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Episode 503: Truth Be Told

2010

Supervisory Agent Terence Beale, the man who recruited Reese, assigns Reese and Kara to investigate a military adviser named Brent Tomlinson who is suspected of helping the Taliban steal a shipment of Stinger missiles. If they discover he’s guilty, they’re supposed to handle him, which is code for kill him. 

Present Day

Reese is trying to maintain a normal life, or as close to normal as possible. He’s supposed to meet Dr. Iris Campbell’s parents today and asks them to meet him at this pirate-themed bar where he’s taking care of a number in the bathroom. Once the number is handled, he casually strolls out to meet his girlfriend’s parents. Later, he tells Finch that the lunch started off rocky but her parents started warming up to him by the end. 

After meeting the parents, Reese turns his attention to their newest number: Alex Duncan, a computer science guy who works for an international consulting firm that has a contract with the DoD. While the Machine is back to spitting out irrelevant numbers, it still has trouble processing and providing other information, so Finch can’t just ask the Machine if Alex is a victim or perpetrator, which means Reese has to go undercover. On his first day in the office, Reese realizes fairly quickly that something’s up with Alex because he seems pretty anxious and won’t get a drink with him after work. After everyone leaves the office, Reese observes Alex breaking into his supervisor’s office and stealing some files. Unfortunately, the CIA shows up, led by Terence Beale, and arrests Alex — which just made Reese’s job harder. 

With a little help from the Machine, Reese is able to track down where the CIA took Alex to drug and interrogate him. He infiltrates the building in a ski mask and rescues Alex; however, Terence recognizes his eyes and his in-field improvisational skills (removing the steering wheel of the CIA’s car so they can’t chase after them) and realizes Reese is alive.

2010

Reese and Kara are interrogating Brent Tomlinson about the missiles. He denies stealing anything, and they can’t find any evidence that he did in his room. Annoyed at being questioned, Brent starts ranting about how little he’s received for all that he’s done for his country, but Reese interrupts him by putting a bullet in his head because he interprets that rant as a sign of guilt. It’s only after he’s dead that Kara finds a stash of money hidden in his briefcase. Impressed by how cold Reese acted, Kara explains that Beale picked him because he had no family to go home to and would thus give all of himself to the agency. 

Present Day

Alex explains to Reese that he stole the files because he wanted to find out what happened to his brother. So far, he’s only been able to find out that Paul was being investigated for treason at the time of his death. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that his brother was Brent Tomlinson, whose real name was Paul and who worked for the Pentagon. 

However, Reese decides to withhold this bit of information from Alex. They return to the office to go through the files to find out what Alex’s brother was doing for the Pentagon and why Beale was so intent on catching Alex. In trying to find out what happened to his brother, Alex came close to uncovering an off-the-books operation that the CIA wanted to keep hidden because it was illegal. Right as they figure this out, Beale and his men arrive and capture them.

In the car, Beale forces Reese to admit that he and his partner were sent to question Paul, but he lies and says that they left because Paul was innocent. It’s a small act of kindness on Reese’s part. And Beal, realizing Alex isn’t a spy, decides to go along with it. Once that’s cleared up, Reese does his classic “punch people in cars until the car flips” thing and escapes with Alex but lets Beale live.

The next day, Reese meets up with Beale, and the two reach an agreement. Reese won’t spill the beans about that off-the-book operation if Beale stays away from Alex. Beale also says that he’ll leave Reese’s name of out his report because he likes the idea of knowing Reese is out there in the world, “a ghost still doing what needs to be done.”

Following his conversation with Beale, Reese decides to break up with Iris because this war with Samaritan is forcing him to become the person he was before again. If he has her to come home to, he’s worried he won’t be willing to do what’s necessary. 

The Machine sends Finch a poem about metamorphosis right as it put Root in a position to steal a copy of the malware Samaritan has been installing in electronic devices. Believing this to be the Machine’s will, Root installs it on an air-gapped computer to figure out its purpose. Finch thinks that’s too big of a risk, but Root argues that they must be willing to change, “to do whatever it takes now, or else we’ve already lost.”

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