Fatal Exception is the seventh episode of the first season and the 7th episode overall of Emergence.

Short Summary

Jo and Chris rush to find Piper before she's put in harm's way. Meanwhile, Jo faces new challenges at home after betraying Alex and Ed's trust.

Full Summary

Emily and Piper are walking around an abandoned carnival. Emily tries to keep it fun but Piper is disinterested. Piper doesn't like the cotton candy. Jo says it's too much sugar. The cotton candy in Piper's hand suddenly changes into an ice cream cone. It's mint chocolate chip, Piper's favorite. Emily knows everything about her because she is Piper's real mother. Piper disagrees. She says she's going to remember everything when she goes back. Emily says she can't do that. Piper says she can and announces she doesn't want to talk to her anymore.

Emily takes off her VR headset. She starts telling someone that on one hand, Piper is a masterpiece advancing at a rate even she can't fathom. On the other, she's a catastrophic failure. Or Piper is just trying to piss her off. Emily thinks they are on the precipice. She just needs Alan to bring them over the finish line. He thinks he has dislocated his shoulder. She says he should have pulled over instead of having her guys run him into a ditch. Alan says there is nothing he can do for her. Emily says he needs to fix Piper because she is not loving Emily like she's supposed to. Alan calls her nuts and refuses to help her. Emily reduces his shoulder dislocation and says he will.

Jo walks into the kitchen, where Ed gives her a cold welcome. She's taking Piper with her to work today to give him a break. He barely reacts. Jo addresses the elephant room and invokes her job but he tells her not to blame the job. This was her making a unilateral decision. Jo says they can't go back now. Ed says nobody wants to but they have a right to know what's going on. Jo says they don't. The cost is too high. Jo says people make mistakes. Ed says she doesn't, apparently. Jo gets a text.

Outside, she meets with Mia to give her a quick hug before school and her volleyball bag. Alex forbade her from going in to say hi to Piper. Jo stresses that they are doing this to keep her safe while Mia checks the bag. Mia says Piper is not the problem her, Alex is. Jo says she decided to bring Piper into their home so she is responsible here. Alex calls Mia back to the car. He appreciates Jo backing him but it's not enough to make up for her lie.

Back inside, Jo finds Piper sitting on the stairs. Piper knows everybody's mad at Jo because of her. Jo says it's not. Piper wants to learn how to control her abilities so Mia can come home. Jo likes that plan.

Jo and Piper arrive at the station and Jo gives Piper a brief tour. She leaves Piper with Daphne.

Piper is making fingerprint drawings in Jo's office. They are all carnival-themed. She says Emily likes cotton candy, which alarms Jo. Piper doesn't know who Emily is but she knows Emily told her she likes cotton candy. She's not sure when that happened. Daphne says Chris has an urgent message.

Chris is with state troopers. They found Alan's truck. It looks like he was run off the road and grabbed from the cab. Jo says no one knew about Alan being alive except for the two of them, Benny, and Emily. Piper comments Emily lies. Jo has Daphne send a car to Emily's house.

Alan realizes Emily got to his backup server. He still refuses to help her as he never wanted this to happen. She calls a guy named Derek, who's with Maria. Alan apologizes to his wife. Maria tells him there's a man with a gun. Alan promises her it's going to be okay. Emily hangs up and tells Allan to get to work.

Daphne has drafted an APB for Emily. Jo has her send it out along with the vehicle description. Benny comes in and Jo informs him that Emily disappeared and is somehow communicating with Piper. Benny points out Emily's only helped them. Jo thinks maybe the code Emily gave them to save Piper opened some sort of door into her head. Jo thinks Emily wanted them to find Wilkis for her. Jo realizes something and announces to everyone in the station to get off their computers. She has Daphne reach out to IT to scrub their computers for any malware Emily may have left behind. They also should abandon their phones. Jo can't believe she fell for Emily's act. She says Emily is the only reason Richard is in jail now. Benny says she needed to pin everything on a bad guy. Jo wonders why Richard didn't put them onto Emily. He must have known she was involved. She thinks Richard is protecting her.

Jo meets with Richard in prison. He asks about her family. She says they're fine. She has questions about Emily. Richard directs her to Emily's personnel file. Jo suggests she's more than an employee. Jo has some theories. First she thought they were lovers, but then she dug a little deeper and find property for a two-bedroom split-level in Ohio that Richard purchased for Emily's mother one week after Emily was born. Jo knows Emily is his daughter. At the time, Richard was married to a woman whose father was a big investor so he couldn't have a scandal. The job was the only thing he ever gave Emily. However, he has put a lot of effort into cleaning up her messes. It's almost like he loves her. If he loves her, he should help her now. She asks what Emily is trying to do with Piper. Richard says Emily is broken in ways that cannot be fixed. Jo refuses to believe she's too far gone. In her own screwed-up way, she cares for Piper. Richard says Piper is a thing. That's what Emily cares about. Jo points out he abandoned his daughter over money. He still has a chance to do the right thing. Richard asks her if she would turn her daughter in. He gets up and leaves.

Alan has adjusted the code. He asks Emily to let Maria go. Emily eagerly puts on the VR headset again.

Piper and Emily meet in the AI space again, which now looks like a library filled with blue books. Emily knows she likes reading. Emily hands her a book. Piper has a flashback of Abby asking her where home is. However, the memory has been adjusted so that Jo has been replaced with Emily. Piper tells Emily that the memory wasn't right but Emily brushes it off. The book then turns red. Emily hands her another book and puts the red book back on the shelf.

The IT guy asks Jo for her phone. She has never backed it up. The guy also takes Benny's phone. On the library computers, Chris found out Emily doesn't appear to have a credit card. He checked every rental property in the area but there's no trace of Emily. Benny suggests she's squatting at one of Richard's properties. Benny leaves to go look into it. Daphne informs them forensics found a set of fingerprints on Wilkis' vehicle that doesn't belong to him. Chris tried to reach out to Maria but she didn't get back to him. Jo asks him to drop by.

Emily wants the process to move along faster. Alan thinks she should be glad the program is even working. Richard made him hire Emily. He thought it was a charity case but luckily, she was really brilliant. Richard really wants to care about her but he's just not capable of that. Emily wants to be clear if he's saying that he can't do anything. Emily tells him to get ready to talk to his wife for the last time. Alan has an idea but it requires full access to Piper's code. It depends on how badly Emily wants this.

Maria opens the door for Chris. He asks if she's had any contact with her husband. She says her husband is that. Chris says they have reason to believe that that's not true. She barely reacts. He wants to come in but she shuts the door on him. Derek has her at gunpoint.

Alex drops Mia off at volleyball and asks about her homework. She asks how long they're doing this. He says until he feels like she's in a safe environment. She assures him she is safe. It was an accident. Alex is not waiting for her to be accidentally killed. Mia confesses Piper saved them by stopping that truck from hitting Ed's car.

Chris sneaks into Maria's house through the back door. Maria is sitting on the couch but she stays quiet. Chris starts moving around. Derek jumps him by surprise. He manages to overpower Chris but Chris can reach for his gun, making Derek flee.

Jo drops by Piper's room. She's reading one of Mia's favorite books. Alex is coming over with Mia for dinner. Piper asks Jo if she found Emily. Jo says not yet but she will. Piper knows that. Suddenly, Alan speaks to Jo through Piper. He tells her Emily is having him reprogram the AI. He'll try to delay it for as long as he can but urges her to find him. Piper has no clue something happened. She leaves to get some water.

Benny drops by Jo's house. Jo has informed him about what happened with Piper. Chris is taking the wife to the station. Jo needs somebody here who knows about Piper. He can keep Ed occupied. Ed comes in and Jo tells him that Benny is sticking around to help out. She promises she'll be back as soon as possible and leaves. Ed can't really use his Benny's help.

Maria asks for whiskey instead of coffee. Daphne can hook her up. Maria has no sense of where Alan may be. Jo shares her theory that Emily is hiding out and keeping Alan at one of Richard's properties. Richard is not cooperating. Maria is not surprised to hear that Emily is his Richard's daughter. Maria recalls hearing a train. Jo looks at the map with Richard's properties. She thinks Maria heard a ferry, which narrows it down to one.

There's only one blue book left in the library. Emily hands it to Piper. It's the memory of Jo telling Piper about her mother, which has been turned into Emily telling her about not knowing her father growing up. One day, she found him and she was so happy. But he didn't want her. He let her be near him but not close to him. Emily acknowledges that it's sad but she doesn't need anybody except for Piper. Emily tells her it's time to wake up.

Ed finally gets through to Piper. Mia is setting the table. Piper hugs her. Alex says Mia can stay for as long as she wants. In walks Emily, whom Mia greets as her mother. She claims work was busy and says she's glad to be home.

Piper feels something's wrong about the family dinner. She quietly asks Mia if that's really her mother. Mia says yes. Emily urges Piper to eat. She likes the food, which appears to make her feel more at ease.

Chris and Jo pul up at the property. They starts making their way across the property towards the house. A car comes speeding down the driveway, making them jump aside. Chris manages to shoot one of the tires, causing the car to crash. Chris arrests Derek while Jo finds Alan in the back. He tells her Emily left hours ago.

Piper is sitting on the couch by herself in an apparent trance. Ed gives Benny laundry to fold. Ed recalls Jo telling him that Benny was helping her figure out where Piper came from. He asks if they have any leads. Benny doesn't want to discuss it with Piper there. Ed wants him to stop lying to him in his own house. He knows Benny is here to keep him from finding out something. Benny tells him that Jo would do anything for them. He's never met anyone like Jo. If she tells him there's a reason to keep the secret, he should believe her. Ed tells Piper to get ready for dinner but she does not react. Ed goes to reach for her but she's woken up from her trance by the doorbell before he can touch her. Piper goes to get the door. It's Emily. Piper happily hugs her. Benny asks Piper to step away from her. Benny says Emily is not allowed here. Piper says this is her house. Emily wants to leave with Piper. Benny grabs Emily's arm and Emily tells Piper that Benny is hurting her. Piper focuses and the room starts shaking. Benny pushes Ed back before he himself is thrown across the room by a force blast. Piper didn't mean to do that but Emily assures her it's okay. They leave together.

Alex pulls up with Mia at the house. Mia is happy. Alex reminds her nothing is settled yet. He and Jo still have a lot to discuss. They then see Piper leave with Emily. Alex gets out of the car and stops them. Alex tells Piper to come with him. Piper doesn't know what she wants. She doesn't remember Jo.

Inside the mansion, Jo tells Alan she has sent over all the units to her house. She asks Alan to fix what he did but he can't. Emily is in charge now. He explains every algorithm that was built around Jo is now set around Emily. Jo asks if there's a reset. Alan says he could break the dam: telling the AI it's an AI. Alan says the fatal exception is like a reset. Piper would be like fresh off the factory floor with no memory of anything. Jo understands everything that makes Piper who she is would be gone, which she likens to killing her. Alan tells her to get her head examined. She's not unleashing a person like Emily on the world with control over something as powerful as Piper. He starts working and tells Jo Piper doesn't remember her anyway. Jo says all that matters is that she remembers who Piper is. She refuses to let Alan destroy Piper. She pulls out her gun and destroys the hardware.

Emily tells Piper that they are trying to take her away. Mia gets out of the car. Emily tells her they have to go now but Piper realizes Alex and Mia want her to stay. She retreats to the AI space in her head. She touches some books, which changes the entire library back to blue books. She awakens and tells Emily to let go. She goes up to Alex, who takes her back inside with Mia and Ed. Sirens wail in the distance. Emily runs to her van.

Jo comes home and finds Benny waiting for her. As they talk, Alex exits the house and watches them. Benny walks off and Jo catches Alex going back inside.

Mia and Piper are telling Jo what happened. Piper asks what "brainwashed" means as Alex told her that that was what Emily did to her. Her mind wanted to go with Emily but the real her didn't, so she stayed. Jo tells the girls they have to go to bed in 10 minutes.

Downstairs, Ed checks with his daughter if she's okay. She is. As he heads off with the laundry, Jo thanks Alex for letting Mia stay the night. She knows there is a lot to talk about. Alex is not okay with everything yet. Jo asks if he wants her to find another place for Piper. It's not and he knows she wouldn't do that anyway. Jo asks how they fix this. He doesn't know or if they even can. He leaves.

A CO visits Richard in his cell with paperwork from his lawyer. The envelope actually contains a phone. Richard makes a call expecting to hear his lawyer but it's Emily who answers. She's sobbing. She tells him she lost Piper. Richard promises he'll help her once he gets out. Emily doesn't want his help. Richard says the two of them will start over. Emily doesn't need him to clean up her messes anymore. She can do that by herself now. She hangs up. The CO then appears behind him and puts him in a headlock, forcing him to swallow something. Blood starts pouring from his mouth immediately. As the CO walks off, a bloodied goo spreads on the floor outside the cell.


  • Jo Evans
  • Piper
  • Benny Gallagher
  • Mia Evans
  • Chris Minetto
  • Alex Evans
  • Ed Sawyer
  • Richard Kindred
  • Emily Cox
  • IT Tech Paul


Special Guest Star

Guest Starring


Mystery Notes

Following clues and mysterious elements around Piper's identity are revealed in the episode:


There was no licensed music used in this episode.

Notes and Trivia


Episode Stills

Behind the Scenes

Promotional Videos


See Also

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.


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