This week on Emergence, the truth about Piper begins to be revealed to Jo and the people around her. As the title suggests, all she, and we, learn are little tidbits that are as confusing as they are intriguing, and right now the pieces don’t fit together. Jo is still figuring out what kinds of puzzles she’s trying to solve, though she knows that there’s more than one puzzle.
There’s the mystery of the strange technology, the mystery of the orphaned girl, the mystery of the electromagnetic/zero gravity anomalies and the mystery of who’s hunting all of the other mysteries down and trying to cover them up. There’s also the mystery of the strange pattern that appears on tech screens and Piper’s tracker, but Jo isn’t aware of that one yet.
Episode 2 begins the same was as episode 1, with a strange event in the middle of the night. This time, Jo is lying awake in bed and hears a noise outside, so she gets up to investigate a bit. She looks out the windows and checks the kids’ bedrooms, but everything seems okay, so she gets back in bed.
Piper wasn’t sleeping either, and she saw someone through her bedroom window. She comes into Jo’s room to tell her as soon as Jo lies back down. Jo sends Piper into Mia’s room then gets her gun and goes outside to find the intruder. By the time she gets there, whoever it was is gone.
The whole family is awake now. Mia decides she’ll sleep with Piper, since the younger girl is scared. Jo stays downstairs and keeps watch for the rest of the night. A bearded man lurks in the shadows on the edge of the yard, waiting for his chance.
In the morning, Jo mainlines coffee and Piper confesses that she couldn’t go back to sleep either. Ed, the best dad/grandpa ever, has made a 5 star breakfast for everyone. Mia is late for school, as always. She was slowed down by her new big sister duties.
Chris arrives at the door with an entirely new security system, which he’ll be installing while Jo is at work today. Jo tells him to find out who hauled away the plane crash debris, since the NTSB doesn’t have the equipment to do it themselves and to ask the coroner to put a rush on the autopsies of Piper’s fake parents.
Alex arrives to pick up Mia and wonders why Chris is there with surveillance equipment. An argument ensues over whether it’s a good idea to have Piper stay with the family when she’s attracting so much danger. Alex likes Piper, but he doesn’t want anything to happen to the family and they haven’t even talked about the strange phenomena that occurred in the basement. This is the first Chris has heard about the strange occurrences around Piper. Jo says that fostering Piper is a temporary situation until they figure out where she belongs.
Piper is sitting out of sight on the stairs and overhears the conversation. As her anxiety over being forced to leave her new family grows, nails begin to pop out of the walls. She runs upstairs before she gets caught, and checks the incision where she removed her tracker. It’s healing, but has a large scab that’s hidden by her hair.
Jo finds Piper in her room and notices that her new clothes fit her well. Piper asks if Alex is still there. Jo understands why she’s asking and reassures her that Alex likes her, he’s just worried. Piper asks if Jo is also worried. Jo explains that she’s not the worrying type, because it doesn’t accomplish anything. She doesn’t want Piper to worry, because she won’t ever force Piper to go someplace she doesn’t want to go.
Then she brings up her friend Dr Abby, from the hospital, and says she’ll be over later to work with Piper on her memory. Piper isn’t enthusiastic, but agrees to try.
Later, Jo visits the hauler who cleaned up the plane crash for the NTSB. Benny the journalist has also found him. Jo has to vouch for Benny and promise they’ll keep what Yousef, the hauler, says off the record before he’ll talk. Yousef tells them that he was paid double overtime pay (3-4 times the usual rate) to clean up the wreck before the tide came in, then take it 6 miles off shore into the deep water and dump it.
Jo guesses that Yousif charged an extra fee for the illegal dumping, plus he double crossed the guys and salvaged whatever he thought he could sell. She asks if he’s going to make her wait to find it on ebay or show it to her now. He says he only found one thing of value, the air band radio.
The radio is strangely super charged with electricity and gives a painful shock to anyone who touches it. When Jo holds her phone near it , the radio turns itself on and is tuned to channel 121.455, which Benny says is a phantom frequency. It’s midway between two normal frequencies, so drug cartel pilots use frequencies like this one to avoid detection by the DEA. Jo takes the radio with her.
The bearded man breaks into the morgue and finds the bodies of Piper’s fake parents in separate metal drawers. He slips something into the mouths of the bodies.
As they’re leaving the waterfront, Benny tells Jo that he had the card from last week thoroughly examined, including x-rays and radial images, but no one could tell anything about it. He gives it back to her. He also tells her that he has to publish something soon, or his editor will pull him from the story.
So much for waiting to publish until he had the whole story, as he said last week. Guess that was just bluster. He asks Jo to share whatever she finds out about the radio, but she’s noncommittal.
Abby and Piper sit at the table and draw while Abby asks questions about mundane details to check Piper’s memory. Abby gives her a list of words to remember in order: Camera, wheelbarrow, tiger, pillow. Piper says that she had pancakes for breakfast yesterday and Ed adds that she had SIX pancakes- she’s a bottomless pit.
That could be a clue that she’s an alien or a robot, or it could be that she’s a kid who was in a stressful situation and not eating enough, so now she’s catching up. Or any combination of the three. Stressed out alien robots who are still growing need to eat, too.
Abby gives Piper a blank book to use as a memory journal. She tells Ed that Piper seems to be fine, other than the loss of her long term memories. Abby is also concerned about the dangers of secretly keeping Piper at Jo’s house. Ed is supportive of keeping Piper with them.
Abby asks how Ed is. He tells her that he’s bursting with white blood cells, which would be a reference to leukemia. Abby tells him to rest, because she’s a doctor and required to. Then she says that they lost Piper’s test results in a server meltdown, so Jo should bring her by for another round. Ed says that computers will be the death of them all, which I’m sure absolutely isn’t foreshadowing, just like that server meltdown was a complete coincidence.
Piper sits on her bed and writes the list of four words to remember in her memory journal, then rhythmically taps her pencil on the book. Something about the tapping creates a flashback. The pencil becomes a bloody scalpel and she briefly sees someone in a white hazmat suit with blood on it. They are yelling, “Don’t!” Possibly the image shows their throat slit.
The flashback only seems to take a moment, but when Piper looks down, she’s written “don’t” all over 2 pages of her journal and Ed is caling her downstairs for dinner. She quickly tears the pages out and hides them.
An assistant goes over some seemingly minor calls with Jo. A lawn gnome was stolen. An online scam is fleecing people by telling them to wire money so they can collect their inheritance. The coroner is out sick, so the autopsies of the fake parents are delayed. Plus, the aviation radio Jo requested has come in. She wants to use it to listen in on the phantom frequency the plane’s radio is tuned to.
Chris lets her know that he got the four new surveillance cameras set up, along with the rest of the system. Another officer will watch the house overnight, then Chris will return in the morning. Chris also heard about the server issue at the hospital and that Piper’s records were part of it. He and Jo agree that he should look into it.
When Jo gets home, Ed tells her about Piper’s memory journal, which is sitting open on the counter. Jo notices that pages have been torn out. Jo takes out the card from Piper’s fake parents and tries to ask her if she recognizes it, but Mia and Ed jump in with ideas of their own about what it might be and the moment is lost. Jo worries that Piper likes it there so much that she won’t tell them what she remembers. Ed reminds her that Piper needs their help and protection.
In the middle of the night, the card, which is still on the kitchen counter, begins to glow in pulses. Piper is awake, somehow knows to go downstairs to it. When she gets close, she holds her hand out to it and it flies to her. Piper is so shocked at what she’s instinctively done that she drops the card, which causes it to slide apart at a hinge in the end, showing new sections. Piper grabs the card and runs back to her room.
The next day, Ed finds Piper in her room and suggests they clean it out so that it can be a real bedroom for her. She tells him that he doesn’t have to throw his own stuff away when she migt not be there that long. He says they really need a new paint job in that room and asks what her favorite color is. Without hesitation, Piper says green. Ed points out that she just had a memory and sends her to write it down.
The bearded man approaches Chris while he’s on a ladder adjusting one of cameras. He acts creepy, but the outcome isn’t clear.
Jo tracks down the coroner and complains about the autopsy taking so long. He tells her that he has a 4 year old who gave him the flu, so it was unavoidable. He promises to start on the couple immediately, but when they get to the morgue, the two bodies have been dissolved into a foul smelling liquid. The bearded man must have inserted a dissolving agent into their mouths.
Benny calls Jo to report that his room was broken into. He assumes they were looking for the card, since they didn’t take anything. Jo figures out that someone is cleaning up all of the evidence connected to Piper. The card is at her house.
The bearded man breaks into Jo’s house and uses a device to follow the signal to the tracker. It’s still caught in the drain trap below the bathroom sink after Piper washed it down the drain last week. He takes her plumbing apart to get it out. I certainly hope he put it back together.
Thank you, ABC, for clarifying that things don’t, in fact, wash out to the ocean and swim away when you put them down a house drain.
Piper sees the bearded man searching for the tracker. She hides in the laundry room across the hall from the bathroom, where she can see what he’s doing. When he finds the tracker, she gets scared and metal things stored around her vibrate increasingly rapidly. They rattle off the shelves, which the bearded man hears, leading him to find Piper.
The bearded man stands in the doorway and gives Piper a little smile, then puts his finger to his lips, telling her to be quiet. He doesn’t exactly look sinister toward her. He might even think for a moment that she’ll be happy to be found.
Piper screams at the top of her lungs and the laundry room light flashes on and off. The man looks surprised about the light.
Jo has arrived at the house. Both she and Ed run toward the sound of Piper’s scream. Jo notices an open window in the hall, then finds Piper in the laundry room.
Later, when Alex brings Mia home, she runs straight to Piper. Piper says she’s okay and apologizes to Alex for putting his family in danger again. Alex tells Jo that everyone he loves is staying in her house, so he’s decided to sleep on the couch until things settle down again. Jo leaves him in charge while she goes out to find the bearded man.
Chris is waiting on the porch. He apologizes for screwing up. I guess the bearded man incapacitated Chris before searching the house? Jo says they all let their guards down. But she has a guess about where the culprit is headed next. He’s been getting rid of everything associated with Piper, and there’s only one piece of evidence left.
They head to the junkyard where the car is being kept that the fake parents were driving the night of the crash. It’s covered with small metal objects and still attracting more- it’s become a giant electromagnet. The magnetic field is so strong inside the car that metal objects are floating, as if in zero gravity. They’re actually surrounded by a magnetic field on all sides that’s both pulling them in and repelling them, allowing them to float. (This is possible under controlled conditions.)
Jo and Chris hide when they see the bearded man arriving with a tow truck. He’s not particularly subtle for someone engaged in a cover up. He backs up to the magnetized car and begins the process of attaching it to the tow truck. Jo steps out from behind the car, gun drawn, and tells him to take out his gun and slide it over to her.
Bearded guy isn’t surprised by the magnetism and seems to have some experience with it. He slides the gun toward her, but knows it will veer away and attach to the car, while Jo is shocked. Chris comes over to help Jo and what follows is a
three-way four-way fight between the three humans and the electromagnetized car. The car steals weapons, disrupts the paths of bullets and finally allows Jo to hit bearded man in the face with a sledge hammer at full force when she figures out how to work with its power.
When Jo gets home, Piper is in pajamas, but packing a bag. She explains to Jo that she’s hiking down the hall to Mia’s place for a sleepover. Jo warns Piper that a sleepover with Mia is a perilous endeaver, because Mia snores really loudly. She also tells Piper that the bearded man won’t be back because his face got broken. Piper takes the news well.
Wonder how quickly the bearded man will heal or be replaced.
Jo sits down on Piper’s bed and asks her about the strange phenomena that happen around her. Piper explains that things happen when she gets scared. She tells Jo that when the man was there, things in the closet moved and lights broke and she thinks she caused it. Worst of all, she’s afraid she caused the plane crash and something is very wrong with her.
Jo has Piper sit next to her and looks her in the eye. She says that she doesn’t know why these things are happening either, and she’s scared too. But now she has a better understanding of why people are looking for Piper.
It’s because Piper is special. Piper doesn’t want to be special, but Jo tells her there isn’t anything they can do about it. Piper asks Jo to keep her powers secret. Jo promises.
Piper gives Jo the card, still fanned out into three different pieces. Jo is surprised that Piper’s had it all along. She thought the bearded man had taken it when he broke into the house. Piper apologizes for breaking and hiding it. It glows and pulses in Jo’s hand.
Once Piper goes to bed, Jo has a beer with Alex on the couch. He says that Mia loves Piper and Piper has found a place for herself in the family. He doesn’t know how long he’ll stay on Jo’s couch. Until the danger’s over or Jo throws him out, whichever comes first.
Jo has realized that people will keep coming after Piper. They’ve already been bold and relentless, no matter what she’s done to try to stop them. But they operate in the shadows, so she wants to shine a light on them.
Alex is approving, which gives Jo a warm glow. She gets up before she gets too comfortable. He reminds her that it’s not a real bed anyway.
Jo shows the card in its new configuration to Benny, in the interests of sharing information. Then she asks him to write a story for her, since it will also save his job. She tells him about Piper, the special girl who is the sole survivor of the plane crash. But she doesn’t want him to write about that. She wants him to write about Piper as an ordinary girl who was involved in an extraordinary tragedy when a car crash killed her parents and she lost her memory. Now she’s found a ray of hope with Jo and her family.
Benny’s asks why Jo wants to go public with the story. She explains that she’s had enough of everyone else controlling the situation. She’s taking back control of the evidence and the information.
She brings the borrowed airband radio to the shore and tunes it in to the pirate frequency. The pattern appears for a moment on the screen monitoring the bearded man’s vital signs.
Meanwhile, Chris and Yousef take the electromagnetized car far out to sea and dump it in the deep water.
Jo has a tendency to make promises to Piper in absolute terms, which she can’t actually back up, like telling her that the bad people will NEVER bother her again. It makes me crazy to hear a parent or a police chief do that.
It appears that Piper doesn’t sleep. That along with her powers, argues for her being a robot, an alien or very enhanced. Her flashback, the plane crash and the coverup suggest she was kidnapped, but for all we know she could be a criminal mastermind who organized an escape from the Homeland Security research facility. The bearded man didn’t treat her like she was at the top of the food chain, but he didn’t mistreat her either.
She’s definitely important and they want to keep her alive. It’s also not clear how many factions are hunting for Piper and the evidence around her. The Homeland Security facility is likely one, but there could be others, such as a group that may have purposely broken Piper, and possibly others, out of the facility.
I hope Yousef thought to tag the plane debris and magnetic car in some way so that he can find it again. There’s no way that evidence won’t be important enough to reexamine later.
Images courtesy of ABC.