Guest Stars: Michael Yarmush
Screenplay by Gavin Scott
Edited by Christopher Wentzell, Yvann Thibaudeau
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee

Location of Aurora: Deflated and in storage in US

Phileas, Rebecca, Jules and Passepartout say their goodbyes to Georgia and the grave of Saratoga Browne. On the train to New York, their next destination, Phileas passes the time by playing poker with phenomenal success and trying to precipitate a duel with his fellow players. Although he finds willing players, there are no takers for the duels. Rebecca, Jules, and Passepartout are discussing his reckless behavior when they are diverted briefly by an ambitious youth selling all sorts of things to the travelers. As they talk to this boy named Al, Phileas gets an invitation to play cards with a Mr. Thrubworth in that gentleman's private car and decides to accept the invitation.

Rebecca, Jules and Passepartout decide to check on Phileas, as they rightly assume he intends to get into another dueling possibility. On their way to the car, they discover Al and his laboratory in the baggage car.  Al's inventions intrigue them, and they also discover that Al has a hearing problem. Among the items that the young boy has built is a metal doll-like figure he calls Steamin' Joe who moves under steam power. They are especially surprised to find that Al has built a model of the Cardinal's Phoenix machine, which he claims to have built from plans he found that seem to Jules to be Aztec in origin. When Passepartout asks him how he controls the time travel, Al explains that his machine doesn't travel through time, just distance.

As Phileas continues to win at cards with the new partner, Thrubworth reveals that he is a firearms manufacturer and that the war is keeping him rich. Phileas starts to bait him about his chosen profession. As Phileas' insults increase, Thrubworth is getting more incensed. When Phileas starts to leave, Thrubworth stops him, demanding satisfaction. Phileas turns and looks pleased. They prepare to duel.

In Al's laboratory, Passepartout inadvertently sends the model of the Phoenix flying through the car and out the door to the next car. It enters Thrubworth's car just as that man is turning to fire on Phileas, who clearly has no intention of returning fire.

When they reach New York, Rebecca and Jules decide to save Phileas from himself and pawn his dueling pistols without his knowledge. Rebecca says that they need to find a project to distract Phileas from this death wish. When they leave the pawn shop, a carriage is waiting for Rebecca. Inside is Chatsworth, the head of  the British spy organization. Chatsworth wants Rebecca to go to Mexico, but Rebecca says that she must help her cousin first. She sees a newspaper in the carriage that mentions a new surgery for hearing loss and has an idea.

Rebecca approaches Phileas in the morning with a proposition to find Al and pay for an operation for the young man to restore his hearing. She says that Phileas should pay for the operation and that it is time that Phileas think of someone other than himself. Jules seconds the idea. They track Al down to a warehouse, but the doors are bolted. Rebecca takes off  her dress and reveals a leather pants outfit, with her skirt's hoop a cleverly disguised rope ladder. She and Passepartout climb to the roof of the building to find an unbolted entrance. After the two neatly take care of the guards, they let Phileas and Jules inside.  Rebecca discovers that a full size model of Al's version of the Phoenix has been built, with Al working on it as they enter.  They are soon joined by Thrubworth, who is paying Al to build the machine for the US government.. While he sends Al out on an errand, he has the others arrested. 

Al rides on the train with Thrubworth to take the Phoenix for field trials, while, unknown to Al,  the Aurorans are trussed up in the baggage car. Passepartout and Jules surmise that they can destroy the Phoenix machine if they reverse the direction in which the stones that control it spin. They just need to get free. Rebecca goes to work with her spy gadgets and knocks out the guards in the car by tossing them a trick ring that sends out a nerve gas. Then, with the help of an earring, she picks the lock of her handcuffs and soon everyone is free. While she and Phileas tie up the guards, Jules and Passepartout climb over the cars to the Phoenix to sabotage the machine.

The train comes to a crashing halt as Confederate troops ambush the train, which they have had word carries Union war supplies. When Phileas says that they first must rescue Al, Rebecca is pleased that Phileas is interested again in something other than his own death.  Unfortunately, they don't find Al in their search of the train, because Al and Thrubworth  are now moving into the battlefield in the sabotaged machine. Phileas and Jules make a mad dash for the machine as Rebecca and Passepartout put down covering fire.

For Al, this first experience with real battle is upsetting when he realizes what kind of damage and destruction his machine can cause. He knocks Thrubworth down before the man can fire on a young boy, just as Jules and Phileas reach the Phoenix. When they enter the machine, Jules works on the engine to reverse the sabotage he earlier did. When it is corrected, Phileas takes the controls and attempts to leave the battlefield, but is stopped by Thrubworth holding a gun to his head.  Phileas turns and defies him to shoot, but Al cleverly knocks the gun upwards and the bullet ricochets off the walls. The ricochet temporarily damages the steering, but it is enough to send a cowardly Thrubworth out of the ship and into the gun sights of an angry Confederate soldier.

Phileas, Jules, and Al pick up Rebecca and Passepartout and then leave the battlefield in the Phoenix. Al decides he doesn't want the operation to restore his hearing, that he just wants to go home, so they take him to a station to catch the train home. Al says he won't make any more killing machines and that he won't be using the name Al anymore, which he explains is short for Alva. His real first name is Tom, which is what he'd like to be known as now. Phileas thanks him for his help and gives him some money for tickets and to help him get started on his next invention. Looking cheerier than he did at the beginning of the episode, Phileas says he has a certain interest in the future. Before he leaves, Al presents Passepartout with the Steamin' Joe doll and tells them all that his full name is Thomas Alva Edison.

As they watch the train pull away, Phileas remarks that they need to take the Phoenix machine somewhere safe and get rid of it, before it can fall into dangerous hands. So he and Rebecca and Jules and Passepartout take off in the Phoenix, heading west.

top of page

Home, Introduction, EpisodesCatacombs, Chats, News, Links