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Surveillance footage lets us know it’s midday in New York and a young woman’s sad voice tells us every time she closes her eyes she sees him. That he won’t stop and maybe she’s already dead. Frowny face. What happened to cold opens where Reese kneecaps guys in elevators? This segues into a hospital emergency room and Lindsay Weir is now Dr. Lindsay doing the Aaron Sorkin© tracking shot. She’s directed to Exam Room 4 because the guy has been waiting for three hours. That is one patient New Yorker. Wonder who it could be?
Oh, it’s Finch. He needs a refill on his pain medication while his regular doctor is “playing golf in the Caymans” but he’s Finch and she’s Linda Cardellini, so obvs, she’s this week’s person of interest and he’s not there for his back pain. She introduces herself as Dr. Tillman and during the course of the exam we see that Finch has six screws in his neck as he confirms he had spinal fusion surgery in the last year or two. She suggests other treatments for chronic pain and asks how he was injured. But we got our dollop of Finch back story so he begs off and asks if she’ll just prescribe him the pain medication, like he’s Brett Favre. She briefly hesitates but acquiesces because of his good manners and while she has her back turned Finch switches her pager for a cloned one. Since he isn’t Favre, she gives him a three-day prescription and leaves. Finch randomly plays with the hospital security camera, turning it around so he’s looking directly at it. What?
Way to stay “covert” Finch.
With that out of the way, it’s time for Finch to exposit her back story. They’re talking on their cells even though Reese is in the hospital, too. While they chat, Reese is staring down Dr. Tillman and wearing his natty suits again. Because the one thing that doesn’t draw attention in a hospital is a tall, handsome, well-dressed man in a crisp white shirt with no blood stains. We learn that Megan Tillman graduated at the top of her Columbia University Medical School class and hasn’t missed one day of work during her residency. She practically has a halo.
As she steps out for some lunch from a food truck, Reese oh so casually follows her and Finch continues to inform us of how ambitious, hard-working and solitary she is. While she stands in line, Reese spies a pinched-faced dandy hovering over her shoulder. They bump into each other and as Tillman walks off the dandy watches her and looks like Brundlefly’s creepier cousin.
Brundlefly’s a banker.
It’s 22:08:00 and Reese and Finch are still expositing about how normal Tillman is as she leaves work and I know Manhattan can produce coma-inducing sensory overload but, come on, show. Put Caviezel in crowds when he’s stalking women at 22:08, or at least dress him in his bum costume. A co-worker asks her for drinks after work, but she says no, she needs some sleep. Reese determines that determining why someone as ordinary as Tillman would be a person of interest will require round-the-clock surveillance and Finch tells Reese that if he wants a raise all he has to do is ask. Aww, Finch is finally picking up on all of Reese’s not-at-all subtle flirting and is flirting back.
Reese once again finds the most convenient place in the city to take pictures of the good doctor in her bathroom, and Caviezel or not that’s creepier than blinking cameras, when he notices she’s getting ready to go out instead of to bed. When did this become a Lifetime Movie? Will Veronica Hamel play her mother?
Mother May I Sleep With Danger?
Sorry. It’s Night at the Roxbury and Tillman’s alone at the bar when Reese finally finds a place where he blends in. Some extra slithers up next to her and she walks off telling him to watch where he puts his hands. Seriously, dude. Lindsay is not afraid to egg her own brother. The extra leans back and Reese tells Finch he thinks he sees a gun holster under the guy’s jacket. Surveillance footage follows the extra and it’s 1:40 in the morning. Have they been on the phone for 13 hours?
Reese follows the extra into the men’s room and when he starts pushing the guy around to get his gun the extra starts whining “Please, please. Not my face.” We’ve seen your face. Protect something else. Turns out it was a cell phone holster, which is just embarrassing for all around and Reese walks off…and were they in the ladies’ room? Because when Reese comes out of the vestibule, there’s a big W behind his head. Continuity is your friend, producers.
Continuity’s your friend.
Tillman is on the move and walking through a group, including the dandy from earlier who does a Tex Avery eye bug when she walks past. Smooth. Reese recognizes him from earlier and knocks one of the dandy’s friends into him so Reese can lift his wallet. Which branch of the military has pickpocket training? Fishing through his wallet, Reese tells us his name is Andrew Benton and he’s carrying Benzodiazepine, roofies, the date rape drug, black gold, Texas tea. With that tenuous connection made, Reese sees a pretty, young woman a creepy man and assumes she’s the victim.
Most guys just carry condoms.
Reese heads over to the library where they catch us up that Tillman left the club at 3:30 and was back at work before sunrise where, other than getting a cup of coffee, she’s been going non-stop ever since, but it’s only been an hour and a half since her shift started at 6:00 and it’s 7:22:11 according to surveillance footage. Reese continues that she’s been out every night, and it IS a Lifetime Movie. Will Kellie Martin be her best friend?
Reese hands Finch Benton’s driver’s license so they can exposit over footage of the dandy that he’s Andrew William Benton, investment banker, Patrick Bateman wannabe, and all around creep who’s had a series of accusations against him for stalking, harassment and sexual assault but no formal charges filed. Reese determines that he’s a classic sexual predator and Tillman is his next victim, but nothing in Benton’s file indicates murder.
Doesn’t stop him from pursuing this lead, and we’re in Benton’s loft, bedecked in monogrammed pillows, faux-Warhol portraits and a painting of a Benton family crest with artful paint drips. This guy deserves to die solely for his criminally bad taste. Even Reese agrees, joking that “he likes to mark his territory,” and Reese likely smelled of urine and cheap liquor four episodes ago, so it’s not like he’s an arbiter of good taste. As he’s downloading Benton’s computer files he strolls around the apartment and notices the Target coffee and sugar canisters on the serving island. He notes for our vision impaired viewers that there’s no coffee maker because Andrew keeps his cocaine in that canister. With the clear lid and in plain view. He must trust his friends. With Benton’s personal files downloaded, Reese leaves.
It’s 12:40:51 and someone’s watching last week’s episode at work. It’s Carter, because why close any of her 14 active cases when she can stalk Reese. She’s watching the surveillance footage from the Center Street ROBBERY (not homicide, her department) and when Detective Day Player asks if her “ex-CIA guy is in it,” she says he’s the star. Det. Day Player points out the flaw in the writing and asks how she knows it’s him since he’s wearing a ski mask. No one bothered to work that out in the writer’s room so she blows him off with an “I just do.” That’s some quality forensic work right there and will totally hold up in court.
Then she shows Det. Day Player a one second, grainy, silent clip where one guy has his back turned and the other’s face is barely visible and they never make eye contact, and has determined that they had “an exchange.” Humoring her Det. Day Player asks if she has an address on “the little guy” and she does, saying he’s a paralegal named Burdett. Good, now use those skills to close one of your open cases, Carter.
Thankfully, we’re back at the library. Reese and Finch sift through Benton’s files and there’s a ton of photos of him with different women on dates, but none are Tillman and there’s nothing on his computer that would indicate any connection. Still, pretty girl/creepy guy means girl is victim, so Reese thinks he’s just careful. Finch says he hasn’t always been and pulls up a campus police report that’s been expunged. They need access to the unredacted file and Reese knows just the dirty cop to do it.
FoIA at work.
Finch gets up on his moral high horse, again, forgetting that he built an Orwellian nightmare and really shouldn’t be pointing fingers, but makes a valid point that Fusco can’t really be trusted since he already tried to kill Reese. Reese is all “P’shaw, Fusco will stay in line and the less you know why the better.” Finch tells him Fusco’s a nice pet to keep, like a Rottweiler, but as Reese walks off, ignoring the giant anvil over his head, Finch says he will eventually come back to bite Reese.
Fusco’s playing street hockey with his kid when the ball conveniently goes astray. Away from the kid, three drug dealers from the casting agency “Stereotypes R Us” come walking up to talk to Fusco. Seems that Fusco’s group of dirty cops stole drugs and with all the other cops dead or in jail, Fusco’s the one on the hook for the million dollars. He’s got two days to bring them the money. Sucks to be Fusco.
Stereotypes R Us
Back at the Roxbury and Reese, realizing he was actually blending in switched into a rain coat. He’s watching Tillman at the bar. Benton finally shows up to set this story in motion as he takes the empty seat next to Tillman and orders a martini. Of course he does. Then he throws down some Mystery negs and he’s in. She introduces herself as “Kate” but he introduces himself as Andrew and Reese clues in that maybe she’s not the victim. Tillman says she wants some fresh air and Benton joins her. Reese manages to keep a reasonable distance but he’s still creeping around and they’re the only three people on the street.
Benton “casually” asks her where she wants to go and she’s all “Lala, I don’t know where do you want to go,” so he suggests a “place around the corner, full bar, comfy bed,” and while he’s leaving a slime trail she manages to get away with an “I have to work early in the morning,” and he takes no for an answer. They go their separate ways and even though it’s 3:06:13, Reese is following Tillman from 10 feet behind. Because it’s not like they’re the only two people on the street at that hour.
Tillman proves adept at finding those conveniently empty places and leads Reese to a parking structure facing Benton’s loft. He sees Tillman take out a camera and record Benton keying in the code on his security system. D’oh. Foiled by gender stereotypes again!
Damn you, gender assumptions!
Surveillance footage takes us to 8:27:18 the next morning and the sad young woman’s voice over continues saying she knows it was her fault and she tries to put it out of her head but can’t. This leads us to a park and Fusco holding a police file, acting jumpy, ready to shoot a jogger who accidentally bumps him. While twitching around he doesn’t see Reese sneak up. Guy’s like a cat. Fusco points out that it’s not a good idea to sneak up on him now that he has the Torreros after him. Reese, of course, is familiar with the Mexican cartel but doesn’t care about Fusco’s woes, he just wants Andrew Benton’s college police report.
Fusco still thinks he has some leverage and he wants Reese to take out the Torreros in exchange for the report. Reese doesn’t take kindly to Fusco giving orders and tells Fusco he’ll find another dirty cop to do his bidding on the force if Fusco becomes too much bother and he’ll take the report now. Fusco remembers he’s been set up for Stills’ murder and has no leverage, so he hands over the file but fails to mention the anvil hanging over Reese’s head.
Don’t trip on that anvil, Reese.
Down at the library, we find out why Tillman is stalking Benton. In 1996, he roofied and sexually assaulted her sister Gabrielle at a frat party. He was never charged because she waited two days to report the assault and since the tox screen was clean and the rape kit inconclusive the charges were dropped. A year later Gabrielle killed herself with a drug overdose. Tillman’s this week’s person of interest because she wants to kill Benton to avenge her sister’s death. Reese over-identifies with Tillman and says that if she kills Benton it will destroy her.
Phew, Carter’s here to give us something to mock. And not just her riding pants and boots from two episodes ago. She’s at a lovely brownstone and it’s Finch’s, only he’s calling himself “Burdett” and wearing his wire-rimmed glasses from the pilot. He lets her in and her face says what the whole audience thought which is, how the hell does a paralegal afford a brownstone in Manhattan? But she doesn’t say that.
What…is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Carter asks about the robbery but when “Burdett” says no one spoke to him she starts harassing him, based on nothing but grainy, silent footage, and says it “looked” like one of the men spoke to him. He gives her a song and dance about being terrified and pleading for his life, but Carter is bad at her job and keeps hectoring Finch, even though he was just a witness. She flashes her service pistol while retrieving a business card and promises she will catch Reese, but she still has 14 other active cases.
It’s 19:26:30 as an SUV comes driving down a seedy street and a middle-aged guy starts talking to a hooker from the Stereotypes R Us casting agency. Reese is loitering nearby when his phone rings and Finch just launches into questions about Tillman. Who’s working. Reese lets Finch know he’s on a side project and wonders why “Harold’s” worried as he photographs the guy in the SUV.
Finch lets Reese know that he met with Carter to find out what she knows about the robbery, calls her fixated and actually thinks that someone with 37 open cases will catch Reese soon. Finch thinks Reese needs a plan when she does. For a genius he can be pretty dumb sometimes. Reese takes a few more pictures and tells Finch he’s making a new friend on the force to take care of their Fusco and Carter problem. Then he pretends he has to hang up to go stalk Tillman, like they don’t talk on the phone like 12-year-old girls.
I’m sure this will end well for the guy in the car.
Reese slips into a survivor’s support group meeting already in progress and a woman is talking about her sexual assault. Reese is stone-faced and watching Tillman as she becomes more and more emotional before she finally bolts, with Reese following close behind. Poor day player recounting her assault can’t get any respect.
Showing that maybe his time as a homeless alcoholic may have affected his timing, Reese starts talking to Tillman as the woman continues in the background about how she has to work with her rapist. Tillman’s put off, as well she should be, but Reese covers by saying he just wanted some coffee. Tillman apologizes for over-reacting. (She didn’t.) Reese tells her not to and proving, again, that Finch is the brains says it’s his third cup that day while holding up two fingers. Derrr.
They start talking about the support group and Reese gets Tillman to open up by telling her he lost someone and thinks of her all the time. Tillman explains that she tried to rebuild her life and put it behind her but she saw Benton a month ago, out on a date in her neighborhood, and he looked “content.” She realizes she’s telling him some pretty intimate details about her life and wonders why. Duh. He’s Jesus. But he introduces himself as John and she says she’s Kate Lehman.
The healing power of the Caviezel.
Back at the library Reese and Finch discuss Benton’s MO of getting the women to do coke with him before he rapes them so they’ll be too scared to implicate themselves and that really is reprehensible. Reese’s avenging angel gene kicks in as he asks if Finch got any hits on the name “Kate Lehman.”Finch tells him there are three, but before Reese has to go all Terminator and call them to ask if they’re Kate Lehman, Finch says the first one’s 80, the second’s in prison and the third has a P.O. box around the corner from Tillman’s hospital. Then he exposits about how she rented a van and a vacation home in Montauk as we see Reese enter the home the next day.
Finch calls as Reese finds a closet full of lye and tells Finch that she plans to erase Benton for good. Finch is confused so Reese explains that eight pounds of lye heated to 300 degrees will dissolve a body in about three hours. Finch speaks for all of us when he says he “will refrain from asking how [Reese knows] that.” Reese thinks she’s so meticulous in her preparation that she’ll get away with it and Finch can’t help but wonder if she’s doing the world a favor, but Reese knows that she’s not a killer by nature and it will destroy her. With his over-identification and avenging angel gene activated he sets out to make Benton disappear so Tillman won’t have the opportunity to go through with her plan.
That’s a lot of lye for one body.
Reese meets up with Fusco at the drug dealer’s lair. Believing Reese is there to help, he tells Reese these guys won’t hesitate to shoot and then tries to weasel his way out by suggesting he cover the exits. Reese drags him to the door. He knocks and for the second time we have a fake out at the peephole as the drug dealers let in Fusco and get knocked out by Reese. Stop looking through peepholes, people. As Andrés Cantor bellows GOOOOOOAL in the background, Reese takes out three guys with guns by using his feet and a briefcase. Instead of finishing the drug dealers, Reese steals more of their drugs that Fusco will be on the hook for and tells Fusco he’s doing it for a good cause. Heh.
It’s for a good cause.
Benton’s at a stop light when Reese comes up on foot. Benton opens the window and Reese decks him, knocking him out cold. New Yorkers are rude but ultra-violence for a good cause puts Reese in a good mood. Surveillance footage takes us ahead 45 minutes as Benton wakes up in his car with the airbag deployed and the horn blaring. “Somehow” he crashed his car in front of a police station with what looks like five kilos of coke in the passenger seat.
Surveillance footage takes us back to that station at 8:40:38 and Benton’s walking out of jail on bail. Reese didn’t consider how easy it is for a rich scumbag to make bail and Fusco says Benton’s got four lawyers in suits that cost more than Fusco makes in six months looking for loopholes. Fair point.
Then Fusco continues to “not get it” as he demands to know what’s Reese’s plan for the Torreros, since Fusco’s on the hook for the coke Reese stole, too. Reese ignores all the anvils around him and just taunts Fusco, mocking him when he asks what’s stopping Fusco from getting Reese arrested. Stills’ body and ballistics that point back to Fusco’s service revolver?
Fusco knows he’s screwed.
Surveillance footage takes us to Tillman’s at 13:28:55 and the sad woman’s voice starts again. We see it’s an answering machine message from Gabrielle. Tillman’s packing for her rendezvous with Benton and we hear the end of the message where Gabrielle wishes she were a better sister and apologizes, saying to forget she ever called. Linda Cardellini is so pretty and heartbroken in this scene and she makes me sad.
Finch is in the library tracking Tillman and sees her leave the hospital. He warns Reese she’s on her way to Benton’s loft. Reese is about to take care of Benton when the Torreros catch up to him, knocking him out. Should have paid more attention to those anvils, Reese.
Benton goes to key in his security code but the system’s already disarmed. He still walks in, because he’s an idiot, and looks around suspiciously. He conveniently forgets to look in the hallway where Tillman is hiding. She sneaks up and tasers him in the neck. Then, proving that if this doctor thing doesn’t work out she has a future as a contract killer/vigilante, she gives him a nasal anesthetic (no tracks) and maneuvers him into a wheelchair.
The fly in the ointment of only communicating by cell phone exposes itself as Finch keeps trying to reach Reese to let him know what’s going on, but Reese is waking up in the drug lair, still smirking and assessing the situation, and sees that Fusco sold him out to the Torreros as one of them punches Reese.
Did Fusco forget to mention I flashbanged a car I was riding in?
Tillman loads Benton onto the van and they finally get their timing codes right as she leaves Benton’s Manhattan loft at 22:25:25 and is driving through Queens at 23:05:37. Is that so hard? As Tillman drives along nervously, Reese is getting his ass beat down by drug dealers. Sure they had to tie him up, but they’re beating him down. When the main Torrero threatens to take off Reese’s head Reese busts out the Spanish to tell him that he’s the one who’ll lose his head when his boss finds out he’s been helping Torrero’s main rivals take out Torrero’s men and killing his son. Oops.
This comes as news to the other Torreros and as they argue, Reese manages to cut the zip ties holding his legs to the chair and despite their having guns and his hands being zip tied, he still takes them all out and gets the gun. Then he lets the main Torrero know that if Reese ever sees him again, he’ll cut his head off.
Even the subtitles think Reese is scary.
Fusco watched everything and remembers why he shouldn’t mess with Reese. He’s crapping his pants and tries to cover but Reese is like, “Whatever. I got a new gig for you and don’t fuck with me again.” Then Reese heads out to Long Island with his telegenic facial wound because he’s got a case-of-the-week to finish.
It’s 23:54:54 in Quogue and Tillman’s stopping for gas…at a diner? Despite having at least an hour lead on Reese, he managed to get there ahead of her and is friendly but when she tries to leave he whispers “Let me buy you a cup of coffee…Megan.” She’s obviously hesitant but he tells her the guy she has tied up in the back of the van can wait and who is she to argue?
She’s jittery and he’s Jim Caviezel so he stares at her with those Jim Caviezel eyes and whispers about how she’s smart and careful, and even if she never got caught she wouldn’t get away with it. Tillman should be creeped out and run off but the way this scene is shot makes it so moving. She asks if he knows what Benton did, and Reese tells her that if she goes through with it “if [she] murders this man in cold blood, it will kill [her].”
Tillman asks if Reese was being honest when he said he lost someone and how can he tell her not to do what he would do and he tells her that he knows what it’s like to end a life. That you lose the most important part of you. She asks if that’s what happened to Reese. His big Caviezel eyes well up with tears, but he tells her she doesn’t have to lose herself. She can turn around and he’ll take care of Benton so he won’t come after Tillman. She’s wavering and he begs her for the keys to the van. This whole scene is so tense and sad for both of them, and Caviezel and Cardellini are just killing it.
Tillman backs off again, saying it’s not fair that Benton gets to go free and what does she get? Reese tells her she gets a second chance to live a good life. Then she asks what Gabrielle gets, and Reese gently tells her Gabrielle gets to keep her memory of Megan. She’s falling apart and doesn’t understand why he’s there and he tells her sometimes you need someone to talk to. She finally gives him the keys. He holds her hand for a second and in the smallest whisper this whispery actor can muster says “Thank you,” and I’m sobbing as much as Megan at this point.
The healing touch of the Caviezel.
Finch is quietly pleading for Reese to answer, asking for Tillman. Reese tells Finch she’s fine. He’s got the van and Benton and he’s on his way to have a little talk with Benton. This spooks Finch because Reese is scary. Reese asks again why Finch does all this and Finch skirts the issue saying he “has his reasons” and then asks about Carter. Reese tells him it’s taken care of.
Surveillance footage takes us to 7:55:26 at Carter’s precinct. Fusco’s starting his new gig, being escorted to his desk by the guy Reese was photographing with the hooker. He’s a captain and Fusco tries to thank him but the Captain’s all, “Bite me. Here’s your new phone. Call your friend and tell him to lose the pictures.” Fusco’s unpacking his stuff and Carter strolls in, forgetting that she’s usually a pain in the ass to everyone and they bond. Fusco starts in on the “Hey, you have any leads on that Center Street robbery case?” Smooth…luckily it’s Carter so she doesn’t think twice about the nosy new guy.
The corrupt leading the stupid.
It’s morning in Montauk and Benton wakes up wondering where he is. He whines to Reese about Tillman tasering him and Reese is all “Don’t worry about her.” Benton sees the gun on the table and is wishing Tillman was there because Reese is scary. Benton wants to know what Reese is going to do and Reese says he doesn’t know but the gun is giving away one of the options. Then Reese gets existential asking if people can change since Benton hurts innocent people and for a while Reese killed people like Benton, which doesn’t exactly sound like a military or CIA operation.
Benton tries to lie his way out of it, but Reese puts his hands near the gun and Benton tries a more honest approach, admitting he’s a scumbag but promises to change. Reese looks to grab the gun but stops, telling Benton he could let him go because Benton knows Reese will find him and then he goes all existential again saying they could both change. Benton thinks he’s safe but Reese says people really don’t change. Benton’s desperate, swearing he’s different and Reese won’t kill him because he’s really a good person, but this isn’t the right tack, either. Reese is rueful and says he lost the good part of himself a long time ago and doesn’t know if he can find it.
This won’t end well for one of them.
Reese’s eyes go glassy as he wonders if he’s here to do what the good people can’t, and if there even are good people. Just good decisions. Benton’s begging for his life and telling Reese not to do something he’ll regret so Reese wants to know which option he’ll regret, killing him or letting him live. He puts his hands near the gun again and asks Benton to help him make a good decision and…black.
So which decision do you think Reese made?