Sometimes, family love can go the wrong way.
While recovering from a dangerous Christmas shopping trip that ended with Barnes’ wife giving birth, Jess also decided it was time to let his daughter go to an exclusive school.
But this week’s chase of a twisted suspect showcased how trying to help your family can backfire on FBI: Most Wanted.
Playing with fire
Incendiary opened at an airport as Jess bid Tali goodbye like a classic worried father. He and Sarah gave the teen hugs with Jess clearly affected, realizing how his girl was growing up.
At a casino, dealer Lauren Williams (Bonita Brisker) was bantering with a customer as a man (West Liang) walked up and threw a Molotov cocktail to set her on fire. He threw another at a security guard, shooting a second before running out.
The team identified the man as Binh Dao, an immigrant and former Marine living with his parents. He’d also been involved with a woman named Linda Pham (Lynn Kim Do). Hana saw Jess was obviously worried about Tali and assured him she’d be fine.
Gaines and Jess spoke to Bing’s parents, Thuy (Sonnie Brown) and her American husband, Ken Weldon (Michael J. Harney), who couldn’t explain why Binh would do this. Thuy was suffering back pains from her years working as a housekeeper as her surgery had to be postponed due to the hospital being filled with Covid patients.
They related that Binh had been a good soldier and didn’t recognize Lauren. Jess and Gaines both sensed something off, given the lack of military memorabilia for a former soldier.
In New York, Ortiz and Barnes talked to Linda about her and Binh breaking up on good terms and even letting Binh babysit her son. She did state Binh had been affected by a friend in the Marines dying in his arms but kept it bottled up.
Binh helped his charity boss, Elyse Tooms (Jo Twiss), get her groceries into the car only to drop another napalm bomb into the vehicle to suffocate her.
Things are heating up
Elyse’s son, Aaron (Tim Nicolai), was in shock over this, relating he had known Binh in grade school and probably his only friend then. Elyse was also friends with Thuy and recommended her for work to others.
The team figured this was somehow personal and checked with Binh’s Marine buddy Jared Johns (Warner Miller), who related that Binh was teased in the unit for being a “mama’s boy,” although Binh didn’t help with his attitude. He also revealed that Binh’s friend, Elkot, didn’t die in combat but in a training accident, and the pair weren’t even that close.
Binh was psyching himself up in the mirror with Marine sayings while he packed a gun. Jess figured this was all about a little guy trying to make himself look bigger.
Ken was shocked when Binh showed up with the gun, accusing him of doing something to his mother. Thuy arrived with Binh claiming Ken didn’t love them at all — over the objections of both, Thuy called the cops, and after a tense stand-off, Binh ran.
After the agents arrived, Thuy confronted Ken, who claimed that Binh had killed Elkot for constantly bullying him and his family. While that sounded logical, the team still felt there was more to the story such as Binh perhaps secretly upset that his mother had married an American white man.
Lauren awoke to relate that Ken was a regular at the casino and would brag about Binh. Thuy was stunned when Jess broke it to her that Ken had gambled away almost their entire life savings. The real reason she couldn’t get her surgery was that they couldn’t afford it.
At a tennis club, executive Bill Mirica (Gay Littman) briefly recognized Binh before he threw another napalm bomb to burn his car.
Better to burn out…
A manager at the club was injured trying to get Mirica out as the valet related Mirica had been a hedge fund manager before his retirement. It happened that Mirica’s church was the same one Elyse attended.
Thuy confirmed she had worked for Mirica, who basically fired her when she wanted time off for her surgery. It turned out Thuy was a brilliant chemical engineer but couldn’t find work because of her Vietnamese background and so was forced to become a housekeeper. Binh had always felt his mother deserved a far better life.
Jess felt sympathy given his wife likewise faced bigotry over her Native American heritage and was impressed Thuy didn’t let her bitterness overcome her. Binh, however, thought it was best to go after the people he felt had ruined his mother’s potential from her employers to the casino that drove Ken’s gambling.
The next target was Brookhaven, the lab that had refused to hire Thuy long ago and, in Binh’s mind, responsible for her current fate. At Brookhaven, Binh took tech Boris Paulsen (Kal Parekh) hostage while the lab was in lockdown.
Binh forced Boris to drive the car toward the lab with the team in hot pursuit. They drove the car off the road with Binh threatening to set off the bombs in his bag.
Thuy was with the team with Binh tearfully saying this was all for her and he didn’t need her protecting her all the time. Thuy reached out to her son with Jess adding how Thuy never cared for herself but for him. Hearing his mother cry that she couldn’t live without him finally made Binh surrender.
Jess returned home where his sister was visiting Sarah, knowing Jess needed some company. Jess had to smile at how family could always brighten up any day.
It was an intriguing case of how far familial devotion can go, both good and bad.
FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.