“The Kentucky Contract” (Episode 104)
November 5, 2019
On last week’s Treadstone, Bentley made a deal with Kohler to bring Petra into the CIA for questioning. In the present, SoYun was blackmailed into helping bring down Dae’s boss, Colonel Shin. Also, we met a new Cicada, Nira Patel, who seems very okay with killing. And last, when Doug failed to kill his assigned target, a shadowy figure dropped by his house and explained Doug needed some reprogramming. After a struggle, Samantha shot the man dead and maybe seems to know something of Doug’s true self (maybe more than Doug knows, anyway).
Catch up with out deep dive recap and review of last week’s episode here. Now, on to tonight’s all new Treadstone … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!
Ashland, Kentucky. Remember last week, when the episode ended with Samantha killing Lowell dead in her living room? Yeah, tonight picks up right there. Sam is freaking out and Doug tries to console his wife but she’s operating on a couple levels higher than her husband. Samantha’s refusal to call the cops should give Doug poise but he’s not ready yet to see what’s right in front of him.
Doug asks some good questions, like how did Lowell know Samantha’s name but she turns it all around on him. Doug comes clean about the Arctic, the fight, the woman, blacking out, and waking up in the middle of an empty snow field, covered in blood. At this point, he leaves out the drugs and target picture in his hand.
Samantha really isn’t reacting the way you’d expect an unsuspecting spouse to act, which should make Doug stop and think, but he doesn’t. Bracing for an outrage from his wife, he very dramatically tells her he needs to get rid of the body and wifey is all, “take your car or mine?”
Out in the woods, the McKennas have some bonding time as they dig a hole to dump old Lowell into. Samantha takes it up a notch when she starts to pry out the dead guy’s teeth. Doug is all, “????” and Samantha cites her time in the ER and knowing how they ID bodies. Take the teeth, take the hands and feet.
Doug, Doug, Doug. Ask more questions my man.
While Samantha pries teeth and Doug digs, she asks him to tell him about the woman in the Arctic. He doesn’t remember much but he does remember the “Frère Jacques” song.
Samantha has a strong reaction to this news (which would just sound wacky to any other normal by-stander) and Doug finally puts his shovel. He asks his wife if their life as they knew it is over? She promises they’ll get through this and also says she’d shoot another guy all over again to protect Doug. Speaking of that, Doug makes the point that Samantha’s dead ass aim was no fluke so, where’d you learn to shoot like that honey?
“Just lucky I guess. Get his feet.”
I’ve never been more attracted to a woman than I am right now. Samantha’s fierce as fuck and I am here for it.
Back at the house, Doug finds Lowell’s suitcase which has a Doug McKenna file inside it. Inside the envelope, Doug finds lots of things including a detailed blue print of some sort of facility. On the plans, there is a detail labelled, “Doug’s Path.” Obviously Doug is meant to be going to this place.
Samantha comes in and seizes the folder. She starts leafing through it and pulls out another target card. Identical to the one Doug woke up with in the Arctic. Samantha is just shaking her head as Doug stands there bewildered.
“I’m so sorry. It was really supposed to be over.”
Confession Time! Samantha tells Doug about the CIA’s Treadstone and his and her place in it. Samantha was recruited from her job as a new nurse working at Walter Reed to a new, top secret training program in Virginia. She tells Doug he was an asset, trained there in Virginia. By the CIA. Why doesn’t he remember any training? “Installation” is the fancy word, Sam explains. Basically, months and months of conditioning. What is an asset, he asks? A low base direct action element, she says as if by rote. Short story, Doug has been given lots of skills, one of which includes how to kill, and he’s been trained to accept orders, not question them, and always finish his mission.
But Sam isn’t done blowing Doug’s mind quite yet. She continues that when an asset showed up on the other “side of the mirror,” his mind had already been wiped entirely clean and it was their job, Sam’s included, to rebuild the assets from the ground up. Entire new life, memories, moral foundation, cover story. Soup to nuts, a whole new person.
Samantha tells Doug that she was never going to tell him the truth which … I totally get. In order to protect him and her and them. Doug stalks out of the house.
A little bit later, Samantha follows her husband out to the porch. She shows him the mission card. She explains that this card is a mission card. The red circle is a “post-hypnotic trigger” which, when used along with a visual cue (like the photo), it activates Doug’s Treadstone programming. Doug is all, “What’s that now?”
“Your subconscious sees her as a problem that has to be solved. And the only way to do that is by completing your mission. This one is a kill mission.”
Samantha makes clear that they’ll keep sending people after him until he completes the mission. The reality that Doug has to kill this woman, this stranger, and not even have a say in the matter starts to sink in.
The “why she has to die” is unknown and does not matter. Samantha, teary eyed, explains that she help “create” Doug and that’s how she knows he can do what needs to be done. Just to further fuck with his mind, she explains that his dreams are memories and the voice he hears singing to him … that’s Samantha.
Back at Cloonie’s Bar (which is the address from the mission card), the McKenna’s arrive for the pre-determined time of 2:30am. Doug asks how many assets there are and Samantha responds that “it’s hard to say.” She only worked there 3 years but she can tell Doug that he was number 17. Of all the assets, why did she fall in love with him, Doug asks? Samantha tells him that, even after erasing every part of him, she could see an innocence in his eye and it’s that innocence that she fell in love with. She confirms he still has that look.
Doug gets out of the truck just as a van comes around the corner. The side door opens, “you the guy?”
“I’m the guy.”
Doug jumps in. There is a group of three or so guys already in the van. Doug rejects the offer of an additional weapon beyond his handgun and Hostile Guy #1 promises Doug that they won’t save his ass if it goes South. Doug asks the parameters for engagement, etc. and Hostile Guy #1 says the only parameter is to “put meat on the floor.” Then they cackle like insane inbred rubes.
Doug wipes some sweat from his brow. I feel you brother,I feel you.
After running out of the fancy military party at the end of last week, SoYun hustles back to the meeting point in Sagi-Ri, North Korea. Just in time too because the head soldier calls into his goons that SoYun failed her mission so its time to seize her son and mother.
SoYun leaps into action, killing the two guards without a thought. She has more of a battle with the solder who gave her the mission in the first place. They go back and forth but she eventually gets him on the ground. Which is when Colonel Shin rolls up.
SoYun gets off of the soldier and backs up a couple of steps. Shin tells her she left so suddenly, she left her SIM card behind. He holds it up for her to see. Turning to the man on the ground who is shouting and calling Shin a traitor, Shin shoots him dead with little fanfare. Shin asks SoYun why she was helping this soldier and she tells him about the son/mom blackmail. Colonel Shin advises her to come to him if she’s ever approached again.
Who are you, SoYun asks and he replies simply that he’s a friend. Why should I trust you, SoYun asks?
“You don’t need to trust me, you just need to do what I say.”
Shin steps forward and hands her a new mission card. It’s got the normal red circle but there is writing in the center instead of a picture. And below it, there is a red triangle. He explains that he needs SoYun to deliver something for him; he promises to keep her family safe.
Pyongyang, North Korea. SoYun and Jin Woo make it home. Dae asks her questions like, What happened? Why are you cut and bleeding? SoYun is pretty silent on everything and simply asks her husband to not ask her any questions. He apologizes for making her play piano and says she must have gotten confused.
What? Confused playing piano so now she’s cut and bruised and bleeding? What kind of piano recitals has Dae been going to?
SoYun apologizes to Dae, saying she’s not the woman he thinks she is. She promises to explain all that she’s done but tomorrow. Right now, she needs to get some rest. He hugs her and tells his wife that he loves her no matter who she is.
In the early morning, SoYun wakes up Jin Woo to tell her she was going out for some errands, errands she can’t take him on, and she’s not sure when she’ll be back. Jin Woo is sad but gives her his stuffed monkey to keep her company. It’s very sweet.
“Please never forget that mommy loves you.”
SoYun doesn’t seem confident that she’s coming back from this mission alive.
Sakchu, North Korea (15 km from the Yalu River). SoYun arrives in this small town and heads into a store. “Store”? She shows her mission card to the old man in the shop and says she was told to go there. He locks the door on the place and opens a locked box. From it, he pulls a sealed envelope and a Ziploc baggie of cash.The only thing the man says to her is to hurry up and go because a man has been waiting. Which man?
The shadowy man who now emerges from the back of the shop. Shadowy Man tells SoYun she’s late and that he’ll be her guide the rest of the way. Way to where?
Langley. Ellen is reading up on her suspect from last week, Senator Eamon Wray. Cut to a meeting with her and Dan. She says that there is a definite connection between Wray and Expo but not enough to tie him to Haynes or the shooting. Dan asks her if she approached the Senator and Ellen is all, nopers. She mentions a trade agreement with Russia, which Wray pushed for, being signed by the Kremlin within 48 hours of General Kwon’s death. Convenient timing, Dan admits, but not enough to be a solid connection. Dan asks if Ellen has heard from Edwards and the Haynes investigation. Not yet, she says.
Salisbury, Maryland. Matt Edwards and Dr. Wells are heading in for a new round of probe Haynes’ mind. Before heading into the room, Wells expresses his concern that the CIA will come after him once he’s done with Haynes.
Seems like a fair concern.
Haynes Interrogation. Stephen is strapped to a bed as he talks to Dr. Wells and Edwards about how fragmented his mind feels. Edwards pushes Haynes (again) on Treadstone and what he remembers.
Stephen talks about how the program makes you forget what you are until they need you to remember. Stephen mentions a daughter he has and how she’ll never forgive him for the things he’s done. Dr. Wells leans forward and asks Stephen if he wants to remember more?
Wells hypnotizes Haynes and takes him back to the moment right after he was re-activated. Haynes is remembering his time with his daughter but Edwards starts to push for the name of the woman that activated him, that sent him into the store to kill people. They push and Haynes begins to get agitated, he’s talking to his handler, begging her to not send him after another target, but he doesn’t come up with a name.
Haynes breaks free of his restraints and curb stomps Dr. Wells into the ground. He easily puts Edwards on his back and takes his gun. Haynes does not shoot Edwards which seems to indicate some level of programming on selective targets. He does pistol whip him into unconsciousness.
When Edwards wakes, alarms are blaring and he sees the bloody mushy head of Dr. Wells. RIP Dr. Wells, you were right to be worried about getting involved in this project.
Outside, Matt takes in the scene which is mildly chaotic. Lots of police outside the facility, deputy sheriffs being wheeled in on stretchers, others dazed and bloodied. Matt warns them that the suspect is highly trained and dangerous. Look around Edwards, I think they get that now. A deputy announces that a man in an orange jumpsuit has been spotted in the woods and everyone moves out to catch him.
The Becker House. Ellen comes home and Tom and their two kids are there, Gabe (Georgie Farmer) and Ava (Emma Bercovici). Apparently her cover story is that she works for the Federal Trade Commission and her oldest, Gabe the surly teen, mocks the claim that their mom is saving the world. Lots of eye exchanges between Tom and Ellen. Ellen gets a text from Edwards to call him, URGENT.
Back in Salisbury, Edwards tells his boss that “things went South with Haynes” and quickly summarizes the hypnosis and subsequent escape. He gives his opinion that Haynes is headed to see his daughter, Lyla Jane, who lives near the prison. Ellen is wary of the fallout if the cops are chasing Haynes and Edwards assures her they’re going the wrong way. Edwards tells Ellen that he’s going after Haynes alone. Ellen is incredulous, the FBI should handle the hunt, she tells him.
“If you want this contained, let me do it.”
Ellen signs off on his plan and tells him that she has to loop in Dan (Levine); he’s the only person that will be able to keep Edwards and Ellen away from testifying before Congress when this breaks open.
Washington, D.C. Dan meets Ellen in a parking garage and he’s a bit upset. Ellen confirms that Haynes began talking about his training once he was under hypnosis but apparently, did not name any names. Dan stresses the need to contain this and Ellen assures him that Edwards will handle it. Dan mentions the ramifications and Ellen lays out that a CIA asset (who shouldn’t exist) is leaving dead bodies across US soil so yeah, she gets the ramifications.
Ellen has some more things to get off her chest. She mentions being on the containment team following Blackbriar and tells Dan that she doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that 48 hours ago she was tracking wire transfers from Iran and now she’s knee deep in a Treadstone clusterfuck. Dan starts to hem and haw about her North Korea experience but she cuts him off. She tells Dan that he knew Kwon was connected to Treadstone but that Dan chose not to tell Ellen that beforehand. Why?
“I think you brought me on board just to take the heat off of you.”
Dan admits that Ellen not having a prior connection to Treadstone was a factor in bringing her in to the Kwon case but nevertheless, they’re in this together now. Ellen seems satisfied for now.
Manokin, Maryland. Edwards catches up to Haynes, who is now wearing a police uniform. Haynes gets the drop on him so now Edwards has his hands up and his gun on the floor. In reference to dead Dr. Wells, Haynes says the man flipped a switch and all Stephen saw then was red. But, he feels like he’s got it under control now. Haynes acknowledges that this only ends one way but he wants to see his daughter first before he dies.
Edwards makes a deal with Stephen, in exchange for helping him get to see his daughter for a little bit, Stephen agrees to help expose whomever is waking up the Cicadas.
I like how we are moving the plot forward. The show is doing a good job juggling the separate, detailed plotlines. It is interesting that we didn’t get any 1973 flashbacks at all this episode, this is a shift from how the show had been up to this point.
I like how they handled the Samantha reveal. As soon as she pulled the trigger at the end of last week, you KNEW she had to be something more than Doug’s wife and they peeled the onion really nicely tonight, while filling in some much needs blank spots on the Treadstone program lore. I’ll take as much exposition on that as they’ll provide.
I do not feel good about SoYun’s new mission, the way she was saying good bye to Jin Woo – there is some writing on the wall and none of it is good. I really like the character and I hope she finds a way through.
I’ll connect some obvious dots that SoYun’s mission is taking her to China which is where another Cicada, Nira, is also headed. We haven’t seen any assets interact yet so I have to wonder if we’re about to get our first Cicada Meet-up?
Until next week Cicadas, stay frosty!
Treadstone airs on Tuesday nights at 10pm (ET/PT) on the USA Network.
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