Well the Nicolettis are officially working for Emma, or at least Charlie is. He and Daphne head to an elite exclusive retreat with National Defense executives to see if they can work out a weapons deal. Back at home, Birdie learns the truth about why Simon left her and Ollie.
Please note this recap contains spoilers for season 1, episode 7 “Company Man”
Charlie (Milo Ventimiglia) has agreed to work as an asset for Emma (Catherine Haena Kim) and help her bring Daphne (Felisha Terrell) down. Daphne has taken Charlie up on his offer to show her what he can really do and she wants to return the Blennir painting to Brad Willford. Why? She wants to attend an elite event at Pine Grove. Emma says it's a National Defense gathering where the 1% of the 1% set the national security agenda behind closed doors. Willford, who works for American Armory, will be a featured speaker and Daphne wants him to sell her weapons.
Charlie will go undercover as Brook Stern Jr. Emma tells Cas and Mason (Courtney Taylor) about her asset and their plan, but doesn’t say who he is. Charlie rehearses the character with Emma. She wants him to figure out Daphne's plan and where she’s moving weapons. Emma warns him about the high security and says to wear the coms at all times. As they finalize details he asks her, “So that’s it? Last week you said you loved me.” “Last week you were a bartender.”
Leo (William Fichtner) and Fran (Polly Draper) are uncertain about being CIA informants. They wish Charlie would have asked them first, but Birdie (Sarah Wayne Callies) feels a bit more positive. She says Charlie’s love life may solve their problems.
Birdie heads up to her house and Leo follows. She asks what happened when Simon left. Leo tells her he was in town and Birdie was bartending late. Simon was passed out, high, and baby Ollie was in the bathtub. The water was freezing and she was turning blue. When Simon woke up, Leo said he’d had enough chances. He can ruin his own life, but not Ollie and Birdie’s. He threatened him with a loaded gun saying, “get clean or I’ll kill you.” Leo didn’t tell Birdie because she would have gone back. “I did what you couldn’t.” Ollie (Shaylee Mansfield) comes home from school, breaking the tension and ending the conversation.
Daphne and Charlie get the invite to Pine Grove and head to the West Virginian retreat together. She asks why she doesn't have a cover, and Charlie says she doesn’t need one. The duo is posing as business partners and Emma warns him to stick to Daphne like a shadow.
The first thing on their agenda is for Daphne to meet with Willford. Charlie tries to tag along, but Daphne stops him. “‘Business partners’ is only a cover.” Wilford arrives and asks about Grigroy Abramov. She says he’s on his way back to Russia because illegal arms dealing is a violation of his A-1 Visa. Willford asks if this is a shake down, but she’s interested in the M2010 Sniper Rifle that his company makes. With her capital and shipping routes, they can move 10x what Grigroy was able to handle. Willford crushes her spirits. He says for every 100 M2010s that American Armory makes, only 3 can disappear otherwise higher ups start asking questions. He agrees he likes money, but wants to stay out of prison.
Meanwhile Charlie attends a session about End Use Monitoring that explains the goal of keeping weapons out of the hands of enemies. Emma asks for an update and Charlie says Daphne ditched him. Emma says get her to open up. He’s good at that. Charlie finds Daphne at the bar and orders some mojitos, but Daphne says she doesn’t like them, she was just messing with Birdie. He asks for negronis instead and Daphne’s impressed, she loves them. He says he knows. Emma’s jealous. As she’s listening, her FBI pal Vik Singh comes over and says hi. He’s at the retreat running countersurveillance. He knows Daphne is here and the feds are to give her plenty of space. He asks if that was her doing. Emma says she can't confirm or deny.
Back in Baltimore, Bridie and Simon (Geoff Stults) meet to discuss the past. She confronts him, saying he could have killed their daughter. Simon admits his fault and says leaving was the only way he knew he couldn’t hurt them. If it wasn't for Leo he never would have left. “You were the best parts of my life.” Birdie says she spent 10 years wondering what went wrong. Simon apologizes, but he had to be sure he was sober before reaching out. He asks if he can be some small part of Ollie’s life.
Daphne says they can’t do the arms deal because Willford can only siphon off a handful of weapons. Charlie says they can try to control the supply, have American Armory discontinue the M2010s and then Willford will have enough to sell to them. She wants to know how he plans to have them stop manufacturing a profitable weapon? Charlie says everyone wants one of three things: money, power or respect. They need to learn what the CEO of American Armory desires.
The next day, Daphne talks with Henry Scoals of American Armory. Turns out he grew up in a rural community and while he was always interested in science, he followed the biggest paycheck. She asks about improving weapons. He’s interested but needs someone else to foot the bill.
Congressman Eisenberg is the defense subcommittee chair and Daphne and Charlie believe they can get him to support positioning money behind new weapons. Unfortunately, they can’t get close to him, but maybe they can charm his husband? Charlie and Daphne hit the dance floor and casually chat up the couple. Esienberg and his husband agree to a game of pickleball the following day.
Eisenberg wants respect. He brings a balanced perspective to defense and doesn’t like war. Charlie asks his thoughts on End Use Monitoring, or remotely controlling weapons? The congressman doesn’t have the budget support, but his husband points out there’s no oversight on earmarks. Eisenberg could be the new face of modern warfare.
Fran asks Birdie about her fight with Leo. Birdie wishes her dad would have told her what happened. Fran said they talked a lot about what to do and she was happy Simon left. She says they wanted to spare Birdie the fear of that night. Fran gently says, “you wouldn’t know anything about keeping your kid in the dark…”
Emma and Vik talk about how they got into the line of work and Emma says she always thought the job found her. She likes the idea of right and wrong, but wonders if, “bad guys are bad because we chase them?”
Charlie and Daphne talk about their plan. Scoals will make a new weapon, congress shows up with cash, now they need the Department of Defense (DOD) to award American Armory a contract. Daphne says the DOD undersecretary was one of her professors at Columbia. She’s confident they’ll be able to get an invitation to dinner and can convince him End Use Monitoring is the future.
They toast to getting Daphne what she wants. She asks how Charlie got into this line of work? He said two generations of his family were tailors and then Leo was a steelworker. After he lost his job he discovered that grifting kinda worked. So long as the guy above him was cheating him it seemed okay to do it back. Daphne points out that this is the most committed relationship she’s had. Charlie says he was seeing someone but she broke his heart. He asks Daphne if she’s after money, power, or respect? “Nice try Charlie, but I'm not the mark”.
In Baltimore, Birdie tells Ollie that Simon wants to meet her. Ollie asks why he’s taken so long to reach out. Birdie signs that he was trying to get sober. Ollie is surprised, it took 10 years? She asks what she should do and Birdie says that’s her decision.
Dalton Bridges is the DOD undersecretary and his talk is about supply chain securities. He notes that cobalt is held up in places like Congo and one resolution is to arm and empower the individual regions. Daphne approaches after his speech, but he doesn’t seem to recognize her. However, he does spot Charlie’s Yale secret society lapel pin and that’s enough to get them an invitation. Daphne is upset. She tells Charlie that back in the day, Bridges called her term paper a game changer, but he doesn’t remember her? Charlie agrees it’s not fair, but should that stop her?
They have another heart to heart and she talks about how her mom had to take a second job as janitor. When she couldn’t get a sitter, Daphne would lie on a blanket and watch her mom clean office bathrooms. Charlie says it’s humbling to see your parents struggle. He tells her Leo has dementia. Daphne was finishing her undergrad when her mom got cancer. She deferred a year and thought she could help, but she only watched her mom waste away. Patrick Magurie showed up at the funeral and said he was her father. He offered to pay for her MBA and she took the opportunity. Just then someone brings “Mr. Stern” the official paper invitation to a special dinner with Bridges. Daphne tells Charlie that when it comes to money, power, and respect, she wants it all. “Let’s go get it.”
Before dinner, Emma meets up with Charlie and lets him know Bridges is ex CIA, he’ll be able to spot any holes in Charlie’s cover. She then asks if the story about his family was true or a way to get Daphne to talk? He says it’s both, and there was a lot he wanted to tell Emma. They have a moment, then she says to be careful.
Vik and the FBI detect an interference signal. Someone is running surveillance and they need to pinpoint the source. He comes to Emma’s cabin and tells her about the unauthorized bug. They have to check her room. She complies and then carefully knocks her earpiece out and crushes it with her shoe.
Charlie heads to the special dinner and is greeted by a hooded man. He shows the invitation and is allowed in. Bridges approaches and asks Charlie what brings him to the retreat. He says his client has him checking out End Use Monitoring. “The end of war. How noble.” Bridges tells Charlie that without the cover of conflict, they'd lose access to the cobalt mines. Charlie asks about the future depending on resolution? “That’s all spin.” Charlie gets quiet and says he’s got infrastructure, if the DOD could change to traceable weapons and keep the unregistered in the right hands…. Bridges is intrigued, “what do you need?”
The bug signal is coming from the far end of the campus so Vik and crew head out. Emma takes off to warn Charlie. The FBI interrupts the dinner to check IDs. Vik comes up to Charlie then sees Emma in the window behind her ex. She shakes head. Frustrated, Vik pauses then turns off the scanner device and announces that he’s clear. He whispers to Charlie, “you’re a lucky man.”
The next morning at checkout, Bridges approaches Charlie, “you wanted to ask me something?” Charlie says they need a DOD contract for American Armory. “Done.” Daphne quietly celebrates their victory, “we just went legit.” She offers to cut Charlie in saying it could help buy Leo a few more comfortable years.
Simon comes to the bar to pick up Ollie for ice cream. Leo greets him and Simon apologizes for the pain he caused. “I wouldn't be here if it wasn’t for you.” Leo seems ok with it, then quietly tells him he knows the owner of the ice cream shop. If he smokes a candy cigarette, the Nicolettis will know. Ollie comes out and says she’s a bit nervous. Simon signs that he is too, then he thanks Birdie. After they leave, Leo says he repeated everything she asked.
Emma comes to the bar and Charlie tells her they almost blew the operation. She says he didn't seem to mind spending the weekend with Daphne. At her request he points out; then asks if she was out there to save the operation or him? “The operation.” He gives her back his earpiece and she says she’ll be in touch.
Charlie closes the door and Vik calls. He was grilled for 6 hours about not finding the bug. He says he didn’t say anything, but that she’s coloring outside the lines and he doesn't like it. He warns her this is the last time he’ll cover for her. “I hope your asset is worth it.” She hangs up and looks at Charlie in the window. “Me too.”
We haven’t heard anything from Connor in awhile. I think it’s possible that he’ll learn about the Charlie/Emma connection before Daphne. Also, is it bad that I feel a little sympathy for Daphne?