We open in medias race, with one Alex Tully desperately trying to evade some seriously hot pursuit. Cue the flashbacks! A week ago in Nebraska, Alex's wife was kidnapped (or was she?), but he did score a free phone as consolation. Five days ago in Ohio, Wendy Patrakas had a baby and got a phone of her own in a gift basket. Three days ago in Maryland, Winston Salazar got early parole along with his phone. When the phones rang, everyone was ordered to drive to a hotel in Key West. Unfortunately, Alex was late, so he (and the audience) missed the official orientation from Mr. Bright. We get the short version: there's a secret cross-country race with a purse of $32 million for the winner, although with this many people involved you've gotta wonder how much of a secret it can be. Winning might also be the only way for Alex to find his wife. So, it's off to the races, and time to learn more about some of the characters. Winston tries to get some gas money from his deadbeat dad, and in short order meets and recruits his half-brother, Sean, as a partner. Alex discovers a stowaway named Corinna, who eventually confesses that she stole a flash drive of encrypted files about The Race. Allan James works for the Sponsors, and he wants that flash drive back pretty badly. Wendy left her baby behind because she's desperate to get away from her abusive husband. And then there are some other people who didn't get much screen time in this episode. In the end, Alex and Winston are neck-and-neck when they cross the finish line, only to discover that they're nowhere near the first to arrive. Wendy, however, is last, and as a penalty, she's given a gun and a photo of Ivy, another racer.
Props to D, who kept me from being driven crazy. Y'know, mostly.
We open with a God's-eye-view of Florida, and as we zoom down, there are blipverts of...well, cars. Being driven. A narrator who'll eventually be identified as Mr. Bright explains, "For as long as there have been cars, there has been The Race." As the camera gets closer to the Keys, he goes on to say, "The next time some jerk cuts you off on your way to work, give him some slack. They [sic] could be racing for their lives." Unlike us poor schlubs who are racing for a biweekly paycheck. We focus on a pickup with "Tully Landscaping and Nursery" stenciled on the side, and zoom in on the driver: Alex Tully. He glances in the mirror as a shiny Dodge Charger sweeps up next to him, driven by Brian Bloom. They end up racing alongside each other, squished into a single lane, coming up fast on a bus and a tanker truck. As they glare at each other, the tanker ahead starts to change lanes and move directly into their path. Alex guns it and zips into the rapidly disappearing gap between the vehicles, leaving Brian Bloom behind. So the burning question in my mind is, "Why would someone want to get away from Brian Bloom?" Fade to white.
A caption reads "One week ago," as we hear someone ask Alex, "When was the last time you spoke to your wife?" A different someone is tending a bruise on Alex's forehead as he stammers that he talked to his wife before he left the shop that day. Per the captions, we're in Hastings, Nebraska. Cops are standing around in Alex's living room as he adds that today is his wedding anniversary. Detective Ehrle -- who apparently was also on some skiffy show where he had a homonymous name -- notes that there's no sign of forced entry. Alex gets grumpy at the tone of the questions, and huffs, "Give me a lie detector test, waterboard me, whatever it is you need to do -- but you find my wife." Ehrle asks if Alex has been to the bedroom. Alex hasn't. Apparently, Alex walked into his house and was knocked unconscious; upon waking up, he called the cops and never even tiptoed upstairs to see if his wife was still around. I can't really blame Ehrle for being suspicous. Anyway, Ehrle says that if he had gone upstairs, Alex would have noticed that his wife seemed to have packed up her belongings before, ahem, being kidnapped. He also mentions that people usually get kidnapped for a reason: "To compromise those left behind." Er. It seems to me that women and children sometimes get abducted for reasons that have nothing to do with those left behind. While Alex looks dumbfounded, Ehrle excuses himself. After a moment, Alex picks up a wrapped box from the floor. The tag reads, "To my loving Husband [sic] on our anniversary." Fred, please use proper capitalization. Alex puts the box on a shelf, and places his own gift next to it, near a photo of him with his wife.