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Welcome back to another episode of Person of Interest. This week, it appears Nolan took the writing staff down to Mexico, got blackout drunk, and left a bunch of monkeys to piece together this episode. So it was kind of a greatest hits of things we’ve already seen or heard before but done better the first time. Children in peril? Check. Kneecapping? Check. Carter kidnapping mafia dons? Check. (Okay, that one will never not be dumb.) A cool song by “UNKLE featuring Ian Astbury”? Check. Elias? Check. Jim Caviezel posing? Check. Fusco being the smartest guy in the room? Check? Wait. A Nina Simone song over a closing scene with Elias? Check. All that was missing was a big lunkhead from Brooklyn mooning over his family. And a kitten.
07:19:38. Elias is voicing over how he wonders who he’d be if his mother hadn’t been killed. Carter is driving her son to school, which, why? It takes forever to drive around the city and boys Taylor’s age take mass transit regularly. Hell, I lived on the Island and I was taking the LIRR into the city by the time I was his age. Oh, it’s to show what a good parent she is. When she’s not at the station at 2:00 in the morning.
She remembers Taylor has an algebra test and makes a comment about how she hated it. Taylor’s not really listening and says he doesn’t mind it. He’s distracted and finally admits that some “dbags” give him flak for being on scholarship. If they lived in Forest Hills instead of the West 70s they might be able to afford tuition. Also, why is every kid on this show a prodigy? Would Reese not give a shit if the kid was a C student or dealt weed?
Carter wants to know who’s giving him shit because that’s what a freshman boy really wants. Taylor agrees and tells her he can fight his own battles. And he’ll take the subway home…but only because she’s working late. She says she’ll bring home his favorite take out so they’re good. Carter tells Taylor to have a good day but he just gets out of the car and walks off. Ooh, burn.
As Taylor goes into school Carter gets a call from “La Blanca, in SID.” She asks if Carter’s “ready for her to make her day,” and Carter makes a joke too dumb to recap. Turns out those Elias accounts from Risk, which I don’t think are linked to the homicide, which is only tenuously linked to Elias, have been zeroed out. Carter’s on her way.
08:02:51 down at the library and Finch is clockwatching Reese. He points out Reese is “late” and asks if he forgot to set his alarm. Reese dries that he had his yoga class and Finch snides back that he hopes Reese got in touch with his chi because they have a big day ahead of them. They received five numbers, the heads of the five mob families. One of whom is Johnny Moretti, the old don’s son who supposedly took over when the old don went to prison? Really? What about the Russians? Whatever, at least he’s played by Father Intintola.
Since this plot has to move along, Finch assumes, with zero research, that unless they’ve turned on each other, ignoring that they could be the plotting perps, they’ve all been targeted. Then they decide the only one person crazy enough to target the entire La Cosa Nostra is Elias. Since he’s already kidnapped Moretti they figure that he’s planning to take over the entire mafia…by killing them. Seriously? Wouldn’t that just start a huge war? Or would all their underlings say “Oh, well…Zambrano’s dead. I guess I’ll work for this Elias guy?”
Reese says the first smart thing this episode and figures if that’s the plan, why not let the trash take out the trash. Finch tells Reese
they’re only three minutes in that while the CIA may encourage a certain moral flexibility they’re, supposedly, reaching for a higher standard. Reese smirks a smirk that suggests he still can kill Finch with a paper clip and is beginning to consider that option.
Also, that’s not the tune they were singing in Witness when Reese stormed off because they saved Elias’ life. Finch thinks they need to consider the collateral damage, but Elias has always been pretty tightly contained. The guy who’ll work for years as a teacher to learn the habits of his students’ families isn’t the type to storm into the middle of Riverside Drive with a rocket launcher shooting up SUVs, you know? Reese can barely muster the interest to form a facial expression as he drones about babysitting the five most powerful criminals in New York.
Finch exposits that the dons meet on a monthly basis at the Covenant Club in Brooklyn. As Reese snaps photos of the mooks walking into the club, Finch informs him they don’t allow cameras or cell phones in the private meeting rooms and Reese nonsensically says that it won’t be easy to spy on them, not even for Finch but…what? When did he get so lazy?
Finch says that sounds like a challenge. As we watch him walk up to the club like he’s with Lilco he exposits some convenient BS so they can spy, anyway, and Finch has it hooked up in less than a minute. Wait, if they’re both at the club…why didn’t Reese just do it himself once the mooks were inside? I mean, I know it would cut into his prime posing time since he looks rather fetching in the midday sun, but why are they both in the same place? Shouldn’t Finch be back at the library trying to find Elias?
Regardless, the mic is set up and Reese hears the dons bitch about DHS then condescends to Finch while posing for optimal cheekbone exposure. The dons keep discussing business but Father Intintola’s had enough. He’s shocked that a bunch of criminals aren’t more concerned about old don Moretti. But…where was he when Carter kidnapped him from the prison? That’s right. He hadn’t been retconned yet.
Johnny Sack apologizes for the old don’s situation but Father Intintola whines that his father’s probably dead. Well, you should have picked him up from prison instead of sending an extra. He wants to know what the families plan to do about Elias so random don can exposit the Marlene Elias backstory for new viewers. Father Intintola gets pissy, saying it’s a lie. Johnny Sack doesn’t care. Elias brings in a lot of cash. Father Intintola can’t believe there is no honor among thieves and wants to know why Johnny Sack is interested in working with someone who robs them and steals their territories, but again. The Russians were there first.
While they keep bitching at each other Finch wanders over to Reese. He thinks they need to let the dons know Elias isn’t interested in making a deal and that they should update Detective Carter. Why? Shouldn’t they slip this information to the Organized Crime Unit? Or was Szymanski their only honest cop? Reese, meanwhile, is just standing there practicing his Blue Steel. This episode is a word salad.
Oh, no. That whole set up was to remind us she’s not speaking to them. You’d think Finch would remember that since he reminded Reese last week, but why bother with continuity? Continuity is for suckers. Finch thinks an apology might help. Reese, forgetting that for to make apology she needs to answer the fucking phone, calls and…she hangs up.
Because she’s with La Blanca. Carter flips through the report while La Blanca exposits that Elias cleaned out the accounts making payments to over a thousand separate payees. Since he made the payments by either cash or wire transfer warrants could take weeks. Damn due process. Then they exposit that Elias doesn’t buy things he buys no good, down and dirty people and whatever he bought, he bought a lot of it. Meanwhile, Fusco’s been eavesdropping on this and looking squirrelly. Smooth.
Elias walks a plate of food over to Moretti. The old man will have to eat with his hands, though. Elias doesn’t trust him with cutlery then mentions the old man’s nickname was “The Blade.” Elias is more new school and can’t fathom why the older generation used ridiculous nicknames. By the way, he’s wearing a rather cute v-neck sweater looking every inch like a sweater-wearing panda. Anyway, Elias continues to taunt the old man, in his congenial tone, that they grew fat and lazy, even tried to go legit, like “his son.” Then he gets a little edge saying his “real son.”
The old don snarls to ask why Elias hasn’t killed him, yet. Elias sits with the old man and yanks his chain, telling him he’s going to do what the old man never had the stones to do and “unite” the families. Moretti, realizing he has no bargaining chips, says that sounds like a bold plan for a nobody and doesn’t think “his associates” will go for it. But…gah. I’m pretty sure the whole turf war in Witness was Elias claiming his “birthright” since others had moved in on Moretti’s turf when he went to prison so how is he so well connected? Whatever, Elias tells the old man they won’t have a choice and he doesn’t like to share. His mother probably would have taught him, but she didn’t get the chance. Did she? The old man just sits there.
14:29:44 and Fusco’s meeting with Simmons out in Queens. As is his wont, he’s bitching about having to drive 45 minutes when he has a real job, so Simmons slaps him down that HR is his real job. They need him to nose around looking for some tall guy in a suit. Likes shooting kneecaps. Fusco lies that he thought Reese was old news, but Simmons tells him the FBI set up a task force looking for him. HR wants to know what the Feds know. Fusco “casually” asks why, are they looking to put Reese on the payroll but Simmons doesn’t appreciate Fusco’s nosiness.
Simmons moves on to telling Fusco HR’s working a job with Elias. Okay. Fusco’s all “Since when is HR working with Elias?” Simmons gets his panties all knotted and says HR doesn’t work for anyone. They lend a hand when it’s in their best interest, and right now that’s Elias. Realizing he may have acted like a drama queen, Simmons tells Fusco that when he’s finished looking into “that matter” he may want to call in sick because he doesn’t want to be working homicide for the next couple of days.
16:14:11 down at the library. Finch fidgets with a book and asks Reese if “this is the best course of action” since “Mafiosi don’t take kindly to people who approach them unannounced.” Whereas the rest of us just welcome strangers with open arms. Reese says there isn’t time for anything but the direct approach and just walks on up to the don coming out of a restaurant.
Reese tells the old man that he’s giving him a heads up about Elias. He says he’d be more inclined to let them kill each other and, seriously, this is too stupid. He should be shot on principle. I joke about the healing power of the Caviezel, but shouldn’t he at least look all pretty and glassy-eyed while trying it? Not beat down and where did his eyes go?
The don agrees with me and gets in his SUV. They drive off while Reese stands in the middle of the street? What? He lurches back to his car somehow surprised that it didn’t work. Then gets all pissy that the don wouldn’t listen to him but it doesn’t matter. This whole scene was a set up for the don’s SUV to explode. Finch asks Reese what happened and he says Elias got to the don and Finch was right about collateral damage. Like shooting up a laundromat with a 15-year-old girl is so much safer. Scarface is lingering nearby then drives off, but why was he hanging around? Wasn’t Elias’ crew a bunch of analog ghosts and that’s why tracking them was so difficult? Oh, that’s right. It’s stupid week.
Machine flashes back to 1981. Was there CCTV surveillance of nail salons back then? Whatever “Carl” (Who was originally named “Jack” on the casting announcement, BTW.) is telling a woman he “wishes they were dead, all of them.” She cleans the cut on his head, gives him an ice pack and asks what happened. “They” started it because they were calling him names.
The woman tells Carl that his teacher said he didn’t turn in his project. It’s a family tree. Elias only knows his mother’s name and says he isn’t a bastard. The woman realizes that’s why he got into the fight and offers to help with the project. Carl says it’s for family, but she tells him he has her, and his foster sisters. So…Carl Elias, the dead-eyed child who, according to The Fix was likely to be “President or Attila the Hun,” and started running away from his foster homes at eight, only forming a bond with “an older woman” named Gloria, suddenly has a rather young and loving foster mother with daughters forming a family unit for Elias at 12? The hell? Don’t they read their own scripts?
Carl is still sad, saying he had a mother, and the woman tells him maybe they can do some research. He wants to find out who his father is. She gets squirrelly and Carl says she must know something. She tells him to let it go but Carl, Attila the Hun Carl, gets sad wondering if his father even knows what happened to his mother. The woman tells him what she knows is that we’re all descended from kings. Carl needs to live his own life and be his own man. Carl’s all “The hell?” and we flash back to the present.
19:11:21. While Elias bores Moretti to death (it’s humane), Reese calls. Elias, pleasant as always, says he was wondering when Reese would call since he witnessed “the tragedy” and hopes Reese wasn’t hurt. Reese whispers real pretty to him to end this before anyone else gets hurt. Elias tells him he’s only doing what he thinks is best for the city. Pissed that the healing power of the Caviezel still isn’t working, Reese asks if Elias plans to kill everyone who gets in his way. Elias is all “Uh, Hello, Kettle. It’s me! Pot.” He points out that they’re both killers only now Reese saves innocent people “like Charlie Burton” not old gangsters. Just leave them to Elias. Reese says he can’t do that, so Elias says
Whatever he’s not surprised.
Finch interrupts to tell Reese they have another problem…Detective Carter. THANK YOU! Yes, she’s a problem…oh, no. He’s not talking about her in general. Reese wants to know how Finch knows this and Finch admits that while he’s not down for letting a bunch of fat old criminals get killed he’s way down for invasion of privacy and has been eavesdropping on her phone because someone had to move this plot along.
After Caparelli’s murder, which was a whole three hours earlier, she put two (Elias’ bank statements) and two (one dead don) together, got to crazypants and started reaching out to the remaining dons, offering them police protection. Really? I know wild-assed assumptions are kind of her thing, but SID was probably still combing the scene for evidence. Wouldn’t she need more than gut instinct and craziness to get that protection approved? Oh right. I forgot. She’s the Queen Regent of NYPD and doesn’t need permission.
Reese is all
FUCK! worried because she doesn’t know Elias is planning on taking them all out at once (How does Reese know that?) or that HR is working for Elias (How does Reese know THAT?) and storms out of the library flapping his black coat to remind us he’s Batman and telling Finch he needs her location. NOW.
19:58:28 and, man, I hope Taylor wasn’t hungry for Pad Thai because Queen Regent Carter is ordering her NYPD subjects to block off the street because they’re taking Don Basile into protective custody until they can “take down Elias.” What? They’re just going to put these guys up for weeks, months, years, until she builds a case? She still has 14 active and open homicides. Does Mayor Bloomberg know how profligate she is with taxpayer money?
The don is waiting in some alley. He asks if she’s Carter and how does he know she’s not on Elias’ payroll. She snots that he doesn’t and asks if he has a better idea. I do! But whatever, the cop she took along as backup notices all the other cops are gone. Phew, who knew she could smell the one honest cop and isolate him with her. She tells the cop to “get back,” right before an extra fires on them, conveniently hitting the cop in the arm, killing the don, then engaging in indiscriminate gunfire with Carter so a mysteeeerious stranger can magically kill him before he even grazes Carter, despite having such accurate aim with the extras.
Machine flashes back to 1991, which is still a fairly analog time, but whatever. Don Moretti is eating a steak dinner when Shia LaBoef announces in his outdoor voice that he has the bootleg CDs…HAHAHAHAHA. Wardrobe must have raided the Kids in the Hall wig closet because:
HAHAHAHAHA. Moretti dismisses his security and young Father Intintola so he can talk to Shilias. He says he doesn’t know much about Shilias but he looks familiar and with the name, Elias…he thinks Shilias knows what he means. Shilias drones that his mother was Marlene Elias. Moretti says she was a beautiful woman, but what does Shilias want? A job and to learn from the best. So Moretti gives him a geology lesson on diamonds. Shilias is all “huh?” and Moretti tells him that they have their little secret and if Shilias keeps his head up, there’s a place for him there. Shilias, courtly even as a punk kid, thanks Moretti and tells him he’s glad to finally meet him.
Back in the present and it’s 21:09:58. I’m assuming Taylor figured out to get his own dinner because Carter’s in some outer borough diner with Reese expositing that “the officer’s stable,” and it was lucky Reese has such good timing. You say luck, I say lazy, plot-driven writing. Potato, bullshit. She tells Reese about the FBI task force and that they think he’s working with Elias. Yeah…not exactly. They’re picking up the threads she left dangling, but why blame Carter when you can place it somewhere else?
Finch comes up and obviouses that things didn’t go well with Basile and Carter whines that she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Finch tell her she can trust them. It’s not like they’ll sell her out to Snow so he can have Preppy shoot her in the gut.
She winces and sighs meaningfully then recaps that Elias transferred $4 million to a dozen “Cash & Carry” hubs around the city. She tells them she can use that information to track him but she can’t get into the database without a warrant. So what happened to those “over a thousand unique payees” from the top of the episode? Sure, he could be paying multiple people through the different hubs, but that’s more than 80 people per site. And why would he need “over a thousand” to take out five dons? Even a dozen seems like a lot for Elias but this is what happens when you let monkeys write the episode.
Finch offers to get that information through other means, meaning it will be inadmissible as evidence, but who cares! They just want to use it to find Elias. To kill him? Because that’s the only option they’ll have since Carter can’t build a case on INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE. She meaningfully sighs one more time and says she still needs to convince the other dons to work with them. But before she can leave Reese gives her a gym bag full of military weapons, just in case, because I guess the trunk full of guns she drives around with isn’t enough. Is there a writers’ strike? Or was this episode written by convicts on work release?
08:03:38 down in SoHo and while Carter loads up the illegal weapons Reese gave her, in broad daylight, Fusco comes up wondering what the hell kind of trouble she’s getting them in this time. She wants to know if he brought the vest and extra ammo like she asked. He says yeah, so she tells him to “Just get in” because he’s the only cop she can trust right now. And she repays that trust by making him an accessory and co-conspirator. Because she’s the moral heart of the show. And where the hell did she get that SUV when she usually drives a police-issue Impala?
But no time to solve that mystery, we’re back with Reese trailing one of Elias’ goons. Because he’ll be able to track all “over a thousand” or a dozen in less than 24 hours. Finch exposits that Elias’ payroll reads like a “Who’s Who of the penal system” and Reese sees the goon taking pictures of a family, wondering whose it is. Finch thinks it’s one of the dons and with dozens or over a thousand people I sure hope this family is relevant to the story. Luckily, it’s Simmons’ family. Phew, I’d have hated if Simmons’ family was stalked by the eighth or 592nd goon Reese trailed.
Finch doesn’t understand why he’d trail HR since they’re his allies so Reese can exposit that in war you need to be able to coerce your allies as much as your enemies. Finch thinks he’d use this as a backup plan to keep HR in line (derr) and Reese derrs that’s what he’d do. Because if you repeat something three times it’s true.
Over with the remaining dons and as Father Intintola whines about Elias having Moretti, a valet escorts Carter and Fusco into the room. I’m surprised she didn’t kick the door down and fire indiscriminately. Johnny Sack wants to know why Carter and Fusco are there and she tells them they’re going into protective custody until she can find Elias. Johnny Sack disagrees but Carter insists on kidnapping them because they “didn’t control Elias” so…were they Elias’ babysitters and allowed to remain committing their own crimes so long as he was neutralized? Was this supposed to make sense?
Of course not, they’re just worried that “innocent civilians” will get killed while Elias is looking for the dons, but what is he? A suicide bomber? Reese? And here’s where my head explodes a little. Elias 1.0 was thoughtful, methodical and above all else patient in his evil. Now he’s staging messy killings that might involve innocent civilians. If they had to retcon him into an entirely different character they needed to rethink this story.
Johnny Sack calls for the valet who doesn’t answer so Father Intintola goes out to see where he is. Carter smarms that their men abandoned them because Elias got to them, but Father Intintola still says they don’t work with cops. Carter, being the good and honest cop that she is, tells them that if they don’t go voluntarily she’ll take them by force and pulls her gun. Fusco’s briefly stunned, then remembers Reese already set him up for two homicides so what’s three more counts of kidnapping, and draws his own gun. Father Intintola wonders if she’ll shoot them and she smarts off that if she does then Elias won’t “blow up a carload of innocent people” but…I give up. This is the bizarroland episode.
Fusco, still thinking like a cop and not a crazy person, asks if they should call backup. Carter says he is her backup. They run out of the building and while Carter ignores a call from Finch or Reese she and Fusco hustle the dons into the back of the SUV. Before Fusco can pull out, Elias’ goons come out of the building and Carter whips out Reese’s big, illegal, military gun, firing it across the street. Because when Carter fires a giant gun from across an NYC street it’s a controlled environment and no chance an innocent civilian could get caught in the crossfire. Fusco finally pulls away and Father Intintola gets a call on his cell. He’s all “huh” but answers it. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It’s Finch giving them directions to a safe house. REALLY?
11:26:01 and they’re in Budapest with Reese and Stanton. Never mind, it’s just the set they used for that scene in Budapest. Carter lets them into the apartment and Fusco asks who owns it. Despite forcing Fusco into being an accessory and co-conspirator, Carter snots at him that it belongs to “a friend.” Fusco doesn’t give a shit about her lousy attitude so he tells her she has weird friends.
Five minutes later with Elias playing free cell with actual cards. Cute panda. He’s reminiscing about the few memories he has of Marlene. He tells Moretti that he has brief images of her, especially when he smells her perfume. He thinks it was Shalimar, then smiles a sweet, chubby-cheeked smile. He remembers she had dark hair and kind eyes (like him…how ironic) but a lot of the time he just sees the blood. All that blood.
Before Elias can go down that rabbit hole, Scarface shows up to tell him there was a problem – Carter grabbed the last three dons. Elias, crazy, civilian-killing Elias, sighs and tells Scarface they’re going to need his “friends on the police force” for this. Watching that scene, they’re the evil doppelgangers to Finch and Reese, and much more entertaining this episode. But that could be because Scarface cut off his Hermie the Elf flip.
11:37:01. Reese has moved on to goon #2 out of a dozen or over a thousand. Finch preens that Carter and Fusco are in the safe house with the remaining dons. Reese asks how she convinced them to go and Finch says she didn’t, she kidnapped them. Then says Reese has had an influence on her. Reese takes it as a compliment and Finch jokes that he’s not sure he meant it that way, because felonies committed in the name of vigilantism are noble, right?
Reese remembers Elias is a criminal mastermind while Carter’s criminally dumb and says Elias won’t just roll over. But Reese has tracked down a dozen of his men, all positioned to strike the families of HR cops if things don’t go Elias’ way. Hold up. It’s 11:37, or 3 ½ hours after they first learned Elias was trailing HR. How did they find the other 11 goons, let alone the names of all those HR cops when Fusco didn’t know who they were last week? And is Fusco one of those cops with a goon waiting to strike his family? Remember, he has a son? Of course not. That would be continuity.
Finch thinks HR can’t do anything because they don’t know where the safe house is, only Fusco and Carter do, but Reese
drives the plot asks, for no reason, if one of the goons is near the Marbury School in Brooklyn. Finch says yes and asks why so Reese can get all creepy and say that’s where Taylor goes to school. (Why would he know that?) 11:48:14 and Taylor’s being escorted out of school asking what kind of accident his mom was in and if she’ll be all right. Scarface is his escort, saying it’s too soon to tell but he’ll take him right over. Dun…DUNN!
While walking to the car, Taylor gets a call from an unknown number on his cell. He answers but if my mom was in an accident that had me taken out of school, I doubt I’d take a call from someone I don’t know. Immaterial, it’s Finch, who magically has this number and while I’ll accept that he can type a few commands and have all the world’s information at his fingertips a) at least show him typing and b) CREEPY. He tells Taylor that he doesn’t know him but you in danger, gurr. Finch wants Taylor to stay in the school with a teacher. Taylor’s all GULP so Scarface grabs the phone and tells Taylor to keep quiet and he won’t get hurt.
Just then school security comes out asking for Taylor’s pass…but Scarface was wearing his badge. He didn’t just yank Taylor, he had him pulled by the administration for a family emergency. Oh, never mind. This whole scene was to set up what bad people Scarface and the random goons are because Scarface shoots the poor security guard about 20 times with his automatic rifle giving Reese enough time to drive up and open fire…IN A SCHOOL ZONE??!??! No innocent civilians there.
Of course, when the good guys fire indiscriminately the streets are empty so no one gets hurt and Reese can kill the goon while firing on Scarface and taking a bullet to his bullet-proof vest. But unlike that guy in Ghosts or Carter in Get Carter, who are both thrown by the force of the bullet, Reese barely flinches when he gets shot because this scene was written by 12-year-old comic book enthusiasts. As Reese continues to fire on Scarface, with Taylor in the backseat of the SUV with the window open, mind you, Scarface gets in and they drive off. NOW Reese is too cautious to shoot.
11:49:39 at the safe house and Fusco’s wondering how long they’ll have to stay there. Queen Regent Carter says until they know the dons are safe. Fusco chooses not to ream her for getting him involved, instead focusing on how they’re mob bosses and it’s not going to happen any time soon. But no time to dawdle, a couple of Elias’ goons have shown up at the safe house.
Like a good middle manager Carter yells at Fusco, saying she thought he shook them, even though she was giving him the directions to the safe house from Finch, so who’s fault is it? Whatever, Fusco says he did shake them. Before she can write him up for a poor work performance, Reese is calling to oblique that he “won’t let anything happen to him,” so Carter can get a second call from Taylor and Elias can tell her she has a great kid.
Carter marches over to the window so her tear-filled eyes can glisten in the natural light before threatening to kill Elias if he touches Taylor. Elias tells her she has the means to set him free since she can’t call for backup. Carter says she can’t hand the dons over to Elias, she might as well kill them herself. Elias quips that if she’s up to it, it would be extremely helpful. I’d laugh if some sadist wasn’t propping my eyes open and forcing me to watch.
She wants to know why he wants to kill the dons. I’ve been wondering that, too, since it’s out of character. Oh, she tacks it back to how he’s shown how powerful he is. Elias reminds her who she’s protecting. Johnny Sack sells smack to school kids, the other guy is a gun runner and Father Intintola traffics in drugs and underage prostitution. Carter still wants the moral high ground, otherwise she’s just a kidnapper, and smirks that things will be so much better under Elias. He thinks so, because he runs a happy, tight and efficient ship. And he looks like a panda. She tells him he’s a force of corruption and weakness and her answer is no. But…if they whole point was to protect innocent civilians and they’re in a controlled environment where only the dons would be killed and she’s already on the hook for three counts of kidnapping as well as possession of military weapons and artillery…
Oh, who am I kidding. This is Carter. She cries to Reese, with Fusco in earshot, that Elias wants to trade the dons for Taylor and how can she do that. Reese tells her she can’t but it doesn’t matter, she won’t have to make that decision or face the consequences of her rash, dangerous and illegal actions. He’s going to
swoop in and clean up her mess get Taylor back. He says he won’t let anyone hurt Taylor, even though he hasn’t a clue in hell where the kid is. Carter mewls “Promise me?” and he says “You have my word,” and this is CBS so there’s no actual threat to the kid. Unlike on HBO where I watched Richard Harrow, the most popular character on Boardwalk Empire with young women who over-identify with fictional characters, shoot a boy Taylor’s age from point blank range and saw a baby get its throat slit, at the order of a boy Taylor’s age, on Game of Thrones. Because it’s not TV.
With only 17 minutes left in the episode, Reese needs Finch to deus ex machina away the bullshit they’ve piled up and find where elusive, hard-to-track Elias is holding Taylor. Luckily, Finch is comfortable being the ghost in the machine and is on his way to drive this plot and “make a deal with the devil.” Reese hopes he’s not meeting with Elias (I can’t) but Finch tells him they know plenty of shady players. And a truly amusing moment happens accidentally as Finch hobbles past a billboard warning people in giant letters to get tested for HEP C. The more you know.
12:05:43 and Carter’s still mooning at the window so Fusco can ask her if she’s okay. She tells him that Elias took Taylor. Fusco still wants to know why by-the-book Carter won’t call for backup. Probably because she’s got a list of charges against her longer than Thelma and Louise. Oh silly me. She points out the two guys in the parking lot are vice cops and they’re on Elias’ payroll, not there to help. Fusco wants to know what they’re going to do, then, and she says wait and for Fusco to make sure they’re sealed in.
As he walks off Johnny Sack, who’s playing pool, says Carter should have been their driver and they wouldn’t have this problem. Carter says it wasn’t Fusco’s fault, but Johnny Sack asks if she’s sure. He exposits for Carter, and the new viewers who haven’t seen the pilot, about Fusco’s illegal activity before Reese killed Stills with Fusco’s gun. Carter is always more likely to believe a shady character instead of an honest one, so she’s giving Fusco, who’s “suspiciously” texting, the concerned side-eye when a cordial Canadian voice comes over the intercom saying “Hello, detective. I’ve come to talk it over in person.” Fusco has his gun drawn and Elias wants to know if she’s ready to pick the right side.
Finch walks into a diner and up to a booth. Simmons is eating lunch so Finch asks for a few minutes of his time. Simmons literally says “Who the hell are you?” because now the episode is just being written by a cliché generator and Finch smiles for no reason whatsoever.
A little later, Finch is sitting in the booth staring at Simmons who’s threatening to arrest him if he doesn’t tell Simmons who he is. Instead, Finch wants to talk about HR. He’s using his Riff Raff voice to tell Simmons that it has cooome to his attention that HRRR has recently received a lot of money to turn a blind eye to any criminal activity by a man called EE-li-aaaas. Simmons is pretty tightly wound on the best of days, so he gets crazy-eyed and wants to know HOW this came to Finch’s attention.
Finch obliques that he notices…things…things other people…ooover-looook. Why is he talking like that? What about Simmons says he likes to be hissed at? Simmons is reaching a slow boil and tells Finch he’s pretty observant, too, so Finch switches to a normal cadence to tell Simmons that while he may think Elias represents a return to a certain order he stands for something else as well. Then Finch hands Simmons Reese’s fancy, high-quality surveillance photos to tell Simmons the various mooks holding cell phones are Elias’ guys surveilling HR families.
Finch continues that Elias will go to any length to get what he wants, even kidnap children, and that Carter’s son Taylor is his most recent victim. Simmons is buying this without even questioning the validity of the photos, and Finch says he knows he’s risking his own safety but Simmons is placing his family in danger by doing business with Elias. Simmons sees Reese’s photo of his family with what looks like a tourist taking a picture with his camera phone, but the soundtrack and Finch remind us that the blurry guy is an ex-con.
Then Finch talks out of his ass, extrapolating that, again, low-key, just keep the wheels turning, methodical, Elias is keeping HR in check until his plan is finished. After that? Who knows if he’ll have any use for HR. Except, HR are corrupt cops who will always be of use to organized crime bosses. He may need collateral against them but killing cops or their families is a surefire way to cause trouble for himself.
Simmons asks how does he know Elias doesn’t work for Finch (huh?) and Finch says he doesn’t know that, but is he willing to “risk his family’s life on it?” Simmons asks what Finch wants. Finch wants him to give up Taylor’s location and sever all ties with Elias. Seriously? That’s some 12th dimension stupidity right there because wouldn’t that just trigger Elias’ retribution on the families? Or are they dirty by association?
20:54:32 and Elias’ men are planning to blow the door off the safe house. Elias, thoughtful as ever, tells Carter he’s not going to wait all night. She yells back to let Taylor go because he had nothing to do with this. Elias says he’d rather not hurt Taylor, but Carter needs to accept that no one’s coming to save her. As he has one of his goons start drilling through the door he rubs an ugly scar on his palm which leads us back to a 1991 flashback.
It’s just after midnight and two of Moretti’s goons have taken Shilias out to the woods. Shilias wants to know where Moretti is, but for real, kid. By 1991 he should have seen at least one mob movie where nothing good comes of being taken out to the woods. As they walk, the goons whine about what a pussy Moretti is about taking care of his own mistakes. Then one of the goons talks about DeLuca telling him about having to get rid of “the broad” back in the day and Shilias gets all sniffly.
Shilias says he was an idiot. One of the goons makes a joke but Shilias has pulled it together and goes into some jiu-jitsu koan mindfuck about how they think he’s weak so they’re strong because they outnumber him and what is their quest and he gets his strength from being alone and will destroy all of them. One of the goons has had enough and tells the other to shut him up. The second goon pulls out a garrote and tries to strangle Shilias but he gets his hands up inside the wire, saving himself but cutting his palms. He sees the first goon pull his gun so Shilias turns around and the gun-toting goon kills the garroting goon. Before the first goon can shoot Shilias, though, Shilias pulls the dead goon’s gun and shoots the first goon five times, with a cut and bleeding palm yet no kickback, killing him good and dead. I wonder if he’s the bird Charlie killed.
Finch and Reese get to where Elias is holding Moretti and Taylor. Finch, who’s been working with Reese for months now and knows how he operates, gets all scared, asking what Reese’s plan is. Reese doesn’t have one so brilliant, resourceful, cool, “just threatened Simmons” Finch gets all weak and apologizes for being of no use, then takes out a gun asking Reese to show him how to use it so he can cause a distraction. Where’s the guy from the pilot who was so soigné about the fact that they’ll likely both die doing this? Now he’s all “Please let me help you, Mr. Reese.” Blerg. Reese condescends to Finch, telling him like he’s talking to a child, that he can be the get-away driver. Please, shoot Reese.
Thank god, we’re back with Elias trying to blow the doors off the safe house. He stops his goon from drilling to give Carter one last chance to trade Taylor for the dons. She sees the bag of illegal military artillery Reese gave her and pulls out the big, butch gun…but she’s not Pam Grier or Sigourney Weaver and nearly knocks herself over loading the barrel. Heh.
Since the rest of the episode was a weak pastiche of scenes we’d already seen, Burn My Shadow by UNKLE starts up on the soundtrack and we’re back with Elias’ men holding Taylor and Moretti. There’s a knock on the door but when one of the goons looks through the small window, Reese shoots him through the door. Pity it didn’t bounce back and kneecap Reese. But no, it hits the goon in both kneecaps then Reese fires a third lethal shot. Then he stalks into the room like Zombie Reese, charging with his big gun looking for the goons. He gets into a cat & mouse game through the wine barrels with Scarface when a random goon comes up taking shots at Reese. Reese shoots him without looking, never confirming that Taylor wasn’t with him, since he hasn’t seen the kid yet. But remember, no innocent civilians.
Reese goes back to stalking Scarface. He comes around a corner and luckily Taylor is just standing there and Scarface’s stunt double decides it’s time for a fistfight. Why? Why not just shoot Reese who isn’t going to fire indiscriminately with Taylor standing right there. Oh, that’s right. Because everyone’s stupid this week. Scarface’s stunt double gets away so Reese grabs his gun in time for the second goon to sit up and start taking more shots in Reese AND TAYLOR’S direction. Reese doesn’t do dick to protect the kid he just starts firing away, finally killing the second goon.
Now he remembers that he was supposed to extract Taylor and walks back asking moonily if he’s okay. Dumbass. Taylor’s fine and just walks off with Reese. What? Oh, Reese said Carter sent him so sure. Why not? But wait, the idiocy isn’t over. Taylor and Reese walk into the outer room where Moretti wants to know if Reese is there to rescue or shoot him and Reese, all pleased with himself, chirpily says “Rescue.” Where’s a Preppy when you need him to gut shoot Reese again?
Back at the safe house, Fusco sees the HR cops leave. He goes to tell Carter who tells him to keep the dons back. For some reason, Fusco had his service revolver conveniently tucked into the back of his pants so Johnny Sack could lift it from him and tell Carter to let Elias in. He’s the one who tipped off Elias. Father Intintola gets all pissy and calls Johnny Sack a rat. They all act like this is a stand-off, but am I the only person who sees Fusco and Carter are wearing vests?
Carter tells Johnny Sack to drop Fusco’s gun but he won’t. This makes no sense except, ah, yes. Johnny Sack has to exposit some more about Fusco’s dirty past, calling him a survivor and asking if he’s going to choose the right side. Outside with Elias and now that Johnny Sack’s exposition is over, we hear gunshots from inside. They bust down the door and Johnny Sack’s dead. Carter is holding the highly illegal military weapon on Elias, telling him not to take another step. She warns him to have his goons put down their weapons and it ends there. Before she can figure out the logistics, patrol cars drive up. Fusco actually called backup, even though they’re both neck-deep in felonies. He tells her she needs to trust someone and not all cops are dirty.
Elias tells his goons to put down their weapons and as Fusco cuffs them, Carter puts on a big show saying “Carl EE-lias. YOU are under arrest. I’ll HAVE to check MY notes for a list of CHARGES. Murder and kidnapping are at the top.” Well, Carter, let me check my notes of charges you should be facing. Weapons possession and kidnapping are at the top, so be careful of your pedestal, it’s a little shaky.
Elias tells her she can’t stop the inevitable. Change will happen whether she embraces it or not. Father Intintola comes over to whine like a baby, but Carter gets a call. It’s Taylor, he’s safe, so her rash, illegal, dangerous actions that put her son’s life at risk are swept away and no longer her fault. Yay! Taylor, for his part, who was just a victim of kidnapping and watched two men get murdered in front of him, is all “Mom. That dude you sent was a bad ass, but who’s the guy with the glasses?” Because kidnapping is FUN! He asks where she is so she can mewl she’s safe and it’s all so saccharine.
07:28:20 and Carter’s meeting up with Taylor at a diner. They hug and Reese in his orthopedic shoes comes walking up. Why? Oh, so Carter can smurf about how “It’s good to know [he] keeps [his] promises.” Reese says he told her he’d never let anything happen to Taylor, but they’re both 40-something military veterans and she, apparently, lost her husband in battle. You’d think they’d be a little more circumspect about how capricious the world is and how easily Taylor could have and would have been dead if this were reality and not some ridiculous, ginned up, crap spewed by lazy writers.
Reese walks off and the music supervisor decides to incite an international cultural act of aggression when Nina Simone’s version of Ne Me Quitte Pas starts playing in the background. They wisely chose not to use Brel’s version because that would be a cultural act of war against Belgium and France, and we like our chocolate and wine.
As Nina begs her lover, in French, not to leave her and all the things she’ll do to make him stay…we see Elias get booked. Did no one bother to check the translation? Or did they think Americans don’t speak French and would assume it fit. Anyway, we see Elias printed and have his mug shot taken, then questioned by the booking officer. Elias tells us he was born on August 18, 1965, which is about four or five years too early to be the child in 1981 and that, even though he’s supposedly a native New Yorker, his SSN begins with a 3. All NY State SSN’s begin with 0. This shit is easy to check.
Nina continues to sing and the Morettis walk over to a car. Once they’re inside they get a call on a cell. It’s not to either of their personal phones so Father Intintola looks around until he finds an envelope with the phone. Now, you’d think these mob bosses would have gotten out of the car when they saw that envelope, but no. They sit there and answer it. It’s Elias and the old man pulls out the photo of Marlene’s dead body. He wonders if this is supposed to intimidate him but Elias says he just wanted to say goodbye and wishes he could have been there. The Morettis kind of derp-stare at each other until the car explodes. Elias hears the explosion as Scarface watches the car blow. With their work done, Elias goes into his cell and hands back the phone to the guard, smiling the creepiest, cherubic smile Enrico Colantoni can muster.
And that’s it. I think I’ve expressed why this episode made me want to hurl, so now it’s your turn. Let me know what you think.
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