Reese is gone, AWOL from his hospital bed in Harold’s library. Shaw on the other hand is anxious of all the lack of numbers. Harold has no answers for her boredom, but as he walks down the street, phone after phone rings for him. The machine does have a number for him, but he refuses to take the call. Meanwhile, Reese is all the way in Colorado, a picture on the bar’s wall has some resemblance to Reese. He sits for a drink when a couple tough guys pick on a weakling and take him outside for a beating. Reese stands to protect those that can’t protect themselves, but thinks better of it.
Harold checks on Root, but all she wants is a book that’s not in her cage. Harold gladly hands it to her. She tries to console Harold and advises him not to take it out on the machine. She puts three books together, the dewey decimals are a new code for a new number. Harold doesn’t understand how she got the number, suffice it for him to know that the machine wants them to work together. Finch can’t get himself to pull up the number until Shaw sneaks up on him. Finch hesitates, then pulls up the number for Arthur Claypool. He clearly recognizes him, but feigns ignorance to Shaw. They get to work. She goes into the hospital where Claypool is admitted undercover as a Doctor. Claypool was admitted for terminal cancer. Shaw finds him in oncology, checks on him. He appears to have dementia rather than cancer, when she digs too deep an agent confronts her. She realizes he’s being protected by secret service. As an IT from Maryland, Shaw deduces that he might have classified knowledge and the symptom of blurting out secrets puts him in real danger.
This is our first glimpse into Harold’s past. A child version of Harold is pretty normal, except that he is bird watching. His Dad promises to watch with him after they finish fixing the truck. Harold agrees, but his forgetfulness slows their progress. A phone call pulls his father away. When he returns, Harold’s already disassembled the engine. His Dad says he shouldn’t have even though he found the problem. He quips “if they didn’t want us to get in it they should have built it better.” In present day, Arthur gets a visitor, it appears to be her wife, but her presence vexes Arthur more than comforts him. Their argument confirms his involvement with the government and a government project called Samaritan. He kicks his wife out, leaving Shaw the perfect opening to extract information from her. It appears Arthur worked for the NSA and the secretive nature of his career put a real strain on his marriage. Shaw returns to Claypool’s room to find him gone. They moved him to radiation to get a scan. He’s in imminent danger from any host of threats. With him isolated to get an MRI, Shaw sneaks in, but realizes this isn’t a routine scan, but an interrogation. The threat is already here for him, but his security detail bursts in to detain Shaw.
Back to Harold’s childhood, building some kind of device that piques his father’s interest. He’s building a memory device. He enters in morse code “D-A-D” and it repeats it right back to them. It’s astonishing, but he explains to his Son that not everything that is broken can or needs to be fixed. Back at the hospital, a cellphone rings inside of Shaw’s holding office. It’s Harold and he’s here to help, but won’t get out of the car. They find video on the tech that was interrogating Arthur, then a secret service agent interrupts. In Colorado, Reese finds Lionel following him. They care about Reese, so he’s not leaving. Reese agrees to let him stay, but only if he keeps his mouth shut and drink. He agrees, but orders his drink a virgin. The agent interrogates Shaw, but it’s clear that Shaw knows more than this rookie a minute later he collapses. His lunch order as well as all the secret service agents food was spiked. Harold figures out the Vigilance is the one after Arthur. Shaw is able to get to Arthur first, but his wife finds her as well. Arthur refuses to leave when Harold appears at the door. The two of them know each other.
This time we flashback to Harold’s teenage years. Him and two of his friends loiter a corner liquor store in this small town. It’s clear few people leave this town and he bets them that he can bring Paris to them. At a pay phone he does his magic and connects to Paris. They love the trick. Officers pull up and ask Harold to get into the car, it’s about his Dad.
Shaw, Harold, Arthur and his wife try to act natural as they get him out. Harold and Arthur know each other from college. Harold was always the smarter one, the one that would change the world. Then the Vigilance group finds them, Shaw takes out those chasing them and make it to a car to get away. They find a safe hotel room to hide. Try to talk to Arthur, but he refuses to speak in front of his wife, she says it’s okay and leaves the room. They ask him about Samaritan. As he describes it, it sounds oddly similar to the machine’s function and purpose. Harold steps away to speak to Shaw as he realizes there is a second machine out there and Arthur built it, that’s why he’s in danger.
Back to Harold and his Father as the police car pulls up to their home. His Father’s dementia is worse and the officers ask Harold to consider putting him in a home. Harold doesn’t think anything of it, it’s his duty to take care of his father, but his father feels the guilt of holding his son back. Harold tells him not to worry about it, they’re building a network that will connect everything, he’ll just bring it all to him as he repeats the saying “if they don’t want you to get in side, they ought to build it better.”
Harold ask Arthur what happened to Samaritan. He says it was destroyed, but didn’t get it to work in time. The government took it away, but he believes someone got there first and built it.
In Colorado, Reese isn’t interested in silence anymore, he wants Lionel to drink, but he can’t. He quit drinking. Reese wants to know why. It’s because of him, when he showed up in his back seat those years ago and set him straight. He reminds Reese that he’s not the only one hurting. Lionel realizes they’re in that bar because of Reese’s father and Reese tells him that his father died in combat and no matter what they try to do to help people, it’s pointless. Harold realizes what he needs is to get his aggression out, so they take it outside and Harold gets another beating. It works.
Harold is about done completing their fake identities when he lashes out at his wife again. He doesn’t know why he remembers Harold, but not his wife. Then he realizes he does remember his wife and she’s dead. Arthur’s fake wife is revealed as her agents rush in and surround them. Shaw’s old contact is a part of the group and the fake wife is Shaw’s old employer. She’s excited to meet Shaw’s new employer Harold. She’s there to retrieve Samaritan and with Harold there, she’s willing to let one of them live as long as she gets one of the machines.