By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)
Remember a few weeks ago when Raina openly wondered why the terrorists hadn’t killed her yet? It was clear that the attackers knew Raina was trying to get to the bottom of the terrorist plot and were playing a cat and mouse game with her emotions as she continued her investigations.
For a few moments during Sunday’s Quantico episode it seemed like Raina would get her answer. One of the first scenes viewers saw this week was of Raina being lead away from the other hostages and taken to an isolated room. She’s there to be questioned and to make a hostage video that would soon be seen around the world. The terrorist masterminds instruct Raina to propose a trade in order to end the standoff. They would release the 1700 hostages in exchange for the hacker Eric Boyer, whose name viewers had heard alluded to in the past. “Cooperate and this crisis will soon be over,” Raina tells the U.S. Government in the video. “Resist and more blood will be spilled.”
Luckily for Raina, she’s not completely alone. While she’s being held in isolation in a basement room inside the federal building, a familiar figure in body armor comes to check on her. It’s Alex Parrish, and she assures Raina that everything will be ok. She also tells Raina to consult with Lydia, who is also in the building. Alex openly acknowledges that she and Lydia have had a dicey relationship, but says that she still trusts her absolutely.
That’s not quite enough for Raina at first, but she quickly comes around. (While Raina’s loyalty to Alex was touching, she realized that reversing course after learning of Lydia’s expertise was essential.) Lydia immediately tells her the hostages-for-hacker swap is a terrible idea and that she must do everything in her power to stop it. Lydia tells Raina that she needs to allude to the plot that ensnared Liam in order for Miranda to catch on that the terrorists may be among the released hostages. Raina agrees and sets out to do so.
But this is Quantico, which means that there will be A PROBLEM. We’ve known for a while that there was something going on with Miranda, but it was either my wishful thinking or a genuine lack of clarity that lead me to hope that she wasn’t plotting with the terrorists. After this week, it’s clear that she’s working with them for a still-unknown purpose.
Things began getting worrisome after Shelby and Miranda apprehended Eric Boyer as he was crossing a trendy Brooklyn street so that they could proceed with the exchange. Boyer rightfully points out that he can’t be arrested; he hasn’t committed a crime. They promptly get him for jaywalking and Miranda asks Shelby to wait so that she can talk to Boyer privately.
That’s when things get downright weird. Miranda essentially tells Boyer, “I’m one of them” and even Boyer is stunned that Miranda is aligned with the terrorists. Miranda’s allegiances become clearer and more frightening during the hostage tradeoff. Raina is the designated representative who approaches Miranda. She immediately warns her off, alluding to Liam and the fact that terrorist agents are likely about to be freed in seconds. Miranda plays dumb (even though no one would ever think Miranda is dumb!). “I don’t understand what you are saying,” she essentially tells her former trainee. Stunned, Raina can do nothing but duck as shooting breaks out around them.
Here’s what else stood out this episode.
The new kids get to mingle. If there’s one thing this show does extremely well, it’s a good cocktail party scene. (Remember last season when Alex met Ryan’s (ex) wife? So amazing.
This week’s scene had it all: Alex and Ryan flirting in cocktail attire, Alex’s clutch-turned-spying-device, lots of intrigue and lots of slightly tipsy agents.
Harry Doyle is gay (and maybe a major part of the AIC.) Harry (who is portrayed by British actor Russell Tovey) has been one of the most intriguing CIA agents all season. While there were moments earlier this season where it seemed as if he’d been flirting with Alex, it seems as if that was just friendly banter. While everyone else at the Langley cocktail party are either working the room or flirting with each other, Harry is openly scrolling through a Tinder-eque gay dating app. The top CIA official standing next to him notices and offers him some interesting advice: “You know, the Agency covers PrEP now.” (He’s referring to the newish drug meant for “people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it.” You can learn more about it by checking out this CDC page.)
Harry needs to stop bothering Sebastian, though. As I noted last week, Harry seems to get a secret thrill from needling fellow agent Sebastian Chan about his beliefs on religion and sexuality. Harry took it up a notch this week and essentially asked Sebastian if he was gay and telling him about a friend of his from his childhood (who was almost certainly Asian) who struggled with coming out of the closet. This friend, Harry implied, ultimately died by suicide. The whole thing smacked of Asian-splaining in a way that was just weird.
As readers can probably tell, I was once again creeped out by this interaction between the two. Why is Harry taking it upon himself to do this? Everyone should be permitted to work through their identity issues on their own schedule and it would be perfectly understandable if Sebastian chose not to confide in an insensitive bully. For his part, Sebastian tells Harry he isn’t gay and essentially asks to be left alone.
The CIA is as Scientology-esque as ever. Speaking of being creeped out, the training exercises this week were as cult-like as ever. Apparently CIA agents can never show any weaknesses or any signs of having a personality ever and they have FitBit like watches to make sure they don’t get too emotional or don’t let their hearts beat too fast. Is it any surprise that Ryan — who might just be the most robotic romantic lead on television right now — continues to excel during these tests?
Lakshmi Gandhi is a journalist and pop culture writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in Metro New York, NBC Asian America and NPR’s Code Switch blog, among other sites. She likes it when readers tweet her @LakshmiGandhi with their thoughts on Asian American issues and romance novels.
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