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Episode 213: Dead Reckoning

2011

POI 0213 Main

Kara Stanton is recovering in a hospital from her injuries during the Ordos mission. (“Matsya Nyaya”) She is visited by a man who had been following her CIA activities. She figures he is part of China's Ministry of State Security (MSS), but the man refutes that. Using the tale of the mythical Titans as an analogy, he offers her a chance to get revenge, not only against Mark Snow, but against the man who initially sold the laptop necessitating the Ordos mission.

2012

Lying inside a crashed car, Carter awakens to the sound of a cell phone ringing. She answers Finch, who had already attempted three previous times to reach her. He instructs her to flee the scene—going against police procedure—to avoid possible consequences. Carter warns Finch she thinks their attacker was Reese's partner from the CIA who she'd been told was dead while Finch gets Stanton's number from the Machine, worrying him.

The next morning, Reese awakens on a city bus across from his abductor, Stanton. He finds he is rigged with a bomb vest similar to Snow, who is sitting beside him, and will be conducting tasks for Stanton.

Police arrive on the scene of the car crash, discovering Special Agent Donnelly's body. Fusco is present on scene and calls Carter over—from a dropped earring, he deduced that Carter had fled the scene prior to his arrival. They later meet with Finch, who presents them with Stanton's bio, and Carter recalls that Snow had stolen an NSA-certified hard drive from Fujima Techtronics a short while ago. (“Critical”)

Reese and Snow arrive at a warehouse to fetch an item for Stanton. The seller presents them with the aforementioned hard drive which Stanton had sent him for formatting, but demands a higher price. Stanton remotely instructs them to kill the seller, but Reese refuses, leading Stanton to arm their vests. Before the matter can escalate further, the seller and his partner are sniped and the bomb vests are deactivated. Stanton had been observing them, and warns Reese to follow her instructions.

While at a diner, Stanton taunts Reese about his new role, noting that he is refusing to eat as a form of rebellion. She notes that Snow — eating a hamburger — had also refused meals at first, but has since resigned to his fate. Reese calmly assures her that he's simply not hungry, and that his resistance will be more overt.

They soon set on their next task, following and attacking a pair of ATF agents to obtain their uniforms. They respond to one of the agent's phone calls, instructing them to respond to a bomb threat (called in by Stanton) at a nearby building. Before disposing of the phone, Reese uses it to text Finch, who sends the number to Carter and Fusco to trace.

The detectives arrive at the diner and learn of the bomb threat, and Finch investigates the target building. Although listed as only having twenty floors, Finch discovers that the building has a 21st floor, registered to a shell corporation. Carter and Fusco head for the building while Finch tries to find out what the shell corporation is covering for.

Reese and Snow enter the building but are stopped by a policeman. Reese demands passage, alluding to the explosives strapped to their torsos. With guidance from Stanton, they use a special elevator to access the 21st floor, defeating two Delta Force guards posted at the entry. Struggling to detain one of the guards, Snow threatens him at gunpoint, but Reese talks him out of killing.

Carter and Fusco arrive at the building as Finch finds out that the shell corporation is operated by the Department of Defense. Hacking the DoD from Times Square, he further discovers that the location houses a cyber-security installation and cyber-warfare development lab. Fusco is skeptical about the policemen letting them through to follow Reese, but Carter gets the idea to offer to help clear the stairwells in order to reach the 21st floor that way.

Reese and Snow reach the facility's Applied Research lab which contains cyber-weapons, not bioweapons as Snow previously suspected. Stanton drives the men on by activating a 15 minute detonation timer. Inside, they coerce a departing lab technician named Kevin into granting them entry into the SCIF containing the weapons cache (a bank of servers isolated from the Internet). Reese attempts to talk Snow out of the plan, noting that they are out of Stanton's listening range. Snow refuses, confiding that he hasn't been able to escape from Stanton's bomb vest. Snow proceeds with the plan to install the hard drive by using a workstation to locate an unused drive bay.

Reese takes Kevin aside and gains his cooperation, learning that the servers contain dangerous military malware. He also takes the opportunity to contact Finch. Together, the three of them figure that Stanton wants to steal a virus called Cygnus, which could potentially take down the entire Internet (as well as the Machine). Reese asks how to destroy the malware, and Kevin reveals that the server is designed to securely erase itself if it is compromised. Reese does just that, aggravating Snow, and the two engage in a brief fight, which is stopped only by the sudden arming and then deactivation of their vests—Stanton was trailing shortly behind them the whole time, and merely needed them to clear the way for her.

Moving her captives to the facility's cyber-security monitoring center, Stanton installs the drive and uploads its contents. Reese tries to talk her out of the plan, but she refuses and locks them inside the center with re-armed vests before leaving. Kevin overloads the room's power supply while Reese and Snow shoot out its backup battery to release the door. Removing Stanton's drive, Reese tries one last time to convince Snow to at least get clear of innocent people before the bombs blow, but Snow clubs him down. He says that the CIA has a safe house two blocks away. Snow says it's a long shot but maybe he can make it. Reese warns him that the CIA will consider him compromised and all that is waiting for him is a black hood but after a moment of hesitation, Snow simply wishes him luck and takes the elevator down. Carter and Fusco arrive and Carter attempts to disarm the vest, but Reese and Fusco convince her to flee as well as she has too much to lose.

Resolving to not let others be harmed, Reese exits to the roof, intending to wait out the timer. He instead runs into Finch, who accepts the hard drive, but is not deterred by Reese threatening to shoot him. Finch talks Reese into letting him attempt to disarm the vest. Although not trained in bomb disposal, he is able to analyze the circuitry and sets to work on the locked phone. Using the phone's IMEI code, he obtains five potential unlock codes, and with three chances succeeds in using the correct one (3095) to unlock the phone and disarm the vest with seven seconds left.

POI 0213 Bomb

Stanton returns to her car to receive her payment: the identity of the man who sold the laptop. The mysterious man wishes her luck, as the man responsible does not exist in any public record. She writes down the name of the man she is hunting for, but before she can act on the intel, she hears beeping. She turns to find Snow hiding in the backseat of her car, who says "You were right, Kara, about me being dead; I'm gonna be great at it", and with that, both are killed as the bomb's explosion rips the car apart. Fusco and Carter initially believe the bombs are duds until Snow's goes off and Reese realizes what his old friend did with sadness.

Happily reuniting with Bear, Reese asks if Finch has figured out what the malware uploaded by Stanton was designed to do. Finch remarks on the program's encryption, so far only being able to obtain the payload's activation date as being five months from now.

Back at the police station, Special Agent Brian Moss reveals to Carter that they have identified the "suicide bombers", and have also identified Snow as the "Man in a Suit" and closed that case. Fusco asks if Carter was okay, but both remain skeptical.

POI 0213 Slip

A flashback of the blast in which Stanton and Snow died is then shown, and it is revealed that the name Stanton was told by the mysterious man was Harold Finch.

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