Alex has to figure out who his real friends and enemies are in “Threats”, as his mission looks set to take him cross-country.
This recap of Alex Rider season 2, episode 5, “Threats”, contains spoilers.
I was just about to say that it’s funny how Damian Cray acts like a petulant child when he doesn’t get his own way, but then “Threats” opens with a scene in which he sort of becomes one again. It’s snippets of a flashback to him finding his punk-rock older brother dead of an overdose, which we’re to understand was a seminal event in his life. That’s why he’s so committed to the War on Drugs. That’s also presumably why he has hidden something — at least that’s what Alex believes, based on what Roper said — in the code of Feathered Serpent 2.
Alex Rider season 2, episode 5 recap
Now Alex and Cray are personally on each other’s radars. Evelyn explains to her boss how Alex must have had help from somewhere, so she’s to find out who, and we know that’s bad news for Roper, who at that moment is visiting Sabina — who calls him “Uncle Charlie” — in the hospital and suggesting to her that maybe Alex isn’t as crazy as she thinks. There are a lot of these small plot movements in “Threats”, all heading in the same direction. Byrne, Jones, and Blunt discuss Cray and Yassen and the implications with Scorpia; Byrne has footage of Alex leaving the warehouse where Simon was killed and thinks the British security services have an illegal underage asset in the field; Kyra discovers that the code of Feathered Serpent 2 is locked; Jack and Dan are competing for the same full-time job and have to do Cray’s dirty work to get it. You get the idea. We’re in the back half of the season, after all.
Before all this can come together, though, Kyra needs to find enough computing power to unpack the game’s code, and the only place locally that can serve her purposes is the school. Thanks to some hacking, the kids manage to clear the place out, break in, and use the facilities, linking up all the systems on one network to break through the anti-piracy encryption and get at the meat of the code. Meanwhile, though, Crawley arrives to take Alex to Blunt, since he’d like a word.
Blunt thinks that Scorpia is the real threat, the President of the United States is the real target, and Cray is in need of protection. Alex obviously thinks the opposite. They’re at a bit of a stalemate, but Mrs. Jones, who hands Alex a card when he arrives and tells him they should get coffee sometime, obviously trusts Alex to get things done. One has to wonder what the root of Blunt’s reluctance to see the bigger picture is. Resentment against Alex? Fear of Scorpia? It isn’t a matter for this season to address, but it’ll need addressing down the line.
Blunt has something of a point though. He thinks that Alex’s meddling is getting people killed and since Evelyn is able to deduce that Roper was the informant, he’s probably going to be more right than ever before long. And while Alex has allies in Tom and Kyra, they don’t exactly get on, and neither of them can necessarily protect Roper in the way that, say, Blunt could, if he were so inclined. But Blunt is hyper-focused on Alex, such that he plants several bugs on him while he’s at the office and listens in on their conversation when he’s deposited back at the school. Alex puts on a performative, “Oh, Blunt says we have to drop the issue” speech when Kyra tells him there’s something in the code of Feathered Serpent 2 that can’t be accessed anywhere other than the original server, but he writes on a nearby whiteboard that Blunt is listening and that they’re really going to Amsterdam. Later, Smithers and Mrs. Jones discover his messages but keep quiet about them. By the time Blunt realizes that Alex and Kyra have removed all of the bugs from his clothing and handed them out to the cast of Romeo & Juliet, the kids are already on the Eurostar to Amsterdam.