Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible, a feared hacker, breaks into the system of the Department of Defense as episode 15 of So Help Me Todd begins. But this time around, it was a trap and the hacker is caught. Todd rides up with Lyle in the elevator and notices on the nanny cam he installed that Agnes, an employee at the firm, is stealing files from the folder that Lyle asked Todd to never touch in his makeshift office. Lyle does not think anything of it but Todd is sure there is a pattern. She takes out the files on Tuesdays and keeps them back on Thursdays.
Beverley and Alistair Song, the two named partners of the firm, have a debate about the waning business the firm has. Margaret has to walk out as her phone starts making weird noises. Susan won’t talk to Todd as she is embarrassed and guilty about what she did and how she feels for Todd. The noise in the phone is from Ivan’s payment to Margaret: 2 crypto coins for her service. Margaret is unwilling to take the case until she sees who is on the other side: Natalie Harris.
Natalie is Margaret’s nemesis from college. She is representing the DoD in the case (the government) as an AUSA. Todd and Margaret discover that the hacker is a 17-year-old girl, Ava Morgan. She alleges that she was only hacking into the system to get secret files where the DoD is responsible for contaminating the local zoo with harmful chemicals. She also gives them a pen drive which has those files. The Wrights are in for a surprise as Natalie alleges Margaret has the files and the judge withdraws that evidence.
The judge allows Ava to be released. Todd is tasked with babysitting her. But it is a tedious task as she is a nosy, talkative, and fearless teenager. Song makes it clear that Margaret cannot work for Ivan. The firm cannot make the government an enemy. They can retaliate by auditing them and hence, Margret should drop it. Beverly supports Margaret and she stays on the case. Ava is up to using her bag of tricks at Margaret’s apartment and even orders pizza from a local place without using a phone.
Since she does not have access to the internet as part of her release terms, she is bored. Todd spots Song and Agnes on the camera taking files together. Lyle, who is allergic to zebras, brings information that eight months ago, due to a gas leak, the employees had to evacuate the place. The repair company has no record and it was likely made up by the DoD. Ava confirms that saying she found a memo on the servers that authorized a cleaning crew. Natalie is using her dirty tactics to win this case and Margaret arranges an emergency meeting for the same.
Todd and Ava are on their way to court when Todd sees Agnes go into Western Gateway Bank with the files. They cleverly get the teller to give them a deposit receipt from Agnes’ deposit and find out that Song has been transferring money to an account whose last name is “Sonk.” It seems like Song is embezzling money. To find out more, Ava takes Todd to her hacker lair where her friends hang out. Margaret learns Natalie has moved the hearing forward by an hour and she manically calls Todd. His phone has been taken by one of Ava’s friends.
They also trap Todd in his own car while Ava’s friends back into the DoD again – albeit unsuccessfully – and even spite Natalie, a breach that is discovered. The judge places Ava back into custody. Margaret reluctantly accepts it might be best to accept a plea deal, where Ava goes to jail on a reduced sentence. While once again trying to talk to Susan, who is in denial about her feelings, Todd loses Ava. Allison makes an appearance in this episode and goes with Todd and Margaret to the pizza place.
One of the employees tells them the location where Ava orders the most from. It is a cemetery. Margaret goes alone. Allison and Todd sit in the car and wonder how difficult it was to babysit Ava. Todd was as big a pain and his father used to ground him often. Their father died a few years ago and in his absence, Todd felt he was swerving all over the place and had no control over his life. Ava sits alone in the church and tells Margaret the truth. Her mother, Linda, was a zoo worker and died after the buffalos got infected.
She died of lung cancer but never smoked. Margaret notices a ring on her finger that Ava explains as Linda’s, that “she used to wear all the time.” When they test the ring, it comes back positive for a poisonous substance, confirming Ava’s claims about the DoD. Even though Margaret can only see her victory over her nemesis, Lyle reminds her that once free, Ava will wreak havoc again. Todd thinks he is right and Margaret is forced to compromise.
She goes to Nancy and offers not to present the ring in return for a deal. Margaret said she also has Linda’s belongings including her zoo uniform and boots, which will nail the case for her. The terms include a two-year job for Ava at the DoD working as an ethical hacker and the DoD sweeping the zoo for the chemical. Nancy agrees and the two have an element of admiration for each other. Ava is excited to start work when an employee of DoD, much older than her, says they are honoured to work with a living legend.
She gives Todd the files of Song’s banking statement as a token of gratitude. Song was embezzling money into a Denver account from the trust funds of clients. The partners vote to oust him and take his name away from the firm’s banner. Beverly indicates Margaret might be next in line to replace it. She is excited about the visible future.
The Episode Review
This episode of So Help Me Todd came on an expected time and it was good fun once again. Margaret has never really had a teen client before and it was a great dynamic between the mother-son duo and Ava. Given the format of the show, the full extent of the themes of environmental hazard and ethical hacking could not be explored. But their mention in the script indicates changing paradigms.
Gay-Harden and Aston were once again brilliant together. Their chemistry is a highlight of the show and truly makes it special. She might finally get her wish true to be a named partner soon. Perhaps that is what the season’s finale might bring for us. That is a long way ahead. We shall see. Allison made a guest appearance but given the energy she brings, especially when with Todd, we need more of her.
You can read our full season review for So Help Me Todd Season 1 here!