The Terminal List season 1, episode 2 recap – “Encoding”

By Marc Miller
Published: July 1, 2022
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The Terminal List’s second episode is a suspenseful and thrilling outing that deepens the show’s central mystery.

This recap of the Amazon original series The Terminal List season 1, episode 2, “Encoding,” contains spoilers.

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The Terminal List season 1, episode 2 recap

The episode begins with Reece being interrogated by police and then burying his wife and daughter. A man, Marco (Marco Del Toro), takes Reece to meet Ben and Liz (Stranger Things‘s Tyner Rushing), at a makeshift wake on the beach with a bomb fire. My first thought when the men try to kill Reece at the clinic was that one of them was Ben, but he has no bruises or defense wounds on his arms or body.

Eventually, Reece wants to leave and heads home. He now has a series of flashbacks of his wife and daughter. He thinks about the scene again where the bird hit the window. This transitions to Reece’s wife and daughter disappearing, and he sees someone in another section of his home through the large glass windows. He draws his weapon and finds a man in his daughter’s room — that man is Reece. His hands are raised, holding a service weapon, but there is no gun in his hands. NCIS then shows up at his home, discussing a discrepancy with what safe Reece placed his weapon that night. They think it has to be the one in the garage, but Reece insists it was the one in his bedroom.

Reece asks for a meeting with Admiral Pillar. He tells him that NCIS should not be handling this case. It should be counterintelligence. The Admiral scoffs at the notion Reece is insisting it must be the terrorist he was supposed to capture. The Admiral has had enough. He tells Reece that he is flying off the deep end. They went to bat with him over the Donnie Mitchell fiasco (since the last scenes of the pilot, Reece has recanted that original statement) and embarrassed them. The Admiral then goes too far. He tells Reece, first, he could not protect his unit, and now he could not save his own family. That was a big mistake. He puts the old man into the wall. He does not strike, lets him go, and leaves the office.

The next scene follows NCIS detective Josh Holder (Warren Kole) who is approached by Buranek. She throws Reece under the bus, telling him he pulled his weapon on her. She did this to gain access to the crime scene, then told him he was acting strange, but not enough to warrant concern over his going on a killing spree. He shows her the clinic. The doctor was killed, but no blood or body was left by the CT scan machine, as Reece said. There are no cameras in the clinic because of patient confidentiality. (Though, most have them in the waiting area or at least security in the parking lots). So why is he not arrested, the reporter asks?

Because nothing adds up, says the NCIS detective. Reece has a knife wound, but there is no wife. They have security footage at his home showing him leaving calmly to go to the clinic and looking genuinely frightened, running into his house later that night. Katie then runs over to Reece’s home to tell him the news. He makes her a deal that if he can see the police report she has, he will sign a medical records release to look over the CT scan information. He gives her a faraday bag to put a smartphone in and a flip phone to only text him with because of government monitoring.

Later that night, he goes over the report again and how Holder was the first on the scene at the clinic. He looks at his face on the computer and finds a picture of him on social media. Reece puts fingers above and below his eyes and then remembers those same eyes of the man he pulled the mask off. He gets up, frightened with the adrenaline pumping. He turns over the picture his daughter drew and writes the NCIS detective names on the back of the paper. (I am guessing this is The Terminal List). Reece thinks Holder was one of the assassins. He then has a nightmare (or was this a real memory?) about holding the gun to his head at the clinic and waking up.

The Secretary of Defense also visits Reece and informs him that the Syrian terrorist Kahani was not the man behind the killings but is no longer a threat. Reece then sees the story on the news. Kahani, the man behind the killing of 12 Navy Seals, was killed. So, does that mean Reece was wrong, or are higher-ups covering their tracks?

The ending

Reece does some recon on Holder’s home and practices infiltrating it. He has Ben follow Holder so he can sneak in and copy his files from his computer. However, Ben has found even better news. Holder accessed Reece’s biometrics two days before the murder of his family. Which means he grabbed his fingerprints to access the safe. His CIA friend gives him the preferred gun of Boozer and tells him for the girls. He sneaks into Holder’s home and wakes him up with a silencer in his mouth. Reece looks at his arms, and there are no knife wounds. (Remember, the show’s plot here is that Pratt’s character is an unreliable witness). However, when he puts his wrists in cuffs and raises the arms over his head, Holder begins to sob and tells him a man with the name “Saul Agnon” is the one who pays him to do things.

That’s when Holder makes his move. He hits Reece over the head, and when he is about to do it again for good measure, Reese raises the .45 caliber and shoots Holder underneath the chin, and we see the blood spray like a Jackson Pollock all over the wall above his bed. Reese cuts off the plastic cuffs, wipes down the weapon, and make it look like a suicide.

What did you think of the Amazon original series The Terminal List season 1, episode 2? Comment below.

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