Death Benefit - Recap
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The news continues to fill with stories about the secret Northern Lights government program. Reese and Sam are at a diner and Reese watches the news with interest. Sam doesn't really care that Control is now in trouble, but Reese points out that the government will eliminate anyone who knows anything. A black SUV pulls up outside and Reese tells Sam that they have to go. They go outside and approach the two men, Ray and Julio, who arrived. Reese pays them a million for cocaine, but then tells each man that the other one plans to betray him and take all the money. When the two men draw on each other, Sam and Reese knock them out and scatter the drugs around, and Reese calls Fusco to arrest them both.
As they walk away, Sam points out that they're still getting their Numbers despite what's happening to Northern Lights. However, Reese figures that the Machine will handle relevant threats. When Sam wonders who is doing that, Root pulls up on a motorcycle and tells Sam that they have a relevant Number in Alaska and they need to steal a jet. As they prepare to drive away, Root tells Reese that Finch is going to call from DC. As soon as they're gone, Finch calls and Reese says that he's on his way.
In DC, Reese meets Finch at his hotel room. Finch explains that they have a Number in DC and warns that they're stretched thin dealing with relevants and irrelevants. They both agree that Decima may be taking advantage of the confusion to activate Samaritan. Finch is sure that Samaritan isn't active, because if it was then they'd be dead. It has none of the safeguards that Finch built into the Machine. Finch checks and discovers that the new Number is Roger McCourt... an Illinois Congressman and the head of the Rules Committee. McCourt has spoken out against government surveillance and they realize that there are too many suspects to make their job easy.
Reese and Finch drive to the capital and begin surveillance on McCourt. Finch confirms that McCourt's aide handles all of his phone activity, and the Capital Police detail won't let them get close. Reese notes that McCourt can request Secret Service protection, but Finch doesn't see that happening since McCourt doesn't know his life is at risk. Reese leans out the window and fires above McCourt's head, and then tells Finch to drive away.
Back at the hotel, Finch gets in contact with Reese, who has "borrowed" the identity of a Secret Service agent and been assigned to protect McCourt. Reese then helps McCourt into his car as he talks with his aide, Leslie. Leslie explains that Reese was assigned to him after the shooting, and Finch feeds Reese information on the man he's impersonating. When Reese learns that McCourt has to go to the opera with his wife, he offers to shoot him in the leg and the congressman finds him amusing. He tells his driver, Duran, to have Reese put in a good word for him with the Secret Service. As they get in the car, Reese clones McCourt's phone and they head for the capital.
At the capital, Bruce Dunphy approaches McCourt and expresses his displeasure with how McCourt isn't supporting his union. Finch confirms that Dunphy is with the Machinists Union. When McCourt encourages Dunphy to sign the contract, Dunphy objects and McCourt assures him that it will put him in line for a bigger contract later that year. The union leader apologizes for jumping the gun and gives him his tickets to the opera. Finch is impressed with McCourt's finesse.
Greer is at a museum and meets with Senator Garrison. The Decima man knows all about Garrison's involvement with Northern Lights and gives him information about the man known as Peter Collier with Vigilance. Greer points out that the U.S. is no longer protected and says that Decima Technologies can provide a new surveillance system uncompromised by the ethics of its creator. He tells Garrison that his surveillance system will obey and can find anyone, anytime, anywhere. Garrison warns that a new surveillance program would be too controversial, but Greer assures him that dissenting voices won't be a problem.
McCourt goes to dinner and Reese chats with Duran. Duran insists that McCourt doesn't need Secret Service protection and dismisses the shooter at a nut. Finch calls Reese to explain that McCourt has remarkably few enemies and no red flags in his personal life. A homeless man walks into the restaurant and heads for McCourt, and Reese intercepts him. However, McCourt comes over and brings the man to his table. Duran explains that McCourt has a standing offer to have meals with homeless people. Reese notices a man outside watching through the door and goes after him. The man drives away in a SUV and Reese gives the license plate number to Finch. McCourt and Duran come out and Reese leaves with them.
In Miami, Root and Sam are drinking at a bar. Root figures that she won't be chasing down bad guys forever because she has preparations to make. She then gets a message from the Machine and tells Sam that she's heading for St. Louis, but the Machine needs Sam somewhere else. Root walks off without saying anything else and Sam walks out past the unconscious gun runners.
That night, Reese remains on patrol at McCourt's office. As he talks with Finch, he hears a commotion from McCourt's office and goes to investigate. He breaks in through the locked door and finds McCourt having sex with Leslie on his desk. Finch checks the wife's emails and discovers that she's known about the affair and that she and McCourt have an arrangement. He then confirms that the license plate came from a rental car and that it was rented through a shell company belonging to Decima. They realize that McCourt must be a threat to Samaritan, just as Reese spots several Decima men in a nearby car. Meanwhile, one of the Decima men calls Duran and tells him that Reese isn't Secret Service. Finch intercepts the call and listens in as the Decima man sends a photo of the real Secret Service man to Duran.. Duran goes for his gun and Reese knocks him out, and the Decima men open fire on Reese. Reese takes them out except for their leader, a tall bald man, and then drives off with McCourt.
Reese picks up Finch, who discovers that McCourt is tied and gagged in the back seat. Finch warns that the FBI and the Capital Police are scouring the city for McCourt, and Reese tunes in the radio to follow their progress. He figures that they need to dump the SUV and Finch directs him to the American Beef Consultants. Finch bought their marketing division a week ago and had the building set up as a safe house.
Finch sits down with McCourt and explains to him that they're there to help. Reese then removes the gag and Finch says that they're security advisors of a sort. McCourt doesn't believe it and stats yelling. Finch convinces him to listen and explains that Decima sent the team that shot at Reese earlier. McCourt has never heard of Decima and insists that he's a deal maker.
Decima agents break into the building and open fire, and Reese goes out and returns fire. Once he takes them out, Reese points out that FBI agents wouldn't come in shooting. Finch searches McCourt and confirms that he has a tracker on him disguised as a pin. They leave the building before reinforcements can arrive, and Reese prepares to hotwire a nearby car. The bald Decima agent arrives and opens fire while police sirens sound in the distance. Realizing that they're running out of time, Reese walks out onto the street and starts shooting. The Decima agent walks toward him and fires as well, but Sam arrives in a car and sideswipes him, then pulls up to Reese.
After Reese tosses the Decima agent in the trunk, Sam drives away with Reese, Finch, and McCourt, Sam explains that Root called her five minutes ago. They finally pull over near a blockade and realize that they can't back away without drawing attention. Reese spots a nearby suburban neighborhood and gets the Decima agent out of the trunk. They then break in to the house of someone on vacation and Sam ties up the Decima agent, Carlson, to a chair.
In the study, Finch makes himself at home while McCourt insists that no one wants to kill him. He suggests that they turn him over to the police but Finch warns that the cops can't stop Decima. When Finch describes Decima's surveillance system, McCourt says that he hasn't done anything via the rules committee and doesn't know who Decima is. Reese and Finch check on Carlson, but he isn't saying anything to Sam. Finch has checked Carlson's phone and discovers that he's received orders to protect McCourt. Carlson finally says that he wasn't given told who was going after McCourt. The only people he's seen are Reese and Finch.
Finch and Reese go back to McCourt and tell him that Decima is protecting him. Finch checks his computer and discovers that McCourt's stock portfolio has increased 20% due to trades he's made in the last two weeks. He figures that McCourt is getting inside information and threatens to call a SAIC investigator unless the congressman talks. McCourt finally admits that he has an understanding with Decima. They were looking for support for their surveillance system, and McCourt went along with them because they could maintain secrecy better than a government-run program. In return he received insider stock tips.
As Sam checks on Carlson's wound, she sees a police car drive by. She tells Finch and Reese that the police will soon find them and they need to make a move. Reese and Finch try to work out McCourt's involvement and why the Machine gave them the congressman's Number. Without McCourt, Samaritan doesn't get through Congress and Greer can't access the NSA feeds. Reese realizes that McCourt's life is in danger… from them. He asks Finch if the Machine could ask them to kill someone, and Finch admits that it's possible. He warns that the situation would have to be incredibly bad, and that the Machine would have to foresee that someone's death could result in saving untold lives: more than he can estimate. Reese realizes that the Machine is seeing something bad coming and wants them to stop it by killing McCourt.
Finch, shocked, goes back to McCourt and tells him that he has to call off his deal with Decima. He explains that with access to the NSA feeds, Decima could gain any information and sell it to the highest bidder. McCourt figures that would be the U.S. government, but Finch warns that there will be unlimited possibilities for abuse. The senator says that the controversy is inevitable but it dies down because people want to be protected: they just don't want to know how. Finch realizes that McCourt is a deal maker and asks how much money he wants to reconsider. McCourt insists that he's doing what he thinks is right, even if he is making profit on the side, and refuses to call off the deal.
Realizing that McCourt won't change his mind, Finch goes back to Reese and Sam as the police move in. Finch insists that he never intended to create a Machine that killed, but Reese points out that they used to kill the terrorists whose Numbers came up. When Finch points out that McCourt is corrupt but he's not a killer, Reese points out that he is no less dangerous. He asks Sam to back him up, but she admits that hanging around with them has gotten her used to saving lives. They do that by trusting the Machine, and Sam thinks that they should trust it as far as McCourt is concerned.
Reese prepares to kill McCourt, and reminds Finch that when they haven't acted in the past, it got Carter killed. If McCourt lives, Decima wins. Reese asks Finch if he's willing to take that chance, and Finch says that if the Machine wants him to kill then it's something he can't do. After a moment, Reese draws his gun and approaches McCourt.
A few minutes later, the police break into the house. They find McCourt on the couch.
Reese, Sam, and Finch run through the woods and the police chase them. Sam is hit in the leg and Reese helps her get away. They get to their car and Finch binds her wound while Reese drives away.
Later at the museum, Garrison meets with Greer and tells him that he and his colleagues won't deal with Decima. Greer suggests that they have access to NSA surveillance feeds in New York City, for 24 hours, to demonstrate Samaritan's capabilities. He offers to find them one terrorist, proving Samaritan's worth. When Garrison worries about dissenting voices, Greer again assures him that they won't be a problem.
On the streets of New York, Reese helps Sam down the street. They spot a police car up ahead and quickly change directions. Finch is following them and looks up at a surveillance camera.
Garrison's phone rings and Greer tells him to answer it. It's McCourt, who tells Garrison that he can make sure the Rules Committee quietly passes the Samaritan legislation. Garrison agrees and McCourt hangs up.
Greer returns to his office and his technician, Virgil, tells him that the beta test is coming online. They now have 24 hours... and Greer tells Virgil to find Finch.