The previouslies are wide-ranging, but I can't imagine that anyone just getting here is going to understand any of it. Especially since it's all out of order, ending with the communications satellite from before the hiatus. And a surprising amount of time is spent reminding us about that bar fight that Sean got into in the last episode. I think the show is trying to set that fight up as the spot where Sean decided to become a hero. You know, like in Superman II, where Clark Kent gets beat up because he gave up his powers. Although I would have thought that Sean's turning point was actually the conversation where his sister told him to stop running.
Enough living in the past. Let's go! And we start with... a guy in a shack. To be fair, it's a shack that's surrounded by satellite dishes, so it's more "the observatory from Contact" than "Git off mah propertee!" The guy is kind of dozing in front of a computer, but he's soon roused to alertness by an, um, alert. A buzzing, let's say. There's a coworker there, too, so he has an excuse to explain that the dishes are picking up a pattern from outer space. And it's aimed right at them! He wants to call the NSA right away, but the coworker wants him to check a few things to make sure it's not a bogus signal. A computer screen goes all numbery, and the guy is elated. "It's a message. I was right," he says. Then he gets shot in the back of the head because the coworker is associated with one of the various interlocking conspiracies. Specifically, he turns out to be one of Thomas's people. I know this because he immediately calls Thomas to tell him that they got a message, and it's complicated. Then we stop hearing the observatory's end of the conversation and we have to extrapolate from Thomas's vaguely troubled expression that there must be a problem. Either that or he tried one of those Volcano Taco things. Thomas tells the guy to copy down all the information and then delete it, because the government can't know what's happened. And then, I guess, he'll do something about his dead coworker that doesn't arouse any suspicion. It's a good thing for Thomas that this was the only place on Earth that noticed the message from outer space. I guess nobody has those SETI Project screen savers anymore. Thomas tells Isabel that something terrible has happened back home, but that's all he says.