The morning after the events of the pilot, little appears to have changed. Claire still wants Jake in the clinic that already let him escape once, and Kiefer isn't cool with it. Only the threat of police involvement forces Kiefer to cave. But he's got a new clue from Jake to work on: a phone number that leads him to a pawn shop. Kiefer goes there and foils an armed robbery there, but the owner doesn't appear grateful as he is brought wounded to the hospital.
Something else Kiefer inadvertently foils is the delivery of a dog onto a Russia-bound plane. When it gets loose, the flight attendant responsible for it has to go chasing after it, causing her to miss her plane. So with her day already a complete failure, she decides to spend it helping a kid from India try to scatter his father's ashes at a nonspecific baseball stadium. Which doesn't go well, aside from the fact that they talk around their respective daddy issues during the failed errand, and the fact that the flight attendant spots the runaway dog again and gets to go running after it some more.
As for the robber, his objective was to get enough money to pay off a Russian mobster. But since the robbery fell apart, all he has to offer him is the World Series home run baseball he was able to grab at the pawn shop. Coincidentally, he was the one who pawned it in the first place years ago, after being the one to catch it. After some efforts to turn it into cash, he decides to return it to the player who hit it instead. Talk about a leap of faith from a moving karma.
Meanwhile, with nonverbal help from Jake and a couple of uncomfortable encounters, Kiefer slowly figures out that Arnie the pawn shop owner has cancer, is estranged from his daughter, and set up that morning's robbery as a hit on himself, planning to pay the robber with money that the robber would then give to the Russian. Which of course the robber never gets. But just when it looks like the robber is about to get curbstomped as a deadbeat, the Russian gets a call from his son back in Moscow. He thinks it's about the dog he sent as a gift (unaware that said dog is running around New York with a demented flight attendant after it), but the kid's just found out that nobody wants to be friends with him because his dad's a mobster. In an attack of conscience, the mobster lets the robber go scot-free. So really the only one who got screwed is Arnie, who paid good money for that ball and now no longer has it.
He's also still determined to kill himself, but Kiefer and Jake catch up with him in time for Kiefer to haul him off the ledge. And then who should show up but the runaway dog, with the flight attendant still in pursuit. And thus are Arnie and his daughter reunited. The robber gets to start a new life, the Indian kid gets to scatter his dad's ashes on the diamond, Jake's back in the clinic, Kiefer's awaiting his next case, and those two Japanese escorts from the pilot are still running around unrelated to anything.
Over Jake's opening VO monologue, which is either similar or identical to the one from the pilot, we see shots of a young man in India holding a carved urn, a young wannabe magician practicing in his room, an older bearded guy, and a man donning a ski mask along with the usual images illustrating the immutable patterns of the universe. Like before, Jake tells us he's never said a single word. "But that's okay. I have someone who hears me now." That would be his dad Kiefer, smiling proudly as he watches Jake doing his inscrutable busywork in their cavernous apartment. There's a knock on the door from incompetent social worker Claire, who Kiefer reluctantly lets in after saying he's not bringing Jake back to the clinic he escaped from just last night. Yes, apparently it's the day after Jake's stunt at the cell phone tower, which makes it March 19. Claire says nothing has changed, but Kiefer insists that Jake's communicating now and he has to find the guy with the number Jake dialed last night (718-673-5296, according to Kiefer's phone display, which also says he called a lot earlier than he did). Claire argues that Jake has escaped from every school Kiefer's put him in -- not that either of them brings up the fact that he escaped from Claire's facility too -- and says she's trying to keep the state from taking Jake away for good, but Kiefer refuses to go along... until Claire threatens to call the police. Jake's suddenly on his feet and Kiefer explains to Jake that she's taking him back to the clinic, but it'll be okay. Jake holds out a pen as if offering it to Kiefer, but when Kiefer moves to take it like they're in Say Anything, Jake instead writes the same phone number on Kiefer's hand before leaving with Claire. For now.
But Kiefer is still so committed to his son that he waits almost until the end of his shift as a JFK baggage handler to get online and look up the number, which leads to Arnie's Pawn Shop at an address in New York. Just then his boss assigns him the task of schlepping a caged dog named Lyov cross the terminal for a Moscow-bound flight for some VIP. Kiefer loads up what must be some dog.
Elsewhere at the airport, a uniformed flight attendant is battling foot traffic upstream when she collides with the young Indian man, knocking the urn out of his hands and spilling its powdery contents on the floor. She's in a rush to "see a man about a dog," but offers to have someone clean up the dirt. "It's not dirt! It's my father!" the young man wails as he tries to scoop the ashes off the floor. Of course it is.