Vic and Ronnie drive past a sign that reads INDIO--NEXT 2 EXITS. Savvy viewers will remember Mara's mom lives there. Ronnie pinches the bridge of his nose, looking like he's about to fall asleep.
At an apartment complex, Vic knocks on a door. A man answers. Vic says they're here to see Stella. "She's asleep, being the middle of the goddamn night and all," the man replies peevishly. Ronnie flashes his badge: "We're old friends of her daughter's."
Stella, it transpires, is not asleep but drinking on the couch. She insists she hasn't seen Mara. Since they made the 2-hour drive from L.A., Vic and Ronnie are welcome to drinks. Stella's boyfriend adds that they already told the Indio cops everything. Vic suggests the guy pour himself "another turpentine martini" and leave them alone. Stella remembers Vic from the last time Mara was in trouble and that he wasn't nice about it. Much like Dallas Winston, Vic Mackey is never nice.
Vic asks if Stella knows where Mara and Shane are going. Stella takes another slug of whatever is in her glass. "Keeping your mouth shut means you're aiding a fugitive," Ronnie points out. Stella chuckles it hardly seems official, them being here this late.
Vic tries to appeal to her better nature: "Shane's dangerous. It's not safe for Mara out there or for Jackson. Her pregnancy could be in jeopardy." "Oh well, this is a real fine way to get the happy news," Stella grumbles. She can't remember the last time she talked to her daughter. Mara used to send Stella Artois money, but that stopped after she got married. If Vic and Ronnie find her, can they tell Mara that Grandma's happy about the baby?
Ronnie and Vic are the only white faces in a bar run by Santi. Vic hands the gangster a photocopied picture of Shane. There's a reward for information leading to his arrest and $10,000 "will buy you an awful lot of cervezas." He gives Santi a business card, asking to be called if Shane turns up. Santi can keep the picture because Vic's "not feeling very sentimental these days."
Shane comes into the abandoned house with grocery bags, calling Mara's name. Getting no answer, he draws his gun. Jackson is curled up in a sleeping bag on the floor. Mara's outside, taking a relaxing skinny-dip in the pool. Shane smirks as Mara purrs that the warm water helps her back.
"Wanna come in?" she says. Shane doesn't need to be asked twice. He starts stripping down and holy six-pack, Walton Goggins! Mara wraps herself around him when he gets in the water, whispering for Shane to close his eyes and imagine being on the coast somewhere. He promises that's exactly where they'll be soon and they start making out. Yeah, never mind the unsupervised toddler in the house...
Meanwhile, Shane's former teammates have struck out at another hotel. Vic bets Shane is "looking for a place to crash with less eyes." Ronnie wants to call it a night; he has work in a few hours. He tiredly leans against the trunk of Vic's Charger. With a heavy sigh, Ronnie predicts, "We're not gonna find him." Vic wants him to think positive. Ronnie doesn't like that they're both betting their freedom on gangbangers.
Ronnie makes a shocking announcement: "I'm gonna run." He can call in sick to work and be in Mexico before anybody knows it. (After all, a Strike Team member fleeing to Mexico worked so well last time...) "Once you flip that switch, there's no goin' back," Vic warns. Ronnie would rather not spend the rest of his life in jail when fellow cops find Shane.
Vic promises they'll find him first. Ronnie's no longer willing to take that chance: "If something goes down and I don't hear about it, all they gotta do is march across the bullpen and slap the cuffs on me." No doubt he retains vivid memories of watching that exact thing happen to his best buddy Lem. "How's you running gonna make me look?" Vic demands. Ronnie advises, "You should run too, man."
Vic refuses to let Shane win: "He dropped the grenade that killed our team, but he doesn't get to kill your career or my life with my children." His unofficial work with ICE is going really well. Vic's endgame is to set both himself and Ronnie up with federal jobs. All Vic has to do is take down Beltran; he can make that happen in just a few days. He grabs Ronnie by the shoulders, all but begging, "Gimme one last shot at getting us through all this shit. If I fail, we both run."
Corinne sits on her couch, silent tears rolling down her face. Cassidy emerges from her room, telling her mom, "Megan had a bad dream. Didn't you hear her crying?" Corinne tells her eldest to go back to bed; she has school tomorrow.
Later, Dutch and Claudette arrive at Mission Cross. He says formally, "Nurse Mackey, we're here about the assault victim you called in." Corinne takes them into a lounge. Before she tells them any details, she wants to make sure Vic can't get in trouble. Claudette promises it'll be confidential. That's not good enough for Corinne; she wants it in writing and for her lawyer to review it.
"Corinne, it's us," Dutch tries to reassure her. Corinne tells them to come back in two hours with the paperwork. Dutch promises to get papers together as soon as he knows what they're dealing with. Corinne sighs, then tells them about the phone calls from Mara for information about the search. Vic convinced Corinne to take the calls, "then he lied to me and he used me to try to kill them." Corinne wants Vic out of her life permanently, but she doesn't want the kids to know she ratted their dad out.
Phillips wants Corinne arrested. Claudette points out all that'll get them is "limited and dated information on Shane." "Corinne's only trying to get free from the web Vic has spun," adds Dutch. Claudette is eager for the opportunity to close Vic down for good, something that should've been done years ago. She accuses the chief of sweeping him under the rug.
Phillips worries about Vic's old arrests being overturned. Dutch assures Phillips that the only crimes Corinne has evidence of relate to Vic and Shane. Phillips agrees to help Corinne without pressing formal charges.
"How's early retirement?" Edgar-veda lightly asks Vic a few doors from his campaign headquarters. The ex-cop replies, "Turns out it's not all Hawaiian shirts and fishing trips." Edgar-veda has heard about Shane and gloats, "The Strike Team's demise is more violent than I predicted." Vic calls it merely the end of an era; he has a new one in the works.
Vic warns Edgar-veda, "Your golden parachute might be about to rip." Cruz is just an "M.B.A. with a dirty agenda." Beltran has the real power with the cartel and thus poses a real threat. Olivia's boss Chaffee doesn't care about certain mayor wannabes: "The Feds want this guy so bad they can taste it. And they're not gonna have a problem shooting the messenger."
Edgar-veda guesses this is a scare tactic to back him off and let Vic get all the glory. There's only room for one guy to take down Beltran and that's Vic. Cruz has seen Edgar-veda's blackmail photo, meaning any respect and/or fear has gone out the window. It's almost guaranteed Cruz told Beltran about it. Vic suggests Edgar-veda "let the real men finish this job."
It's a cozy domestic scene at Not-Quite-Vendrell Manor. Jackson is feeling better, sitting poolside with Mara while Shane grills burgers and hot dogs. Shane thinks it would be nice to get a house on the coast. "I'd like that," simpers Mara. Shane shows off his burger-flipping skills and Jackson seems duly unimpressed.
Mara bets $100,000 could buy a house even bigger than the one they're squatting in now. At California real-estate prices? Dream on. Oh, it turns out she's talking about Colombia.
Mara asks if Shane will cook for her every day in South America too. Shane offers to do one better: "I am gonna hire a personal chef to make us breakfast in bed every single morning." He presents Mara with a burger. She kisses him and purrs, "I love you." There's a beat before he returns the sentiment. Shane folds his lanky body onto the same deck chair as his wife and child with a burger of his own.
Cruz wonders if they had a meeting scheduled when he sees Vic in his office. "Think of it as roll call," says Vic. Cruz tells Vic he's strictly an on-call employee. Vic tries to introduce himself to Beltran, but the guy won't shake his hand. Cruz says something to the cartel overseer in Spanish; I can only make out the word "policia."
Vic acknowledges he's used to be a cop, but now he's more of a "favor-granter." Edgar-veda shows up, pretending to be surprised that Cruz and Vic know each other. The councilman wants to talk to Cruz in private and renegotiate his terms. "You don't get terms; you get to be mayor," says Cruz. Edgar-veda puffs out his chest: "That'll still be. With or without you."
Cruz chuckles nastily. Edgar-veda doesn't want his old pal making any more campaign decisions he doesn't personally approve. Cruz shouts that Edgar-veda his errand boy will do what he's told. The councilman calls Cruz nothing but an empty suit and a checkbook.
"Just because you hang out with tough guys doesn't make you tough," says Cruz. Edgar-veda responds to that by punching Cruz square in the nose, surprising the hell out of Vic. Even cartel bodyguard Beltran doesn't seem to know what to do. Edgar-veda knocks pictures off the wall as he slams Cruz into it, repeatedly punching him in the stomach with his free hand.
Vic and Beltran watch the other men grapple with expressions of mild interest on their face. Beltran doesn't even intervene when Edgar-veda starts choking Cruz out. The councilman draws his gun when Vic takes a step forward: "You assaulted a reserve police officer. That's a felony!" "You have made a very big mistake." Cruz's words are a little garbled.
Edgar-veda corrects him; the only mistake he made was letting Cruz think he had all the power. He lets Cruz stand up. Cruz is breathing heavily, his nose bloodied. Edgar-veda and Vic make a hasty retreat.
"What the hell was that?!" the ex-cop cries outside. "You just blew that ICE investigation right out the window!" Edgar-veda has now opened himself up to a world of hurt from the cartel. The councilman thinks Vic better get himself a new gig; that beatdown just earned him Beltran's respect. (I seriously doubt that).
In the hospital lounge, Corinne finishes signing a stack of legal documents. She tells Claudette and Dutch how Mara showed up at her house, claiming Vic and Ronnie tried to kill Shane. Vic had told her the best plan was to let the Vendrells leave the country, so Corinne passed on information about the search. She's not sure if Ronnie is involved in this plan or not.
Vic found the Vendrells by asking Corinne about a prescription found in Jackson's name. Corinne is disgusted that Vic was planning to kill Mara too: "She's pregnant, for God's sake." Corinne admits she's never liked Mara, but nobody deserves this.
In the parking lot, Claudette doubts Corinne would be willing to repeat what she just told them in open court. Dutch will get Inglewood Division to tap Corinne's phone so Ronnie won't get suspicious. Claudette will partner Ronnie with Billings until they find out how involved he is. Dutch grins: "Steve will like that. He's got a pretty big man crush." Claudette doesn't want Inglewood to know whose phone they're tapping; Vic has a lot of friends.
At Squatters' Mansion, Shane pecks away at a baby grand piano while Mara and Jackson play hide-and-seek. You can see the kid's feet poking from under a nearby curtain. Mara didn't know Shane was musical. He explains his mom made him take lessons as a kid. Well, he certainly has the fingers of a pianist.
Shane then reveals more about his past that he has in the whole series. Even though the piano class was just little Shane and four girls, his interest didn't last. Shane wanted to help his dad fix cars.
Mara feigns surprise when Jackson pops out from behind the curtain. Laughing, she begins to dance with the toddler. "Show me your two-step, little man!" Shane calls, tapping his bare feet to the music.
Billings enters Claudette's office and immediately notices the secretive energy in the room. Undaunted, he plows on with a request from a friend of his at North Hollywood Division. Can they interrogate some murder suspects who live in Farmington? Claudette tells him they're a little busy at the moment.
Billings promises it's just a matter of taking statements and ruling people out; he and Dutch could be finished by lunchtime. Claudette instructs Billings to take Ronnie with him instead. She and Dutch are trying to get a lead on Shane.
Downstairs, Ronnie is wearing a suit for the first time in my memory. "Looks like you and me are first string today," says Billings. North Hollywood wants them to interview suspects in a home invasion that resulted in murder. The two of them can have some nice bro time. Billings adds, "You can tell me how you met that Asian hottie." Oh, you mean the one who called Ronnie an asshole on their first date?
Ronnie wants to stay at the Barn in case something pans out with Shane. Billings shrugs that it's captain's orders. Besides, Ronnie might be able to talk to Shane personally when they get back. Billings leans in confidentially: "Dutch and Claudette are upstairs playing I Got a Secret." That's good enough for Ronnie.
"Vic and Shane always seemed so tight," Dutch muses in their car. Claudette guesses friendships get tested. Dutch dials Corinne when he sees Vic's Charger pull up. He instructs her to put down the cordless, act like it's hung up, and he'll keep the line open.
Vic thought Shane and Mara might be calling. "She said she didn't trust us, remember?" Corinne points out. Vic corrects, "She doesn't trust me." He knows the Vendrells must be getting desperate. When he goes in the kitchen, Vic remarks how nice the house looks. Corinne smoothly says she took advantage of her day off to do some chores.
Vic knows she never asked to get involved in all this shit with Shane. Corinne looks slightly nervous as he toys with the cordless phone. What if he figures out it's still on? Vic puts down the phone and takes a seat at the kitchen table; Corinne joins him. Vic stands back, asking Corinne to let him know if Shane calls.
When he's gone, Corinne picks up the phone and asks if Dutch is still there. Dutch confirms he is. Corinne hangs up, takes a note pad out of a drawer, and lays it on the counter. The phone rings again. Mara demands to know why she got a busy signal a few minutes ago. "I have two autistic kids," Corinne says testily, "One of them knocked the bedroom phone off the hook."
Mara asks for updates. Corinne's response sounds way too rehearsed and technical, even for someone who was married to a cop: "They've expanded their search to include other precincts. All major thruways out of the city are being watched." The Vendrells pictures will be on the evening news. Mara says she's calling back at 10 PM. Dutch doesn't seem to share my opinion of the way Corinne handled the questions.
Ronnie jogs up to Vic's car. "Look at you, Beverly Hills Cop," Vic jokes at his buddy's attire. Ronnie says Claudette has been out with Dutch all day and he's been stuck with Billings. Vic suggests Billings could get some information out of Dutch. "I'll try," says Ronnie, "He wants to be my best friend." Vic wants Ronnie to ask Julien too, even though neither of them are sure whose side he's on.
Vic tries to fib everything is going well with ICE, but Ronnie calls bullshit. Vic has to get ICE away from Edgar-veda and needs Ronnie's help doing that.
Vic meets up with Beltran at a bar, explaining he had a department friend track the cartel man's license plate. "You've still got juice with the police?" Beltran says. Vic nods, "Enough to make a screwdriver for every vato in L.A." He guesses Beltran is high up in the cartel and has an idea why he's in town.
"Cruz is screwing up: body draggings, public assassinations," Vic outlines, "More interested in his big buildings than doing business for you. Getting his ass kicked by a politician today, that couldn't have inspired much confidence." Beltran doesn't work with outsiders very well. If Vic really wants to prove himself, Beltran never wants to see Cruz again.
Shane is having a relaxing cigarette by the Squatters' Mansion pool when he's alarmed by a tapping sound. He shoves his gun down the back of his jeans and dashes inside the house, warning Mara someone is there. She asks for help getting the rest of Jackson's clothes on him.
The unexpected visitor is a woman in a business suit; judging by the one-sided cell phone conversation we hear, she's a realtor. Mara appears out of nowhere, a fancy coat thrown over her casual maternity dresses. She introduces herself as Debbie from another realty office. Realtor asks why the door was locked. Mara lies that she's showing the place to a single dad with a toddler: "He wanted to make sure the locks worked. He's a nervous guy." (I'll say).
Realtor snits that she thought the showing was at 4:00. Mara explains she had just shown her client another house in the neighborhood when he saw the sign on the front lawn. She got the lockbox code from an agent named Hillary.
Shane strolls into view, asking about the local schools. "Mr. Wilson, apparently, this house is being shown to another buyer at 4," says Mara. Shane guesses he better decide fast whether he wants it. Realtor offers to show him the re-tiled back patio, unaware how acquainted Shane and Mara really are with the place. She quickly figures it out when she notices the sleeping bag on the floor and the open beer bottle on the patio table.
Shane points his gun at the other woman, ordering Mara to take her cell phone and keys. Jackson hides behind the hostage's skirt. The realtor begs the couple not to hurt her, babbling, "My husband, my daughter..." "Just shut up already!" Shane barks. The realtor starts to cry.
Dutch gripes that looking for Shane is like "trying to find a needle in 10 haystacks." He doesn't know if he's even still in the city. In the breakroom, Dutch informs Claudette, "A realtor was detained by an armed man and woman when she found them squatting in one of her homes. They locked her in a pantry before escaping in her car." She ID'ed them as Mara and Shane. Claudette asks Dutch to send a few uniforms to the house in Los Feliz (lovingly described by Patton Oswalt as "a very hipster-y part of L.A."
Dutch approaches Julien; he has a message about Shane that he doesn't want broadcast on the radio. Julien nods.
Vic pulls a gun on Cruz: "Beltran gave me my first task today. Apparently, he's not happy with your job performance. He sent me to kill you." Cruz looks ready to piss his pants. Vic lowers the gun. "Lucky for you, we're not on the same team." He works for Agent Olivia Murray of ICE. She has questions for Cruz. Vic would appreciate having her blackmail file before he takes Cruz in.
Cruz doesn't want to and calls Olivia a bitch. "That bitch can put you out on the street at the cartel's mercy," says Vic, which really changes the power dynamic.
Olivia crosses her arms: "For a guy who could be face-down in the L.A. River, you don't seem very cooperative. You were greenlit, Cruz." He's lucky the hitman who found him was an undercover cop. Olivia promises him a new life, courtesy of Witness Protection. "A townhouse in Phoenix? No, thanks," says Cruz.
Vic suggests Olivia go outside and call her boss. When the two men are alone, Vic promises to personally deliver Beltran. Cruz knows Beltran will never stop hunting him. "He's not gonna be looking for a dead man," says Vic.
Later, he assures Olivia that Cruz will talk and will make sure her blackmail file never sees daylight. To win Beltran's confidence in Vic, they'll have to figure out a way to fake Cruz's death. The feds can't count on Edgar-veda being permitted to know the details of the master plan: "It sounds like he's starting up a money laundering scheme that would make Ivan Boesky flinch."
Shane comes out of a store with a brand-new police scanner. Mara thinks they should leave California. Shane wants to wait until tomorrow's presidential motorcade. In the meantime, he knows where they can stay tonight. "I'm guessing it probably doesn't have a pool," says Mara.
She waxes poetic about how Shane playing the piano and dancing with Jackson made her forget about the whole fugitive situation; she was so happy. "Every day is gonna be like that in Colombia," vows Shane, pecking her on the cheek. He notices Jackson's oddly quiet in his car seat. "He's hungry," says Mara. Really? I thought kids tended to cry when they were. Shane says, "Well, I'm pretty sure I can fix that."
In a very questionable part of town, Santi's friend sees Shane walking back to his car with grocery bags. The Southerner apologizes to a nearby homeless man that the goodies aren't for him. Santi's friends approach with their guns. "Whoa, easy, fellas, I'm a cop," drawls Shane. Santi's friend replies, "Not no more."
Mara calls out from the car, asking what's going on. Shane tells her not to worry. "Bitch, get out the car," one of the gangbangers orders. Shane says, "Hey, she's got my kid in there." Mara freaks out and gets out of the car. The gangsters start to dial Santi, chattering excitedly about the $10,000 bounty Vic put on Shane's head. Shane offers them $20,000 if they'll let him and Mara go.
The gangbangers want to see the money. The cash Mara hands over is decidedly south of 20 grand. The gangbangers find even more money zipped in a black duffel bag. One of them jams his gun into Shane's cheek. Shane protests he thought they had a deal; there should be $100,000 in the bag.
Santi's friend wants to make it $110,000. Shane warns that the first thing Vic will do when he gets there is take all the cash for himself. The gangbangers hang up and retreat.
Beltran pays a visit to Edgar-veda's campaign headquarters and tells him that Cruz is dead. He likens the councilman's political career to "a fish swimming through razorblades." Beltran assures he won't micromanage the campaign. All Edgar-veda has to do is win. The fruit-growers' union is about to announce their public support of Edgar-veda. They pay their illegals in cash and need a place to store it, an arrangement Beltran will disclose at a later date.
Claudette and Dutch wait in Corinne's kitchen for the phone to ring. When Corinne answers, Mara is pissed. Vic tried to have them killed again and they're traveling with 2-year-old Jackson: "What kind of animal did you marry?!" Mara tells Corinne about the gang bounty.
Meanwhile, Shane calls Vic: "As punishment for the shit you tried to pull today, there is a letter on its way to the Barn addressed to Claudette Wyms, a written confession of one of your many sins from the past." He bets Ronnie and Vic will make great cellmates the next 3-5 years, "assuming you can't bullshit your way out of it." "This is our axe to grind, Shane. You leave Ronnie outta this," Vic warns.
Shane demands compensation to the tune of $100,000 by 5 PM tomorrow. "I can't get it together that fast; you know that," says Vic. Shane is sure Vic can figure it out; after all, he was the master mind of the money train.
Mara tells Corinne to make sure Vic does the task Shane is currently assigning. She sighs, "I just want this to be over with." You and her both. Shane wants Corinne to drop off the money. Vic interrupts, "Corinne's done enough for you already. Stop trying to shield yourself behind my ex-wife. Man up and let me deliver the cash myself." "So you can get another shot at my pregnant wife and son?" asks Shane.
Vic reminds his former best friend exactly whose fault it is that Mara is in the crosshairs. Shane threatens that if Vic doesn't cooperate, "the next love letter I send to Claudette will be about the bullet under Terry Crowley's left eye." Hanging up, Vic tells Ronnie about Shane wanting $100,000.
"I just want this to be over with," Mara repeats to Corinne. Listening in on the other cordless phone, Claudette identifies herself and tells Mara not to acknowledge her yet. She'll guarantee Mara's safety and Shane's if they turn in Vic. Claudette knows how desperate she is and offers Mara immunity from prosecution; however, she can't promise it for Shane.
Claudette lays out Mara's future if she keeps running: "You will be giving birth in a state penitentiary. Your baby will be taken from you. Jackson too." Does she want them growing up in foster care? Mara needs to do right by them. All Claudette wants is Vic. If Mara's willing to help, she needs to find a private place to make a phone call at 8 AM the next day. Mara agrees and hangs up.
Shane asks Mara for an update. After way too long of a pause, Mara says, "Corinne's working with the police." Cue the Vendrell family group hug! End of episode.