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Army of One
Season 5, Episode 10
BN 510.jpg
Air date August 25, 2011
Written by Alfredo Barrios Jr.
Directed by Tawnia McKiernan
Episode Guide
Eye for an Eye
Better Halves

Army of One is the tenth episode of the fifth season and the seventy-second episode overall.


  • Clients:
  • Bad Guys: Holocomb


When Jesse needs Michael's help with a security job, Michael joins a group of hijackers who wind up taking hostages at an airport.

Spy Facts[]

  • In any search and capture operation, you have to balance speed against planning. Once you locate your target, you have a hard choice to make. Take too much time planning, and your target gets away. Take too little time planning, and you get yourself killed. 
  • Most commercial security systems use magnetic sensors. When a door opens, it breaks an electrical circuit and triggers the alarm. Which means defeating the system is just a matter of keeping a magnet in contact with the sensor. Unfortunately, very security-conscious people often customize systems with less-visible sensors. Like a pressure plate in the floor that silently announces your presence, and gives whoever's inside, a chance to do something about it.  
  • Businesses often use independent contractors on jobs to contain costs and limit liability. Criminals do the same thing for similar reasons. Someone who just joined the team won't expect an equal cut of whatever you're stealing, and if they don't know your plans, they can't go to the cops. 
  • There's nothing quite like the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you begin to suspect your intelligence on an operation may have been wrong. Once you're in though, there's not much you can do but keep your eyes open, and figure out just how bad the situation is. 
  • There's a cold math to hostage taking. Once someone dies, things get worse quickly. Because the penalty for killing one hostage is pretty much the same as the penalty for killing all of them, the key is keeping that first person alive. Even if you have to bruise a few ribs to do it. 
  • The ironic thing about infiltrating a group of criminals, is that the only way to successfully be accepted, is to actually be helpful. If you're useless or lazy, you'll probably wind up getting shot. You have to be the best little worker you can be. All to give yourself room to look for the best opportunity to destroy the people you're working for. 
  • To improvise a weapon, you have to understand the basic principle behind whatever you're making. A gun, for example, is just a barrel and a firing pin, while a time delay bomb can be as simple as a corrosive chemical, an oxidizing agent, and something to keep them from mixing together long enough so you don't blow your hands off. 
  • If you need to re-direct an airplane mid-flight and you can't get to the airport, your best bet is probably the local TRACON relay station. Responsible for guiding aircraft until airport traffic control takes over, their job is to keep anything bad from happening mid-flight. Fortunately, their job is also to be nervous, so it doesn't take much to spook them. 
  • Anyone who's used a cellphone near an alarm clock knows even minor interference disrupts radio signals. So if radio silence is your goal, you can create an electromagnet by running the current from your car's electrical system through a tire iron wrapped with copper speaker wiring. It's hard on your car's audio system, but it's a small price to pay for staying out of prison.   
  • Wool or silk ties are considered higher quality than the polyester variety. Polyester ties do have certain advantages, however. They're less expensive and considerably more flammable than natural fibers, making them the tie of choice to ignite a gas tank. 
  • In any kind of sabotage operation, the most important thing is keeping your enemy thinking you're on his side. That means selling your story by any means necessary. While it may be painful and unpleasant, nothing sells loyalty like shedding a little blood for the cause. 
  • When you need to get into a facility guarded by police, you have three options. You can go through them, not an option if you don't want a body count. You can go around them, which is tough if there's a full surveillance team, or you can give them a reason to leave. 
  • In trench warfare, a common practice is to dig a hole called a grenade sump. It works on a simple principle. When a grenade falls into your trench, you kick it into a deeper hole, which directs the force of the grenade upward. The same idea can work above ground with large pieces of furniture. 
  • Criminals often keep safe houses to fall back to in case things go wrong. They know that once they get there, they can relax and let their guard down a little. Which makes it a perfect place to send the cops after them.

Full Recap[]

Previously on: Michael's CIA handler, Max, was killed and someone is trying to frame MIchael for the murder. He and Sam found a bomb maker, Lucien, who might have worked for whoever orchestrated the killing, and before getting shot by his own colleagues, Lucien told Michael where to find the right person.

Michael and Sam are looking for the man Lucien pointed them to, and Michael thinks they can surprise the guy. They sneak into what they believe to be the guy's safe house. Sam steps on a pressure plate that tips the guy off and he sets the place on fire before escaping out the back of the place. Before he takes off, he's labeled as "the guy who killed Max and framed Michael." He gets away.

Michael got the guy's computer, but it's basically toast. Sam will try to get something from it, regardless, from a guy who he isn't exactly on speaking terms with. Sam has to help Jesse with a security gig. Michael says Pearce is investigating the warehouse fire. They decide Michael will help Jesse while Sam and Fi handle "the barbecued hard drive."

Pearce has a feeling she's close, because she matched a gun found at the warehouse to the one that was used to kill Lucien. She asks Michael for his files and he tries to delay, but she wants them the next day.

Michael meets with Jesse, who's worried Michael isn't in the best position to help because Pearce is close to realizing he's been lying to her all this time. Michael says it's best to stay busy and out of her way. Jesse is going to work for a businessman who owns big-box stores and fast-food places and is being targeted by some industrial espionage types. Jesse has already gotten into the ring's circle and asks Michael to play a hacker who was hired to decrypt some files. Jesse has also asked Maddy to help by taking some surveillance photos on the job, and Michael wants assurance it's a safe job. Jesse says it's all "white-collar" stuff.

Sam goes to meet with his "friend," Jason, who is still upset because Sam once Tasered him and put him in the trunk of a car. Sam explains it was years ago and he said he was sorry. Jason still resists and won't let Sam into his house, but Fi sneaks up from behind after having picked Jason's back-door lock. She tases him and Sam tells her he really hoped that wouldn't be necessary.

MIchael, Jesse and Maddy are staking out an executive airport where Holcomb, the guy running the espionage operation, arrives. Michael is supposed to go in and do his decryption thing. He asks Holcomb what the job is and Holcomb says, "We're not asking questions." Michael goes into an office at the airport. When Michael sees the place is empty and there's some heavy weaponry around. Holcomb tells Michael that that billionaire is landing at the airport at noon. They're going to use the "hardware" to take care of his security team, board his plane and "convince" Mr. Gronbach to give up his bank passwords. Then Michael gets to do "push a few buttons." Michael asks for a gun.

Holcomb and his cohort burst into the lobby of the small airport and raise their guns to take everyone hostage. About a dozen, or so, people are huddled into the middle of the room and Michael sees Maddy taken hostage outside and she's brought inside. Voiceover Michael tells us "there's a cold math" to hostage taking, in which after one person is killed things get worse quickly because the penalty for killing one is pretty much the same as the penalty for killing everyone. So the key is keeping that first person alive. In this case, Michael sees an older security guard pulling a gun behind a staircase and jumps at the man himself in order to keep him from being shot by the real hostage takers. Michael takes the guard's backup magazine of bullets, but still has no gun.

Holcomb tells the crowd that they have nothing to fear if they cooperate. He says they'll even get a gift certificate for a steak dinner when it's over. But if they don't he'll set off a grenade that will kill them all.

Michael tells Holcomb he should do a roll call on the hostages to make sure everyone is accounted for. He offers to do it himself. Holcomb resists at first, but tells Michael to go ahead and do it if he wants to. Michael checks all the hostages' names against the records of who should be in the building. He gets a quick moment with Maddy while "checking" her ID and tells her he has a plan but he'll need her help. She's uneasy. He tells her to keep all the people in the room calm. Then Michael makes up one more man's name, Jack Marsden, and says he's unaccounted for. Michael says Marsden is supposed to be working in the maintenance hangar. He goes there with one of Holcomb's men. He tells the guy to check the perimeter of the building and takes the moment to call Jesse and tell him what the situation is. He tells Jesse he's trying to create a distraction and needs him to cut a hole in a certain part of the airport's fence.

Michael creates an improvised time-delayed bomb and a gun by using a pipe and one of the cartridges he took from the guard. He plants the bomb in the back of the Holcomb's SUV.

Sam and Fi are driving Jason back to the loft, when a cop starts following them. She speeds up.

Back at the airport, Michael is telling Holcomb that "Marsden" is still missing. No one on Holcomb's team seems convinced or worried, but then the SUV explodes and Holcomb orders everyone outside. While they all go outside, Michael waits for the moment to his pipe gun to shoot one of Holcomb's men in the leg. Michael immediately yells out that the shot came from a nearby roof and they all start shooting in that direction. Then Michael tells Holcomb they need to chat about Holcomb's "perfect little plan."

Jesse cuts the hole in the fence and Michael tells him by phone about Holcomb's plan to take over Granholm's plane when it lands. Jesse says he can't let the plane land. Meanwhile, Michael tells Holcomb and his guys that "Marsden" is an explosives expert who is an ex-Ranger. Holcomb agrees with Michael that their only option is to find Marsden. He says there's a machine shop in a corner of the airport where Marsden might be hiding. Holcomb leaves behind one of his guys to stay with Michael and the hostages, despite Michael's insistence that he needs all of his men to go find Marsden.

Jesse goes to a local flight traffic relay station to scare a guy into thinking he'd missed a signal to divert flight traffic away from the small airport. The guy nervously agrees to do this even without a formal request, and Jesse tells him and all his co-workers that they "just made America a little safer."

Sam is still upset about the cops finding them, and they discover that Jason has a tracking device because he was under house arrest. Sam offers to help Jason out in exchange for his computer work.

At the airport, Michael tells Maddy to make a scene, which she does. When Holcomb's man pushes Maddy back into her chair, Michael comes up from behind and knocks him out with a chokehold. He convinces everyone that he's one of the good guys and Maddy vouches for him. They all go outside but Holcomb and his guys are unwittingly blocking the hostages' path to the fence. Michael changes the plan and tells them all to go another direction, promising that Holcomb and his guys won't be looking at them.

Michael blows up an airplane to create the distraction. The hostages all run to another warehouse and Michael heads back to the room where they were all held. He cuts himself on the forehead with some broken glass and when Holcomb arrives Michael convinces him that Marsden got into the room and freed the hostages while knocking both him and Holcomb's man out. Another of Holcomb's men tells him Granholm's plane as been diverted. Holcomb gets upset and finally tells Michael he has a theory: He and Marsden are working together. He holds a gun to Michael's head.

Michael denies he's working with Marsden but Holmcomb doesn't believe him. Another one of Holcomb's guys says he heard voices from one of the warehouses, which is probably where the hostages are hiding. Michael tries to tell Holcomb to forget about the hostages because the cops are probably on their way, but Holcomb says they all have to die. Michael then volunteers to kill them himself, to prove he's not working with Marsden. But he wants Holcomb to promise he's got someplace to go afterward because he doesn't want to go back to prison. Holcomb finally tells Michael the name of the motel where they have new clothes, IDs and cars. Holcomb's right-hand man asks him what he's doing and says Michael can't be trusted. Holcomb tells his guy to follow Michael into the warehouse. If he kills everyone, they're fine. If he doesn't, "Put two bullets in the back of his head."

Sam tries to get Jason into his computer workshop, but it's being guarded by cops. Fi then takes Jason's tracking device -- which she's disabled by hooking it up to her car stereo system -- and drives away. The cops get the signal and leave, allowing Jason and Sam to go inside.

At the airport, Maddy has to convince the hostages to remain calm and assures them that MIchael will take care of them. The hostages go out a back door and wait while Michael and Holcomb's guy search for them. One woman, who's been particularly panicked the whole time, yells at Maddy, asking, "Why is your son holding a gun? He's supposed to be on our side!" Holcomb's guy and Michael both hear this and the guy immediately tells Michael to put his gun down. Michael puts his gun down and gets into a good scuffle with the guy, but he lands one good punch and sends Michael to the ground long enough to reclaim the gun. He's holding Michael, who's now laying on the ground, at gunpoint and says he's done playing games. He asks where Marsden is and Maddy clocks the guy in the back of the head with a huge wrench. "Here's Marsden, you son of a bitch," she says.

Hearing Holcomb's men outside, Michael puts blood on his shirt and tells Maddy to shoot at some crates and then leave out the back door. She does this and Michael then emerges from behind some crates with his hand over his stomach, where the blood is. Michael says he took a bullet in the liver and "it's over." He tells Holcomb he and the rest can still get away. He asks for the grenade and says he'll tell Marsden they're surrendering and that when he gets close he'll let the grenade go and kill everyone. Holcomb can't believe it, but Michael asks him to take his cut of the money from Granholm and send it to his mother, who's in an old folks' home somewhere. Holcomb gives him his word and the grenade.

Michael sets up some big file cabinets to redirect the grenade's explosion in the warehouse. Holcomb waits in a car outside the warehouse with one more of his guys, who says, "That low-life better not be pulling something." Holcomb sees the grenade explode and says, "That low-life just saved your ass. Show some respect." They drive away.

Holcomb goes back to his safe house, the motel that he'd told Michael about. And that's where S.W.A.T. cops are waiting. They arrest Holcomb as he's getting out of his car, while Michael and Jesse watch. Holcomb sees Michael and simply says, "Oh, you've got to be kidding me." Jesse tells Michael he knows he owes him and Maddy big, and Michael says a new tie would be nice. (He used it as a fuse to blow up the airplane).

Fi gets home and gives Michael a flash drive that has some info on the killer, including his name. He heads off to meet with Pearce. He brings the box of files with him. She tells him she's made no more progress but thinks she's getting close. She tells him that the day she can call Max's wife and tell him they found the murderer, he will have been a part of it. Michael flashes through all the steps he took to cover the tracks of his framing, which also covered the tracks of Max's killer, then tells her he can always do more. She says it's possible that the final clue to the killer might be in that file box.





  • Michael T. Weiss as Holocomb
  • David Fickas as Jack Dixon
  • Connor Kelly as Landes
  • David Mackey as Fuller
  • Avis-Marie Barnes as Judy
  • Howard Elfman as Stan


  • Jeffery Donovan was a recurring guest star on Michael T. Weiss' series The Pretender. Donovan played Weiss' brother Kyle.

Continuity Errors[]