Welcome back for the last sweeps episode of Person of Interest. Enjoy the new content while you can, because now they’re going to spread the final seven episodes over three months! Hey, it worked for Fusco and ratings between November and January, so maybe absence really does make the heart grow fonder. [Insert requisite Carter joke here.]
How can we miss you if you won’t go away?
21:13:04 down at the library and Reese is wondering what’s wrong with his suits. Not a damn thing, sugar. But you really need to wear the lovely lavender shirt more often. Especially when you have a tan. Oh, never mind. He wasn’t talking to me. He was talking to Finch. Who’s on his knees. Next to Reese. I’m sorry, when did this show switch to Logo TV? Finch says there’s nothing wrong with Reese’s regular suits…for a hired assassin, but not for this particular job. Finch is “tailoring” Reese’s new suit and lets him know that he’s going undercover on Wall Street because the latest number, Adam Saunders, is a proprietary trader at Baylor/Zimm. Reese doesn’t know what that means so Finch can exposit that he invests the bank’s not the client’s money. Typical
Wall Street douchebag over-educated, over-compensated Wall Street high flyer.
Reese chuckles in a way that makes me think he really wants Saunders to be the perp so he can kneecap him then…Finch is on his knees again. Reese gets snappish that “they’re fine” and Finch is back to pulling at Reese’s clothes, this time his pants leg, to adjust the hem, saying “The cuff should shiver on the shoe, not break,” and Reese winces because it wasn’t that long ago that he smelled like urine and cheap booze.
Finch continues to exposit about Saunders having a brush with the SEC about an insider trading accusation that was never proven, so his hot shot ways might have gotten him in trouble. Finch wants Reese to get close to him…and what in the hell? Why is Reese standing there like he’s the most disturbing Toddlers & Tiaras contestant, ever?
Hee hee, ha ha, ho ho…Reese is a pretty, pretty princess.
He chafes at the new assignment, saying he doesn’t know anything about Wall Street, so Finch hands him a book but tells him it doesn’t matter. “Banking is about looking clever and wearing the right clothes, and [they’ve] managed the second part.” Reese gets a look that Finch would do well to notice, because no one can hear you scream at 9:30 at night in an abandoned library, Harold.
Next morning and the Machine is pulling together the threads on Adam Saunders case, including data about possible insider trading on the firm TriTak and a live conversation between two men, one wondering if he knows too much and another saying they’ll clean it up. Meanwhile, Saunders is snaking through a trading floor with another trader, whining that he’s a prop trader not a tour guide. It’s not a good look on such a wee man. The other trader calls the new client a “whale” and can bring in millions, but Saunders, again, acts like a whiny punk saying the only people he makes money for are Baylor and Zimm. Other trader says that the amount of money the new client is looking to invest will bleed down to the traders, so Saunders tries one last whine, wondering if Sydney knows about this. Other trader says Sydney requested Saunders by name.
Portraits in overcompensation.
Out of legitimate arguments, Saunders complains that the other trader, Paul, is backing him into a corner. Paul’s all, “Wah, you big baby. You’re just meeting with the “whale’s” rep,” some asset manager. Saunders whines one last time that he’ll be “spending two days with hair gel and a pin-striped suit,” then comes face to chin (seriously, he’s a bitty little fella) with Reese, who says “It’s glen check, actually,” but doesn’t add that he’s a pomade man. Oh, and his cover is John Rooney.
Reese tells Saunders that the client prefers to remain anonymous because he’s the silent type, and we see poor Finch on a rooftop, saying he’s not fond of heights then asks if rooftops aren’t Reese’s domain. Well, this is what you get for making fun of his clothes and calling him stupid.
You’d think a birdman would like rooftops.
Reese doesn’t respond to Finch, but tells Saunders that his reputation precedes him and his client trusts reputations when it comes to his money. (Bernie Madoff had a good reputation.) Saunders says “Reputations can be deceiving” but immediately realizes he made himself sound incompetent so he asks how much money they’re talking about. Reese hands him the cliché piece of paper and calls it pocket change, but we actually see the amount, $153 million. Reese continues that his client “likes to roll the dice. No tips, no I-Bonds, no short-term funds. Play jazz. Consider it an audition.” Please stop making Caviezel say jazz. He sounds like a dweeb. Finch doesn’t agree and tells Reese he’s a quick study. Probably making up for calling him stupid the night before.
Random extra gets a pay bump when he tells Adam to come watch something on TV and Reese joins him. Saunders asks if Reese has been following the Keller case, providing some nice continuity. Reese is “familiar with the case” so Saunders exposits that the only thing saving Virtanen from bankruptcy is acquittal. A smarmy trader named Victor calls Saunders “ever the pessimist” but they get into a dick-measuring contest where Saunders claims “nothing breeds like bad news” and Victor claims that Virtanen planned for either verdict by placing his son in law as CEO. It’s a blue chip stock at a bargain. Then he taps Saunders on the cheek and tells him he “went pro too early.” And I am proud to see Reese practice so much restraint and not kneecap the entire trading floor on principle because they all need a “Come to Jesus” (not Reese) moment.
An attractive woman who could be Zoe’s sister comes swanning up, telling Saunders he went pro WAY too early. Finch tells Reese, and us, that she’s Sydney Baylor, partner in the firm and that she also has a “reputation.” Reese wonders, out loud yet no one notices him talking to himself, for what. Finch
slut-shames her says “everything.” Then they all start using words I understand like short and sell and tickets and hundred million in orders that make no sense to me, but Saunders wants them to let it ride. Okay…
For the last time, my name is not Zoe.
Keller’s guilty and Virtanen’s stock plummets. Baylor’s impressed, but tells Saunders that if he pulls another stunt like that he’ll be the best dressed Occupier down in the tents…showing how quickly a joke can go from timely to hoary. Meanwhile, Reese has been hovering just behind Saunders, making cutesy faces, like he’s the biggest imp, ever.
He knows he’s on camera, right?
Saunders is pleased with himself and turns to Reese, wondering if he wants to get drinks to celebrate. Reese agrees like he’s agreeing to watch Saunders cat while he’s away and they plan to meet up with a few other traders after the closing bell. Saunders walks off and Reese checks to see if their phones are synched, but no. Reese leaves to ask Finch why the phones didn’t synch…but he’s the one who told Finch about it in the pilot. Finch assumes that someone else beat them to the punch. Reese seems rather disgusted with Saunders blithe attitude about gambling with other people’s money and gloating about it, but Finch sees Saunders on the roof and assumes it has more to do with the rush than the win.
19:02:00 and a Porsche is screaming down an imaginary Manhattan street that isn’t filled with 352 cabs. Adam’s pleased with himself, thinking he’s impressing the stuffy assets manager with his reckless bravado. Reese just smiles at the overcompensating little man. He asks Saunders how he knew about Virtanen and Saunders says he read everything, adding in that no one else at the firm bothers to, and not only did Virtanen not have anything in the pipeline, they hocked everything on Keller’s defense. The information was hidden, but Saunders dug it out. Reese chuckles about “No risk, no reward.”
Why are you laughing? It’s a Porsche 911 with a Blah-punk.
Believing he’s still dealing with a stuffy assets manager, Saunders rhetorically asks Reese if he’s ever played Russian Roulette. Reese’s expression says it all, but Saunders doesn’t pick it up. He tells Reese if you want to get in the game you have to spin the cylinder. The Deer Hunter wasn’t meant to be a Wall Street template, Adam. Surveillance footage shows him speeding through an intersection at 23:14:50…and has he been driving around Manhattan for four hours? Wow, he must have a really small penis.
They end up in the VIP section at some douchebag nightclub with pounding house music and Reese’s face is calculating the ways he’d take out each asshole. Finch is breaking into Saunders apartment and Reese wonders if Finch is in, yet. Finch comments that the rent on the place must be staggering. I imagine keeping a batshit crazy, killing machine, peacock in black suits and hotel rooms is pretty pricey, too. Finch jokes about Saunders saving money on furniture but quickly finds shoeboxes full of money in his closet. As Saunders signs off on a $13,000 bar tab, Finch exposits that the money is bundled in $200 increments.
I’d kneecap him…sucker punch him…elbow him in the nose…
With the tab settled, Saunders asks for another club soda and Reese wonders why he picks up such a big tab but doesn’t drink. Adam unconvincingly says he drinks, just not…now, and Paul slurs that Adam likes to keep his wits about him, which Paul hates, and hopes that the driving tour with Saunders was worth it. Reese says it was as Victor stumbles up to poke at Saunders over how many of his clients got screwed because Saunders shorted Virtanen. Saunders tells Victor he should have done his homework and maybe he just turned pro too early. They start throwing punches like angry grade schoolers then a couple of other drunken traders get involved and it’s really rather sad to watch. Reese throws a well-timed forearm at Victor’s face, taking out him and the two extras and drags out Saunders before he can embarrass himself some more.
More fun with time codes as surveillance footage shows the Porsche speeding down the street at 23:31:36. Derrr. Reese and Finch exposit the last seven minutes, then Finch suggests that Reese keep an eye on him because if someone’s tracking him they’ll likely strike at his home. Reese says the problem is he isn’t going home. We see Saunders through Reese’s camera lens pouring champagne as Sydney comes up. Reese obviouses that Saunders is “closer to his boss than they thought.”
06:49:52 and Person of Interest is tired of being subtle with the Batman parallels, opting for a grounds-eye view of Caviezel strolling into frame making sure we all get the reference. He’s back in his convenient perch to take photos of Saunders and Sydney having breakfast and Finch exposits in voice over that Adam never came home (ya think?) so he took the liberty of rifling through Saunders personal records to fill in some blanks. His mother died when he was nine, Robert Sowoski became his legal guardian three years later. No father in the picture and Sydney hired Saunders herself.
Get the parallel yet?
Finch assumes it’s a typical “sleeping his way to the top” situation but Reese can’t compute the man being the “whore” as we watch Saunders kiss Sydney on her forehead – the “universal sign” of true love. Finch notes he’s clean other than an SEC investigation from six months ago, but can’t find out why he was investigated. Insider trading? You discussed this during Reese’s fitting. I know I didn’t make that up.
Whatever, rather than suggest Zoe, the likeliest person to unseal governmental agency records, Reese suggests putting Carter on the SEC because the writers needed a way to tie them together that will make sense at the end, so logic be damned. Finch finishes up that he’s wiped the outside surveillance on Saunders phone with a GPRS reroute, so if anyone wants to listen in on his calls he’ll have to get close to Saunders and Reese finishes Finch’s sentence (aww) that they’ll nail him.
I really hates when he doesn’t let me talk.
09:32:55 at the station and a delivery guy asks for “Joss Carter.” She looks up and sees a guy with some dry cleaning. She didn’t have any delivered so she tries to brush him off, but he says it has her name on it. Remembering she’s been working with some very creepy men who slink around like high tech cats, she asks what it is. A man’s suit. She signs the receipt and notes that her copy has an address: 3 World Financial Center, and tells her to take a cab.
Luckily, she heads right out and hails the first cab…with a yellow box driving it. Carter gets in and tells the driver to go to 3 World Financial Center. Finch says John’s going to want that suit back, and Carter sees Finch driving. Man, he’s lucky she didn’t wait until after lunch. She asks where “Mr. Navaad” (the licensed driver) is and Finch says he’s taking his family to a Knicks game while Finch borrows his cab.
Damn. I knew I should have gone for coffee first.
Finch hands Carter Saunders business card so she can ask if Saunders is in trouble. Finch says he may be but he needs Finch’s help and Finch needs Carter’s help unsealing SEC records that pertain the their investigation of Saunders. Switching things up, Carter has become the audience manqué, questioning why they’d think she, an NYPD homicide detective, would be able to do that, but Finch explains they need her on this case so the last scene makes sense, only it sounds like he says “If anyone (other than me, Reese or Zoe) can do it, you can.” She agrees and Finch remembers to turn on the meter before driving off, reminding Carter to tip.
Saunders comes out of his office so Reese can show us that their phones are synched. And to get a triple espresso. Some guy with Lego hair walks up to Saunders thinking that he must be really tired to drink a triple espresso. Saunders points out that he is tired of being bugged by SEC investigators since the inquiry was wrapped six months ago. Legohead says he’s can’t let “another Ivy League punk” get away with it. Saunders says he still has nothing to say and Legohead tries to be intimidating by saying Saunders has always been good at keeping his mouth shut.
Never mess with a guy who snaps his hair on.
Saunders tries to leave but Legohead tells him he’ll be watching and if Saunders so much as gives his grandmother a stock tip he’ll get him. Saunders points out that the SEC has virtually no power to do anything. Legohead says it’s a good thing he has friends in the Justice Department who can send Saunders to “Otisville.” Saunders goes back in his office as Finch exposits that Carter magically managed to get those files unsealed in about five minutes. Legohead’s name is Rasmussen and he was pursuing possible insider trading at Baylor/Zimm…like we knew from the opening scene.
Inquiry focused on top tier executives and Saunders was a subpoenaed witness, but all charges were dropped. Saunders testified to having no knowledge of wrongdoing by the executives, but Finch assumes that he lied to protect Baylor…and is looking at the not at all creepy surveillance photo of Baylor and Saunders kissing, in case we forgot about the affair.
Time for some slut shaming!
12:02:25 and Finch wonders what Saunders is up to. They’re not in the financial district anymore. Reese says they’re out in Queens as Saunders stands at a food truck. Reese assumes he’s there to pick a fight with the truck owner and we hear Saunders bitch about a bratwurst he got from the “rolling outhouse last week.” While we’re supposed to believe he’s being a dick, threatening to call the Department of Health, the older man in the truck is just a little too sweet when he tells Saunders he can tuck his “soft gut in his $2000 suit.” Saunders gets cute, too, and says it’s a $3000 suit. Saunders and the truck owner share a laugh and Reese cracks a smile as Finch tells us the truck’s owned by Robert Sowoski, Saunders legal guardian.
Finch pulls up adorable photos of Matt Lauria as a child plus one with Sowoski and exposits that Sowoski is also a Baylor/Zimm client. “Uncle Bob” asks about the “MMP” on his portfolio and Saunders tells him, and the audience, it’s “MLP” meaning “Master Limited Partnership,” and the company’s name is TriTak. Sowoski shows that Adam learned his due diligence at home, telling Saunders that he’s been reading all his statements from Baylor/Zimm and they’re investing more and more of his money in that one company. First it was 10% now it’s 40%. Saunders tries to placate his uncle by telling him he wouldn’t steer him wrong, he’s helped his uncle expand his business, he can trust his broker and TriTak is returning 8%, so things are good. Sowoski agrees his nephew is a genius and will trust him.
Reese wonders if Finch knows anything about TriTak but he doesn’t. He does tell Reese that Saunders pointed him in the direction of a kind broker who deposited his money in Baylor/Zimm. Reese says he hopes Finch got a receipt and Finch nods and smiles and I have no idea what that was about.
17:10:55 and Reese strolls up to Saunders, in his “hired assassin” garb, telling him they had a meeting to finalize the deposit, but Saunders excuses himself to talk to Paul about TriTak. Paul tries to slough him off, wondering why he cares when he just closed a $100 million deal, but Saunders is concerned because it’s his uncle’s money. Paul says all the “fixed income” crowd is in MLP’s because it’s safe and boring, and Paul’s not making any eye contact, until Saunders says half the firm’s clients and even Baylor/Zimm are in TriTak.
I don’t know what you’re talking about and you can’t prove otherwise.
Paul yanks Saunders aside, as Reese listens in, and points out that his looking into client money is a federal offense, as is their whole conversation. Saunders thanks him for the tip. Paul walks off, saying they’ll talk later and Sydney walks up asking about Saunders getting questioned by the SEC. Saunders doesn’t think anything about Legohead and wants to talk to Sydney about the company he “asked [her] about the other night,” and if the trading floor didn’t hear him say anything, they sure as hell saw her gasp and swivel her head around. Smooth.
She points out the obvious that what they discuss “at night” should remain “at night” and Reese is getting tired of eavesdropping on this until she mentions that they barely got off the hook on the last SEC investigation and they can’t take another embarrassment. Saunders corrects that the firm can’t take another embarrassment, but she just asks him keep his head down.
I want to play poker with her.
22:23:54 and Reese and Saunders are at the Chelsea Piers Golf Club. As you do. Saunders says he likes to go there to decompress and Reese asks what he was arguing about back at the office. Saunders blows it off as nothing that concerns Reese’s client. Reese wonders if the SEC is something his client needs to be concerned about, but Saunders says in their business someone’s always trying to find a trick or a con, but not Baylor/Zimm, they’re just that good.
Nope, he’s not creepy at all.
Reese decides now is the best time and place to creep the fuck out of the number. First he asks if that’s why Saunders invests his uncle’s money with the firm, and points out that his “his client” has $150 million with Baylor/Zimm they need to know everything, then says Saunders is his given name, but wouldn’t Sowoski be more accurate. Saunders isn’t feeling the healing power of the Caviezel and tells him he’s taking him back to the office and if they still want his $150 million some other schmuck can handle it.
Saunders is speeding down an empty street yelling at Reese that his family and his past is none of Reese’s business no matter how much money he’s investing. Reese is just absently agreeing with Saunders, who continues that maybe he should call the police. Reese has perked up and thinks he may need to. Saunders doesn’t understand so Reese points out all the construction equipment, but no workers. As the “Reese wrecks another car” song starts up, a worker is holding up a “Slow/Stop” sign but Reese spots the ambush and tells Saunders not to stop as he takes the wheel and swerves the Porsche out of the path of an oncoming backhoe. Reese storms over to the truck, but both the driver and the worker are gone as Reese tells Finch someone just tried to kill Saunders.
I’m supposed to wreck the cars, dammit!
Reese and Finch are reviewing the accident as we watch it via the Machine’s eye view, showing “perp” boxes around the worker and truck driver. Reese says Saunders thinks it was an accident, but explains that it was “funneling,” forcing a target into a kill zone by suddenly shifting his direction. He’s sent Carter down to the site to investigate, as we see her under the Manhattan Bridge, looking at the vehicles and taking photos of their ID numbers. Reese knows it was a professional hit but can’t figure out who would want Saunders dead enough to bring in a team.
Finch goes back to the fraud case, telling Reese that he’s been tracking the money they invested and the majority of it has been put into TriTak. Reese exposits that TriTak invests in the Louisiana/Texas pipeline that runs gas to the Northeast. Since people need natural gas, TriTak should hold a steady price, but it shot up 600% because of a buy frenzy at Baylor/Zimm. They assume insider trading and that Adam knows about it since he knew about it before but this time he won’t walk away from it. Reese grabs a gun from the card catalogue (heh) and says he’s tired of playing around. He says it with extra Eastwood whisperiness, so we know he means business.
Finch heads down to Uncle Bob’s food truck and it snowed overnight giving Michael Emerson a chance to get another unfortunate dye job. Finch introduces himself to Sowoski as being from the SEC, but doesn’t give a bird name since he’s already posing as “Harold Crane…billionaire,” and says they’re investigating possible criminal activity at Baylor/Zimm. Finch says they know Sowoski’s nephew is a trader there and Sowoski asks, nonchalantly, if Adam did anything wrong. Because he may trust the kid and think he’s a genius but you never know, you know?
Why are you staring at the top of my head?
Finch says they can’t be sure and wants to know if Adam advises him on his investments. Sowoski says he has a separate broker. Finch asks what Sowoski know about TriTAAAK (it must have been really cold that day) but Sowoski says not much and Finch should ask his broker. Finch finds it odd since it’s so much of Sowoski’s money and Sowoski says he thought it was strange, but Adam said everything was fine and he trusts Adam.
Finch wonders how well Sowoski knows his nephew, which leads Uncle Bob into expo-land. When Saunders’ mother died his father left to find work out west, settled in New Mexico and never came back. Every month he sent Adam $200 to use on whatever. Adam never spent the money, he just saved it in a shoebox. By the end he had thousands and used it to put himself through school, night school, first, before he could get into a real business school. And in case we didn’t get quite how much Uncle Bob admires his nephew, he tells us that instead of having a father he had cash in a shoe box and used that to buy himself a future. Sniff…
No reason…none whatsoever.
Saunders is coming up a subway staircase and Legohead is waiting for him. He wants to talk about TriTak. Saunders stops dead in his tracks so Legohead wonders how a run-of-the-mill MLP is suddenly the “hottest damn equity on the market” and wants to know what Saunders knows. Reese is listening as Saunders says he doesn’t know anything so Legohead threatens him with Otisville again. Saunders admits that he ran some numbers but it doesn’t make sense that Baylor/Zimm would invest so much money unless somebody knows something the rest of them don’t. Legohead wants to know if he still has the numbers and Saunders says they’re on his laptop in the office. Legohead tells him to go get the laptop, now.
Saunders goes up to the trading floor to grab his laptop but gets a text from Sydney telling him to meet her upstairs on the roof. Saunders gets into the elevator, with his laptop, to go to the roof as Reese gets off another elevator at the trading floor. Finch is back in the library, all warm and cozy after sitting in the snow, and reads the text to Saunders, telling Reese that they have a problem and Saunders is on the roof.
Looks like someone just swatted his nose with a newspaper.
As Reese turns back to the elevator bank, Saunders walks out onto the roof and is ambushed by a guy in a Carlos the Jackal ski mask. The masked guy drags Saunders over to the side of the building, throws his laptop over (There are people down there!) but before he can toss Saunders over, too, Reese grabs him. They fight briefly, in slow motion because it’s freezing, but Reese takes him out quickly and grabs Saunders, telling him they have to get out of there.
Reese busts into the service stairwell and calls for the elevator, saying they have to move fast because the building is tactically unsafe, and Saunders says, in the most hilariously and earnestly “angry” way possible that Reese is NOT an asset manager, complete with wagging finger. That was…cute. Reese says, no, but he did save Saunders life as he moves the convenient stack of stacking chairs in front of the door to the roof.
YOU’RE…not my mommy!
Saunders wants to know what the hell just happened, so Reese tells him it was “just the second attempt to kill” him and wants to know what about TriTak has people wanting to do that. Saunders is shaky and clinging to Reese, and starting to feel the healing power of the Caviezel. He says that it started with his uncle and he took a look when his uncle started asking questions.
Reese, showing the depths of his own lack of self awareness asks, “Illegally?” because he lives by the letter of the law. Saunders gets prickly saying yeah, but Sowoski was family so he didn’t think anything of it, until he started seeing numbers he didn’t agree with. He wrote an email that he was planning to forward to risk management and the partners but the SEC started nosing around again so he never sent it. Reese asks if anyone else knew about his concerns and he says he asked “a few friends” to take a look, but when Reese asks who, Saunders says “Sydney Baylor” just in time for an empty elevator to come so Saunders can stop riding Reese piggyback. Get some dignity, young man.
My, what big shoulders you have.
Nonsensical Carter deus ex machina scene where she has all the photos she took, at the accident scene, where no one was even injured let alone killed, splayed on the cork board in the station when a uniform comes up with the information about stolen city vehicles. Only one lot reported any thefts in the last week, all from three nights earlier: A steamroller, a backhoe and a refurbished sanitation vehicle, which wasn’t used in the first staged accident. Wonder if that will come into play later?
19:10:17 and Finch is asking if Reese found Sydney Baylor. He says he has and we see she’s dead in her bathtub as Saunders paces in the background. Reese tells Finch that whoever’s after Saunders got to her first. Saunders blames himself, thinking that he asked her about the numbers and she must have looked into them herself. Saunders is beside himself with guilt but Reese sees the champagne bottle on the floor and asks if Adam recognizes it. It’s from the night
Reese was peeping they celebrated the Virtanen deal.
I’m too petite to go to prison.
Reese realizes that Saunders fingerprints are all over the bottle and apartment and figures out that the plan was to kill Baylor for looking into her own company and make it look like he did it before he plunged to his own death. Reese hears the cops show up but before Saunders can have another wobble, he tells Finch he’s taking Saunders somewhere safe and rushes him down the stairs.
20:36:49 and Carter’s getting a rundown from CSU about the crime scene. Baylor died from blunt force trauma to the head. Found fingerprints for Baylor and Saunders all over the apartment and “murder weapon” which Carter inexplicably feels the need to clarify was a champagne bottle, even though she’s just arriving at the scene and shouldn’t know that. CSU isn’t CSU for nothing and asks how she knows but CSU is also a day player so he accepts her snort as an answer. Okay, then.
Did I say champagne bottle? I…meant…LOOK! Squirrel!
CSU takes Carter into the bathroom and she poses Reese’s theory about someone framing Saunders by using a bottle he handled days ago to kill Baylor. CSU thinks it’s a slick idea, but the person would have to go through the victim’s garbage to find the bottle and can’t figure out who would go through that trouble and, besides, the basement’s guarded. No way to get in…unless, Carter says, you have a garbage truck.
As we watch a black car with a white person of interest box over the driver’s side turn a corner, Finch points out that he has many safe houses in the city where he could take Saunders. Reese monotones that he knows as we see him walking Saunders through a homeless encampment. He says the safest he’s ever been was when he was anonymous and hands Saunders a blanket telling him he’ll be safe there, too. Saunders doesn’t want to stay and says he can’t “sleep” there. Reese wonders why not, since he did for four months. How quickly he forgets Saunders clinging to his coat sleeve like a baby duck.
Ummm…I’m a good guy, remember?
Reese points to a woman behind them and tells Saunders she’s Joan and she can help him as long as he doesn’t touch anything in her cart. He hands Saunders a burner phone and tells him not to use it until Reese calls him. As Reese turns to leave, Saunders tells him to look into Victor, the slurring drunk from the nightclub. He’s the senior broker and if someone’s putting clients in TriTak “he’s the next rung down on the brokerage ladder.”
22:18:17 down at the library and Finch is tapping away at his computer and watching a news report about the state legislature passing a “fracking” bill. Finch tells Reese they have a problem and Reese is all, “No duh, we always have problems.” Maybe if you didn’t jump to so many conclusions you’d have fewer problems, peacock. Anyway, Finch asks Reese if he knows anything about Utica Shale or the process of fracking. Luckily, Reese was just at a cocktail party with a really drunk Mark Ruffalo who talked his ear off for an hour about it, but Reese was drunk, too, so all he remembers is shale is underground rock formations. Fracking is the process by which companies break upshale beds to release natural gas. And to make tap water flammable.
Indulging Nolan’s mancrush.
With the fracking bill passed, the pipeline that TriTak’s invested in is no longer necessary. Baylor and its clients stand to lose millions on the deal. Saunders saw this and tried to stop the firm from investing in TriTak which is why “they” are trying to take him out…but who are they? Indeed, Mr. Reese. Indeed. As Reese continues to exposit about Victor, morning dawns and TriTak’s price plummets from a high of about $46 to t $9 when Reese shows up at the trading floor to rough up Victor.
Reese grabs him and tells him he’s a patsy, Baylor’s dead, Saunders’ life is on the line and millions were lost. Victor says he thought it was a safe bet but someone got to the senators, someone powerful enough to push through that fracking bill. Reese can’t figure out why anyone would build up TriTak and silence Saunders only to watch it fail.
Saunders sees the headline about TriTak’s stock plummeting after the bill passed and calls Reese to tell him it’s a short sale. In case we forgot the whole Virtanen thread from earlier in the episode. Reese wonders who the short seller is. Saunders says to look around, there are 50 brokers selling off TriTak, they need to find the ones “who sold it days ago because now they have to cover the short and buy it back. With his exposition done, Saunders hangs up because he has to do something…while holed up in a homeless encampment.
You said you’d be back!
Saunders calls Uncle Bob to apologize but Sowoski’s not in the mood, he trusted Adam and now he’s lost not just his personal investment, but his business, his employees, even the Sowoski name are all at risk. Then he digs the knife in a little deeper, telling Saunders that the Sowoski name never meant anything to him because he’s a “Saunders.” Adam feels awful and promises to get his uncle back everything…and a cop car is parked around the corner from Sowoski’s food truck, listening in on the conversation. Hmmm. And a voice over tells “Boss” he has a location on the kid. Double Hmmm.
21:41:26 and Reese is voicing over that he needs Finch to break into Baylor/Zimm. Finch is on the trading floor and hacks into a laptop in seconds, lighting up a bank of monitors like Christmas trees. Finch pulls a list of buy orders and sees that a Paul Ashton has the volume withheld next to his name. Reese says Paul is Adam’s friend so Finch can exposit that he’s also a senior risk manager. He hacks into Ashton’s computer and finds the short sale orders from the week before and the buy orders from that morning. Reese asks for how many shares, and Finch says 4,000,000. Reese then goes for the trifecta and asks where Paul is, and congratulations, his cell is tethered to his office calendar and Finch is trying to get a GPS on him.
And it’s in red so you know it’s a clue.
Saunders tells Reese it can’t be Paul, but not out of loyalty. There are measures in place to catch securities fraud, insider trading, short sell manipulation so he can’t see how Paul could do it. Reese tells Finch that Paul wasn’t working alone, he has a Legoheaded friend in the SEC.
Paul joins Legohead on a bench, so Legohead can go all 99%, telling Paul he spent his entire career chasing rogue traders only to see his agency defanged when the country needed them watching the closest. He cuts his diatribe short and says “Pity. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Paul adds, “And make millions along the way.” Legohead finishes with, “$300 million to be exact,” then asks where they are with TriTak. As Finch eavesdrop on their conversation, Paul says that TriTak closed at $4 and by the time the markets open in the morning it will be down to $2. He has his buy orders ready to pick up the shares they need but while Baylor won’t be causing any problems, Saunders might. Legohead says he has it under control.
What’s wrong with my sideburns?
Saunders is reading the paper and Joan laughs at him, telling him he’d do better to ball it up and put it under his clothes to keep him warm. Reese is with them helping Joan set up the fire but Saunders is still a very young man who’s had a fairly sheltered life and wonders how this could happen, and that everything he has he earned, never once considering if that’s the best thing to ask the big, batshit crazy guy who’s been dragging him around for the last few days or the homeless woman who’s his friend. Reese is in his kindly mode, though, and says he knows. Uncle Bob told them. Saunders gets hopeful that Reese spoke with Uncle Bob and he says they did, and he told them about Saunders’ father, too.
Saunders gets a little sad and says that Uncle Bob didn’t know everything, and that when Saunders was 16 he took the train to New Mexico to find his father. When he did, he had a new family, but Saunders went to him. Only his father just gave him another $200. Saunders says he didn’t want the money, he wanted a family. Reese isn’t very sympathetic and tells Saunders he found one. An uncle who spent his life working a food truck to provide for Adam. Saunders feels badly and says he’ll get Uncle Bob’s money back, he promised. Reese gets a total Oh…shit look and wonders when Saunders talked to his uncle…
This face can’t be good.
…just as a car drives up to the encampment and three guys in Carlos the Jackal ski masks and perp boxes get out. Oh…shit.
They bust into the camp with their green and red laser sites looking really festive until one of them lands on Saunders’ forehead. Reese tells him to get down and the homeless extras scatter as the masked killers start firing. Saunders, true to his scared baby duck nature, wants to run, now, but Reese tells him to stay still while he takes out two of the three masked killers. He pulls Saunders up behind him as they leave. (And he can almost completely hide behind Reese.) Reese tries to take the last guy out, but can’t.
Reese is back at the library recapping the short sell scheme between Legohead and Paul, but Finch doesn’t think the greedy weasels were responsible for shooting up the encampment with automatic weapons. Reese’s eyes practically glimmer when he says there was some serious muscle behind it. Aww, reminiscing about the good old days when he was that “serious muscle” and I will not indulge and giggle about his serious muscle. Maybe a little.
You’re thinking about my serious muscle right now, aren’t you?
Finch asks after Saunders and Reese says he’s doing fine for a guy who just lost everything. Finch asks if he still has a suit. Reese wonders why so Finch can exposit that Legohead and Paul need TriTak to bottom out before they can collect. Reese still isn’t picking up on Finch’s train of thought, so Finch goes oblique asking if Reese ever tried to catch a falling knife, speaking metaphorically because he doesn’t want to know the real answer. Reese thinks it’s a good way to get cut. Finch says that’s why they need a good investment banker (Whuh, huh?) and that Saunders needs to put on a tie, he’s going back to work.
Next morning on the trading floor and TriTak’s at $3.84. Paul goes in to Victor’s office asking him to buy four million shares. Victor’s all, “We-eeelll, I’ll see what I can drum up, but there’s a new player buying it up,” telling Paul that TriTak’s already back up to $15 and by the time the “dumb money” gets back in, it will be at an all-time high. Paul’s tweaking and asking who the new player is. Victor says, “anonymous,” but he has a number and maybe Paul can strike a deal.
If you’d just fill out your TPS reports the way we asked this wouldn’t happen.
As Legohead storms onto the trading floor, Paul’s dialing and TriTak’s up to $20 a share. Legohead wants to know what’s going on, and Paul sneers that he’s saving their asses as he calls the number. Finch answers, calling himself “Harold Crane” and OF COURSE Finch has hand sanitizer on his desk. Paul wants to speak with Finch about his majority share of TriTak but Finch just Riff Raff’s that he’ll need to speak with his banker about that.
Paul calls “the banker” and it’s Saunders, standing on the trading floor, telling Paul that he bought up all the shares of TriTak but he’ll sell Paul what he needs, then adds a bitter “After all, what are friends for?” Saunders tells Paul that his little game of “Hide the Short” only works when it’s legal. Paul says Saunders can’t prove anything and he agrees, but he also points out that Victor and about a dozen other traders are just dying to talk to avoid jail time as cops come on the trading floor to arrest Paul and Legohead.
Paul just kind of stands there derping but Legohead makes a run for it…right into Reese’s fist, kind of like a really painful version of the punching wall on Wipeout. Realizing he hasn’t had a chance to quip all episode, Reese steps out and introduces himself to Legohead as “John Rooney, Assets.” Paul and Legohead get perp-walked to separate cop cars…and I didn’t notice it the first time, but you can clearly see Scarface putting Legohead in the backseat of a cruiser, but he doesn’t have a partner. Just like in Witness when they kept hiding all the clues in plain sight.
How did I miss him? They framed him in the shot.
Adam drives out to Queens and, as Reese watches, he gives his uncle his money back. He tells Uncle Bob that he always counted on him when he was growing up. He hoped his Uncle could have counted on him and that someday he can forgive him. Bob looks at his nephew, dumbfounded, and says of course he forgives him, and hugs his nephew, adding that even if he hates his taste in suits, he forgives him. Reese is getting a little soft listening to them, but Uncle Bob doesn’t linger too long on the sentimental, he wants to talk about reinvesting. Adam suggest franchising but first he wants his uncle to meet some people and Reese leaves.
To head back to the encampment to help Joan clean up a little. She’s laughing, saying she had no idea what he was up to before he showed up and she doesn’t want to know, but she says he sure knows how to keep things interesting. Reese says he saw that the building was bought and Joan thinks they’ll have to find a new shelter. But several of Uncle Bob’s food trucks drive up and Reese says he thinks he knows the owner. They see Saunders and Uncle Bob bringing food and Reese tells Joan he doesn’t think they’ll need to move anywhere and hands her…something.
Then he gets glassy-eyed and extra whispery, telling Joan that he never thanked her for looking after him when he needed it. She wonders who’s looking after him these days, and he just says, “Someone new,” as Finch listens in, getting a little sentimental himself. Aww, they should write a book called Birdman and the Assassin: A Paranoid Love Story.
Here’s to the shippers…
13:50:30 and Carter has Paul in the interrogation room, but asks the booking officer why the other guy isn’t there. The booking officer asks her what other suspect, wondering if she means Legohead. She says yes and booking officer tells her he was found dead in his apartment of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Down Boy by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs kicks in as Carter says she thought they were both arrested. Booking officer doesn’t know what to tell her because only Paul was processed.
Karen O keeps singing as Carter watches the security footage of Legohead getting arrested when she sees the arresting officer drop something in the trash. She looks closer at the security footage as the arresting officer looks up and it’s…well anti-climactic since I already outed the arresting officer as Scarface, but IT’S SCARFACE. And in case you missed it, the music gets extra clangy to remind you.
Carter walks down the street and is telling us in voice over…well, everything we already saw as she picks a phone out of the trash can that Scarface left behind. She’s meeting Reese on some rooftop, because we need as many Batman references as possible, and tells him that she started thinking about who could use $300 million to finance a personal war.
She hands Reese the phone and he wonders why. She tells him it’s “the bigger picture,” as he calls the preset number and…we see the back of a seemingly unassuming bald guy walking down the street. SQUEE! Of course, it’s the evil, punkinheaded, criminal genius ELIAS! He answers the phone and says in his most pleasant voice…”Hello, John. It’s been a long time.”
Love you! Missed you!
So my theory on how Elias knew all this, other than cheap, plot-driven writing, is that he knew Reese was with Saunders and cottoned to the Reese/Carter connection after he personally threatened Capt. Not David Johansen in Get Carter. Plus, he wasn’t very “covert” when he busted up the comic book ring in Wolf & Cub and they were working with Elias, too. Add in that any number of cops could be on Elias’ payroll, or even Badger, and there are enough strings tying them together that, once you accept the almost insurmountable suspension of disbelief that put her in position to see the footage of Scarface dropping the phone, Elias knowing that Reese would call makes complete sense.
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