Following Carlita Cruise’s betrayal and theft of the Atlas decryption card, Team Swagger finds she’s left them a tantalizing trail. But is she Team Swagger or Team Atlas? Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) and Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps) are challenged to finally put the past behind them as they go deep into enemy territory.
Back in Atlas’ arms again
At cubicle farm HQ, after finding Carlita and the decryption card missing, and Harris in the closet with a nasty sedative hangover, they notice a military grade GPS tracker beeping. Carlita is wearing it as she rides with Jack Long on the way to the Atlas campus. Once there, Carlita sits down with August Russo (Raymond J. Barry) for a debrief. She relays that Swagger hasn’t forgiven Johnson and she thinks they can turn them against each other—and she made sure they’d come looking or her.
Walking tour of Atlas Academy
Swagger and Johnson follow the tracker to outside the Atlas compound and approach on foot. They walk through a deserted town that looks ripe for an ambush and soon run into one. But something about their approach doesn’t seem right to Swagger. He takes out an assailant and discovers his gun is firing blanks; Carlita lead them into an Atlas training ground.
Atlas tried to teach Carlita to be emotionless, but did it work?
In flashback to Carlita’s Atlas recruitment by Jack Payne (Eddie McClintock), we see him telling her she could be one of them if she “submits.” On a 2008 training mission on the Atlas campus, Carlita meets analytical Jack Long, who argues the purpose of their training is to identify true believers. Then he trips an arrow and gets spiked through the leg. Carlita helps him to treatment, earning an earful from Payne for diverting from the mission. Back in the compound, Russo lectures Carlita again about keeping emotion out of missions, then electrocutes her. On the other side of the glass, Payne tests Jack Long by forcing him to watch Carlita in pain. Then he forces Long to electrocute Carlita himself, as part of the mission. Long doesn’t hesitate.
Russo toys with Swagger and Johnson
After surviving the first ambush, Swagger and Johnson have nowhere to run when a Humvee intercepts them. They’re shot with tranquilizer darts and wake up in psy-ops rubber rooms. All of Johnson’s misdeeds and kills are plastered on his walls and Swagger is forced to listen to audio from his home back in Texas. Russo joins Swagger and offers to tell him who killed his father if Swagger kills Johnson. He reminds Swagger that Johnson is the source of all his misery, dating back to when he buried the report with the Marines in Afghanistan. He gives Swagger a gun and Swagger appears to contemplate it, then turns on Russo and fires. But it’s not loaded. Swagger follows up with a crack across Russo’s face, then throws a chair at the man who comes in the door. Swagger uses a table to break through the wall. Russo is counting on Swagger’s heroism to sink him as he goes after Johnson. In another locked room, Long comes for Carlita and tells her to run. She invites him to come with her, but he won’t give up the mission even, she knows, if it eventually means killing her.
Downey and Memphis try a supreme ultimatum
Downey and Memphis buy all the tickets to a fundraiser to have time alone with Ray Brooks. He tells them he thought he was doing the right thing in Vietnam and regrets crossing the line and has been trying to make up for it ever since. He doesn’t believe he’s an Atlas pawn and refuses to withdraw as a nominee. They threaten to release Earl Swagger’s video if he doesn’t.
Julie is struggling with her separation, but has her wits about her
Back in Texas after Sam’s wake, Julie finishes Mary’s bedtime story but is alarmed when her teddy bear interferes with the baby monitor. Julie finds the listening device inside then sweeps the house and finds four others. The next day she and her sister Anne make a show for the recorders, saying they’re off to Yosemite. Instead they’re going off the grid.
Carlita reveals her true allegiances and grudges
Swagger finds Carlita, who has located the only live ammunition in the compound. She reveals that she set explosives there a long time ago as a contingency. Carlita and Swagger bust in on Russo trying to get in Johnson’s head. Left alone with Carlita, Russo scoffs at her. But she does not appreciate being put on his kill list after a decade of service. He’s still doubting her when she raises her gun and shoots him through the head. In the basement, Swagger and Johnson find file cabinets and a server. Swagger grabs his dad’s file and finds a mini cassette recorder with audio from the night his father was killed. It reveals the shooter was Ray Brooks. They race to get out before a giant series of explosions tears the compound apart. Swagger takes a minute to tell Johnson he’s ready to put things in the past. Carlita emerges from the ashes and joins them. Elsewhere, Jack Long stays focused on the mission, prepping a school bus.
Swagger sets his sights on Ray Brooks
At cubicle HQ, Harris digs up a court case involving Anhur Dynamics, Lon Scott’s Atlas-front company. They’re claiming a national security exemption from discovery and if they lose, all of Atlas’ dirty laundry will become public, which is why they need Ray Brooks on the court. Swagger returns in time for a Brooks’ press conference on TV, in which he claims he’s been blackmailed but is innocent. When Swagger shares what he’s just learned about Brooks, Memphis asks what he’s going to do. Swagger replies: “I’m going to kill him.”