This one starts at the British Museum in Lakefield, Illinois (which, as far as I can tell, isn’t a real town). Pete and Myka are looking for someone who caused a localized earthquake during a robbery and they tracked an artifact that causes earthquakes (an old walking stick) to this museum. Apparently Pete is the one who figured out which artifact was being used and he’s pretty proud of himself. The walking stick is missing, but the place hasn’t been broke into, so they figure it’s an inside job. Pete is still celebrating his triumph, which he does by playing with the museum exhibits; a pipe and some glasses, an ear horn, and an old telegraph. Myka gives him shit and Pete’s fun is interrupted when a guard comes in, carrying the earthquake-inducing walking stick. Pete and Myka realize the guard must be taking the walking stick out to commit the robberies, then returning it to its case so nobody will notice it’s missing. When they confront him, the guard knocks them over with a small earth tremor and takes off. Pete chases him, but Mrs. Frederick is in her limo outside and tells Pete to let the guy go, and not to mention it to Myka or Artie. Pete obeys her order reluctantly and the limo speeds away. The other museum guards show up and they’re not happy that Pete and Myka snuck in.
The next morning, Pete and Myka are let off the hook by an old friend—or more than a friend, I’d say—of Pete’s named Kate Logan. Kate (played by Tia Carrere, looking great as always) is a fellow Secret Service agent who works out of Chicago; she and Pete banter a bit and there’s some definite sparkage there. Myka informs Pete that the thieving guard (Malone) has a rap sheet for petty theft, but the cops can’t find him. They get a call from Artie telling them to get back to the Warehouse right away … and he doesn’t sound happy. They find out why when they get there; Valda, one of the Regents in charge on the Warehouse, is there to give them shit about losing the artifact. It seems the Regents don’t like the way Pete and Myka (and Artie and Claudia) operate, so Valda is taking a personal interest in things. (Valda: “Moving forward you can expect me to be—”; Claudia: “All up in our dust-traps?”) Valda says Claudia is really on thin ice and gives Artie a flash-drive before leaving. Claudia wants to know what’s on the drive, but Artie won’t tell her.
Pete and Myka are supposed to head back to Lakefield to look for the walking stick, but Pete says he has a “thing” first. He goes to meet Mrs. Frederick at an abandoned factory and tells her he hates keeping secrets from his team. She tells him artifacts are being used to commit crimes and the pattern seems to indicate someone high up on the inside is involved. She gives him files on Artie, Claudia, and Myka and when Pete protests, she says anyone can be comprised … like MacPherson was. Pete wonders why she trusts him and she says he’s the least likely suspect because he hates keeping secrets from his team. She tells him to find Malone and see who he tries to sell artifacts to. At the Warehouse, Claudia hacks the computer to see what was on the flash drive and finds something called the Donovan Contingency (“Cool, I’m the star of a Ludlum novel.”), but it’s hidden behind some impressive security … for the moment.
In Lakefield, Pete and Myka toss Malone’s place and Myka annoys Pete by flicking the light switch on and off a bunch of times. Pete looks out the window and sees Malone meeting somebody, so he makes an excuse and goes after them. He follows them into an alley and Malone’s contact turns out to be Valda. Myka yells for Pete and Valda takes off. Pete zaps Malone with the Tesla and goes to get Myka, but when they get back, Malone’s gone—and so is the walking stick. Pete can’t tell Myka about Valda’s involvement since he gave Mrs. Frederick his word, so he pretends Malone was in the alley alone. Myka doesn’t seem to be buying it.
Pete meets with Mrs. Frederick and tells her about Valda, asking if he can let Myka and Artie in on things now. Mrs. Frederick says it’s too dangerous, since the Regents have the authority to kill anyone who’s a threat to the Warehouse. She says they need tangible proof, so Pete has to find Malone before anyone else does, while she contact whatever Regents she knows are trustworthy. At the boardinghouse, Myka has brought all the crap back from Malone’s place and is going through it. She wonders why Malone would go back to his apartment when he knew they were onto him. Pete checks the last number dialed on Malone’s phone and it’s some motel. Pete removes the phone battery so Myka can’t check and lies about what he heard. While examining photos of the apartment, Myka notices there’s a liquor store just down the street from Malone’s place.
At the Warehouse, Claudia shows Artie what she found on the computer: a list of ways to “take care of her” if she becomes a threat, including erasing her memory and dropping her into a non-English speaking country. The list is hard to read, but I’m pretty sure one of the entries says something about shrinking her to doll-size. Artie says there’s a file like that on each of them, but it’s just a precaution and Claudia is far too valuable to be dissolved in a vat of acid. Yeah, that’s on the list too. Myka comes in and tells them she thinks Pete might be drinking again. They have an intervention and Pete denies that he’s drinking, but refuses to tell them why he’s been acting so weird lately.
He goes out to the old factory to leave a message for Mrs. Frederick, but gets a call from Valda saying he has a man ready to blow Mrs. Frederick’s head off if Pete doesn’t find Malone and deliver him. Valda threatens to wipe out Pete’s whole team, which pisses him off. Pete goes home and tools up, taking his real gun instead of the Tesla and turning his cell off. He leaves a note that says, “Don’t follow me … watch your backs!” Myka shows the others the note, which really worries them. Pete heads back to Lakefield and calls Kate to get Valda’s address. She’s not in, so he leaves a message and heads for the motel where Malone is staying.
At the motel, he rough up Malone, who denies knowing Valda. Pete takes the walking stick, leaving Malone cuffed to the radiator. He meets Kate at a sidewalk cafe, where the waitress gives him some really weird looks. Kate tells him Valda doesn’t seem to exist, at least on paper, but since she started looking into him, her place has been trashed and her phone bugged. Pete says he can’t tell her too much about his job, but he isn’t going to stop chasing Valda. He figures Valda’s car must’ve gotten gas somewhere, so he can check local gas stations to get a license plate number from surveillance. He and Kate get all flirty and start making out; next thing you know, they’re in a hotel room about to get it on.
Unfortunately, Myka busts in with her gun out and tells Kate to get lost. She tells Pete he’s in trouble for stealing the walking stick and going off the grid. Pete mentions Mrs. Frederick and Myka says Mrs. Frederick is missing and Valda is in charge. Pete finally tells her the truth about Valda being crooked, but she says she has her orders and has to bring him in. Pete uses the walking stick to knock Myka off her feet and takes off. Outside, Kate pulls up and tells Pete to get in her car. Myka comes out with her gun drawn and tries to get Pete to give himself up. Pete realizes Myka is wired, but it’s too late … a sniper on the roof shoots Kate and Pete takes off running.
At the Secret Service office in Chicago, Myka pushes her way in to talk to … Kate? Yeah, Kate’s not dead. Myka tells her Pete seems to be imagining things and says she must be part of it since he called her for help. Myka shows Kate video from the cafe and we now see why the waitress was acting so weird … Pete was there by himself. Talking to himself, making out with thin air … though Myka correctly assumes Pete thought he was sucking face with Kate. I assume that means everything after that was in Pete’s head, so no interrupted sex with Kate; does that mean he would’ve got naked and started banging the bed, thinking Kate was there? Probably best not to examine it too closely. Kate gives Myka the message Pete left about finding Valda’s address.
Myka goes back to the museum, thinking something there might’ve affected Pete. She calls Artie and he asks if Pete touched anything at the museum; there’s a loaded question. Myka recounts Pete’s grabby adventures and Artie gives her shit for letting Pete touch all that stuff. (“Artie, it’s Pete … it’s a win when he doesn’t lick anything.”) When Myka mentions the telegraph, Artie finds info on an old telegraph from an Army base in Oman where everyone went nuts and killed each other. Myka calls Pete, who’s outside Valda’s place in Cleveland, leaving a note on Valda’s car. I’m wondering how Pete got Valda’s address, and when did he turn his cell back on? I guess Kate (or someone in her office) could’ve given Pete Valda’s address before they knew he was losing his shit. If his cell’s back on, Claudia should be able to track him, but that’s never mentioned. Myka tries to get through to Pete and dumps the telegraph is some purple neutralizer goo, but it has no effect. In fact, things get worse, as Pete hears Valda’s voice on the line telling him he’s compromised his friends now. Myka can hear Pete’s one-sided conversation with Valda and knows where Pete’s heading next.
Following the note, Valda goes to a scrap yard to meet Pete, who Teslas his bodyguards and trusses Valda up to a crane. He asks Valda where Mrs. Frederick is, but naturally Valda has no clue what the hell he’s talking about. When Pete mentions Myka’s story about the telegraph screwing him up, Valda tries to get him to remember and we see in flashbacks that every time Pete had a delusion, there was some kind of rhythmic tapping that mimicked the sound of the telegraph: Myka using the Warehouse keypad, Mrs. Frederick drumming her fingers on the car roof, Myka flicking the light switch, a kid dragging a stick along the fence beside the cafe. I’m almost afraid to ask what the tapping noise was when Pete imagined banging Kate. But the artifact’s hold is too strong and Pete gets pissed off, shooting a bullet right beside Valda’s foot.
Myka and Artie show up and Pete’s so out of it he’s not sure if they’re real or not. He imagines there are snipers all over the place and uses the walking stick to cause an earth tremor that knocks Myka and Artie over. Artie has brought something he thinks will restore Pete’s neural rhythms … the original studio master of “Oye Como Va” by Santana. But it doesn’t work; the telegraph’s influence is too strong and Pete really starts losing it, preparing to blow Valda away. Artie gets an idea and directs the Santana tape through a polarized windshield. That puts Pete’s delusion into overdrive and he imagines Valda breaking loose, killing Myka and Artie before being shot by Pete, then blasting an acetylene tank with his last breath, blowing Pete to hell.
But that’s the final delusion. Artie’s plan worked, knocking Pete out and clearing the telegraph noise from his head. Of course, he doesn’t remember anything, so Myka has to explain it all. Later at the Warehouse, Mrs. Frederick stops by (and Pete touches her to make sure she’s real) and says all is forgiven. She says the telegraph must’ve tapped into some subliminal anxiety, which is understandable considering all the shit they’ve been through lately. At the boardinghouse, Claudia tells Artie she’s picked the way she wants to be eliminated and gives him a piece of paper. After reading it, he says, “Well, I do know how to reach David Bowie.” Pete gets a message from Kate with a flash drive inside. Myka tries to keep him from looking at it, but he looks anyway and it turns out to be the video of him making out with himself at the cafe. Instead of being embarrassed, Pete is happy (“Hey, hey, hey! Even by myself, I still got moves!”), which Myka finds both hilarious and disturbing.