Point of No Return (108.17)

When Ben gets no location data from the flash drive, Vance gives him a bug which Fiona plants in Laurence’s office at the Singularity Project. That way they might overhear a conversation that would help narrow down the location.

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Finding a needle in a haystack

Scene shifts an outdoor seating area just across from a Le Pain Quotidien restaurant with trees and people having lunch around a fountain.

BEN: Did you bring it?

VANCE: I did. But you’re not getting it till I know what it’s for.

BEN: The flash drive gave me zero location data. But I have obtained a list of every property acquired in the last two months by UDS. The Singularity Project is their subsidiary.

VANCE: How many properties?

BEN: Just over 700. It’s a needle in a haystack. However, Professor Clarke met with them at their offices on the Upper East Side. I was thinking, maybe if she went back in, she could place the bug.

VANCE: No, it’s too risky. She’ll get caught.

BEN: We have to find those passengers. If the NSA is off the table, this is how we do it.

Discussing the plan

Vance hands Ben a covert listening device, more commonly known as a bug.

VANCE: It’s pre-activated. All she has to do is place it.

Scene quickly shifts to Dr. Fiona Clarke ringing the doorbell at the Singularity building, and then back to Vance and Ben

VANCE: Can you still get access to the Singularity Project server?

BEN: Probably. Why?

VANCE: We put a bug in there. It could be days. before we get anything useful. We do this in two steps.

BEN: Right.

VANCE: Plant the bug, and, uh, well, then we give them a little nudge.

Planting the bug

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Scene shifts back to inside the Singularity building where Dr. Fiona Clarke is walking into an office with the SP Supervisor we saw earlier giving commands to the SP Scientist who was tending to Marko Valeriev.

LAURENCE: I couldn’t attend your talk in person, Professor, but I watched it online.
I’m dying to know more.

FIONA: Well, my timing is good, then. I had a few ideas after our first conversation.
I thought you’d like to hear them.

When they sit down at his desk, she drops a pen on the floor.

FIONA: You were interested, as I recall, in my work on mirror neurons.

LAURENCE: Excuse me, Professor, I think you dropped something. I’ll get it.

FIONA: Oh.

As he bends over to pick up the pen, Fiona fastens the bug to the edge of his desk. The supervisor then gives Fiona her pen back. 

FIONA: Thank you. Clumsy. My favorite pen I would’ve hated to have lost it.

Giving SP a nudge

Scene shifts to Vance and Ben who are monitoring the conversation from the JP Williamson building. Ben performs a network wide search on the Singularity Project experiment and Flight 828, before shifting back to Fiona in the SP supervisor’s office.

FIONA: I didn’t go into a lot of the technical terms. The basal ganglia, caudate nucleus

A woman comes into the office and whispers something into the ear of the SP supervisor.

LAURENCE: I’m so sorry. I’m gonna have to cut this short.

FIONA: Oh.

LAURENCE: Budget crisis. I’ll need to make a call. Sam will show you out. You can reschedule.

FIONA: Right.

LAURENCE: Thank you, Professor.

FIONA: No, thank you.

When Dr. Fiona leaves, Vance and Ben who are monitoring the SP Supervisor, hear him say on the phone to someone,

LAURENCE: It’s Laurence. We have a problem.

Scene switches back to Ben and Vance talking on the phone.

BEN: Anything?

VANCE: Listen.

LAURENCE: Somebody did a search, network-wide. JP Williamson, the accounting firm “experiments” and “Flight 828.”

BEN: It worked.

LAURENCE: We’ve already moved them to Brooklyn; all 11, to the clean room. Thank you, Major.

BEN: Major. Major who?

VANCE: Well, there are hundreds. But military that’s a start.

Making most of a ticking clock

BEN: Well, it’s not exactly a smoking gun. Brooklyn narrows it down to maybe 25 properties. I’ll go back into the network,  look at the records.

VANCE: No, no, no. You’re already too exposed. It’s only a matter of time before they figure it out and come after you.

BEN: I don’t care. My son is in danger. I’m gonna do what I have to do. End of discussion.

VANCE: All right. You got three data points. Farm upstate, the office on the Upper East Side, and now Brooklyn. If I pull cellphone data, we can see how many phones pinged all three.

BEN: Wait. I thought you said you wanted to stay in the shadows. You said using NSA resources would show your hand.

VANCE: I suppose this foolish bravery thing of yours is rubbing off on me.

BEN: Well, how can I help? I’m supposed to meet Grace for dinner.

VANCE: Go be with your wife. You are on a ticking clock. Make the most of it.

Ben and Fiona’s point of no Return?

“The Point of No Return”, this week’s episode title, refers to the point that’s THE point where there’s no turning back, where the decisions you make and the actions you take are irreversible… As part of the investigation into the missing passengers, Vance and Fiona take chances that might put them at risk with their employers. Either could be fired or locked up for the unauthorized surveillance they take part in. They seem to have gone straight past a point of no return in their dedication to the passengers’ cause.

Fiona is a passenger, but doesn’t seem to be affected the way the others are. UDS is trying to use her as the public face of their research project, while they decide whether they can trust her with knowledge of the experiments. Once The Singularity Project finds the bug, they’ll know she’s switched sides. Vance is supposed to be observing the passengers, but he’s realized that he’s being observed as well. By the end of the episode, he’s likely tipped his hand to the UDS mole, so that they know which side he’s really on.

Ben takes the biggest risks of all, in his determination to do whatever he can to save Cal and the others. He’s shaken by what he discovers about the other passengers, and his fear about what it means for Cal causes him to behave recklessly. Is he hurtling toward a rescue of Cal, Marko and the others, or toward arrest and jail time for corporate espionage? Either way, he’s in too deep to stop now.

SOURCE: Metacrone at Metawitches.com

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