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Quantico Recap: Madam President, History Has Its Eyes on You

TVLine logo TVLine 1/31/2017 Kimberly Roots
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Need to catch up? Check out the previous Quantico recap here. 

Remember when Quantico was fun-but-far-fetched? Yeah, those were good times.

There’s a moment in this week’s Quantico where Marcia Cross’ now-President Claire Haas delivers a monologue that Hillary Clinton herself has probably muttered to herself while walking the woods of Chappaqua.

When Shelby asks the former vice president why she isn’t ready to “just do the right thing” in regard to the show’s pressing terrorist problem, Claire replies, “Because I wasn’t elected. America elected a half-as-qualified man with next to no experience, a man who’s never stood for anything, who’s never served this country and rolled over out of fear when a terrorist demanded it.”

It’s a strong moment in the present timeline, and I hold onto it with both hands, because I seriously have no idea what else happens in that timeline this week. I mean, I watched it. And we’ll go over the beats. But while we get more puzzle pieces, I don’t think we’re supposed to know exactly what’s up with the rogue faction just yet. (At least, I hope that’s the case. Because if I’m missing something big, I want you to tell me in the comments.)

Read on for the highlights of “JMPALM.”

PERSEVERATING POTUS | Let’s start with that present storyline, shall we? Alex and Miranda drive into the terrorists’ zone, via a service road that the hacker from a few episodes back digitally erased from every single map in existence. Meanwhile, Claire Haas shows up at the FBI just as everyone is being evacuated. “You got the job you always wanted,” Shelby snarks at her ex’s mom, but POTUS doesn’t have time for petty bickering: She needs Shelby’s help in calling off the impending airstrike on the building where the terrorists and hostages are.

“You’re the Commander in Chief. You just say no,” Shelby says, not understanding. “I can’t, because I helped create the rogue group in the CIA,” Claire responds. GASP!

What she really means (I think — this is where it starts getting murky): She passed a bill that called for independent oversight of black ops, and 10 percent of the money was earmarked for new practices… but was eventually used to create what Alex & Co. call the AIC. Haas needs Shelby to disavow the white paper she wrote about the AIC, because it’ll look like President Haas created the group on purpose (though she didn’t).

And that’s what brings us to the bit of dialogue above, where Haas laments her position as a woman acting in the manner of the men before her (airstrike, etc.). Shelby encourages the president to call off the strike, which may cost her her job — because it’ll look like she’s protecting the rogue faction that she created — but is the right thing to do. And after a lot of hemming and hawing and fabulous cheekbones, Claire decides to stop the planes from strafing the building with bombs. But there is a rather intense hostage rescue team operation happening instead, and as Shelby warns Alex in her last call, things could get messy quick.

MIRANDA, IMMOBILIZED | Meanwhile, Alex and Miranda run into Nimah soon after entering the terrorists’ sphere. Nimah has barely told Alex that Ryan is not part of the rogue faction before she pulls a gun on their old boss, yelling that they were tricked. But Miranda moves quickly and holds her gun to Alex’s head, insisting that getting to Lydia and her drives is more important than freeing the hostages. “Millions of lives will be lost if those drives fall into the wrong hands,” Miranda maintains. Eventually, Alex gets control of the situation and runs off to help their friends while Nimah keeps her weapon trained on Miranda.

LEVERAGE | In the past, the recruits work on “operating an asset,” aka getting someone to do what you want them to do. If I were grading Alex on her absorption of the week’s lesson, girlfriend would get a big ol’ F, because Harry is operating her the entire episode, and she doesn’t realize it until the end (and until her relationship with Ryan — already dry and dusty — nearly crumbles into pieces and blows away in the breeze).

During an op involving the Venezuelan consulate, Dayana hectors León about being weak but then prematurely releases a kid they’d kinda kidnapped as leverage. Meanwhile, Ryan and Sebastian completely strike out (but at least they get to share a scene with Broadway’s current Hamilton), and Harry makes a copy of some files for his personal use (though he keeps it from his handler, Charlotte, when he checks in later).

COMING CLEAN | A whole bunch of lies are called out into the open throughout the episode, so let’s just catalogue them here, eh? León walks in on Nimah at Shelby’s — er, “Jane’s” — house and says he knows the blonde has been lying… and he wants to work for the FBI to help take down the bad guys. “What they’re doing there is not right,” he says, and Nimah says she’ll get back to him.

Alex lets Ryan think that she’s got an AIC phone (no, seriously, where did she get that phone?), but when Ryan mentions that to Owen, Owen confronts Alex… and outs himself as NOT the leader of the rogue faction.

That’s when we learn that Lydia is really behind the AIC, or as she puts it, “the people who do what we do are the real CIA.” She has never seemed scarier to me than right now.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

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