Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Got Nine Lives (Person of Interest S1E12 Legacy)

Well, we knew they weren't going to keep Reese in a wheelchair for more than an ep, both because he's Reese and a stubborn bastard and because finding plausible reasons for it would become an exercise in creative frustration sooner rather than later. So we see with the opening credits that he's up and, well, as functional as he gets right now! No weapons on display, but the woman whose number is up has an expression on her face that looks rather like the fuck-off-busy look we've seen on Carter's any number of times. This should be interesting! And speaking of our friendly local detective, our Machine footage for the episode opens on her, looking wary and looking for more Company tails as she enters a diner. She takes a seat such that she can see the front entrance, both because she's a good cop and because she's clearly waiting for someone, and we can safely assume that someone to be Reese. We're reminded as she waits that she hasn't actually had a clear view of him yet, because she tenses up at a random far-too-slender man in a suit. And we're also given indication that the kitchen entrance is behind her, as the waiter comes past. So Reese will keep her waiting until she starts visibly having second thoughts, and then Batman in. REESE. Be better, you jackass.

This seems to be the same diner Reese and Finch met at back in Judgement (1x05), or at the least a very similar one. I'd question it for reasons of proximity except a) Reese probably isn't moving very well and b) this is a first meet. If they start using it a lot I'll get crankier. There's a ton of tension in this scene that ratchets up the moment Reese walks in and looms at her; we can see her restraining herself from reaching for her gun and we can see him holding himself with smug superiority that's covering for the pain he's presumably still in. Also he's got something of the moral high ground here for a change, and he's going to milk it for all it's worth. Carter knows it, offering a genuine and sheepish apology with a casing of snark. I love you, Carter. Never change. I can't tell, though, how much of her followup to that is her having been in denial and how much genuine retention of idealism. I mean, come on. This is the Agency. It doesn't even take being genre savvy these days to assume the worst when they want to bring one of their own in after he supposedly goes rogue. But, alright, she was probably lying to herself because how the fuck else do you work in a place as corrupt as that after going through similar betrayal of ideals in Iraq? Reese's smirk says he's right there with me on the analysis of her excuses, along with his faith in the rightness of his former colleagues' cause. Heh. He'd like to know why she contacted him, which is the first time we have confirmation that she was the one requesting this meeting, though we could have guessed it by the tension she was carrying around earlier. Jokes about his suit aside, she's got a lot of questions and no tails, he's quick to note. It's a delaying tactic, but one that covers a lot of we're-all-knowledgeable-here ground as far as her competence. It also allows him to ask, with the kind of dead-eyed shark's look that would scare a lesser person shitless, if there's another agency following him. YES, Reese, you idiot, you didn't think the NYPD would be able or inclined to overlook this pattern of extremely unsubtle vigilantism, did you? Because they're not, and Carter probably isn't going to be allowed to head up the task force, much though she might like to.

As she gives him information, the flat stare lifts, but only a little, and only enough so that he's not conspicuously telegraphing I Am A Dangerous Person to the civilians around them. His control is slipping what with everything going on these days. Carter will take this opportunity to remind him that she's a cop, she has rules, she has lines, and what he's doing crosses those. Even if she does want to know more, and what he means with that warning is that she'll have to cross some of those lines, or at least bend them, if she's going to keep heading down this path. With him, though neither of them will say it out like that and they'd probably glare at me for phrasing it that way. (Don't care. Trollface ahoy.) What follows is as much of the truth as Reese is willing to give her right now, and they both know it's not the whole truth - he even says as much - but it is impressive that he's giving her truth at all. It's not, for once, the kind of lying with the truth that he's trained for, it's a half-truth about what they do that's designed to shield Carter from knowledge of the Machine and to, hopefully, satisfy her curiosity for the moment. A stopgap, in short. They get information, and he wants her on his side because she's a ridiculously good ally to have. In both senses of the word good; trying to do good in the world and having access to many useful resources. They both hunch over the table a little more, toward each other, content to share the secrets they can and I think hopeful that with time will come trust and better answers. At least, hopeful on Carter's part. For now it's good enough to let her move onto the most immediate question of, how does working with Reese and Finch work. Well, here's a name on a sheet of paper, which won't get her in trouble if anyone finds it. Andrea Gutierrez is a common enough name, so occupation and requested information come verbally to distinguish her when Carter goes into the system to find that sealed juvie record. And we know it'll be when, not if; Carter's come too far to back out now even with her protesting about rules. Reese drops all the smirking and most of the dead-eye when he tells her that she can have her rules or she can save lives, and for him that's what it comes down to, so that's the choice he sets in front of her. Along with a burner phone which unlike on Grimm is one of the cheap flip-phone burners. That should at least help with the CIA interference! We hope.

From there it's back to the library of infinite knowledge, where Finch doesn't seem so sure about this meeting with Carter. Mostly because he's an overprotective papa with that Machine of his. For good reason, granted, but he's going to remain tense and suspicious of Carter and her involvement with the police, the CIA, and everything else while Reese barrels on ahead with his puppy crush. I suppose that's only fair. Someone has to sit on Reese's dumber instincts. Speaking of, that wasn't actually an agreement to get Andrea Gutierrez's juvie records, Reese, it was at best nonverbal acceptance. The boys fill us in on the case of the week, she's one hell of a stubborn woman who went from GED to community college all the way through law school and is currently practicing civil litigation. Damn. I'm impressed. So is Reese, but it turns out that she's also up to her eyeballs in debt from student loans, credit cards, and business loans, which means the first thing to look for is a bunch of loan sharks. Totally reasonable first line of inquiry! We get pans back and forth of Reese tailing her into the courthouse while the boys talk over her details, which do a nice quiet job of confirming her financial straits as she rips one of the bows on her heels half-off and then Sharpies the blemishes before heading into court. Where she's lost her last six cases, her attempt at a niche being ex-cons who feel aggrieved for reasons related to their stay in prison. That's a nastily difficult niche to try working in even if the system was on her/their side, and both in real life and in this universe, the system is anything but. Oh honey. But she keeps trying, because we have another idealist on our hands!

In court, Reese watches while Gutierrez blows up and snarks at the ADA working this case and I know she's been put in a horrible position here, but this is not helping her clients either. Still, what we clearly have is a woman on the verge of desperation to win some case, any case, and one who, if her current client is any indication, is taking on even further disadvantaged people. Not that blacks aren't incredibly overrepresented in the prison population already. Still, if she wanted easier cases, she could go find some nice white guy who was nonetheless convicted and play that game. She doesn't want easy cases; she wants justice. And she is trying to keep her client from doing anything stupid like... talking to his parole officer. Who I already don't like, and we're not supposed to. He's exactly the kind of asshole who doesn't care about rehabilitating convicts or helping them transition to outside society so long as he's getting his piece of money and who's betting that he planted the drugs? Yep. Alright, then. We also learn that her client has a son, judging by his tone of voice as he asks after Jacob, whom he cares about very much. And by the look on her face she suspects Galuska planted the drugs too but can't prove a thing and it's not her job to do so. Even if she might wish it were otherwise. Yes, thank you, we get the message, the system's screwing everyone.

Speaking of the system, the Machine will carry us on over to the records department! Where Gutierrez is bribing the clerk with pastrami and yeah, that looks pretty good. She clearly has some kind of prior relationship with him, because a sandwich and a smile is not necessarily enough of a bribe to get a harried clerk to add another task to his pile. Plus he knows his boss doesn't like her, as she comes up and snarks about working through lunch instead of entertaining visitors. Andrea's going to book it the hell out of there mumbling about how the proper channels are so freaking slow and an expression that says she knows just how much of her leg she's managed to swallow along with that foot. Yeah, if you're going to complain about the rapidity of getting records, you should at least figure out the departmental politics and complain about someone that Gloria and wosshisface don't like rather than making it seem directed at them. And this, too, is both believable and the problem with idealism: all too often idealists aren't any good at manipulating those around them, because they believe others should automatically see the rightness of their cause. When sadly, most people, even government employees who might have gotten into the system to help people, are more concerned with not making more trouble for themselves.

Off she goes to the rest of her day, off Reese goes after her, and when we settle in next it's evening and Andrea's out for drinks at a generic Irish-looking bar with a few friends. Which is a fairly quiet bit of surveillance and gives us time to have Carter call Reese with the juvie record! At least they didn't keep us waiting on her decision for long, and contrary to how Fusco and Reese operate, she reads out from the file over the phone. B&E as a sophomore in high school, string of larceny charges, nothing violent and all things that a young woman dealing with a lot of shit might do in order to try and escape some worse situation either at home or at school. But we're interrupted by another phone call! And this coupled with the suspicious looks Fusco was giving his partner just a few seconds ago confirms what we vaguely guessed: Reese has not told and has no plans to tell Fusco and Carter about each other. Normally I would say yes, this is good asset management, and it's certainly what he would have learned. In this case it's such a delicate high-wire act that I think it's a fucking stupid idea and only going to use Reese's mental resources at a minimum keeping them and their knowledge bases separate in his head. To say nothing of the extent to which Carter will be fucking furious when she finds out he's been keeping this from her, and that's a when not an if, both because the narrative demands it and because she's too smart not to figure it out over time. Fusco might figure it out too, though he's got less of the right background and information to do so. At any rate, Fusco delivers his warning and gets brushed off and I suppose it's useful that Reese has been an ass for so long, because this doesn't seem that abnormal as far as behavior toward Fusco goes. Carter gets much softer treatment because she came to this willingly, and Reese puts her on watch-and-wait detail along with thanking her. Your crush is showing again, Reese. Finch delivers a similar warning to the one I would give though with fewer concrete reasons backing it up, which means it's easy to brush aside and move onto Gutierrez. Hey, that's a not at all subtle tail! I have to say if I'd grown up in the circumstances it's implied she did I don't think I would have ignored his existence, but confidence and the belief that nothing will touch you does go a long ways toward keeping people off your back. Sadly, this guy's being paid to kill her. I will cringe over the earbuds in because situational awareness augh, and then cringe again over the shit embedded in my brain as a way of life. Fortunately any cringing over that is supplanted by grinning at Reese Batmaning the would-be hitman. Once again I love the fight choreographer and want to give him? her? all the cookies ever, because yes, Reese should be having trouble with this and ow, that's a headbutt right around the gutshot area. Still, the guy's not being paid to kill Reese, and all he wants to do is get away, so we have a bruised-up spyssassin, a worried hacker, and no suspect to question. Oh well. We do have a vial of some drugs that Reese informs us are steroids, which is another reason that the fight went as badly as it did! Joy, though also indicative of a lack of any kind of desire for professionalism on the part of whoever hired him. Andrea Gutierrez is safe, Reese staggers to his feet and makes a dire pronouncement, and we cut to commercial!

We come back to the library the next day to find Reese walking rather more normally than I feel he should be after that fight. Reese, the fuck did you dose yourself with, and/or the fuck biofeedback style pain management techniques are you using to push yourself further than you should be? Idiot. And... no Finch. Interesting. Very interesting, and Reese do you remember what happened the last time you tried invading his privacy, how well that didn't work out? Oh fine, yes, play with the hacker's computer, that never ends badly. He only gets one shot at guessing the password, though the speed with which he types it in makes me think that he's spent a fair amount of time trying to think what it could be. Much to nobody's surprise, of course. Finch will interrupt with the case rather than bothering to note the privacy issue to start, like he does, and Reese manages to mostly not look like a kid with his hand in the candy jar. They're a very knowledgeable pair. In this case, Finch has more of it than Reese does and knows that his spyssassin is going to keep chipping away at his walls both digital and mental until he gets a more level playing field. The game is at least half the point, probably more like 90% of it. Anyway, Reese IDs last night's failed hitman as a potential ex-con and potential former client, that's not a bad first guess but come on, guys, your cases are NEVER this simple. And an AI is choosing them. (Though I think Reese is, if he's aware of this, opting for swimming down De Nile as a safer choice.) Amusing bit of nonverbal jockeying and humor as Reese gets out of Finch's chair with something less than his customary grace and Finch would like him not to be looking as he types his password now, please and thank you. Although it's harder to get a password off someone who touch-types that fast than you might imagine. They'll continue to mostly not talk about it as Reese mutters about needing her client list in order to narrow down a suspect list and oh boys. This is why you need a profiler. Again. But wait! What's this? Finch has a phone call on that cell phone that we've never seen anyone other than Reese, Fusco, or Carter talk to him on. Usually at his instigation. We're going to get a piece of data on Finch! Awesome! Not that he wants to give Reese anything, though it's unavoidable to give away the fact that he's leaving in a rush and that thus this is something important, either personally or professionally. At this point, for Finch not to say something about it tends to indicate personal. Interestink. Verrrry interestink. Reese thinks so too! Even if he probably is going to be good and go work on getting those records from Gutierrez.

The Machine takes us over to a precinct, which doesn't appear to be the precinct, so we know it's not Carter and Fusco. So it's presumably Finch? Finch is waiting for a youngish scruffy man, who looks exactly the sort of rakish but semi-respectable type to get in a ton of trouble and hope his charm is enough to get him out of the worst of it. Though possibly I'm projecting from the part where he's coming out of jail. I mean, really. That... is that a genuine smile on Finch's face? Or the nearest thing to it he gets? Because he looks kind of like his face might crack from it and I don't think we've ever seen that expression on him. Ever. (Which, well: goddamn, Michael Emerson. Is all I can say to that.) The kid's happy to see him, too! Banter about haircuts and glasses exchanged, and apparently hugging is normal now. With this person. Whoever he is, though it's some kind of a paternal/familial relationship either by blood or by choice, both by their initial body language and by the first non-greeting words out of Finch's mouth, which have to do with lectures on underground gambling and rest. Oh, he's one of those rakes. Cads. Take your pick. Hard to say if he's been in jail the full 48 hours that he says he's been awake, or if he was pulling long hours before that; regardless, he's immediately characterized as irresponsible and reckless, though mostly with his own well-being, so I suppose there's that. I say mostly because this isn't the first time, or the second, and probably not even the third that Finch has bailed Will's sorry ass out of jail. Presumably consistently for non-violent crimes, at least I really hope so. And it sounds like Will's been out of the city for awhile, given the have you home/have you back lines at the end. As they go marching down the street and then we're left going NO REALLY WHAT THE FUCK.

Carter has a similar face for the package on her keyboard, like you do when you get a completely unadorned envelope. I were her, I'd find that timing creepier and suspicious and I'd go looking for the camera, but okay, fine, vial from last night in hand and phone ringing in the other, hi Reese. With an explanation of what it is and what he wants, which is to find out where he'd buy steroids like that! It might help him track down the guy from last night, alright, fine, I approve of multiple avenues of investigation. Carter would approve of them more if they didn't involve dodging Fusco, but she'll do what she can and get more paranoid. Which Reese approves of, because he thinks lack of paranoia is a character flaw. Given his line of work, I can't say he's wrong. Over, then, to our lawyer of the moment's office, where Reese totally wants to sue his employer! This would be a great chance for some jabs at Finch, were he sure Finch was listening and if he'd established a freaking COVER STORY before he walked in. Reese. I know you're in pain and off your game, but this is really fucking sloppy, come on. Especially that coffee spill to gain sole access to her office for a few seconds to plant a bug in her keychain. And now that Finch is back he will start the snark up, aww, it's how they express caring. With snark. And jabs. Though they're softer jabs than they might otherwise be, and we get to see Finch biting back laughter on the other end of the comm. Trollface for the shippers! Andrea Gutierrez is, however, really disorganized, she's running late and she can't resist ads for Bloomingdale's and, in short, though she has the discipline to bull her way through law school from a GED she doesn't have the discipline to manage her life right now. Oh honey. Well, she'll be in touch, and Reese is doing absolutely nothing for her being flustered with all those taciturn lack of useful data answers and that ex-con ex-military hitman stare. Reese? Be better. Again. Seriously.

Her next appointment that she's late for, as it turns out, is a meeting with her current ex-con whose little boy is very happy to see him! Aww. Her pet file clerk Chris picked Jacob up from the foster family's place, which is the first glimpse we get of what the real case is about. File clerk Chris looks out of place and uncomfortable which could have to do with being at a jail and could have to do with some other stuff! It's time for the adults to finish their conversation, though, and her client (whose name I don't think we've gotten yet) would like to know if she's gotten hold of those blood tests yet. Guys, I know the system is slow but generally speaking they're not slower than the justice system unless someone's trying to hide shit. Reese listens to all of this in the car outside as Andrea suggests an independent clinic for testing and I wonder why the fuck she's thinking of this just now. Again, a well-meaning warrior for justice who just can't quite get it together to be the badass she's capable of being. Plus there's that problem of the drugs that were found in his home despite whatever any tests reveal. One anvil about everyone deserving a second chance later and hey, it's Carter on the phone! This time with information about the steroids, which she's narrowed down to just three MMA gyms, at least in this particular mix. And she'll give him the gyms' addresses if he promises she won't get a call-out to a crime scene. By which I think she mostly means homicide, though given her attachment to his case at this point she could mean anything that involves a man in a suit hurting other people for information. Reese promises, we sigh because he's totally not going to keep that promise though I guess for once it's not directly his fault, and we cut on over... one of the gyms in question. Reese is more annoyed by stakeouts than he usually is, another indication that he's not at the top of his game after getting shot. Bored bored whine bitch moan complain, Finch has a point that the guy might have taken the day off and a touching bit of faith in his spyssassin's skills. As happens always on TV and sometimes in real life, complaining enough and offering an alternate option leads to paydirt! Reese continues not to be subtle, though there really is no subtle way to approach the guy who beat the crap out of you last night. As befitting his injured status, he stays on the defensive a lot more rather than closing in and taking hits in order to get inside the other guy's guard. With some people this would lead to stupid moves where they make sloppy hits and stay engaged in the fight. With this guy, the second Reese starts getting in hits he disengages and runs, which is both good practice and somewhat unusual. Some very nice though unnecessary shots of the fight on the street paralleling the sparring inside, and now it's time for a chase scene! One which we have a bad feeling about pretty much as soon as it starts, Reese isn't in shape to catch anyone so... well, hi there truck. See also: not keeping his promise to Carter. Finch is more concerned about him than his promises to Carter; Reese is pissed and grouchy and at least half of that's at himself. For making promises he knew he couldn't keep because no plan survives first contact with the enemy, for not being fast enough to catch the guy sooner, for not being hale enough to end the fight quickly. Just for the surface ones.

Back over at Finch's lair, let's go over the would-be hitman-turned-grease-spot's data! Reese seems to have somehow got hold of the guy's wallet, which makes their searching easier; Finch takes us down his rap sheet. Second degree manslaughter, did time, now out, and he's not been represented by Andrea nor does it seem like he's sought reparations from the system for any reason. Which makes him a great fall guy! Alright, so point of commonality is their parole officer, thank you, about time. Reese takes himself off to surveille some more while Carter handles the crime scene with all due ire directed at him. Worse this time because she knows Reese's signature and this isn't it, so this is about him having been sloppy. And neither of them is fond of incompetence. Reese doesn't like it either and has retreated behind his spyssassin deadpan snark and deflect while he gives Carter all the information he can off Garcia's wallet contents. Sigh, Reese. At least you did that much even if you're taking evidence from the scene, and Carter recognizes it for the olive branch it is. He's not extending it so far as to give her information about who else he's looking at even when he's looking right at the guy, and now it's time to listen to Galuska's racket! Which involves shaking down his parolees for a cut of their paychecks, in this guy's case 30% and I assume he tailors the percentage to how much other use he can get out of them. One assumes at this point that Alonso Garcia traded trying to kill Andrea Gutierrez for not having to pay for a couple months. At least I hope it was a couple months or more, though given Galuska's jackassery I'm not betting either way. Reese starts out pretending like he needs money from the parolee too but quickly reverts to delivering an asskicking without explanation of who he is or what's going on. Again, the fighting style's changed for the purposes of facilitating asskicking around GSWs, in this case the purpose is as little torso movement on Reese's part as possible while bringing Galuska down fast and knocking him out. Dominic gets his money back, Galuska gets shoved in the truck with gun and booze sloshed over his unconscious body, and Reese is making semi-fraudulent 911 calls again. REESE. BE BETTER. My god, man.

Meanwhile, let's investigate the mystery of Finch and Will and what the fuck is going on between them! YES. LET'S. I might be a little irritated that as of where we've seen, Will hasn't turned up again at all, even as a line reference. Just a loose end that got dropped, and I can kinda see why (plus there's always the risk of actors' schedules not working out) but it irks me. Anyway, we get a not at all subtle piece of camerawork with the upside-down (and topsy-turvy? I see what you did there) as Finch and Will walk into what Will calls the "old loft." Which must be his old place in the city, or maybe his and his father's, based on its size. That is a big fucking loft and I want it. I would turn it into a proper artist's loft and have salons and okay, episode, not drooling. It's also full of cardboard boxes at the moment, and Finch always thought Will might come back, which indicates he's been gone for awhile. At a guess, at least since Nathan Ingram died, because let's stop pretending we don't know whose son this is. Finch's inquiry as to whether or not Will's sticking around is tinged with no small amount of worry and the tiniest bit of hope hidden under there, I think. It would complicate his life immensely to have a young reckless pup like this around. It would also be a bit of a comfort. But Finch doesn't think he deserves comfort, so he's relieved when Will says he was thinking of selling the place. And Nathan got divorced at some point and moved there as, what, some kind of fuck-you gesture? I suppose that's always possible. It is a lot of living space for one man and his son who was presumably a teenager at the time, and what little we can see of it involves dark woods, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, all the relatively tasteful indicators of wealth you could want are here. So, then, yes, it was always too lonely for Will, which Finch can understand with the kind of workaholic for a father he had. Heh. Pot, kettle. And the nephew thinks Finch is in the insurance business oh that's ADORABLE. I guess it's suitably boring and keeps prying young noses out. I haven't mentioned, but it's extremely telling of the long and intimate (not like that. probably.) relationship between Harold and Nathan that not only is Will comfortable calling him Uncle, he's comfortable being an uncle, albeit in that distant cold sort of way he has. Which is the only way he seems to know, so that probably helped normalize it for Will as a kid. You know what we don't get any sign of? What kind of a relationship (if any) Finch had with Nathan's wife, prior to the divorce. I would guess it was acrimonious based on the lack of data we're given and the way they're talking around Will's mother, but it could also have been nonexistent for some reason.

Cut to Reese stalking them outside! Reeeeese. I know you already had the parabolic mic and camera and everything from surveilling Galuska, but really now. Hire someone else. We get a very nice little speech from Will in which we learn that he went to med school, never finished his residency, and has been off, as it turns out, with MSF (that's Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders), Red Cross, and probably a couple other organizations of that ilk. (This would have been a great excuse to get him out of the picture, but then we have the ending of Setec Astronomy and that's still not like closure, guys.) Aww honey. He's adorable, can we keep him? If kind of an adrenaline junkie idiot as well. Ah well, everyone has their flaws. Will's seems to be an inability to know when to quit, which we around here can certainly sympathize with. Finch can, too! While thinking that he sounds like his father, and we're still not going to say Nathan's name, apparently, just get a photo of him in Finch's hand. They go quiet out of a moment of shared grief, but it's the kind of quiet where it's an old wound and it's more flattering to Will than painful to be compared to his father, any longer. He won't stay and Finch won't try more than a token protest to convince him to do so, more hugging which is the most voluntary physical contact that man has had with anyone all show, and Reese's stalking will now be interrupted by the phone! Oh good. No, wait, it's Carter. Reese, one of these damn days you're going to learn some kind of subtlety and then hell will freeze over, there'll be pork in the treetops, and I'll learn to take a damn break. She's not happy about the frame-up job on Galuska, Reese snarks about interrogating him if she doesn't want to and then tries to tell her how to do her job, which gets him a well-deserved smack. She will, however, tell him about the pattern she's uncovered of parolees complaining that he's planted evidence! Gee. What a shock. Though I appreciate the fact that they're actually laying the groundwork rather than leaping to conclusions on this one, for a change. Carter will see what Galuska's getting out of sending his parolees back to jail, Fusco will give her some side-eye as he wanders back to his desk, and Reese will pretend very hard that he's not going to break any more laws. Not that he gets a chance to make her promises he won't or can't keep, this time. Carter is pissed and fed up. Fusco's turn to check in! He notifies Reese that Carter's still "acting hinky," which phrasing makes me crack the hell up. Hinky? Really? But no, Reese has a different job for him! Tailing his boss! I severely question the wisdom of this plan, but alright, that is like hiring someone else and Fusco's not doing anything for Team Machine at the moment, and it'll help get him off Reese's back about Carter. Just, Fusco's not all that good at tailing people, as we've seen.

At any rate, the assignment is implied rather than outright stated, and the Machine carries us over several street scenes (including the backseat camera of an NYPD cruiser, interesting) and into Andrea Gutierrez's office, where she's eating a sandwich and oh honey looking over online dating profiles. Which is the moment Reese chooses to walk in, of course. With a story about Galuska being his new parole officer. I'd sigh except she's too overworked to put the pieces together here and Reese is being the creepy ex-con flirt to keep her off-balance. It's not a bad ploy, but it does make me sigh and facepalm at him. REESE. STOP ASKING ABOUT HER ONLINE DATING LIFE. I have to go die of embarrassment for the poor woman, though again, this allows him an in that she wouldn't normally give, as she gets all flustered and makes excuses that at least ought to be borne of professional embarrassment and swiftly becomes irritation and wariness and oh honey. She clearly knows that she needs to be warier than she is, and equally obviously knows that a lot of her clients, the last thing they need is someone else treating them like a pariah. So cue a lot of stammering about not dating followed up with a returned backhanded compliment about Reese being attractive, followed by him turning to break eye contact on purpose to give her a moment while he asks about staying in the town she grew up in. Not just the town but, at a guess, borough and maybe even neighborhood. I'd guess it's possible to get lost in New York if you actively want to make a fresh start elsewhere in the city, but Andrea's the kind of stubborn who would stay around people who know her past. Unlike, frankly, too many kids, she says she was taught it's okay to make mistakes; either that was by a parent or by a mentor with heavy influence on her or maybe even both. The part about everyone deserving a second chance is clearly aimed at Reese, and seems to hit him at least a little bit, judging by the evaluating gaze there. Though he's probably mostly thinking "well, I don't but I guess I got one anyway," because oh Reese, that's why.

On over to interrogation, where Carter comes in on the offensive. I love you Carter. I'm not sure I approve of your methods here, but she's trying to balance illegally obtained knowledge with knowledge of who's in the moral right and Reese and Finch are putting her in an extremely uncomfortable and possibly untenable position. That said, even without the data Reese gave her she'd be suspicious and wary because this guy? Is shit at his job. She says he's put more guys back in jail in the last month than she has, which may or may not be an exaggeration - it is true that parole officers are overworked, so he might have had enough parolees for that. Worst recidivism rate in his unit, yadda yadda, and his only comeback is the criminals' motto, with the kind of delivery that makes us and Carter wonder if he's talking about the people he's framing or himself. Uh-huh. I see what you did there. She'd like to point out his finances, specifically in the form of his nice truck which she'd have reason to know about given he'd have been pulled from it when he got arrested, and his only counter is "my aunt died." Boy are you bad at this, Galuska. Carter doesn't have enough to actually confront him with hiring Garcia to kill Andrea Gutierrez, but she'll do everything but directly accuse him! It's not her best idea but it is in keeping with her character: confront the bad guys about being bad guys and hope they get rattled enough to slip up. But no, he lawyers up and the Machine pulls us back and away over to Reese and Carter checking in post-interrogation. Reese is coming out of some building or another in the rain with a briefcase under his arm. That's not shady-looking at all! And it turns out that he took advantage of Galuska being tied up in interrogation to break in and acquire the computer and REESE. FOR THE LOVE OF. Stop telling her when you do illegal shit like you're a puppy looking for a chewtoy. And stop twisting her words, she said you should try not to do anything illegal. Which is, we all know, like asking water not to be wet and Finch not to be a closemouthed bastard, but seriously.

Speaking of Finch, he's hacked into Galuska's computer and the idiot used his DOB as a password. Oh honey no. So the jackass of the episode has over $500K in the bank, which is, for those of you keeping score at home, DECADES worth of savings on a parole officer's salary. Like, penny-pinching Scrooge style savings. Therefore impossible. I would also like to mention that Galuska's about as dumb as the criminals he's dealing with, because fucking really? You get on the take for that much money, you get multiple fucking bank accounts oh why do I bother. It makes Finch's life easier, anyway! All the deposits coincide with a parolee going back to prison, so clearly Galuska's getting money somewhere somehow out of this batshittery, and a couple days ago he took out slightly under the $10K limit for IRS flagging. That is shit pay for a contract killer, may I just say. And he got a shit job done of it, too. So I guess it wasn't forbearance on the more-than-tithe he was taking out of Garcia's paycheck. Assuming Garcia had a paycheck, being a violent felon. And he's done it again, because he really wants Andrea dead! For reasons that are as yet unspecified but may be safely summed up as "she's getting too close to uncovering his operation." Even though I have serious doubts about the paranoia in this instance, as overworked as she is with every other damn thing in her life. Still, that means it's time for Reese to go pelting off on his white horse black motorcycle? Aww, a girl can dream.

We see no motorcycle. We see instead a library, first through the Machine and then panning down to Andrea bent over a table with piles of books and notes around her. It's a law library, or something similar, she's alone, and ooh a spooky noise! This must be the part where Reese has to reveal himself as her protector and not actually a client. After he kicks some random blond guy's ass! With THE LAW. I will now lead the entire readership in a rousing chorus of I Fought The Law (And The Law Won). Because really. Even better, it's Principles of Criminal Law. More seriously, while Reese is still more hesitant and defensive than usual, he's regained a little more form and is working more smoothly with his environment, something that was severely lacking in earlier fights this episode. Granted, he's now not giving a shit if Andrea sees him or knows that he's rescuing her. Also granted, the new guy isn't any more capable than Garcia. Sigh, Galuska. We get a nice deadpan snark about how he doesn't need her services, she needs his, and cut to commercial!

Reese and Finch communicate about time to safehouse, which is to say right about now. Now is also the time of demanding answers out of Reese! Answers which look a whole lot like stating the obvious: she's in danger, he's not injured in the way he was faking earlier, and he's never been in prison in the US. Okay, the latter is a bit like new information and she's just smart enough to stop asking questions a) when he gets a phone call and b) with the implication that Reese is some kind of ex-mil/ex-spook, both of which are true. Finch fills us in on the record for Lentz, another of Galuska's, and sadly the screen is too blurry for me to make out what he was in prison for before. Damn. More important is getting Andrea up to date on what she did and confirming for her that Terrence is almost certainly innocent of the charges laid against him. Which she believed on faith but without any proof, and that kind of case coming after a succession of defeats is enough to sway anyone toward cynicism. I think Reese is actually quietly impressed that she took the case and defended Terrence as hard as she did without that proof. Drug test from the night of the arrest negative, blah blah, things we already inferred from earlier in the episode, and now it's time for the requisite "I must leave!" "Bullshit, I don't know how many other guys are out there looking to kill you and nor do you" sequence. Unlike most people, she at least appears to be listening, particularly when Reese reaches into her purse and pulls out her extendable baton. I am liking Andrea more and more as she gets pulled into crisis mode, I just wish she didn't have to be in crisis mode for her best qualities to come out. (I am not Niska. I do not feel the need to meet the real anyone. Not like that, anyway; there's much less messy methods.) Reese leaves her holding it and asserting that she knows how to handle herself, and cut over in the pre-dawn hours to...

… that same fucking Lyric Diner. Alright, guys, after this? PICK A NEW MEETING SPOT. I don't care that Carter's getting better at ditching her tail and she does not appreciate cracks about her getting better at breaking the law, Reese. Habits are dangerous. Don't form them. If you're going to run your assets like you're in a war zone, do it right. So Carter's been going back legally through the paperwork and uncovered a pattern: all the parolees he framed were single parents. (Okay, some of them he probably didn't need to frame. Still.) Hey! Foster system! About that again. Each kid's worth about $800 a month, add that up over even five kids a month and you're talking some serious money. Assume that Galuska's going to preference single parents with multiple children and that he's putting five parolees away a money and that's some really serious money, even being split with someone. Carter's going to go talk to the current foster parents who have Jacob and drop an anvil or three on Reese's head about how she's doing her job, doing it well, is damn proud of that fact, and doesn't hurt anyone else for the information. Stick with her, Reese, and you might stop having to shoot so many people, in other words. There's a couple implications in that jab, one that he doesn't need to do her job for her and another that if he'd brought her in sooner on this there might be fewer people injured or dead and more of them in jail. Which isn't necessarily the best of all possible outcomes, as we're seeing with the way the system works over the course of the show, but does allow for the possibility of redemption where death, not so much. I suppose kneecaps mean the thugs are less likely to thug at anyone ever again, but Reese, you're not Shepherd Book and this isn't the wild west in space.

About those foster parents and a few questions which Carter has, then. An older white couple who look somewhere between run ragged and incredibly shifty, which indicates that they are or have cared for foster kids in the past, in all probability, but maybe not the six which Carter cites. Especially as she continues her questioning, bringing up first Galuska and then the head of child placement at DFS, they both get shiftier and are lying, hiding things, glancing at each other to be sure they've got their story straight. A normal couple might be touching for reassurance, but both of them seem to be keeping their hands hidden under the table, for even more on the scale of deception tells. They never expected to be caught, because the system's always too busy to keep on top of foster parents. But look! They live in a one bedroom apartment, so where the fuck are they keeping all these so-called kids? At which point the woman starts touching her neck, near the edge of her hair, a self-soothing grooming gesture, and the man looks down, and Carter knows she's got them. She probably couldn't hold them long on charges of interfering in an investigation, but she could make their lives hell and this little arrangement they've got go away regardless; at least this way they get to cover their asses with a veneer of cooperation with the authorities. That was easy! For a change. Out of the kids beyond Jacob on paper, one ran away months ago and the rest don't exist. Just in case we were in ANY doubt about their lack of parenting skills. Carter brings up the money, which turns out to be the sticking point for the woman, at least, who reaches out to keep her husband from talking any further. I guess Galuska and whoever else he's working with are scarier in the concrete than Carter is in the abstract. Someone would like to talk to Carter on her phone, hi Finch, but she's busy wrapping up interrogation and it's coming in on her personal phone, not the burner Reese gave her. I wouldn't answer either without more data! Both because she's tired of being jerked around and because she is doing the job they gave her and they're not helping. Or rather, they are. Like cats. At any rate, the combination of scary questions about DFS contact and phone call breaking the tension makes the woman lawyer up, great. I'd blame Finch more directly but given how edgy they both were I can't say I'm surprised. (By the way, DCFS is the more common acronym for the department in question, and apparently it is DCFS in NYC, which is just a bit odd and sideways.) The phone rings again, Carter's pissed and a little creeped out and possibly afraid under that, the way you are when you can't escape stalker hacker man's surveillance. Okay, now I'm pissed and so is Carter, because fuck's sake, Finch. I know this is her first case working with you, but it really isn't necessary to yank her chain like this. You could've sent a text. You could've sent an email. You could've done half a dozen other things that didn't involve undermining her cred in the middle of an interrogation, or at least how she feels about her cred. Sigh. Not. People. Smart. He wants the Kenzies to tip off Gloria Copeland, the supervisor who was mean to Andrea Gutierrez and whose signature is on the last half dozen of Galuska's parolees. I have to go facedesk now, you GUYS, one vaguely antagonistic incident isn't enough to convict her and clerks forge their bosses' signatures all the time oh FINE WHATEVER. Be that way. Finch is also futzing with a soldering iron and something that I'm sure will be relevant to the case later as Carter freaks out about her phone being bugged. Yes, Carter, he's extremely disturbing like that. I'm sorry to say you'll get used to it. You will hopefully get a chance to smack the obnoxious lectures on trust out of him, however.

On over to DFS, where the woman in question eyes Finch with the same stinkeye I bet she gives all strange faces around the place, wary of what they're going to break/request/demand/fuck up this time. When Carter says it's a mountain of paperwork, she isn't kidding, and for those with goodwill toward fixing or at least working within the system, every change in routine is a nightmare of extra paperwork waiting to happen. Finch is in, yes Reese, you're behaving like a brooding clucking hen, and he's dropping the soldered attachment onto the shredder. Which will no doubt somehow send them digital copies of what's being shredded, etc etc Finch is a bad man with a highly specific and useful skillset. The boys snark and banter, Finch runs a test page through aww he's such a good IT nerd. And he even gets an approving chuckle out of Reese for his speed! Aww, boys. Now go apologize to Carter for being dicks.

Meanwhile back at the safehouse, Andrea's taking a collect call from Terrence. This can't possibly end well. Oh, no, it's even worse: they're moving Terrence to a max security prison instead of a detention center. The prison system is hopelessly jumbled and merits reading and writing beyond the purview of this recaplysis, but the upshot is, what the actual fuck. That makes no sense for a nonviolent offender and he's damn right he can't make it in there. He doesn't have the contacts, doesn't have the willingness to commit violence, and frankly about the best a guy like Terrence King could hope for in Attica is a quick death. Prison: not a pretty place, and this show is impressively not trying to conceal that from us. That gets Andrea's crusader-for-justice hackles up, of course, as well it fucking might, and she's going to god help us all probably go charging out of the safehouse to file this injunction. Without Reese. Dammit. Nicely played, o file clerk. Speaking of which, whoever the foster parents called is now shredding the documents goddammit Finch you have access to a lot of cameras, fucking USE THEM before asserting that Gloria Copeland is the one doing the shredding. They were starting to learn, and then Reese got shot and brought Carter in, and that seems to have shaken them back to square one on stupid assumptions and bad or nonexistent profiling. Anyway, they are getting the documents which allows Finch to start parsing more data. We'll take all the cranky rants about how Finch keeps assuming it's Gloria as read, yes? Yes. The upshot of the data is that every single parent parolee that lands a kid in the system is a useful cover to hide more children and get more money. It's rather ingenious, in a sick sort of way. Finch cites it as upwards of $750K a month worth of scam, which probably means there's more than one parole officer involved. Yay, broken systems! And thank you fucking finally Reese will spot Gloria Copeland out and about buying flowers like a good non-criminal overworked DFS person, yes, do get back to the DFS offices with Chris the overly helpful file clerk!

The Machine gets there first, because the Machine is everywhere, and hello Andrea, of course you're standing in the DFS offices asking your friend to fix this for you. Please tell me you brought the baton? She's too stressed and scared to quite register how shifty Chris looks when he sees her there, shutting the door to bar anyone casually looking because they're in the office late, going behind his desk where we're all quite certain he keeps a gun. One of these days someone's going to threaten someone with a taser on this show the same way they use guns as threats and I will fall over laughing. At any rate, much to nobody's surprise, Chris was the one who told the judge to move Terrence! And now he's at the point of "fine, I'm surrounded by incompetent fools, I will just do the dirty work myself and I'm caught but not if I can remove all the evidence." Creepy, creepy man. He looks like a zealot, but his only fixation is on money and his own self-interest. According to him, she's actually a pretty good lawyer, which means, for those playing along at home, that he's been sabotaging her cases more and more thoroughly than we've been given information to know. With that amount of paperwork to sift through, it'd be difficult to prove anything anyway, without serious time devoted to just that, which is time Finch doesn't generally have.

Back after the break, Finch is taking some of his precious time to run a handwriting analysis on the signatures to confirm that Chris whatever his name is was forging his boss' signature. Yes, thank you, we're not morons but you guys apparently are oh whatever. Fine. Reese is keeping to a walk, probably partly because this is New York and a relatively decent part of town and running draws attention if you're not dressed in jogging clothes and partly because he's still injured and needs to save energy for a fight. It is, however, a damn fast walk. On into the basement with Andrea and Chris, who seems to think that's a good place to hide a body, or at least to shoot a person, the latter being more reasonable than the former. But she's going to stall for time and get him to talk about how the kids were better off with the foster parents than their convict parents, heh, shades of Javert there for anyone else? Not just me? Just checking. All this stalling for time gives her a chance to get out the baton and YES EXCELLENT HIT HIM MORE. No, I lie, hit him enough to get him to stay down and then keep moving, just like that, now complete with file cabinets as obstructions more literal than the usual. Badass. Andrea, have you ever thought of taking Carter for a role model instead? 'cause you're good at this crisis thing. And here comes Reese, who is either following the sound of gunshots, information given to him offscreen by Finch, or his own spyssassin instincts as to where a person looking to kill someone quietly would go in this building. Or all three, who knows! Reese and Andrea will proceed to badass their way through the filing cabinets (look, in this instance following orders given by an experienced operative is being a badass) and yes, do let's wing the asshat. Right in the shoulder, and Reese could go chasing after him or he could just hang back, cover Andrea in case of further complications, and let Carter deal with it! I mean, really, dude, you're running around bleeding with a gun in your hand at your workplace. This does not look good no matter how you cut it. No words beyond Carter yelling at our perp of the week, but a nice little look and almost-smile from her to Reese, and that's him done being man of action for the episode.

With Chris out of the way and presumably Galuska likewise, getting Terrence out and reunited with his son is a foregone conclusion, aww. Reese will even allow himself the luxury of getting to see a happy ending from one of his cases! Plus this is a nice public area that makes a convenient meeting spot without giving anything away to Andrea about how he found/finds her, etc., since her cases are a matter of public record. Apparently she went after a whole bunch of lawsuits and won $10 mil for her client and herself. Damn, woman. Reese is impressed, too, and gives her crap about not having to sneak into the NYU law library to study anymore. Aw, they're bonding! She'll start with new shoes, I'd say because her priorities haven't shifted that much except given the shape we saw of the exterior I'm guessing they're not too comfy either. Or well-fitted. Still. And now it's time for Reese to give her an opening to tease right back about his complicated job, partly because he's confident she won't guess his secret (I think) and partly because even if she does, who's she going to tell? Considering she knows he has a cop working alongside him at this point. And Andrea Gutierrez is the sort of woman far more concerned with the right thing than the legal thing, anyway. She is actually concerned about John running around and trying to get himself killed with his current line of work, though her words make a joke out of it. He's not joking back, but this is about as cuddly and benign as we've seen him get. Almost paternal, really. She's not the only one who believes in second chances, and she telegraphs the hell out of that hug which gives Reese a chance to look like a mostly normal person when he returns it! I'm not sure how much of that was deliberate on her part as opposed to hesitation because Reese tends to have a massive personal space bubble. But it's cute and heartwarming, so far as these things go.

Back over at the old loft, where oh good someone didn't forget about Will. I sure as fuck didn't. Will isn't selling the place! And he greets Finch with Uncle Harold and goddammit won't someone give us the last name he went by with Nathan Ingram and his son? That would be nice. Even if I don't think that would be his real name either. Apparently Will is also done patching people up and has a lot of vague and ill-defined statements about wanting to learn more about his father, who he never really knew. Yeah, Nathan seemed like that kind of a workaholic. I'm amazed he even got custody, frankly. Finch is trying to deflect with the day Will got into med school and paternalistic statements and no, honey, you're not side-tracking this kid, not today. He plans to read through ALL the files. Can we read through ALL the files too? I bet we could parse the data better and I bet there's a metric fuckton in there and what, you knew we were like this. Anyway, there's at least half a dozen banker's boxes of papers in there, not to mention loose file folders, books turned over chairs, the place is a mess. Kind of like Finch's lair only with even less organization, hey, all of that's from the audit the lawyers did when Will inherited half the company! (Which implies that Finch owns the other half and Will knows that, though this is almost immediately shown to be false.) Have I mentioned how much I want that data? Because there might be chewing the corner of the desk involved right now. Finch is duly terrified of this newly curious nephew. Bad nephew. Go be a rakish doctor in the Sudan or the Balkans or somewhere and leave Finch and his secrets alone. That's a bad nervous laugh, too; Finch isn't the best at lying but he's even worse at it with someone who already knows a fair number of his secrets and is looking to learn more. Among other inconsistencies in the data, the seven years (heh. heh heh. seven.) where they were working on the Machine, Nathan shut down IFT entirely, gave his employees severance and fired them. And Will's found out about the dollar contract and even has enough knowledge to know what that means! Finch, learn to control your face better, though at least this can be passed off as the shock of new knowledge layered over old grief. The lightness in his voice is the light tone you use when you're lying through your teeth. Oh Finch. Bad Finch. Whatever Will knows about Finch and Ingram's past, he phrases it as "you were his closest friend," not "you were his business partner" or "you owned the other half so you should know what the projects were." Which raises some interesting questions about how many shell companies Finch was always hiding his shares behind, and why. Argh. This is not more answers, you guys, this looks suspiciously like more questions. It also leaves Will not jaunting off for MSF or Red Cross or anywhere else and he remains this obnoxiously loose end. GRUMBLE.

While Finch is out, Reese will take a moment with his surveillance photos and an iPad and do an image search for Will! Which leads him to some relief work photos and then to Nathan Ingram and a story on his tragic death and now I will descend into swearing because that article a) has no date on it that I can see and b) the text of the article is too damn blurry to read without giving myself a headache. What little of it I can make out looks like standard obit type stuff, friends and family overwhelmed by sympathy and support, highly acclaimed visionary and charismatic founder of IFT, yadda yadda... ah, actually, on skimming it that's the same paragraph pasted twice and it is generic obit material, beloved by all, hated by none, speak no ill of the dead, etc. So I guess in this case it's fine to blur it out but hmph, I wanted to know how he died. Fuckers. (Which is also standard obit fare, or at least a decent cover story is, and the cover story would have been useful data and argh. ALL YOUR MURDERBOARDS GIVE THEM TO ZIM.) Finch will give me a different outlet for my frustrations, during which he and Reese are highly formal with each other although he admits (tacitly, but still) that there are things going on that have him worried. Like a prying young nephew. I'd worry too, if I were Reese! Especially with the take the rest of the day off thing, the numbers never stop coming and I'd wager they've got another and Finch is having to prioritize the overall op over any single number. Interesting that Finch uses "can't," not "won't" or "shouldn't" or any other possibility, implying that there are restrictions that are external, either binding from the past or the present. Reese is Not Happy about this, as shown by the next phone call! Hi Fusco. No, you're not getting cab fare, you're not getting the answers Reese gets, and Reese, honey, employ a better tail. That backwards eyeflick from Finch is a subtle but clear indication that he knows he's being followed, and the way the Machine pulls out and the crosswalk turns against Fusco as Finch is mid-street indicates that it's none too happy about Reese's new plan either. Sigh.

Next time, things start coming to something of a head. Also known as, we acquire our first big bad who exists outside the group of people who already knew about the Machine! What FUN.


  1. Awesome recap, as usual. :) @_@ the Will = more questions aspect of this episode had me clawing at my chair. Like you posed, I really want to know how the heck Finch/Wren/Whateveryournamewasatthetime fit into whatever family relationship Nathan had with his son. And also all the Actual Mysteries. @_@ It would be really, really nice if they brought Will back. He's a loose thread that really hangs...

    1. I had, when I did this one, admittedly forgotten that he DID show up again, but it still felt like a cheap way to get Will off the show and not have to answer any of the questions his presence raised. And hey, sometimes shit happens with actors, but it would have been awesome to get ANSWERS. Woe.

      (Looking over the actor's IMDb page, it does look like he picked up a bunch of movies all at once, which is nice for him but sad for us.)