Saturday, February 16, 2013

And The Wind Began To Howl (Person of Interest S1E03 Mission Creep)

And we're back! Today's unsub number is a fit-looking guy in his mid-to-late-twenties, early-thirties or so, at least according to the clip in the opening credits. Sadly, all Reese is doing is shadowing him (blatantly, which might be for some purpose other than surveillance) so we don't have much of an advance warning as to what this episode is about. Not that less than a minute before the opening credits is advance warning.

After the Machine wanders around New York City for a bit, stretches, has itself a cup of computer-coffee, we're over at the library-slash-base of operations where Reese is walking up on... aww! Finch has fallen asleep over the keyboard! Not drooling on his hand, so he's doing better than me already, but the fact that he lets Reese walk right up to him while he's asleep is a sign of exhaustion, trust, or an utter lack of the kind of self-preservation skills that cause one to jerk awake at the slightest sound of someone walking up on you. I'd go with the first and third, personally. Not so much an utter lack of self-preservation skills (although it is astounding the areas in which he's rusty or lacking and the areas in which he's wildly competent) as a lack of that particular trick. Which Reese no doubt has in spades. Anyway. Reese also has a cup of green tea for Finch, thus beginning the first of a long, long series of little domestic moments that cause huge swaths of fandom to Trollface. I myself have no Trollface for this, but I will happily paste one on yay and wave it around for moments like this. Because really.

I will then promptly fall over laughing at how Finch is all squinty and very softly irritable with his "Don't you knock?" Oh Finch. You did hire a spyssassin, with the accent this time on the word 'spy,' which is listed in the thesaurus together with "sneaky bastard." No, of course he doesn't knock, not if he can help it. For someone who was testy enough at Reese showing up unannounced to burn a deeply embedded fake identity, he's only a little bit cranky at the moment, presumably because this is mission control and therefore Reese is not only allowed to know about it, he's expected to. Though part of Finch's irritation might also be with himself for falling asleep on the job; he seems the type of person to be irritated at his physical limitations. Not so much the limp, although no doubt the exhaustion caused by the chronic pain he describes later annoys him, but the need to eat and sleep and occasionally break for the reading room, things which interrupt time that could be better spent researching future victims and preventing future crimes. It's the same sort of fixation/obsessive behavior that created the Machine, really. Only then there wasn't the sort of immediate deadline that there tends to be with the numbers.

Ahem. Moving on, Reese is fishing for more information on Finch under the guise of feeling bad about blowing his cover. Which he does not pretend is even a little bit true, but it makes for a convenient lead in for dropping down the paper and suggesting jobs like dog-walker or concert pianist. It's cute that you think you're going to catch anything that way, Reese. Finch gives him a dirty-ish look and points out that they both have a job, with the subtext of, so stop screwing around and let's get to it. Cranky, Finch. How much sleep didn't you get? Emerson does a good job here and in general of hauling Finch's body around like it pains him, in this case, as if he were stiff and sore from sleeping sitting up. Well, formerly sitting up and then faceplanted into the table. And now lurching around for the first second or two as he unstiffens and briefs Reese on today's unlucky number. Apparently it's a soldier, one Joey Durban of the 107th Infantry with a good clean jacket and back from Afghanistan. For the record, someone did do their research, the 107th appears to be one of the oldest if not the oldest units in New York, so there's likely a lot of pride and reputation involved, which Reese briefly touches on in commenting that there's a lot of "kids" who joined up because they lost people on 9/11. Which may be an oblique way of empathizing and referencing his own less immediately personal reasons for rejoining government service? Albeit a different branch of. Finch has a lampshade of his own, commenting that the kid seems to be a lot like Reese, but Reese ignores that for the moment, preferring to talk about the 107 with the requisite you grow up or you die statement. Which then segues nicely into Finch's expression of the desire to keep Joey alive, yes, we know. More standard discussion, Reese rattling off the ten-second version of standard procedure for those of us who've missed the first two episodes as he walks away. But not without one last needling comment, and this one is meant to needle because there's no likely way it would lead in to new information for Reese, but he just has to get that dig in about Finch getting some exercise. Cute. Finch rolls his eyes and glares at Reese's back. As well he might.

We transition over to the unlucky number with a close-up on his picture outside of the building and then over to the young man himself, in uniform and outside of the building. Big brother is watching you, Joey! In this case a more brotherly big brother, Reese's expression is softer than we usually see it when he's working. Soft and intrigued, with a tilt to his head and a momentary flurry of blinking. Something about this surprises him, or the way it affects him surprises him. Sudden surge of camaraderie? Hard to say. Joey is seeing a woman in to the building, escorting her by offering his arm, chatting and flirting and generally being a nice young man who knows and cares about the patrons of his building. At this rate I'm not sure who's overselling, but I'm going to go with the scriptwriter/director (or possibly the actor if that's an ad lib) because if this is Joey's actual day job there's no real need for him to oversell it to anyone. But what's this? He's getting a text! And now so is Reese. "Anchor D0. GG-GC.IE 1630", which is obviously code for something, but the sort of code that makes it really fucking difficult to figure out what. Argh. Whatever it is, it causes our boy Joey to take off early, as he lets his relief or co-worker know and disappears into the building.

Over to the next segment of Following Joey and Reese voiceovers to us that Joey's engaged to a lovely young woman who waited six years for him while he was deployed, and if we know anything about Reese we know that he had to deal with that lady love-military balance too, with mixed results. This is also notable for being a voiceover rather than Reese talking directly to Finch; it's not a technique they use frequently and I would bet it's most often used with subjects personal to Reese that he wouldn't tell Finch about. Joey kisses his fiancee and sees her into the building where she presumably works, then moves on, Reese shadowing him and, hey, there's the opening clip! It's not long before Reese calls for Finch, who is. Um. Doing push-ups. Oh Finch. It's a bit difficult to tell in the baggy t-shirt but as far as I can tell, his form is fairly atrocious, even for doing the less intensive position for push-ups. Reese can hear his breathing all labored, but Finch tries to pass it off as nothing. Finch, you're a terrible liar. Still. Much better at shoving through conversations he doesn't want to have to get to the ones he does want to talk about, though, and Reese would like to file a bug report. All this guy's done is visit his girlfriend and open doors for old ladies, he doesn't seem to be engaged in anything that would get him deaded. Premeditated deaded, again, rather than accidentally deaded. Reese sends Finch over the code to see if he can crack it, which isn't unreasonable, Finch has the computers and the right type of analytical mind, in some respects, while Reese has a smartphone and a lot more walking to do. Well, a little more walking. Joey bumps into someone getting off his bike in a not-at-all-conspicuous-I-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about way. I'm going to interpret that as telegraphed for the audience's benefit because otherwise that was poorly done. Reese follows Joey into the bank right there. The guy with the bike follows him. So, we know what's coming up then, don't we.

Right on cue! It's a bank robbery; Reese drops to the floor with everyone else because it's safer than getting civilians into the line of fire, really, even though he's clearly reluctant to just roll over for these guys, maintaining a three-points ready posture as long as possible. They start counting off, so they've tested this out enough to know the response time of the local constabulary, and they seem to know who's got a panic button. They also have a wand to find the dyepack money; well-planned and well-backed with money or information or both, then. You can see Reese calculating all of this up as he watches them pull the money, enough to know that there won't be any casualties if no one starts anything. Which is most likely what makes him prevent the guard from drawing his hold-out. Good Reese. No one wants a firefight or bodies on the ground in this, not the robbers and not the terrified patrons of the bank. After one of the robbers yells at another "Sierra" to get going because they've run out of the safe time window, they do get going, even if it takes a couple yells. And then, right on time, Finch is back. Thanks, Finch, you're about fifty seconds too late to prevent the robbery and Reese's ensuing headache.

We're in 2006 after the commercial break and a slightly younger, suited and shaven Reese is having a coffee in an airport when a blonde approaches. The woman in question. Reese lifts his head upon hearing his name but he doesn't truly react until he sees her almost a full second later, widening eyes and slightly open mouth, face going all soft around the edges. He's not smiling, he's too startled to smile, but seeing her again hits him right where he lives. Her facial tension, on the other hand, is increased when he recognizes her; possibly she's not sure of her reception. They exchange some very stilted conversation whereby we learn that they've fallen out of touch since she didn't know he was back or that he'd changed jobs, and while he's visibly still in love with her he makes no move to reach towards her or step into her space. Which may or may not contribute to her uncertainty; her tension doesn't lift through the whole conversation. And, alas, that's all we see of them for now, as she establishes that this is another one of those things he can't talk about. Poor man's made a career out of doing the nasty things that happen in the dark where no one can ever know.

Back to the present. Reese and Finch discuss the new development, and Finch is only a bit puzzled why it's pulling up an armed bank robber when he built it to look for lethal intent, not just criminal. We also get a glimpse of Joey Durban's ID, which tells us that he's an E5 Enlisted and a Petty Officer Second Class, was in in 2007 and out by 2011. It also tells us that someone fucked up their research; the rank is right for the pay grade, but Petty Officer is a Naval rank, not an Army rank. And if he's 107th Infantry, he should be Army. I'm not touching his cover, partly because I'm not sure the red beret doesn't signify something, partly because I'm too busy headdesking. I'd say somebody in post grabbed the wrong base graphic to slap the guy's picture into except that's still a PO2 rank on an ID that says Army and I'll be over in the corner banging my head into the brick wall. Anyway. Finch is in favor of turning the guy over to the NYPD before someone gets dead, which we know someone will because the Machine says so! Reese would rather not ruin a good soldier's life, thank you very much. He's even expressing emotion over it, brows lifted and eyes darting and worried. Finch is a bit snarkier than need be as he cautious Reese about personal feelings, yes, Finch, Reese knows. He did the iceman thing for a living, remember? Though it's probably not too bad of an idea to caution him, since now that Reese isn't having to do horrible things without flinching or blinking at all he can stretch those emotional muscles again, which is bound to cause pins and needles in the feelings and therefore odd reactions to things. Like protecting armed robbers out of a sense of brotherhood! I have to say, though, Finch, you don't know that no one forced him to go robbing banks. Come on. Stretch your imagination a bit to cover more perfidy of the human race, there's a lot of it.

Hey, speaking of perfidy, Joey seems to be engaged in some right now. He's meeting a blonde, giving her an envelope full of money, and Our Heroes leap to the conclusion that, okay, probably most people would, that he's having an affair. Reese has even more worried frowny face now, and gets a couple of pictures of the other woman in question before going back to his observation nest. The other woman, I have to say, doesn't look too happy for someone who's supposedly receiving sex and kickbacks, and the hug she and Joey exchange doesn't look much like lovers. More like siblings. But it's still a reasonable conclusion for the data they're going on at this time.

Back in the nest, Finch is still snarky and Reese is still a voyeur surveying, this time with a bigger camera. Joey's back at his day job, and Finch opines as all this rulebreaking the kid's doing is unlikely to have "a happy ending." Finch, you're drawing an awful lot of conclusions based on very flimsy evidence. Reese, as with the first case, isn't ready to render a verdict just yet, he wants to get closer and gather more information. Reese is clearly a man after our own hearts. But wait, what's this? It's a money drop! Money pass-over. Payout. Thing there. Reese gives Finch a cab number to track down since it seems one of the robbers is a cabbie by day, and it's back to the Library of Infinite Knowledge to discuss what Finch finds out and what Reese is going to do. Apparently Finch is a busy little bee in the time it takes Reese to get through with his surveilling and get back there, because now he has the cabbie's name, history (sharing the same unit as Joey), and route, along with the little detail that he stopped at a bar owned by yet another military vet. A Master Sergeant, which is an army rank, so at least that makes sense. Also a good three up from Joey's rank, or what would be his rank in the proper terminology. So, now they have another member and the ringleader and Reese has a list of demands: a cover story and an opening in the gang he can slip into. The cover story Finch almost waves off with an "I'll get on that" but Reese's request that Finch create a vacancy within the gang gets another of those entertaining irritated-and-incredulous looks, even though he doesn't admit to having no idea how he'd do that. Pretty sure that's what he's thinking, though, given the raised eyebrows and furrowed brow and are you shitting me? look rather like the one he was wearing earlier. His "anything else" also has a bit of a tone of wondering what more Reese could come up with. Reese, of course, is pushing, both with the demands (because he's quite capable of creating a vacancy within the group if he wanted to, but he wants to see if Finch can) and with the nonchalance of walking off saying that's all he needs right now. Oh Reese. Five year olds do that to their parents, you know. Granted, some feeling out of boundaries each by the other was going to happen, but oh Reese. Do you have to be so obvious? And childish?

A brief montage of Machine shots later and Reese is walking into the Green Zone, the aforementioned bar. Not in his suit this time, he's wearing clothes that probably could have been or were in fact surplused, nothing blatantly military, nothing too civilian either. He wants to give an impression without overselling it by waving around a giant flag, okay, fair enough. It helps that Reese actually has military experience, and the kind that leaves a big fat stamp on you, too. When the bartender looks up holy shit it's Captain Montgomery! Hi Captain! Ahem. When the bartender looks up he clearly recognizes something in Reese, who has notCaptain's full attention. Today Reese is "Tony Miller," which is not a name that pulls any weight with notCaptain aka Sam Latimer, judging by the icy way in which Latimer rejects ReeseMiller's offered hand. No one is surprised, because everyone is knowledgeable here. Reese offers the bona fides of a military connection, in this case a Marine buddy, which must be verifiable if he's giving out a name that can be recognized. Question and answer, they don't ever specify but presumably a) Reese picked a dead guy so the guy in question couldn't be called up to confirm that he knows "Miller" and b) Latimer reacted the way he did, knowing the Marine was already dead, so he could evaluate whether Reese knew him or was just namedropping. And c) presumably Reese did more than just namedrop so that Latimer would believe his story was true. Now down to business, which is to say Reese spouts off at not-very-great length about needing exactly the kind of work Latimer has Joey and the rest of the crew running. Including a boast about what kind of guns Latimer has around the place and that he can get to them before the other guy. Aww, your confidence is ... actually kind of hot. Ahem. That said, it also is overselling a little, which Reese may or may not be picking up on. Difficult to tell when his reactions are so damn flat. Latimer calls him on not being able to fend for himself, Reese offers some more reasons, and back and forth they go. It's all very boilerplate, really.

And while Reese is ingratiating himself with the bartender, Finch appears to be planting guns in the trunk of the cabbie's car. Finch, I'm not entirely sure where you got those weapons and I'm not sure I want to know, but you now officially have no call to gape at Reese for having a closet full of guns later on in the series. (A: Mind you, it is possible to buy a lot of things on the internet, but still, Finch, the hell.) Seriously. 

The Machine is bored of these shenanigans and would like to take us over to the precinct where Carter works, so, okay! Apparently Molina from Robbery has something for her on her mysterious guy in the suit. Surprise surprise, it's footage from the bank robbery where Reese stopped the guard from trying to play hero and getting people killed. As surprised as she seems to find that Reese's prints were lifted at a bank robbery, she doesn't sound very surprised to discover that it's because he intervened to save lives. Though she never loses that scrunchy face throughout. But at this point Carter has clearly come to an opinion about Reese, which is to say that in all of the incidents she's encountered with him involved no one has died or even been seriously injured. We're not counting the assassin after Theresa because we don't know whether or not Carter knows about that, but she's seen him turn down several opportunities to commit grievous bodily harm on people, and she's clearly taking that into account by not being at all surprised that he stops further violence from happening, but definitely being surprised that he was present for a robbery. What she made of the gun dealers getting robbed and then no shooting sprees resulting (again, that she knows about) I have no idea. Anyway, there's not much more to be learned from this footage about Reese, much to her disappointment. She does, however, spot the precision with which the robbers carry out their mission, as well as the milspec radio on their belt. Interesting that both times it's the movements of the person which highlight to Carter that someone she's observing/chasing is military or former military. At which point Molina from Robbery theorizes that Reese is the inside man. Oh, honey, you have no idea.

The Machine takes is through to the evening as Reese's voiceover takes us to Latimer bringing him in on the next job. Because there's an opening now, don't you know. I stop to double-take at the cyrillic on a store awning and the timestamp on the footage gives us 8:15 in the evening. So it's probably a little after that when Reese meets up with Joey at Latimer's bar. Everyone gives and receives nods of acknowledgement, Reese follows Joey out the back and, well, is black-bagged. Like no one saw that coming. I'm pretty sure even Reese expected that, going by the fact that he isn't resisting at all and it's possible at the outside that he could take them all down. Certainly likely that he'd give them a hell of a fight. We saw his reflexes tend towards the violent and confrontational as recently as the pilot, which (along with a fair amount of body tension) indicates that he's controlling himself right now, which in turn indicates that he'd expected to be black bagged. And, really, what else is a bunch of highly-trained bank robbers who are already apparently somewhat jumpy and desperate going to do. If he's lucky, it's an audition. If he's not, chances are he has at least ten, fifteen minutes to figure that out before they do something permanent to him. The Machine follows him over to a deserted section of bridge, where the boys pull him out and make the rookie spy mistake of running through his evidence where he can hear them. So now Reese knows it's not because his cover was blown, and he does have a good chance of passing this test. One of them puts his arm to Reese's throat, at least in theory keeping him from yanking that gun out of Joey's hands while I bitch about range of efficacy. Seriously, people, we've all seen that segment where someone yanks a gun out of an aggressor's hands because he was standing too close, will you stop that? They should also really be wondering why Reese looks like he's smiling. Because he does. By contrast all three of the robbers look on edge, twitchy, Joey's eyes are darting around at all three of the other men, and the only reason the big guy isn't swaying or pacing like the other two is probably because he's holding Reese against the van. Though he lets Reese go at a look from Joey, putting Joey as the apparent second in command for the group. And still, Reese is the calmest one here. He drops some more names, or rather places, in a very unsubtle "trust me" comment and when challenged on it, points out the tattoo on the opposite arm of the guy holding him against the van. Which, again, should be a red flag to these guys that Reese is icy under fire, that he's done things like this before. Or maybe that's a green flag. Cool under fire would be a good trait for them to have. I have to say, though, that's not the 107 insignia on the guy's arm. I'll shut up about the military stuff now. For the sake of what's true in the show, the three robbers accept it, and Joey lowers his gun. Reese gets a nod from the guy who was holding him back and not so much a nod as a lack of objection from the third guy, so now we know who's going to be causing trouble later! There's an exchange of looks between Joey and Reese, too, loaded with things Joey doesn't have the context to understand right now, though he probably interprets the respect correctly. There's also pity there, the sort of been-there-done-that pity that Reese was showing earlier. And the calculating evaluation he learned as a Company man. Reese gets a new burner phone and instructions, the usual don't call us we'll call you line. And then they pretty much strand him out there on the bridge. Nice, guys. Very nice.

We don't find out how Reese gets back to the Library of Infinite Information, though depending on the public transit in that area and how pissy Reese was feeling I would bet on either that or a taxi charged to one of Finch's accounts rather than walking. (Unless it was very close. Anyone more familiar with New York geography care to offer an opinion?) At any rate, Reese has had enough time to think over that little stunt out on the bridge and come to some conclusions about Joey's character, which is that he's not a cold-blooded killer. So, not so much like Reese, then. Not that anyone says this outright, but they don't need to. Their person of the week is capable of killing in combat, but that's more detached and usually the sort of situation unlikely to involve the premeditation the Machine looks for. Thus, victim! Finch will accept that assessment, but he doesn't understand why Joey's throwing away a good job and fiancee and so on for these gigs that are going to land him in prison or a body bag. Oh Finch. It's not that simple, and Reese will now jab hard at him about that. Not every veteran finds someone to play savior or to offer them a job doing good work, the way Finch has, and I delineate the two very deliberately. His okaaaay sounds like nothing so much as acknowledging the hit, and then for the purposes of an ominous conclusion before an ad break we get Finch proclaiming that we have to find out who's firing the bullet that Joey's about to walk into. He's good at that kind of thing.

When we come back, Reese is still being a voyeur! Ahem. Surveilling Joey, who's turned up to surprise his girlfriend at work. Awwww. They hold a brief conversation about how work's going for her, how she wants him to come look at some apartments with her afterwards, and then it turns less playful and more serious. He's fussy over work, and we know damn good and well he doesn't mean the doorman job; the question is if she knows that, though I rather doubt it. She wants them to have fun again like they used to, he knows, he forestalls the rest of the argument with a goodbye kiss, and through it all our spyssassin watches. He keeps a pretty stoic face right up until the end as Joey's walking off, when we get the wistful/nostalgic look of someone remembering his own confrontation with a woman who didn't understand how far he'd left civilian life behind.

And so we go back to 2006 with no Machine aid this time, John remembering and picking up a couple seconds before we left them last time, which to me at least suggests that the Machine gave us the earlier bit on purpose for context. Grumble mutter sneaksy Machine we are on to you. Reese has an awkward smile and laugh for the jobs he can't talk about, which fades as soon as he sees her engagement ring. Some more awkward talk and heightened facial tension from her about how she's engaged now, she's moving back east next month (which suggests this is taking place... could be a lot of places, from California to Chicago, though the interior doesn't look much like O'Hare from what little they show us) (K: Actually it looks oddly like Reagan National, but that's probably just me.), and John's expression has pretty much frozen on a mimicry of polite social smile. Oh honey. Lips still slightly parted but eyes narrowed and mouth barely opening to force words past his throat; however far he is in his training at this point it's not far enough that he can hide his reactions from Jessica. I don't know if there is a point at which he could hide his reactions from her, but this sure isn't it. And he looks away, wanting to get out of this conversation and not wanting to leave, and Jessica will now twist the knife some more by saying she waited for him. I don't know for how long, but I suspect a good couple years. Throughout this next bit John alternates between looking at her and looking away; back to her on how he didn't ask her to wait for him and then down and away when she says he just left. I'm curious to know when exactly that took place; was it right after he rejoined or was it after he knew he was getting tapped by the CIA? It's hard to say for sure, and it's equally hard to say whether or not the two were simultaneous. At any rate, Jess calls him out on having made excuses about not wanting to hurt her, which gets him to look at her again. Possibly to argue or clarify that point, but she presses on that he decided it would be easier to be alone. Which is a fair point on both sides; it's easier to do the kind of work Reese does/did without having someone back home to worry about. Because, at this moment, of how much it's changed him into someone she barely recognizes. (Still sad that it made no sense for her to call him by his former last name. I want that info, dammit.) Reese delivers an icy-sad lecture on how over there everyone's alone and nobody's coming to save you, and this is finally what gets Jessica to take a step back, looking up at him in open-mouthed shock. See the former comment about changing him. Poor both of them. He kind of smirks at that, taking it as confirmation that he was right, she couldn't accept or love him as he is now if she really knew him, because that's pretty clearly another of the factors that went into his decision-making process. Maybe not initially, but somewhere along the line. We're painfully familiar with the type around here; we have frying pans for their leather-bound subscriptions to Issues magazine and everything! And then he takes advantage of her shock to move forward and press a hand to her arm, wish her well, and attempt to disappear into the crowd. Which is all we get for now, because that's all Reese is going to allow himself to remember, for reasons that will become obvious later in the episode.

The Machine will take us back to 2012 and back to the precinct, as a matter of fact, where the one woman who could understand what Reese became in the military is grabbing Molina to ask about the gang. That is not an accidental transition even a little bit. Turns out they've done a dozen or so robberies, and those are just the ones the cops know of, with a wide variety of cash-rich targets. Always a team of four, always in and out in sixty seconds, never killed or even hurt anyone, and Molina has a very valid point: this kind of op should have collapsed under interpersonal conflict by now. That it hasn't speaks to some unknown complications. Carter has a thing! Carter will now reveal her status as a veteran by explaining exactly what those milspec radios mean, and she served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and damn, woman. Her language grows a little more one-of-the-boys and also a little more military as the scene progresses; these radios are only available through the military (I dunno, are you sure? Did you check eBay? There's a LOT of shit out there for illegal sale.) but she quite rightly put the military behavior together and checked for thefts at all the bases on the coast. No joy from the CID, which is what really tips us off to her military jargon, but she has an idea! This also showcases what a fucking good cop Carter is, because while I don't think Molina's a slouch he doesn't have the background or quite the smarts to come up with the idea of cross-checking recent veterans out of Fort Drum with their current addresses and tossing out the physical descriptions that don't match. I love you, Carter. Never change.

Then we're back over to Stalkerville with Joey and the as-yet-unnamed woman he's supposedly cheating with. Who has a daughter! Reese, your soft spot for kids is showing again. Also, the daughter's old enough to be in grade school, which means either the affair is very long-running (unlikely), Joey is the kind of cheater who doesn't mind taking care of another man's kids (unusual for TV), or something else is going on. By the wistful look on Joey's face we're going to go with the something else! Reese is going to go with no, it's Joey's, which I think is more an indication that he's not doing his math right; that little girl is about 5, which would make the affair nearly as long as Joey's actual relationship. Sigh. Reese, honey, you look at kids who aren't yours like that and wonder what might have been, you should be able to recognize it on someone else. No? No. Fine, Finch will hack the kindergarten records while Reese arranges some "face time" with Joey. Uh-huh. In this instance that's going to take us through several Machine pans and over to a bar! A rather less seedy bar than the one Latimer operates out of, with a reasonably diverse bunch of people and well-lit, so it looks like Reese is heading in for a midday beer and lunch. He manages to time it neatly so that he's turning away from the counter as Joey walks up to place his order, I'd love to see the setup on that but I'm sure it would be boring to the people less detail-oriented, aka the non-fannish audience. And then he goes straight to the offensive, also very neatly, accusing Joey of following him. Like you do if you're supposed to be just another run-of-the-mill soldier who's back home and just got dumped on his ass by a bunch of fellow vets as an audition. We don't get a super-clear look at the label on that beer but it looks like a standard American lite beer type thing, which is probably more maintaining his cover. Some dick waving later and Reese de-escalates by buying Joey a beer, though he makes it clear he's not just rolling over in the next breath when he comments about his low funds and asks when they're going to get some action. Joey says, well, that's up to Latimer.

And then we start a nice little soldier bonding session. Reese is a lot more sardonic and world-weary than Joey is, which is both appropriate given their relative ages and makes it easy on his cover. Because, quite frankly, Reese isn't doing a lot of acting; I'd say he's acting more in that he's allowing his emotions to show than by suppressing them down to tiny facial tics the way we're more used to. He manages not to oversell it, either, which is a fine line, and I'd bet that comment on the bank job gets Joey to remember him. On the other hand, he was well-behaved during the bank job, and it's totally plausible that a soldier would go through that, decide to check with his contacts, and then saunter into Latimer's place and ask for a job. Particularly the kind of cynical merc Reese is portraying who's just a fraction skewed off his real self. Mostly the Company man is shaved off. Joey's voice raises a little bit as he starts complaining about how there was nothing for him to come home to, not in the sense of being able to take care of himself, which is probably what gets the bankers' attention. Sigh. John's face goes still and he looks away during this rant, which is more of a tell than his earlier camaraderie, bitter though it was; little does Joey know just how much of a joke it was on Reese. Plus he's probably all too aware of the bankers starting to pay attention to their conversation, and we all know how this is going to go even before the assholes in suits start talking. We've got the one banker who's trying to de-escalate things and maybe show a little respect, and his giant douchebag of a friend, and then we've got Reese trying to de-escalate with that not-apology. It would go further if he looked away, but that's not in Reese's nature once he's identified a potential threat, and this guy is admittedly showing all the signs of the kind of person who'll start a barfight on the grounds that he has enough money to get out of any consequences. And then he gives Reese a fucking perfect opening for initiating violence and I will be over here cracking up at the headbutt. I'd say that was a setup for greater bonding to get Joey to come play Reese's backup, except no, you don't need to set that kind of shit up when assholes like that are everywhere. At any rate, they book it on out of there and continue their conversation with a sort of lazy walk-and-talk down the street. It's somewhat notable that these are the kind of well-trained soldiers who don't run or even walk fast after committing violence; they just project an attitude of I-know-where-I'm-going. It's the military equivalent of carrying a clipboard, and it works. Reese, you could be a little more subtle about checking if that girl is his. Please? I know you were military, but you worked for the Company (that's CIA, for those of you who aren't familiar with the lingo) too, you should have better fishing skills, and by Joey's face when he says no he's wondering what brought on the question. "Just asking" isn't a very good answer. Anyway, Reese goes fishing some more about the rest of the group, and we cover one more member (almost blown up by IEDs, gambling debts, likely to be the weakest link) before Joey shuts down further lines of questioning by pleading day-job work. By the brusque tones and the look on his face, though, Reese tripped some suspicions. Oh Reese. I know you can do better than that.

Time to check in with Mission Control! Finch now knows that the girl's name is Amy Miles, daughter of Stacy Miles, no father's name given. Which is only a little bit odd, there's any number of reasons why that might be and some of them are more savory than others. Finch will keep digging into hospital records, Reese will go digging into Straub. Who is going to visit Latimer at his bar and complain about the money he's not making, oh dear. That's not going to end badly at all. We get one or two glimpses of Reese being Mr. Lurkypants behind a building, and then we get the focus on Straub and Latimer in a sort of side-to-side shakycam view meant to tacitly convey that this is happening through Reese's surveillance, to make a writing analogy, a third person limited point of view, or first person without the narration, as opposed to the usual third person omniscient camera views we get. By way of an example, the latter shots we get of Reese surveilling involve a pair of binoculars. When Straub and Latimer go into the bar, the shaky cam stops and we return to third person omniscient again. Latimer is basically petting Straub and calling him a good puppy and telling him to behave himself, dangling the carrot of a retirement somewhere warm with drinks that have little paper flowers and umbrellas in them. And on the other hand, the fact that the only sign we-the-audience get that anyone's retired from this operation of Latimer's is a picture on a wall? That makes me think Latimer's real idea of retirement is more Blade Runner than Boca Raton. Straub offers the timely question of what happens if they don't make it out of one of those jobs, will they have the same split with Latimer. Protip if you ever go into this kind of business: questions like that just make you sound dangerously cutthroat and untrustworthy, and in this case we can almost see Latimer flipping the switch on Straub from useful to cut him loose and let him drop. Meanwhile he's fake-reassuring Straub that they'll all be all right, they're professional, they're good guys. Man, none of you are good liars. I've seen more genuine smiles on serial killers. Reese would agree with me if he'd been at all privy to that conversation.

Meanwhile, back at the precinct, Carter is still chasing down the bank robbers, possibly because they've personally offended her with their using their super-training for evil. At least that's my favorite interpretation of her tenacity in going after people to one side of Reese; it's equally possible that she's hoping they'll lead her to Reese and even more likely that she's doing her job which she is damn good at. Anyway, Molina has more information for her and I have more dents in my lovely pine paneling now because once again, we have an "Army" "Petty Officer Second Class." GUYS. If you're going to fake up documents, do better please? So, anyway, he's around the same rank as Joey, Army, discharged five months ago, and distinctive for being left-handed. Awesome! They've got a GPS lock on his phone, so if he's dumb enough to use it in conjunction with a job or calling one of the gang or somewhat, they'll be able to roll 'em up and gift wrap 'em.

Reese, of course, has other plans. The Machine takes us to where our dear operative is waiting outside a shuttered store for his pickup as he calls Mission Control, who for tonight's operational purposes is being re-nicknamed Mother because he's fussing like one. Reese gives the backdrop and Finch is shocked, shocked to learn that there is gambling in this establishment Reese will be going in with them. No, he actually is shocked. Finch, honey, how else did you expect Reese to do the investigating he is so clearly bent on doing? We can't all be master of all the cameras and microphones. Reese doesn't audibly care whether or not his boss is upset about the joining the robbery, he doesn't trust Straub and he wants to protect Joey. So if Finch could just can the criticisms of how Reese does his job and go back to being Mission Control that'd be fabulous, mmkay? 'kay. They're packing a lot of heavy artillery for a simple robbery, and their usual targets aren't open this late anyway, so, what gives? This time Reese gets an answer, which is that the 'bank' is actually more of a mob cash stash. Oh fun. Meanwhile Left-Handed Teddy the Not-PO2 (his actual rank would be Sergeant, again) was, in fact, dumb enough to turn his phone on and take it with him. For strategic livetweeting purposes? Anyway, Carter's friend Molina says they made three pickups and now Carter and Molina are standing near to the mob cash stash just as the robbery goes down. Lots of quick cuts here, following the chaos, giving us just enough information to follow the gist of what's going on while keeping the sense of urgency. As far as I have the equipment to tell, the cuts on Carter&Molina and Finch last slightly longer than the cuts around the robbery. Molina radios for backup, cut to Finch, who hears it, cut to Reese as Finch tries to tell him that the police are on their way. Or thinks he's trying to tell him. Finch, sweetie, he can't reply to you, he's still undercover. It's a sign of good writing and character development that Finch doesn't keep this up through the whole series, but right now it's just making me bounce my head off the pine some more. Still, Reese does try to convey something meaningful to Finch, pretending he's picking up the police band on his fillings or something by the way he's tapping the side of his head. If he's a down-on-his-luck soldier I'm not sure where he would have gotten the equipment to pick up a police band on a near-invisible earpiece radio but, more importantly, the robbers aren't thinking about that right now. Oddly, Reese's voice is higher at this point. Maybe it's the mask, maybe it's combat adrenaline, hard to be sure. Straub doesn't want to leave the money. Joey doesn't want to leave his buddies, but he doesn't want to get caught, either. Reese catches the mob guy going for his piece, and they do finally make it out just before Carter comes in, of course. With all due exasperation for the man in the suit she just can't manage to track down, but no real surprise.

And now we're in that sort of bilocating state where the Machine is showing us what's going on at the bar on Coney Island and the narrative is showing us that Finch and Reese are listening to what Finch's surveillance setup is showing them. At the bar, Straub is bitching to Latimer about how Joey made them leave all the money before they got nabbed by the cops, and Latimer is making noises about how disappointed he is. I'm just saying, I can't see why Straub isn't seeing it. Desperation, at least, because now he's begging for another chance. All right, they've got one more job. This is the big one. Oh, and Straub might end up having to take out "the new guy," and by new guy they mean Reese. Who doesn't seem at all surprised. That tiny eyebrow lift isn't because he didn't anticipate it, it's more of a sheepish or puppy-eyed look at Finch because he knows Finch is going to freak out. Inasmuch as Finch freaks out about things that happen at this much distance, but still. And, indeed, Finch comes up with an incredibly parental type way to tell John (because when Finch is being a stern parent it's apparently John; there are many ways to interpret their relationship but right now they're both still testing the balance of power, neither of them has decided it's that equal yet, and Finch has apparently decided John needs a mother) that he needs to wrap this up. Yes, Finch, I'm pretty sure John has figured that out by now. Which is only making his personal mission of helping Joey out of whatever mess the poor kid got himself into that much more urgent. Reese knows how to move the timetable of a mission up because of tripping over unknown fucking unknowns, or even known unknowns. Finch isn't so much used to that, it seems. So, Reese starts thinking out loud about what he has to do, which is Finch's cue to make with the new information so they can chew on it together! Joey is paying into a 529 college savings plan for little Amy Miles, aww. But he's not her father. Her father was another soldier out of the 107th, a man named Frank Stevens and now they're just not even trying, because that's the same damn template they had for the other two. I'm pretty sure, right down to the issue date and possibly the code strip to the left. And the same Army/Petty Officer mistake. Sigh. Still, that should make some sense to Reese. Frank was a buddy, a brother, so Joey's got to take care of his kid.

And now it's back over to Coney Island, Reese walking up to Joey to find out about this new job. Warning Joey, too, that Straub's going off the rails, as though that weren't obvious from the little shindig the other night. I can't tell if it's true sunset or if they're just lighting it that way, but it's warm, yellow, and both sunset-y and desert-y. For the two ex-soldiers. Heh. According to Joey, Straub going off the rails just means they have to take care of him, have his back even more. By the look on Reese's face he doesn't buy that, and doesn't think Straub needing the money for his gambling debts is a good enough reason. He also calls Joey on not needing the money, or at least, not on the surface. Supposedly Joey pulls in enough money at his day job to make a living wage, Reese means, and then references Joey's "obligation" in Joey's own words. Along with asking if he left someone behind. For an ex Army Ranger? Ouch. Most militaries over the world emphasize that you don't leave your comrades behind, but the ones who train the hardest often emphasize it the hardest, too, like Reese's old Ranger training. Joey takes it as the hit it's meant to be, too, not admitting it but acknowledging that maybe that would be a reason. Except it isn't. And as he turns to look more out at the beach for a second he explains how his obligation is to the family of a friend who took his place on patrol and got killed for it. And at least half the time he's looking at Reese, up at him, partly because of height, but also his head and shoulders indicate he's actually looking up to Reese, treating him almost as he would a superior officer. Certainly a superior officer who'd earned respect for himself, not just respect for the uniform.

Joey has high praise for his friend, which means high burdens for him to live up to, and Reese has this little smile that's somewhere on a distant shore in sight of fondness and admiration. Seriously, you can see it just peeking out from underneath all the layers of stoic and enigmatical. This is a guy who makes commitments, honors them, holds his people close and takes care of them, and Reese can admire that, even if it means you do some not very nice things. Hell, Reese is the king of doing evil things in the name of good. So, that little smile. And he asks if Joey's told anyone else. Which seems like equal parts fishing for more information and non-idle curiosity, because he sees so much of himself in Joey. As shown in the next bit of conversation, where Joey protests that he has left the war behind and he's with his lady completely. No, Reese knows better. He knows how that feels, he knows how that looks, and he knows what happens when you leave your lady for the war. Oh Reese baby. He might have tried to talk Joey out of doing the job even without that, but that does push it over the edge to where he'll try to get Joey to go be with Pia Moresco. And now what's peeking out from under the stoic is sadness and acceptance and regret all in one. Acceptance of the sadness and the grief and the regret, more specifically. He accepts those feelings because he brought them on himself and deserves no more and no less, etc. Yeah, we're familiar with those issues too. Sadly, though predictably, Joey takes this to mean Reese doesn't understand the obligation he feels, so he reiterates it with belligerent that's-just-the-way-it-is-itis and walks away, leaving Reese to do the sad-and-alone shuffle.

Not for long, though, he has to go make sure of Joey's girlfriend. Because everything about Joey is stabbing him right in the issues and if he can't be with Jessica, he's going to make damn sure Joey's happy with Pia. So, there he is, sitting at the coffee shop, not-flirting with Pia in the way of flattering her without making it seem as though he's trying anything. Also talking Joey up to her and trying to get a feel for where she is with Joey. Both by talking Joey up to her and by telling her she could have anyone she wants, which gets the hoped-for reaction out of her, which is that Joey's it for her and it is what it is. There's a part of him that brightens at that, more hopeful, but when she leaves it's back to work. Finch has been listening, of course. Reese is ostensibly done trying to save Joey but that is not at all a convincing deadpan tone, and I am not buying that for all the gold in Fort Knox. Finch's reassurance that Reese did the best he could is, at least, genuinely meant even if it's not exactly warmly meant; Finch still doesn't entirely trust Joey, it seems. But Reese has declared for calling the cops and bringing the whole gang in, and that seems to brighten his day somewhat.

Speaking of the cops, the Machine will escort us over to the precinct, where Carter has the IDs of the two decea-- excuse me, retired bank robbers. Yeah, retired like Blade Runner, what did I tell you? And, oh look. They're also Army Petty Officers. They changed the ID issue/expiry dates for these two, but other than that it's the same fuckup. Also I have no idea what the hell that seal is, although it does appear to say 'Department of the Army', but that bothers me less. As far as I know, the military (and possibly certain other bodies) does ask people to fake up the credentials in visual fiction media so that they can't be spoofed off of movies. I think. Anyway, to make a long story short, argh get your basic rank structures right. Platt and Santos are both dead, shot in the head three months ago. Carter apparently cross-checked CSU reports with military hardware items, found the radio, found the serial number, found the connection to Fort Drum and thus the robber group and thus unravelled Latimer's overall scheme. Because Carter is (and all of you who've come here from Grimm should know this refrain by now) The Best. Oh, hey, speaking of the ringleader killing off his men when they get too troublesome, let's go over to Latimer. Who just threw the broken picture of Platt and Santos into a trash bin. Ruh-roh, Shaggy. (Also, Danny and Manny? Really?) Apparently this job is to go into long-term evidence lockup and steal one precise item for a mysterious man on the other end of a phone. Even Finch doesn't have a name or number, or at least, not immediately. The plot congeals.

Really congeals, though we don't know how much at this early stage. The gang's all in decent enough suits, some of them not fitting as well as they should but then they only need to pass a cursory inspection. Funeral suits, I'd say, as a Doylist commentary. Black leather gloves, new hardware, and a pail of water for all their electronics. Oh goodie. This comes intercut with Latimer getting and giving confirmation that the gang can't survive this, no loose ends, to which he replies that they were breaking up anyway. Which tells us that he presumably kills all of them when the weakest link (like Straub) goes, so that he doesn't have to deal with an old crew asking what happened to a former member. Culling the weak link might work with non-military folk, but it won't fly here, so yeah, it makes a certain amount of twisted logic. Finch overhears and promptly tries to warn Reese, just in time for Joey to specify that his little earwig has to go, too. Which phrasing makes me think Joey suspects that Reese was Company at some point, not that we have time to worry about that. Finch gets an oh-shit look at the blinking SIGNAL LOST on his monitor, and I'd love to tell him not to worry but no, you worry whenever that happens. Even though Reese is plenty smart enough to recognize this as a signal that this is their last job and they're all expendable. We still don't know what this job is even for, just that it's worth $400K to someone or another. Curiouser and curiouser! Oh Elias, you fucker.

We come back after the break to the Machine panovers of the street and the crew buzzing into lockup. I think that must be Stills' shield held up to the door, which just makes me facepalm. I really hope it's not, but it could easily be. There's no indication of how the hell they got into lockup in the first place, which I would really like just to confirm things, but then it's all zipties and military efficiency and hey wait, what's this? FINCH. Oh my god Finch. I guess that's one way of delivering a warning, he's managed to time this very neatly so he's asking for whatever case file he could legitimately look like some kind of forensic accountant for (probate issues, oh Finch) while they're shoving the first two cops downstairs. Hey, it's a robbery! John, honey, don't freeze like that, that's a GIANT FUCKING TELL oh fine, nobody seems to notice because they're all running on adrenaline. At any rate, Finch wouldn't even have to say anything for a warning at this point, and Reese is visibly wondering if he should go over there and ask what the fuck he thinks he's doing. Yes, Finch. You threw your operative off his game. Well fucking done. He will continue to throw Reese off his game but in a more explicable mission-oriented sort of way by staring up at him while he and Lefty guard the door, thereby giving Reese a reason to get shirty with the witness and haul him up to hear whatever the fuck it is he has to say. That shove to sit back down is not nearly as hard as it could have been, but reasonable for the character Reese is trying to portray. Reese will now attempt to go back and warn them, leaving Lefty on his own to completely miss the evidence room cop sliding another's piece out and hiding it under his body with a look at Finch. This is going to end so WELL I can just tell, also why the fuck were his hands not tied? Old doesn't mean stupid, guys. Joey does not want to hear any of Reese's conspiracy theories, that would be nice if you weren't in the middle of a damn conspiracy, honey. The file on Elias is H73-36 which I note here not because I expect there to be numerological relevance but because I expect that fucking file to come up a LOT. Sigh. There will now be more dick-waving! Just what you always want in the middle of a job! Whatever Joey sees in Reese when he threatens to shoot him, it's enough to convince him that Reese is not an immediate threat unless Joey's doing the threatening, so, alright. They head out! And the old cop, because he is old and fucking smart, does not try to shoot anyone until they're all but disappeared up the stairs and clearly want to get out of there more than they want to defend themselves. Finch can't do anything without blowing his cover any more than he already has, though he does a nice little head-jerk at John as if to say go, I'll get myself out of this after you leave. So there goes a bullet through Teddy's calf and here comes Molina back at the precinct to tell Carter about the shooting at the evidence lockup.

Once I'm back from looking up "clusterfuck" in all my languages, we see Reese and Joey supporting Teddy aka Lefty in classic military style. Ski masks off now, because they're within sight of the van and people will let a lot go from men dressed in nice suits on New York streets that they'd freak out about from men in nice suits and ski masks. Reese takes guard duty to cover their retreat to the van, ostensibly looking down the street but I bet he expects what happens next on some level. Mostly the spyssassin trained to evaluate all potentialities and shift tactics in an instant level, so in other words, it's a day ending in y. Straub being Straub and a fuckup, he's left the other three behind to deliver the package to Latimer, which means he gets dead first! Yay! Latimer, nobody believes your line about a good soldier, and now you're fucking up because you really should have waited for all of them to get into the van before shooting anyone. I'm not sure why he didn't aside from narrative causality. Subconscious guilt, maybe. He then takes out the injured man first, quite reasonably since Teddy goes down quick, and hey look, the weapons Latimer gave them don't work. On account of how they've never needed to fire them in the middle of a job, the threat and overwhelming physical force of being soldiers has always sufficed to keep them and others from getting hurt. And if they had gotten dead in the middle of the job because they were going after cops, well, there's a good chance at least one would've made it out to deliver the package, and whoever didn't make it out is fewer bullets Latimer needs to waste. So it's a pretty solid plan, as these things go. Except for the part where Reese is nothing if not a paranoid spyssassin and brought his own... semiauto pistol oh my god I love you Reese. Latimer was Not Expecting That and will now dive back into the van while I cackle maniacally. Grinding down the firing pins is a nice, subtle touch, too, not something that even a trained soldier would catch without stripping the gun. Unlike, for those of you coming over from Haven, the difference in weight between a loaded and unloaded weapon. At any rate, Reese and Joey are the only two left alive and they won't be for long if they don't get the fuck outta there. Which they do! Just in time for Carter and Molina to pull up in his unmarked and you can damn near see her swearing in all the languages she knows over the needless waste of good soldiers. Because Carter is The Best like that; she wouldn't be as good at her job as she is if she couldn't empathize with the perps as well as the criminals, and in this case it's personal. Oh honey.

We leave the cops to handle the crime scene and pan over to Reese giving Joey a rather big brother lecture on how he needs to get the hell out of the city, even giving him some money to let him get some distance. South or west, well yeah, aside from disappearing into the wilds of Maine (don't go there, Joey, thar there be Troubledy people) or somewhere else in New England he doesn't have a lot of options. And NE is awful cramped; south and/or west is the traditional direction for "I need to get out of New York." Joey is insisting that he can't possibly leave that's not okay why would he leave behind the person he's got here, and oh honey, take her with you. Which Reese promptly tells him, with a whole lot of softening around his eyes and some interesting choices of phrasing. "Tell her it's just going to be you and her now. Just you and her." And John, how close did you get to doing that with Jessica? Even after you became a spook. I think the answer is very. Very very. I'd offer to give him hugs, but the general rule of thumb with spyssassins is no hugs they don't initiate unless they're undercover. Mutter sigh. Joey seems to recognize that he's getting a chance that Reese never had and heads off to grab Pia. Meanwhile, Carter has taken evidence from the crime scene to jab at her mystery man! Oh Carter, how so awesome. Once I contain my squee, she's giving him not so much an ultimatum as a warning: she's been looking for him, and that keeps landing her in bad situations. Actually, she should be blaming Finch for that more than Reese, but she doesn't know that yet. We watch him take a couple seconds to decide first whether or not he's going to reply and second what he's going to say, knowing that she's dangerous and knowing moreover that she's a good person who doesn't deserve him ruining her life or killing her. The deadpan expression he goes into is his standard checking for immediate danger look, not any lack of appreciation for Carter's abilities. He sounds more puppy-hopeful than actually hopeful when he suggests she stops looking for him, and they're being extra knowledgeable here because I would bet that they both know exactly what the range on those radios is. Her dismissal of that option is perfunctory and would entail more eyerolling if she weren't in full professional cop mode right now, and she'd like the information he has on what went down! Particularly the actual perp. Reese will do no such thing, he made this mess and he'll clean it up, or at least something along those lines. Also he dislikes ex-military who fuck with other veterans. That is nothing like Semper Fi, This We'll Defend, or any other goddamn motto you care to name. Jackass. Carter would at least like to know why, not that he'll give her that, either, he's very good at not giving her a damn thing to latch onto in this scene. He will also smirk with absolutely no mirth over being locked up or bleeding out somewhere as the end to this cat-and-mouse game they've got going; he always knew that was an eventuality rather than a probability.

Finch, meanwhile, is being mild mannered and bespectacled as the cops taking down his statement. Aww, it's so cute how he can fake being all meek like that. Carter walks by without a second glance, but she gets a couple second glances from Finch, who doesn't so much have a poker face as he does a lack of movement in his tells. The wider eyes and the facial tension are a good sign that he's just seen something either upsetting or nerve-wracking, though. Fortunately for him, Carter's out of view soon after. She's over to evidence lockup, where a uniformed detective shows her the empty box. She heaves the sigh of "oh goodie, another puzzle to solve," which is actually half a genuine oh-goodie because she probably does enjoy puzzles, she'd just prefer they have a little less life and death to them. Having been released and now back at Mission Control, Finch does not have even a bit of regret or admonishment when he brings up to Reese how he let "our bank robber" i.e. Joey get away. In fact, I'd venture a guess that the reasons for that statement are to open the way for the follow-up query if they're done yet, and to express backhanded admiration for Reese's tenacity in objecting to Finch framing Joey as a guy who shouldn't be saved. Using 'bank robber' as a continued reference for one thing, but his voice is lighter and more jovial than it's been for most of the episode. Though he does get a bit dubious and narrowed-eyed when Reese says it's not quite over. What does Reese mean by that?

Well, in the very next shot we have Latimer sitting in a chair looking stiff and uncomfortable, so that's a good clue! Seriously, there's tension in the set of his head and his shoulders that looks a great deal like a kid sitting in the principal's office. He looks over at someone and says "I hope that's what you wanted," someone who is clearly meant to be mysterious because all we see of them is the hands flipping through the murder file and the knife from evidence. Latimer then broaches the money discussion and, really, do we need to spell out how this is going to go? No? Good. The Machine keeps a watchful thousand eyes over New York and Reese slowly opens the door to the room Latimer was in, movie still playing, hard to say if the door was open already or if we just come in on the moment after Reese has picked the lock. Either way and again, we know Latimer's dead before Reese comes around and gives us a look at the bullet holes. He gives the terse summation to Finch, and speculates that it might have been Elias, whose name was on the box. Well, usually it's the murdered person whose name is on the box, Reese, so I don't see your logic there. The Doylist explanation is because they want to embed that name into our consciousness, but if Reese is going for loved ones out for revenge, there's actually probably less than even odds that the person seeking revenge shares a name with the deceased. In this case, though, it is Elias, so we'll leave it alone now. Yes, Finch, you'd better look into it. Elias is a fucker. 

Over to the bus station of somewhat less star-crossed love than John's past, where Joey is  waiting by a bus bound for Phoenix. That certainly is far from New York! Joey's pacing slowly back and forth and when Pia comes up he's got his back to her, and on the long shot and camera switch to Reese it actually looks as though he's looking directly at Reese, possibly with an expression of "told you she wouldn't go for it." Looking that over a couple of times he's probably thinking that to himself more than he's directing that at Reese; our broody, heartbroken spyssassin isn't behaving like someone who's connecting with a person standing at distance from him. Anyway, Pia comes up behind Joey and gets his attention, and by the looks on their faces for the second or two before they close, neither of them expected her to be there. But then we have the close in and the hug and they do visibly brighten to be around each other, even if they both look exhausted. By what they're leaving behind and the road ahead, neither's been or will be easy. So, onto the bus and a couple last lingering shots of Reese as he flashes back to his own parting of the ways with his lady love.

Jessica's voiceover accompanies us to the past, the one about it being easier for Reese to be alone. Which is still true and not true, true in the general sense and not as true as maybe Reese would sometimes like it to be, for him, specifically. And I have to point out here that, even if it's not in the very first episode, the third (Rule of Three take a drinK!) episode is still a good place for Reese's initial refrain of "in the end we're all alone, and no one's coming to save you." Because this entire series is about contradicting that, but in order to understand how significant that is for him, for Finch, we have to see how completely he believes it at first. So, this conversation, and him telling her to be happy with Peter and pretending it doesn't hurt. And she tries to tell Reese that he doesn't believe that about being alone, but the problem here is that she doesn't believe that he doesn't believe that. If she had more conviction in her voice, or more steadiness or, yes, forcefulness... well, it would at least have gotten a different reaction. He's aware enough of her knowledge of him, intimate and otherwise, that if she had the confidence to back up her assertion he might even agree it was true. But right now she doesn't have that confidence and he's got his armor on, even though he does stop and turn. And she challenges him to be a different kind of brave and oh look, it's a callback to the last time Reese was actually happy. Her words mirror his words from the beachside bed scene, only this time when she asks him to ask her to wait for him he can't even look at her, and he's visibly clenching his jaw shut on those words, or other words, or anything like important words. Because it is a risk. He's lived his life so long as either a Ranger-type soldier or an assassin-type spook that he doesn't know how to be a person who can have a romantic relationship, a healthy and enduring kind. Or at least, he thinks he doesn't. And especially after his time with the CIA, he's so aware of the horrible things he's done that most likely (and in the shortest way I can think of to put it because these issues are elaborate as well as deep) thinks he a) doesn't deserve happiness and love, b) isn't capable of receiving it, c) isn't going to find someone who can accept him for who he is and what he's done, not even Jess. But he doesn't want to find out that that's true, especially not c, and asking her to wait, asking her to be with him instead of the safe (he thinks) and mundane life she's about to have, that would be a huge risk and a lot to lose if he's right and she rejects him for being a monster. No, instead she's going to be bitter and angry at him for being a self-loathing stoic jackass instead, with a last comment of how it would take real courage that he doesn't have, the last part being implied. And she stalks off and then his jaw unlocks, as we all knew it would, as we all bang our heads into the nearest solid surfaces, and we get that quietly desperate "wait for me, please" now that it's too late to make a damn bit of difference. Complete with a rocking side-to-side step towards her and unshed tears. Props to Caviezel, too, for making this exactly as heartbreaking and headdesky as it should be, with no oversell.

Next week: More guy-girl relations issues! More Reese-is-a-monster issues. Issues for everyone! We have them leatherbound, gold-embossed covers, and alphabetized. Yours for the low low price of six installments of $19.95.

1 comment:

  1. I am officially hooked on your recaps. They are great!