Wednesday, September 25, 2013

First Kiss Goodbye (Person of Interest S2E08 Til Death)

The number shot (which is sort of like a money shot but not from that industry) of the week gives us Reese in an elevator bisecting two people, which is interesting. Firstly that we have two numbers this week instead of one, not the first time but usually when there's multiple numbers it's bad shit going down, and they lose at least one of them. Usually. Secondly, the positioning of Reese as bisecting them indicates that there's something going on with these two people, some sort of balance that needs to be addressed, since everyone's been so neatly framed. Thirdly, the title of the episode itself gives us a big honking clue as to what's going to happen here. So, um. Let's begin the hijinks? And why wasn't this the one where Reese and Zoe were going undercover as married?

Our opening scene takes us, not to hijinks, but definitely to another point in a main character's relationship. In this case back to the courtship of Finch and Grace, where he's taken her out for coffee at some place very far from a Starbucks. Or a coffee shop, for that matter; this place is set up more like some high-end restaurant or bar, and real Italian coffee is mentioned. I'm assuming this is equal parts beans and brewing/fixing. They're discussing life, art, Italy, and the chemistry is palpable. Honestly, given that the actor are husband and wife in the real world I'd be a little surprised if it weren't, but as is well known marriage doesn't always translate to chemistry and real life chemistry doesn't always translate onto the screen. In this case, they're both doing something right. The camera work is helping with lots of close tight shots and lots of showing that Grace and Finch are very focused on each other as they talk about their transformative experiences with Italy. Plus the kind of look when Grace asks if Italy was worth the wait, you know Finch isn't referring to Italy.

Just as it's starting to get a little uncomfortable in here, back to the present! Finch is walking Bear, apparently that's today's excuse to follow Grace around and long for her. Finch gets a number, hangs up, but she's gone. Alas. Back over to the library, then, where Reese walks in with a pastry box. Not for Finch, as the show makes a point of joking, for Bear! Aww. I do enjoy these little moments both of levity and of making sure Bear remains a cast member even if they don't always give him things to do other than be cute and fuzzy. Today we have the aforementioned two numbers, married and co-CEOs of a publishing company, and also with contrasting backgrounds! One comes from money, the other comes from nothing, etc. We can hope they won't lean on that as a crowbar of separation between the two, but we'll be disappointed. Finch offers an alternate theory of the case, which is that the publishing company put out a scathing condemnation of some group called the Maryland Militia. Does anyone remember the Michigan Militia? Is that still a thing? If so, I bet this is a sideways reference to it. And in any case, they have at least one or two suspects but no clear leads just yet, so Reese will go to their work and observe and surveille, while Finch will break into their home! Awww, Finch. You're becoming an operative! Reese and we are proud of you! Finch isn't so proud of himself, but Finch, this isn't your first foray into deliquency, you built Big Brother. One of these days you're going to stop pretending you have the moral high ground on home invasion. Ahem. I have opinions. Reese gets an RFID duplicator so he can copy someone's access card and get access to the building, then pokes at Finch some more. Reese, you're awfully chipper today. I'd speculate on the reason, but that's for fanfiction.

Pulling up to the building where they apparently work, since there's a Reese there attempting to infiltrate and surveille, they're bickering already. But not, as it turns out, at each other's throats type bickering. First she fusses about being late, he tells her not to worry, and then for a wonder she explains why she's worrying! And it's a legitimate explanation! That never happens! Granted, this legitimate explanation is due to someone else's dickery, but it's still at least a reasonable cause for someone to worry and she says it in words, out loud. That's a fairly revolutionary thing for a marriage on TV. Which is rather a sad commentary on the state of marriages on TV, leading to a whole other essay on television as a reflection of real life vs an example we're meant to follow, and one which I will not write here because you're not here for that. You're here for me being amused at Reese's smooth infiltration methods. The camera follows him at each contact point, the RFID reader, the blank card on the security scanner, but otherwise focuses on the couple, which makes a nice balance of visual input as we follow both of them to roughly the same place: the publishing company offices. This is a lot of glass walls in a corporate environment; since it's been a while since I've been in any such environments I'm not sure if this is a recent aesthetic or a commentary on transparency in people's lives and dealings. I'm going to go with aesthetic choice. Reese semi-subtly plants a camera; the gesture is obvious but what he's doing with it isn't, so much. And then he gets asked what he's doing! Because there are receptionists here who pay attention to things! Fortunately Finch sent him with a cover that allows him to sit and watch things for a little while, as mentioned earlier in the weekly briefing. I really do appreciate, and I should say this every recaplysis, that most of the time the show is very good about allowing even the bit characters to do their jobs with competence even if it makes the main characters' lives hard. We are, after all, here for the competence porn.

This meeting, as it turns out, is whether or not to sell the company. Ouch. Again, no wonder she's nervous. The company is in financial difficulties, they have a buyer, and it's all laid out, but she wants to keep control over the product. He doesn't seem to have strong feelings one way or another, which is making her unhappy if that glare is anything to go by. He buys time for them by postponing it till the board meeting can vote on it, at which point we learn that that's a meaningless gesture if the two of them don't make up their minds since they're the majority shareholders. Again, a rant for another time. Reese and Finch explain to us that the frantic man who called the meeting has a lot to lose if the deal doesn't go through. Right, then. Finch will "break in" to their home, which is apparently wide open for construction anyway, under the guise of an IT specialist installing fiber-optics. At least he's playing to his strengths! And highlighting one of the vastly unsung (or what used to be unsung, I think it's much more sung these days as con artists get more popular) aspects of hacking, which is to say the social engineering aspect. Hello, I'm an IT guy, just let me mess around with your internet wires that you don't know what half of them do. Sleep tight. I think I'll manage not to digress into how easy that is because good god that photo is not well 'shopped at all and that's just creepy. Augh.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch precinct, Fusco is acting squirrelly. Again. Still? No, again, because the last time was when he and Carter didn't know they were both working for the same vigilante. In this case it seems to be more HR related. Which admittedly, since Reese is the one keeping him undercover in HR most of the time, is a similar thing. Different in that now Reese doesn't know why Fusco is ducking his calls and is forced to call Carter and ask her what's up. She doesn't know either. And this is what all that deeply embedded paranoia from being a clandestine agent for so long gets you: persistent lack of communication that does not foster an atmosphere of trust and creates all kinds of unnecessary complications. Nyah. They have a brief conversation about the Mi-- er, Maryland Militia which continues to prove my point given that the snark is largely about who knows what. Though in this case I will grant that explaining the Machine to Carter would be a difficult proposition at best. And he's about as straightforward as he can be with her, all he has right now is information that the Drakes are in trouble and the Militia guy is one possible source. Carter's still going to hang up on him, because as much as she likes him and what he does, sometimes she just gets sick of his shit. I totally understand, Carter.

Back over to Finch, Mr. Drake is leaving the restaurant while someone is planting a bomb on Mrs. Drake's car. So, it's a separate hit job then? That's moderately suspicious considering they were together and in a car just recently. Not to worry, Reese will grab it and, um. Walk off with it. Reese. Reese, honey, what are you doing. Reese, you were clandestine ops, not demolitions. Reese. Finch is not, as we hear by his use of Reese's first name, all that sanguine about Reese's demolitions ability. Fortunately the bomb is just crude enough and Reese is just skilled enough that he can get this thing disconnected from its detonator. Right before the phone trigger goes off, too, because this show is nothing if not big on suspense and near misses. But Reese is right, they do have a contact number for the would-be assassin now, even if I want to shake him by his lovely shoulders for how he went about getting it. Bad spyssassin. No danish, doggie or otherwise. Hey, speaking of men behaving badly, it seems Mr. Drake is getting a call on his cell phone. The one that hasn't been cloned, or bluejacked as Finch is calling it. What's that, Lassie? Mr. Drake's trying to assassinate his wife? You don't say! Okay, I shouldn't be so sarcastic, there's no way Finch and Reese could have known. This entire episode amuses me.

The Drakes go to their office and, in the car, immediately start into the kind of fighting I expected more of in this episode (and was pleasantly surprised not to find in great quantity.) At this point it's largely illustrative, showing us how their marriage has deteriorated into non-productive fighting. Yes, there can be productive fights. This one takes all of about two sentences to degenerate into name-calling and more elaborate ad hominem attacks, attacks made directly at each other rather than stating the problems they have with each other's decisions. Which would be marginally more productive! Telling your spouse or partner, I'd like it if you did the dishes immediately because it bugs me when you leave them out all night, that's productive. Yelling it is less likely to get the point across, but at least it's communicative progress. Calling your wife a pseudo intellectual or attacking your husband for going to a lesser college? Much less productive. On the surface they're fighting endlessly. Underneath that they've pretty much stopped listening to each other. They've taken a position and even when they back off (but don't drop entirely) the ad hominem attacks they continue to attack each other's position without opening the floor to discussion or compromise. Which very much indicates that they've both given up on the marriage and each other. Stopped listening. Etc.

So. As it turns out the bomb design is identical to one design found in the Michigan Maryland Militia's Manual of Mayhem. I made up those last three words. Reese spells it out for those of us not used to procedurals: Mr. Drake hired a bomber who would use of his own initiative or as directed a bomb that could be tied to a group that had already made death threats. And unless the bomber was even sloppier than it looked like, that would mean Mr. Drake gets away with murder. Clever! Reese wonders if divorce wouldn't have been easier. Well, it'd certainly be more legal, but it wouldn't be cheap, especially not if it delayed or entirely blocked the sale. Finch uses the sale of a baseball team to illustrate this, which Reese seizes upon as a place to go digging. Aww, Reese. Three teams later Finch has caught on to what Reese is doing and, far from the start of the show where Reese's prying questions were met with irritation and stonewalling, here Finch is almost playful. Definitely amused and likely pleased that Reese is still prodding him like this. He seems to find it endearing, just look at that smile! We don't often see Finch smile like this at all. Still going to stonewall Reese, though. So Reese moves on quickly (very quickly, the way he turns his head and shifts gears suggests he's affected somehow by the stonewalling, whether positively or negatively I can't quite tell) back to the case. Finch has discovered that Mr. Drake gets all the shares in the event of his wife's death, and he's pursuing the bomber to a police record for an Nestor Santiago, apparently a childhood friend of Mr. Drake's and former resident of Sing Sing. He's even gone so far as to set Carter on one of the arresting detectives to see what she knows! He's so adorably helpful.

Carter's friend can't help much, Santiago turns out to be a barely semi-competent criminal, but Beecher seems to be a decently competent cop. As well as a competent flirt! Not only does he compliment her perfume, he offers to dig her up some info, or at least try to, as a favor. Good cop. Can has donut. Meanwhile the Drakes are heading across town in the same car to an event, and Finch is somewhat alarmed that this might be an excuse to kill his wife in the privacy of their car. No, Reese may not be the most adept profiler in the show. Or even a profiler at all. But he does know killers, and Mr. Drake isn't the kind of person who can kill in cold blood in close proximity on his own. He'll hire someone else to do it. And has! Reese will just nip over quick to that event to see if their backup plan is to use the impending protest by angry people with much guns and much less impulse control as cover for a murder. As covers for murder go, it's a good one! We have a good swirling not-quite-360 of the crowd, a lot of noise and somewhat less visual confusion because we're tracking Reese, who is adept at keeping track of people in a crowd. Generally speaking, the amount of visual confusion increases with the confusion of the protagonist or point of view character, so we can all be glad Reese is used to this sort of thing. But for all the clarity, we're not seeing a sniper. Sniper? There's a sniper! Reese calls it for Finch, who halfway interrupts with the news that the wife is sending a text message. One word: "Now." The husband is the target now? Oh yay. Reese manages to block the shot and goes after the sniper, to no avail, while Mrs. Drake wants to know the fuck was that, sniper man? Or at least that's what I translate ??!! to mean. Reese will now exposit why the Machine gave them both numbers in a very perturbed voice, with possibly some suppressed amusement. Yes, the Drakes took out a hit on each other. This is officially the worst marriage ever.

When we come back it's 2006 again and Finch is late to a dinner? meeting with Nathan. And not meeting his eyes. And not responding to any of Nathan's  casually prodding remarks about where he might have been. It's really not hard for Nathan to figure out what he's been up to, and he seems pleased. Even if Finch is embarrassed and trying not to talk about it, he can't hide or suppress the completely in-love smile there. Speaking of smiles we don't see often on Finch, this is a doozy, and only comes out for Grace. It makes him look so much less tired and worn. As one might expect. Nathan's happy for him, seriously, but he does have a bit of advice regarding Finch's habitual-to-compulsive need for anonymity and secrecy: be very, very careful with it in your relationship. I think the advice he really wants to give is "Don't," but he knows Finch won't listen, so he scales it back to something he thinks Finch can manage. Whether or not Finch will take the advice is in question right now, but it does remind him that Nathan had a wedding he was going to go to that day, at which he might have seen his wife. Ex-wife? Which is it, at this point? He refers to a mediation so it's likely estranged wife at this point. He also describes that there is a lower place to which a marriage can sink than where we see the Drakes in the presence. Indifference, lack of honesty, lack of trust. Secrecy. Both being open with his friend and being an object lesson, and we finish the brief flashback by closing up on Finch's face as he starts to realize what being in a relationship will cost him in terms of his cherished and extreme privacy.

Back in the present Finch is much more stable and single (sadly) and he is... walking Bear? It seems like this must be less to walk Bear to the potty and more to give him and Bear both some exercise, because all they're doing is walking around a table. Not the kind of repeat walking around the table that means someone screwed up at the editing room, either, he makes a full circuit around the table that we see. Now, Reese and Finch are confronted with the situation that they have two numbers, married, and trying to kill each other. Not only will they now have a conversation about how damn dysfunctional this is, they will proceed to openly contemplate aloud whether or not to leave the husband and wife team to their eventual deadly fates! I'm actually not sure, given that both of these men are something less than vigorously dedicated to the sanctity of all life no matter what, that they're not kidding. We never do get to find out if they're kidding, though, since there are no new numbers that require their attention, and it's time to marshal the troops for this one. Fusco's still dodging their calls, which means Reese is going to go track him down in person. Time to find out what all those squirrelly calls on the phone and in secret were about!

It's not HR at all. It's better than that. Far, far better. Fusco is on a date at a restaurant so high class they serve tasting meals instead of regular ones. At least that's the only thing I can surmise from the size and arrangement of the first dish. It turns out they were set up by someone named Larry, although Fusco made the actual date arrangements. Fusco, why on earth would you bring a woman to a dinner date for a tasting menu? Or am I missing some nuance of fine dining here and there's an actual meal incoming. It's another area in which I have no expertise! If anyone would care to weigh in, feel free. Larry, as it turns out, is a parent of one of the kids on Fusco's sons hockey team, and that same kid is one of this woman's students? Or the kid's brother is. More awkward small talk about how hard it must be to be a parent and a detective at the same time, and then they're interrupted by Finch calling the restaurant phone. And doing something somewhere between critiquing Fusco's ability to flirt and busting his chops. And he needs Fusco to keep an eye on Mrs. Drake. And would he please put the cell phone battery back. He passes it off as a stakeout to his date, which is about the same thing, and apologizes with the resigned tone of a cop who has cancelled many many things to do cop business. Contrary to expectation and to the narrative of most of the other relationships in this episode (at least at this point), she doens't mind! She understands! If she can come along, she'll take him out for falafel! This is possibly the best thing that's happened to Fusco since Reese and Finch helped him get out from under HR. (Only to shove him back in again, but it was good while it lasted.)

Carter and Reese are taking the husband, which is rather cute and generous of Carter considering I'm sure she has things she'd rather be doing this late at night. Watching her son or helping with his homework, maybe. Reese makes banter for a bit before wondering aloud what could bring a marriage to this point. Carter doesn't have specifics but she understands how marriages go sideways, and does make the distinction between being in love and being in a marriage. A bit of snark about the "till death" part, thank you for the title drop and also the obvious joke, and then Carter brings up some more wisdom, which is that sometimes people fail to grow together, want each other to stay the person they were in love with, and realize down the line that they're not in love with who their spouse or partner has grown to be. I love you, Carter. These are very, very wise things you're saying that not a lot of people understand, not in the deep-down sense. Reese is listening but whether or not he understands it's hard to say, since he often seems to feel none of this applies to him, he's too broken to be in a relationship, etc. He does ask Carter if she's ever thought about "moving on," which she interprets to mean dating again. With what free time, exactly? Uh-huh. And we get about a second's worth of Reese looking surprised at Carter asking what about him, would he ever date, before her phone rings. It's Beecher! With information, yay! Also with a sore need for marbles in his mouth, which is less yay, but I think he said Mr. Drake's hitman was on his way to see Mrs. Drake in a Deli-to-Door van. I think. Marbles, good officer, in your mouth. No real time to ponder the implications of that, though, because the power's been cut in Mr. Drake's building and that means imminent assassination. Oh noes!

Downtown, Fusco is telling his date an admittedly hilarious story about a criminal who was apprehended in the middle of updating his Facebook status. See, this is why I'm not on Facebook (okay, among many, many other reasons), then you get caught doing shenanigans and put up on Dumb Criminals TV shows and websites and it's just embarrassing. But it's fun for Fusco and his date Rhonda, both of whom seem to be having a good time. Awww. Finch calls up Fusco to alert him to a deliveryman on the 29th floor where, realistically, no delivery man should be this late at night. Or if that were the case Finch would have either heard the phone call or picked up on the internet order, and he hasn't. Meanwhile at the townhouse, Reese has engaged his all out of bubblegum music for some delicious fisticuffs and Jesus Hitman Christ, Mr. Drake, could you be any more oblivious? To the combat going on and the guns being waved around? Thank god Carter's there to save your dumb ass. Even if it does cause her to lose the shot and then the assassin. And then, you know, Reese's temper. He's had enough of Mr. Drake's shit and will now stuff him in a trunk to save him from himself while the rest of us fall over laughing the way Carter looks like she wishes she could do. In between smacking Reese, of course, because this is so illegal, but it's also not terribly harmful and the guy did hire an assassin after all. At least, that's something like what I imagine her thought process to be like. She's come around to Team Machine a while back, anyway, and this is among the more benign cases they've had. Straightforward, no civilians get hurt, and the numbers get saved. From inside a trunk.

Over at the publishing company there are mysteriously more lights on in the building than there were in the footage, now that we're following the actual people walking through it! Gee, I wonder how that happened, she said as she stepped over a shin-splitter. (That's a floor-level heavy light, for those of you who never banged yourself up on them in theatre tech or performing.) Ahem. I'm getting distracted amongst all these lampshades. Fusco challenges the assassin's right to be there, identifies himself as a cop, and gets shot at! Yay! At least it's a shoot out in an empty set of offices, or it would be if Mrs. Drake weren't working late. Which is, of course, the point. Lack of witnesses and so on. Fusco identifies himself once again and escorts Mrs. Drake down the stairs and out the building, with her wondering where the backup is, shouldn't there be backup? For a shots fired, lady? You're lucky the response time was abnormally good, i.e. right when the shots were fired. Granted, if she'd made the call it'd be less than a shots fired and more like a someone's trying to kill me, which gets a slightly better response time, but still, I'd be worrying less about the cop's lack of apparent backup and more about the fact that someone was just shooting at me and the cop I didn't call is trying to get me to go somewhere. I know I'm paranoid like that, but wow, none of this is ringing alarm bells? I'm alarmed. Reese doesn't look like a police officer! Reese is flattered by this! Where's the jar, for sheer amusement value. Even more amusing? The hood he stuffs over her head as he picks her up and shoves her in the trunk too! And this is how we know Reese is both fed up and a man after our own hearts, because if I was a TV show protagonist and had to deal with these two I'd stuff them in a trunk, too! I'm not sure what my favorite part of all of this is, the trunk stuffing, the fact that either Fusco or Carter must have opened the trunk for him because his arms are full of recalcitrant protectee, or the fact that we can hear police sirens coming up and Fusco and Carter looking around with only perfunctory guilt to make sure they don't get caught. This is comedy gold here, people. Dark comedy, for sure, but still comedy. See also the main rule not getting broken, which is to say that none of the good guys get actually hurt. Just humiliated a bit. And so far we haven't even established the Drakes as good people, really, just not bad enough people to warrant murder. The extent of Carter and Fusco calling him out is a perfunctory nod to "dude, stop making us cops accessories to your illegal deeds." Reese does sort of nod in the direction of protect and serve by reminding them of potential collateral damage from their lethal idea of marital resolution, but he really doesn't seem too concerned with the fact that he's stuffed two people in a trunk in front of police officers. And a civilian! Oh shit. Hello Rhonda. Hello awkward. Reese will leave without even nodding in the direction of his abrupt cover identity of police officer. Carter will make some at least decent sounding if hastily babbled out excuse about catching Fusco up and then beat a hasty retreat! Leaving Fusco to explain all this to Rhonda. Poor, poor Fusco. This is better than the Superman movies.

They're trying to bargain with Reese when the hoods come off. Or, well, Mr. Drake is trying to bargain, and Mrs. Drake is trying to threaten, and a divided approach does not come off well. Especially not when in the middle of it they start snapping at each other instead. Dear lord, that is one dedicated married couple. All that dedication turned into tearing each other down. It's sad, really, and I'm not being sardonic there. Reese, once again, does exactly what I would do and hoods them both again. Because dear sweet fluffy lord of bunnies, no one wants to hear that. They're sorry! They'll be good! No, they really won't. He will at least answer who he is, which is to say he will expose them both for the people who tried to kill each other. Not that either of them will admit it yet, not even when Reese pulls out the gun and racks the slide in a completely unnecessary but very loud and showy motion. In fact, not only are they not admitting to anything, Sabrina is more offended that her husband used a drug addicted felon for a hitman than upset that he tried to kill her! Reese is so fed up with this shit he cannot even. We get treated to some of them yakking and snapping at each other, which is still not about the trying to kill each other but now is about kitchens and not listening. At least one of these things is relevant! Finch and Carter are also listening with that can-you-believe-this-shit expression on. In Carter's case it applies both to the Drakes and to Team Machine, and she would like to know what the shit is up with this and if Reese really wants their hitman information, why doesn't he just dangle them off a roof or something? Finch thinks Reese would enjoy that. I would enjoy that. But apparently Reese and Finch both think that this will help them work out their marriage at least enough for them to stop trying to kill each other, rather than just getting the information to stop their hitmen and taking care of one iteration of a recurring problem. And by this we know Reese and Finch are neither of them well experienced in healthy relationships. I'm only half-joking, problems like this are deep-set and need more than a night being locked up at the mercy of a handsome man with a gun (Anyone remember The Ref?) to solve. But for the purposes of television, yeah, it's more than adequate! And Finch has some refinements to add, anyway.

We'll leave them to it and go over to Rhonda and Fusco, who appear to be winding up a successful first date! With an implication of another one to follow! I'm really rather sad we don't get any more of Rhonda, she and Fusco were awfully cute. With one successful date accomplished we're going to go over to Finch's hopes for another one. He's setting out wine, glasses, and expensive takeout for a romantic dinner for the Drakes. That's... one way of doing it, I guess? He's also explaining to them that they can't go home because they hired assassins to kill each other, who will no doubt be waiting at their home. Which is true! And by now they have to be smelling the steaks and noticing the sound of crystal, which might even be soothing if it's associated with good memories, and as Daniel says, wondering what the hell is going on and who the hell are these very strange people who kidnap them and treat them to steak dinners. Finch offers a watered down version of the usual speech with the addition of "even when they don't necessarily deserve it." Ouch. True, but ouch. Sabrina's guilt prompts her to call them (herself and Daniel, that is) monsters, to which Finch contradicts her that they are far from monsters. Although he doesn't give examples, for which we can all be thankful. They have taken some drastic action as a resolution to their marital difficulties, but the fact remains that their actions result from marital difficulties, which are far from monstrous or unique. What he doesn't point out, but which I will, is that her idea that they're monstrous for hiring hitmen largely stems from a life that exists free from any kind of true monstrosity. She deals no drugs to children nor does she enlist them in her illicit activities, she holds no families hostage, she tortures no one, she blackmails no one, nor does she even commit the less physical crime of emotional abuse or brainwashing. Nor does her husband. We've seen a wide variety of monsters on this show, and so we know exactly what Finch is talking about, but that she can't even imagine acts more monstrous than hiring a professional for one simple assassination signifies at least a momentary lack of imagination and therefore disinclination towards actually terrible things. Finch leaves them to themselves, their dinner, and their photo of happier times, and we leave the tableau to go back to 2006.

Grace is waiting at a coffee shop! For Finch, most likely, except instead of a Finch what she gets is a note from a young man who seems to be employed only for the purposes of messengering. It's a birthday scavenger hunt from Harold! Oh dear god man, you are too precious for this world. Also your handwriting is a bit calligraphic. Her first stop is that ice cream truck Finch goes to so often! We recognize this guy! And he seems to recognize her, or at least he recognizes her by description and by the affection with which Finch undoubtedly speaks of her. He gives her what turns out to be her favorite ice cream treat and another note! And her next stop is flowers. Oh Harold. Hopefully she finishes the ice cream before she has to juggle that, the flowers, and the note. By the end of it all it's about ten o'clock, she has flowers in hand, and she's been directed to ask for Frank in Security at the Guggenheim. Oh Finch.

Back in the future, well, present, the Drakes are pondering that picture and remembering small details about the weekend it was taken. It's all fun and games until someone says the p-word. Given that we haven't seen any sign of children (and the way these two are fighting any children would certainly be an object of struggle) we can pretty much guess right from that moment a) that something happened to the child/proto-child and b) that's what sent them apart. Poor loves. She isn't ready to talk about it, either, and for all that it sounds like it's easier for Daniel to talk about it maybe he isn't either. She's the one who changes the subject, though, very decisively, by calling out to Team Machine that she'll tell them what she can. Her eyes and voice are clearly distraught by the memory, still, but she's clear enough on the details of her attempted hiring of an assassin: private security firm that does extras, apparently. Daniel is right behind her on the confession, and as it turns out he already tried to call it off, but the thug was willing to do the job for free and apparently just needed an excuse. Nice guy. All right, fine, Reese has a solution for this, too. If they can't get to the assassins, they'll just have to bring the assassins to them. He looks almost gleeful about the prospect. Seriously, just look at that tiny smile there.

Back in the past again! A security person or docent (presumably Frank in Security) escorts Grace to the center of a large atrium after hours, which we know it is because there's a person on one of those giant floor buffers. And it's a Finch on the balcony! It's almost a reverse balcony scene, even, and I wouldn't place any bets on that not being on purpose. What with the death faking and everything, although that does make Finch Juliet. Which goes with that lovely smile he has, and did I mention how in love with her he is? Because he is, and it shows. He claims to be a docent, which affords him a few perks now and then, it might even be true. I'm sure the Scrooge McDuck levels of rich he is don't hurt, either, especially when setting up that birthday scavenger hunt, although it's also the kind of thing that people would probably do for free if he could afford even most of the cost of the goods. The flowers, certainly, the ice cream the guy could probably give Finch that once. At any rate, the upshot of all of this is that Finch has set up a birthday for her that is not only special, elaborate, and shows an effort made to set it up, it also shows an attention to detail with regards to her likes and preferences that is astounding. It contrasts sharply with the couple who are our main plotline, and how they've stopped listening or paying attention to each other's even so far as favorite ice creams, let alone anything of the larger issues. Not that Finch is a paragon of a healthy partnership, but this episode seems to be focusing on communication and attentiveness, and in that, Finch does reasonably well.

We leave them staring at a painting that I'm sure has some significance which I lack the art history background to appreciate and go back to the present where the Drakes are doing exactly what you don't want to do when an assassin is after you: standing in front of a giant window! But they're trying to get the assassins to show up, so it's okay. Plus Carter is there, presumably watching for sniper scopes and rifle barrels, and Reese is checking the rest of the house. And making snarky comments to Fusco about his stealth when setting up and going out on the date. Fusco has snark for him right back about how he's allowed a personal life dammit after everything he's been through on behalf of Team Machine and hasn't he earned the right to a little privacy? Fusco, don't set up straight lines like that if you don't want Reese's dry wit. Because that "no" was a gimme. Along with the smirk. In lieu of bantering more Reese will continue to check out the building while the Drakes fuss at him. Guys, even apart from the deadline, you didn't pay the whole fee, so yes. They will attempt to complete the job so they can get paid. That's what most to all contractors do, the decent ones that don't try to bilk you of all your money up front anyway. Plus, the thug Santiago already said he'd do the job for free because reasons, so he's definitely showing up. Again, I question their priorities for worry, here. Also your good sense, Daniel, when was the last time you held a gun? Fired it in combat? Yeah, that's what I thought, no guns for you. If you want something nasty pick up a power tool, we just had a nice long pan down the length of the work area so you have many to choose from. Yes, that will come back to bite someone later. For the moment, Reese is locking them in their wine cellar? Closet? Some sort of closet. I hope those are thick walls, is all I'm saying.

While Fusco, Carter, and Reese go on securing the rest of the building the Drakes will secure their marriage! It doesn't even take that long for them to go back to the event itself and untangle at least one of the major moments of communication disconnect, one of them says one thing and the other thinks they mean something else, and neither of them confirms it or discusses their fears or reactions or any such thing. Specifically, she didn't want to talk about it, any aspect of it, and so when he suggested she take some time to stay at home and recover she refused to talk about how that made her feel (weak, at fault somehow) because that would involve talking about the loss of the child. Now that they are talking about it, they can both admit their mistakes, and it's easier to deal with the problem. And sometimes that's the case! Sometimes it takes time to be able to speak about a mental or emotional problem with enough detachment that you can be focused and productive about it, instead of reacting and hurting and making the problem worse. Sadly, in this case it took so much time that they ended up hiring hitmen to kill each other. But that's television marriage for you. Though I once again have to question their definition of crazy. Trying to have a child or be in a marriage again is not crazy, not when you're talking through your issues. Trying to kill your spouse rather than see a marriage counselor or divorce lawyer? Yeah, that's crazy.

Anyway. Now that we've resolved that, let's resolve the hitmen! It really doesn't take long for Santiago, or rather another thug, to come crawling up the stairs, because let's face it, that's amateur hour. Carter does at least identify and wait for him to shoot the wall next to her before she shoots him; sadly, he doesn't go down for good. Gets Fusco a couple of times, too! Straight to center of mass, Fusco goes down, oh noes! Carter takes that one down and, oh, hey, there's Santiago. Forcing her into a gunshot retreat. She's reloading? No one reloads in television! In another corner of the house the red box alerts us to the fact that the other hitman is on the premises. Somewhat more alert than the thugs, and I want to know how he knew the Drakes were in the wine cellar. Had he seen them? He did have to pass by a bank of windows all lit up in order to get there. Was he hacked into the cameras? Was he informed by a plot gremlin so that the narrative could continue with a minimum of interference since we have a little over four minutes left of TV time? I'm going to go with that last one, as tightly written as these episodes usually are, there's not much of depth or significance here that lasts more than one episode, and it's not really important how he got here, is it. Just that he is here, shooting the lock off the door and coming in to kill one or both of the Drakes. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't stop with Daniel. Okay, I'd be a little surprised, because if he shot Sabrina he wouldn't get paid. There will be no shooting of the Drakes tonight, though, because Reese has been watching! He's even brought his power-up music, because the man comes prepared. Upstairs Santiago is still stalking Carter for all of the two minutes it takes Fusco to recover fromt he two to the vest he took earlier. Speaking of the little things, I do appreciate that most of the time (when not fueled by rage and adrenaline) when people get hit in the vest, they fall over. And then go ow. I don't care how bullet resistant that vest is, getting shot in the chest will hurt. And knock the wind out of you, and then it takes time to recover. At any rate, yeah, of course Fusco wore his vest, Fusco always wears his vest when he's working with Team Machine, are you nuts? Those jobs are dangerous! Where is John, anyway, Carter asks, with that look of "what the shit has he gotten himself into now." I'd say more trouble, but it's really about the same trouble. And the aforementioned construction tools come into play! First a hammer, then a nail gun. Ow. Did I ever mention that my recurring nightmare is missing and getting my own hand with one of those? In this case it's nailing his feet to the floor. You may begin the Jesus jokes over here, the when all you have is a hammer jokes can line up over there, and the 'nailed it' jokes start at the back.

It's not quite happily ever after for the Drakes; at the conclusion of all of this chaos they're both going to jail at least for solicitation of murder. But they will share a tender kiss onscreen while in handcuffs so we know they're in love again and all happy. Awww. Sort of. Fusco and Carter give voice to what we're all thinking, though they can't swear as much as some of us would on network television. Heh. And it's Beecher! And given the theme of this episode, their subsequent flirting is entirely appropriate. We do see more of him later, unlike Rhonda, but that ends... well, that's a commentary for another episode. Finch is contemplating his own love lost, it seems, with the picture he's looking at right before Reese comes up for our final discussion of the consequences for the Drakes. It turns out they're invoking spousal privilege, refusing to testify against each other. Or, possibly, press charges, though I'm not sure if there are any potential charges for them to press. Either way, Finch seems to think it's likely they'll get off with very little jail time, which will likely mean time already served by the time it's all over and done with. Happy endings for all, I guess? The biggest selling point in favor of the way this entire episode is structured is that no one but the murderous thugs got hurt in the crossfire. Despite what Reese says about a lot of mayhem to discover they still love each other. Finch offers up the leading statement for the final scene as well as what may eventually turn out to be some foreshadowing, depending on what happens in the coming season: anything is worthwhile when life offers you a second chance to be with the one you love.

So, let's get back to that for our final scene, shall we? After a brief glance at Reese, who never will have that chance. I do think they wasted an opportunity here for a two second linger on his expression, because that could be a really painful statement considering the woman he considers the love of his life is now dead. Still. Back to 2006, and in front of the Guggenheim. Finch has a secret, and Grace can tell he's hiding something. Or more accurately, she can tell he's thinking very hard about something. Which is cute in its own way, almost broccoli test. We know this conversation has been coming, but it doesn't seem to be coming tonight. Finch is too wound up and worried, and Grace allows as she knows something's going on, but she wants him to tell her in his own time. In the meantime, as she says, their journey together begins here and now, and they'll deal with whatever it is, together. All together now: AWWWWWWW.

Next week: Person of Interest is back, but we're still catching up! With luck and the good grace of the TV powers, we'll be all caught up for season four. In the meantime, we'll bring you immigrant issues, a father's desperation, an angry mob, and baseball shenanigans! And after that, it's Reese Behind Bars! That can't possibly end well.

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