This week opens in 2015, at the C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, VA where a group of senators are discussing the origin of the virus and it’s relation to Operation Troy. Essentially they extracted the virus from the corpse found in the Himalayas and weaponized it, manipulating it’s DNA to speed up the rate of infection to death in the hopes that when it is deployed the subjects that are infected do not have time to reach higher population areas. Based on the premise of the show we all know this is very wishful thinking.
Cassie is still afflicted by flashes from when she was drugged in the greenhouse and her mind was manipulated and Cole is really beginning to look ragged from his splinters. She does however have some info on the picture Cole stole from the greenhouse and hey track down Edward Garrett, PhD for his expertise on the artifact in the photo. They decide to attend an artifact exhibit in hopes of finding out more. Once at the exhibit, Cole is distracted by the beauty of the art in the museum, the taste of the food being offered, the things he never was able to enjoy in his time. With his inevitable demise lingering, he is wanting to savor all the things he wouldn’t get to do normally, including a dance with Cassie while they exchange slightly awkward compliments. This is cut short with the spotting of Dr. Garrett whom Cassie and Cole then take turns interrogating in their own unique ways.
Dr. Garrett didn’t have much info on the photo other than it is from Chechnya, which is also where the hacker Wexler is hiding out as he spills the C.I.A.’s secrets. Could it be that the C.I.A. is planning to use the virus in Chechnya to kill Wexler? Yeah, that’s exactly it. Cole then splinters out, stating he will be back in a week.
Later that night Cassie receives a call from Cole. Whaaaat?!? Oh yea, he is in Chechnya. And has the virus. And is being shot at. Welcome to time travel. When then get to see how he came to be in possession of the virus in that Cassie and Aaron told him where the virus would be when he splintered back in a week. Are we following this? Ok. So Cole does some “007” work and gets the briefcase with the virus, but gets captured and taken to the shack where Wexler is hiding. Of course he tells him the briefcase has a virus in it, and of course he doesn’t believe it and opens it anyway. Oh look, now you’re all infected as the virus sprays out of the tube that is in the briefcase.
Meanwhile Cassie and Aaron head to the C.I.A. to try and get some help, letting them know this virus will not stay confined like they had hoped, but will cause a global pandemic. The men helping Wexler decide to turn on him and call in the Russian troops to take them to a medical facility in exchange for Wexler, since they are all quickly getting very ill and dying. Cole convinces Wexler to do the right thing and not let them leave, that starting over with the human race is not the answer he thinks it would be. Shots are fired, the nationals end up being killed but Wexler and Cole are both shot in the process.
Cole calls Cassie again who has by now convinced the C.I.A. that she knows what she is talking about and they quickly come up with a plan to stop the Russians from reaching Wexler and spreading the virus. Their great plan is to just bomb the entire area, and Cole has to stay there on the sat. phone with Cassie while they hone in on his position. My problem here is that he could easily leave the sat phone on and leave, he is immune, so is not infected. Or how about just splintering back before the bomb hits? I know that in his mind this is it, that once this bomb hits the virus is destroyed and the future will have been rewritten and all that jazz. But this causes Cassie to face the reality of him essentially dying, which is a lot harder for her to deal with than if she thought he was just going back from whence he came. Before the bomb hits, he tells her she cannot tell him anything when he visits her in a week, because that is the Cole from his past, not the current Cole and if she says anything to change this, the virus will not be destroyed. So not only does she now have to accept that this person she cares for has died but she has to not warn him that he will die. Essentially he dies twice for her.
When he does come back things play out as they should, with her visibly upset, but unable to really indicate why. This is also when you learn the significance of the episode’s title: The Keys Its meaning is in the Florida Keys, a place he always wished as a kid to be able to run away to. The episode ends with a very simple “Goodbye.”