Three Inches

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

0
Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Dec 29, 2011 on Syfy

Episode Recap

Twenty-six-year-old Walter Speckman is sitting on a red couch overlooking Lake Michigan. As the rain comes down, Walter looks up at the sky and sees the lightning, which hits him...

That morning, Walter, gets up and vows to talk to his neighbor, Lily, who has just returned to Chicago. He puts on his best clothes as his mother Bellinda comes in. She warns him that a relationship with Lily will never work out, but Walter insists that it's time to tell Lily how he feels and rides off.

Later, Macklin Sportello comes to pick up his best friend, Walter. They go looking for apartment but don't find anything, and Macklin realizes that Walter is distracted thinking about Lily. He realizes that warning Walter about Lily is hopeless and drops his friend off at home. Walter goes up to his room and puts an old 33 LP on the turntable. It jumps a groove, and Walter goes next door to see Lily's. She on her lawn, meditating, and smiles when she sees Walter.

Walter and Lily drive to the park and go on a walk. As they walk, Lily points out that Walter has gone through a number of jobs in the last eight years, but he insists that it's all part of his ten-year plan to find a way that makes sense for him to live in the world. He then tells her that everything is about to change and leads her to a red couch that he's placed on the edge of Lake Michigan. Walter pours his heart out to Lily, telling her that he's loved her ever since she was seven. He has finally figured out that the purpose of his life is to make her happy, and he's finally decided to overcome his fear of telling her his true feelings. Lily says that Walter told her is the most beautiful thing she's ever heard and hugs him... and tells him that she only considers him a friend. It starts raining and Lily says they need to get out of the rain, but Walter angrily tells her to go and gives her the keys to the car. Once she leaves, Walter looks up at the sky and sees a lightning bolt heading directly for him.

In the present, Walter is in the hospital in his coma. Belinda, Macklin, and Lily all come to see him, along with a mysterious man. Walter finally wakes up and finds his mother at his bedside. He says that he's not feeling very well and that he has a ringing in his ears, and figures that he'll always be normal. Belinda reminds him that he was hit by lightning and tells her son that he'll never be normal.

While he recovers, Walter flips through the channels and looks at his wristwatch, which appears to have been broken for some time. He reaches for a glass of lemonade but isn't quite able to touch it... and then it jumps into his hand as he reaches out. Walter tries to figure out how it moved without success, and Belinda and Macklin come to take him home. Walter mentions that he's having hallucinations but realizes that the ringing in his ears has gone.

The next morning, Walter gets up from bed and watches in shock as one of his slippers moves 3" across the floor to his foot. When he goes down to breakfast, all of the silverware and bowls start moving across the table. Belinda, busy working on commercial jingles for her job, doesn't notice them. When the objects keep moving toward him, Walter quickly leaves before his mother can realize anything is wrong. He goes over to Lily's house and she awkwardly hugs him. When Walter starts to tell her what happened, her new boyfriend Dillon pulls up on his motorcycle. Lily insists that Dillon is only a friend and goes to get lemonade. When Walter steps on a crab apple, he tries to scrape it off and Dillon offers to help. Jealous, Walter glares at the tree overhead and crab apples start falling off, pelting Dillon. He backs away but Walter cracks his sunglasses lens with a thought and then turns on the sprinkler. Lily hears the commotion and shuts off the sprinkler, and Dillon calls Walter a freak. As Walter leaves, he's unaware that the man from the hospital has watched the encounter.

That night, Walter goes to Blu, the restaurant where Macklin works. As he drinks, the mystery man comes over and addresses Walter by name. He introduces himself as Troy Hamilton and explains that it's his job to know everything about people like Walter. Troy asks if Walter has tested his abilities, warning that it's important for Walter to know what he can do. When Walter wonders how he found him, Troy explains that among other things he investigates lightning-strike victims, and that Walter isn't the only person he's contacted who has superpowers. He asks Walter for five minutes of his time and the slacker agrees.

Outside, Tory explains that he's a private contractor, not a government agent and asks if Walter knows what he can do. Walter dismisses his ability since he can only move objects three inches at a time, but Troy says that may be just the tip of the iceberg. Walter doesn't believe that he's a superhero, but Troy says that he has the chance to have a life that fits the size of who he really is. He suggests that Walter meet the rest of his team, and Walter reluctantly agrees to see them.

The next day, Troy is out walking his dog in a park and meets one of his client's representatives. The representative wants Troy to send his "freaks" to recover a piece of stolen property. Troy says that they're not freaks but the representative asks him what happened to a woman named Jeannie. Troy walks away without answering.

When Belinda takes Walter's daily breakfast up to his room, she discovers that he got up early and is already gone. Meanwhile, Walter meets Troy in Park Ride, and Troy explains that he used to be in Army Intelligence, investigating psychic phenomena with orders to turn anything he found into a weapon. Rather than go along with the government, Troy quit and started his own "consulting firm."

In the main room of the HQ building that Troy uses, a precog named Todd "sees" Walter coming in a few seconds. Walter comes in just a Todd saw, and Troy introduces the newcomer to the members of the team. They include: Annika, who can duplicate any sound; Ethan, who can talk to insects; Todd, who can see up to two minutes into the future but gets increasingly bad headaches; Carlos, who calls himself "The Human Smell" and talks about himself in the third person; and Watts, who doesn't give her first name and can alter and shape emotional states. They wonder what Walter can do and Troy finally explains. Watts teases Walter about his ability only being 3" but then assures him that he'll like it there.

Troy begins by having Walter test his ability on oranges. As he moves Walter further backward with each attempt, Troy asks if Lily knows about Walter's power. Walter says that he doesn't and Troy suggests that he take the long view about the woman. They finally confirm that Walter's ability doesn't work beyond 17'4".

Macklin tries to call Walter when he learns about a new apartment, but only gets the answering machine.

Next, Troy has Walter memorize lock schematics and insists that even with its 3" limit, Walter's ability can be useful. Walter concludes that he can only move an object once and Troy figures that he is drawing upon the atomic electrical charge, and there is only enough power to move the object the limited distance. Walter starts working on an actual lock, unaware that a man named Brandon is watching him.

Belinda notices Walter's continuing absences.

While waiting for Troy to pick him up, Walter sees Macklin and tries to apologize, explaining that he's been busy. He admits that he doesn't have time to go apartment hunting and gets into the car with Troy. As they leave, Macklin yells that Walter has changed since being hit by lightning, and it isn't for the better. When they get to headquarters, Troy brings in Brandon and tells Walter that he'll be his trainer from now on. Brandon begins the next stage of Walter's training, having him wear headphones emitting loud noises while Walter tries to move oranges. When Walter succeeds, Brandon is less than thrilled. He then takes Walter outside to start cars, and is amused when Walter inadvertently sets off a car alarm.

Later, Troy calls Walter in and suggests that he'd be happiest finding people that he belongs with. He suggests that Walter sign his contract and leaves. Walter decides not to and walks out, and Watts comes over to ask how he's doing. He admits that he didn't know what he could do until now, and Watts tells him that Troy does that for all of them. She suggests that they go out for a beer but Walter soon realizes that she means that he should go out with the rest of the team rather than just the two of them.

Walter takes the team to Blu and they talk about how Troy recruited each of them, telling them the same thing that Troy told Walter. Carlos explains how Troy helped him to control his power, and that superheroes work in teams because they need a family. Walter wonders what kind of missions that they go on and the others tell him they conduct rescue and recovery operations, and that Troy may be sending them on a mission within the next 48 hours. Carlos has everyone line up for a photo op before they start drinking again. When Watts asks Walter about his broken wristwatch, he explains that it belonged to his father. He asks her what her first name is, but Watts refuses to tell him. Brandon arrives and tells Walter to get out of "his" seat next to Watts, and Walter quickly obeys. He notices Macklin coming out of the kitchen and goes to apologize, but Macklin is mad because Walter has been ditching him. When Walter tries to introduce Macklin to his new friends, Macklin insists that Walter doesn't have any friends and tells him to get out.

The team finally leaves but outside, Brandon realizes that the underage Carlos has stayed behind to finish off their beers. His power goes out of control and everyone runs out of the restaurant, gagging. Carlos comes out, thrilled at his "triumph," and Watts and Walter quickly leave when Troy hears what happens and calls Brandon for a report.

The next day, Walter dons a skintight Lycra costume that Carlos sent him and goes to HQ... only to discover that Carlos is the only other teammate wearing a costume. Everyone shares a gentle laugh at Walter's expense, and Troy tells them that they'll be going on a mission in 36 hours.

That night, Walter is trying to write an email to Macklin telling him what happened. Troy calls him up on the computer and asks how he's doing, and Walter admits that he's scared about the mission. The recruiter tells him to go to the window and look at the stars. When Walter can't see them, Troy tells him that they are still there and that's a fact, and that courage is something that you can know is there. Walter explains that he never knew his father, and all he had of him was some old records, the broken wristwatch, and one photo. He put away the one photo that he had of him because he doesn't remember him and the photograph doesn't bring back any memories. Troy suggests that he should get it out and then tells Walter to get some sleep.

The next night, the team begins its operation. Todd poses as a bartender at the bar where their target, Dr. Pavel Husack, is drinking while his bodyguard Junior watches over him. Todd "sees" when Junior will go to the restroom, and calls in Watts. She uses her power to make Husack homesick and then get him to reveal where the package is. She then sends it to the rest of the team, who go to the warehouse where the "package" is being held. Annika impersonates one guard to convince the other one, Mel, to come inside where Brandon knocks him out. The others arrive and Brandon orders them to get the package and take it back to HQ. As they go inside, they're unaware that a woman has pulled up on a motorcycle and is watching them.

Walter uses his ability to open the locked door and Ethan commands his butterfly collection to swarm a guard, distracting him so that they can sneak by him. As the team heads for the storage chamber, Walter trips and falls behind, losing the others. When he tries to catch up, two guards capture him but Watts comes back and uses her ability to immobilize them with laughter long enough for her to gas them unconscious. They catch up to the others and Walter manages to open the complicated lock despite Brandon's skepticism. Inside they find their "package": a 10-year-old girl.

As they take out the girl, Walter is shocked to learn that they are abducting a girl. The guards arrive and hold the team at gunpoint, and Carlos uses his ability to stun them while his teammates protect themselves with gas masks. As they head for the exit, Todd gets a vision of Mel shooting at Brandon, missing, and killing Carlos. He warns Brandon, who knocks out Mel before he can shoot anyone. As they get to the van, the girl tries to run off but Brandon grabs her and tosses her into the van. Walter objects but Brandon tells him to drop it and Watts agrees with him.

As they head back to headquarters, Brandon tells them to handcuff the girl. Walter and then Watts object, with Walter insisting that they're the good guys. However, Mel and another guard catch up to them and ram their van. Brandon goes after them and takes out Mel for the third time, but the other guard shoots Brandon in the back, apparently killing him. Watts tells everyone to run and heads off with Walter and the girl. They go to a nearby oil refinery and Walter has to kick the door open when he realizes that his power has run out. As they get inside, the girl tells them that her name is Cassie and that she has no idea why the men abducted her.

As their pursuers close in, Walter finds a loading door dock and they get out. As he locks the door behind them, the woman on the motorcycle arrives and draws a gun. Walter tells Watts that he can handle it and walks to toward the woman, who steps forward and prepares to shoot him. He has enough of a recharge to open the sewer grate beneath her, plunging her into the tunnel. They then steal a truck and drive off, but Walter stops and asks Watts what's going on. She tells him that they can't worry about that now, but admits that they can't go back to HQ until they know that it's safe. Walter figures that they have to go somewhere that nobody will ever look for them and drives to Macklin's restaurant.

At Blu, Walter tries to convince Macklin that they're on a scavenger hunt. Macklin clearly doesn't buy it but agrees to let his friend crash in the storage room. Watts takes Cassie there and notices that the girl has injection marks on her arm. Cassie says that her captors gave her injections every day. Meanwhile, Walter tries to explain everything that happened to his friend, and finally demonstrates his superpower. Macklin apologizes for being a jerk, and then tries to figure out why Troy sent Walter and his team after Cassie. He figures that Cassie must have a superpower, and Walter talks to Cassie. She admits that she has several superpowers, and they figure that her captors were giving her an inhibitor. Cassie says that she just wants to be a real girl without superpowers, and Walter promises to take care of her.

The motorcycle woman finally manages to climb out of the sewer.

Walter waits until Cassie dozes off and then asks Watts what is going. She admits that she doesn't know and insists on calling Troy, but Walter doesn't want to turn Cassie over. He suggests that they wait until morning after they get some rest to think of something. Once they go to sleep, Cassie sneaks out, unaware that Macklin has seen her and follow behind.

When Troy arrives, Walter and Watts tell him what happened. They're surprised to see Brandon, alive and well, and he explains that he was wearing a bulletproof vest. While they're talking Macklin sends Walter a text message. Rather than answer it in front of Troy, Walter doesn't answer it. Brandon starts to complain about them letting Cassie escape, but Troy tells him to drop it. He tells Walter to go back to HQ while he takes Watts with him and Brandon starts the search for Cassie.

Once he's alone, Walter checks his messages and discovers that Macklin has followed Cassie. He calls his friend and meets him the park where Cassie is waiting for someone. The motorcycle woman arrives and Macklin tries to tackle her without success. However, when Cassie tries to run, Brandon and Watts arrive and Watts uses her power to paralyze Cassie with emotions. Brandon takes out Cate when she tries to fight back, and then he tells Walter that they're turning over the "package" to the client in the morning. Walter turns to Watts, but she refuses to answer his questions and escorts Cassie to a car where Troy is waiting.

While Macklin recovers, Walters talks to Cate, who tells him that she's Cassie's sister. When governments and corporations learned that Cassie had superpowers, they came after the girl and Cate took her on the run. Walter offers to help, but Cate asks who hired him and what they'll do to Cassie when they get her. She walks away to go get Cassie, while Macklin tells his friend that it's time for them to go home.

As Walter walks up to his house, Lily comes over and asks if he's okay. He tells her that he isn't and walks inside, where Belinda is waiting for him. She tells him that she's glad he's not dead but that she worried when he didn't come. Walter says that he doesn't need anything and she hugs him.

That night, Walter gets a call from Troy, who is out in the Speckmans' backyard. However, he tells Walter that he's there to talk about Walter, not Cassie. Troy admits that sometimes changing the world takes time and that being special is hard, but Walter tells him that he's quitting. Walter says that he'll handle Cate and that Cassie is fine, and that they'll be transferring the girl to the client the next morning before leaving.

Walter goes to Blu to find Macklin and ask him for his help. When he finds out that his friend wants to do something stupid, Macklin is eager to assist. Walter then tracks down Watts, who is drinking and sharing her misery with the nearby drinkers. He asks her to help rescue Cassie and Watts agrees, smiling.

Walter, Watts, and Macklin go to HQ and find Cate outside. They tell her that they're going to rescue her daughter and go inside. Walter and Watts distract the guard so that Cate can knock him out, and then go after the next guard. The alarm goes off and Walter telekinetically takes the clip out of the guard's gun. He then opens Cassie's cell door and reunites her with Cate. Brandon has discovered who is responsible for the alarms and arrives, ordering them to stop. Watts tells Walter to leave with the others and then paralyzes Brandon with happiness when he gets too close to her. Despite the inflicted emotions, Brandon is heartbroken, figuring that Watts looks down on him because he's normal. When Watts enviously asks what's wrong with being normal, Brandon tells her, "everything."

Later, Cate and Cassie prepare to leave town on Cate's motorcycle. Cassie thanks Walter and Macklin, who tell her that she can be a real girl. Cassie asks if Walter wants to be a real boy, and Walter tells her that he'll be himself. As Cate prepares to drive off, Cassie glances at the city and shuts down all of the power for a few seconds just by thinking of it.

The next morning, Walter goes to sit on his red couch and Watts finds him by Lake Michigan. He explains that it's his favorite place because that's where lightning hits him, and that he's wondering if he should run away. Watts asks him to stay and says that she needs him on the team. She asks him to be her friend and finally tells Walter her first name: Tess.

Back at HQ, Troy is telling the team that he has to be able to trust all of them. Walter and Watts arrive and Walter says that he's responsible for setting Cassie free. However, Watts takes the blame as well. One at a time, Walter's teammates stand up and take responsibility for the escape. Finally, even Brandon stands up and admits that as head of security, it was his responsibility to keep Cassie prisoner. He apologizes to Troy, calling him, "Dad," much to Walter's surprise. Troy takes Walter to his office and privately congratulates him. He explains that the client used him as well as the team, and he knew Walter would go renegade rather than abduct a young girl. Troy trusted Walter to do the right thing and offers his hand, hoping Walter will stay on. After a moment, Walter takes Troy's hand and shakes it.

Later, Troy meets the representative in the park again. The representative is unhappy about Troy's failure to deliver and warns that there'll be repercussions, but Troy warns him to be careful. When the representative points out that they used to be on the same team, Troy tells him that he has a better team now. The man says that they'll be in touch and leaves.

Walter goes to Lily's house and kisses her without a word... and then walks away. He goes into his house and tells an astonished Belinda exactly what happened to him and what he's been doing, and that now he's saving the world. Belinda is speechless, and Walter goes up to his room. He puts on his dad's old record, puts his photo of his team up on the board next to his father's old photo, and dances along.

Walter goes to see Lily and kisses her... and then turns and walks away without a word. He then goes home and tells Belinda exactly what happened to him, and that now he's saving the world. Walter then goes upstairs, puts up a photo of his team next to one of his father, telekinetically turns on the record of his father's that he was listening to earlier, and dances to the music.

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