Quantico – ODYOKE
By: Emily Cross
This week, “Quantico” took on the controversial Muslim registry and aired one of the best episodes to date. This show is on its best game when it’s storylines are inspired by real life events. It gives us a perfect example of how TV shows are important in shaping our cultural ideals.
We open on a woman wiring C4 explosives and then donning a hijab, making sure a security camera sees her on the way out. We then check in on Clay (Hunter Parrish), who is playing squash with Felix (Jon Kortajarena), an old boarding school friend who just so happens to work in the Speaker of the House’s office. Remember Henry Roarke (Dennis Boutsikaris) who was one of the collaborators and Speaker of the House? He’s bringing the Muslim registry to a vote in the House. After two failed votes, Clay is confident that it won’t go anywhere, but he presses Felix on his beliefs. Felix maintains that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
At The Farm, our team is packing up to go back to their cover stories, as they are fairly confident that the collaborators won’t be accessing the Cache any time soon given last week’s events. As Shelby (Johanna Braddy) and Alex (Priyanka Chopra) are packing up, Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) pops in to borrow a pair of ski gloves from Shelby because he is taking Sasha (Karolina Wydra) on a ski trip. Alex is more focused by the fact that she didn’t know that Ryan skied, but Shelby is adamant that you never really know somebody. Speaking of Shelby, she is looking forward to a massage and a day on the gun range to clear her head.
Before Alex heads out for New York, she stops at The Gold Leaf where she plans to meet up with Nimah (Yasmine Al Masri). She runs into Owen (Blair Underwood) at his usual booth and they discuss Owen’s visit with Lydia. They didn’t talk much because Owen was too scared to ask the real question: Was this his fault? Alex offers to stay to keep him company, but Owen encourages her to go home while she still can.
After Owen leaves, Alex spots Nimah at a table. As she approaches her she gets a call from… Nimah. She answers and Nimah tells her all about Raina’s apartment looking set-up like Alex’s did after Grand Central. She worries where Raina is, but Alex assures her that she is safe. She then turns around and tells Raina that she knows who she is.
Meanwhile, Ryan and Sasha are preparing to leave for their ski trip when he gets a text to report back to the bunker. The rest of the team gets the same text. Right as they are about to get out, they’re pulled right back in again.
Alex asks Raina what is going on and Raina tells her about her two attackers and that she managed to escape. They are interrupted by breaking news of a terrorist attack on a mall in Ohio. The suspected terrorist is believed to be a woman in a hijab (the woman from the beginning of the episode) so Alex decides it’s time to get Raina out of there.
In the bunker, the team is stunned by the news. Everything the collaborators have done so far has been under the radar so why something this big? Clay knows: the vote on the Muslim registry bill. An attack on American soil would push some swing votes in favor of the registry. Pin that attack on a Muslim woman and the vote passes. The Muslim woman in question is Raina/Nimah. Alex fills the rest of the team in on her framing and escape. Today, the team’s mission is political instead of clandestine: they need to make sure the vote doesn’t pass. Alex also points out that they need to figure out who is framing Raina so Clay instructs her to take point on that.
In the dorms, Alex works with Raina to identify the two people who attacked her. They identify the woman. Raina suggests they look into her known associate and Alex agrees. But first she has a question: how did these people find Raina? Her name wasn’t released in connection with the G20. Raina confesses that she was investigating on her own. She didn’t like that the government covered everything up and was determined to expose the AIC. She was working with Leon, which explains how they found him.
Nimah arrives and Alex leaves the twins alone. Raina still holds a grudge against Nimah for what happened at the G20. She doesn’t trust her and maintains that she can survive on her own.
After running into Ryan at the dorms (and still being upset she didn’t know he liked to ski), Alex gets a call from Baltimore PD about Leon.
After going through oppo research from Clay, the team identifies five representatives that could be swing votes. How do they know if they’re right? Clay has a friend (Felix) who can let them know if they’re on the right track. Ryan offers to ask Sasha to fill in the gaps. Clay, Shelby, Nimah and Ryan are tasked with convincing the swing votes to vote no. Alex found Raina’s other attacker, a man named Tony Vincent (Roger Wayne), so she and Owen will go after him to clear Raina’s name. Alex tells Owen that she found out that Leon is dead, of apparent suicide. She knows that the same people who attacked Raina got to him.
When Clay, Shelby, Nimah and Ryan get to the Hill, Ryan immediately leaves to connect with Sasha. Clay, Shelby and Nimah head to Felix’s office. Nimah is sassy (as usual) and the team tries to appeal to Felix’s humanity. After a little convincing, he gives them a few names.
Meanwhile, Alex and Owen find Tony Vincent at his home, tasing him before he can attack them.
Ryan finds Sasha and asks her if she knows anything new. She verifies the team’s intel, but takes one name off the list (a definite yes vote). Ryan comments that it’s good to see her in her element. She questions if she is just an asset he’s working and he admits that it’s part of it, but he does truly care about her. Is he telling the truth?
Clay gets the word that they’ve already lost one name and stresses to Shelby and Nimah how important it is that they flip the other names. He laments how anyone can even vote for a bill like this and Shelby tells him that there are people who are scared and this is the only way to a safer world for them. Nimah is sick of hearing other people debate her right to freedom. On that note, the three split up to try to change the votes. In a scarily true and powerful montage, we see representative after representative refusing our team’s appeals. A lot of these arguments for and against the registry are conversations people in our government are actually having. This affects real lives, on screen and off. However, our team fails miserably. Most of the representatives are worried about their own jobs first and foremost (typical Washington).
When the team comes together, not sure what to do next, Nimah gets a call. She tells Ryan that Sasha was flagged as a potential FSB asset. He doesn’t believe her, but doesn’t get a chance to argue because Clay is asked to leave. Apparently, Felix sent them after the wrong representatives in order to ensure a more secure vote for himself.
Alex and Owen interrogate Tony. He readily admits that he was after Raina and Leon and also admits that he was involved in Rebecca Sherman’s death. The people who hired him are after him because Raina is still alive. He will tell Alex and Owen everything if they let him go. Before they get a chance to make a deal, a gun fight breaks out. Tony is killed before he can tell them anything and Owen freezes. Alex comes up with a plan and manages to get them out.
In Washington, Ryan finds Sasha and confronts her about being a Russian asset. She tells him it’s not what he thinks, which means it’s exactly what he thinks.
Meanwhile, Shelby and Nimah are watching the vote from Felix’s office. They try to convince him to change people’s minds, but he refuses. He uses the ever-present Skittles metaphor (using chocolates), but Nimah gets angry. These are people not cheap political props.
Sasha tells Ryan the truth: that she gives the FSB a little information from time to time in exchange for her parents’ safety. She promises she hasn’t and would never give them information about him. He chooses to believe her, but I don’t know if she’s entirely trustworthy.
Nimah makes one more last-ditch attempt to convince Felix that hate is not the way forward. But it’s too late: the vote passes by six votes. It’s in the president’s hands now and Nimah is sure that Claire will veto. Felix says that Roarke doesn’t care if it gets vetoed. Shelby realizes that the vote passing doesn’t matter and in doing so tells Felix to shut up. (I love whenever Shelby tells people to shut up. #goals) Another revelation? Raina is officially the main suspect for the mall bombing.
While Alex drives, Owen laments his lack of field experience. He is convinced that he doesn’t have what it takes when it comes down to it. Alex doesn’t believe it, but there’s no convincing Owen.
At the bunker, Clay tells Ryan and Shelby that they failed. It’s always been about Claire: the collaborators wanted her to veto the bill so that the next time they stage an attack she’s blamed for not taking the necessary precautions.
In the dorms, Nimah essentially tells Raina that she can’t leave The Farm because the whole world thinks she’s guilty. At least here, Nimah can keep her safe. But Raina feels trapped and blames Nimah. So, Nimah offers to turn herself in, as Raina, until the team can clear Raina’s name. Raina agrees and the twins finally seem like they’re on the same page.
Alex tells Ryan he should drop Sasha as an asset, but he gets angry saying it’s none of her business. He will be careful, but it’s his call to make.
In the bunker, Clay watches a press conference by Roarke who basically lays out his plan for all to see. He says that Claire will be to blame when the next terror attack occurs. Shelby walks in and she and Clay lament what’s about to happen. Since Claire’s VP pick hasn’t been confirmed yet, guess who becomes president if she resigns? Henry Roarke. The idea of a collaborator as president is beyond scary, but Clay feels like there’s nothing he can do to stop it.
At The Gold Leaf, Owen once again laments that his instinct is gone. He asks her to guide him through his re-entry into the field, reversing the teacher-student dynamic they have. He needs to trust himself again and Alex is the person to help him with that.
Ryan brings a bottle of wine to Sasha’s apartment and he tells her that he’s trusting her until she gives him a reason not to. They have sex and we are left to question how true Ryan’s feelings are. Is he putting himself in danger?
In our end-of-episode montage, Shelby calls Caleb to tell him that his family needs him. Felix calls Clay to apologize for how things went down. Raina pins a hijab on Nimah and they say their goodbyes. This isn’t new for them, but I imagine it’s hard every time. Ryan copies fome files from Sasha’s computer onto a flash drive. As Alex and Owen leave The Gold Leaf, Sebastian (David Lim) watches.