Apparently, when you’re on NZT, one-night stands aren’t much fun. You know what’s fun? Emailing physicists and biologists about experimental new theories and drugs.
Which is exactly what Brian finds himself doing after breaking up with Shauna. Sands, his new handler, made it explicitly clear that if Brian doesn’t do his bidding (and by proxy, Sen. Morra’s bidding), Sands will hurt anyone and everyone he cares about. Talking to a guy named Arthur about a revolutionary gene therapy breakthrough in mice may not heal his broken heart, but it’s all he’s got — and it kicks off one of three separate problems Brian has to solve this episode.
Problem one is a fairly straightforward FBI case. The CIA just intercepted a Chinese drone with top secret technology, technology that should be highly classified, and their primary suspect is a defense contractor named Mao Zhang. The case does have its perks: Brian gets top-secret security clearance, but it also means he has to dig through the guy’s garbage. Once he gets past the smell, he finds a fair amount of information: Namely, Zhang dyes his hair and bleaches his teeth. And, for a guy who’s lactose intolerant, he sure drinks a lot of milk. Turns out that he’s been using those milk cartons to smuggle drone specifications, and since the FBI’s been hijacking his garbage, he’s had to find a new way of passing along information.
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Meanwhile, Sands pays him a visit at home, sitting and waiting for him in the dark, as menacing British bad guys do. (How much does being an FBI consultant pay, anyway? Brian’s got a pretty nice apartment for a dude who didn’t used to have a steady source of income.) Sands presents him with his first job for Morra and the second problem he has to solve: stealing all the information the FBI has on NZT. Now, finally, it starts to make a little more sense as to why Morra needs Brian. Sands gives him three days to get the files, which are locked in Naz’s office. And he insults his liquor cabinet, for good measure.
And the next day, Arthur shows up at the FBI and presents Brian with Problem No. 3: Tithonus, the possibly immortal mouse that Arthur has engineered with Brian’s help, has gone missing. (Fun fact: Tithonus was a man in Greek mythology who was granted immortal life.) Arthur suspects his former partner, a man named Paul Wilkerman who co-founded a biotech firm with Arthur called Claxion. Wilkerman screwed him over and made millions, leaving Arthur with nothing but a couple of mice. So, after his new breakthrough, Arthur got a little too excited and bragged about it online. Now, the mouse is gone.
While Brian is trying to track down the mouse, Rebecca gets a visit from her father’s dealer — her father’s art dealer, that is. Her father, a drug addict who died recently, was also a painter, and he left three finished works, which are now legally Rebecca’s. She wants nothing to do with them, as she and her father weren’t exactly close, but she is a little curious, especially because she suspects that her father was taking NZT before he died.
NEXT: Where’d you go, Tithonus?
As for the case of the missing mouse, Brian can pretty quickly rule out Paul Wilkerman because he was just found stabbed in Central Park. Arthur is taken into custody, as his fingerprints were all over the body — but so was someone else’s DNA. In the quest to clear Arthur’s name, Brian finds Wilkerman’s secret email account, which he was using to email Claxion’s head of research, a man named Alan Carverton, about Arthur’s breakthrough.
With a little prodding from Rebecca, Brian breaks into Claxion to try to find Tithonus — and enough evidence to link Carverton to Wilkerman’s murder — but all he finds are white, non-immortal mice, and while he’s there, he trips the alarm. Rebecca comes to his rescue and bails him out, but not before he sets all the mice free as a diversion. Brian can rule out Carverton, but now he has no mouse and no suspects, either.
The clock is still ticking on Sands’ request, too, so he tries to buy some time by drawing up a fake FBI dossier on NZT. Almost immediately, however, his father is hospitalized with “complications from his surgery,” and Sands steps forward to take credit, making it pretty clear that he will gladly make good on his promise to hurt the people Brian cares about if Brian doesn’t follow through.
On the bright side, at least one case is going well: Rebecca and Boyle trail Zhang and catch him in the act of making a drop, gathering enough evidence to put him away for espionage. While Zhang is confessing, Brian does a little espionage of his own by breaking into Naz’s office and snagging the NZT files. (Naz, you’re a senior agent in the FBI. Surely you have a stronger password than “mercy.” If people steal your top-secret files, that’s totally your fault.)
And with the two other problems solved, Brian can finally turn his attention to Arthur and Tithonus. It turns out that Wilkerman recently revised his will, diverting millions from his no-good offspring toward a series of charities instead, but that change was never made. Instead, his lawyer reached out to Wilkerman’s children, offering to sit on the will for a good price. Once Wilkerman was out of the picture, with Arthur conveniently framed for his murder, the lawyer got a cool half a billion dollars. There’s enough evidence in the lawyer’s trash to put him away for good, and Tithonus is found, unharmed and still adorable.
But with all three cases wrapped up neatly, Brian can’t help himself, and he takes a look at those NZT documents he worked so hard to get. Most of the information isn’t all that new, and there are a lot of before-and-after pictures of known NZT users. But among all faces and names, Brian finds a familiar one: Conrad Harris, known user of NZT and father of one Agent Rebecca Harris. In his files, he’s listed as a “known painter” whose “artistic abilities are enhanced on NZT,” something that’s made pretty clear when Rebecca checks out the last three paintings he made before he died — and one is an enormous, hyper-realistic portrait of her.