The Breakdown

A solar flare knocks out power all over the city and Detective Paul is in charge of power management at the headquarters. He informs everyone about protocol while Kennex heckles him from the back. Dorian enters and immediately punches Paul in the face. Because of the black out, some androids were only partially charged and Paul gave MXs priority over DRNs. Dorian feels like he hasn’t slept and it messes him up emotionally. Kennex says he’ll take a half charged DRN over an MX any day, and they both head out on duty.

Dorian complains about living with the MXs and says again that he needs his own space. Kennex says that he talked to Maldonado about it but that she said Dorian is city property and needs to be supervised. Dorian asks about living in Kennex’s back room, but he says that it’s his trophy room and tells Dorian all about his high school glory days, which infuriates the cranky Dorian.

A guy named Ramon is driving along, talking to his wife on the phone and making plans for dinner. Ramon is stopped by a beggar who wants to clean his windshield for some cash. When Ramon opens his window to talk to him, the guy sprays him in the face with his electro-cleaner, knocking Ramon out. When Ramon wakes up again, he is still in his car, but he has a device around his neck that is counting down ominously. An electronic voice tells him that if he completes some tasks as instructed, that he will be told how to disarm the device. He is told to take a gun and go to the bank where he works. Elsewhere, a guy on a computer is managing a live stream of the events as viewer numbers climb.

Simon Says


Ramon goes to the bank and tells the teller to transfer $427,000 onto a bitcoin device. He holds her at gunpoint until she complies. Ramon runs away with the money, but not before the teller trips the alarm. As Ramon speeds away in his car, trying to disarm the device around his neck, Kennex and Dorian catch up with him. The voice tells Ramon not to pull over if he wants to live, but Kennex and Dorian force him to stop with some kind of energy pulse. Dorian examines the device around his neck, confirms that it is a live bomb, but that there’s not enough time left to disarm it. They put a bomb shield around Ramon and promise they’ll find whoever is responsible. Ramon blows up. Meanwhile, the live feed has over 3000 viewers who all think it’s amazing.

As Kennex and Dorian investigate the scene, they find traces of the chemical that knocked Ramon out, the bitcoin device with all the money on it, a data recorder, and a number of small cameras all over the car to record the event. Paul interviews the bank teller, who can’t think of any reason Ramon would have been targeted. Stahl discovers the live feed of the entire incident on darknet, an uncontrolled portion of the internet. Later, Dorian and Kennex go to see Rudy about the bomb and the data recorder from the car. While Dorian gets a charge up, Kennex goes over the information from the data recorder. The final instruction was to go to a specific address, but one that was over 10 miles away. The bomb was always intended to go off. Kennex and Dorian go to check out the address.

When they arrive, it’s an old abandoned restaurant. The only thing working is an old digital jukebox. One of the instructions was to enter B-47, so Kennex does. A message come up on screen reading “Too bad about Ramon. He didn’t make it. But you did. Welcome to the show.” The computer guy is watching, and Kennex and Dorian realize that Ramon was never intended to make it, but that the suspect knew that the police would figure out the address and check it out. A picture of a woman name Jeannie Hartman comes up on the screen and they are instructed to save her, but it can only be them.

Simon Says

The computer guy calls a floral boutique to order some roses. An older man who has trouble hearing him hands the phone to his daughter, Jeannie. The computer guy gives her an address, informs the internet that the next show is in 45 minutes, then leaves. Later, Kennex and Dorian are on the phone with Mr. Hartman, trying to find Jeannie’s location. The delivery van’s GPS says she’s near Morris Park. Meanwhile, Jeannie is unconscious in her van with a bomb around her neck while computer guy sets up all the cameras. He activates the bomb. Back at headquarters, Paul hasn’t found any connection between victims yet, but Stahl alerts everyone that the live feed is back up. Kennex and Dorian are en route.

Jeannie walks into the park, carrying the flowers computer guy ordered. She’s told to go to the gazebo and start dancing. Dorian and Kennex arrive on scene and start to attempt to disarm the bomb. Rudy gives instructions remotely, but it turns out the wiring on this bomb is completely different from the one that killed Ramon. Meanwhile, Dorian’s charge is getting low and computer guy lets Kennex know that he world is watching him. Jeannie says she knows who did this to her. His name is Simon and she met him online, but she thought he was creepy and never saw him again. Computer guy Simon is upset that everyone watching knows and thinks he’s a loser. Meanwhile, Kennex and Dorian take until the very last second, but finally disarm the bomb and save Jeannie. Everyone online is really mad that Jeannie didn’t die and everyone stops watching.

The police discover Simon’s identity and the pattern of his victims. Ramon turned him down for a loan and Jeannie rejected him as a date. Simon was in the police academy on the bomb squad but was kicked out due to psychiatric issues by Officer Morton. Morton is put under a protection detail while police go to check out Simon’s most current address. Maldonado wants to make sure that Dorian will be okay in the field with his mood swings and Kennex promises to keep an eye on him.

Simon Says

Kennex and Dorian arrive at the scene and Kennex asks Dorian to hang back. They argue about it for a while until Paul comes along to let them know that the whole place is wired and that they’re going to do a controlled detonation. Someone comes along to tell Kennex they found something up the road and Kennex leave the other two to find out what it is. It turns out to be Simon and he sprays Kennex in the face and knocks him out. Once everyone realizes Kennex is gone they start an investigation to find him. Dorian finds Kennex’s locator chip on the ground, meaning he could be anywhere. Kennex wakes up on a bench with a liquor bottle in his hands and a bomb around his neck. It is counting down from ten minutes instead of the usual thirty. He is also chained to the bench. Simon calls him and tells him the rules of the game. No warning anyone around him about the bomb and no help from the police. If Kennex wants to live, he has to do it by himself. Under the bench is a small case of tools to help him disarm the bomb.

Back at headquarters the police find the new feed and Kennex’s location. Maldonado sends out all the reinforcements. Simon feels like he and Kennex are a lot alike, except that Kennex got a second chance. Meanwhile, the police arrive on scene, but can’t do much to help without risking civilian casualties. They find Simon’s location and set up a sniper, but it turns out he’s holding a dead man’s switch. If they kill him, he’ll let go of the detonator and the bomb will explode. Kennex accidentally tosses his screwdriver out of reach. Kennex is able to reach a small token in its place to help separate the wires.

Dorian calculates a path up the clock tower to Simon and intends to use an electrical pulse to take him down that will tense his muscles and prevent him from letting go of the detonator. However, Dorian is losing charge fast. As the viewers online reach 9000 people, Kennex comes close to disarming the bomb as Dorian reaches the top of the clock tower. Dorian takes Simon down just as he’s about to detonate the bomb, and Kennex disarms it just in time before the timer goes off. Dorian loses all his charge and shuts down.

Back at headquarters, Maldonado pours Kennex a drink. Dorian finally gets to charge up. Kennex asks Maldonado for a favor. He convinces her to allow Dorian to stay with Rudy instead of bunking with the rest of the MXs. Rudy is very excited to have a roommate, but the arrangement isn’t exactly what Dorian had in mind.

The Analysis

I think this is the first real thriller of an episode this season. It wasn’t super weird or particularly futuristic, but it was amazingly creepy. Not only is the very premise frightening – the thought of accidentally offending a crazy guy who then captures you, forces you to do terrible things, then blows you up after giving you hope of escape – but the internet culture in which Simon finds acceptance is all too real. There exists a dark “under” internet, where anything you want is for sale regardless of how illegal it might be. This is where you might find live feeds like the ones from this episode, where you could potentially watch people die in any number of terrible scenarios. This happens, and it’s terrible to be reminded of not only the kind of people who do these things, but the kind of people who become their victims.

Unfortunately, I feel like these last couple episodes have been somewhat lacking in the magical banter between Kennex and Dorian that has made the show so interesting. While their relationship still develops and they still have many an interesting and witty conversation, the show seems to be pulling focus away from that relationship to focus on the mystery of the main storyline. At the same time, there seem to be so many stand alone “mystery of the week” type episodes that have no relation to the broader, over-arching Syndicate plotline that the show is beginning to feel slightly unfocused in general. It needs something to hold it all together, and perhaps they’ll be pulling details from these last few episodes to bring into a major plot point Syndicate episode in the upcoming weeks, but for now the show seems bizarrely episodic.