TV Recap: “The Company You Keep,” Season 1, Episode 3 “Against All Odds”

It’s off to the races! A longtime family friend and fellow con man has a job he’s pulling and will give the Nicolettis a cut. They’re going to sell a racehorse they don’t own to a wealthy venture capitalist. But what happens when the family actually likes her? Speaking of liking people, Charlie pushes his and Emma's relationship to the next level by inviting her to a family gathering.

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

Please note this recap contains spoilers for season 1, episode 3 “Against All Odds”

Charlie (Milo Ventimiglia) and his priest friend are playing 1 on 1 basketball and the subject of Emma (Catherine Haena Kim) comes up. As Charlie goes on about how she’s smart and complicated but in the best way, a montage of their together plays. They’re in bed a lot. He tells her he can see his Dad’s memory slipping and that’s been hard on the family. He teaches her some basic American Sign Language (ASL). They’re having fun. His friend asks about the seriousness of the relationship. Charlie says, “can you be in love with someone you’re lying to?” His friend asks it differently, “can you lie to someone you love?” Charlie says there’s no way she’d stick around if she knew the truth.

It’s morning at Charlie’s and Emma spent the night. She playfully asks if he makes everyone go out the back door. He says she can use the front but he lives next to sister and niece and she might bump into them. Emma goes out back. But she’s not alone! Ollie (Shaylee Mansfield) is waiting there and signs, “are you robbing my uncle?” Emma says, "you must be Ollie” then signs “hello” and fingerspells her name. Ollie smiles and asks if Emma and Charlie have been kissing. Emma laughs and locks her lips indicating it's a secret.

Charlie goes to Birdie’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) and he notices she’s getting a call from Ollie’s dad Simon. Birdie says to decline it. She brings up Daphne (Felisha Terrell) and wonders why if she’s Maguire’s daughter, what does she need from them? Ollie comes in and asks about the woman wearing fancy clothes who keeps coming by the bar. Charlie says it’s grown up stuff. Then Ollie asks about Emma. Birdie is surprised, and scolds her brother without signing. Ollie gets their attention and wants in on the conversation. Birdie signs that Charlie’s love life is a liability for the family. Leo (William Fichtner) and Fran (Polly Draper) come in and Ollie tells them about Emma, but Charlie is quick to change topics. He points out that the race track opens at 8am so they need to go. Before they leave, Ollie notices a tracking tag on her backpack and tells her mom, she’s not a kid and doesn’t need to be tracked. Birdie knows her daughter is responsible, but says she’s still her mom and that Ollie can’t hide from her.

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

At Baltimore Downs, Ollie and Grandpa Leo talk about horses as Charlie gets a call from Emma. She says she blew the plan to keep their relationship a secret. He knows, and now she has to meet the rest of the family. They’re having a crab bake at the bar and he wants her to come. That is if she wants to and it’s not moving too fast. She says it’s the right speed.

Charlie meets with his pal “Frank” (Luke Kirby) to discuss a potential job. This time they’re going to sell a horse they don't own to a very wealthy woman. She won’t even miss the money. Frank has done most of the work already and Charlie would get a 15% cut. He pushes for more and Frank says 20%. Charlie asks about the target. Her name is Martha Pope (Jes Macallan) and she’s a Venture Capitalist with “space money.” Just then, she comes up and Frank remarks that he can’t believe he gets to marry her. He goes on to say Charlie is the renowned horse trainer he’d been telling Martha about. She shakes his hand and Charlie introduces himself as Buck Callhoon.

At the CIA, Emma’s at her desk and her coworker/assistant (Courtney Taylor) (sorry guys I can’t find her name) makes small talk asking about Em’s relationship status. Emma admits that she’s going to fill out the E99 form claiming she’s in a relationship. She finds a rubber bug/insect on a stack of papers, a joke referring to Daphne Finch playing the CIA at the docks. “Haha,” Emma says, turning to the rest of the office. The CIA is in the dark on Daphne’s actual role in McGuire’s business, but her assistant points out Daphne is “sassy” for a mob lawyer considering the lengths she went to to make them look bad. Emma agrees. It seems like a really big move for someone who’s there to clean things up and get out of town.

The Nicolettis discuss Martha as a target and while she’s filthy rich, she’s done a lot of good with her money too. They can’t believe she’s agreed to marry “Frank.” The family is not feeling good about this job, and Charlie agrees. He says instead of going after Martha, their target is the con man.

The following day Frank brings Martha to the stables to check out Wicked Swift, the horse that’s “for sale.” Martha jokingly says that for a million dollar horse, she looks like a lot of other horses, but Charlie/Buck is quick to say she’s so much more and she’s a true winner. Birdie asks Leo if he’s sure about selling and he says, “it’s time.” They tell Martha it was Leo’s wife’s horse, and the billionaire expresses condolences for their loss. Moving things along, Frank asks about what’s “under the hood” and Fran comes in with health records. While he examines the documents, Birdie cozies up to Martha and asks about her relationship. Martha says it’s been a whirlwind, they’ve only been together a few months and she can’t remember her life before him. Frank interrupts saying the horse is better in person than on paper, just like Martha. She’s flattered and agrees to the purchase. Birdie suggests they go celebrate and leave the guys to do the paperwork. Martha hesitates, but decides to go with her.

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

At the Hill house, the family is watching the latest attack ad about David (Tim Chiou) running for Senate. The commercial says electing him will result in more of the same. More bad policies, tax hikes and a legacy of failure.

Joe (James Saito) says, “they go low, we go high.” Grace (Freda Foh Shen) is sarcastic, “Thanks Michelle.” Emma says it's good advice, but Grace says the need to raise more money and tells David to start making phone calls. David takes a moment away from his campaign to ask about “the guy” Emma’s seeing. She plays dumb and he points out that she hasn’t been home all week and she’s smiling a lot. For a spy she’s not being very discreet. Emma smiles and says he doesn’t have clearance for that info.

Emma meets a friend from another intelligence agency and asks what he knows. He says Emma needs to keep asking questions. He says he heard the streets are flooded with drugs and fentanyl is being sold at a discount. Emma thinks it’s odd that the Maguires would be ok with losing money. Her friend suggests maybe they’re dumping their stock now that Patrick Maguire has been arrested. Meanwhile, Daphne is making a deal with a buyer saying she’ll sell to them for $1 thousand per kilo. The buyer says he can turn around and sell it for 5x the price. She says she’s looking to build partnerships with experienced professionals. “Next time we get a shipment, you don’t like the price, you buy from someone else.” He agrees.

Martha and Birdie enjoy champagne and Martha gushes about “Frank” and how they were engaged 3 weeks after meeting. Birdie tells her the truth, that they are supposed to be conning her, and Frank is not who she thinks. His name is Jones Malone and he’s been running a version of this scam since high school. Birdie guesses at how everything unfolded and Martha is shocked into silence. She asks what she’s supposed to do and Birdie fills her in. Start with the truth to sell him a lie. He won’t see it coming, because he doesn’t think he’d fall for a con.

The women meet up with the others and Martha states she’s not signing anything, this feels like a con. She doesn't know horses, but does know unfounded hype for IPO. She wants public validation, so they’re going to race the horse. If the betting odds stay the same, she’ll buy Wicked Swift for $1 million. If the odds increase, she’ll buy for up to $2 million, but anything over 6:1 and she’s out. Frank is surprised, but loves the thought of doubling his money.

In Belfast, Ireland, Connor is boxing at a gym when he gets a call from Daphne. He asks about the money. She tells him everything is under control. He tells her to make the money right or he’ll have to come over.

David is busy making phone calls and telling potential donors he’s not a carbon copy of his father. A vote for him is a vote for the future. Emma comes by on her way out and he tells her not to sweat it with her boyfriend’s parents. He gets back to the phones and answers a call. A woman with an unknown number who calls herself Claire Fox says a committee is meeting about pulling support. She says she has a solution and invites him to meet for lunch then says, “I’m not who you think I am.”

Charlie cleans the bar and tells Fran he’s nervous about them meeting Emma. Daphne comes by asking about the money. He says he’ll have it by Monday as promised. She’s confrontational and says if he doesn’t approve of her methods, maybe he’ll approve of Connor's. He tells her to call Connor, and she’s a bit panicked. There’s no need, if Charlie keeps delivering, she’ll keep Connor at bay. He tells Birdie what happened and that he doesn’t like how Daphne walks in like she owns the place. Emma shows up and hits it off with everyone but Birdie who’s avoiding her as much as possible. Leo has difficulty remembering where the lagers are stored, but Emma swoops in with a classy assist. Charlie’s Priest friend tells him you said she was great, but you didn’t say she was great.  

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

Emma takes a call from her assistant who says a tall American woman has been having meetings with Maguire’s rivals. They wonder to what end and think maybe she’s trying to get out of the business after all. Courtney asks about the party and Emma tells her Birdie is not a fan.

Emma confronts Birdie and agrees to a game of darts. She says you can ask me anything you couldn’t find online. You’re protective of your brother, I am too. But she thinks Charlie is great. Charlie says she passed the family test with flying colors.

Frank/Jones comes to the bar and asks how much they could bump up the price on Wicked Swift? Charlie says $1.7-1.8 million. Thinking about what he’s about to do, Jones points out that love is the biggest con of all…and Charlie should know that. Next day at the track the team hustles and gets buzz going on Wicked Swift. They wind up with 7:1 odds. A comfy $1.7 million.

Martha talks to Birdie and is hesitant, this is her life, it’s not just money. She likes Frank. Martha asks him if instead of getting the horse they take the money and travel, take time off and be together. He says he really wants the horse, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. She agrees, of course he’s right. That’s all she needs, she’ll follow through with the double cross.  

Emma is at the house and it’s empty, David sent nearly all his team home. It’s just the family and James wants to watch the derby. David’s campaign manager interrupts and tells him quietly, they’re below support, the campaign is dead. David wants to keep this info between them. He picks up his phone and agrees to have lunch with Claire Fox.

Back at the track, Leo chats up a friend at the bar and shows three large stacks of cash. He’s sure he’s walking out today with 6x what he has. His buddy puts $100 thousand on Wicked Swift and the odds close at 4:1 or $2,500,000. It’s above Martha’s cap. Charlie convinces Jones to put in half a million of his own money, “think of it as a 10 minute loan.” They make the purchase and “Frank” slips away, telling Martha he wants to get a closer look at the horse they bought. But instead, he takes a taxi to the airport. Charlie asks Leo if they want to see how the race goes, he says he knows a 6th place horse when he sees one.



At home that night, Birdie comes into the living room looking at her phone. She’s frantic. “Where’s Ollie?” she asks Fran. Ollie appears, and Birdie asks why the tracker says she’s across town. She signs that she's not a kid anymore. She put the tracker in Daphne's purse and signs, “You want to know what she’s up to.”

Birdie and Charlie check the tag locations and it turns out, Daphne’s visiting rival cartels. Maybe making moves without Connor knowing? They call Connor and distort Charlie’s voice, telling him Daphne’s meeting with rivals. Charlie says, looks like your sister is going for your crown. Connor says he doesn't have a sister. “You sure about that?”

At the CIA Emma and her assistant discover Daphne has been making new deposits, but if she’s selling to rivals, she must be working on something else. They wonder where her new revenue stream is coming from and decide to follow the money.

Frank/Jones learns there was a problem with the account and he’s out half a million, now he’s stiffing the Nicolettis. Charlie pretends he’s mad and hangs up. He calls Emma and leaves a message wanting to talk to her about something. As he gets on his motorcycle two people in black clothes grab him as a van drives up. Two more jump out and haul him inside, covering his head with a sack.


This was the best episode yet! I think we have at least one more week before Daphne discovers the tracker and Connor decides to show up in the U.S. I don’t have any good ideas about who grabbed Charlie, but I’m pretty sure it’s not as serious as it looks. I hope. Oh and Claire Fox? We can’t trust her.

The Company You Keep airs on ABC Sundays at 10pm ET/PT and next day on Hulu.