In Quantico “Lipstick” the new trainees learn all about surveillance and the “box formation.” The target is the rabbit and five agents make up the box. The closest one following is the “trigger” and he, or she, controls the group.
The exercise is twofold; follow without getting caught and as the rabbit, learn to become invisible. There is a third issue with this training. As the school has used the nearby town as a training field, if a local spots a trainee as a “spy,” they will be washed out.
Ryan actually gets spotted by a local. The man warns him that he is being followed during the exercise – and it is Owen Hall the instructor. Ryan does not get washed out, however as the local was pretty low-key about the whole thing.
Alex is the first target and even though she is not aware that Harry was the trigger, she does evade the rest of the “box.” During the training portion of the episode. Ryan and Alex have different handlers for their undercover assignment.
Shelby Wyatt has been assigned to babysit Parrish and Nimah has been given Ryan to look after. The two receive separate briefings. As Alex heads to her debrief, Lydia has a word and tells the new trainee that she has faith in her.
Alex breaks down under the pressure of the CIA training. She complains to Shelby that it is the opposite of what they learned at Quantico. While this is true to some extent, there were a number of students last season that had hidden agendas.
Ryan Booth, for one was undercover for much of the season. He was sent there to keep an eye on Alex on Liam’s orders. This season both he and Parrish are undercover although it seems that they may be working to different targets.
In the present, the president’s wife has her head chopped off via machete, mercifully off camera, and Alex teams up with a badly injured New York cop. The same guy who recognized her before the hostage taking.
Raina and Ryan stick close together while the rest of the CIA agents are still hidden in plain sight with the other hostages. Booth believes that the hostages being brought back are really terrorists in disguise.
Raina is taken out. She marks a masked gunman and when she is brought back everyone has the same mark on their wrist. She is then cut with the machete.
The injured cop gets Alex to an underground NYPD bunker but forfeits his life in the process. (At least it seems that way, shots are heard after Parrish enters the bunker.)
She calls Miranda. Her instructions are to gather intel so the FBI and the police know how many exact terrorists there are inside. Miranda then, apparently, uses her satellite phone to tell one of the kidnappers that Alex is in the building.
The same individual has just discovered the broken window where last week’s “dead man” jumped to his death.
“Lipstick” ends with Miranda closing the antenna on her satellite phone after seemingly giving Alex up to the terrorists.
While it looks like Ms. Shaw is taking Liam O’Connor’s place as resident baddy, one only needs to recall the “school days” at The Farm. Subterfuge and misdirection are the order of the day here.
Miranda may have an agent already in the building disguised as a terrorist. There is obviously more going on here than just a takeover. The prisoner release was a feint, according to Miranda, so there is still no real clear motive for the event.
There are a number of things that jar about the episode. Firstly, why would Parrish carry around an empty gun. Surely as a trained agent, she would have reloaded by now. Secondly, not many people have the “remote controlled” garrote around their neck.
Ryan has one but Raina clearly does not. What happened? Did the terrorists run out?
Once more this feels an awful lot like a repeat of season one. Granted the terrorism is a tad different as O’Connor is not masterminding the whole thing. It will be interesting to see where show creator Joshua Safran goes from here.
Quantico airs Sundays on NBC.