dropped, he’s ready to give a rousing speech that will probably incite violence. But Clay cuts him off! He’s there with his mother, President Haas, who has a speech he wrote himself. In her speech she admits that she was wrong and that she will work to fix it, and that the American people need to be wary of people who tell them that they will make the hard decisions FOR them. People are inspired and violence seems to be avoided for the time being. Rourke is furious and takes it out on Felix for setting up the meeting with Clay to begin with. He tells his assistant if he doesn’t spy on Clay and get something good on him, he’ll throw Felix out of the country and take away his Green Card.
At the Bunker, Owen’s instincts end up serving him well, as he catches Sebastian in full cat burglar gear spying on them. They get into a fistfight that Owen obviously wins (I mean, look at him) and when Sebastian wakes up he is being interrogated by Owen and Ryan. But it turns out that Sebastian is not such a bad guy after all (last we saw him, he had captured Harry). Sebastian has also been spying on the AIC and wanted to make sure that was what Owen and the team were doing as well. Sebastian even gives them the name of a Collaborator he’s found, and asks them to let him go, just as he let Harry go (which we see in a flashback–big sigh of relief). They do.
Sasha eventually confronts Ryan about the bug and explains to him that she is close to figuring out what Ryan and the team are up to. She says she has a lead that could possibly help them to that end. It’s with a guy named Peter Theo, who is the last Collaborator’s name they need. But when she calls asking questions she shouldn’t be asking, we know where this is going. Leaving Ryan, she gets in her car and it explodes. Yeah, not too sad to see her go, to be honest. And at least the President is pleased with the complete list of names.
In the end we see that Caleb and Clay are both sticking around. At the kitchen in the Farm Caleb confronts Shelby, though, telling her that she has to stop making Clay fall for her before he has to step in. C’mon, Shelby, haven’t you had enough of the Haas boys? Also, at the Gold Leaf, Alex and Owen are having some burgers when Alex confides in him that Owen is the only guy she can truly trust, as he’s never once lied to her. Owen smiles, telling her “I never really liked you at all.” They laugh. There is definitely some romance budding here, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
Overall, the episode brought some interesting character returns (Miranda and Caleb), played to some current hot button issues, and set the stages for the final few episodes of the season. A solid B episode.
Season 2, Episode 18 (S02E18)
Quantico airs Monday at 10PM on ABC
Paul is working as an undercover operative at The Tracking Board, investigating a rogue group from within, and is currently at the center of a conspiracy that nobody but he magically knows about.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulgulyas
Keep up with all of Paul’s reviews here.
Paul Gulyas | Contributor