Eleanor believes that the continuing attacks and threats on the U.K. must be state-sponsored because of their scale and sophistication. It could be Russia, given the Kostenko killing, or perhaps China, given the pulling of the contract for the Chinese company to drill in the North Sea. She doesn’t yet know who the irradiated man found in a truck under Waterloo Station is, but he was killed by being force-fed plutonium.
There’s an internal threat as well: far-right conspiracies are proliferating online, with some especially vitriolic sites like Firestorm calling for harm to Robert, Joseph, Archie, Lord Singer—who exonerated Robert’s government in the shooting of a photographer—and Robert’s wife, Rachel, given the scandal being manufactured around her and her early work at a law firm that had illegal ties to Kostenko. They will all receive additional security, especially since Robert insists on attending a memorial for the victims of the explosion in Kent.
Labour’s leader Chris Edwards wants Francine to attend the memorial as well, since she may be running for MP of the area, but she’s beginning to dislike Labour’s strategy for her to win the seat. She conducted a TV interview in which she criticized Singer for letting Robert’s government off in his report—and now the far-right has latched on to her interview as insider whistle-blowing on the government.
Lord Singer is furious about all the uproar, and decides to leave a week early for Cyprus with his wife, despite Eleanor’s misgivings. While getting into the car to the airport, he is approached by a man obsessed with Firestorm. The man kills Singer with a machete, live-streaming it all. Conspiracies proliferate that the government is behind the killing, as well as that of Kostenko, in an effort to cover up Rachel’s supposed ties to the oligarch.
Robert wants the identity of the person behind Firestorm discovered so that they can be prosecuted for incitement of terrorism. Because going through internet companies would be legally cumbersome, Eleanor will surreptitiously go around them. Robert also wants her to figure out Hari Misra’s source, since he keeps publishing bombshells about the government. Joseph is skeptical of the wisdom of going after journalists.
But he tells Anna that he trusts Robert when she approaches him about Robert’s desire to field a populist, borderline racist candidate in Kent. Joseph is piqued by Anna’s appeal to him as a Black man.
Robert finds out about this behind-his-back scheming and blames Francine for inciting the violence against Singer, to Anna’s disgust. He tells her he’s reconsidering Anna as an adviser.
Francine feels guilty about Singer’s death, but Hari—who is consulting on her potential campaign—consoles her. She asks him why he’s not bothered that he doesn’t know anything about his source—they seem to have some agenda against Robert. See Hari’s most recent story, an interview with a former colleague of Rachel’s alleging that she knew about the illegal activities with Kostenko. Rachel tells Robert it’s not true, and that someone, perhaps involved with the other attacks, must be pulling strings to manufacture the scandal.
Anna is worried about what the scandal is doing to Robert, as she tells Eleanor. She has taken up smoking again. Eleanor warns her, as a friend of Francine’s, to tell Francine to cut ties with Hari. Francine is about to do an interview with him, but Hari’s life is about to take a bad turn and an association with him will be political suicide.
True—but not in the way Eleanor expects. Hari receives a CIA document about a “sub-aquatic detonation system” and tries to ask who the source is—but his computer is suddenly taken over, and broadcasts a live feed of him from the cameras in his room. Then it goes back to the document and scrolls slowly for him to read.
When he leaves his office, Eleanor’s agents are waiting to pick him up, but another car swoops in first, and a man jumps out to push Hari inside.
The government’s apprehension of Firestorm is more successful. They raid a home and arrest the man behind the site in a room with swastikas on the wall.
Another investigation is ongoing, into the explosion of the ship off Kent. The sensors of the Navy ship that was monitoring the waters have been recovered, and reveal strange data: some sort of subsonic frequency, and not any seismic activity, just before the explosion. It could just be a faulty sensor.
Or perhaps something to do with the CIA memo Hari received. He is tied to a chair and asked by two men who call themselves “Tommy” who his handler is and how he got CIA documents. They also ask him about a trip to Moscow years ago, implying that he’s a Russian agent.
They rough him up a bit, and then suddenly free him. You’re just a useful idiot, aren’t you, they say. As he walks towards a waiting car, they open the trunk, shoot him, and stuff him inside.
There definitely is some element of American involvement in all the recent crises. The irradiated man is identified as a DARPA scientist captured while on holiday in Bordeaux.
Francine is upset that Hari didn’t show up for their interview, even though she was warned by Anna to cancel it. As she walks past Hari’s office, she sees emergency crews. It has been firebombed.