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Episode 313: 4C
In the wake of Carter's death and the events that followed, Reese, who has decided to leave the team, waits to board a flight to Istanbul at John F. Kennedy international airport, passing the time in the bar. He hears a boarding announcement that his flight is overbooked, and heads for the gate to get a seat assignment, but he's already been bumped. The scheduling computer glitches, delaying the flight. The gate agent finally gets him a seat in first class on a flight with a stopover in Rome. When asked if he wants a return ticket, Reese tells her he is unsure if he'll be coming back. The agent issues his boarding pass, and he heads for the gate. To avoid being tracked by his former colleagues, Reese discards the SIM card from his cell phone before boarding the plane.
Reese's seating area includes a pair of newlyweds, a talkative elder lady, an energetic young boy, and a disrespectful businessman. Reese helps the lady with her bags, and agrees to change seats so the newlyweds can be seated together. Reese meets the air hostess, Holly, from whom he requests a drink. As the jet prepares to take off, Reese hears, then sees reports about the FBI dismantling an online drug bazaar. Meanwhile, the businessman rudely refuses to turn off his phone. Carlos, another flight attendant, refuses to help Holly with the passenger. When no one is looking Reese, pretending to stretch, knocks out the businessman and takes his phone.
A short time later, as the plane reaches its cruising altitude, the businessman's phone beeps. Reese sees a text message simply saying "4C". Figuring it's a seat number on the plane, Reese heads to the back and sees a young man seated next to a man wearing a suit. Reese notices a badge and gun on the suited man and realizes that he is a Federal Marshal. Reese sees a second Marshal head to the front lavatory, but by the time he gets there, he sees the man unconscious and his gun stolen. He takes the marshal's badge, then secures the restroom door, directing a passenger to another restroom.
Reese, thinking he knows what's happening, calls Finch. Finch wonders where Reese is, but Reese figures that his former employer already knows and deliberately tampered with the computers to get him onto the plane to help a new number. Finch insists that he has no idea what Reese is doing on the plane. Reese wonders aloud who did put him on the flight as he stares at a small video screen tracking the flight's progress. The Machine identifies Reese's seat location, calculates the probability of various outcomes on the flight, and displays a yellow "ASSET RETASKED" label. It becomes clear that it was indeed the Machine who put Reese on the flight.
Reese and Finch discuss the situation on the plane, realizing that the Machine engineered Reese's being on the flight. Reese continues to insist the Machine, and Finch, accept he has resigned, but he soon finds himself drawn into discussing what to do about what needs to be done to defuse the situation, even if he plans no action. He speculates that someone is planning to kill the young man that the Marshals are escorting, and tells Finch that he will warn the other Marshal before ignoring the case, firmly saying that he has in fact quit.
Reese returns to where the Marshal and the young man are sitting, and warns the Marshal about a threat against his transport. The Marshal dismisses Reese, telling him to mind his own business. Reese agrees and returns to his seat. As he does, the Marshal suddenly feels sick, then passes out. A Colombian man sits down next to the Marshal's transport and injects him in the thigh with a syringe. Reese doubles back and knocks the man out, and then removes the syringe. He checks the Colombian's ID and discovers that he has a Lanceros tattoo, indicating he is a special forces soldier now working for the cartels.
Holly notices what is going over and comes over to investigate and Reese suggests that the two unconscious men are dehydrated. As she goes to get them blankets, Reese tells the young man, who tells Reese his name is Owen Matthews that the Colombian injected him with a coagulant to create a pulmonary embolism to simulate deep vein thrombosis. Reese suggests Owen drink two glasses of of whiskey to thin his blood.
Finch receives another call from Reese, who updates him on the Colombian, then sends him a photo of Owen Matthews. Finch confirms that he works for the company that hosted the site running the online drug bazaar mentioned in the newspaper Reese was reading earlier, describing the complex financial network Matthews created. He explains that the mysterious mastermind behind the operation is known only as "the Sphinx". Owen claims to not know anything about the drug bazaar and that the Marshals simply burst into his house to arrest him, but Reese figures he knows more than he's saying.
uneasily asks her to revisit the ISA, her former employers, and find out what they know about Owen. Shaw realizes that Finch believes that Owen is a relevant number. Finch admits that it's possible and that he needs to know why the Machine sent Reese to help Owen.
Finch returns to the Library. Reese calls, and receives an update on Shaw's activities. Reese realizes that Owen is a relevant number. He accuses Finch of hiding information just like the Machine did and hangs up.
Returning to his seat, Reese questions Owen. Reese realizes that the programmer has a stun belt on and takes the remote, using it to force Owen to answer his question. At first, Owen tries to justify the bazaar, then finally admits that he built the drug bazaar and met with the Sphinx personally. Reese concludes that the Sphinx wants Owen dead because Owen is the only one who can identify him. Finch calls Reese and tells him that the Lanceros gang is working for Rafael Hernandez, a Colombian drug lord. They figure that Owen can identify the Sphinx and his accounts, and that would lead the Feds back to Rafael. They still don't know why Owen is a threat to national security, but Reese's immediate concern is whether there is another Lancero on board.
Reese finds Holly in the galley and her for a glass of wine, slipping the corkscrew into his pocket. He notices that her hands are shaking as she pours it. She admits that she's worried about the two unconscious men. To reassure her, Reese uses the stolen ID from the first Marshal to pass himself off as a member of the "International Homeland Security Department". He gives her the remote to the stun belt and tells her to push it and it will signal him if she sees anything suspicious.
Reese checks the plane and spots the newlyweds from earlier, now speaking Hebrew. Suddenly, they move to the back of the plane toward Owen and attack him. Reese takes them out, shoving them into the galley. He pins the man to the wall with the corkscrew while the woman stabs him in the shoulder with a fork. He turns to find her in a fighter's stance but before Reese can deal with her, Holly knocks the woman out with a coffee pot.
Back in New York, Shaw goes to a travel agency and greets the clerk, Foster. He pretends that he doesn't know who she is, but Shaw points out that the ISA uses the fake agency to make travel arrangements for ISA agents, including Shaw and her deceased partner Michael Cole's trip to Berlin on their final mission. (“Relevance”) Shaw figures that Foster set up travel arrangements for another ISA agent who's on the plane as well, grabs him, and chokes him until he talks. Foster admits that he doesn't know why Owen is a relevant. However, he did arrange for another ISA operative, Shaw's successor codenamed Indigo 6A, to be on the plane.
Reese dumps the two unconscious assailants in the lavatory and locks the door. The flight attendant, Carlos, comes back and Holly assures him the noise he heard is a frisky couple in the lavatory, before bandaging Reese's wounds. Finch calls and Reese tells him that the two recent assassins were ex-Mossad, hired by an Israeli drug lord who doesn't want competition from The Sphinx. Shaw gets on the line and tells Reese her successor is on the plane. Reese spots the ISA operative as he heads for Owen with a plastic bag. The man tries to suffocate Owen and Reese quickly knocks him out. When the young boy notices what's going on, Reese has Holly give the child a sippy cup spiked with a little whiskey to keep him quiet. However, when Reese turns back to Owen, he discovers that the programmer has managed to remove his stun belt and slip away.
Holly calls the captain and explains that they have to divert, but he tells her that there is nowhere they can land. Reese gives the increasingly nervous Holly a drink to calm her down and Holly complains about all of the negative people on the plane. Reese assures Holly that she's good at her job just as they hear Owen sneeze. He's hidden in a closet and Reese, who has had enough, knocks him out. Holly wonders what Reese's job really is, and he simply says that he quit that job. He then asks Holly to open the door to the cargo hold.
Owen wakes up in the cargo hold and discovers that he has the stun belt on again. Reese is searching for any kind of improvised weapon in the passenger luggage. He calls Finch, who updates him on the flight plan, and Owen finally reveals that he is in fact the Sphinx. He offers Reese $50 million Bitcoins to get him safely off the plane. Disgusted with both Owen and Finch, Reese berates the programmer about how they build something and refuse to accept responsibility when it backfires. Owen realizes that he's not talking about just him, while Finch listens silently. Reese is cut off when the ISA operative escapes from where Reese tied him up and enters the cargo hold. Once she's served him his food, Shaw sits down next to Hersh and tells him that she poisoned his meal with scopolamine, rendering him docile and causing amnesia. She demands to know who Owen is and Hersh explains that they set Owen up as the Sphinx in return of 30% of his profits, which they use to help finance the ISA. Since Owen is going public, Hersh's superiors figure he'll expose the ISA to the world, ruining their organization and thus making him a threat to national security. As Shaw begins to leave, the dazed Hersh asks if her current employers are treating her okay. Shaw says that they haven't tried to kill her yet and notes that she could have easily killed Hersh if she wants him dead... and that it's a shame he won't remember she spared his life.
Meanwhile on the plane, Reese and Indigo 6A fight using improvised weapons from the luggage. Owen finally knocks the operative out with a golf club and Finch calls to pass on what Shaw has learned. He's also checked on Rafael Hernandez and discovered that he once had an entire hotel floor blown up to kill a witness against him. Finch has hacked Rafael's email and discovered that he hired a team of two men to come aboard the plane. However, Finch insists that there's no second Colombian on the passenger list. Thinking it over, Reese realizes that the second killer isn't one of the passengers. Carlos lures the captain out of the cockpit by bringing food, and then shoots him in the stomach using a pillow to muffle the gunshot After putting on a parachute, Carlos disables the co-pilot, closes the cockpit door, and then puts the jet into a dive toward the Rome airport. Reese finds the injured captain and does what he can for him, while Holly confirms with the passengers that they saw Carlos enter the cockpit.
Finch assesses the onboard flight system and warns Reese that Carlos is flying on manual. When he warns Reese that he's never flown a jet, Reese tells him that he's going to have to.
As the plane starts to angle downward, Reese uses a food cart as a battering ram to break into the cockpit. As he and Carlos fight, Finch grabs a flight controller and hacks into the flight system, successfully taking over control of the plane remotely using his flight simulator program. Reese knocks out Carlos with a fire extinguisher and Finch brings the plane down for a bumpy but safe landing.
As the passengers disembark, Holly asks Reese what he really does. All he says is that he helps people, and Holly flirtatiously asks him to help her get a drink later. Once everyone is off the plane, Reese goes to the terminal to pick up a large trunk which he wheels to a secluded area... and dumps Owen out. He gives Owen the address of a safe house in Rome and tells him that Finch will set him up with a new cover identity. Owen makes another offer to pay Reese but Reese refuses, and Owen figures that his job is helping people.
The next day, Reese and Holly say goodbye to each other and she gives him her number to call her. Reese spots Finch sitting at a nearby sidewalk café and goes over to join him. Finch admits that he set up the Machine to only give out numbers so that humans would still make the final decision of who should be saved and who shouldn't. He admits that they have great responsibility and free will... and sometimes they suffer great loss. Finch tells Reese that he also misses Carter, and then says that he's going to a museum to see a painting that Grace liked. He invites Reese along, but Reese says that he'll be busy... getting a new suit. Finch, who realizes that Reese has decided to rejoin the team, is surprised. Reese then asks if he can get a ride back to New York City on Finch's private jet, and Finch gladly agrees.