‘The Endgame Season 1 Episode 4’ Review: #1 With a Bullet

#1 With a Bullet Reveals How Long Elena Has Been a Part of Val’s Life

The latest episode of The Endgame, #1 With a Bullet, does things a little differently. Which is a welcome change after how formulaic the past few episodes have been. Granted, the general flow of this episode is very similar, with a story, a flashback and drama related to one of the banks. But where it starts differently is that Val starts putting the pieces together before Elena becomes involved. And it’s all thanks to her imprisoned husband, Owen.

At the end of last week’s episode, Owen’s cryptic words led Val to a thumb drive hidden in a book in her own home. She’s immediately listening to it in order to ascertain what her husband was trying to tell her. And at first, it seems like a lot of nothing. It’s an audio file that features gunfire and then ends with Val’s own words. By listening to it, Val realizes it was recorded while she was in Gambia, about a year after her husband’s run-in with Elena and Sergey.

Val does the smart thing, and has a FBI tech analyze the recording in-depth, but the woman is unable to unearth any hidden secrets. So Val goes right up to Elena and asks why the recording is relevant. Elena retorts that’s when their partnership began. Val doesn’t like this answer. In her recollection, Elena nearly shot and killed her in Gambia. Val was there to rescue some NGO teachers held hostage by a warlord.

THE ENDGAME — “#1 With a Bullet” Episode 104 — Pictured: Noah Bean as Patrick Doak — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

Meanwhile, Doak decides he’s done playing by Elena’s rules, and is about to rush into the first bank when the hostages suddenly come streaming out. They had been hearing loud thumps for a while when Snow White finally lets them go. As Doak and the FBI rush in, they discover a hole in the wall. As they investigate, one of the technicians with Doak trips a device, causing them all to rush away from it. And once they do, a lattice of deadly lasers appears, locking all three men in place.

So not only did Doak miss the bank robbers when he foolishly rushed the bank, but he managed to get himself caught in the process. Turns out the laser device was made using diamonds, two of which Val found on the bank premises. They think the only person that can disable the device is the one who installed it, which is one of Elena’s lieutenants. Val does some sleuthing, and finds a wedding ring, realizing that some of the communication between the first and second banks indicates a romantic relationship between Elena’s lieutenants. So she goes hunting for him to help get Doak loose.

THE ENDGAME — “#1 With a Bullet” Episode 104 — Pictured in this screengrab: Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova — (Photo by: NBC)

Elena may be behind bars, but she’s still able to get information from the outside. She’s really getting under the skin of the last man standing, FBI Director Réal. The other two members of his little cabal may have been outed as corrupt, but so far he’s remained clean. Meaning he may be as honest as he seems, or he may have skeletons buried very deep in his closet. Regardless, he’s starting to figure out Elena’s methods, and even realizes that she’s been reading lips. Unfortunately, that’s only one of the ways she’s staying informed, and the other is an open question for her captors.

As Val hunts down Elena’s lieutenant, she also has some suspicions that the latest bank activity is related to Gambia. Normally the people put in danger by Snow White are the ones outed as corrupt, but Doak doesn’t seem to fit the bill, regardless of his nervous self-doubt as the laser lattice creeps closer and closer. Val thinks the man who owns the bank might be the latest target, but she doesn’t have time to look into him further.

THE ENDGAME — “#1 With a Bullet” Episode 104 — Pictured: Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

When Val finally finds and corners the lieutenant, an Asian man who goes by Louie, he rapidly types some info into his phone and tosses it into the water. They find him at a boat harbor, about to take off. Unfortunately, he also has a grenade, and isn’t willing to back down unless he hears from Elena. Director Réal uses Elena’s lip reading against her, and tells his men to shoot and kill her lieutenant, which causes her to scream for him to wait. She agrees to tell Louie to stand down, one of the few times she’s seemingly backed down. Hard to say if that’s part of her master plan or if it was just a rare miscalculation on her part.

#1 With a Bullet also deals with the latest drama in Peekskill Prison where Owen and Sergey are serving time. The creepy little Russian bastard from last week is making trouble for Sergey, since he recognizes him. Turns out, Sergey goes by Collins in prison, and he might have difficulty if anybody else knows his identity. He’s ready and willing to kill the little weasel, but Owen convinces him to try another method. So while Sergey is talking to the man and revealing himself, Owen drops some liquid in his drink. When the little ferret takes a sip, he falls to the ground twitching. Owen remarks that should put him in the medical ward for at least a week, more than enough time for their secret plan to progress.

Right as the laser lattice is about to melt Doak and company, Elena reveals there’s nothing to be afraid of. Turns out, it’s not a hot laser, and was just a psychological trap. But it did succeed in pushing all three men against the wall where they discovered a hidden safe. When the FBI asks the man who owns the bank, a Mr. Moustakas, he says he has no idea what’s inside. Val isn’t buying it, and Doak orders the safe ripped open. Inside, they not only find a connection to Gambia, but something much more significant.

THE ENDGAME — “#1 With a Bullet” Episode 104 — Pictured in this screengrab: Costa Ronin as Sergey Vodianov — (Photo by: NBC)

It turns out, Elena wasn’t being cute when she said Gambia was the beginning of her and Val’s partnership. Elena wasn’t shooting at Val to kill her. She was doing so to stop her from walking into an ambush by the warlord’s armed men. And funnily enough, when Val hears this and listens to the recording again, she realizes the gunfire is coming from American weapons. Running the lead down further, she finds the bank safe has tons and tons of information, including some that shows Moustakas was arming the warlord with guns from the US. When they arrive at his posh penthouse to take him away, they find a picture with Moustakas, as well as the now removed Attorney General and the Homeland Secretary from the cabal that captured Elena.

Val is putting the pieces together, and realizes that nearly everybody in that picture has been proven to be corrupt. Using the resources of the United States government to sponsor terrorism or worse. There’s a couple more people unaccounted for in the picture, but when Val asks Elena about them, she plays coy. More important is when Val finally realizes how Elena is making contact with the outside world, via the binary beeps of the flashing red light overlooking her cell. Meaning for once, Val has an advantage that Elena doesn’t know about.

THE ENDGAME — “#1 With a Bullet” Episode 104 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova, Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val — (Photo by: NBC)

Overall, #1 With a Bullet was a great episode of The Endgame. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come, and that the pattern we’ve been seeing might be changed up more significantly in the future. I’m also very much looking forward to Doak continuing to unravel as he is frustrated by Elena, maybe becoming a villain in his own right.

Josh Speer
Josh Speer
Josh Speer enjoys all sorts of things, but he grew up reading comic books. Stories of wonder and whimsy delight him, as do underdogs and anti-heroes. While admittedly a fan of many Marvel and DC characters (thwip thwip), of late he reads more independent comics. Big fan of Image, Dark Horse, IDW and lately even some Aftershock. Loves stories that are quirky, weird and which feature stunning artwork. Completely shocked that Marvel Netflix still exists on Disney+. Enjoys talking about comic books without getting lost in the minutiae, and focuses most on character relationships and development.

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