Joanna "Jo" Evans ( Allison Tolman ) is a sheriff in small-town USA - just like in Fargo: Season One. One night there is a mysterious plane crash, and a small girl is found nearby. Jo takes the girl home, names her Piper ( Alexa Skye Swinton ) and unofficially adopts her.
Jo introduces Piper to her father Ed Sawyer (Clancy Brown - Highlander ) and ex-husband Alex Evans (Donald Faison - Skyline ). All cosy little domestic drama. Then some people turn up, claiming to be the girl's parents.
An investigative journalist, Benny Gallagher (Owain Yeoman - Belko Experiment (2016) ), has a conspiracy theory that the plane came from a secret biological research station on Plum Island. Piper turns out to have super-powers, a cross between telekinesis and control of the electro-magnetic spectrum. Yes, this seems to be ripping off Stranger Things .
The sheriff goes to work, and leaves the new girl with Grandpa Kurgan (Clancy Brown - Highlander ). The black deputy, who looks about twelve years old, is put in charge of installing CCTV cameras at the house.
The villains send a cleaner to destroy all the evidence. There is a lot of it about, and he is just one man rather than a team, but he keeps a low profile and does agood job.
This is broadcast on FOX channel, and seems typical of their kind of output. The protagonist is a small-government county mountie, while the villains are Deep State types posing as Federal employees.
The lady Sheriff leaves the creepy girl alone with the ex-husband Alex Evans (Donald Faison - Skyline ). It turns out that the girl can somehow decode the mysterious radio transmissions. Unfortunately she also has a mysterious illness.
The Sheriff blackmails the cleaner from the previous episode. Naturally she knows that his former employer will murder him, whether he cooperates or not, but she does not care. He tells her that his boss was tech billionaire Richard Kindred (Terry Quinn - Lost ). She goes to confront the boss, whose HQ is within short driving distance of her small town.
A Deep Throat sends a mysterious text message, 2 MG CU BID, which is a treatment for the girl's illness. When this fails, the Sheriff gets investigative journalist Benny Gallagher (Owain Yeoman - Belko Experiment (2016) ) to track down and expose the informant. Yes, after getting her first cooperative witness killed she is more than happy to endanger another one. The trail leads to a secret lab that is entirely automated, and guarded by robot dogs like the alien invaders in War Of The Worlds (2020) .
Emily, the tech woman, has gone full defector. The investigative journalist, Benny Gallagher (Owain Yeoman - Belko Experiment (2016) ), steals the hard drive that she has been using as an insurance policy. Then he takes it to a completely different tech woman to decrypt it.
The second tech woman is a middle-aged overweight housewife. She is the techie version of the Sheriff. Although it is established that women can be computer experts, we can only wonder when she managed to squeeze in the necessary ten thousand hours of practice to become world-class.
The McGuffin used to be the creepy little girl. Now it has become whatever info that makes the villains vulnerable.
Sheriff Joanna "Jo" Evans ( Allison Tolman ) arrests the tech billionaire Richard Kindred (Terry Quinn - Lost ). Unfortunately she has nothing to charge him with. Not only is he going to get away with it, he will increase his retaliation.
The Grandfather, Ed Sawyer (Clancy Brown - Highlander ), is diagnosed with a serious illness. He chooses to keep it secret from his family, since they have enough to worry about. The bad news is that he is left in charge of protecting the children. The good news is that one of the kids has superpowers.
Emily is hiding out at the police station. She puts the Sheriff in contact with her former boss, the brains behind the tech company. It turns out that the brains faked his death, and is hiding out in a secret bunker. He does not know who the genius is who finished building the robot - after all, he himself did what he could to sabotage the project.
Richard Kindred (Terry Quinn - Lost ) gets in trouble with the FBI. They have him on charges of wire fraud. This may be a bit like busting Al Capone for tax evasion, but if he has good lawyers he can probably get away with it.
Bits of this do not make sense. Until the end, that is, when all is revealed in an impressive twist.
Emily uses her assets to attempt a takeover of Piper.
The Sheriff tries to track down Emily.
Which side will win the love of their robot daughter? The fact is that the robot's love is irrelevant, the important fact is that Piper is literally a killer without a conscience. Not only did Kindred's people build a deadly weapon with the same superpower as Magneto in X-Men , they also gave it the unpredictability of a human - like Delores in Westworld . Truly, a disaster waiting to happen.
The Sheriff tries to track down Emily. This time FBI Agent Enver Gokaj ( Dollhouse ) comes along to help. It turns out that someone is destroying all Kindred's secret labs.
Investigative journalist Benny Gallagher (Owain Yeoman - Belko Experiment (2016) ) is in charge of keeping the scientist safe. They shack up in a motel, where the scientist takes showers all day long. When things go bad, they have to drive off. Unfortunately the journalist cannot drive stick-shift. In reality he could not have passed the UK driver's test without qualifying on a stick-shift car.
The episode title refers to something the scientist says. He points out that the native tree species has been replaced by an invasive species - its cousin, the Asian chestnut tree. Likewise, an AI species might replace the human race.
The show's two main villains have been written out. Now there is a third villain - a mysterious woman named Helena ( Rowena King ). She claims to be Piper's family.
The lady Sheriff wants to trap Helena. After all, even though Piper is a killer robot that only LOOKS like a little girl, the sheriff wants to keep it as a pet.
The lady Sheriff and FBI Agent Enver Gokaj ( Dollhouse ) are after the missing persons. Benny's records only go back about fifteen years. This is around the same time Splinter was created.
A month later, the Sheriff gets her first clue. She and the Fed travel to Pennsylvania. Well, now it is an FBI case she can go inter-State ... like The X-Files . It turns out there may be a lot more robot people walking around, although they are lot flimsier than Piper.
The Sheriff leaves her rookie in charge of the police force. He teams up with her ex-husband Alex Evans (Donald Faison - Skyline ) to investigate a mysterious boat with a mysterious cargo.
The Grandfather, Ed Sawyer (Clancy Brown - Highlander ), helps his grandaughter rig up a ham CB radio and broadcast a message to Piper.
Helena ( Rowena King ) is carrying out her secret agenda. This includes a bit of house-cleaning, as she kills off anyone who might be a potential leak. In fact, she seems happy to kill off all the other robot people.
Lady Sheriff Jo and FBI Agent Enver Gokaj ( Dollhouse ) get Emily out of custody so she can help out. She is more than happy at the chance to investigate a dead robot, and helps Jo remotely access Piper's brain for VR communication. Jo tries to convince Piper to come home, but Piper wants to save Benny and the other robots. How terrible that the pet robot has developed a mind of its own.
The year this show was first broadcast, there was a major public furor about police brutality in the USA. This show, like most American cop shows, portrays the police as protagonists who commit criminal acts that are deemed justified. Abducting and coercing Emily to help is bad enough, but using a crow-bar to beat a defenceless prisoner is unforgiveable.
After the events of the previous episode, the two surviving villain characters have teamed up. Well, the alternative was to introduce a FOURTH main villain this Season. Helena ( Rowena King ) is clearly in charge, and Emily has no option but to cooperate.
FBI Agent Enver Gokaj ( Dollhouse ) has gone MIA, and his own Agency is looking for him. Well, he did take Emily out of custody illegally. Did Helena make certain he was dead, or did she take him to hospital so as to use him as a scapegoat? And if he is alive, will the FBI arrest him or promote him?
For some reason, Jo - middle-aged and double-chinned - gets new love interest as rival to her ex-husband. She also turns out to be the only one who can stop Helena, and in doing so save the world. That said, all she cares about is Piper.