Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Battle Come Down (Person of Interest S2E07 Critical)

Hey, you remember that theme I was talking about with people being used as pawns to commit murder? It's ba-ack. And Finch is in the field in a serious way this time! Usually he doesn't get in on the soon-to-come clip, but here he is in scrubs near what looks like a woman in full surgical getup. Oh goodie. Because there's not an infinity of ways to kill someone as a doctor, or an infinity of ways for a doctor to be threatened! That's nice and unhelpful, as these things go.

We also won't start cracking that one open just yet! First we have Reese batmanning down a street at night. Alone. Because where Reese walks in New York, he is always alone. (This is what happens when I spend awhile in a proper sized city at all hours of the day and night; I'm reminded that the streets are never as empty as filming would have you believe.) They have a repeat number, and by the tone of Finch's voice he's more amused than concerned. Which means that no, this is not another domestic violence situation, Reese's hackles - if they were ever up - go down, and Leon comes crashing through the window. HI LEON. We didn't exactly miss you, but watching you try to run rings around Reese and Finch is never not funny. Emphasis on try. This time Leon's gotten himself into trouble with the Russian mob, who apparently has an interest in goldfarming! If you're reading these recaplyses, I'm just going to assume you don't need the expository explanation from the episode and leave it at that. With a great deal of giggling at Reese's eyerolls while he disables the mob thugs.

Not only do they have Leon, they also have another number! Leon, as a result, gets to stay in the library of infinite Look I'm Bear I'm On Guard Aren't I A Good Dog? Yes, Bear, you are the bestest dog. We get some hilarious character moments here, Reese and Finch standing over Leon like disappointed parents and I suppose by traditional gender roles that makes Finch the disappointed papa and Reese the tutting mama. You're welcome. I live to serve. Leon's about as thrilled by hot pockets, pop-tarts, ramen noodles (the bad kind), coffee, water, and a latrine. Reese, could you be more military? There's not a lot else here other than to put Leon in Finch's hacker lair while they go off to deal with their other number, with his broken arm in a remedial looking cast and sling combo. I wonder if Reese found a cheap clinic/street doc somewhere on the way back, or if he did the work himself at a safehouse he was willing to give up. Neither would surprise me. Leon is not to touch the computers or the dog will kill him. Well, we can already guess that's going to come back to bite them in the ass later on! Pun intended. And Finch thinks Leon should read the penal code, because he's a snarky fucker like that. The bigger concern with this scene is the list of guest stars. Oh hai Julian Sands. You are, of course, evil. This is my surprised face. (K: For the record, Julian Sands sounds, looks, and moves in person exactly as he does on camera, and it's just as creepy as it sounds. Presumably he is not evil, though.) The boys head out from the library to questions about hospitals, which Finch admits make him "aggressively uneasy" for reasons we can hypothesize but don't become crystal clear until the end of this season. Reese will admit no such thing, although by that jawclench and grim note to his voice I'd guess he doesn't much like them for assorted reasons related to being a spyssassin and landing in the hospital more times than he cares to remember. Possibly cuffed to the bed. Probably those times when he could've used a hospital and not been able to go to the local one, too. Hospitals aren't necessarily a net positive for anyone on this team!

There is no New York General Hospital, by the way, I'm assuming that's a contrivance for the industry to refer to a hospital in the city without giving a real name and location. The Machine lets us out on a nice, polished floor in an upscale hospital that Finch has just donated fat sacks of cash to. As he does when he needs access somewhere fast and neither of the boys has the skills to infiltrate at the right level of the workplace otherwise. Hey, just in time, nicely engineered around Maddie's surgery schedule to have a chance meeting with her and plant a pair of glasses in the right prescription with a bug for the boys to listen to. And many bonus points for somehow learning that she was the type of person to lose her glasses frequently! This is the kind of background work that they've started skipping more and more often, not so much out of laziness as out of a desire not to be repetitively redundant. Which, let me tell you, as much as we enjoy watching competence in action around here, that applies to writing as well as to spyssassins, and taking the time to show us Finch (and/or Reese) figuring a point of weakness in the security, hacking her glasses Rx, putting together the pair of glasses, discussing how to engineer the schedule, what the fallback plan was if she actually had her glasses… no. As much as I would watch the Reese-and-Finch banter and prep for a job show all day long, it would, in fact, not hold most viewers' attention. And it's implicit in what Finch is doing now if we think about all the steps to take, so, go them. They get the bug planted and then are politely but firmly herded out of the section of the hospital because of a very important private surgery that calls for at least one big burly bodyguard type who seems to be eying Reese up. Smart bodyguard. The hospital administrator they're trying to pump for information will only say that it's for the safety of the patient, which doesn't narrow it down at all. Could be a prisoner, could be a diplomat or other foreign dignitary, could be pretty much anyone someone might want dead on the operating table as long as it looks accidental or anyone with the money to ensure the secrecy of his medical procedures. It's a wide-open field right now, but we're not even pretending that this mysterious operation isn't directly tied to the case.

Maddie can tell us a little about this mysterious surgery! Oh, hey, it's someone who looks like a heavyset version of Bill Clinton. Giving orders along with his major domo bird Mr. Rains. Nobody good is ever named Mr. Rains, which means either he's evil or it's a misdirect. The businessman is Oliver Veldt, which is also classically a Bad Guy sort of name. If you're not picturing Ray Bradbury stories right now, I can't help you. It's a standard bypass surgery, she's annoyed at the high-handed way they're treating her and her staff and no, you fucking asshole, bypass surgery cannot magically be made to take less than several hours. It takes as long as it takes for that kind of thing, well, harrumph, the thing that really matters is the secrecy! I'm sure there are some kind of semi-valid reasons for this guy to want to keep his surgery so secret, but he and his chief aide/2IC/whatever the hell are coming across as assholes right now. They've even made it so she has only the bare bones of surgical staff because it's listed as minor outpatient surgery. I feel sorry for her already. But hey, emergency! Trauma doc to the ER, and that's somewhat unusual for a specialized heart surgeon to be taking on ER duty, but you take what comes your way, I guess? It also allows us to have a moment! Because the vic is an Albanian gang member and he's come in with a bunch of his buddies hovering around the gurney, one of whom has a gun and wants to wave it around. You fucking moron. Which is probably what Maddie would've said were this not network TV, what she does say is for everybody to shut up and I kinda love her now. No, boys, she's not the potential vic - technically speaking, anyway - though they're absolutely correct that with a high powered surgeon there's a ton of options for enraged perps to come after her with intent to kill. Also, a random gang member isn't premeditated, guys, remember that whole aspect of what the Machine gives you? Okay then. They're off to surgery, Reese and Finch are left with a whole lotta theories and not a lot of evidence to go on, and we cut to…

Someone in her personal life! Oh god they are the cutest couple ever. I love this show for not just a lesbian couple, but a lesbian interracial couple. Love. Someday we'll get a gay couple and it won't be played for laughs and it will also be adorable, right? Right? On one of our shows? I can hope. Maddie's sitting down in the cafeteria and her wife brought espresso and pain au chocolat, and it sounds like that's a place a fair distance away from the hospital and/or Amy's work, but closing up GSWs and being threatened in her own OR is totally reason to do that. Amy is the exec director for a nonprofit, children's charity, in short they are the epitome of a high-powered New York couple that truly loves and cares about each other. Well, this should be interesting, because that probably means it's getting threatened! Yay. No, wait. The other thing. They have a moment after Finch narrates their relationship briefly to Reese, Amy has a fundraiser in the park (that's Central Park to those unfamiliar with native-speak) but she plans to check in when she can. Half an hour to the open-heart surgery, and yes, dealing with gun-toting gangsters takes a toll even on the toughened doctor. I do appreciate this, that they're not stinting on the humanity of it even though it's intended to make us invest in what's going to happen to her. And them. Joking together, too, aww. Reese has an uncertain-but-wary face as he stops spying on them from above and lets them have their moment. Exactly so, John.

Let's check in with our friendly NYPD detectives while we're at it! Fusco's got a homicide, but Carter's not on scene for whatever reason. Narrative convenience, we'll go with for the moment. Guy got two shots to the back, that sounds like an execution with someone trying to break and run. People do all kinds of weird shit when they've got a gun pointed at them. Especially like an execution with the fact that there's no ID, no wallet, no loose cash or coins or chapstick or anything. That's a bit weird, robbers would normally take just the wallet or even just the cash out of the wallet and any jewelry, depending on the sophistication of the robber in question. But wait, there's a business card under the body! That's not a plant or anything. Of course not. Someone wanted to be real sure that body got to Fusco and/or Carter, I'd be willing to bet time of day and location were as carefully chosen for the body dump. Fusco, being a good partner, calls Carter, who appears to be buried under stacks and stacks of files. That looks less like paperwork and more like she's been digging in the archives, actually, no points for guessing what she's digging into. We close out the scene with the money shot on the bloodied business card of Carter's, after her facescrunch of "my name all over it literally? that sounds bad." Yes, well, in some respects it's a good thing Fusco's got experience as a dirty cop or he wouldn't be so quick to call her in and protect her.

Put a pin in that, and head back to the hospital! Maddie enters her office to find someone who's decidedly not friend or coworker. Hello, Julian Sands. You're so totally evil. He snarks off in response to her "but you can't be in here" overture, proceeds to take charge of the conversation from the outset and never gives it up this scene. Because Julian Sands. Namely, apparently nearly a hundred thousand people die from medical error every year! Maddie should make an error today if she wants her wife to live, cue tablet o' creepy sniper target focus. Yay. Sands gives his name as Alastair Wesley, not an alias of course not why would we think that. Especially with that little verbal pause that's intended to be dismissal. The upshot of this whole thing is Maddie's mounting horror and Wesley's mounting smugness, though it's a distant professional kind of smug. Someone was hiiiired to do this! And to do it without a trace, he outlines a very specific procedure by which Veldt can bleed out on the table (at a prearranged time, of course) and Maddie will, at least in theory, be held blameless. Finch is getting this over comms, but I guess Reese didn't get that line in his earbud? Then again, Finch is command control and Reese is right at his side, so. Reese has about as much dead-eyed anger over forcing someone who went into a healing profession to commit murder as we might expect, Amy will die if any of Wesley's stipulations aren't met (don't stop the surgery, don't get the cops involved, don't warn your wife, the usual), and we get the rise of Machine doom-laden music as we cut to ad break. Whee! Also, isn't forcing someone to be the perpetrator technically victimizing them as well? No wonder the Machine picked this up and ran with it.

The boys talk quietly in the hall about what to do now: it'll be impossible to get past Veldt's security without causing a significant disturbance, something they're not prepared to do just yet. The immediate threat is to Amy, so Reese will go check that out and see if he can find the sniper. As though there's just one, as though all mercenaries work in two-man teams. Well, to be fair, the ones we've seen so far do! It's the gangs and organized crime who tend to have larger groups of people to worry about, a mistake in tactics that we'll see play out in a little while here. Finch plans to stick around the hospital, partly to keep an eye on the doctor and partly, I'm guessing, to see if he can spot our mysterious team leader. No, Reese, you shouldn't check in on your employer's not-phobia-he-swears right now, he's busy compartmentalizing and pretending it doesn't exist. At all. Nobody believes Finch, least of all Reese, but the thing is, the Machine has a certain proclivity for forcing the boys into situations that push their boundaries and test them against their fears. And it's inevitably something they can overcome, because the Machine is a smart AI and knows when the time is right to push those boundaries. It's so cute when it's putting them through this bizarre form of psychotherapy, I gotta say.

Back over to Fusco and Carter, now both at the crime scene and watching the murder footage. Say, that's a person, I'm gonna go with man by the build though it could be a woman with some padding around the waist and shoulders. The walk is pretty masculine even around the limp, though, which is also telling. Hey, isn't that the same leg Snow was favoring? Not that they have any reason to connect this to Snow just yet, I'm just saying, I love a good bit of continuity. The vic is a Croatian immigrant, no family, worked as a janitor. The kind of guy nobody would miss and nobody sensible would rob. Carter's intonation on the robbery question indicates her lack of belief that this was a simple robbery, or maybe annoyance that Fusco's called her out for something that looks so much like a robbery-homicide. Fusco hauls out her card and informs her he kept it to himself and by the way, what's 6611TH? She doesn't know. He doesn't know. Nobody knows isn't it great! No. No it is not, but Carter appreciates having a partner who's got her back even if she's somewhat dubious about what he just did for her. She doesn't want to be grateful, but given the current situation with the NYPD and the FBI and the CIA and every other goddamn problem breathing down her neck, she can't afford the kind of scrutiny and eyebrows this would raise. Even though she knows what being a by-the-book cop would entail. They also block and shoot this so that Carter stays further to the left of the screen, in the sinister/hiding something position, than I think we've ever seen her before. Certainly her body language is more hunched and wary than usual.

Prepping for surgery, Maddie's doing a pretty decent job of maintaining her composure under the circumstances. Poor woman. Veldt snaps at the nurse getting consent forms, gee, you think the nurse who has speaking lines might be significant? All the shows we write about tend to do this conservation of characters thing, it's also a good example of Chekhov's gun. If you put a nurse on the mantel in the first act, she has to go off by the third! Or second and fourth, as the case may be. Maddie has nothing but polite, professional iciness for Veldt, along with a look that suggests that if she has to kill someone to save her wife, at least it's not someone who's a civilized human being. Well. I mean, you take the glimmer of silver where you can get it, but in this case I think that's thirty pieces of silver, honey, sorry. Rains would like to be an interfering testing busybody some more with yet more medicobabble which she shoots down, and speaking of shooting, she's got a text with a clip of the sniper's sights on her wife again. Well, fuck. Maddie goes and gets the syringe full of Heparin, which, yes, is a powerful anticoagulant. There's some nice blocking with her wedding ring apparent on and off as she fills it, going hidden behind the syringe while the music takes a downward turn and coming out again. Yeah, I can't say that I think the marriage would survive if Maddie were forced to become the kind of person who can kill to save Amy. That's not something most people can live with on any level.

Let's check in with our boys. Finch ducks into Maddie's office and plans to search her computer for any data they could get. I'm assuming that bluejacking her cell phone doesn't work so good in a hospital setting? Or maybe they just didn't have time; it's possible she didn't have it on her before Wesley showed up and was disturbingly evil. Reese gets eyes on Amy, but dear god that's a shitty location. It's a bad location for the sniper(s) in some ways, too, because it'll cause instant panic and there's always the chance of a miss, but I suppose if they don't give a shit about potential bystander casualties that wouldn't matter to their setup. (It's also why of course Wesley has multiple snipers, because that way someone should always have a clean shot at the target.) Anyway. Amy's exposed and she's busy being a good nonprofit director and gladhanding everyone at the art expo thing, there's no good way to get her out of there and no good way to assess who on the ground might be a plant. Except for that guy in the cop uniform that the camera pans over for just a second longer than anyone else. Nice, nice bit of foreshadowing there. Finch gripes about not having his full rig so no, he can't learn more about Wesley other than name and accent. Gee, who does have access to his full setup? Let me think about that for a second. No, but apparently they did bluejack her and we skipped that one, too, okay, fine, Finch has the video feed from the park via which he expects Reese to determine where the hell the sniper is. Reese has this little smile of "I know how to do this! I've done this before! I like this part of my job." Reese, you're adorable. Meanwhile Finch stalls the surgery by telling the hospital's computers that they have a shortage of Veldt's blood type. That's not a bad plan! Although I side-eye him for setting it to zero and not something plausible but worrying, like 50 or so, I don't know at what threshold hospitals pitch a fit but I'd bet it's well above zero. Because really. Reese has the sniper's location, yay! Reese should not be looking right at the window, though I'm not sure if that's meant to be Reese or the camera moving for our benefit. I'm going to go with the latter because it gives me less of a headache.

Cue Reese badassing his way through the sniper, who's completely caught off guard, I think this is the quietest we've ever heard Reese be in sneaking up on someone. Which is not to say he's always loud, but it's a nice contrast. It's also an excellent illustration of how long guns aren't any good for more than leverage or at best a bludgeoning weapon at grappling range; the only reason Reese uses that and not his pistol is because that's what he ended up with in his hands after being disarmed. Another thing that doesn't happen very often! In a few short seconds we've established this sniper as a pro of some standing. Bonus points for the sniper having pulled out a handgun and having really good body armor. Type III ballistic, there's a couple different kinds of type III, actually, but suffice it to say that's one step down from the highest ranking you can get, and probably limited availability. Yes, the ribs will heal, he just won't be happy about it for awhile. Superglue on the fingertips to reduce or eliminate fingerprints is, yes, an oooold black ops trick, no ID, but a cell! Which rings. Hi Wesley. Wesley would like to take Reese out for a drink or he'll kill Amy, since evidently his surprise third party is on her side. Yeah, Team Machine does have this thing about being against the shooting of innocents. Can't think why. Reese tries to call the bluff, which is cute but does at least net them more information! Slightly more information, in that Wesley has at least two other snipers and, I would take it by the implication, probably four. Look, it's a slim thread to go on from "and so on and so forth," but it's what I'd be assuming, is four snipers remaining, possibly more. The upshot is that they don't know for sure and they are so, so fucked. Wesley still has the upper hand, so he gets to set location as well as time, if Reese had been smarter or more we're-all-knowledgeable-here about the presence of a full team it's possible he would've gotten to set the location. As it is, alas. Reese will indeed go have that drink, and this job is now firmly out of Finch's comfort zone to run, as we see when he drops the question into Reese's lap and looks utterly out of his depth.

While Reese paranoids his way down to the pub (look, if anyone can turn paranoid into a verb it's Reese), Carter's trying to figure out any motive for killing the apparent-robbery vic with her card on the body. He never missed a day of work, he was a janitor, why do people usually kill janitors with no money? For access to the places they have! At least they do in spyssassin world, which is the world Carter's in (reentered? depending on how deep she was during Afghanistan) now, like it or not. New York Custodial serviced mostly tech companies, or at least the poor bastard who got dead was on the tech company circuit, including a place at 66 11th Avenue! Hey! It's a clue! I'm not sure why they feel the need to hammer this home quite so hard, it's not like that was difficult to figure out, though I'm gonna twitch some over Carter handling the evidence. Even if she never intends to drop it into the formal chain of, that's still bad form and indicative of how far over the line she's gone.

Fusco's not there to hear this little revelation because Reese called him out for backup again! To the park, where he's going to go keep an eye on Amy. Reese, this is not like not calling the cops. Reese, be nicer to Fusco. REESE. At least he's not openly hostile to Fusco in particular, just hostile to the universe in general because fuck everything he's failing at his job. Well. Yeah, a little bit, though to be fair they had way, way insufficient data walking into this and a non-optimal way of acquiring more. Fusco is left with the message that Amy's in some crosshairs and Reese has to go have a drink, which leaves him baffled, because no, that's not normal for Reese. Nothing about this one is normal! ENJOY, Lionel. Reese relays his conclusions which were ours before the ad break, that this is a professional team and someone's paying them for the assassination, so, follow the money! If at all possible, anyway. It's a tacit request for information prior to walking into this meeting, and Finch can't do it but he'll take that non-optimal solution now and hope to hell that they don't have to keep Leon in the library of infinite knowledge like a pet hacker-in-training after this. Hi Leon! Leon is wandering around the library staring at the books still bored, but he does know who Oliver Veldt is! To the tune of owns the energy on the eastern seaboard. Oh, well then. Nice of us to be kept in the loop, though we could've guessed that. Finch has a job for a forensic accountant! Well, okay, Leon wouldn't mind, but with what computer that he's allowed to touch? Bear's sitting there still on alert. Best Bear is best. Easy solution to that! Speakerphone. Anyone who's ever had a pet knows exactly how readily they recognize your voice even over the phone, albeit they may be confused by how you got in there. I am reliably informed that my cat headbutted the cell phone while I was away this summer. Anyway, Finch releases Bear with the command "ontspann," there might be a suffix there I'm missing, I don't actually speak Dutch. I just know German and dog training commands and am capable of extrapolating "relax" or "stand down" as the rough translation. Do I get a prize? And can that prize be a Bear? Anyway, Leon sits down to start assembling a list of Veldt's enemies, competitors, both singular and corporate and gets the lecture we expect from Finch about trust and not testing his boundaries. That is a truly wicked smirk Leon's got on. I wouldn't trust it either, though I think in this case gaining more trust is the better part of reckless stupidity. We can hope, anyway.

And now we'll finally get around to this meeting between Reese and Wesley! (Whose name I keep having to remind myself isn't Westley. COMPLETELY the wrong genre. Although Cary Elwes could do a good cackling British villain, come to that.) Reese walks in, takes brief but no apparent notice of the guy by the door, the bar is otherwise empty but for Wesley, including the bartender. Heh. Someone either was nearby enough to set this up in the time it took Reese to hoof it to the bar, or someone bought the use of the entire place for the day. As a backup location, I'd bet, because no way in hell would Wesley invite Reese to walk into his primary HQ. Which is even assuming he has one, since his C&C is all digital and on that tablet, to all appearances. God technology is awesome. Anyway, we open with typical British dry humor/threats over the size of the ice cubes not diluting the whisky and melting slower, blah blah this is apparently a lead-in to talk about how Reese can't dilute the strength of the op by taking out a single sniper. I guess that's maybe true, but Wesley is assuming Reese is a single agent working alone, and that's also not true. They're so cute in their underestimation of each other! Reese will even play up the typical American thing and haul out his gun, though it's also a perfectly fair point that the gunman at the door might shoot first and dump the body rather than having any sense of Bond-like fair play. Wesley seems to think that's stuff and nonsense, that there's always a way to achieve his objective and he doesn't actually need Reese killed now. There are, indeed, at least four other snipers as indicated on that tablet display, plus the roving foot mercs in the park. Okay, then! Reese will put away the gun. He will not have a drink. Wesley hasn't had much of that drink either, that's all for show. The sentry at the door shifts a bit to a more obvious keeping-watch position in the background, Reese informs us and Wesley that he believes him to be ex-MI-6 and his team ex-SAS, aww, that's so cute! Battle of the spyssassin agencies! Reese gives away more than Wesley does with the ex-CIA assessment, mainly in that being reminded of his former employer still hurts due to their betrayal. Whereas whatever circumstances Wesley left under were either long enough ago that they don't sting so much (plausible due to age) or weren't under such awful conditions (plausible due to Reese having some My Angst Is Greater Than Yours validity to his issues). No, Reese isn't for sale, that's cute, and he's not working for Veldt, though that's as good a guess as any. That one Reese has fewer to no tells on (we don't see his face, we're too busy with the camera doing the someone's-sneaking-behind-you pan), he expected that'd be Wesley's assumption. Reese, put your teeth away when you talk. Reese. Pay attention to your surroundings. They threaten each other some more, Amy's alive because the doctor didn't break any rules but if he comes sniffing around the park again she'll get dead and by the way cackle cackle gloat. Yes, actually, he was expecting you, to enough of an extent that hey where'd the sentry go? The sentry just got up and snuck to Reese's blind spot on his right! Fortunately a headbutt and shooting the attacker in the foot will take care of the garrote; unfortunately that gave Wesley time to scamper off. Okay, fine, he's British and ex-MI-6, they don't scamper. They, um. Leave the area in capable hands? Sure, we'll go with that. The glass is much emptier now than it was a second ago, I'm gonna go ahead and blame that on a mis-set because no way was Wesley drinking after he set the glass down on the bar. And the ice cube is not melting as perceptibly as we might like. I'm gonna go drink away the metaphors now.

They're just about ready for the operation to start, Maddie's scrubbing up, and the same nurse has speaking lines again. Hard to tell behind the surgical mask, but the voice sounds the same. That's two, for those of you keeping score at home. Maddie is displeased with her choices right now, and if I were her I'd be suspicious about that text coming from Amy or being spoofed from Wesley, but I've got a dirty mind like that. Hey, it's Finch! Also in full scrubs. He gives the by-now standard speech about, hey, remember me? I know all about your problem and I'm here to help and I've got a guy on the outside to help your wife! Aww. Finch is getting good at this, and good at selling it; it doesn't hurt that many doctors are of the over-intellectual, rationalizing type. They have to be, in order to get some emotional detachment from what they do for a living, particularly if they deal with trauma on any kind of a regular basis. (Just watch MASH if you doubt me.) And the explanation of the blood units mix-up, followed by the nurse coming out to do exactly what he said she'd do, is great confirmation. Yay! Now Finch is Dr. Crane fucking really? I don't actually remember the alias he was using off the top of my head, but Crane does seem to be the incredibly wealthy reclusive philanthropist. Suddenly I want to see a nonprofit researching firm do up a profile on this alias. Because it would be hilarious. Anyway, she brought him in as a consult in case she needs a second set of hands, Liz the nurse has a vaguely wary look but they have to get going on the surgery, so no time to fuss. We get a last desperate plea from Maddie to help them, because she needs her wife, oh honey.

Checking in with Reese, none of the news is good. Wesley set his own cameras in the park, Reese has spotted them, and Finch is about to go radio silent in the OR. Yaaay. Oh, and Wesley's men are really good and Reese doesn't think he can pick the sleepers out of the crowd, particularly not as many people as he has to sort through for normal city suspicious behavior. Yeah. Without much longer to parse the data, they are screwed. I also have a question, however: how many people on this team? And how much are they getting paid? And how many ways is Wesley really splitting the payout? I just want to know, for my records. Inside the OR, Maddie's hedging her bets and injecting the Heperin anyway. Considering he swore they'd have her wife safe before she had to make the first incision, and they're already to open heart and cameras and the like? I can't entirely say I blame her.

When we come back from ominous music and ad break, Finch escapes from the OR prep room out to Maddie's office to check in with Reese and lecture him some more about how close they're skating to thin ice. Yes, thank you Finch, we know that. It's a good thing you don't have a phobia or we'd take the increase in anxiety and fussing at things you feel you should be able to control as a sign of it. But what he's really here for is checking in with Leon, not that he knows that yet! Leon has data. We like data. The upshot is that Wesley and his team include someone good enough with stocks and tech to finance their own operation, making them less mercenaries and more money-grubbing assassins no longer bound to any government. Oh yay. There's an offshore wind farms proposal that Veldt dismissed, because he's an asshole who likes his money coming from the reliable, what, oil and coal and gas sources he has now? The nonrenewable energies, anyway, which will make him more money in the short term. And Wesley and his team have been short saling the stock of Veldt's company against, say, Veldt dying on the table! I have to admire the cleverness and ruthlessness even as I facepalm and want to wring Wesley's scrawny neck. They're very good at working together, I have to say, once you give Leon a direction and something to do he's somewhat less obnoxious. Probably less dangerous, too, it's when he gets bored that he gets stupid. Alright, then, he'll keep digging into the server for the ability to trace back the money even further and Finch will return to the OR. God, I can only imagine what the roomful of non-plants thinks about this weirdness as he tries to whisper about her wife at her; the nurse who's a plant has a sackful of anxious to show her over that call for a break. I wonder if she got blackmailed into this too. Regardless, Maddie's freaking out way too much to keep going with the surgery until she gets some of that detachment back, and it's a nice job they're doing with the balance between detached doctor and human being who needs to know that her loved ones are safe. Taking a break, however, means Wesley gets to bother her about finishing the surgery no really he's not fucking around. Though he's also showing a good awareness of psychology here: if he actually kills Amy, Maddie has no reason to follow his orders anymore. He has to keep her aware of the threat while not following through until his objectives are met, and I guess this isn't the show that kidnaps innocents and tortures them. Yet. I do appreciate that. I do not appreciate the manipulation that involves making her talk to her wife while clinging to her shreds of composure. Wesley, you're a sadistic fuck and I hope you die very badly. Amy's not stupid, either, she knows something's wrong even if she's not contradicting Maddie's lie, and hey, this does tell the boys something! Less than a minute on response time means that Wesley has to have a person inside the hospital, probably on the surgical staff (come on, guys) and thus they're surrounded on all sides. Well, fuck. Not that this should come as a surprise to them, but they keep finding more and more team members like it is.

While Reese rushes off to do something reckless, Carter's visiting Fujima Technologies, the building at 66 11th Avenue! And there's something going on. Why yes, Carter, you got there not quite in time to keep anything from happening, but maybe in time to get a lot more information! Shots were fired a few minutes ago on the R&D floor of the building, guards down, ambulances on the way, they're clearing the building as SOP. Hey! Snow! You still look suspicious and you're still bad at this fieldwork thing, though at this point the bad at fieldwork is a) deliberate and b) working in his favor. Or he'd like it to be. Still got that limp, too, though either it's healed up some or he's running on adrenaline, quite literally. Carter rushes after him and…

… we cut over to Fusco and Reese in the park instead. Reese's clever plan is distraction and extraction! Aww, Reese, you're adorable. Fusco gives him a moment of lip followed by a very effective diversion via being the bad cop abusing his power at a beat officer. Excuse me, "beat officer." Because nobody in this episode is what they seem! Even all the extras! Reese slips a burner phone into Amy's bag while everyone's staring, Wesley is perhaps more concerned than normal given that it's a semi-normal altercation, and the "beat cop" is really bad at brushing Fusco off. Okay then! Leon also has something for Finch, and some ramen for Bear. I hope there wasn't MSG on that, but otherwise AWWW. See? Everyone loves Bear. Leon has uncovered that whoever was making the short sales also knew about the surgery, and has all the patient release forms and everything! HMM. WHO COULD THAT BE. We wonder! Finch doesn't wonder, he just wants all the information at his fingertips to go over it for his own conclusions before he confronts anyone. Also, Leon thinks this is fun. LEON. Bad Leon. You are not getting semipermanent access to Finch's system, no matter how much you might like to. Reese calls Amy, we're getting a lot of quick cuts back and forth to the various points of action to heighten the urgency, as usual. He does a remarkably good job of humanizing this unknown voice on the unknown phone (too much butter inDEED, I'm betting that was made up on the spur of the moment) and gets Amy as far as not hanging up. Which is the important step. Finch is riding the ear of the agent on the ground. Finch. Do not jostle the elbow of the oh fine you're also the agent on the ground and you've got two minutes, Reese, get her out of the park. Alright. I will more or less accept this interference this time, the more so because poor Finch is combating his phobia. The one he doesn't have.

Snow leads Carter - for leading it most definitely is - into the underground where he's been living these past few weeks. I would think Carter would recognize it as leading, and maybe she does, because she keeps a pretty hefty distance and her gun on him even after he turns around and raises his hands like a good perp. Not bomb blast distance, but she doesn't know there's a need for that yet. We'd love it, of course, if Snow would cough up an antecedent to go with that pronoun, but they at the CIA do not have a sense of information sharing of which they are aware. (Yes, I had to.) Cue more of Snow's cryptic talk that amounts to, someone in his shared past with Reese is back and planning terrible awful things and oh by the way she's making him do them by way of a bomb vest. Carter hasn't crossed so many lines yet that she doesn't immediately fall back on her training, they'll get the bomb disposal unit in, it'll be okay, just for the love of god come in with her. No, he can't, she won't let that happen, and on Carter's demand to know who she is, a wild Kara appears! She uses Covering Fire And Shooting Lights! It's Super Effective! Carter returns fire, but by the time she can get a good look down the darkened hall, both of them are gone. Of course. Yeah, I'd be jumping at shadows too under the circumstances.

Finch goes forth to confront Mr. Rains! Who does a nice job of running through the gamut of what-the-fuck to freaked-right-the-fuck-out as Finch lays out all the evidence. And I can't even argue against the assumption that Rains was their guy, it's pretty much like saying the butler did it. The butler ALWAYS has done it. Only not this time. Also they're supposed to reexamine the windfarm that Veldt turned down once he gets out of surgery. So, what you're saying is, Veldt's an ass, but maybe a well-intentioned ass? SHOCK. Say it ain't so. Oh wait: nobody in this episode is what they appear to be. Well, fuck. You know the other reason that someone would know that the operation's been stopped, Finch? Because they're right in the room with Maddie. Unfortunately, pulling hospital records on all the surgical staff is something they don't have time for right now. The "other operation," very nice choice of words from Maddie there, is still in progress, which means Maddie has to make a decision. And for a miracle, she makes the choice that says fuck everyone, fuck this blackmail bullshit, she's declaring herself unfit to continue the operation and everyone in the room is getting the fuck out right now. Also, that nurse continues to have too many lines to be anything other than Important To The Plot.

Okay, then. Reese's turn! He starts walking Amy out of the park, Wesley gives all units the go-ahead to shoot or otherwise kill her however they see fit, I'm guessing, by his absolute lack of giveadamn on everything else humane in this op. The music keeps rising, and we cut… back to the OR! Liz the not-a-plant-nurse insists on staying with Maddie because she can't do this alone, which is probably true, and Finch gets sent off for more sedatives. Ominous glare from Liz as he informs Maddie that she made the right decision, back to the park again we go, yes, thank you, we know things are getting worse and worse. But Amy's out from the stall area where she's been parked all afternoon, isn't on any of the cameras, I love you Reese for figuring out where the blind spots were. So much. Best sniper is best. And she does, in fact, get almost all the way clear with only need for Reese to perform a few stunts of punching and joint-disabling. Ow. I'm going with, Wesley didn't tell them they had an ex-CIA complication, maybe didn't know or guess about the Ranger training in addition, and Reese knows the weak points in SAS training. And he had the drop on them. I offer no other explanation - other than the Doylist one of time crunch in this ep - for why taking them down was so easy. But wait! Fusco's on his way out and apologizes to the other beat cop who walks the park. Whaddya mean, other beat cop? He walks it alone. (Which I disbelieve. Central Park is fucking huge, there's no way you assign that to a single officer.) Cue horrified realization from Fusco and gun in Amy's face! Amy, get further behind Reese, there's a good chance he's wearing kevlar. We cut back to Finch digging in the prep room and the incessant beeping of Something Is Very Wrong Here from the machines (yes, I did that on purpose, so did they) and on over to the OR proper where Liz cannot lie to save her life. On the other hand, right now she doesn't have to, she just has to keep Maddie from saving Veldt's. She is, after all, the contingency to end all contingencies. No, Wesley probably never really intended to kill Amy, it was just the sort of thing that Maddie would believe. Fade to commercial!

Fusco, having had his own moment of sick realization, will proceed to play excellent diversion once more! We love you, Fusco. Never change. Reese is tired, he is pissed off, and he's more than willing to bounce ex-SAS heads off the nearest hard surface. In this case, a windshield. He's also not even bothering with finesse at this point, using his bulk and his anger to fuel the fight. If he didn't have reasonable confirmation that Amy was safe, I'd be yelling at him right now. As it is I'm just kind of facepalming. Oh Reese. Back to OR, where Liz-if-that's-really-her-name is waxing villainous about just let him die, and I think she means that Maddie's reputation is at stake more than anything. Because nothing about her attitude suggests that she really expected Amy to die, and either that's a greater degree of sociopathy than I was expecting or that's pragmatic understanding that if Amy died, Maddie wouldn't have a reason to go through with her end either. That all said, Liz tries for a scalpel to get Maddie to get her hands out of Veldt's chest cavity, and Finch promptly clocks her with the surgical light. Finch! You HAVE been taking lessons from Reese. I'm so proud. With all the bad guys knocked out, Reese will leave Amy with Fusco while he goes off to try and find Wesley. He's not going to succeed, of course, but he'd consider himself more of a failure if he didn't try. The tablet exists, however, on a quiet little table, its screen cracked. Well, of course. Never use nondisposable technology, and always know how to brick your equipment. Thoroughly. I'm assuming the cracked screen is just the external cue for our benefit. Meanwhile, Maddie will also save a life via open-heart massage, which requires another set of hands. Oh poor Finch. Finch, if you have to barf, do it AWAY from the patient, please. Emerson really sells it here - as a matter of fact, everyone in the OR scenes sold the hell out of them with limited facial expressions available. But Emerson gets extra kudos for the line about "oh god it's squishy" and Sharon Leal gets points for managing not to die laughing. I want to know how many takes of that they had to toss for the cracking up. I'm sure that is NOT the nice simple non-sternum-cracking operation that Veldt was hoping to have, and it'll fuck with shareholders, but honey, at least you're alive.

Tying up loose ends, now! We get a really, really adorable reunion with Maddie and Amy in the office after that, and a nice bit of hesitation rather than rushing straight for her wife. Guilt that she even considered not bowing to Wesley's demands, maybe, or guilt over not seeing that her head nurse was a turncoat. Guilt in general is a good bet, and they'll have some repair work to do, but not nearly as much as if Maddie hadn't made the decision to call the operation off when she did. The boys walk Leon out to a random street somewhere and I try not to laugh at how no, of course none of the New Yorkers around are looking at this guy with a hood over his head. Probably they think it's some kind of weird sex thing. I know I would before assuming there were spyssassins around me. It is not some kind of weird sex thing, thank god, I don't want to think about Leon or Finch like that. Leon gets one of his standard quips out, and I love both whoever wrote them and Ken Leung's delivery of them. No quips for you, but good news! We won! Maybe Leon will get a taste for defeating bad guys. I hear various three-letter agencies could use a good forensic accountant. This time he does seem to mean it when he says he wouldn't let Finch down, or more to the point he wants not to let them down again. Aww. He will, probably! But he's maybe edging toward better life choices. We can hope. As a nice little character touch, Finch carefully folds up the black bag. Really, Finch? You're so… tidy. And Reese has a phone call! On the phone from the sniper, which he's still carrying around, because he's not a complete moron. I question giving away his position like that, though. Bad Reese. Turns out, Wesley remembers him! From a job in Istanbul, on the Bosporus marketplace, which is a job Reese remembers. This is also an excellent example of the Greatest Game and those who play it for the fun of it and those who play it for ideology. Actually, this is pretty much MICE the episode: money, ideology, coercion, and ego. Three of the four were on Wesley's part of the plan. In conclusion, whoever this is, it's someone from Reese's past who knows more about him than he does about them. That's not good. To use a rather British understatement. We also hear, on about as unofficial an official channel you can get, that Julian Sands may be coming back again, or at least they're in talks for that. To which I can only give a hearty FUCK YES. Wesley dumps his phone, I'm assuming Reese keeps his for giving to Finch and letting him pick it to shreds, and we get that nice bit of foreshadowing. Can we have Alastair Wesley back again? Pretty please? He can be the Jim Sterling of the Person of Interest universe.

But we're not quite done yet. Carter needs to have a meeting with Reese, and she did pull the ID off the ground, or Snow dropped it for her as evidence, hard to say for sure. It could have plausibly fallen off in the firefight or Snow could have pulled it off as a last piece of assistance before he went to get beat to hell by Stanton and reminded of who's the boss here. Reese is nervous, doesn't want Snow to be alive and damn sure doesn't want him to be working for an unknown enemy. Carter is determined and cranky, though no more so than usual at being kept in the dark. No, she hasn't been doing work on the side, she got brought in through other means, and Snow has chosen to involve her in this game of blind man's bluff whether or not anyone else likes it. Reese surely doesn't; he manages to keep his face still when Carter says the crucial "she," but it's too still. He knows. He doesn't know how Stanton survived, he doesn't know how the fuck she found him, though frankly the first part of that is what's probably stumping him. But he knows there's only one she that could terrify Snow, keep him hostage, would want to send him out on missions with insufficient backup and in poor condition the same way he did to them, and who would also connect to his own past. He just wants to deny it. Really a lot. By the way he ducks his head and fidgets with his hands, touches his face, he knows he ought to bring Carter in on this. Mostly because she could crack this case with his knowledge. But, and this is the trump card he's been holding onto for awhile, he and Finch, they don't have people in their lives anymore outside of working for the Machine. (Liar. Finch means something to you, John. So does Carter. So does Zoe. And Bear, and Fusco. In approximately that order.) Carter's got a kid, and she should make the choice about whether she takes the red pill or the blue pill, and which one will protect her son better. Not that Reese phrases it like that, but that's what it actually boils down to. We don't get an answer, of course. Just a resigned look, and then her looking out the window while she turns that over.

No comments:

Post a Comment