A good episode, with a lot of reunions in it, and only one heavily telegraphed goof on the part of our agents. Aya Sumika returns as Liz Warner, Bil Nye as Bill Waldie, Sharif Atkins as fugitive Clay Porter, and the continuing presence of Michelle Nolden as Robin Brooks...and Don is even showing that he might've finally learned something about balancing work and love lives with a partner. We also get to see the still slightly shaggy, more irascible than usual paterfamilias, Alan Eppes, attempting to force some environmentally-friendly but irritating upgrades on the house, only to have Charlie return the favor by counterproposing upgrades that would incovenience Alan, instead. I suspect that this thread, of restless and slightly snappish and unshaven Alan, is likely to make itself more important by season's end.
One could also see the groundwork being laid for Larry's eventual departure...he has a slightly underexplicated crisis of faith in his project seeking the Higgs boson, and a scuffle with one of his brothers at the monastery where he resides part of the time. Charlie's diagnosis, however, that the problem Larry's facing being that the Higgs boson might not be any more revelatory than *merely* a world-class breakthrough in physics, was one of the highlights of the episode.
The primary storyline in this episode is of the kidnapping of the father and one of the sisters of fugitive ex-Marine Clay Porter, Jr., by ex-Marines who'd served with him, including a commanding officer Porter had testified against in a court martial proceeding, for torture of an Iraqi prisoner. Porter's other sister manages to hide and identify two of the kidnappers, but the thugs waste no time contacting their ex-comrade and demanding that he come to them. It's eventually revealed that the commanding officer was torturing his prisoner to find out where the latter had stashed stolen cash, to the tune of $15 million dollars; he thinks that Porter might have that information, and to keep his father and sister alive, Porter allows him to keep thinking that, and sneaks back across the border from his hiding place in Mexico.
Liz Warner is among the first agents to the kidnapping scene, and calls Don into the case, interrupting a tryst with Robin, who only half-teases him about leaving her to go to Liz's side. Robin is even less thrilled when the FBI captures Porter, who's wanted in the vigilante murders of two serial killers, but lets him go on Don's say-so, as an attempt to find the kidnappers through tailing Porter. Porter takes an opportunity to chat up his tail of Sinclair and Granger and, somewhat too easily, disable their car and slip away. Meanwhile, Warner finds one of the kidnappers dead in his apartment, and sees Porter flee the scene, but forensics suggests that the dead man had been killed while Porter was in custody. Don initially stonewalls Robin about his reasons for letting Porter go, but Warner gently suggests that he might want to rethink that approach. Unfortunately, the kidnappers, growing impatient, kill Clay Porter, Sr. and threaten on video to do the same to the sister. Porter, Jr., comes in to the FBI, to see his father's corpse and to volunteer to cooperate in setting up the kidnappers.
Charlie and Amita, and a distracted Larry, have been working on models that hope to predict the actions of opponents in a game or battle, both while Porter is at large and while he's cooperating, and manage to use the ambient noise of commercial jetliners overhead to narrow down the location of the hideout.
Don discovers that Robin is willing to bend the law in ways similar to his, if it will bring about a good result, after coming in to confess. She unofficially okays the use of Porter to get at the kidnappers. The FBI does so, with Porter going in first and pretending to be willing to trade information for his sister's safety. The FBI team comes in after, saving the sister and killing most of the kidnappers; the leader manages temporarily to use Porter as a shield, but between them Don and Porter put a couple of non-lethal bullets in him.
Otherwise, matters end on a mostly happy note.
The episode moves along at a good clip, has only the one very egregious bit of foolishness (the agents wouldn't be expecting Porter to try to lose them by fiddling with their car in some way?) and while it doesn't quite give us enough of what's actually bothering Larry or Alan, it's pretty clear we're meant to watch for both to continue to stew. Those who suspect that Larry and Megan will leave the series together are probably right...though, as this episode proves, few have to leave the series permanently.
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A good episode with a lot of reunions in it and only one heavily telegraphed goof on the part of our agents Aya Sumika returns as Liz Warner Bil Nye as Bill Waldie Sharif Atkins as fugitive Clay Porter and the continuing presence of Michelle Nolden as Robin Brooksand Don is even showing that he mightve finally learned something about balancing work and love lives with a partner We also get to see the still slightly shaggy more irascible than usual paterfamilias Alan Eppes attempting to force some environmentally-friendly but irritating upgrades on the house only to have Charlie return the favor by counterproposing upgrades that would incovenience Alan instead I suspect that this thread of restless and slightly snappish and unshaven Alan is likely to make itself more important by seasons endOne could also see the groundwork being laid for Larrys eventual departurehe has a slightly underexplicated crisis of faith in his project seeking the Higgs boson and a