Warning: Spoiler Alert
The pilot episode left us with Alex’ s ultimatum. Tell me the truth or I’m turning you in. As of last week, there was no real indication of which way the O’Connors would play it. What happened was rather unimpressive, intentionally. Its actually a pretty impressive scene. Katya struggles on the spot to adequately sell her story. Alex on the other hand is unrelenting. Intense even. His gaze never alters and despite her best efforts, he keeps hitting her with holes in her story. Meanwhile Victor and Natalie race towards the house listening to the tapped audio hoping she can pull off a miracle.
In that perfect moment where push becomes shove, Katya pulls a 180 and Mark just follows her lead. I was having an affair. Mark jumps right in as if this is the first he’s heard of this. It is a perfect redirect as it suffices every question Alex pointed out. It’s not the truth but it is completely plausible. With the immediate threat now neutralized, the bigger benefit is that this buys them time and cover. Alex demanded the truth. It’s now Alex’s fault that Mark has this information. So the next few times, he thinks he’s got it figured out, he may second guess himself.
Luttrell catches up to Alex and informs him that his work on the furnace execution has his superiors considering the credible threat. In the secured joint CIA-FBI briefing, it is clear that there is no love lost between these two agencies. The FBI wants to charge in as if this ‘attack on US soil’ will happen today. Every day. Until they stop it. The CIA would rather be more careful and makes sure they can stop it without any unnecessary risk.
The FBI wants to check Mikhail’s apartment, which naturally the Russians have already scrubbed. In the apartment, Alex notices a suspicious cab across the street. He goes to follow-up on his hunch. Alex jumps in the cab and asks the man directly about Mikhail in Russian. The cabbie bolts before they could corner him. Alex pursues on foot. After a long chase, they’ve lost him.
After the failed chase, Luttrell suggests that Alex go back to the hotel and clean up. Alex only packed for three days. He’s out of clean shirts. From my loose understanding of Aspergers, the affliction that makes Alex the way he is. He reached out to Natalie to help him buy shirts. Something he claims to not be good at. There, Natalie tries to discover what Alex’s issue with Mom is, even though she already knows. He lets it out eventually and she shrugs it off as if everyone knew except him.
Victor walks up on Katya in what looks like an antique shop. Snuck up on Katya or rendezvous point, I’m not exactly sure. Victor explains the problem with recording Alex’s conversations in his office. Katya shrugs it off like it isn’t her problem. Then he makes it her problem. He places a bag by her feet that has exact duplicates of the shirts Alex just bought. Each shirt has a transmitter hidden in one of each of the shirt buttons.
Katya tries to explain the newest problem they have but Mark looks like his mind is elsewhere. He described a time when Alex was to memorize the Gettysburg Address for an Elementary school assignment. He memorized every Lincoln speech just in case. Yet Mark and Katya have trouble recalling certain events. Mark brings up the example she gave Alex about the hospital. Then Mark adds questions of this own. The affair response came off so quickly that he actually began to wonder if an affair had occurred. She eventually convinced him.
There are times when Alex O’Connor (the character) does step up and from the perspective of an agent conveying information, he can be better than Gregory House, Temperance Brennan and Sherlock Holmes (the Johnny Lee Miller version not the Benedict Cumberbatch version. No one is better than Benedict Cumberbatch) combined. In under two minutes he disproves the FBI’s entire theory based on a number of criteria they didn’t even consider. And it didn’t even take him all night to figure it out.
The man in the cab does work for the SVR but not directly related to the Mikhail situation. Making his presence there highly questionable for both sides. The SVR has a team out trying to bring him in. In the meantime, the guy in the cab calls a flip phone sitting in the center console of the car that Alex and Prado are sitting in. He gives them specific instructions to meet and talk about what he knows about Mikhail.
Victor stands in Arkady’s (Victor’s immediate under boss) office. They can hear everything Alex can. They know the feds are heading to meet with Vasso (guy in the cab). They have to seize Vasso at all costs. Despite how crazy it sounds for SVR agents to engage American agents on their own soil.
Arkady: I don’t think you understand the stakes Victor…
Victor: I do. If it goes wrong. If they end up dead, this is the kind of thing that could restart the cold war.
Arkady: If the Americans get their hands on the files Mikhail stole, it will start an actual war.
The SVR are not the only ones listening in. Katya and Mark are in pursuit. It feels like a trap. The moment Alex and Prado exit the car, there is a gunshot. Half a mile on foot later, there is a face to face meeting. Vasso wasn’t waiting outside the apartment with malicious intent. He and Mikhail were working together. Mikhail didn’t steal the files, Vasso did.
Vasso continues to spill what he knows. He and Mikhail did not sign up for what the files described. Operation Black Dagger. A single effort to bring excessive loss of life to Americans with no concern for the loss of innocent lives. This could, dare I say would start a war. Then Alex asks the question why? The risk is considerable. Why would the Kremlin do that? The answer is not shocking but intriguing. The Kremlin has lost control of the SVR.
While Vasso is the one that stole the files, he left the files on a laptop encoded with a virus. A virus that will delete the files in 48 hours if the correct password is not entered after that amount of time. While that soaks in, Vasso cocks the assault rifle he’s carrying. A fire fight ensues. Vasso is hit and Alex is out of his element. The order from the SVR is to take Vasso out, regardless of collateral damage. Arkady is communicating with a sniper. He demands the sniper take the shot. Problem is, Alex is in the line of sight. When Arkady yells to take the shot, a shot is fired. But this bullet was meant for the sniper and fired by Katya.