As the cruelty of 2074 life crystallizes, secrets are exposed and new threats emerge ... and not everyone survives.
Elena's father Gustavo's diner is in flames, but what's worse is the fire department won't put it out due to the fact that the place is behind on paying the bills. Gustavo blames Aaron for the drive-by that caused the inferno, claiming it was retribution from local crime boss Tino for not getting a cut of the hacking scam that resulted in Aaron scoring $20,000 (which is now so much ash). Aaron confronts Tino about torching the restaurant but he denies all knowledge of it … and lets Aaron off with a warning to not threaten him ever again.
Gustavo gets sent to Debtors Prison, where it looks like he's going to die of pneumonia. Out of options, Elena accepts Tabitha Hanson's offer to become an escort at SPIGA's Executive Clubs, thusly selling both her body and soul … but at least also getting her dad out of jail and paying off all the money her family owes. Aaron despairs over this desperate action … and even more so when Elena tells him that if he really loves her, he'll forget about her.
As Tabitha smugly leaves a roughed-up Aaron on the floor, she reveals that it was actually her who arranged the torching of the diner, thusly setting up the tragic circumstances that would lead to Elena agreeing to become an escort. Hey, she doesn't have an over 90% closure record by playing nice …
A heartbroken Aaron gets drunk at a bar, where he catches sight of an old friend from the relocation camp: Reed, all decked out in a nice suit. Aaron confronts him in the alley, marveling that the 'back door' Reed mentioned when he left the camp was actually a way to begin a new life in the Green Zone. Reed has reinvented himself as 'Hendrick,' and he now has a family, and if SPIGA ever finds out about his past …
Aaron assures Hendrick that his secret is safe with him, on one condition: he open that 'back door' again … and let in Aaron. And so Hendrick helps Aaron reinvent himself as 'Ben Larson,' which takes us to the present day …
Actually, let's give Ben a break for a bit and check in on his wife, Laura. It seems like she's wandered into the Red Zone, where she's attacked by some thug in a hoodie … no, wait, it's actually a simulation as she engages in 'post-trauma therapy.' Laura is raring to give it another go, though her therapist insists it's not about kicking ass but getting in touch with her feelings. Laura is furious, claiming that no one understands what she went through and storms out.
Yeesh … what happened to our Laura out there in the Red Zone?
That evening, Julian Morse visits Laura in her home. Over tea, he tells of his days as an officer during the Oil Wars, where his trust in an up-and-coming soldier ended in tragedy when it was revealed that the young man was actually a spy … and his treachery resulted in an ambush during which Julian lost thousands of men. Julian urges Laura to not let one twist of fate determine who she is.
Back at the Excelsior Hotel, Elena meets with Roger in his hotel room, where he tries to get her to reveal details about her past. When he mentions Ben Larson, she denies ever hearing the name, after which Roger starts getting rough with a corkscrew. Luckily, Ben's been eavesdropping from the floor below and hacks the hotel's air purification system, setting off alarms and prompting an evacuation of the building. Elena is whisked away by her SPIGA bodyguards, though Ben is in no position to follow her … and he's already late for his Everclear presentation back at the office.
Roger managed to get a lead during his interrogation, though - Elena mentioned that her father once owned a restaurant in Franklin Heights. Roger meets with Ashley, the administrator of the neighborhood juku school, and sure enough, Elena Marquez is an alum. A wad of cash in Ashley's hand and Roger's got a next of kin contact for Elena: her father, Gustavo. Roger calls him with news that his daughter is dead; to receive the full death payout, he should meet with Roger later that afternoon.
Gustavo meets with Roger outside his new restaurant, heartbroken over the (false) news of his daughter's demise. Roger takes advantage of Gustavo's sadness and rage and shows him a photo of Ben, whom Gustavo immediately identifies as "the piece of shit who ruined my daughter's life." "You wanna help me ruin his?" Roger asks.
Back at SPIGA, a flustered Ben initially fumbles his Everclear presentation but quickly rebounds, convincing even skeptics like Gates (with more than a little help from Elizabeth Krauss) that a "mind-controlling device" would allow SPIGA to save millions on their security budget. Ben seals the deal — perhaps a bit too brazenly — by assuring everyone that Everclear will be up and running by the end of the month.
After being warned by Elizabeth that he better make sure he delivers on such haughty claims, Ben is off in pursuit of Roger via the tracking device that's still on Roger's phone. They face off at Gustavo's old burned-out restaurant, where Roger reveals that he knows everything. Ben tells him that he'll convince Elizabeth to give Roger the promotion in exchange for his silence, to which Roger seems to agree; however, when they shake on it, Ben sees that Roger's been recording their entire exchange. They engage in fisticuffs, which results in Ben strangling Roger to death.
Ben summons Theo to help him with disposing of the body. They get Roger back into his self-driving car, which Ben programs to travel south to the 'dust storm states.' There, the car will get stripped, and by then the body will be unrecognizable due to Ben cranking up the car's heater. They send the vehicle on its way, with Theo both disgusted and enraged that Ben was a mere 20 feet from Elena at the hotel and didn't do anything about it. Theo storms off, leaving Ben bloodied and bruised with his conscience.
Theo returns to his apartment to find a heartbroken Gustavo waiting for him in the hallway. Theo assures him that the reports of Elena being dead are untrue … and makes it very clear that his father is not welcome at his home. "My sister gave everything to you, and what did you do? You got shitfaced and bailed on me," seethes Theo, not allowing his father entrance and demanding he be gone by the time he wakes up in the morning.
The episode ends with an exhausted Ben returning home, burning his bloody clothes in the incinerator, tending to his wounds and getting into bed with Laura, who sleepily snuggles up to him. He lays there, staring at the ceiling, musing on his life of lies and deceit and wondering how in the hell it all came to this.