Nathan comes to see Finch at their company's computer room. Finch is preparing to shut down the Machine so that they can send it to the government. Ingram admits that he's glad to be rid of it given how many violent individuals and their victims that they're forced to ignore simply because they're not terrorists. Finch defends the government's stance and Nathan snaps at him that he wouldn't think that way if he had someone in his life to care about. Nathan then apologizes for his comment and suggests that now that they are done with the Machine, Finch should find someone. Finch hints that he has but Nathan figures he would be boasting about it if he had.
As Reese covertly follows Finch, Fusco calls him to say that he'll be meeting with Simons and some of the top men in HR. Reese tells him that he's busy until then and not to call until the meeting is set. Fusco hangs up and notices Carter watching him from her desk. He smiles briefly at her and goes back to work, while she looks at a file containing photos of the HR officers.
Finch gets a text message and walks to a nearby pay phone. It rings and he answers it, and then listens for a moment without saying anything. Finch then hangs up and calls Reese, who is a few hundred feet away, watching the entire exchange, and tells him they have a new Number. Reese says that he'll be there, wait until Finch walks off, and then looks around to try and spot the person who must have called Finch, knowing he was on the street.
A man named Ted Gibbons calls an analyst, Henry Peck, and thanks him for tracking down the suspect in a terrorist attack.
When Reese arrives at headquarters, Finch tells him that their new Number is Henry Peck, a stock analyst. He admits that Henry knows how to maintain electronic security and that Finch hasn't been able to hack his voicemail. Reese is more interested in how Finch got the Number, and asks how the Machine communicates with him. When Finch wonders why he needs to know, Reese points out that someone would have to carry on if Finch is killed. Finch assures him that he has a contingency but Reese warns him that the secret will come out sometime.
Reese tracks Henry to his office and maintains surveillance, while Finch discovers that he's unable to hack the broker office's firewall. When Henry leaves, Reese secretly plants a bug on him and then listens as Henry calls a woman named Alicia. Finch confirms that Henry wipes his phone memory regularly and Reese decides to go in physically. However, the receptionist doesn't fall for his bluff that he's there to see a broker, while Henry goes through a high-security door and Finch loses the bug signal. Reese notices that the receptionist is holding a gun beneath the desk and quickly leaves. He warns Finch that the business must in fact be a cover for a secret government information facility.
Since they can't get in via the airwaves, Finch goes in as a deliveryman and drops off a coffee maker containing a transceiver and camera. He then wires it into the power lines and gets outside to where Reese is already watching. They realize that the building is a NSA listening station and Henry is an intelligence analyst.
That night, Reese follows Henry home and watches from outside as the analyst simply works all night. The landlord arrives with two cops, who inform Henry that the landlord came in the apartment earlier and found drugs. Henry insists that they're not his but they arrest him and take him downtown. Reese gets feedback from the bug and realizes that someone else is using a bug of their own on the same frequency. The man leaves the apartment and spots Reese tailing him, and manages to lose him in traffic. Reese and Finch figure that someone is setting Henry up.
The next morning, Reese arrives earlier and looks around for clues to Finch's home. He finds a paper coffee cup and a stack of magazines, all the same issue. He then calls Carter, who confirms that Henry made bail an hour ago. She's checked Henry's record and confirmed that the only charge against him was a speeding ticket, and he filed a 78-page brief to clear his name. Finch arrives and says that he checked the security cameras in the area. They check the footage and confirm that the man Reese saw entered the apartment earlier that day.
As Reese lurks outside, Henry is in his office when his superior tells him that due to the drug bust, his security clearance is suspended and he's been put on administrative leave. Henry insists that he's innocent but his superior warns that if he files a complaint then he might be considered unstable. As Henry comes out, Reese and Finch figure that someone is forcing Henry out of the NSA and listen in as Henry calls the Deputy Director of the NSA, Ted Gibbons. The director refuses to take his calls, while Reese and Finch figure that he asked questions about the wrong thing.
Henry goes into his apartment and Reese realizes that the security camera is out. Meanwhile, Henry goes inside and finds drugs and a half-empty whiskey bottle scattered around. The intruder from the previous night grabs Henry and tries to subdue him, but Reese bursts in. The would-be intruder holds his own in the fight and manages to escape, and Reese tells Finch that the man is a government-trained assassin. Meanwhile, Henry slips away in the confusion.
While Finch tries to track Henry down via the bug, Henry manages to get through to Gibbons by calling the man's daughter. He reminds the director that the man thanked him for his help three weeks ago and mentioned a man, Carlson, who wasn't in the report that Henry submitted. Carlson was the man who stopped the terrorist attack, and Henry figures it's a cover name. Gibbons tells him never to call him again and hangs up, while Reese finds Finch. Finch has heard the entire conversation via the bug and tells Reese that the government wants Henry dead because he's been investigating the Machine.
Nathan goes to a bar and meets government agent Alicia Corwin. He details the plans for shipping the Machine and she assures him that the facility where they'll keep it is secure. The government has taken steps to make sure that when the Machine sends a suspect name out, the call will be untraceable. Nathan agrees with the protocol and comments that only eight people know about it. Alicia points out that there are only seven that she knows of and wonders if he's told someone else. Nathan dismisses it as a bit of absent-mindedness and asks if the people at her end can be trusted. She assures him that they can but Nathan points out that she appears nervous. Alicia insists that she's fine but admits that she'll feel better when she's done with the project.
When Carter gets word of the attack at Henry's apartment, she calls Reese. Finch interrupts saying everything is fine, and hangs up. The two men continue following Henry using the bug, and Reese demands an explanation. Finch finally explains that the Machine he created isn't legal, and that the people who have it aren't as trustworthy as he thought. Meanwhile, Henry gets a call from Alicia, and Reese realizes he's in contact with Alicia Corwin. Henry points out that the reports he filed went through her office, even though it's been closed for a year. Alicia gives him the word Sibilance and tells him to run. Listening in, Finch warns Reese that they have to stop Henry immediately. Everyone he talks to becomes a potential target as the government seeks to eliminate any chance of a leak. However, Reese and Finch have to do it without seeming to get involved, because otherwise the government could learn about them. They come to a halt when they realize that Henry has found the bug and tossed it in a garbage can.
That night at their headquarters, Reese determines that Henry closed out all of his bank accounts and gave the homeless his credit cards to spend wherever they liked, spreading a false trail. Reese figures the government has called in a three-man black-ops team of expert to dispose of Henry, and figures they'll try to locate him by checking out cash-only hotels with Internet access. Finch begins running a check for the same types of hotels.
Pennsylvania Two, the lead killer, calls his superior and tells him that Henry managed to escape, and that he has help. His supervisor tells him to do whatever it takes to dispose of the analyst.
Finch tracks Henry down to a youth hostel and learns that Henry has hacked the card reader at the NSA listening post. He figures that Henry is going back there to find the evidence he needs to clear his name.
By the time Reese gets to the listening post, Henry has already broken in. The assassins open fire and Reese shoves Henry to the floor just in time. While Reese returns fire, Henry runs outside with the papers he's stolen and throws a bottle at a passing police car. He tells them to arrest him and keep the papers safe, and Reese gets out just in time to see them take Henry away.
As Finch finishes shutting down the Machine, Nathan tells him that it will take ten days to move the Machine. He wonders what they will do if the government abuses the intelligence provided by the Machine, and Finch assures him that the Machine can protect itself, upgrading and patching itself against any intrusion. Nathan isn't convinced and suggests that they put in a backdoor off-switch, but his partner reminds him that any backdoor can be penetrated if someone else finds out about it, and that they need to trust what they've built. Finch then shuts down the Machine and leaves.
Carter reroutes the arresting officers to her station and has Fusco interview Henry. Henry tells him that each report he wrote had a name written into it, the name of someone critical to stopping a terrorist attack. Since no one could predict the attacks that accurately, Henry realized that someone was conducting a massive and illegal surveillance operation. "Sibilance" was the codename of the internal NSA audit of its intranet that uncovered massive amounts of danger being sent out, almost as much as was coming in. As he talks about the sheer amount of manpower necessary to handle that much data, Henry realizes that a computer must be responsible and that the government built it. He tells Fusco that the government wanted a machine that could sift surveillance data and stop terrorists before they strike.
Once Fusco goes to tell Carter what Henry said, Reese slips in disguised as a police officer. He gets Henry out of the building and steals a taxicab. As they head to the safehouse, Finch tells Reese that they have to destroy everything Henry has on the Machine and make sure that he doesn't find out anything else. Before Reese can stop him, Henry calls the Office of Special Counsel, which handles whistleblowers, and starts to report what he's discovered. Finch warns Reese that one of the people who knows about the Machine works in that office, and Reese throws Henry's phone out the window and warns him that no one can be trusted.
The government agent handling the operation traces Henry's call and directs the black-ops team to their target. One of the men, Fox, opens fire on the cab and takes out the rear wheel. Reese is stunned in the crash but recovers to take out Fox as he closes in for the kill. Fox is killed in the fight but Henry slips away in the confusion. Finch and Reese both figure that Henry won't give up, but Finch warns that the government won't give up either. However, he tells Reese that a friend once showed him how to do the right thing even when faced with an intractable problem.
Nathan turns on the Machine briefly so that he can enter a contingency program.
Henry calls a reporter and sets up a meeting to tell her what he knows. However, Finch meets him at the café rendezvous and tells him that Reese is dealing with the remaining black-ops soldiers sent to kill Henry and the reporter. He admits that the Machine exists and tells Henry to stop asking questions and that when he didn't stop, it cost him more than his own life. Finch gives the analyst fake ID papers and money and tells him to get as far away as possible. When Henry wonders how Finch knows about the Machine, Finch admits that he built it.
At the station, Tierney tells Carter that they got Henry's prints off of a burnt-off cab. Fusco listens in as Carter goes over the surviving papers, including one with the word "Sibilance" on it. The detective then calls Reese and tells him that he'll be meeting with the HR heads in three days. Fusco tells him that he'll be ready and that in the meantime he's getting close to finding out where Finch lives.
Once he's done talking to Finch, Reese hangs up and orders tea from the vendor that uses the same cups that Finch has. As they talk, a truck belonging to the magazine company that Finch was reading earlier pulls up to a nearby apartment. Reese knocks at the door and a woman answer. He introduces himself as Detective Stills and claims that someone reported a disturbance. The woman, Grace, invites him in but says that there's no problem. As they chat, Reese notices bundles of the magazine and Grace explains that she gets extra copies because she draws the covers. When Reese sees a photo of Grace and Finch together, he asks who he is and Grace explains that Finch was her lover, and talks about how he offered her an ice cream cone in January when she was out painting. Reese asks where Harold is now and Grace tells him that Harold died two years ago in an accident.
When Reese leaves, he sees Finch sitting on a bench a hundred yards away. He goes over and Finch explains that he has an app that warns him when he gets too close to Grace, and that he watches her without her noticing. The programmer admits that Grace was the only person that he has ever been any good with, and by the time he knew what the government would do to control the Machine, it was too late to do anything but protect Grace by faking his death. Reese offers his apologies and Finch admits that he was lucky to have four years of happiness.
Two Days Earlier
As Finch tells Henry about the Machine, neither one of them knows that Corwin is at a nearby table, listening in on their conversation.