Opening credits has Finch explaining both The Machine and the basic premise of Person of Interest but even Finch is at a loss to explain how Oscar-Nominated© Taraji P. Henson fits into this whole thing so they just switch back to more pretty pictures of Jim Caviezel.
Surveillance footage leads us into an elevator bay at 22:17:35 (If they’re on the 24-hour clock then so are you.) and picks up a guy getting on an elevator holding a bouquet of lilies and making dinner plans on his cell phone. He doesn’t notice the two goons behind. As the doors are closing a familiarly handsome man with great hair slips on to the elevator at the last second. Well hello, Reese. Fancy seeing you here.
Reese starts chatting with flower guy and isn’t even pretending he doesn’t know everything about him. He starts out friendly,but quickly cuts to the creepy by knowing the guy’s name (Bill) his wife’s favorite flowers (not lilies) and that Bill’s having an affair. The goons are listening and share a pissed-offedly furtive glance when Reese lays down the whammy and says that some women would just dump their lying, cheating husbands, but some hire goons to take out an elevator surveillance system and make it look like a robbery gone bad. D’oh. Bill’s getting it just in time for the goons and Reese to have a shoot out in the elevator. But it’s two against Reese so by the time the elevator reaches the parking garage he’s kneecapped them both and advises Bill to call the police and a good divorce lawyer. RIMSHOT! He’s here all week, ladies and gentlemen.
Kneecap count: 2
That was a short episode, and no Finch? Psych. That was just the amuse bouche case. The real one starts a half hour later at a pay phone (They still exist?) in midtown. Some guy knows to be there at 22:45:03, probably because it was in the script, and gets a call that he’s being hired for a high priority job at triple his usual fee. Is this, like, Bait Car?
Anyway, when the guy asks for the name we cut to different surveillance footage to see Reese practicing his poses for that Flaunt cover shoot he has coming up. My mistake. He’s calling Finch and watching him, incognito in his new Burn Notice sunglasses, from across the street. Because it’s not like Finch is this crazy, rich, paranoid guy. If nothing else, the dye job and hipsterburns should let Reese know that Finch’s crazy should not be trifled with.
Damn, I look good.
They make small talk about the case from the night before and how Reese should get some rest because there’s a new case that’s a little unusual and just as Reese thinks he’s going to sneak up on Finch, Finch has disappeared down some street and informs Reese that they will meet on HIS schedule. The Patsy Stone biiiitch at the end of the sentence was only implied.
Oscar-Nominated© Taraji P. Henson as Carter is here for one of her contractually obligated scenes where, despite being a homicide detective, she moseys on down to the scene where Reese kneecapped those goons. She’s greeted by Mikey Palmice who’s moonlighting as a cop now that The Sopranos is off the air. He gets meta and asks her what she’s doing there, but even she doesn’t know and claims it’s part of an “ongoing investigation.” Mikey Palmice tells her it was a botched murder plot and that the shooter was…Carter shows off her Oscar-Nominated© chops by finishing with “…some guy in a suit.” Impressive, Oscar-Nominated© Taraji P. Henson!
Dividing 231 by 17
Reese and Finch are walking into a cemetery while the director deploys some subtle forced perspective by making Finch walk about 5 feet in front of Reese so we don’t notice just how wee tiny Finch is. Finch informs Reese that this week’s number is Theresa Whitaker, a 15-year-old girl with no real criminal record. Reese doubts that and asks where he can find her. Here. They’re at her family’s grave because she was supposedly killed two years earlier. On that bombshell, we lead out into commercials.
And lead back with a shot of The Machine’s server, zeroing in on one blinking drive. It jump-cuts to surveillance footage but the timeline cuts back to June 10, 2002 as a man walks into a building. It’s tall, handsome Brett Cullen and his great head of hair aka Goodwin from Lost aka another nugget to keep all the Lost conspiracy theorists pointing to clues that Finch is really Ben!!!
Casting Brett Cullen was TOTALLY coincidental and not meant to make any Lost parallels.
Brett sashays into some unfinished office space and over to a healthy Finch running on a treadmill in the very early morning hours. Brett’s a pro and delivers his exposition like it’s real dialogue, letting us know that he and Finch have some arrangement where Finch pays Brett to be their partnership’s public face and literally reap the rewards while Finch holes himself up with their “Orwellian nightmare.” Because we may have forgotten the 1984 parallels since last week.
Then they exposit and re-explain The Machine and Brett makes a joke at Finch’s expense. Finch is not amused, but Brett’s a big guy from Texas so Finch lets it go. Brett sees the map of Manhattan pulsating like it’s covered with ants and asks Finch who the ants represent. Finch pleasantly says “Everyone.”
The dye job was PRODUCTIONS idea.
Surveillance footage brings us back to the present and Reese and Finch meet at a marina. It’s the last place Theresa Whitaker was seen alive because her father, who was a real estate developer and deeply in debt, took the family out for a ride and allegedly killed them before killing himself. Everyone but Theresa was recovered and as I’ve learned after watching All My Children for years, no body means the person’s still alive. Even if he drove his motorcycle off a Philadelphia area cliff.
Philadelphia cliffs: One reason I’ll miss All My Children
Finch is certain that The Machine is never wrong and she’s alive but Reese still has doubts because a child that age would have reached out by this point. Finch, still believing in the all-seeing, all-knowing Machine says that if she’s still alive she won’t be for very long, leading Reese to decide he needs the police file from his “friend in the department.”
And he’s down at the station harassing Fusco, whose first name is Lionel which should be enough harassment. Fusco’s cranky and wants to know how Reese managed to get back there and Reese flashes Stills’ badge and reminds Fusco that he killed Stills with Fusco’s gun. Reese tells Fusco that he needs a file and Fusco, still proving that natural selection isn’t fool proof, argues that he’ll pull that file when Reese gets his IAD file pulled because they think he’s dirty. Reese reminds him that he is dirty and that he couldn’t give less of a rat’s ass about Fusco’s problems, he just wants Theresa Whitaker’s file.
Over at Finch’s lair, Reese is watching news reports on the murders and expositing about how it was a professional hit made to look like a murder/suicide and some forensic mumbo jumbo because that’s how he would do it, and all said like he’as explaining TPS reports, but he can’t figure out why Theresa wasn’t killed or shown up by now. Finch says he has a current address on Theresa’s aunt and uncle and Reese says he has another lead, an older boy named Deacon Page who Theresa hung out with, vandalizing public property. With two distinct leads and limited time Reese asks Finch for some help and Finch’s pinched face says he’ll help but he won’t like it.
You use this word “help.” What exactly do you mean?
Finch heads out to Brooklyn Heights to visit the aunt and uncle, pretending he’s an insurance adjuster there to discuss Grant Whitaker’s life insurance policy. The aunt, Elizabeth, gets weepy as she exposits that she divorced the uncle, Derek, a year ago, that he never came out of his funk, she doesn’t have any current contact information for him, that they never had any children but that she loved Theresa like her own daughter. Then she says “You can’t pick your parents.” Finch looks startled, but I’ve accepted he always looks like that.
Another contractually obligated Carter scene and she’s sitting in the police station generating evidence for Reese’s police harassment case, whining about the eight redacted files. A day player wanders into the scene with a missing person file from 2007 that also links to the “trigger happy hobo” but it’s been redacted, too. Carter huffs while the day player tells her the case is hopeless.
Joey Tribbiani calls this expression: What will I have for lunch?
Finch calls Reese to tell him the aunt’s clean but the uncle’s MIA because they only have old cell phone number that he isn’t answering. Reese is at Washington Square Park. He sees Deacon and hangs up. Fearing he might be too conspicuous, Reese decides the best way not to attract attention is to walk into the middle of the plaza and slap a cell phone out of a skate punk’s hand in front of 100 people. Reese picks up the cell phone and the slight whirring sound indicates he’s doing another surveillance sync. Meanwhile, Deacon gets all hard until Reese flashes Stills’ badge, still in plain sight of about 100 other people, and tells him it’s a $200 fine for skateboarding in a park. Ooh scary, Reese. Anyway, he asks Deacon if he’s seen Theresa recently and Deacon’s like “Asshole, she’s dead.” Reese is like “Maybe not,” but he was just stalling to finish the sync and gives Deacon his phone so he can skate off.
Moments later Reese intercepts a message from Deacon to “T” to back off because they’ve been marked by NYPD. Reese starts running around the park looking for Theresa and the only person less incognito than tall, handsome, well-dressed Reese is twitchy teen-aged Theresa in a hooded jacket at the ATM, looking furtively around hoping not to be spotted. Too late. Reese starts chasing her down the street, and even though she’s on a skateboard she’s also down by NYU and the congested sidewalks give Reese enough time to catch up with her, except, Damn…little girl’s got a box cutter and slices Reese’s hand. She skates off and crosses the street just before a van blocks it so Reese has to wait until after the commercials to catch up with her.
Theresa’s totally blending into her surroundings.
Back from break and Finch is walking down the street to his office. He’s carrying a briefcase and is greeted warmly by a tall blonde woman who calls him “Harold” and less warmly by a dick named Dave who Lumberghs to “Harold” that he needs that database coded a little faster and that “Harold” needs to keep up with his work and all that’s missing is the coffee mug and the “Yeah”. “Harold” meekly says he’ll see what he can do and turns into his cubicle…
To see Reese, sitting there holding “Harold’s” Software Engineer of the Month plaque and totally fitting in. But office drones don’t have unlimited funds or a security detail so Reese continues that he checked into the company’s HR files and “Harold’s” been there 17 years and has only been promoted twice, so how many people know he owns the company. Duh, none. Finch exposits that “Harold” lets him hide in plain sight. Reese continues to needle Finch about what would happen if he steps over a line and Finch informs him that the department would be overhauled, some reassigned, some promoted, and some, then a cut to Dave, would be fired. Heh.
Yee-eaah, I’m gonna need you to come in this weekend…
Reese is sufficiently amused and exposits that Theresa’s alive and fine and stealing account numbers and PINs from ATMs and carrying a box cutter in case random stranger start chasing her. Even tall, handsome well-dressed ones. Finch and Reese discuss how Derek’s in as much debt as Grant was and detail what’s going to happen in the middle part of the episode, but I’ll get to that when the action does. Reese leaves to go see a dirty cop about hiring a hit man and the tall blonde makes a beeline to ask “Harold” who his friend is. For once, Finch actually IS startled and his face suggests that Reese may have overstepped a line and drawn too much attention to them. Damn your Jim Caviezel cheekbones, Reese!
We’re outside Junior’s Café and Fusco is now Reese’s bitch, driving him around while feeding him information, in this case that the bartender, one of Fusco’s CI’s, is also a “fixer” which is kind of a placement agency for killers since he has a piece of almost every contract killing in the city. Reese starts to get out of the car but Fusco warns him they’re not just going to talk to just anyone who walks in the bar. Reese smarms about how “touched” he is that Fusco cares, but considering he gets bum rushed out three seconds after he walks in, maybe he should have rethought his plan.
I still look good, even in a trash pile.
Not one to be deterred, Reese brushes himself off, makes eyes at Fusco and walks back into the bar. Fusco’s all “The hell?” but after some brief, off-camera violence Reese walks out of the bar unscathed, save for some mussed up hair, while the guys in the bar are all writhing on the floor. He gets back into Fusco’s car and tells him he’s got a name so drive on, Jeeves. Oddly, though, Reese doesn’t have his usual smirk of satisfaction after some good, old ultra-violence.
Since we didn’t get to actually see him get the name, Reese calls Finch to tell him the killer’s a guy named Solnick, and now his mood makes sense. Solnick’s in prison for some other contract killing, so clearly he’s not the one chasing Theresa. Reese is at the prison to question Solnick. Solnick’s all “Who are you? My new lawyer?” and Reese is all “No, I want to talk about you killing that family and dumping them in the Bowery Bay.” Solnick makes a face to leave but Reese keeps talking, mentioning other killings Solnick might want to discuss, like a gang leader’s brother he killed in jail. Solnick starts remembering the family and admits he didn’t kill the girl because he doesn’t kill kids, at least the first time he’s hired, because he told her if she ever surfaced he’d finish the job. Reese wants to know who hired him, but I think secrecy is part of the contract’s package.
Oh yeah…those murders. Slipped my mind for a moment.
Turns out that being a child killer doesn’t earn you kudos in prison and Reese actually says that Solnick has been “defending his honor” HA! but Finch makes me stop laughing when it makes sense that word probably got out that Theresa’s still alive. Screw you, Finch. I like laughing at bad dialogue. They jabber briefly about why someone is interested in Theresa so Finch can pull up information about Whitaker’s real estate investments and it turns out that Whitaker had invested in a couple of pieces of land with a holding company called Landale. Reese is on his way.
Surveillance footage takes us back to Washington Square Park and Deacon is still hanging around being a ne’er do well when That Guy from the pay phone pushes him around briefly then they both walk off. Hmmm.
Hey! It’s that guy!
Over at Landale, Reese is hanging out on a fire escape across the street while Finch fills him in that the principal is a guy named Calhoun. Reese wonders why Calhoun would need so much security when he sees Uncle Derek walk into the offices. No time to figure that one out, though. Theresa’s trying to sell the account numbers and Finch has a location on her. 89th and West End. Get cracking, Reese.
He finds her in a laundromat and tries to befriend her but she’s understandably skittish since tall, handsome, well-dressed strangers aren’t usually good news for street kids. He keeps coming at her, telling her he knows what happened to her family but she’s all, “Bitch, come closer and I’ll make you look even more like Eric Roberts and cut off your other thumb.” He tells her the killer is in jail and he won’t let anything happen to her. She starts to let down her guard but That Guy shows up and tells Reese he shouldn’t lie to kids as he pulls a gun on Reese.
I will be your father figure, put your tiny hand in mine…
This kicks Reese’s super ninja covert ops fighting skills into action and within seconds he’s disarmed the guy but That Guy has his own super ninja hit man skills and fights back. They tussle and Reese gets some telegenic facial injuries but finally That Guy just throws Reese through the plate glass window. That Guy gets his gun and is about to shoot Theresa but hesitates long enough for Reese to shoot him twice. Theresa runs off and Reese follows her but the camera stays on That Guy because he’s a super ninja hit man and remembered to wear his bullet-proof vest.
Reese catches up with Theresa and asks if she trusts him now, what with him getting almost killed for her, but she’s still a smart street kid and says “I don’t even know you.” Because it’s always a good idea for a 15-year-old girl not to immediately trust a 40-year-old man. The more you know.
Not dead, yet.
Except we’re only 2/3 of the way through the show so she trusts him and he takes her back to his hotel where there’s a $50 cheeseburger waiting for her. She’s looking around for Chris Hansen, but Reese just wants to ask her about why anyone would want her family dead and if it has anything to do with Uncle Derek. She says she doesn’t trust him because her father said it was Derek’s fault. Before she can elaborate someone knocks on the door. Reese draws his gun but it’s just Finch who looks at Theresa awkwardly but remembers his manners and says hello. Reese introduces her to “Harold” who will be staying with her. Reese lets Finch know he booked the whole floor and Theresa starts nibbling on a fry. Seeing her so close to cutlery causes a flashback and Reese grabs the knife and then the fork and the look on her face just says “Pussy.”
Reese tells her she needs to stay put with “Harold” and then the men discuss, within earshot of Theresa but let’s pretend she can’t hear, that Derek’s cell phone GPS is active but he’s not answering. Reese says he’s going to find out why Landale’s still after Theresa and Finch says in a creepy, nasally, ironically monotone whine, “Don’t dawdle.” Heh.
“Miss you.” “Miss you more.”
Derek comes out of a bar that is firmly planted in 1995, the last time he felt like a real man. He gets a call from his dead brother Grant. I’m sure Reese explained at some point how he got Grant’s phone, but there’s a lot of detail in this show and it flew over my head. Derek’s all “Wait, what, is it really 1995?” but Reese steps out immediately and they drive off in Derek’s truck.
Meanwhile, out in Brooklyn Heights, Elizabeth is on the phone trying to reach Derek, which is convenient because That Guy is now putting a trace on her landline in the event that Theresa calls Aunt Elizabeth, even though she hasn’t tried in the past two years.
Wow, that is a smart phone.
Back with Reese and Derek, and maybe they really were in 1995 because it’s six in the morning and it took them all night to drive from Brooklyn down to the Roosevelt Island Harbor. Reese throws Derek into the mud and asks if he remembers the place where his brother and his family were dumped. Then he questions Derek about the Greenpoint deal and that since Grant died without a will the land went into probate and goes to Derek. Derek weasels that he was helping Grant by bringing in Landale to buy the remaining parcels but they were dirty and when an oil spill rendered the land worthless they killed the family to recoup their losses.
And according to Derek the government finally cleaned up the land and now it’s worth 50 times what they paid for it. Meaning, Landale wants to take Theresa out because she’s the legal heir to her father’s holdings. Derek’s all “What, Theresa’s dead?” and Reese refrains from shoving his face back in the mud.
Finch tries to bond with Theresa over what a lovely person Aunt Elizabeth is and how lucky Theresa is to have someone out there who still loves her. Theresa’s a tough nut to crack, watching your family get killed and living on the streets will do that to a kid, so he tells her he knows what it’s like to lose someone and to want to disappear, but that you shouldn’t leave anyone behind. *sniffle*
I feel a meaningful flashback coming on.
Surveillance footage zeros in on Finch standing by a window and then it takes us back to 2007. Finch walks into the office where The Machine is located. It’s a bigger, more elaborate set up and Finch sees Brett sitting at a console with images of several average people on the different monitors. Brett’s discovered that there are countless possible crimes that The Machine pinged but no one acted. He asks Finch when Finch was going to tell him and Finch is like “Well, never.” Brett bristles at the idea that potential violent crimes are deemed “irrelevant” and they rehash how the lists work, again, only this time they get into the moral implications of whether or not the intelligence gathered by The Machine, which had foiled 6 major terrorists plots, is more valuable than funneling the “irrelevant” intel down to NYPD and risking the whole operation getting shut down for that whole civil rights violations thing. Brett’s still having difficulty reconciling the dilemma, but Finch has reached an uneasy peace telling Brett that they didn’t build the machine “to save somebody” and at that moment we see Reese’s girlfriend Jessica, “they built it to save everybody.” Sadness!
Surveillance footage takes us out to Derek’s place in Brooklyn. He walks into the house and sees That Guy sitting in his living room asking where “the girl” is. Derek’s all FML.
Reese is back on his fire escape watching the Landale offices and expositing to Finch about how rich Theresa is and that’s why Calhoun wants to kill her. While they’re chatting, Theresa takes advantage of the fact that Finch has his back turned to make a run for it. Reese tells Finch that Calhoun’s leaving and Finch notices that Theresa’s already gone.
Finch hobbles into the hallway as quickly as he can but he wouldn’t be much of a match for a 15-year-old if he were at peak physical condition but with that limp he’s pretty much at her mercy. He asks her where she’s going but she just offers that she’s better off alone. He uses Reese’s magic words and tells her she’ll eventually have to trust someone, and she relents.
Come back…Reese scares me.
Uncle Derek’s not as lucky since That Guy has him at gunpoint asking where “the girl” is. Uncle Derek first begs for his life but when he realizes that’s not working he tells That Guy to kiss his ass. The silenced gunshot overlays surveillance footage which takes us to the Greenpoint property where Reese is watching Calhoun discussing selling the property back to the city. Isn’t that a plot point on Boardwalk Empire?
Because she hasn’t met her total time quota, Carter shows up in Brooklyn to investigate Derek’s murder, because she’s the only homicide detective in NYC. At least on CBS. She’d have more back up if she were on NBC. Anyway, the day player hands her the photo of Theresa and she obviouses that they have to find out who the girl is.
Contractually obligated screen cap of Oscar-Nominated© Taraji P. Henson
Theresa’s finally getting lonely and tired enough to call her Aunt Elizabeth just to hear her voice and to give That Guy time to get a trace on the phone Theresa used, which was the room phone (not really, but go with it) from her hotel. Convenient!
Calhoun is being driven back to the office when That Guy texts him “package lost and found,” meaning he knows where Theresa is. This makes Calhoun very happy with himself until he sees a red Mack truck barreling down on his town car and not braking. Reese jumps down from the cab and with his Michael Westen glasses tells Calhoun, who somehow managed to have at worst minor injuries, to call off the hit, but Calhoun tells him it’s too late.
That’s not good.
Reese calls Finch to warn them that That Guy’s coming and to leave. But Finch isn’t going to get any faster on foot and by the time they reach the elevator bay That Guy’s already on his way up. They run back to their room and Finch watches him through the peephole, which conveniently can see the fuse box, because That Guy’s there and taking out the hall lights to see which room is lit. Theresa runs around shutting off the light and Finch sees that their adjoining room still has one on. He closes one of the doors between the rooms and they hide, waiting for him. That Guy busts into the room with the light and Finch hatches a plan I still haven’t figured out logistically, but when we go back to That Guy, he busts down the door where he thinks he hears them talking but they’re in the hallway calling the room phone from Theresa’s cell.
But Finch is still lame and they don’t get very far before he catches up with them in a service hallway. Theresa jams the handle with a piece of wood and blocks the door with a laundry cart, but That Guy’s not far off. Finch tells her to leave out the fire escape but Theresa wants to stay and protect Finch with her box cutter. That Guy breaks through quickly, has his gun aimed at Finch and Theresa and hesitates just long enough for a bullet to come whizzing into frame hitting him in the knee! Yay! Reese and his signature to the rescue!
Kneecap count: 3
Finally, Carter gets a scene that’s germane to the action as she gets a call from Reese. She asks who it is because it’s not like she’s been stalking him this whole time, so he just says “You know who it is,” and tells her to meet him. Despite his setting up the meeting, Carter shantays her way into the park, wearing her best equestrienne realness riding pants and boots and her service pistol out in the open for anyone to just lift it off of her, and making sure she obviouses exactly where her back up officers are, in case there’s one guy in a suit that Reese doesn’t spot.
She’s looking around the meeting area that Reese set up looking for Reese, even though she hasn’t a clue in hell what he looks like, and instead of Reese it’s Theresa waiting for her. Haha, he played you like a fiddle, Carter. Theresa asks if she’s Carter and when she says yes, Theresa rubs salt in Carter’s wounds by saying her “friend” said she could trust Carter. Finch and Reese are watching from a short distance away down the street, and even though Reese gave his jacket to Theresa, he’s still not blending into his environment. Maybe he should go back to the Passion of the Christ wig.
While Carter takes Theresa down to the station Fusco gets the Calhoun arrest. Ha! Carter tries to get Theresa to rat out THE TWO GUYS WHO SAVED HER LIFE but Theresa’s all “I was traumatized and don’t remember anything,” like she’s Sammi and Ronnie just broke her glasses. Even Carter can figure out that this isn’t a lead that’s going to pan out and backs off just in time for Aunt Elizabeth to arrive to take Theresa home. Aunt and niece share a genuinely emotional hug. Aww.
Reese visits his good friend “Harold” at work only to see his cubicle completely cleaned out. The tall blonde pops up asking if she can help him, but he just wants to know where “Harold” is. No one in the department knows, he just disappeared and they heard he was transferred or laid off, but he didn’t even say goodbye. As she walks off, Reese gets a call from Finch. Reese isn’t taking it too personally that Finch would rather run away like a chicken than give up even a tiny piece of personal information and jokes that he thought they were “getting close.” Finch is all “Whatever, whatever, back off and don’t call me, I’ll call you.” And while he has the resources to make good on that veiled threat, his perpetually startled expression implies that he has a sinking feeling that he’s evenly matched by Reese.
As he dumps his personal belongings and walks out the door we see a bust of Brett that says “The Founder, In Loving Memory, 1962-2010.”
So, question for this week: Does Finch and/or Brett have a relationship with Jessica and is that why Finch found Reese? Any thoughts?
And for those drinking at home, a correction to the minicap: Reese kneecapped three people meaning drink three shots or a whole beer!