The latest episode of The Endgame, Bury the Lede mixes things up a bit. Instead of starting with another of Elena‘s delightfully twisted stories, it starts with a flashback. Val is trying to figure out when her husband crossed paths with Val and Sergey, and all she has to go off is a picture. Anthony takes a look, and they narrow it down to a period between 2015 and 2016. Thanks to Owen’s iconic soul patch, Val figures it was most likely taken in 2016 when he was undercover in Argentina.
We get a great flashback where Owen is pretending to be buying guns for his boss. He sits down to dinner at a fancy Argentinian restaurant with Elena and Sergey, and it’s immediately clear why they work as a couple. They have an easy shorthand and both are mischievous and wily. Owen introduces himself as Peter, and at first, it seems he might have fooled the criminal couple. Elena has an interesting view of those that use guns, despite selling arms herself. She says guns make men cowards, and thus she can read whether or not someone is holding just by their demeanor. And sure enough, her instincts warn her when a couple of men arrive at the restaurant, moments before they open fire on Elena, Sergey, and Owen.
In the present, something strange is happening at the fifth bank. We get the beginning of a story about two close friends right before Elena’s mercenaries grab a woman, put her in an unventilated vault, and slam the door shut. Then Elena manages to hack a broadcast by an iconic news anchor named Tyler Erickson, and offers a deal. He can come himself to the bank, and in so doing save the life of the woman in the vault, who only has a few hours of oxygen left.
As a quick side note, I have no idea how Elena’s Snow White goons manage to see through their masks. They all have a checkered black and white pattern covering their entire face. Which you would think makes walking about without running into a wall difficult, yet they seem to manage just fine. But that’s probably a mystery for another episode.
The FBI works with Erickson to get him into the building safely, but they also have a contingency plan. The idiot assistant director, Doak, wants to use Arkon gas to knock out everyone in the bank and then save the woman. Problem is, unless the dosage is done perfectly, there’s a good chance they’ll accidentally kill some people, as Val reminds him. Nevertheless, they agree that’s plan B, and hope that the Erickson situation will release the hostage.
Unfortunately, that plan quickly goes awry. The masked goons say they’ll keep to the deal, on one condition. Erickson needs to answer a question first. And their question is to have him tell them about ‘the Swan’. He claims to have no idea what they’re talking about and starts to run down the clock.
Meanwhile, Val remembers a phrase Elena said earlier, about “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, and suddenly spies smoke coming from a nearby building. Turns out it’s a storage unit, and black smoke is billowing out. After Val works with the manager to get the door open, they find a refrigerated box that blew a circuit. And it smells like death. Once Val and Anthony open it up, they find a long-deceased Asian woman. Stranger still, the translated name of the storage facility is Swan. And since coincidences don’t exist where Elena is concerned, Val is positive there’s a connection between the dead woman and Erickson.
As Val strives to research who the dead woman is and what her connection to Erickson might be, the Snow White goons start playing games. They blindfold the hostages and start moving things around with the camera placed so the broadcast doesn’t show what they’re doing. Erickson is getting more and more infuriated by the criminals and doesn’t seem at all willing to answer their one question. Finally, Val finds the dead woman was named Ming Lee. She supposedly committed suicide and washed away in the river.
We learn that Owen did get shot back in 2016, but survived thanks to the efforts of Elena and Sergey. Worse, we learn they knew he was FBI the entire time, and that’s also why they decided to meet with him. His boldness impressed them. And most important of all, they are looking for “American friends” to help them with a competitor called the Beloch family. Owen says they’re just a small Ukrainian outfit, but Elena implies their reach is much broader than that, perhaps even extending to the American government and beyond.
In the present day, there’s a new complication for Owen and Sergey in prison. Sergey notices a new inmate, and it’s someone he used to know. Both men are worried he’ll recognize Sergey, who’s supposed to be dead. And sure enough, he comes up to him on the basketball court, but Sergey plays dumb. Owen is worried it will mess with their timetable, but Sergey convinces him that he’ll deal with the complication.
When the clock is almost out of time, the FBI decides to storm the bank and not use the Arkon gas. They get in, and find all of the masked menaces are gone. When the FBI opened up the vents to potentially use the Arkon gas, they forgot to close them up. And so Snow White used that opening to escape into the crowd, after creating some chaos by tossing cash out the windows. Luckily, they manage to get the vault open with seconds to spare.
As the woman is recovering, Val thinks to ask her if she knew about Ming Lee, since Elena’s story involved two friends. Turns out, she was close friends with Ming, and was heartbroken when she disappeared. She got a text before that with a number, which leads Val to a safe deposit box in the bank. There she finds information that implicates Tyler Erickson in her death.
Val cunningly finds a way to get Tyler Erickson to talk, despite not having concrete proof he killed Ming. He starts talking, and it turns out he had someone dispose of the evidence after he killed Ming. When pressed by Val if he knew anything about the Beloch family, he clams up. The now-discredited news anchor is taken away in cuffs, and Val is left with a mystery from her husband. When she last saw him in prison, he said she’d need luck and gave her a four-leaf clover. And as she’s looking at her bookshelf at home, she sees a clover on the spine of a book that has a hidden thumb drive inside.
Overall, Bury the Lede was another good episode of The Endgame. I appreciate they mixed things up a little, though I hope they start making some more dynamic changes to really keep things fresh. I don’t mind the episodic slow burn, but we need it to lead somewhere truly exciting. If nothing else, the new mystery threat of the Beloch family has me intrigued, as does how keen Elena is to have Val as a ‘friend’.
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