The Art of the Deal
S2 episode 10 Aired on March 10, 2018

The Season 2 finale of USA’s Falling Water dishes out the most thrills we’ve seen yet, with plenty of loose ends tied up—and more unraveling as we speak. We learn that Bill Boerg’s long-lost sister, Katrina, is miraculously alive; Taylor Bennett finally gets what’s coming to her; and we get a better idea of why Dr. Stanislaus Ginsberg wants to abduct Tess (and it’s not for the reasons you may think). Catch up on all that and more in this week’s recap of “The Art of the Deal.”

Tess dreams with Dr. Ginsberg

“The Art of the Deal” opens with Tess in a dream—but is it her own? She walks in on a young Dr. Ginsberg and a beautiful blonde woman mid-coitus; the scene then cuts to a crying baby in a crib with Ginsberg and the unnamed blonde standing over it, cooing. Ginsberg says aloud that the young baby girl is “going to change the world.” But the blonde woman interrupts, saying that they have no baby—“She never existed.” Upon further investigation, the crib is, indeed, empty. Ginsberg blames himself for being unable to give he and the blonde woman a baby, and his partner packs up and leaves for America. “I’ll give you that child one day, you hear my Charlotte?” he calls after her. Charlotte as in Tess’s so-called mother? Tess, still looking on from the corner looks bewildered as Charlotte leaves the room, suitcase in hand. It seems she’s just witnessed a brief recap of Ginsberg’s early relationship with Charlotte. That’s when Ginsberg realizes that Tess is in the room with him, and it becomes clear that Tess is not alone in the dream. “So—you found me. Congratulations, Tess. You’re growing stronger every day, just like your mother and I thought you would.”

Katrina Boerg is alive and well

We learned earlier in this season that Katrina Boerg was a powerful dreamer who was going to be a patient of Dr. Ginsberg before she was abducted as a young girl; the terror of her unknown whereabouts haunt Bill’s dreams to this day. (In this episode, for instance, he dreams that she’s a talking corpse in a morgue, taunting him for being an inadequate dreamer.) But soon enough, we learn that Katrina is in fact alive—still a powerful dreamer, fully grown, and she wants to work with Tom Dolan (aka Shadowman).

While Dolan is being held in the precinct under Taka and Alex’s watch, it soon becomes clear through their interrogation that despite his DNA being in the Morrison’s attic, they can’t peg the murders on him. There’s still not enough evidence, and no sane lawman would believe that he was in the attic to infiltrate Sam’s dream to force him to murder his wife. While Alex and Taka are called away to tend to the handoff between Ginsberg and Woody (Ginsberg and Taylor Bennett have fallen for their ruse and are about to get arrested for human trafficking), Katrina shows up to the precinct and posts Dolan’s bail. Upon his release, Dolan assumes the unknown woman to be his employer, but she quickly clarifies that she’s interested in poaching him from Bennett. She tells him that she’s a dreamer, too, and that she and her unnamed organization are increasingly impressed with his abilities.

“We believe if we can combine our abilities, we can have a positive impact on this screwed up world,” she says. Dolan declines her offer, though, knowing the paycheck from his current employer is too great. With that, Katrina lets him go, but not without planting a seed: Has he ever considered the fact that he’s never met Bennett in person? “Does that sound like a relationship built on mutual trust and respect?” she asks. “Perhaps we can talk again in the not too distant future.”

The handoff gets overpowered by Ginsberg’s unforeseen strength

Back in Bill’s dröm lab, Burton, Tess, Taka, Alex, Bill, and Woody devise a plan to make Taylor and Ginsberg believe that they’re facilitating a purchase and hand-off of Tess and her son, but once they lure them to the warehouse meeting place, Taka and Alex will be on-hand to make an arrest for human trafficking.

To Tess’s frustration, it’s decided for her that she’ll stay behind with Bill in Burton’s apartment to monitor the events remotely; they don’t want her to be in harms way. Later on, just before Burton leaves, he and Tess have a final moment together where they confess that “despite all the horrors [they’ve] experienced these last few weeks, [they’ve] never felt so happy.” They kiss, and Tess sees him out the door. Now alone in the apartment with Bill, they get the security footage ready with their battery powered cameras, and watch on as the black van with Jeremy and Dr. Ginsberg enter the premises.

To Woody’s surprise, Taylor is not with them in the van; she’s had them wire her share of money electronically while she lounges in her Long Island mansion. Taylor’s never one to get her hands too dirty. So with just the three of them present, Woody says that he had to detain Tess because she wasn’t coming willingly, but if they follow him, he’ll lead them to her.

The ambush then gets underway when an armed Burton and Alex apprehend Ginsberg and Jeremy while Taka begins cuffing them for human trafficking and attempted kidnapping. That’s when the tables turn. Ginsberg says to no one in particular, “You look tired. Have you been getting enough sleep?” And one by one, Alex, Taka, Burton, and Woody all fall into a deep sleep with the flick of his hand. Alex collapses to the ground, but the three others remain standing, purportedly because they’re dreamers, and Ginsberg controls them, telling them to come with him.

They enter the van and drive off with Alex still collapsed on the warehouse floor. Before he gets in the van, Ginsberg stares right in the camera and smiles at Tess, who’s horrified on the other side of the lens. When she and Bill finally get to her, she awakes to not remember a thing after Ginsberg’s arrival. The doctor is obviously much more powerful than they originally anticipated.

Tom Dolan gets his revenge on Taylor Bennett

After getting bailed out of jail by Katrina Boerg, Tom goes to find Emily and meets her outside of her school, but after last week’s episode where he (somewhat) admitted to her that he’s guilty of the Morrisons’ deaths and other murders, she’s guarded and suspicious. That’s when she begins asking him questions about his new job, saying that he has no special skills and wonders how he’s been making so much money. It doesn’t help, either, that NYU rescinded her scholarship. She storms off down the sidewalk while Tom is left hurt and confused, which turns to anger. To get answers, he later breaches the security fence of Taylor’s estate and sleeps to infiltrate her dream.

Taylor’s hunting in the woods with her dog in the dream, but she immediately knows that she’s sleeping and what Tom is up to. She says that he didn’t get rid of Woody, so she took away his daughter’s scholarship, and unless he gets out of her head and continues doing her bidding, worse could still happen to Emily.

That’s when Taylor wakes up and sounds the alarm of an intruder on the premises; Tom, now awake, escapes back over the fence in the nick of time, but Taylor’s security is on high alert from then on. Days pass, and Taylor’s impeccably dressed henchman is unable to find any trace of Tom thereafter—and that’s because he’s been hiding out right under their noses. Tom is next shown crawling through the sewage system beneath Taylor’s home.

From there, he gets into the mind of the henchman while he’s on night watch duty and has him hallucinate that Tom has broken into Taylor’s bedroom and has her by the throat. Unable to shoot Tom down, the man takes out his knife and stabs Tom several times, first in the gut then in the eye. But when he comes to, he realizes it was a hallucination and that he’s actually stabbed Taylor dead.

The room is a bloody mess—and it’s about to get bloodier, because Taylor’s dog then mauls the man dead, all while Tom listens and laughs from the drainage cellar below. Alex is the one put on the homicide case, and the fact that Tom is a free man walking the earth continues to be as troubling as ever.

Ginsberg gets three dreamers for the price of two—but did he take them?

After the handoff goes haywire and Ginsberg and Jeremy walk off with Burton, Woody, and Taka, he’s later shown on his private jet giving Taylor (who at this point is still alive) a call. Despite, in Taylor’s words, getting three powerful dreamers for the price of two, Ginsberg still wants Tess, and he’s going to find a way to get her through means aside from Taylor. Anyone who Tess outwitted so easily is not worth his time. (Little does he know that it’s the last time he’ll be speaking to Taylor at all.)

He hangs up with her then turns around to raise a glass with Jeremy and—surprisingly—with Katrina Boerg, who’ve joined him on his jet. So is Ginsburg actually the owner and operator of the organization of which Katrina spoke? A group of dreamers who believe they can do some good in the world? We mustn’t forget that despite the questionable ways he’s gone about getting Tess, he insisted to her by phone earlier this episode that his reasons for acquiring her are pure. He promised her that she has abilities that she can’t even begin to understand, but that she will in due time.

Turns out, “due time” comes just in time for the final scene of our season 2 finale. After she watches the man she loves and her friends Taka and Woody be taken away by Ginsberg, Tess’s anger leads her to finding Ginsberg via his dreams. She storms into his house, where she finds him sipping a cocktail and waiting for her arrival.

“What have you done with them?” she demands. “That’s for you to discover,” he says. She promises that she won’t stop until she finds him and saves her fellow dreamers, no matter how far she has to go. That’s when the young Charlotte from their first shared dream comes in from the other room. “How wonderful to see you, my sweetie,” she says.

But Tess isn’t falling for her kindness; she insists Charlotte was never her real mother, and this dream version of Ginsberg’s lover doesn’t object. She admits that she didn’t have her biologically but that she raised Tess as her own. Such sentiment is enough to push Tess over the edge.

“Shut up!” she yells. “I am sick of your self-serving rationalizations.” Her anger floods the room like a hurricane and blows right through Charlotte, who promptly turns to stone and crumbles to the floor. “And you,” she turns to Ginsberg; his glass shakes and breaks in his hand, bloodying it. “If you harm Burton or the others, you’ll answer to me, because I’m coming for you.” Thunder cracks in the background. Rather than fearful, Ginsberg looks pleased. “I always knew you had it in you. We look forward to seeing you. Very soon. Pleasant dreams.” And with that, Tess weakens and she drifts to sleep, falling through the floor, into the watery in-between of dreaming and waking, and remains there until the final credits roll. 

Lasting Questions:

  • James has taken a backseat these last few episodes while his mother is out trying to take down Tom Dolan and Taylor Bennett, but that doesn’t mean his scenes hold less of an impact. He’s beginning to understand just what happened to him over the course of these two seasons. When he sees Bill, for instance, he identifies him as the man who tried to take him away from his mother. Then when he sees Burton, he gives him a hug and tells him for the first time that he loves him. The question now is what role he’ll play in taking down Ginsberg and saving the closest thing to a father he ever had.
  • Bill’s final moments this season involve him recording a voice diary within his dröm lab questioning aloud that if Ginsberg is alive, could that mean that his long lost sister is also alive? And how does Tom Dolan fit into this web? And, finally—why is all of this happening now?
  • It’s also worth noting what all of this means for Sabine. Will she ever get out of prison?
  • And lastly, Tom Dolan. He’s on the loose and now knows the identities of those who were trying to take him down. He first went over Taylor, but what’s to stop him from attacking Alex and Christine again? Will he ever reconnect with his daughter? Or perhaps in the most unlikely of cases, will he come around to join Ginsberg and Katrina? Only time will tell.