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Episode Recap: Downsizing
The harsh realities of 2074's rich and poor come into focus for Laura and Theo.
Ben's early days as a tech-savvy con artist are revealed in a flashback, where young Aaron (Ben's real name) traverses the harsh conditions of a FEMA refugee camp after his father commits suicide. His ability to create a reverse retinal scanner in order to get extra rations gets the attention of a young man named Reed, and the two enter a partnership of swindling for survival.
12 years later, Reed has reinvented himself as Jonathan Hendrick, a Human Resources officer at SPIGA … and the only person besides Theo who knows Ben's true identity.
But let's not leave the past just yet. It was in the FEMA refugee camp where Aaron first met the love of his life, Elena. The two of them were inseparable … until the day came when Elena received sponsorship from her aunt, allowing her and her father to live and work out in the Red Zone. "I'll find you," Aaron promises to Elena after she gives him a token of remembrance: a necklace of her late mother's ring.
In the present day, Aaron (now Ben) is in the running for the position formerly held by Chad Peterson, a promotion that would allow him access to the somewhat notorious Executive Club … and, therefore, to Elena. However, first he has to prove that he's the right man for the job … which could be difficult, as it would appear that the situation with Chad is not an open and shut case. He's being interrogated and tortured in the infamous Quiet Room, where he swears to Julian Morse that he doesn't know anything about the security tech he was caught with … and that his recent debauchery-filled trip to the club in the Red Zone -- where he and his colleagues came across executives from SPIGA's number-one rival, Inazagi -- was all Ben's idea.
Julian's team also discovers that Ben was in recent possession of The Whistler, the anti-riot tech he used to make Chad nauseous as he stole the files from his computer. Ben tells Julian that signing out The Whistler was all Chad's idea for some unknown reason, but before Julian can question Chad about this, he finds that his prisoner's memories have been completely wiped … an order given by Elizabeth Strauss, who wants the situation closed to prevent any further freaking out by SPIGA stockholders.
Meanwhile, Chad's wife Fiona and their two kids are being held in a detention center. Laura is concerned about what's going to happen to them and wants to help, though Fiona says the only thing she can do is talk to her powerful mother. Elizabeth claims her hands are tied in this situation but does offer to set up the two kids with foster parents in the Green Zone. Wanting her children to have a future, Fiona agrees, tearfully handing them over to a brand new life.
Out in the Red Zone, Theo is becoming quite the up-and-comer in the world of cage fighting, which hopefully means a brighter future for him and his boyfriend, Anthony. Their delicious Kamikaze Burger meal is interrupted by Terrence, who tells Theo about a big-time talent scout who books fights in the Green Zone. Anthony is concerned for Theo's safety, though Theo agrees to show off his skills to the scout after Terrence reveals that some of these Green Zone gigs take place at the Executive Club … where Theo's sister Elena is supposedly being held.
Before the match, Theo approaches his opponent, the hulking Sayeed. Sayeed seems friendly enough, acknowledging that it's all a show and claiming that there's no reason for them to be enemies outside the cage. Sayeed even gives Theo a taste of his first real steak … which ends up working to Theo's advantage in the ring, as he uses the bone to cut his opponent's face and score the win.
Theo sees just how shady Terrence is when he reveals that the talent scout was there to see Sayeed, not Theo, and now Sayeed has lost his chance at fighting in the Green Zone. Theo then sees just how insane Terrence is when he uses a trophy cup to bash in Sayeed's skull. "Guess your my ticket now, kid," Terrence says to his new star fighter.
The episode ends with Ben thinking he's gotten away scot free now that Chad's been exiled to the Red Zone with his memories wiped … until he finds that the surveillance tech he hid in the conference room during his interrogation with Julian has mysteriously disappeared. It is now in the possession of Ben's number-one rival, Roger … and now Roger might have the perfect angle with which to score that promotion.