August 13th, 1934….New York City
Jack Incognito gets a collect phone call (to a “John Walker”) from a “cousin Tully” in Hoboken, suggesting he has committed a rather impressive crime. He doesn’t remember doing anything, but before he can find out more info the caller has to run. Jack then receives a telegram (addressed to “Jack Martin”) which distresses him. He hustles to the newsstand to find out what he’s supposed to have done. After dealing with a child’s pulp magazine needs, Ernie the news vendor gives him a copy of the Herald and he reads the article as he walks to his usual haunt: Maury’s Coffee Shop.
En route he is startled by Alex Petrenko, who taps him on the shoulder and teases him about being predictable. She references the Herald article. “Do I even have to ask if you did it?” They continue to the coffee shop and sit down to talk about the implications of the article. Apparently, the word around town is that he has managed a forgery of an artifact called the “Silver Jaguar,” and everyone is duly impressed.
Meanwhile, in her penthouse headquarters at the Ritz-Carlton, Molly Mercury receives a phone call from Cortlandt Field Bishop, curator of the American Art Association-Anderson Galleries which will be arranging the auction of the “Silver Jaguar.” In order to proceed, they’re requesting assistance with the authentication of the object. She agrees to go to the gallery later that day to assist. Before going, she decides to do some quick research on the Jaguar in order to orient herself. She finds that :
“In 1715, five vessels, collectively known as the Flota de Nova Espana, were en route from South America to Spain laden with treasures of the New World. On July 31, a hurricane struck the doomed fleet as it passed through the Caribbean, smashing the ships like wooden toys and sending millions of dollars worth of treasure to the bottom of the sea. Some say that one vessel, the French merchant ship, Griffon, survived the storm. Her captain, Antoine Dar, had been given permission to sail with the Spanish flotilla, and his ship had been loaded with hundreds of chests bursting with gold and silver coins. Legends say that the centerpiece of this treasure was a statue of South American origin – specifically one of a silver jaguar, encrusted with gems, worshiped by the local tribes as a god.”
At this point, the remainder of The Intrepids arrive for breakfast and conversation. The Silver Jaguar naturally tops the list of “interesting things that have happened this morning.” Noting the coincidence of their respective morning phone calls, Jack asks if he can be a part of the authentication. Molly agrees, though she wonders whether free access to a famous art gallery would be something of a temptation. Jack is not amused at her continued lack of complete trust. It’s agreed that the entire group should go. After making a brief phone call, Jack announces that he’ll meet the rest at the auction house since he has to “see a guy about a thing.”
At the auction house, the receptionist indicates that Ms. Lorenz will be out shortly to take care of them. Suddenly, Alex hears a familiar but unwelcome voice. It’s Freddie Bisco of the Pinkerton Agency. “We’ve already got this one,” he intones. Another agent, Ron Livermore, stands behind him, being meaningfully silent and hulking. Alex, remarkably, chooses to check her temper and not rise to Bisco’s professional baiting. Before Bisco can say anything else, the group is escorted into the room with the artifact.
Once inside, they discover that they’re not the only ones there. Besides the handful of security guards, two men are sitting in one corner of the room. The older and rougher of the two is the source of the find: Pierre Leschende, a fisherman by trade. He’s accompanied by Ethan Rosenwald, an attorney.
The statue is presented, still in its “original” state. Rex Tesla receives permission to take a small sample in order to run some scientific tests as part of the authentication process.
Meanwhile, Clara Cross goes to talk with Leschende about the details of his find. With Rosenwald acting as translator (the fisherman speaks only French), Clara picks up the basics of the story: Pierre was out fishing and while reeling in the net, found what he thought was a hunk of scrap metal until one of the jewels in the eyes came loose and caught his attention. The importance of the find appears to be lost on the fisherman, who had to be convinced to make the trip himself and who is currently concerned about losing so much time on his boat. He hopes at the end of this, as the attorney says: “Mr. Leschende is looking forward to buying a new boat.” Over the course of the conversation, Clara has become convinced that Rosenwald has obviously just been picked out of a phonebook by someone in the village and is essentially out for a buck. This doesn’t sit well with her ‘fight-for-the-underdog’ spirit.
Back at the statue, after inquiring about the details of the current security system, Alex decides to touch the statue to get a psychic reading. In a flash, she sees the statue in what is presumably its nighttime holding area, guarded by Bisco and his partner. As she watches, both are killed by an unseen person “throwing unusual blades”. As the blood pools, the statue is snatched by a black-gloved hand. Alex is thrust back into the present, just in time to hear a voice behind her ask about carrying a knife. In her confusion, it takes her a moment to realize that it is Jack, disguised as a guard.
Jack takes a closer look at the statue, and quickly indicates to Alex that she needs to distract Ms. Lorenz while he attempts to snatch her keys for later use. Alex pulls Ms. Lorenz into conversation, suggesting the possibility of putting the statue in a safe instead of in a guarded room. Ms. Lorenz shows the group the safe, which (much to Alex’s dismay) turns out to be the setting of the vision.
They leave the premises with:
- photos of the statue for Molly,
- the scrapings of the statue for Rex,
- the keys for Jack (who leaves at a different time),
- a sense of righteous ire for Clara,
- a dilemma for Alex.
As they depart, Alex notices two local fists-for-hire (Vincenzo Feretti and an unnamed associate) standing “innocently” across the street, smoking. Alex recognizes at least one of them, but chooses not to approach them at the moment. Later, when Jack finally leaves, he sees the same two toughs. He waits long enough to overhear them talking about instructions from an unnamed “she” regarding an impending bit of violent criminal activity. Vinnie clearly says, “It’s like she says, ‘No one ever died for wanting too much’ ya know?” Jack decides to stay and interact with them before eventually going on to meet back up with Alex.
As the episode concludes…
…Rex heads back to his lab to perform scientific tests on the statue fragments
…Clara heads back to the Century Club to check into alternate legal representation for the fisherman
… Jack (eventually) heads back to the Century Club to check for a message from Tully and possibly to contact Abe
…Molly heads back to her library to research
…and Alex wanders off to wait for Jack and ponder her vision
Tune in next time for Chapter Two!