This episode sucked!
It’s here! The episode none of us have been waiting for! When we finally get to find out what’s Carter’s problem! Prepare for an information dump and fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy recap.
The Machine travels back to 2004. A Generic Middle Eastern detainee from the Stereotypes R Us casting agency is escorted into a bunker while an American soldier sits at a table. None of these people are regulars and I’m already leery of the episode. Generic Middle Eastern detainee exposits that he’s been interrogated before, by multiple interrogators, and he’s just too tough to crack. He stands by his story that he’s just a produce vendor. Generic American soldier blathers some mumbo jumbo but tells the Generic Middle Eastern detainee that if he doesn’t spill they’ll bring in “his boss” and gets all ominous like his boss is the Hulk. Generic Middle Eastern detainee still won’t talk so they bring in “the boss.” And OH, NO…it’s worse than the Hulk. It’s Carter! You know she’s just going to cheese and overact all over him until he’s huddled in a corner, whimpering to make it stop, please for the love of all that is clean, pure and holy make her bad acting STOP!
Name that acting cue: Intimidation or toothache?
The Machine swings us back to the present and the pleasantly menacing tones of Elias telling us she’s getting too close and it’s enough already. They need to take her out but make it clean. Oh, would that you could, Elias. It’s 12:11:03 and Carter’s nosing around her precinct trying to find new victims to put in further danger. Luckily, the desk cop tells her a domestic violence victim, Mrs. Kovach, is there to bail out her husband.
Instead of going to her with empathy and a card for a good counselor who can help her get out of a bad situation, Carter decides to play Scared Straight and tell the woman that she’s a homicide detective who’ll be called in to investigate when her husband beats her to death. The hell? This woman is criminally stupid. The victim doesn’t change her story so Carter foists her card on the poor woman, telling her to call the next time her husband hits her. So two people can make her feel like shit? The husband shows up and after indulging Carter’s ego by acting like she’s touched by the concern Mrs. Kovach walks off.
Thankfully, my favorite angry little fireplug shows up. Of course, this is the All-Carter, All-the-Time episode so he tells her he doesn’t know why she bothers, she can’t save them all. She says Mrs. Kovach is a homicide waiting to happen, maybe she can “stop one for a change.” She has 37 OPEN HOMICIDE CASES. Maybe if she closed one every now and then her caseload wouldn’t be so overwhelming. Fusco, showing that he really is a better cop and person than we thought, does not throw that fact in her face he just hands her the results of the DNA analysis from the blood she contaminated and illegally gathered from Sully’s murder. Half the DNA matched Marlene Elias, the other half was Don Moretti’s so it was all Enrico Colantoni.
No, I said the wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round…
15:53:26 in some prison yard. Carter’s visiting Moretti, on her own and likely without authority or back up, and tells him about Carl Elias and his recent activity killing people involved with his mother’s murder. Moretti has as much respect for Carter as the rest of us and is all, “This concerns me how?” She pretends she can do something to protect him in prison if he gives her information on…what, I don’t know since he knows nothing about Elias, but go with it. Moretti has to explain it to her like she’s five that he knows nothing and if Elias is killing cops and getting away with it, there’s not much she can do to protect him. This gets Carter’s nose out of joint so she just gathers her pictures and goes. But Moretti stops her to ask if she’s working alone. When she doesn’t answer he logically explains that if she’s out in the wilderness, she’s more likely his target than some old guy already rotting in prison. Derrr.
It’s 1:02:07 in the morning and the only two cops who work homicides in all five boroughs, Fusco and Carter, respond to a shooting of a young African-American male up in Washington Heights. Happened on the street and looks like a drive by. Carter the alleged homicide cop who’s been working in Manhattan for a while asks Fusco, the transferred cop from the Bronx, if there were any witnesses. He snorts at her about “in this neighborhood?” but she recognizes the victim, Ronnie Middleton. Fusco asks how she knows him so she can exposit that he witnessed a shooting in the Bronx six months earlier and ID’d the shooter, Hector Alvarez, but got cold feet and the DA dropped the case. Fusco figures Hector got to him to make sure he didn’t reconsider.
Despite having a forensic unit covering the crime scene for evidence, Carter’s just so damn good at her job that she asks about what Middleton was carrying when he got shot and bags the broken soda bottle herself. The soda was a Mexican brand and Middleton was shot outside a bodega that sells it. Fusco tries to act like a normal human being and says “his friends call him Lionel” (Aw, he thinks Reese is a friend.) and asks what her name is. But Carter’s just too Eastwood for that and says her first name is Detective. I thought it was Hack?
You might want to can the attitude until you close a case or 12.
Even Fusco’s beginning to think she’s a bitch so he announces to the lookey-loos that he’s investigating the murder and offers his business card to anyone who may have seen something but is distracted by a tall, handsome man who looks particularly fetching covered in rain drops. Why it’s Reese asking about the murder and Fusco says it was “lead poisoning.”
Carter, realizing she hasn’t put anyone in danger lately, walks over to the bodega owner, Castillo, to question him about the shooting. When Castillo says he doesn’t know anything, she decides to double-whammy him with a bully/guilt approach. Castillo says he heard the gun shots but he didn’t see anything. She still tries to guilt him into answering her questions, on the street and in plain view of the neighborhood, so he has to tell her not there. It’s late so she decides she won’t put his life totally in danger, yet, and agrees to let him come by “the precinct” the next day, but fails to give him a card letting him know which precinct. I guess she thinks Manhattan is Mayberry and there’s only one station. She’s the worst.
I promise, Finch. I’m not posing in the rain.
As Reese watches from across the street, Finch starts talking in his ear about a new number. Reese says if it’s Ronnie Middleton he’s too late. Finch wonders where Reese is, and really, at one in the morning shouldn’t he have considered that before he started jabbering away? And does Reese ever hang up to take care of “personal” matters? That has to be at least one level of familiarity too many considering Finch won’t even let Reese know where he lives.
No matter, Reese is getting his child-like anger going again wondering why the Machine can see some homicides but not others. Doesn’t he listen to the opening credits? Finch explains it again that the Machine can only detect acts of premeditation but no time to go through the whole speech. Finch is printing out the photo of the new number and it’s…Carter.
The next morning and Carter’s having breakfast in a diner harassing her teen-aged son, Taylor, about not being home when she called. I guess that’s what passes as good parenting in the Carter household. But it’s nice to know her bullying ways aren’t limited to the innocent bystanders and victims she encounters. Then she tells him he’s staying with Grandma until she’s off that case. She has 37 open cases. He’ll stay with Grandma until he’s on Social Security.
A bunch of cute girls say “Hi” to Taylor. Carter sees this and asks about the homecoming dance before belittling him by saying it must be tough being a freshman because all the girls want to go out with older guys. But he’s adorable and has no problems with girls. He’s even already asked one to the dance. Carter says she wants to meet her, but she is never home. Is Taylor supposed to bring the girl to a crime scene at two in the morning? Never mind, they’re finishing up when she sees her phone restarting. Curious, and nice product placement. As they pack up to leave we see Reese sitting in the booth behind her…and he really has a set of jug ears on him. Why isn’t that part of her description: tall, nice suit, BIG JUG EARS?
Those aren’t stunt ears.
As Carter and son leave, we see that he’s finished synching cell phones with her, and hello leather motorcycle jacket and slightly longer hair. The producers think we’re magpies and can distract us with Caviezel’s prettiness. Reese asks Finch if he knew Carter had a son and Finch absently says he didn’t know Reese cared. Reese mentions that there hasn’t been a dad in the picture for some time and we cut to Finch…nosing around in her car trying to, I guess, install a tracker. But Finch has to skedaddle because Carter’s on her way out and Reese has to pose on a motorcycle. Oh, wait. He’s checking to make sure the car is wired for video and GPS. It only looks like he’s posing. Then Finch exposits that they need eyes and ears on her 24/7, even inside the precinct.
Carter drives off and Reese follows on a fancy Italian motorcycle wearing a thousand dollar jacket. Inconspicuous. Somehow he manages to reach her destination before she does, and is taking photos of Carter walking into Hector’s body shop. In the Bronx. While still riding his expensive motorcycle wearing his expensive jacket and she doesn’t see him. She’s too busy going to a murder suspect’s place of business, on her own and with no backup, asking Hector where he was the night before. He says he was with his girlfriend watching TV and Carter puts herself further in danger by walking over to the girlfriend and leaving herself no way out if they choose to shoot or kidnap her.
Ai, mami. What you mean sad puppy dog eyes don’t work on killers?
Instead she continues to harass Hector and gives away that someone pegged his muscle car being in the neighborhood at that time. He doesn’t give anything up because he’s a professional criminal and she’s an idiot but she has the courage of a fool and starts taking pictures of his shop and car on her cell phone, like that will mean dick all in an investigation, and then tries to get in the car. Hector stops her, saying she’ll need a warrant to search the car, but that would make the evidence legal, Hector. Let her continue shooting her own case to hell. She claims she’ll “find a way to bring him down,” but if she had his very unique car spotted at the crime scene where the witness who pegged him as a shooter in another murder was killed…doesn’t that qualify as sufficient evidence to search the car? Why didn’t she get the warrant before she went to the shop? Oh, that’s right. She’s too super awesome to follow procedure. No wonder she never closes cases.
Morning at the library and Finch is playing with a portly police officer doll. Okay. Oh, it has a fish-eyed camera on it. As Finch adjusts the camera, Reese sidles up behind him and cocks his head like a Cocker Spaniel to remind us how much we love Reese and Finch in an episode where we’re supposed to learn to love Carter. Reese deadpans that he didn’t realize Finch collected dolls but Finch’s honor is offended, so he reminds Reese he collects rare books and that the doll is for Fusco. Aw, he wants to make up for all the times he shit-talked Lionel. Reese sweetly asks if Fusco’s into dolls but it’s really meant to spy on Carter in the precinct.
Not their best looks…
Finch then exposits about Carter’s background. Blah, blah, homicide detective, single mother, teen-aged son, Army interrogator…then they spew a load of hooey to make her sound like a saint, calling her “honest to a fault.” Show don’t tell, show. Finch says she’s made a lot of enemies both in the criminal world “and in the department,” which catches Reese’s attention, and says he’s narrowed the list down to 300, conveniently ignoring the audience member who created a petition to kill her off. Reese wonders about immediate threats and Finch tells him about Alvarez, Kovach, and Elias.
Reese decides that he needs to keep her in sight at all times but Finch reminds Reese that if he gets too close he risks getting caught, and this show would seriously blow without all his pretty. That last part was only implied, though. Reese says it’s a chance he has to take because what is he supposed to do? “Let her catch a bullet?” The petition says yes. Finch wonders what Reese will do if she catches him, and Reese says “Harold” will figure something out. Finch’s peeved look says maybe not so much this time.
Fusco sees a box on his desk and like the poor-impulse-control child he still is opens it, even though the label hilariously reads “To: Detective Fusco, 8th Precinct. DELIVER BY HAND.” Yes, that’s not suspicious. It’s the bobble doll from Reese and Fusco smiles at it like it’s Christmas Day. He really needs to be skeevier if we’re not supposed to like him so much.
…but works for Fusco.
Fusco’s cell rings so he puts the doll down to answer the call. It’s Reese wishing him a happy birthday and damn if Fusco doesn’t literally swoon at first. Then he remembers he’s a homicide cop and says “Thanks but no thanks” because he doesn’t know what angle Reese is trying to work. Reese tells him to just put the doll on his desk and face it towards Carter. Fusco may be morally and ethically challenged, but he’s a smart cop so he asks why and if Reese knows something. Reese tells him to ask around to some of his corrupt cop friends to learn about any chatter regarding taking Carter out. Fusco gets genuinely concerned saying he can’t get involved in that, but Reese just wants him to point the doll at Carter.
As a spooked Fusco positions the doll Carter comes in and he explains it away as a gift from his son. He wastes no time helping Reese get some info and asks Carter about going down to the prison to meet with Moretti. She seems to think he shut her down because he thinks all cops are dirty instead of the more likely explanation that a) he doesn’t know anything and b) he thinks she’s incompetent. Occam’s Razor, Carter. When she finds out that Castillo never came by the precinct, she sets out to talk to him, again, but Fusco says he’s got a “thing” he needs to take care of and will meet up with her later. Smooth, Fusco.
Distracting us from how dumb this episode is.
Carter’s driving down a busy street so the overpriced motorcycle and expensive jacket following her doesn’t stand out quite so much. She blocks off a corner and slams some homeless guy on the hood of her car before throwing him into the back seat. Reese is too busy over identifying with her and thinks this might be a threat, but when Finch hears Carter tell the bum he was “a little too theatrical” (HA…lack of self-awareness is always good for a giggle) Finch figures out the guy, Bottle Cap, is a CI.
They bond over how Bottle Cap is clean now before she launches into asking some homeless ex-junkie what he knows about Elias. For real? Where is the Geico Guy? Wouldn’t he know more since he’s on the organized crime task force? Maybe she’d close a case if she’d just work with other cops. Bottle Cap’s only heard the name but doesn’t know much else so Carter then asks him if he knows about the shooting or seen Hector’s sweet GTO in the neighborhood. Bottle Cap is useless but she gives him money, anyway, in case he hears anything about Alvarez or Elias.
11:44:52 on some roof top and Fusco’s meeting with a beefy dirty police captain stereotype who looks disturbingly like an old David Johansen if he was never a rock star. Dirty Captain wonders how a “halfwit” like Fusco managed to pull off a transfer to “the perfume folk downtown.” They have an easy rapport, so Fusco leads in with mentioning he’s working with Carter and is starting to hear some things. Dirty Captain mentions that things are going back to the way they used to be when organized crime was organized and not Day-Glo orange spray tan and the subject of stupid reality shows, and that the new guy, Elias, knows the rules: low profile, tight ship, knows whose palms to grease all the way up to City Hall. He sounds like he almost has a crush.
See? And yet, AU Johansen is way better looking than what David Johansen looks like now.
Then Dirty Captain exposits that Carter doesn’t know the rules and is trying to build a flimsy and inadmissible because she doesn’t follow procedure case and has to go. Fusco thinks it’s tricky killing a cop, so the Dirty Captain says it’s been approved up the chain of command, it just has to “look clean.” Fusco translates that for the audience to mean “in the line of duty.” Dirty Captain tells Fusco to keep his distance.
Carter’s finally made her way back to the bodega to make sure Castillo’s life is really in danger and not just possibly in danger. She sashays up to Castillo tsk-tsking him that he didn’t come down to the precinct and he points out that she didn’t tell him the victim was a witness to another shooting. She says he chickened out but that didn’t save him and I’d point out it was the original testimony that killed him, so Castillo still wins since he doesn’t want to talk in the first place. But Carter doesn’t see her own flaws and keeps pressing. Then she says that “If Hector Alvarez thinks [Castillo] saw him shoot someone, he’ll come after [Castillo], too.” And why would Alvarez think that? Because Carter keeps showing up at Castillo’s bodega implying that he knows something. Castillo tells her to leave him alone because he has a family, but she says that if he helps her she’ll protect him but if he doesn’t cooperate Alvarez could still come after him. Doesn’t she have that backwards?
Name that acting cue: Sarcasm or gas?
Realizing the audience is getting confused by Carter-logic, the scene shifts to the sidewalk where Reese, his slightly longer hair and smoking hot motorcycle jacket is asking Fusco about his meeting with Dirty Captain. Fusco fills him in on the order to take out Carter and make it look clean and drops a giant anvil that Elias could “pay some patsy to do it,” but that there could be a bullet waiting behind every door Carter walks through.
Despite being smart up to that point, Castillo decides to risk it all by telling Carter that Hector was in his bodega that night and had been there before to buy condoms and beer. Castillo says he won’t give her a formal statement but Carter’s satisfied that she’s set up another future homicide so she leaves in time to see Hector sally up in his sweet GTO. Reese is watching as Hector cat calls then pretends he didn’t know it was her. They face off as Carter tells him to take off and he implies the neighborhood is dangerous for kids before asking if Carter has any. This puts Reese on high-alert but finally, an actor manages to get Oscar-Nominated© Taraji P. Henson to have a believable response when she tells them to leave. With her one good take done, Hector gestures that he’s going to shoot Castillo to remind Carter of why she sucks so bad as a cop. And, for real, Jason Olazabal is five times the actor Henson is in both their scenes. Why isn’t he the regular?
I’m a sexy badass, too.
14:02:53 and Reese is voicing over what Fusco already told us as he follows Carter into a bar. Finch says that “with that many people after her, he’d be inclined to pick up the tab,” and I’m not even sure what that means, but Carter’s not there to drink, she’s there to needle the wife beater, asking “what kind of degenerate does that to his wife?” Is she trying to prevent Mrs. Kovach’s death or hurry it up? But this is the week where Reese and Finch become stupid and assume that her instigating another beating from Kovach is her way of preventing bad things from happening. What?
Kovach’s only a day player, though, so he understands that she’s just swatting at the hive and says it’s none of her business. Realizing that he might not go home and beat the shit out of his wife, she calls him a drunk and says that if he puts his hands on his wife again she will come after him, then he says if she does he’ll “exercise his second amendment rights” and that he has a pretty big gun. Carter makes the obvious joke and leaves. This leads Reese to say he likes her style so…Reese likes dick jokes?
Flashback to Carter interrogating the Generic Middle Eastern detainee and she shows him pictures of three American soldiers killed by a suicide bomber who used explosives the detainee helped transport and she tries to guilt him by saying they had families. He says he’s sorry but he’s just a produce vendor. So she turns on the cheese and over enunciates that she has. Photos. Of him. Loading the. Explosives. On his. Truck. Seriously, I’d tell her anything she’d want to know just. To shut. Her. Up.
They said this would be better than Mandy 24 hours a day. They lied.
Then she flips through a file full of pages from lad mags, claiming they’re photos of Generic Middle Eastern detainee loading explosives, but even he should be able to tell it’s magazine and not photo stock paper in that folder. He doesn’t, though, because everyone’s super stupid this week, but when she insists that he show her on the map where the rest of the bombs are he points out that if he does then his family would be killed and he’d rather she just kill him there instead of putting them at risk. She makes her Joey Tribbiani “wondering what’s for lunch” face and we flash forward back to her precinct in the present.
Where she’s looking at pictures she took of Ronnie Middleton on her cell phone? Why does she have pictures of him? Oh, to tell Fusco that his mother hasn’t even come to the morgue to get his body and that he’s all alone. And to prove that she loves people even more than their own mothers. Fusco looks like he’s going to hurl from her preeningly high self opinion, but she moves on to say that she’s looked at the CCTV footage around the bodega and Hector’s sweet GTO hasn’t shown up.
Fusco pretends he didn’t know about the city being completely wired but then suggests the obvious that maybe Castillo walked into the store. Carter doesn’t think this is a possibility because he’d been in the store before for beer and condoms and Hector’s girlfriend lives in the Bronx, 25 blocks (and a bridge) away, and wonders why he’d walk that far. Fusco stifles a guffaw and pretty much says “Duh, he’s got a regular on the side.” Then they exposit that Alvarez was probably stocking up when he saw Ronnie.
I’ll explain forensics and police procedure but I draw the line at where babies come from.
Fusco’s cell rings and the flirty way he asks if he’s been missed means it can only be one person: REESE! Fusco says the Carter situation has Reese worried and asks if he’s going to follow her around everywhere. Reese says he isn’t, Fusco is because he’s got business. Then Fusco asks the question everyone’s been wondering about when he asks why Reese is wasting time protecting her. Indeed, Lionel, indeed. Reese says she’s a good cop and a good person (and I laugh) but Reese says Fusco should try it some time, even after Fusco came out and saved Reese’s fine ass for no reason other than loyalty. Ingrate. Fusco says the obvious that without Carter Reese’s life would be easier but Reese says he’ll come after Fusco if anything happens to Carter. See, told you everyone was stupid this week.
Reese is at Hector’s body shop and the garage door is closed. So he opens it in the simplest and most covert way possible: by shooting a grenade and blowing it up. He’s such a peacock. As the extras try to run off, Reese shoots a couple in the kneecap but tries out a new signature by shooting one of them in the shoulder before wrapping up all the guns Hector’s running and stealing the sweet GTO, telling the guys he’s putting Hector out of business. What about his motorcycle? And how did he carry the grenade launcher?
I’m still the sexiest badass.
Back in 2004 and Carter makes empty promises that she can protect the detainee and his family if he cooperates. He tells her it’s just a negotiation for her. Then she catalogs everything they know about the detainee and cheeses over her line about how he is. NOT. Just. A negotiation. Except, I’ve seen enough interviews with Ali Soufan, on Colbert not even PBS, to know that this should be SOP for military interrogations so you see, he was right. But she’s Mother Teresa and Deanna Troi smothered in cheese sauce so she’s offended that he doesn’t see just how special she is.
Generic Middle Eastern detainee is properly shamed for not recognizing her awesomeness and asks if she has children. She tells him about Taylor so he asks if she’d trust his safety to a complete stranger. Realizing he makes sense she obfuscates it by saying she’d do whatever was necessary to keep him safe, like not trusting his safety to a stranger? Then she overacts about how she lost someone like the detainee lost his brother and her hilariously bad acting is bringing tears to his eyes. She says they’re not that different, they just want to raise their children somewhere that’s safe. No one mentions the giant political elephant in the room, she just wants to know where the explosives are and asks him to show her on the map, but he says their location isn’t on any map. She says he’ll take them to the stash “for our children.” He’s delirious from the pain her bad acting has caused and just repeats “for our children.”
Name that acting cue: Empathy or shart?
Back in the present, Carter and Fusco are asking Bottle Cap for information on Alvarez’s side piece, but how would he know? Seriously, how? No matter, he gets squirrelly around Fusco then tells Carter that Hector’s been banging a stripper. Then the anvils start flying as Bottle Cap wonders why she’s only slipping him a couple of bills and Carter says he’ll get the reward money if his tip pans out and she’ll take him to dinner “at his favorite place” then he smiles and says she’s always been good to him.
Scene jumps ahead to Carter interviewing Hector’s girlfriend at the police station, and would that have really happened? Anyway, Carter’s asking about the night in question and girlfriend is backing up Hector’s story that they were at her place watching TV, but that Hector was channel-surfing. Carter uses this as a ham-handed segue to say Hector likes to switch things up and asks if that’s why he bangs strippers on the side. Girlfriend says he doesn’t step out because she’d cut it off.
Carter shows girlfriend Hector’s cell phone bill and wonders about a number he called 33 times. Girlfriend figures it’s one of the guys because Hector “gossips like a little school girl.” Carter gives girlfriend her cell phone and tells her to call the number to find out. Cut to Fusco interviewing the stripper saying “So you were with Hector all night?” She’s playing with her phone while she tells Fusco they were together all night, all morning and that Hector “likes to spoon.” All that’s left of the emasculation is for one of them to say he cries after sex. Instead, stripper’s phone rings and even though it’s an unknown number, she answers. Who answers calls from unknown numbers? Carter opens the door as the two women are talking to each other. Once they see each other, it’s on and Carter locks them in the interview room with Fusco, because…she’s a good cop who cares so much?
Girlfriend, how come you let him treat you so bad?
As she walks off leaving Fusco to deal with the women, desk cop comes to tell her about a mystery man shooting up Hector’s body shop using a sub-machine gun and grenade launcher. She asks if the mystery man was wearing a suit, but when she’s told he was wearing a motorcycle jacket, like the good cop she is, she jumps to a wild conclusion and makes a bad joke. Hector’s wanted for questioning but he’s “disappeared.” Carter says someone knows where he is and when she finds him she’ll “give him your best.”
This piques Finch’s interest, but it’s actually Reese walking up to tell him that Alvarez is out of the picture. Finch tells him that Carter won’t rest until she finds Ronnie’s killer but Reese says Hector’s likely heavily armed and that she’ll be in even more danger when she goes to arrest him. Reese walks off saying he’ll have to get there first. But Reese hasn’t flirted with and/or annoyed Finch since the first act and this makes him wonder if something’s bothering Reese. This allows Reese to finally tell the audience it’s okay to like Carter because she’s so much better than everyone on the show, even them, and that some people the world can’t afford to lose. Because she’s been saving people her whole life and Reese…was in the military, too, putting his life at even greater risk because he was special ops for what he believed was the greater good, but let’s forget his back story before he was recruited by the CIA, this is the canonization of Saint Carter the Banal.
But, Mr. Reese, they can always recast her part.
St. Carter’s finally deigned to rejoin Fusco and the women to find out if either’s willing to talk. While girlfriend checks out her weave, stripper says Hector left her place around midnight to go to the market but came back empty handed then changed his shirt. Carter asks if stripper washed the shirt, I assume because she’s Latina, but stripper’s all “Hell no, I ain’t no maid. You can have his stank shirt and all his nasty stuff.” Then she and her silver talons start playing with her cell phone while girlfriend tells Carter that Hector has a warehouse in Queens.
It’s Carter’s turn to be a broken clock that’s right twice a day and she tells Fusco to have an ESU unit on standby as she tries to get a warrant to search the warehouse. Is that so hard? But she gets a call from Mrs. Kovach that her husband has a gun and is threatening her. Finch is telling Reese that Kovach is armed and sounds agitated. I’m sure it had nothing to do with Carter rattling his cage earlier. As Finch continues talking he realizes that Reese isn’t there. So Reese does hang up some times.
18:37:04 and Carter’s arriving at the Kovach house…in Brooklyn? Really? There aren’t ANY police stations in Brooklyn that would handle domestic disputes? This makes no sense. Fusco and Carter bust into the house, even though, again, they’re Manhattan cops and this was a domestic dispute in Brooklyn, and find Kovach trussed up and swinging from a light fixture. Reese does have style and a sense of humor. Carter finds Mrs. Kovach sobbing in the bathroom and rather than beat the shit out of Carter for working her husband up into a homicidal rage she just mentions that if “that man” hadn’t shown up… Carter, never one for self-reflection or blame, focuses on what “that man” looked like. Before Mrs. Kovach can describe him, Reese calls the Kovach land line to talk to her.
Yes, I’m sitting next to a delusional, drama queening detective. Why do you ask?
Carter smirks that she assumes she has him to thank for Mrs. Kovach not getting shot when Carter worked her abusive husband up and then did nothing to protect his wife and wants to know how he always knows when something’s about to happen, but Reese just wants to warn her. She says she’s not the one who’s hiding, then, with all the self-awareness of a toddler actually says, out loud, that if Reese “continues to play God, sooner or later someone’s going to get hurt,” conveniently forgetting that her own crusades have a body count.
He tries to keep it on the immediate threat to her, but she’s too stupid to listen so she keeps bringing it back to him and why he’s following. At this point, please, just shoot her. Nope, instead he tells her to be more careful and that if she’s going after Alvarez she should know he’s running guns. She’s still not really listening but even Reese can only be so patient with her idiocy so he tells her, like she said “He always seems to know,” and drives off on his motorcycle, that he left in the Bronx when he stole Hector’s car.
A pumpkin-headed bald man is delivering a huge bouquet of lilies to Carter and even from behind, I can tell it’s cuddly, evil Elias. Swoon. He drops off the flowers and looks at his file, conveniently sitting on the corner of her desk. Then he cranes his head around to earn his paycheck for the week.
Fusco and Carter drag Kovach to their Manhattan precinct even though they arrested him in Brooklyn. As Fusco takes Kovach Carter sees Desk Cop and asks about the warrant for Alvarez’s warehouse. They have it and the ESU unit is on standby, then he asks her “who died?” when they both see the lily bouquet on her desk. She looks at the card and it says “Deepest regrets on the loss of Detective Carter.” Realizing the flowers and card are evidence Carter responds as Carter would: by throwing them in the trash and compromising them as evidence.
21:57:30 and Reese voices over that Carter has an ESU unit at Hector’s warehouse in Queens, which is even further out of her jurisdiction than Washington Heights, the Bronx and Brooklyn. This goes unmentioned, though, because she’s such a good and by-the-book cop. As the unit leader tells Carter and Fusco to stay in place until they have Alvarez, Finch wonders if Reese has eyes on Carter. Reese says she’s out of the line of fire but Finch still wants to know how Reese will get close enough to protect her if something goes wrong. Reese coys that he’s “pretty close” and reveals that he’s suited up as one of the unit members which…yeah, makes no sense, but go with it.
As the rest of the unit busts into Alvarez’s warehouse at least Reese lags behind, keeping his eye on Carter. Of course, she’s the type to walk into traffic so while there’s a shoot out going on in the warehouse Reese looks back to see Carter wander off down the alley without asking Fusco to back her up. Alvarez is driving down the alley in a pick-up and is firing at her, but Carter has the super-powers of an idiot and doesn’t get hit while she’s basically a stationary target taking shots at the truck, managing to hit Hector in the shoulder. Finch asks if everything’s all right and as Carter arrests Hector, Reese tells Finch that “Hector’s got a new set of bracelets” and they need to limit his one-liners.
We have now found the limits of Jim Caviezel’s hotness.
23:08:05 and we hear Carter leaving her neglected son a voice mail that she’s running a little late so we don’t think she’s an even worse mother than she is a cop. As she walks down the street, Reese is close behind in his dashing motorcycle jacket discussing with Finch if the threat has been neutralized. Kovach and Alvarez are out of the picture, but the big, bad is still out there. Once again, showing that he’s not the brains of their operation, Reese suddenly realizes that they’re down in Little Italy but she lives uptown. Derr. Then he loses her on the street even though he was 20 feet behind her the whole time. Reese tells Finch to track her cell phone as she walks down a deserted side street to meet up with Bottle Cap. This is turning into a Darwinian race to the shallow end of the gene pool.
Bottle Cap’s all jumpy wondering where she’s been and she’s trying to give him some money because, again, she just cares so much. He takes the money and apologizes that she’s always been good to him, but he has no choice. He reminds her that she told him to find Elias, and she’s nodding and looking around like a nitwit. So Bottle Cap says he found Elias right before he shoots her twice in the chest at point blank range. As she’s lying on the ground, rather than just shoot her in the head, Bottle Cap takes this time to give a speech about how it was going to be her or him giving Reese enough time to shoot Bottle Cap.
Name that acting cue: Physical pain or acid reflux?
While Carter manages to overact lying on the ground (don’t ask) they flash back one last time to Iraq. As a special ops unit comes into the bunker, the commander tosses a brown paper bag at Carter telling her that’s all that’s left of the facility. She’s all proud of herself that they found the supply and the commander strokes her ego saying he could never get that information from “that rag head.” Miffed at his racism, she wonders where the Generic Middle Eastern detainee is and Commander’s all “Yeah, he didn’t make it back. Accidents happen.”
This triggers her overacting gene and she cheeses about how she promised. Nothing. Would happen. Commander is disgusted at what an awful scene partner she is and tells her she shouldn’t make promises she can’t keep. She shows just how much more she cares than everyone in the world ever but Commander says it’s not his job to care. Carter attacks him and goes off on a Tony-baiting rant but this is TV and it’s just embarrassing so the Commander tells her if she wants to stand on her high horse, to go ahead, but not to expect him or his men to back her up. It’s all very Ice Man and Maverick, if Ice Man never got bloated and Maverick was even dumber than Tom Cruise.
No, really. You have an Emmy?
Back in the present and Reese is thanking Carter for taking his advice on the vest and Henson’s stomping all over Caviezel’s scene by overacting such difficult directions as “open jacket” and “lie on ground.” He urgently whispers from the shadows that this doesn’t change anything and that she’ll still arrest him if she has the chance, but that she should know that whether or not she likes him, “Joss,” that she’s not alone. Seriously, this was his scene, not hers, and I’d like Carter so much more if Henson’s acting occasionally acknowledged other actors. Not every one of her scenes is about the power and glory of her lousy acting.
Reese voices over everything we just saw and Finch wants to know if she’s safe. Reese says for now but that it’s time to end this “once and for all.” But rather than go after Elias he goes after the Dirty Captain? Really? He pushes the guy partly over a roof and tells him that a body falling from that height leaves a mess, but he’s not interested in making it look clean, like Elias. Dirty Captain falls back on his badge and gets belligerent so Reese pulls the Captain’s gun and threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t get the cops to back off of killing Carter. He adds that if Elias so much as touches Carter again, he will put them all in the ground. Dirty cops aren’t usually heroes so the Captain easily agrees.
Next morning and Carter’s having breakfast in the same diner with her son because she’s the best mom in the world. She tells him “Grandma” told her he was late for curfew and he defends himself by saying he’d be a better son if she didn’t pawn him off on his grandmother all the time he was at a dance, and she smarms about hoping the girl was pretty and smart. She thinks nothing of her 14-year-old son drinking coffee and eating just toast for breakfast because she’s too busy milking him for sympathy because her chest hurts from getting shot in her bullet proof vest. As her teen-aged son asks her to quit she tells him she can’t, even if he’s already lost one parent. Finch is removing the equipment from her car and sees a photo of a serviceman. Who is likely Taylor’s dead dad. She’s just too good for everything, people.
Taylor asks who has her back. Outside, Reese trie to emote through a motorcycle helmet, but he’s no Yoanna, so she tells Taylor that she can take care of herself. Then she says they got each other, who else do they need? Clearly, they need Taylor’s grandmother since Carter’s never home. But he doesn’t say that. He just bumps fists with her so she can milk some more sympathy out of her neglected son. Then Reese drives off as she watches him. Man, I hope another number didn’t come up while they were at the diner.
So, clearly, not my favorite episode. Four Carter storylines plus a flashback was too much, and it was probably the most poorly written episode to date. Carter as a blessed saint who cares too much doesn’t jibe with the rest of the cast who are all atoning for their sins and Henson never met a piece of scenery she didn’t want to chew, spit out and then chew again. But at least it’s over with. Hopefully she’ll go back to her rightful place as a supporting character because this show really is about Reese and Finch. I know she’s a series regular, and supposedly the “third lead” but she is just not fitting in, neither in the way she’s written nor performed.
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