Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Silk Suit, Black Tie (Person of Interest S1E16 Risk)

Our introduction to the number of the week comes with Reese coming out of a stairwell and down a hallway, holding a gun and shoving someone behind him. In an expensive suit, who doesn't look competent to be in a firefight. Which doesn't eliminate the possibility that he's the perp this week, but makes it less likely that he's directly responsible for killing anyone. Hiring a hitman, though, holds some potential. We'll have to see!

This week sees nighttime in the library of infinite knowledge and Reese complaining about having to hold still for a suit fitting. Wow, you guys are not stinting on the bones to the slashers, are you. 'cause Finch is playing the part of personal tailor. Though it does make sense, too; there's precious few people Reese would trust that close to him and with all the necessary modifications to hide the weapons he's going to be carrying. And believe you me, there are necessary modifications if you want to hide any kind of a holster. Shoulder in particular, but ankle and waist as well. What Finch is notably not saying is that Reese's regular suits scream I Am A Spyssassin/Man In Black like a neon sign. They're keeping the lights off in the library, too, presumably because they're both still paranoid as fuck after Root and don't want to let anyone know the building's occupied after dark. So, the new number! Is a proprietary trader on Wall Street, and Reese is about as thrilled about dealing with one of those as you might expect. He also knows about as much as I do about stock trading, which is to say not much. It highlights both his probably blue collar upbringing as well as his past occupations (both Ranger and CIA), in which he would have had little need for any knowledge relating to stocks. At any rate, what Adam Saunders does is trade using the bank's money rather than the individual's, which sounds like it's at least vaguely more fiscally responsible than a lot of other options? Also more prone to corruption between banks and traders, if they're in communication. Finch is being fairly distant about this too; he doesn't expect Reese to much like this assignment but he's currently demonstrating that he knows from money and bespoke suits, so there's got to be a careful barrier there. Which speaks to some increased awareness of what Reese does and doesn't like, and willingness to put up with his snapping and snarling. I'd also love to know where the fuck Finch learned to tailor like that. As they bicker, Finch relays the rest of the data: Saunders has had a run-in with the SEC already and might have made enemies with his risk-taking on the trading floor, so Reese gets to "get close to him." To which he puts up, finally, the full objection of not knowing anything about Wall Street. FINCH. Don't be a jackass about Reese's ability to look clever. He's supposed to blend. He's trained for it. Jerk. At least he's providing some background reading and some semi-reassuring snark.

Next morning on Wall Street, the Machine gives us some glimpses into keywords that have tripped its interest and, thus, ours and Team Machine's. Insider trading, TriTak, and "subject remains under surveillance," which is undoubtedly an SEC communication. Someone thinks Saunders has seen too much, and someone else is going to clean it up, and the first someone wants whatever it takes. Well that's not ominous at aaaall. Down at Baylor Zimm, it's 8:31 and the floor's open; we get several establishing shots of standard trading activity and then Saunders and one of his friends or possibly a supervisor. Something about a whale and millions of dollars and Saunders protesting that he doesn't handle clients, just makes money for the corporation. Finch. You didn't. Oh, you totally did. Sigh, Finch. And Reese is his asset manager I have to go laugh in the kitchen now. Because if you take that as managing Carter and Fusco? Yes. Doublespeak for the win, you two, or at least for me facedesking and laughing. Because Reese is a jackass like that, he introduces himself right after Saunders whines about hair gel and pinstripes and how he's got other things going. Well, he manages to recover from that and send his friend Paul along his way while they start to talk money and Reese's client. Who's the silent type. No he's not, he's complaining about rooftops and heights in Reese's ear, and I'd be more annoyed by that if it weren't for the fact that they both seem to take some comfort from the usual comm banter at this point. Even if Reese is ignoring Finch while he talks $153mil as pocket change and explains that this is Saunders' audition for them: play a little. Don't play it safe. See what he can do with that. At least, that's the gist of what I'm getting off of Reese's little spiel, and Finch would like to compliment him on being a quick study. Who wants to bet that Reese went home and read the book and also found some other resources to tap into? No bets? One of these days I'll find a sucker. But wait! One of Adam's coworkers wants him to look at something on the TV which is decidedly not stock prices, oh, hey, it's the conclusion of the trial for the Virtanen CEO. Remember him, back in The Fix? I love a good bit of continuity. Which is pretty much the theme of this episode, is background continuity instead of anything interesting at all going on in the foreground. Sorry. Adam bores me. I want to get that out there at the start. Sounds like Adam bet on selling the stocks before they took a nosedive for bankruptcy, and his coworker Victor and the partner Sydney Baylor aren't so sure that that was the right idea dear god he short sold it for $100mil? Even I know that's a hell of a risk. Vic gives him a lot more shit than Baylor does, who's willing to give him a chance on this one. She also, says Finch, has a reputation for "everything." That's semi-descriptive while being not at all helpful, Finch. And the verdict comes back and it's not because we expect Team Machine to win but because we expect Adam Saunders to win that we know it'll be guilty on all charges. Frankly, when it comes to the system, Team Machine often loses, so it's nice to have this win for them. Reese is doing the thing with his face where he's controlling his emotions so he doesn't actually crack a smug smile, Baylor delivers a smackdown over taking those kinds of risks to her subordinate, and Saunders would like a drink now. Probably as much to relax from having had people yelling at him as to celebrate.

So they've got a boys' night out planned, and Reese has a problem. Cloning will fail under certain circumstances; decent security on it would be one option but that's unlikely here. Finch immediately leaps to the more likely answer, that someone's already bluejacked him. For their sake I sure as fuck hope that the mysterious other person hasn't been notified of someone else trying to force pair, though later events in the episode would indicate that either mysterious other person was informed by that or by lo-tech surveillance of some sort. Reese would like us to know that he really really doesn't like Saunders, and I can't blame him. Even though there's no real doubt in my mind that Saunders is doing his homework when his coworkers are all looking in the other direction, and then participating in the bragging culture on the floor, I still find the latter incredibly distasteful. Finch isn't so sure about Reese's take on it, and thinks Saunders is an adrenaline junkie. Well, you do halfway live with one, Finch. You should know by now.

Time for drinks! First, Saunders will demonstrate an utter disregard for the rules of the road and probably try to scare his new client off. Oh honey, you have no idea. Reese just thinks you're an adorable puppy. At least as far as the reckless driving is concerned; he's much more curious about Virtanen and how Saunders figured that bit out. Well, he did his homework! A lot of homework, which he says nobody else bothered to do, and we don't find out how much he had to hide the fact that he was doing his homework from his coworkers, but I'm guessing a lot. I think Reese, and I know we, enjoy hearing a little bit about how thoroughly fucked Virtanen was by the time the end of the trial rolled around, between spending money on Keller's defense lawyers and having nothing new in the pipeline. The drug that killed people was, I guess, as revolutionary and exciting as the company got, and once that went they lost everything. Saunders found out and took the bet which, at that point, only looked like a real risk to people who hadn't done the research. And Reese can respect that kind of risk-taking, even if he still disapproves of doing so with other people's money, more than the egregiously careless kind. Doing a proper cost-benefit analysis, no matter whether it's in a split second under fire or over weeks and months of a trial and a lot of persistence, gets more respect. Which is also, at a guess, what Saunders was aiming to achieve with this particular play, since he talks about getting in the game by spinning the roulette wheel. (An imperfect metaphor, but he's awfully attached to the give-no-fucks attitude he's got going on.) So he didn't feel in the game before now, and this got him noticed? More? Unless he's after delivering a lecture to Reese on how the stock market works.

Whatever the case there, they quickly move to a bar with pounding bass and young attractive people drinking and laughing too loudly while Reese looks on. Yeah, I can't see even the person Reese is pretending to be being particularly comfortable in that environment. But it leaves Saunders under surveillance in one place while Finch breaks into his apartment! Where there is... no furniture. That is interesting. Finch, someone needs to train you that a flashlight in a dark building is more suspicious than lights turning on, if anyone happens to notice. Oh well. The rent probably is staggering, but the boxes of money in the closet are even stranger. Bundles of $200 each, and all the boxes in there are full. Neatly arranged and not overflowing, so not a hoarder in that respect, so what gives, Adam? Back at the club, Saunders signs a bill for $13K holy fucking hell that is a LOT of booze and very pricy booze at that. Which he's not drinking, and Reese calls him on it. Yeah, I wouldn't want to be around a crowd of day traders or whatever while even a little buzzed either, one of them or not. (Can I choose not?) Paul the friend hates having his wits about him and is pretty soused. Soused enough to be slurring a little and getting in Adam's space as he teases about the reputation and the tour and, yes, it was worth it. Vic's a little more than just soused. Staggering drunk is more like it, and pissed off that his clients lost money on the Virtanen stock and, yeah, I'd be pissed but Vic is the kind of idiot who blames everyone but the guy in the mirror. Bar fight time! With Reese protecting his mark with a single vicious jab to get the brawling mass of stockbrokers out of his way while he hauls Adam off to an exit. I don't imagine after that punch he's going to be in any shape to argue much. That's cause enough for Reese to start his own round of rooftop lurking while he updates Finch (and, presumably, Finch starts his investigation on Vic) but wait! That's not Adam's apartment, that's Sydney Baylor's, and that's champagne and sex they're having. Or about to have. Goddammit, couldn't you people ever have just one avenue of investigation to pursue? No? Sigh.

Given that Saunders was out all night and is having breakfast with his boss in the living room the next morning, Finch decided he could spend some more time digging into personal records and trying to fill in the gaps. Let's do that, then! Mother died when he was 9, no father in the picture, guardianship papers from a Sowaski, hired directly by his lover to Baylor Zimm which could be indicative of a man sleeping his way to the top, for once. But Reese doesn't think so, and I have to agree for once, what little we've seen looks like a genuine relationship with smiling and laughter and affection as well as lust, which is a pretty solid foundation to be building on. The secrets and issues with her being his boss and in danger of being hauled up for favoritism, that's another thing, but we've already seen her not pulling punches with him on the floor in front of colleagues, so it's entirely possible they've worked out a work-relationship balance. I think that's foolish of them, but people have done dumber things to get their rocks off. Nothing else interesting at all except an SEC investigation that involved him six months ago, though going by the emails Finch is looking at either he's in archives or it closed only recently. Alright, well, that's something they can ask Carter for help with, and now it's time to fix the other people surveilling their target. Guys, could you find out WHO before rerouting oh never mind. Whoever it is, if they want to bluejack Saunders again they'll have to get close the same way Reese does when he bluejacks people, at which point Reese will be only too happy to nail them. I'm not making Jesus hitman Christ jokes. Why would I do a thing like that.

Down to the precinct we go! Carter's got a dry cleaning delivery? Man's suit? Reese. You are NOT as funny as you think you are. Though it is one way of passing along a message that would be tough for the feds and her spook tails to catch in time. Not only is she to take a cab, she's to take THE cab which Finch is driving you GUYS. Stop that shit. Though I can't blame them for the cloak and dagger routine, it's really annoying, and Carter thinks so too. She'd like to know where the actual cabbie is, and Finch, honey, that's not a way to get people not to remember you. Knicks tickets for all which are no doubt courtside? Bad Finch. Be better at your spycraft. Though yes, I do imagine Reese would like his spyssassin suit back one of these days. What do they want? Well, access to some sealed SEC records. And they think Carter can just magic those up for them? If anyone can! This is both a touching show of faith in her abilities and a masterclass in manipulation, seeing how far your asset is willing to go to help you out. I suppose Finch is right, she'll need a cab receipt for something if she's going to do this kind of clandestine work for them because people will have seen her getting into the cab, but there's no need to be a dick about it. Sigh, Finch.

Meanwhile, rather than meeting with Carter, Reese is force pairing Saunders' phone. Just in time to listen in on an SEC agent harassing the kid! Oh goodie. SEC agent looks awfully shady. I don't trust him. I don't think we're meant to trust him, but he seems to think he's got something on Saunders, or at least enough to keep pushing and see if he breaks. Going back, that does sound an awful lot like his voice saying "do whatever it takes" on the recording from the Machine back at the beginning, so just in case we weren't sure he's shady, well! Now you know! For Saunders' part, he does a pretty good job of coming across as pissed off, tired, hassled, and above all innocent. He's more angry and annoyed than anything else, not furtive, not trying to hide, just trying to get the fuck away from Mr. SEC. Though when confronted like he's going to get into another fistfight he does strike back, pointing out that the SEC has no teeth and the bureaucrat can't do a damn thing. He doesn't try to argue for his innocence, either, which is in this case more indicative of how long this guy's been chasing him around, since he's obviously convinced Saunders has done something. Or wants everyone else to be convinced of it, more to the point. Yeah yeah friends in the DOJ yeah yeah keep talking. Now would be a good time to peel off that wall and duck down an alley, Reese. Or just lurk like Batman, that works too, fine. More importantly, Carter got hold of those files and sent them over and I would love to know what strings she had to pull for that. Ah well. The bureaucrat is named Doug Rasmussen and he was running an investigation into insider trading among the top execs at the firm, that makes sense. It also makes sense that Saunders claimed no knowledge of wrongdoing, and I can't entirely blame Finch for the assumption that he lied to protect his boss and lady-love. It's not much of a leap at all from the data they're working with, and they'd have to get longer surveillance and preferably ears on their private moments to understand the limitations of the arrangement whereby work doesn't come into their personal life.

Where from there? Why, out to Queens! That's a helluva drive and doesn't anyone on this fucking show take the subway? This is New York. Sigh. Saunders' uncle who took him in after his mother died runs a food truck out there, and Adam's back to give Uncle Bob crap. And buy lunch from the food truck. I can only assume he offered his uncle money and got turned down for direct money, but helping him with knowledge and setting him up with assorted people he knows, that's not too much of a hit to his pride. Yeah, I can understand that. I will even not roll my eyes and mutter "men" at them for it, because it seems like Uncle Bob is doing quite well for himself and probably doesn't want the kind of wealth that his nephew has. Or at least not the responsibility to manage it and look good doing it. And some people genuinely are like that and know where their limits are! But he's worried, you see, because of this energy company TriTak that all his money's going into. He's also responsible and reads all the paperwork that comes out of Baylor Zimm as only someone who's known too little money can be, and he has at least enough fiscal acumen to run multiple food trucks. The restaurant business isn't all that easy, I can't imagine food trucks are any easier. Harder, in some ways. So, yes, from 10% jumped to 40% of his money in on this TriTak firm and Uncle Bob's not too happy about that. Saunders does his best to reassure him, citing high yield percentages and lots of past successes, but he should be the first to know that past success isn't necessarily a marker of future gains. Presumably he'll check it out without telling anyone so as to avoid raising eyebrows, and in the meantime Reese has an implicit request for Finch to look into TriTak. Oh, and by the way, Adam deposited their money into a Baylor Zimm account as requested by a broker. Their, plural, aww Finch you're adorable. One of these days they'll have filed off enough of their ragged edges to avoid wounding each other when they're in snarky moods. Which is probably 50% of the time they're on comms. The other 50% is devoted to Reese beating people up and non-snarky exchange of information. I know, that shouldn't be possible.

The Machine takes us back over to the firm, where indeed, Adam forestalls his appointment with Reese to make a few inquiries with his friend Paul about TriTak. I pause his flood of questions to look into what the fuck an MLP is, because it damn sure isn't a pony (or a plastic rocket) (two, two, two references for the price of one!) and my brain overflows with financial jargon, but, basically, it stands for master limited partnership and it looks like it's one of the more flexible and theoretically safe publicly-traded securities out there. It's supposed to be primarily natural resources (gas, coal, oil) but sometimes you can get them in real estate flavors as well. And now you know about as much as I do and just enough to go lose yourself in googling shit for a few hours. ENJOY. At any rate, Paul tries to put off his questions with reminding him of his victory, but this is where Finch's for-once-accurate profile comes into play. Adam doesn't give a shit about the victory behind him, he cares about the next thing. And the next. And the next. Always moving, always looking for new information and new trades to make and that, folks, is why he made that short sale. At any rate, Saunders ran the numbers and came up with a frightening degree of investment from both the clients and the firm itself; I can't make out if he says 19% or 90% but even at roughly a fifth invested from Baylor Zimm that's way too fucking much at the numbers they're talking. This is where he gets into trouble, because hey, dumbass, you're not allowed to do that. I'm not sure which or how many federal laws he's breaking with that conversation and investigation, but I'm betting it's a lot even if his heart's in the right place. Hey, there's his boss! Who would like to know what the fuck is going on with the SEC and I suspect more to the point would like to know why she had to hear it from someone other than him. It's a valid question! And now if we wanted to know what a guilty Adam Saunders looks like? Now we've got it. Touching his face a lot, his chin and mouth in particular, fidgeting, shifting his weight, looking away and back and away again wondering if he's being listened to. She's better at this whole subterfuge thing, and mostly looks annoyed with him for bringing all this stuff about TriTak up and ignoring her concerns about the SEC sniffing around. As she confirms when she scolds him for talking about their nights. I'm right there with her, if you're going to have a questionably moral affair then for fuck's sake don't say words about last night in the middle of the trading floor, you idiot. And no, you poor naive kid, she means she'll break up with you and probably leave the firm if there's even a hint that the SEC is going to try again.

On that ever so hopeful note, we pass along to the evening, complete with a shot of an ad for golf from the Machine and over to the rooftop golf tees. Somehow Reese really doesn't strike me as a golf person. But it's a good opportunity to pump Saunders for information, both along the lines of what's eating him and along the pretense of what his client needs to be worried about. Now with bonus doublespeak because if anyone's the client here, it's Adam, and he does need to be worried about the SEC. And somehow Reese manages to convey the impression that Adam's his client and push the right concerned but distant buttons in ten words. Because sometimes, he's just that damn good. Saunders also thinks he's that damn good, no trick here, partner. I don't know if it's the arrogance or the utter lack of progress or both that gets to Reese, but evidently he's decided it's time to push! Not to show his hand completely, more along the lines of we're investing a lot of money and want to know everything, but he's showing what he knows about Adam without admitting how he knows it. As you'd expect, that gets a reaction, which might start some things moving, and sigh, Reese. Although getting himself taken off of Saunders as a client means he can devote more time to Batmanning around on surveillance duty that way, and politely turn down whoever else's invitations to social engagements there are, I suppose. But wait! First we get a murder attempt via... construction equipment? I suppose that's one way of doing it, make it look like a hit and run, most cops wouldn't know to look for the kind of kill box they made. Reese, being Reese, saves them largely by a combination of shouting instructions, grabbing the wheel, and trusting that Adam's reactions, as most people's, are too untrained to do more than slam on the gas even if he meant to go for the brakes. Hey, it works! We'll take it! And Reese appreciates getting a chance to act instead of babysit.

Next morning, Saunders is insisting it was an accident, Reese expands on funneling for our and Finch's benefit, specifically the fact that it involves a team working together. At least two and probably three or four people, there was at least one piece of heavy machinery behind them as well as the one that nearly killed them. We would like to know, even given a dirty SEC agent (I mean really. he is. nobody's questioning that, right?), who the fuck bankrolled that, but we'll leave it alone for now. They're still in data-collecting stages. Carter's on the scene taking photos and gathering data, and by her expression she can read the scene just fine even without whatever briefing Reese gave her. Meanwhile, Finch has been looking into his money as well as TriTak, because hey! Having money in a company makes it easier to track it. Even legal, especially relative to the things Finch has been doing. So, the timeline to whatever is going on is accelerating, Finch's money's being dumped into TriTak ten times faster than Uncle Bob's, and that's probably not just because there's more of it to dump. Though it might be a mitigating factor. And, yes, this is an MLP that deals in natural gas so it should indeed stay pretty steady on the pricing but with the massive buy frenzy that BZ's initiated it's gone way, way up. So, insider trading? Probably! Or so the boys think. Reese is cranky about all the babysitting and fancy suit-wearing and lot of nothing, by his standards, he's had to do, and hey, a gun! Reese, you keep your guns in the old card catalog drawers? That's. Oddly endearing. Also, it's hard to say, but it looks like he's in his own suit and not the monkey suit Finch tailored for him in this scene. I am not a man's suit aficionado (unless we're talking about Captain Renard's suits over on Grimm. whaaaat), but it looks more familiar than not.

Finch is tired of sitting around too, so it's time for him to go undercover as an SEC bureaucrat! Well, I suppose that's about as believable as Burdette and his paralegaling. This should start some pebbles rolling, too, since Uncle Bob doesn't know shit about TriTak even if he'd like to. But he trusts his nephew! And the firm. Oh honey. That's a bad idea, and it's going to get you burned. Instead of talking about how well he knows his nephew directly, though, we get a heartwarming anecdote about where all those shoeboxes of money came from. Adam's father, who went out west, never came back, but sent $200 every month without fail, and while I fault his father for being a cowardly shit and running from his duties as a parent, at least he felt some kind of responsibility. And Adam saved it all in shoeboxes and used it to pay for night classes! Aww. Except, not, because if that's the cash he used for night classes, the fuck did the boxes full of money that are currently in his closet come from? Inquiring minds, people.

No time for that, Rasmussen's accosting Adam again and this time he's got a one-word stop in your tracks reason for Adam to shut up and pay a-fucking-ttention. When pressed, and he's being pressed hard, he'll even admit to the numbers not making sense without insider information, which is illegal, which is going to start another investigation, but we're supposed to side with Adam as Doing The Right Thing here. Sure, I'll buy it, for the moment. Sort of. As much as I buy anyone on Wall Street being a genuinely good person, and I think that plus a lack of Carter and Fusco is where this ep falls down for me. It's very hard to write a sympathetic brokerage firm plot, and when you take the cops away, we're left with Finch and Reese running around sniping at each other and this is just not one of the stronger eps in s1 for me. Anyway. Numbers are on a laptop, Adam is young enough and intimidated enough (and possibly shaken still from last night's near death experience) to be bullied into getting it now, Reese is lurking and generally unhappy with the whole situation. So are we, Reese. So are we. Well, Adam does go to get that laptop, and he's still bad at this whole furtive thing though a little less so when he's not being confronted by his lover in the middle of work. Speaking of, Sydney wants to meet! Now. On the roof, not her office, and that is not even a LITTLE ominous. Poor kid's being jerked around left right and center by people who expect you to say "how high." And Reese is too far behind because Finch was doing god knows what, maybe taking a bathroom break away from his computer? And didn't catch the texts to relay them. That would be the first time a bathroom break's screwed with an op in TV, I swear. For actual dramatic value instead of comedy. But Reese gets there JUST in time, as he does, and manages to keep Adam if not the laptop from going over the side. I'm sure Adam's willing to run the numbers again, or maybe recreate them from memory. He's a genius, that's not too hard, right? The masked henchman isn't particularly difficult for Reese to dispatch, though I question a little not taking the time to yank off the mask. Just in case it's someone they already know. Still, Reese is right (hey, credits clip drop!) and that building SUCKS for tactical security. Way too many entrances, exits, floors, windows, you name it. Yes, Saunders, your asset manager is not an asset manager but now is not the time to find out what he is, did you MISS the part where someone tried to kill you? Again? I adore the snark Reese injects into this, he's so frustrated that he's having to babysit a freaking Wall Street trader and has barely seen any action and he's sort of coming to respect Adam's intelligence against his preferences. I don't think much of Adam's intelligence right now as he admits to looking at his uncle's stocks illegally when he was asked about TriTak. Honey, you should have found a reasonable firm that wasn't the one you work at for your uncle to invest with. They're out there. Keeping it in the family is a lia-fucking-bility in this situation. Sigh. So he saw some numbers he disagreed with and goddammit boy use your words. More of them. Before you get dead. Oh fine, he was going to whistleblow within the firm until the SEC came around again and got everyone scared shitless, insider trading, will that elevator ever get here, by the way it was Sydney Baylor that he asked to take a second look. I guess we know which body will be first to drop now.

Back at the precinct, Carter's doing her share of the research and had a uniform run the VIN numbers. Yay! They were stolen and reported, there's something useful: a backhoe, a steamroller, and a garbage truck. Two of which we saw for sure last night with the funneling, and they were stolen three nights ago. So this has been planned for a bit now. Uniform's got nothing about the garbage truck, but Carter brought the lampshade for this next bit! Reese and Saunders made it over to Sydney Baylor's penthouse where, indeed, she's dead. In the bathtub. He's holding it together remarkably well for someone who's just lost a lover and is realizing how deep this particular rabbit hole goes. Yeah, he's probably exactly right about what she did, he's the one who knows her the best and Finch and Reese probably haven't taken the time to dig enough to create a proper profile. And that's a familiar champagne bottle with her blood on it and hey! For once they're demonstrating that bottle don't generally break when you smash them on people's heads. What is this, trope subversion central? (Yes. Yes it is. Even on one of the less interesting eps they're trying to avoid those games. I approve.) And yes, Adam, your fingerprints are everywhere in this penthouse. You are hosed. Not only that, but she's been dead since Adam got those texts, which means there's still a team working together out there of at least two people. He was supposed to get dead by "suicide" after killing her, yeah, murder-suicide, nobody would bat an eye at that. Happens way more often than sekrit conspiracies. So, yes, time to book it the fuck out of there and find somewhere safe and out of the police investigation for our dear proprietary trader.

Carter being Carter, she of course pulls the call for this particular homicide. On the upside, that means even without the boys hanging over her shoulder to ensure she investigates further, she'd be looking at what's really there instead of the staged scene they want her to see. On the downside, that means she's getting in deeper with the boys in suits. At least they're our boys in suits instead of the Company men? Also, no prints on the tub or the body, especially the tub, is fucking suspicious. You know what else is suspicious, Carter? You knowing about the champagne bottle before you ever got to the bathroom to see it. I can't tell if she's got some additional stressors that they didn't have time to show us, or if this is just her lack of training on how to compartmentalize data for fieldwork a la Reese showing through. I'm hoping for the second, because that makes sense and also keeps us from losing data due to cutting an ep for time. Grumble. Still, the CSU guy's not paid to question how the detective knows what she knows, just take the evidence and answer any questions. Caaaarter. Hypotheticals like that indicate a strong probability of anonymous tips that you're working from, and I have to go facepalm now over all the muttering to herself she's doing. Which at this point feels less like Carter being clumsy and more like a writer deciding the audience is full of idiots that have to be told things right upfront. I hate that. I hate it more because this is a show that doesn't normally do that shit.

Alright, instead we'll show Reese dragging Adam Saunders off to an alley full of homeless people. Reese, you're a jackass. Not only are you a jackass for rubbing Adam's face in the people who have next to no material wealth, you're a jackass for being all Tall Dark and Dangerous in the middle of a group of people who no longer recognize you from your bearded homeless days. Though he does have a point about anonymity being some of the best protection there is, and nobody's more anonymous than a homeless person. Aww, this is even the same damn alley Reese slept in back then. That's. Kind of adorable and really vicious, twisting the knife a little more about how anyone can end up like that yes even you kid. Reese? I can't decide if I hate you or love you right now. I'm just saying. Over there's the ersatz ruler of this chunk of street, don't touch her cart, and DON'T USE THE PHONE. Seriously, how hard is it for people to follow simple instructions? (Very, when they think the rules don't apply to them.) Also, man, I remember the days when burner phones were Nokia bricks that would outlast the apocalypse, not smartphones. I miss those days. Oh, and Victor! Of the punching and the blaming everyone but himself, is the next rung down on the brokerage ladder and would know things about what the fuck is going on. Or possibly be behind it, not that Adam's thinking like that yet. It'll do, as far as leads go, and we'll leave him there for the moment and go back to...

… Finch digging into TriTak some more. Oh, hey, that's a fracking bill that passed. I'm sure that's not at aaaall related to a natural gas company. What's that? Is that the sound of our readership all facepalming at once? Oops. Hey, there's a lot of shale in upstate New York. Hey, you know what that means they don't need? A pipeline from the south, which is what TriTak's primary revenue stream is from. Which means the millions and millions the firm and the clients have invested in TriTak? Gone. Poof. Lit on fire like the stacks of money Reese threatened wossname with back in Wolf and Cub. So, this is their problem, and how much do I love Reese's "what else is new?" A lot. And this is what Saunders saw coming and tried to stop, but someone didn't want it stopped. That's. Interesting. Usually it's the other way around, people are using insider trading to try and get more money. Who, therefore, stands to gain by Baylor Zimm's loss? We move to a Machine datastream where it's tracking the falling stock in TriTak, and the victims run up over a million, close to 1.5 million, as Reese relays that Victor would have to know something. Cut to Wall Street and up to the trading floor, where Reese isn't even pretending not to be a dangerous fucker and I'm at this point quite certain he's wearing the coat to either hide the spyssassin suit from the stockbrokers or to hide the really nice suit from himself because he finds it so uncomfortable. He's so far beyond caring about keeping up a front that Victor just babbles it out, he is acting rather like a patsy here and there's got to be someone powerful enough to have pressured the various senators into passing that bill? Why gee, we have some options on that front! Elias comes to mind, this is right up his alley. Not so much Root's. And we just had an instance of corrupt government mooks fucking up with the drug-running, so it's probable that they're not repeating themselves for a one-off. This also suggests, as we might think given that shale fracking tends to be a conservative platform (and New York tends to be a fairly liberal state), that the bill wouldn't have succeeded without outside interference. Bribes, blackmail, threats, take your pick. Reese wanders off muttering to himself and trying to put the pieces together, and I do not blame him, this is a pretty odd set of pieces. Like having a bunch of edges but they're all sky. Also, despite the fact that this is a buildup episode to showing us more of how Elias is fucking around, I just don't care about the number of the week. I'm not sure we're supposed to, but I definitely just don't give a shit.

At any rate, time for us to visit Saunders over in the homeless camp, where he's reading the day's paper! That's going to go so well for everyone. WHAT DID REESE SAY, ADAM. Oh my god. At least he's only calling Reese. For now. And he does have vital information to pass along, this was a short sale from some other investor who knew the bill would be passed and thus made millions. Similar to how Adam was certain Virtanen's stock would plunge and thus he short sold it, only less with the homework and more with the extremely illegal manipulation for his own ends. Right, then! That's step one. Step two was to get a company to buy up a bunch of stock and thus drive the prices further up, and thus leave them hanging. It's just Elias' (can we just admit that now? okay then) bad luck that Adam saw it and wanted to warn his superiors before they took the fall, and became a terminal liability. He explains for the benefit of those in the cheap seats that they have to find the brokers who already sold, not the ones selling now, and no, Adam, you do NOT have to go, you do NOT have another call to make GODDAMMIT LISTEN TO THE SPYSSASSIN. While I'm beating my head into the desk over his inability to play by the fucking rules of engagement, he'll call Uncle Bob! Dumbass. Cue standard very upset uncle who just lost, not just his money but all his employees' money, his business plans, everything. Cue standard pleas for time to get the money back and reassurance that he will. Oh my god, Adam, I know you're feeling horrible but now is NOT THE TIME. If Reese can track your family and your data, why on EARTH would you think calling your uncle is a good idea? Really? For a smart person he's not very bright sometimes. (Exhibit A: having a relationship with your boss.) Yes, there are shady men listening to all this, as Bob finds the place to twist the knife home and does so as only a person in severe distress who knows you too well can do. And now they have a location on Adam. Which means that homeless camp is going to get wrecked soon.

Meanwhile, Reese has a use for Finch - specifically, getting inside Baylor Zimm, which will undoubtedly make a lot of things easier. I'd like to say because they maintain good data security, keeping all their most confidential files off any boxes connected to the internet, but I might be wrong. Hard to say; it's definitely internal data, which Finch could possibly have hacked into but it would have taken him time they don't have. Oh, hey, it's Paul! Who short sold and his volume was withheld. Hands up everyone who's surprised? Uh-huh. Conservation of characters says so. He's also a senior risk analyst, and he made the short sales last week, and 4 million SHARES (not dollars, SHARES) is a fuck of a lot. Conveniently, Paul is one of those high powered Wall Street types who connects everything to everything (or, really, let's be honest: one of those people with a smartphone that they like to use to even a tenth of its potential, you could do the same damn thing with MY phone and calendar if you got access to the latter) and let's play a game of hack the GPS! Oh look, just up the street from Rockefeller, so probably out at some bar or club or something on Fifth Avenue. Reese is covering Saunders' ass in the homeless camp because he does, in fact, know better than to leave him unattended if avoidable. And Adam is convinced that it couldn't be Paul! Less because it's not something he would do than because there's miles of red tape and checks and security measures to prevent this kind of thing from happening; I'm not sure, again, on all the rules and regs that are supposedly in place but I'll take their word for it. But wait! What if Paul had a partner? Say, in the SEC?

Oh hi, Doug Rasmussen, how very not nice to see you again. Hi, Paul. Let's have a clandestine meeting on a park bench, nobody ever finds those suspicious. (Well, they don't. Not when they should. Too many men in suits on park benches in New York.) For our benefit far more than his partners, Rasmussen goes on a brief spiel about can't beat 'em, join 'em, and I hope he has some bitters in that coffee. Yes, thank you, we get the semi-parallel of Carter deciding to work with Team Machine because she couldn't beat the corruption in her chosen line of work; it's just that their motivations are good and his are for personal gain alone. Yadda yadda. Say, they've made fat sacks of cash! And Finch is dropping some eaves on their conversation. So they're going to pick up the shares of TriTak again (and I do feel awfully sorry for this poor company that's been caught up in all these schemes, and all the people working for it) come opening bell tomorrow for hardly anything, and presumably wait for the stock to level out and sell again, or who the fuck knows what. After all, MLPs are supposed to be safe bets. Meanwhile Baylor's not a problem anymore, and I can't tell if Paul had anything directly to do with her death or just didn't like her very much; I'm betting on the latter because he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who gets his hands dirty with murder. But Saunders is still out there! No, honey, let the nice SEC man order a hit on your colleague, it'll be fine and you'll sleep like a baby.

Adam's not doing any sleeping tonight. Adam's perusing the newspaper with the kind of expression that says he'd like the words on the page to please, please change, and Joan is laughing at him because the kid has zero street smarts. We've had the occasional glance at the temperature as we pan around to Baylor Zimm; it's autumn in New York and that digital thermometer's been ranging from low 30s to mid 40s all episode. I wouldn't want to be out on the streets in a suit and a coat, even a very nice suit and coat. Reese seems to have reintroduced himself to Joan as the man she used to know back when he had lots of hair and a beard, though maybe he didn't have to. Whatever the case, she's not much perceiving him as a threat. Adam's still too squeamish to shove newspapers under his clothes, but he'll contribute to a trash can fire, I guess. That's a lot of lighter fluid, Reese. And Adam would like us all to know that he earned everything he got in life, yeah, alright, I'll even more or less buy that even though I severely question how far he's bought into the rugged individualist model. Considering how much work his uncle (and aunt?) put in to raise him, and the money his father sent back, and yes, he worked his ass off, but he damn well didn't do it in a vacuum, without at minimum strong emotional support. At which point Reese admits to having heard about what his uncle did/does, and we get a sob story about how Adam went off to New Mexico in search of more emotional support from his father, instead of more money, and found only the latter. While I have a certain degree of sympathy for that desire, HEY. JACKASS. Reese is right, you had one already. No matter how guilty he feels or how much he fears their relationship is damaged beyond repair right now. Now it's time for Adam to 'fess up about talking to his uncle and there's the slowly dawning look of horror on Reese's face. I suppose horror is better than urge to murder the guy he's supposed to be bodyguarding. The music tells us that bit of information came just in time, as does the Machine shot of a hit squad getting out a big black SUV. (I swear the damn things are inflatable.)

When we come back after the ad break, it's to the hit squad running through the homeless camp with green night-vision laser sights! Oh GOODIE. Also red ones, as it turns out, because the red dot on the forehead just before Doom Happens is traditional. I'm assuming these are Elias' men, because they have at least a little bit of tactical training and the utter lack of caring about civilian casualties. Though they do seem to be mostly firing into the air/above people's heads to clear the crowds, if the writers are going for verisimilitude here there should be some bodies on the ground. Bullets fired into the air are dangerous. Because bullets themselves are fucking dangerous no matter what. Alright, fine, Reese has them taking cover and no, Adam, they are not going to move though I appreciate that you finally have a fucking flight instinct. You idiot. But hey, you know what laser sights are good for besides their ability to aim? A nice sight line straight back to them. And Reese isn't shooting to injure at this point, he's assuming tac vests at a minimum and I would guess body armor everywhere, as bulky as they are. Well, that's two of three and the third turning and running when Reese isn't flinching in the face of spray 'n pray. Which is what they're doing. Elias, I thought you were trying to get good help these days. That scene closes on Joan looking terrified behind a pillar and Reese looking... almost regretfully back at her. Yeah, I suppose life on the street was simpler. Survive at the bottom of the bottle until you can't anymore. Now it's all messy and full of blood and guts and idiot stockbrokers.

Back at the library after Reese has presumably stashed his idiot stockbroker in a proper safehouse this time, he and Finch fill each other in with typical snark and crankiness, and also point out that an SEC agent and a risk analyst do not, as a general rule, have access to hit squads with automatic weapons. Why yes, thank you for noticing that there's still another person pulling the strings back here. Finch has a plan! Well, half a plan. Maybe more like a maneuver. A gesture? Adam's going back to work and going to try and catch the falling knife of TriTak's stock prices before Paul and Rasmussen can finish this thing off. And all he needs is the suit to make it believable, alright, sure, we'll go with the whole thing about how the clothes... not so much make the man as make other people believe in the man. Or The Man, perhaps. And it's back over to Baylor Zimm at opening the next morning, where we can see the stock prices going from 3ish a share up to 9ish a share and by the time Paul stalks into Victor's office it's now 15 a share! From an anonymous player. Finch, you are a bastard and I love you right now. TriTak is up to 20 a share as Paul runs off to call this mysterious phone number and I'm going to slide under the desk with laughing at his pissed off face now. Harold is apparently Mr. Crane today and in full gloat as he redirects Paul to his personal banker. Hi, Adam. Who is also in full gloat and would like Paul and Doug Rasmussen to enjoy their stint in jail with all the other brokers and analysts at Baylor Zimm testifying against them. Woo! Cue cops. Cue Doug making a mad dash to assault Adam and instead getting clotheslined by Reese. I love you, Reese. I love your snark, too. Off they go into the wild blue yonder! Oh wait, that's blue-and-white cop cars. I always get those mixed up.

Back at the food truck, Uncle Bob is just getting off shift or taking a break or something, and Reese will deliberately watch the touching family reunion, for once. Probably because he's not quite certain it'll be a touching family reunion, as much of a shit as Adam was. Admittedly under pressure, but there's a school of thought that says that's when the real person comes out, and I wouldn't be surprised if Reese subscribed to it after all his stressors. Adam is really feeling like shit, judging by the coat buttoning and all the little nervous self-soothing gestures there, so at least we have a sense this apology will be genuine. And it is! If a bit overblown and dramatic, but maybe-hopefully he'll grow out of that. Look, I'm trying to give the idiot the benefit of the doubt, here. All the money's back, all the forgiveness and hugs are happening, even an acknowledgement that Bob was there for Adam all through childhood and now he'll try to do better. Awww. Before they talk about franchising the business, there's some people Adam wants to feed! Adam, honey, grand gestures are for shit if you don't have follow-up, can I just note? Since we know exactly who he means, we head over to the building where the homeless were squatting, where Reese and Joan are picking up bullet casings from the floor. She's collecting them, I have no idea if you can sell the metal or if it's just to collect them as souvenirs, reminders of what happened and cleaning up their place. But John's helping her, and to her he's John, not Reese, which says something about who he decided he was going to be while he was on the street. (Also, yes, we noticed the Joan as the masculine form of John. My toes hurt now, thanks guys.) And I suppose buying the building indicates a certain degree of commitment to following through on the grand gesture, though by Joan's expression she's adopting a wait-and-see attitude. I would be too. But hey, it's a start, and with Uncle Bob also involved I have a lot more confidence that this will be an ongoing force for good than I might otherwise. Reese, because he's squishy sometimes, thanks Joan for taking care of him and she asks who's doing that now? Someone new! Hi Finch.  Yes, he means you. Yes, that should feel like a hell of a responsibility. You wanted a pet spyssassin, you got one, and he'll even acknowledge that he's taking care of you when he knows damn well you're listening.

On over to holding/interrogation, where Carter's eying up Paul like she's going to have him for lunch. Only, where's the other guy? What other guy? The SEC guy? Oh, that guy, the one found dead in his apartment, shot himself in the head? Well fuck you very much too, Elias. I guess Rasmussen knew too much, possibly what Elias looked/sounded like, possibly just that there was another person pulling the strings. And given that Carter's correct, they were both arrested, we fucking well saw it, that's a level of organization and conspiracy within the DoC as well as the NYPD that I hope we are all deeply uncomfortable with. Yes? Yes. Carter being a damn good investigator proceeds to go back over the tapes and yes, that's a Rasmussen alive in a cop car and that's an old buddy dirty cop we know and hate! Planting a phone in the trash can before looking square at the Machine - excuse me, the camera - and all he's missing is the little Vir-wave. Well, she'll just go get that phone and bring it to Reese while she gives us a neat encapsulation of this pain in the ass episode that was really, really boring as far as the number of the week went. While Adam Saunders and his uncle Bob might be doing some good for the homeless of Queens now, and that will serve the Machine's ends, the important part about this number was telling Reese and Finch that Elias was back in the game. Now with $300mil to finance his goals. Because that is JUST what this city needed. Up on the rooftop, Reese calls Elias. And, okay, I have a question about this. Is that the only number in the recent calls/contacts list? Or did Elias have a tracker on that phone so he called Carter and manipulated her into bringing Reese that phone, and that's why she's up there with him? Which would be a wholly different reason for Elias' burner cell being in the recent call logs than "because he put it there before having the phone planted." And if THAT'S the case, I really fucking wish they hadn't cut the scene. Or dropped any kind of a line reference as to how the fuck that happened. Anyway, Elias is his usual creepy chipper self and knows exactly who's on the other end, which for me lends some greater weight to the theory that he manipulated Carter into giving Reese that phone at a time of his choosing. At the barest minimum Elias knows that Carter's working with Reese these days, because how the fuck else was that chain of dominoes going to fall the way he wanted it to? And that was a damn convoluted chain of events, even given that he knows how cops tick. Arrrrgh why was this ep so needlessly long and filled with things that were not Carter kicking ass? I ask you. But hey, next week you get Reese and a baby, so it's not all bad.

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