Friday, September 23, 2016

Hunting a "Homewrecker" (Episode 2.6)

Previously on: Corinne reminded Vic of his promise to move out and he made good on it. Julien announced he's getting married to the woman he's been dating for almost 2 months. Connie became a registered confidential informant (CI). Yassirah, the widow of the man Danny shot, has been harassing her; she even made a phone call to the station saying Danny's mother died.  Vic burned Armadillo's face and the Strike Team decided it's too risky to bring him in alive. When they went to Armadillo's house, he wasn't home.

Vic and Edgar-veda listen to the recorded conversation in which Armadillo tells Vic: "You've been greenlit." Edgar-veda wants to know when Vic was planning on telling him about this. Vic shrugs, "Cops get greenlit all the time. It's all talk. Nothing ever happens." The captain holds up a crime scene photo, pointing out that Armadillo had his own brother killed. He'd been an exception to the rule. On the bright side, the tape proves Armadillo is an accessory to murder and conspired to kill a police officer. They just have to find him.

Edgar-veda has been pressuring Vic to add a minority to the otherwise all-white Strike Team. He has a candidate he wants Vic to meet. How much do you want to bet this candidate is Latino? The captain unnecessarily adds, "Make sure you and your guys watch your backs."

In the clubhouse, Shane and Lem are playing darts. Lem, the friendliest of the bunch, is actually griping about Edgar-veda wanting to add someone else. Oh, it's because he thinks that means him, Shane, or Ronnie will be voted off the island. Vic says it just means the team will have 5 guys instead of 4.

Vic apologizes for the Armadillo situation. Ronnie talks semantics: "He said, 'You're greenlit.' Is that like 'you' in a plural sense or 'you' in a singular sense?" Shane and Lem glare. Ronnie says he was on the porch the whole time when Armadillo got burned; the guy never saw him. Vic promises they'll find Armadillo before he finds them.

That still leaves the Strike Team with the issue of a new guy. "Someone who doesn't understand how we do things could throw a wrench in how we do things" as Shane puts it. Vic won't bring on anyone who doesn't understand.

Danny asks Julien how the wedding planning is going. Hopefully, everything is done because the wedding is scheduled for the following weekend. She promises not to tell Vanessa about Julien's previous gay relationships because it's not her place. She warns that if Julien cheats with a guy or Vanessa hears about it from someone else, she'll be really hurt. They're dispatched to a 911 hang-up. Danny figures it's a "3-year-old who just learned how to use the speed dial."

Vic asks Gordie for a favor: Have someone tail Corinne and the kids 24/7. He's been greenlit by a Mexican drug lord and is concerned about their safety. But Corinne can't know she's being watched.

At the scene of the 911 hang-up, there's a broken window. The front door is hanging off the hinges. Danny spots a dead woman lying just inside the house, a crowbar next to her head. A surveillance camera has been smashed. A second dead woman has a pile of brochures scattered around her. Danny realizes they're in a battered women's shelter. Julien finds two more dead women; there's a fifth woman dead on the kitchen floor.

A sudden thump from upstairs attracts their attention. There's yet another woman's body at the top of the stairs. Danny hears crying behind a door. When she opens it, she finds a playroom full of kids. Varying ages but all quite young, all dressed in pajamas. Danny crouches to their level, whispering, "It's okay, come here."

At the Mackeys, Matt and Cassidy are arguing loudly and Vic is leaving with a packed bag. He asks if Corinne still locks up at night. As a cop's wife, she'd be very stupid not to. Vic announces he's having a new alarm system installed since he won't be living there anymore; it'll make him feel better about her and the kids being alone.

Dutch explains how the private domestic violence shelter works. When a woman decides to leave her abuser, she calls a 1-800 number, gets picked up, and brought to the house. The address is never released. Claudette sums it up, "Looks like the wrong person found it." The location of the crime means they have 6 ready-made suspects.

Claudette couldn't find any IDs in the house, but it's not uncommon for shelters like this to give women aliases and take their wallets. Dutch observes that the power was cut off and the closed-circuit videotape stolen, "more premeditated than blackout rage." The bodies are covered with yellow tarps. Danny and other officers carry the kids downstairs, shielding their faces with blankets. A child psychologist has promised to contact the department when the kids are able to answer questions.

Outside, a blonde woman is being restrained from entering. She identifies herself as Emma the shelter director and doesn't seem to understand why she can't go in. The yellow crime scene tape should be a pretty big hint. Vic warns her it's bad in the house. Emma was only gone a few hours to pick up donated clothes. She seems to have figured out what's going on because she asks tearily, "They're all dead?" Vic assures her that the kids aren't hurt, at least not physically.

Vic tells her they need help identifying the victims. The women and children's real names are kept on a password-protected computer. Only 2 people have access: Ms. Henry and Julie, both of whom were at the shelter when Emma left. Emma starts crying again and asks if all 7 women are dead. Vic only found 6 bodies.

At the Barn, Emma shows Vic a picture of the missing woman. She takes pictures when the women come to the shelter to document injuries caused by abuse. The missing woman arrived just today; she was a prostitute beaten by her pimp. Emma normally doesn't take in that sort, but the pimp had allegedly threatened to kill the girl if she went back to the streets. "You did the right thing helping her," says Vic, a great judge of right vs. wrong.

Emma frets that she has 2 more women arriving tomorrow and no place for them to go. Vic suggests contacting city shelters. "If the city had room for them, I wouldn't have needed to start my own shelter," Emma points out. Vic has been flipping through prostitute mugshots on the computer and Emma recognizes one of them. Vic tells a uniform to get the hooker's name and photo out to everyone.

Over at Dutch's desk, the department tech guy seems stumped by the password-protected laptop. Turns out he only knows Police Information Systems or PIS. "Piss?" Dutch says. The tech guy snits, "We don't call it that." Dutch won't be able to find suspects until he can get the real names of the women from the computer. "I'm not cleared to work on non-departmental computers," the guy informs Dutch. But since it's an emergency, he nervously agrees to break the rules.

Edgar-veda tells Danny that Yassirah filed another complaint against her. This time, she accused Danny of making threatening phone calls. Danny says all she did was tell Yassirah she knows what she's been doing and told her to stop. That sounds perfectly reasonable, much like what I would say if I were in her shoes. Edgar-veda hisses, "Just please tell me you did not call her from your house. There will be a record of it." Like there wouldn't be if she'd used a cell or the phone at the precinct? And also, wouldn't that mean there'd be records of Yassirah calling Danny?

Danny is upset and righteously so. Yassirah vandalized Danny's personal car and called the precinct pretending that Danny's mother died. Where does it end? The captain says they can't prove that. Danny's actions have now given Yassirah a case of her own for harassment.
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He orders Danny to make a formal apology. Do what now?

Dutch asks the stoned-looking PIS how he's doing with the laptop. "It's complicated," he slurs, which tells the detective absolutely nothing. Ronnie happens by. Dutch gripes, "Our piss guy's incontinent." Ronnie offers to lend a hand.

Emma has identified the missing prostitute as Dorea Pinchuk, who has 5 priors for solicitation. Dutch thinks that makes her a witness or a victim. Claudette has a much different theory: "Or an accomplice." Vic volunteers to find Dorea's pimp. In the clubhouse, he shows Dorea's mug shot to Connie, who claims not to recognize her. Vic asks her to find the pimp, a task I'm sure she'll undertake with subtlety.

Connie asks if a high-profile case like this is worth an extra reward. Vic will try to make this information count as 2 of her monthly tips. Connie was thinking more along the lines of monetary compensation. She's been saving up for another place to live; she wants to prove to the court she can take care of Brian, even though that ship has long since sailed. Out in the squadroom, Ronnie has managed to crack the password on the laptop.

Edgar-veda supervises a meeting between Yassirah, Danny, and Yassirah's Lawyer. Danny makes the standard speech about how she's sorry for any stress her actions may have caused and that she wrongly accused Yassirah. Everything about Yassirah's body language is ugly. Danny is obviously working not to convey her annoyance at being forced to apologize. Yassirah's Lawyer still intends to file a temporary restraining order against Danny, claiming Yassirah fears for her safety.

Vic and Shane roust Dorea's pimp at a sidewalk cafe. Pimp Daddy claims he hasn't seen Dorea in a week. Vic asks who bruised up Dorea's face. Pimp Daddy swears he never hits his "employees." A practical man, he adds, "They can't go down if their lips are busted up."

When a car full of Latino gangbangers approaches, Vic immediately tenses up and reaches for his holster. So does Shane. The car continues down the street without incident. Vic tells Pimp Daddy to let him know if Dorea contacts him, then Vic might change his mind about looking for the rest of his stable. He hands Pimp Daddy a card.
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According to shelter records, 3 women checked in with 5 children between them. Officers who searched the house only found 4 kids. The missing child is a 7-year-old boy, Dad's whereabouts unknown. The boy's 2-year-old sister was left behind. Vic, the voice of experience when it comes to parenting, points out that 2-year-olds are harder to travel with.

"Who's our father of the year and why would he take a hooker with him?" asks Claudette. That would be Mike Holden, a firefighter with 3 arrests for solicitation. You'd think that kind of conduct would cost him his job. Vic adds that Dorea lied about being attacked by her pimp; he hasn't seen her in a week: "How much you wanna bet we find her slidin' down our fireman's pole?"

The squadroom breaks out in scattered cheers and applause as Edgar-veda descends the stairs dressed in his uniform. "Brass finally get wise?" Vic jokes. Edgar-veda explains the new policy of captains going on patrol in uniform once a month to "keep it real." "Keepin' it real funny," Shane puts in. Vic would let Edgar-veda put his name in for the Strike Team, but it's competitive. Danny and Julien are the poor unfortunate souls who get to ride with the captain.

Their first case is the report of a stolen kid's bike: a black-and-yellow, 18-speed Street Jammer to be exact. The kid, a little Hispanic boy, had it locked in the yard even though Mom told him not to do that. "$300 and I just bought it 2 days ago," Mom adds. The kid's hanging his head sadly. Edgar-veda promises they'll try to get the bike back.

Emma comes to the Barn with the women who were due to check into her shelter. Vic hands over the keys to one of the city's safehouses. Emma worries about him getting into trouble. "It's as white as a lie gets," notes the resident liar. She can call Vic if she needs anything: "You're doin' a good thing for these women." "Someone did it for me once," Emma says.

Julien asks if the captain got his wedding invitation and how long Edgar-veda's been married. His 8th anniversary is coming up. Julien asks if the older man can offer any advice. Edgar-veda tells him to have no secrets: "The one thing that you think she can't possibly know about is the one thing that'll come back to haunt you."

They pull over a chubby black middle-school-ish boy who's riding a black-and-yellow Street Jammer. Edgar-veda observes that the bike looks a little small for him. He has a report of a stolen bike matching this description: "You may be young, but I will arrest you. Gimme the bike." Does the kid want to be taken in and booked? "Book you?" Julien mouths.

The kid gets off the bike and starts to walk home. "Don't let me catch you out here again," the captain warns. He and Julien load the bike into the squad car's trunk. Julien somewhat sarcastically remarks that Edgar-veda solved a case 2 hours into their shift. "Once you got it, you never lose it," brags Edgar-veda.

Vic hands Lem a stack of flyers with Dorea's picture on them. "$5 grand? That's like a hundred handjob reward," Lem remarks. And you know this how? Connie arrives to hassle Vic more about money. She gets her own stack of flyers, this set bearing Mike's photo. They think he's a regular john. Connie asks if the $5,000 will go to her. "No, it goes to whoever gives us direct information that leads to the arrest of the guy or the safe return of the kid," Vic corrects.

Claudette and Dutch interview Mike's friend Lou, who just happens to be a uniform cop. They were best men at each other's weddings. Lou was the arresting officer for Mike's solicitation charges plus a drunk and disorderly; all 4 cases were dropped later due to technicalities. Claudette says a cop helping out his friends like that might fly in Western Division, but not Farmington. Oh, really now?

Claudette lays out crime scene photos on the table: "6 women were murdered last night in a place their husbands shouldn't have been able to find them." Lou recognizes Mike's wife Julie. Claudette thinks Mike was responsible for this. His 7-year-old son was kidnapped from the women's shelter where he and Julie were staying. "Mike loved Julie. He wouldn't kill her," Lou insists.

Claudette knows that Mike beat his wife. Lou trots out the ever-popular the-bitch-had-it-coming defense: "It was never as black-and-white as Julie made it out to be." Claudette goes on: The shelter's address is unlisted, but the police know where it is. Lou told Mike where Julie was hiding and Mike sent Dorea over to make sure, then Mike murdered Julie and the other women.

Dutch asks where Mike is. Lou knows his law: "If I knew, that would make me an accomplice after the fact." He wants 20 minutes to think. Claudette says they don't have that kind of time. "Then I can't say anything," Lou says stubbornly. Claudette leaves with all the crime scene pictures, except the one of Julie's body.

Pimp Daddy found out that Fireman Mike had a thing for Dorea. Mike started off as a client and now they're dating off the books. Lem looks utterly bored by that detail. Dorea isn't returning Pimp Daddy's pages.

Julien and Edgar-veda go to drop off the recovered bike. The boy inspects the bike and pipes up that it's not his; he scratched his initials (J.D.) under the seat. They turn the bike over and sure enough, it's not there. Edgar-veda visibly deflates. "Can I keep it anyway?" the kid asks brightly. The captain is afraid not. Mother and son go back in the house. Edgar-veda can't believe it: "I just stole a kid's bike." And what did he just say to Danny about not jumping to conclusions?

Claudette checked Lou's bank records and saw he drew $400 today while on duty. She asks to see his wallet. Of course, there's no cash in it. They also know Lou got a call from a pay phone 10 minutes before the ATM visit. The money had to have been for Mike. Lou sighs: "I don't wanna lose my job."
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Claudette reminds him of the small matter of a child's life at stake. "You know how many of these things end in murder-suicide?" asks Dutch. Lou practically pouts that he's only 32 and nowhere near eligible for his pension. Claudette tries to appeal to any paternal instincts he may have: "You know Mike Jr.; you've been to his birthday parties." Lou doesn't want anything to happen to Mike Jr., but "I got my own kid to worry about."

On the balcony, Dutch is sure Lou won't talk unless they give him a reason. "He may not like being unemployed, but he'll like prison even less," says Claudette. Making a deal with Lou would take time they don't have. Dutch wants to give him a free pass for talking. "Just because he's a cop doesn't mean he gets a free pass," says Claudette, probably for Vic's benefit since he's standing right behind her. Vic, shockingly, agrees with Dutch.

Vic and Dutch go in and make a little chitchat about Lou's 3-year-old daughter. Vic understands Lou needs to keep providing for her, but Mike has his son with him and isn't in the best state of mind. "You think I don't know that?" asks Lou. Yes, and he obviously doesn't care.

Vic can tell Mike is jonesing for a cigarette. Why don't they just go down to motor pool and Lou can make an anonymous phone call to find out where Mike is? Lou is hesitant. Who's to say they won't file accessory charges after they find Mike? He wants to help, but just can't. Vic stands up: "You son of a bitch." This should make Lou worry. Vic gets louder; Lou knows where Mike is and only cares about his own ass.

Julien and Edgar-veda drive to a local basketball court. "It's the po-po who stole my bike," says the kid, "I told you I didn't steal it." Edgar-veda explains again about the stolen bike report and how the description matched. "My parents say that's racial profiling," says the boy. They instructed him to be polite and respectful if it happened, but get a badge number. He scrutinizes Edgar-veda's uniform: "Is that an 8 or a 3?"

Julien apologizes for the mix-up, adding, "It's his first day on the job; he's still learning." The captain glares. Fortunately, none of the kids seem to know which rank insignia is which. Julien will make sure it doesn't happen again. When the kids leave, the captain actually thanks the rookie for lying.

In the breakroom, Danny mentions hearing about the Strike Team opening. Shane gripes that the captain is shoving affirmative action down their throats, which isn't altogether untrue. Danny asks if any women are under consideration. "Yeah, we're bringin' in Batgirl and Charlie's Angels," Shane says sarcastically. Danny understands: "Someone like me could never run with the real cops, right?" Shane gets a deer-in-the-headlights look and backpedals that they're open to all viable candidates. Danny calls him an asshole. "I didn't know you were bein' serious," he lies.

Speaking of candidates, Vic has one on the couch. As can be expected from their totally unbiased captain, said candidate is Latino: Villanueva. He's done 3 years with vice and 1 with narcotics. No gang time, but he's a fast learner.

Before joining the police department, Villanueva was a Marine and did a tour in Bosnia. He credits the Corps for saving him from his hellraising ways with some much-needed discipline. A stickler to the book won't do well on the Strike Team, well, except Lem would like him.

Villanueva has a wife and a son who's almost 4. Vic thinks it's brave of him to apply for the Strike Team with loved ones at home. Villaneuva looks confused. Vic says casually, "We've pissed off a serious Mexican player. Whole team's been greenlit."

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Edgar-veda asks what Vic said to Villanueva that made him withdraw his application. The choices won't get much better than him. Stalling won't work: "We're gonna hire a minority and we're gonna do it soon." "Yes, Officer," Vic snarks.

Connie has information for Vic. A hooker named Carla and another girl have been picked up by the fireman a few times. But it wasn't for a threesome. Carla would babysit while Mike had sex with the other hooker, who is presumably Dorea. Carla wouldn't tell Vic herself because she doesn't trust cops. Vic says to have Connie call if Mike shows up wanting to "play nasty nanny."

Dorea doesn't own a car, at least not one that's registered. That means they're in Mike's car or they stole one. Claudette wants a list of every car stolen within a 5-mile radius of the women's shelter. Dutch suggests she take another crack at Lou. Claudette doesn't know what she's supposed to use for leverage. Dutch doesn't either. She agrees to go upstairs, even though she thinks it's a waste of time.

Shane and Lem approach the desk. Edgar-veda has been on the street 7 hours and hasn't made a single arrest. The captain claims he's working a robbery and it's progressing. "From the donut shop to the sports bar to the strip club," Shane guesses. Are you sure you're not just rattling off what you and Lem have been up to all day? "Cute," the captain smirks. Shane gets it: "The captain does not like excuses." In unison, he and Lem say, "He just likes results."

Julien asks who's doing the paperwork on the bike case. Edgar-veda will get to it tomorrow. Department policy says partners have to complete their reports the same day. Edgar-veda thinks he can let himself slide this one time.

Corinne calls Vic, asking why the new alarm system is so sophisticated: wired windows, automatic light timers, the works. It seems excessive. Is there something she needs to know? "Nothing you need to worry about," says Vic. Gordie the PI comes in to say he followed Corinne and the kids all day, no problems at all. 24-hour protection, however, is gonna cost Vic a lot. Gordie suggests just having someone watch the house at night. Vic doesn't want to take any chances.

Gordie gives him the good news that Corinne doesn't have a boyfriend..."at least not yet." If he so much as left to get milk, his own ex-wife would've been having sex with a stranger before he got to the store. Vic's phone rings again. Connie tells him she's with Mike Jr. She was hanging out with Carla when Dorea showed up looking for a babysitter. She gives Vic the address: "This'll get me the $5 grand, right?"

"Get the kid and get outta there now," Vic orders. Connie can't; she and Mike Jr. are in the bedroom. They have to go past Mike Sr. to get to the door. Vic asks if there's a window or a fire escape.

Mike Sr. opens the door, his belt still unbuckled. Connie pretends she's setting up her next date. "Well, you're still mine for another 20 minutes," Mike Sr. says as he hangs up the phone. She shouldn't worry; Mike Jr. can sleep through anything. He half-drags Connie out of the bedroom.

Vic and the boys show up with the Strike Team van, several squad cars close behind. Vic sends Ronnie to cover the back. Lem will go starboard, Shane to port. Hopefully one of the two knows the difference. Vic will approach Mike Sr. as soon as the snipers get here.
"You rang?"
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They hear sirens off in the distance. "We're supposed to be non-code," says Shane. Lem guesses EMS didn't get the memo. They scurry to their respective stairwells. Mike Sr. is at the window and sees all the activity in the courtyard. He accuses Connie (now down to her denim vest and matching black bra and panties) of calling the police. Vic reaches the window, draws his gun, and tells Mike Sr. to freeze.

Mike Sr. puts his gun to Connie's head. Vic warns that if he doesn't drop the gun, he might as well be shooting himself. Mike Sr. jams the gun into Connie's ribs. Vic shouts for everyone to back off. He wants to come in and talk. Vic even stupidly agrees to leave his gun out on the windowsill. Mike Sr. tells Vic to get rid of his backup gun too.

Dorea, braless with her skirt askew, opens the door. Mike Sr. barks at Vic to lock the door and shut the blinds. He's had it with Vic's Negotiator 101 crap. Vic tells Mike Sr. to kill him if he must, but let Connie and Mike Jr. go. Dorea's apparently on her own. Mike Sr. throws Connie across the room. He tells Vic to call the cops outside; they won't use tear gas or battering rams if they know one of their own is at risk. Outside, it's CHAOS (Captain Has Arrived On Scene).

Vic thinks Mike should let his son go; the kid's been through enough already. Mike Sr. loves him too much to lose him again so soon. Vic says, "He's not your son, not your property." Mike Sr. argues that Vic doesn't know anything about having kids. Like hell he doesn't and Vic says as much.

Vic tells Mike Sr. how Corinne made him leave and took their kids. Mike Sr. says women always take everything. "Except advice," Vic contributes. That's why Mike Sr. prefers prostitutes; at least you know what you're buying. Actually, you don't. They could have AIDS or some other STD or they could turn out to be a transsexual.

Vic feels abandoned and pissed-off. However, the latter seems to be a factory setting for him. Mike Sr. stammers, "I didn't want...I didn't mean..." I'm not sure if he's talking about beating Julie or murdering her and 5 other women. "You're not the only guy who's been used," says Vic. He misses his kids so much.

This is a great scene. Mike Sr. thinks Vic is making things up to establish a rapport and Vic is actually baring his soul. He gets louder and more insistent on that point: "You think I'm some kind of idiot you can't take seriously? This is how serious I am!" Without warning, he shoots Connie in the chest. She slides down the wall, leaving a trail of blood in her wake.

Dorea starts screaming. Jesus, that kid really can sleep through anything. "You didn't need to do that," Vic is on the verge of tears, "You stupid piece of shit!" Mike Jr.'s voice filters in from behind them, asking what's wrong. Mike Sr. shakily tells him to stay in the bedroom and shut up.

While Mike Sr. is distracted, Vic rips down the blinds and dives for cover. Sniper fire shatters the window. Mike Sr. is hit, also in the chest. Dorea shrieks again. Mike Sr. levels his gun at Vic. Shane shoots the fireman and kicks in the door. Vic checks Connie's pulse, but she's gone. He sits down heavily on the floor, practically shoulder-to-shoulder with her. Shane doesn't know what to say.

Two detectives from IAD tell Danny they want to search her car. They got an anonymous tip that she's been dealing pot out of it. Danny sighs: "I was involved in an on-duty shooting last month and that guy's wife has it out for me." The IAD detective is sure it's bogus, but there's a new policy to investigate every complaint made against an officer.

In the parking lot, IAD finds a large Ziploc bag of marijuana under the passenger seat of Danny's black Pontiac. "That's not mine," Danny says instantly. Yassirah must've hidden the drugs in the car when she vandalized it. IAD will look into her, but they'll also have questions for Danny. She knows her fingerprints won't be on the bag. Danny slams one of her car doors: "I just happen to keep my pot, all 4 ounces of it, in the back of an unlocked car in the middle of a police station?"

Claudette tells Lou that Mike's been shot and killed. Dutch lets him know that another woman was also murdered. "8 people dead, but you saved your job," Claudette says contemptuously. Lou protests that he didn't want anything bad to happen. Claudette tells him to get out of her sight.

At home, Vic fiddles with the alarm and says it's working. "It should. They told me it cost $2,000," says Corinne. Vic knows a guy who got him a better deal. She notices he keeps tugging at his jacket and asks if something is wrong. Vic shrugs that it's just work. Can she turn on the alarm when he leaves? He'll be over for dinner tomorrow.

Edgar-veda unloads a black-and-yellow Street Jammer from the trunk of his patrol car. The little Hispanic boy checks under the seat and declares excitedly, "They found it, Mama!" Julien gives the kid a helmet too, informing Mom it's state law. Mom thanks them as the kid pedals away. Edgar-veda is all "just doing our jobs, ma'am." Julien mutters he can't believe a kids' bike costs $300. "Lucky this uniform thing is only once a month. Any more crying kids, I'd be broke," says Edgar-veda.

Vic goes to the safe house with a delivery of groceries for Emma. He looks so nervous you'd think he was preparing for a first date. Emma opens the door and accepts the bag gratefully. She thinks maybe someday she'll understand the things people do to each other. Vic doubts it. Something seems to pass between them as they look at each other. End of episode.

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