Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of shows that deal with alternating timelines. If there are small flashbacks on occasion to provide context (see: Luke Cage), that’s one thing but to try and keep track of twice as many stories doesn’t usually appeal to me. Quantico does it well though.
In last week’s season premiere we found out that after the bombing incident last season Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) got with Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin) and both, without the knowledge of the other, were being courted to try out for the CIA. The inevitably made the cut and will now spend the next six months studying and training to become agents.
In present time, the First Lady has just been decapitated by a terrorist organiztion during a hostage situation. Booth and Nimah Amin, (Yasmine Al Massri) are among the hostages and discuss working together because they don’t trust the other hostages, many of whom are also CIA operatives. Amin points out that Parrish might still, hopefully, be in the area.
The year ago flashback opens with Parrish and Booth in bed together. Their FBI handler, Miranda Shaw, (Aunjanue Ellis), explains that they need to talk to all of the other candidates at The Farm (the CIA training facility) and build profiles because everything has been redacted.
Parrish and a police officer are on the move in the building with the hostages, trying to find the underground police bunker nearby. Shaw is flexing her jurisdicational muscles by taking charge of the investigation.
The spy school students are instructed about how to tail people and told to practice in neighboring Williamsburg. Parrish and Harry Doyle (Russell Tovey) head into town together while Booth chats with his roommate León Velez (Aarón Díaz) about his past as a photographer.
Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy) tells Shaw about Parrish potentially being inside the building with the terrorists and is told to track her down so that they can make a real play at trying to save people instead of dealing with politicians and bureaucrats.
Amin points out to Booth that the number of hostages keeps rising and she thinks that the terrorists are coming back in dressed in plain clothes to appear as hostages.
Parrish and Doyle talk shop in a bar for a while before making their way outside and discovering that they are being tailed as part of a training exercise. On of the locals points out to Booth (by addressing him as Jason Bourne no less) that he has a tail of his own and it’s none other than their teacher Owen Hall (Blair Underwood).
As it turns out, Parrish is the rabbit and Doyle orchestrated the tail the whole time. He points out that the CIA is “every man for himself” and we see that she might finally be starting to understand that building profiles for Shaw isn’t going to be as easy as she thought.
Amin is led away in the next group of hostages. She intentionally stumbles and scratches one of the terrorists to see if she can prove her theory about the terrorists pretending to be hostages. Parrish and her cop friend come upon the locked bunker just as they are about to be discovered. He pushes her inside and is shot shortly thereafter.
After the training drill Booth and Dayanna Mampasi (Pearl Thusi) have a heart to heart about overcoming fear to be good operatives while Parrish receives rare praise from Lydia Bates (Tracy Ifeachor).
Parrish finds out that Wyatt will be her handler for the duration of her time at The Farm and she breaks down about how they aren’t training to “do good” as they did at Quantico. Booth finds out that his handler is Amin.
When Amin is led back into the room with the other hostages, we find out that all of the hostages have been scratched identically to the one she did to the terrorist. Parrish gets through Shaw via phone from the bunker and is told to go upstairs and assess the situation.
The episode ends with one of the masked terrorists receiving a sat phone text from Shaw that Parrish is in the building.
I thought this was a pretty good episode and I don’t believe that Shaw is a bad guy. They tried to lead viewers that way last season and it ended up being false. I think that Doyle is the one most likely to be on the bad guy team at this point but that theory will change 40 times between now and spring. Quantico is not on next week because of the debate and will resume in two weeks.