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Muscle Car + Paper Clips Recap

In the cargo hold of a plane somewhere over South Korea, Mac and Jack are fighting some thugs while Riley tries to hack the onboard systems to close the cargo door. Matty calls for an update, and Mac says that they're still in acquisition. She and Wilt are monitoring the plane in flight and Matty points out that the terrorists can't escape with their EMP device. Mac straps the four terrorists to a crate and sends it sliding out the back. One of the men cuts himself free and grabs the EMP device. Riley grabs a nearby gun and tells him to drop it, and Jack yells at her to take the shot. She remembers shooting the man at Phoenix during the break-in.

The terrorist triggers the EMP, shutting down the engines. He puts on a parachute and jumps, and Jack realizes that he took the last parachute... and the cargo crate Mac dropped off had everything he needed to make more.

Later, Wilt is working in his lab while Sam looks on. He finishes her new dress with anti-ballistic cloth, and tries to get her to take her along with him. She gently refuses and says that she has to interrogate the diplomat at the party on her own. When Wilt tells her that he learned to sew during a high school production of Romeo and Juliet, Sam knows that he's lying and describes his tells. She asks why he lied, and Wilt says that Jack wanted him to test her abilities. Sam agrees to get out of Wilt's head if he helps her play a trick on Jack one day.

Jack invites Riley to a kid's pizza place for pizza after they crash landed the plane. Riley figures that it's about more than that, and he always brought her there when he had a lesson to embark. They sit down and Jack explains that he took the blame for the mission failure. Riley points out that it's her fault, and Jack says that the reason she hesitated wasn't her fault. He knows what she's going through and tells her that she has to come to terms with what she did. Riley insists that it was just one mistake, and Jack warns that the next mistake she makes could cost them everything. He invites her to talk to him about it, but she refuses and admits that she hacked the skee ball games. Matty calls them back to Phoenix Jack drops the matter.

At Phoenix, Matty asks if Riley has ever heard of a hacker group called Bedlam74. She hasn't, and Phoenix has intercepted several messages from them looking for her old hacker handle, Artemus37. They're willing to pay heavily and their big coder disappeared a month ago. Jack doesn't want Riley to endanger herself, but Matty says that Bedlam74 is gearing up for a major cyber attack and she figures the attack could be catastrophic. She tells Jack and Matty that he and Mac aren't going undercover with her, but they'll provide backup. Riley angrily tells Jack that she can handle it and storms out.

Wilt goes after Riley and wishes her good luck. She snaps at him, saying that she can handle it, and Wilt assures her that Jack is on her side.

In Matty's office, Jack says that Riley isn't ready for a solo mission. Matty tells them that she knows Riley isn't ready, but the mission needs her. She refuses to pull Riley from the field and shatter her confidence, and Mac tells Jack that they have to give her the chance.

Riley listens in via Jack's phone as he says that Riley isn't ready for it. Matty figures that either Riley gets back on the horse or not at all.

Later in the lab, Jack and Mac visit Riley. He tells her to follow her gut, and Mac warns her that things won't go according to plan but she can improvise. Wilt gives her an earbud but Riley warns that they'll check her for bugs. Mac changes it into a passive listening device inside of Riley's necklace, and explains that it will only transmit when they aim a microwave at it. However, he admits that it's one-way only and assures her that they'll be there for her if she gets into trouble. Bedlam74 sends the location for the meet, in San Pedro.

That night, Riley goes to the address and finds an abandoned building. She knocks on the door and waits, while Jack and Mac watch from down the street. Jack complains that he doesn't and Mac tells him to have some faith. Meanwhile, a guard comes out and searches Riley for bugs but finds nothing. Once he's done, Mac turns on the bug and sends the audio to Phoenix. He assures Jack that she can handle a few hackers, but Jack isn't reassured.

Inside, Riley meets with the head hacker, Cyclone, and demands info. Cyclone introduces himself and his fellow hackers, Akira and D-Rez, as well as the guard, Goliath. Riley has never of any of them, but Cyclone says that they've been working under the wire. He asks for proof of who Riley is, and tells her to hack into the city's electrical grid and shut it down... in five minutes. When Riley says that she could walk, Cyclone takes out a gun and puts it on the table.

Jack hears the gun hit the table and wants to go in. Mac refuses, and Matty tells him to let it play out. She then admits to Wilt that she's not sure if Riley is safe, but figures that she can handle it.

Riley goes to work and Cyclone cocks the gun. Jack insists on going on, and Mac and Matty tell him to stand down. He refuses and heads in, and Mac tells him that Jack will have to go in through him, and he could get Riley killed. Ignoring him, Jack shoves past Mac and heads in.

Riley steps back from the computer, and Cyclone assumes that she's failed. The computers shut down, and Riley explains that she put ransomware on all of their rigs. If she doesn't enter a code in 30 seconds, all of their gear will be pulled. Riley tells Cyclone to put down the gun or shoot her.

Mac tells Jack that she's fine, and tells him to listen in. Cyclone is convinced, and Riley turns their rigs back on. Meanwhile, Matty tells Jack that he's out because he's emotionally compromised.

Sam meets with the tied-up ambassador and says that if he tells her what she wants to know then his superiors don't have to know. Matty calls and tells Sam to come in. Once Sam hangs up, she tells the ambassador that it will have to be their secret and leaves.

One of the Phoenix Techs, Jill, enters Matty's office and says that she's received encrypted data dumped to her personal email from Riley. She brings it up on the big screen and shows them the files that she hacked from Benjam74's computers. As Jill and Wilt go to work on the data, Jack storms in and demands an explanation. Matty asks him if a shouting match will make Riley safer, and Jack drops the matter... for the minute.

In downtown LA, Bedlam 74 drive to a bank and Cyclone tells Riley that all she needs to do is that she's giving them root access. Meanwhile, Sam joins a nearby Mac in his car. She notices that Jack has been texting Mac, and has figured out Jack's relationship to Riley. Sam wonders why Jack is being so over-protective, and Mac admits that she froze up on her last mission.

Mac calls in and tells Matty what Bedlam74 is doing. She says that they're planning to assassinate the Secretary of Defense Vasquez. The files Riley sent them contain information on their plans, and Bedlam74 is being paid $20 million to assassinate Vasquez. Jack figures that the mission is over, but Matty points out that they don't know enough yet. Wilt and Jill tell him that a cyberattack could kill Vasquez, so they need to leave Riley in. They confirm that Vasquez is in a restaurant a few blocks away, and if they warn him then it could tip off Bedlam74 and endanger Riley. Matty tells Mac and Sam to warn Vasquez in person, and Jack says that he's going to watch Riley if Mac can't. Will tells him that Jill has turned on the security cameras that Bedlam74 shut off, and Matty assures him that Phoenix is watching Riley.

The hackers enter the bank and Goliath breaks into a janitor's closet. He then cuts through the wall with a power saw that they brought.

Mac and Sam warn Vasquez, who warns that he'll need harder intel to believe them. He heads for the airport and the agents go after him.

Jill confirms that the next-door building belongs to a data management company. Wilt warns that once Bedlam74 accesses the company's systems, they could crash a plane. Cyclone orders Riley to give them admin access, and Matty realizes that the assassination is going down. They report that he's driving off, and Wilt figures that Riley is stalling.

Cyclone notices that Riley is typing slowly and checks her laptop. He realizes that she's mirror in her system to somebody and Goliath demands to know who she's working for. Cyclone says that they'll leave her and she's already gotten around most of the encryption. They take her out to their car and toss her in the trunk, while Jack asks Matty if she's happy.

Jack drives to the bank, while Riley frees herself. Meanwhile, Mac and Sam steal an older car without a computer system. Sam finds a route so that they can get ahead of Vasquez's SUV.

Riley finds some components in the trunk and makes a phone.

Mac and Sam get ahead of Vasquez near the LA Air Force base. The SUV pulls over when it hits the bar Mac has wedged into the street, and he and Sam take out the guards. They get Vasquez into their car and drive off as the police arrive.

Riley calls Jack and explains what she did. She says that she smells the ocean and asks her to tell her mother if something happens to her. Jack assures her that he's coming to save her and she can do it when they stop the car. Riley gets an idea and builds a mini-computer to hack the car's onboard systems.

Matty calls Jack and says that they have a lock on Riley's phone. She provides directions and Jack drives there.

As Akira and D-Rez load the malware into Vasquez's computer systems, the car's steering locks up. Riley braces herself and the car slams into a barricade, and Jack pulls up behind them.

As Mac and Sam tell Vasquez that they'll release him once they know he's safe, Matty calls and says that the data management company makes medical devices. Vasquez moans in pain, and they realize that he has a pacemaker.

Jack pulls over and gets the keys from the steering wheel to open the trunk. He confirms that Riley is okay and helps her out, and she breaks into tears.

Mac pulls over and he and Sam get Vasquez out. They administer CPR but it doesn't work, and Mac figures that Bedlam74 reprogrammed Vasquez's pacemaker to deliver continuous shocks. He calls Jack, who asks Riley to hack Vasquez's pacemaker remotely. She warns that all she can do is shut it down, and Mac tells her that he can work with that. He then hooks up a cellphone with a wire and a cell phone to the car's speakers, simulating a heartbeat. Riley shuts down the pacemaker and the speakers keep Vasquez's heart beating.

The next day, Jack and Riley go back to the pizza place and Riley thanks him for backing her up. He points out that she did it all without him, and Riley says that when she was in the trunk she realized that telling someone that they're weak isn't weakness. She explains that killing the guy was the scariest thing she ever did, and she'd like Jack to listen. They join the others at a table, as a mascot comes over and tries to entertain Matty. Matty orders him off, and says that Vasquez isn't pressing charges and now Phoenix has a powerful ally. Wilt hugs Riley and says that he never doubted her, and complains that Jack likes the pizza there. When Jack tries to apologize to Mac, Mac tells him to forget it and to thank Sam as well. he says that he invited her, and Sam arrives and joins the rest of them.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 7, 2017

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