Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You May Find Yourself (Person of Interest S2E06 The High Road)

Today's Person of Interest gives us John in short sleeves. Oooh. And otherwise appears to be a guy in a flannel shirt, so, nothing telling there. Except the polo shirt. Can we have him in short sleeves more often? Because yum.

The first scene is a lot more telling, considering it opens up with Nathan talking about his separation from his wife Olivia and how that's continuing, eventually going to end in divorce unless a miracle happens but neither of them wants to bring it up. Emotional lag? Uncertainty? Inertia. Impossible to say, but it's another nail in the coffin of Nathan Ingram's ability to maintain a relationship, and it underscores Nathan's emotional fears, of commitment, of connecting and trusting, etc. Not telling of new information but reinforcing and elaborating on things we already knew. Plus the endless jokes about Nathan and Finch as an old married couple. Finch offers his lack of expertise as well as what seems like trying to get Nathan and his marriage problems away from him in a very gentle way, offering to let Nathan take some time off from the project. No, Nathan would rather hide in the project instead! This is also a theme among the men in our show. Actually, it's an incredibly common behavior, it just amuses me that it's one the guys share. So, back to work then, and Finch has something to show Nathan. The background on that utility/program is at the same time ludicrously improbable and kind of realistically neat. Finch gets a small, stylized version of a DOS prompt to work in, a series of scrolling windows rather like tabbing through a browser of documents that the Machine is pulling up, remembering that this isn't a static? program so much as it is Finch reviewing data that's already been collated for him, and a background of constantly changing and scrolling pictures from surveillance cameras around the city. Which look familiar from our transitions and the opening credits. It's possible that this setup is designed to be aesthetically pleasing by the Machine. It's more probable that this setup is designed to be aesthetically pleasing by post-production staff. And, indeed, it does look cool.

So, okay, they sit down on a bench and Finch picks a person seemingly at random to have the Machine vomit forth their life story. We'll take it as given that he didn't prepare this in advance, but point out that when people do this kind of trick 99% of the time that's a ringer and not a genuine person at random. Of course, when people do this kind of trick they generally don't have an AI with stupid amounts of access to information. Unless they're in a spy movie. It turns out the drunk sleeping one off on the bench is a former violin prodigy who played for the Philharmonic (New York, one presumes.) Finch also points out that before the Machine could learn to separate out the bad people from the good it needed an understanding of people in general, which is fair. And smart. The patterns of behavior of human beings, commonalities and outliers. Nathan questions Finch's chops at explaining human behavior, on account of he's the most reclusive twitchy bugger out there. In a way, though, that also makes him uniquely suited to it, since he's about as close to an impartial observer as you can get and still keep the human experience. And in response to Nathan's needling Finch will now needle back by pulling up Molly Cole, who Nathan claims not to know. While shifting his weight and putting a hand over his mouth. Remember how we keep harping on about concealment tells? Yeah. Nathan's a bad liar. She's the 24 year old graduate student Nathan's been schtupping. The Machine and Finch are both acute studies of human nature even if they don't seem to think it applies to them. Well, in the Machine's case, it's right. In Finch's case he's just a shy and paranoid recluse. I'd say it's not really paranoia if they're out to get you, except that prior to the Machine we don't entirely know who was out to get him. Not yet, anyway. And now the Machine will cough up the details on the woman painting by the railing not far from where Nathan and Finch are sitting. Unprompted. Well, no, there's a little prompting; Finch asked it to pull up the details of Nathan's current paramour and now, as if trying to please its Daddy, it seems to have pulled up the details of someone it believes would be compatible with Finch. It'll be right, too. Clever Machine. Right now, though, Finch has no idea what's going on and decides it's a bug. Nathan, oddly, or perhaps not oddly since he seems to be the heart of this pairing, compliments the Machine's taste and has a decidedly smug expression. I'd lay good odds that he knows exactly what the Machine is up to, and can't voice his approval because Finch is sitting right there and it works best if Finch doesn't know what they're doing. Awww. We conclude that scene with Finch giving Nathan his best "Are you high?" look  and, because he can't resist, looking over at Grace. (I'm going to drop out of analyst mode and take a moment to squee over the fact that these two are the cutest couple ever in real life. Seriously, go look. They're adorable.)

Back in Finch's lonely present... well, not that lonely, he has Bear! Who is trying to snag a doughnut. Oh Bear. Finch reprimands him the way you would a maybe just pre-adolescent child, highlighting his tendency to anthropomorphize everything and also his inability to treat anyone as younger than, say, ten. Oh, hi Reese. Reese, don't eat that doughnut. Reese. It never fails to amuse me that Finch starts to stop him and then decides not to. And goes straight into the briefing. Never not be funny. Especially the face Reese makes as he bites into it all "what is this flavor I am tasting?" That's dog spit, Reese. As licky as Bear is when you let him you should be used to it by now. So, this week's number is an apparent family man in Far Rockaway. Okay, Reese'll get eyes on the family and make comment on the doughnuts. And Bear and Finch will exchange a guilty look. Oh boys. All of you, two and four feets.

Out to Far Rockaway Finch continues the briefing over the phone; this week's number is, as Bishop said, the world's most boring human. Oh, hey, Reese says it too! It's such an obvious thing to say that I'm pretty sure I'm only pretending it's a Sneakers reference, though the writers and you readers could do worse than watching Sneakers and comparing/contrasting. Reese moves into the store for a closer look, the guy's fixing people's drills. Basically, from the vantage point of working in a small town store where the locals come in to get their stuff, he's pretty much acting like a long time small town store owner where the locals come in to get their stuff. Actually that kind of looks about as small and cramped as our old store used to be. Oh, hey, a Suspicious Character! The music and the timing of it would indicate that this is not our guy; if it were the music would be turning more sinister, and it's too early in the episode for the music to be that bland and have this be the perp. That's generally saved for when we know the guy's bad. Still, Reese sees a clandestine meeting with the passing of envelopes going on and leaps to the most common conclusion, which we don't get to verify or disprove at the moment. But we'll soon find out! Our next scene takes us over to daughter Izzy's soccer practice, where the dad wants her opinion on the envelope and Mom's birthday present, as it turns out. Bruce Springsteen tickets. Probably the clandestine was because it was from someone who shouldn't explicitly be selling specific tickets to his buddies, but not anything more sinister, aww. Reese approves, though, that's a real smile we get for a second there before he covers it up. And as an added cutesy bonus, Daddy fixed her heart necklace. Locket? Whatever it is, it's going on Chekhov's mantel. Meanwhile Finch is busy poking holes in the guy's life, and he's found a big one. Apparently the real Graham Wyler has been dead since 1977 and this guy's been an identity thief for 15 years. So. That's probably a motive for murder or violence, yep, if the guy's past is coming back to haunt him. We have just enough time to establish this before a cop taps on Reese's window. Because he's parked in a no-parking zone. I appreciate two things about this, firstly that this is a bit character of color in New York, yay! And secondly that they're bringing up at least once the problems with surveillance and general clandestine behavior in a city. Sometimes what is most expedient or practical for the surveillance ... isn't always expedient or practical to avoid getting dirty looks or ticketed by the law. Sometimes if you're tailing someone you have to go faster or slower than the speed limit, sometimes if you're following someone you have to park in restricted areas. Sometimes, you get ticketed. This is one of those times.

This is also one of the funnier exchanges between Finch and Reese. Petty cash, indeed. (Why do you even have petty cash?) Even more hilarious when you consider Finch just plunked down cash for a house he may have no intention ever of using past this assignment and the next few days, just so Reese can have a better vantage point for surveillance. It's true, though. Again speaking as a small town veteran even if Far Rockaway isn't quite, not like here, Reese's man in the suit look stands out like Phil Coulson at Lilith Fair. Like a wolf among sheep, for those of you for whom either of those terms mean nothing. That's okay, Finch is taking care of all of it, down to the wardrobe. All but one thing. Leading to the funniest exchange in this entire episode, I have to say, at least for me. First the "oh god what, really?" look from Reese. Then heels on the ground on one of the bridges. Hi Zoe! We love you Zoe. So does John because look at that smile the second she approaches. Yes, I'm going to call him John for their scenes together, because it's appropriate. Zoe is not in the least bit sorry about him and the reporter, just look at that amused little smirk. He's over it already, and moving on to Zoe, if you can call it moving on when he never left. Just sort of orbits and goes in when the situation seems appropriate, because as much as I adore the chemistry between these two our dear Reese is not at all ready for a full-on romance just yet, if he ever will be. At any rate, he's still smiling. Almost grinning, except he's trying to tone it down a bit for the surprise value. She's intrigued by the notion of spending more time with him, asks him what he's got for her to play with this time. Like a cat with a ca-- er, a mouse. Wrong show for canaries. He does manage to straighten both his face and his posture, pulling up off the railing and straightening as he shows her the ring and asks her to be his wife. Then I have to go into the kitchen and die laughing. The best part is how her expression doesn't change apart from a slight "Huh. That's new."

They give us a commercial break to recover from that and then it's a slick looking car pulling into the driveway of the house Finch mentioned. The neighbors are staring, as they do when you just move into a house. I got a lot of that myself. Zoe, for a wonder, actually looks like she has to catch her breath and make some effort to switch gears here, not so much fear as apprehension. She seems to equate this with being tied up and nearly killed by corporate goons, while John is enjoying the hell out of this with snark and glee. Well, as much glee as his face ever shows, but yeah, he's enjoying this. Aww, they brought Bear! Zoe loves Bear too, as you do. Everyone loves Bear. They get into the house, which is still bare apparently because cover identities don't need furniture or anything? Or maybe they're operating under the cover of "just moved in," though that looks pretty bare even for just moved in. I do see boxes out of the corner of the camera's eye, though. Finch is on the phone, anyway! Reese puts him on speaker so they both can discuss the case, and the first thing he does is thank Zoe for agreeing to join them, because he's a polite recluse. Zoe is all 'pshaw, it'll be fun' about it, plus ribbing John for his natural destructive tendencies, which he takes in good humor. He also has an elaborate plan involving social engineering for getting in good with the family, which will now be short circuited in the most humorous way possible; the family's coming to them! Welcome to the neighborhood, you guys. They made an ambrosia. You know, until I moved I did not think people did shit like this in real life, and then my neighbors made us a banana nut bread shortly after we moved in. So, there you have it. Zoe finds this all perfectly normal, from talking John out of appearing at the door with gun in hand to doing most of the talking at the doorway and taking the bowl, because she hasn't trained all her most common human interaction reflexes out of herself yet. As funny as this is, really, it's also highlighting the extent to which Reese has alienated himself from the bulk of human society; to him, a doorbell is a potential sign of incursion and violence, and if he has to interact with the non-clandestine or law-enforcement human world he defaults to lies and manipulation. He's surprised when it's as easy as the neighbors welcoming new people to the neighborhood. Zoe is calm, has a straight face and an easy smile, and goes for the straight forward, human reaction and interaction. So our humor is bittersweet. But there nonetheless!

Over now to the barbecue and our first shot of John in short sleeves come to momma. Seriously, there needs to be more excuses for him to be out of the suit. He's even managing to engage in small talk with Graham that doesn't trip too many suspicions! Well, apart from that one comment about no one appreciates an honest man trying to make a living. I think in Reese's case that's genuine because he's appreciating this guy who seems to have fully made the transition from the shadow world to the surface world, so to speak, from criminal to ordinary law-abiding citizen, and life's making that hard for him. And Graham's faintly suspicious because, well, that's the kind of thing a lot of con men say, usually while lying through their teeth. It's a momentary suspicion, though, lacking any other reason to distrust this new neighbor, and they clink bottles and go back to chatting easily. Meanwhile Zoe and wife Connie are chatting about, well. Primarily about how she met John. It's funny because Zoe gives a very sanitized rendition of the truth, capped off with a comment about how he gave her a ride and they spent the rest of the night running around the city together. Oh god. This whole scene is a priceless display in the uses of doublespeak and lying with the truth, because it's almost all the truth, just creatively repackaged. Zoe makes a good wifely cover, including taking the wife off to inter-- er, converse with her in the kitchen away from others. Meanwhile Izzy comes up to ask her father if he's seen her necklace, remember that necklace? Yeah, second mention, you can bet there's a third coming up. And given that there's a postcard from some city Graham claims never to have been to that makes him go all tense and squirrelly, yeah. We can guess where the necklace went. (Explicated: It's been stolen as proof that we can break into your house, we can get to your kid and wife and you won't know until it's too late.) Guess he might be taking advantage of some of John's security connections after all? Or he will after he's done quietly freaking out inside. John, I hope you know how to grill.

Later that night Reese and Zoe are holed up in their house cleaning guns and surveilling. We learn that Connie has no idea what's going on with her husband, poor Connie. And, oh. Reese isn't cleaning his gun. He's using his gunpowder as fingerprint dust. That's actually pretty ingenious, though I question his camera phone's ability to take a clear enough picture that Carter can get anything on it. Then again, at least in fiction they are going to that nowadays, so maybe it can? At any rate, let's get a print off of Graham's beer bottle and send it to our friendly neighborhood detective for cross-referencing with Philadelphia crimes! And that's it for the crime solving and number protecting for the night. Which leaves them with some time to kill. Reese has no idea, I'm guessing he reads when he's not surveilling or breaking and entering or detecting? We've seen him with books several times. Zoe, on the other hand, well. She looks like she has some ideas. Answer cut to some jazzy music, cigars, alcohol, and cards. Zoe is not only flirting outrageously, she's gloating, which probably means she's winning. Whether or not she's winning at cards is up for debate, but she's winning. John is being all stoic and almost pouty. And more than a little drunk. Definitely pouty, though. That's okay, John. If Zoe wins, you get to win, too. She likes you.

The next morning John must have one hell of a hangover, not that he looks it. And he's buying lemonade from two girls at a stand, oh John. And he's probably right that he had a better night than Wyler, depending on when he and Zoe called it quits with the booze and the cards. Also, that sly comment from Finch tells me that he was listening in on at least part of that mini casino adventure, though I wonder at what point John turned off all the electronics. Just saying. Anyway, so, yes, he's alert and on the job and Graham is forgetting things and generally slipping. And running into people. Wait, no, that was on purpose. With the staring and the calling him by another name and no one really believes that was a case of mistaken identity, do they? No, not even Reese. Thank you, Finch, where would you like this lampshade? Mystery man gets into a truck, leaves with a friend, only to reappear later at a soccer pitch. While Reese is still shadowing the family, now on the phone with Carter to get the history of the man who became Graham Wyler. Apparently he was arrested for a misdemeanor breaking and entering but was wanted in connection with some much more severe robberies and, yes, his name was Lloyd. Prewett. Prewitt? Pruitt, on closer reading! Ooh, and she has names and sheets on the mooks in the truck, Chris and Daniel. Naturally, they're more violent than Lloyd/Graham, or they wouldn't be coming back and threatening Graham and triggering the Machine. Carter sends John the deets and we're back to focusing on Reese watching the family again. It's been a good soccer game, but Graham is worried about someone watching them. Reese? No, though the camera cuts make it look a bit like that's who he's watching, but the butt in the right hand side of the camera belongs to Chris. Yeah, that's not good. Reese is going to need to have a talk with that guy. Not that that'll help. Reese. Reeeeeeese. It's okay, though, because he's interrupted on his way to intercept Chris Vaughn by the Wylers' car on fire. A fairly realistic car fire, too, but let me tell you, watching large things that at one point had people in them burn before your eyes when you didn't expect them to, cars, barns, houses, that never gets any less unnerving and scary. It's a very effective threat. Graham will definitely be there tomorrow for that drink.

Of course the next scene is Graham beefing up his security with John's alleged company. No points for guessing who the installer is before the camera pans up there. Hi, Finch! Graham wants to know if the alarm system will call the local police and, notably, doesn't twitch that it doesn't, that it calls a private security firm. Not, I believe, standard for most alarm systems, but actually more likely than not for a security system company that caters to the rich, the powerful, and the people with skeletons in their closet. Like Graham! Nobody believes it was a couple of teenagers, Graham. They're just humoring you. John seems to be enjoying the role reversal, as he does pretty much every time, and Finch is sighing over John's enjoyment, as he does pretty much every time. It's a quick jump from there to watching the Wylers' house on the security cameras they just installed, with John oddly curled in on himself, hands tucked under his arms. Upset at the reformed criminal's idyllic life being threatened, plus/including kid, with violence and potential death? Awkwardness at having Finch there when he and Zoe were, well, things were going well? Which would go with Zoe pacing and holding her hands on or in her pockets at a quasi-awkward angle for walking, as well as Finch's potentially teasing comment earlier. Anyway, it's an odd choice of posture for John with little visible explanation, but I'd lean to one or both of those. We learn that the car fire was carefully set, with no real evidence for the police to chase. We also learn that Graham was the safecracker for the team, and since he didn't show up to the last job, they blame him for getting locked up all those years. And with that and the reminder of the lunch meet everyone goes quiet so they can hear the Wylers bicker. Graham is severely on edge because of the constant threats, which is making him snappish and closed off, and poor Connie has no idea what's going on. Oh honeys.

John has impeccable timing on account of he's been dropping eaves all over the place, but Graham's too distracted to find this suspicious along with all the rest of John's impeccable timing, and he has no car. So, sure, he'll gladly get a lift into town. This is also the point where we contemplate the sadism of the two thieves turned wannabe murderers, destroying the guy's chief means of transportation and then forcing him to meet them some distance away at a specific time or, etc. John comments that he's still getting used to the quiet suburban stere-- er, life, which is a good opening for Graham to do some prying. Yes, a lot of private security guys are ex-something. Military, law enforcement, what have you. John doesn't bring up his past, just that he declines to follow the rules of law enforcement (as Carter could no doubt agree) and inviting Graham to join him on that one. It's a clumsy bit of manipulation and forced camaraderie as far as that goes, but John is pretty far out of his bailiwick. Graham agrees to a point, but also describes how he learned better, learned to grow up, and now he's a good family man in the more genuine and honest sense. Oh, and there's nothing he wouldn't do for his family. And this, too, is foreshadowing by the way. Not in the lethal sense, though, because right now it's also mirroring and we're comparing John and Graham the reformed criminals, right down to one in a black shirt and one in a white and blue shirt. Both reformed criminals (well, John was a government-sanctioned criminal, but still), but one is still willing to commit some pretty nasty acts, while the other takes much more pushing to get that desperate.

Hey, speaking of mirroring and contrasting, while Reese works on the husband, let's go back to Zoe working on the wife. This time it's prompted by watching Connie on the monitors and Finch's comment about Graham's past destroying his marriage. Which isn't the sort of thing you'd think at first would bother the cool, unflappable Zoe (or maybe you would!) but then we have to remember that her parents' marriage was likely destroyed or at least severely tested by something stupid her father did that came back to haunt him and his family. So, over she goes under the apparent pretext of returning the bowl, and cut to Connie unloading her fears//worries onto this relative stranger, because Zoe's good like that. Finch watches with one of his thoughtful looks, what's his game in this, I wonder, and Zoe turns the conversation back to a happier time, when Connie and now-Graham first met. Which is easy, since Connie asked the same of her before. There's also some entertaining double-talk regarding Zoe and John, since she doesn't want to outright lie and say the sorts of things Connie would say about her own relationship with her husband. Well, the sorts of things she probably would have said before this last fight and recent stress, though Zoe does choose a nice one, that it's rare to find someone you can depend on. In her case with John, meaning some different things than the ways a husband and wife depend on each other, but Connie can take it as such, and be reminded of some of the things she loves about her husband. Doubletalk at its best! Meanwhile Finch is chinhandsing at this, intent and thoughtful and a bit wide-eyed because this is an aspect perhaps to Zoe and Reese that he hadn't anticipated? Certainly not something he's had occasion to listen to or hear about often, and as we're about to see, it's not something he's had experience with often, a relationship built on love and trust. Arguably, it's not something he's had experience with ever considering the amount of lying he did to Grace. Speaking of...

We're back in 2005 on the park bench again. Finch is taking the Machine for a test drive! Rather like taking a puppy out to test his training, or a child's first bike ride without training wheels. He doesn't get very far, either. Gets through about one pair of people before the Machine goes pointing out Grace Hendricks again, all "Hey, look at her, Daddy, isn't she pretty, Daddy?" It's almost like a Disney movie. Finch, you should trust your Machine a little more instead of assuming it's broken. There's no connection to anyone else in the park, nothing that fits the Machine's alleged parameters for "interesting," but in this case it's more that the Machine thinks she fits Finch's parameters for "interesting." Which, really, says a lot about the development and complexity of the Machine even now, even this early, that it not only believes Finch has parameters but that it's developed a simulation or maybe a copy of what it believes Finch's parameters to be, testing all the women it encounters against them. And, what would be the phrasing here, it decided this woman was optimum for Finch? Though since Finch is looking for an anomaly, he decides that the anomaly is that she is a genuinely kind and good-hearted woman, which sets her apart from everyone else in the park. Really? There are no good people left in New York? That's awfully cynical of him, and illustrative of his mindset at this point. He's in a really dark place right now, no wonder the Machine thinks he needs some emotional attachments of the more benign and light kind. Most likely it's seen demonstrated that compatible matches are good for one's physical health and cause an increase in hopeful, optimal thinking in the pair. Mission accomplished, anyway, a love for Charles Dickens pushes him over the edge into intrigued enough to follow up on his own, and it's back to New York City in the present with us.

For all the bonding time they had in the car, Reese and Graham's parting is very stiff. I blame this on Reese in general being stiff without Zoe there to nudge him now and again. I have no idea of the phrasal history of that pub except wall-banger is something I think of in terms of really bad books; if it makes you want to throw it against the wall, it's a wall banger. So. Reese drives off around the corner just far enough not to be seen while he gets into Carter's car for eavesdropping. More of it. She snarks off about his civvies and he gripes gently, possibly by way of setting down and back into their usual routines despite the erratic nature of this case. Graham's old not-friends have been in there a while, though they don't seem smart enough to set up an ambush or anything. Oh, apparently Chris Vaughn caught sight of Graham on Facebook. As if I didn't already have enough reasons to stay the hell off that site. Graham doesn't react blatantly but he's definitely reacting, blink rate going up, face a bit flushed and damp. It plays out fairly standard, lack of him got them in jail so they owe him, which means they're dragging him out on one last job and probably going to either strand him or kill him after, whichever they're pissed enough to do. Oh, hey, the necklace! Third time's the charm. And yes, he could go to the cops, but he also has no way of knowing if they don't have someone who can get into the house and hurt his family even if they're dead. Which means he's in the suckiest position of the episode, prime number territory. (What. Whaaaat.) Of course, they're threatening Graham's kid, which means Reese has an immediate need to dispense some justice. Down, boy. Carter sits on him at least long enough to logic him around to setting up these two guys and catching them in the middle of some very illegal acts, rather than trying to build a case for intent to commit illegal acts with nothing but an illegal wiretap for evidence. This is the better plan, John. Let's go with her plan. Please? Dammit, John. We get the time and place for the pickup for the heist, and oh thank hitman, Reese has seen the light and left a burner phone by way of a spur of the moment tracking device on their truck. Good boy. Even if you are kind of a creepy stalker with the following Graham around everywhere. And meaningful blues are meaningful, of course, along with the requisite montage just so we empathize with Graham and know what he's fighting for. And there's the note aaaand he's gone.

Team Machine with Zoe plus debates what to do, how to deal with Graham if he takes the job, how to deal with the aggressors if he doesn't. None of them can come up with any good options, but Connie's worried voice over the microphones tells them Graham's made their decision for them. He's already left for the job. Because really, Reese, you didn't think of this sooner? Reese will now tell us what we already know about them killing him after the job's done, thank you, Reese. He's on the chase when we get back from commercial, rushing into town while Finch tries to track down their intended target. With some help from Reese, not so much because he can't hack it (pun also intended, sorry you guys) but because it takes Finch a second to think like a surveilling operative whereas for Reese, it's second nature. Where have the targets been? What were the relevant places within X blocks? Making the connections, a lot like the Machine in a way, only Reese's mind isn't capable of processing the sheer amount of data that the Machine goes through. Still, he and Finch work well enough together that they can extrapolate from the aggressors' GPS history that they're looking at this expensive high-rise apartment complex and towards the safe within that was just recently installed. Carter can meet them there and Zoe can get him in with her connections. Which isn't why he has her along, at a guess, since that was less than predictable. I'm not sure why he has her along, actually, her talents might have been better served keeping Connie calm at first glance,but it turns out this is where she needs to be. Isn't that conveeeenient.

The robbers are, well, definitely more than just Graham and his two buddies, and they're going in dressed as waitstaff. As you do when you're robbing a place. No, seriously, that's one of the most common disguises both in fiction and in the real world, sadly, for people who want to case or rob a place without being violent about it. Though given the preponderance of guns in that food tray, I'd say not being violent is not very high on their list of priorities. There are five of them, as it turns out, so, two extras, and they get into the service elevator having already wheeled up the food cart with their bare faces hanging out for the timestamped camera. Wow. I'm starting to see why these guys went to prison in the first place. By the time they start snarking off to Graham about his bare face hanging out due to the not actually an oversight of not having brought a mask for him, they've already been on at least two different cameras, and it doesn't look that busy that it would be hard for the police to look for the team of five cooking staff entering the building right before the robbery. Rhodes scholars these men are not. We then learn that the guy who actually owns the apartment is out of town, and his nephew's throwing a wild party or two instead. The guns may be for what you call crowd control, but the neglect of Graham is for what we call passive aggressive dickery and getting him arrested. Once they've run the doorbell they don't even bother with the just-the-chef routine, just push their way in and start waving the guns around, cornering everyone by the couch and menacing the nephew. Who doesn't know the combination. That's fine, that's what they've got Graham for! Though with the amount of gun-waving and hitting people they're doing it's a wonder they ever make it to the safe-cracking stage. Seriously, these guys are barely competent. At least they knew to bring a stethescope for the safe-cracking. Dude, yelling is not quiet. Oh, never mind.

Reese and Zoe pull up to the outside of the building as Finch starts cracking from inside. And Carter's there, too! Well, I suppose those criminals aren't going to arrest themselves in flagrante delicto. Reese's plan is pretty simple: go up there, pull Graham out, signal Carter, munch popcorn while she rounds up the rest of them. Carter knows what you can do with plans, but as a first draft, sure, it works. I have no idea if that forty-second floor is a reference to what us geeks would like to think it is, for the record. Be funny if it were, though. We have a moment of priceless humor as Carter does a very nice double-take when Zoe introduces herself as John's wife. She's having far too much fun with this. Or just enough fun. Certainly I'm having fun watching her! John is having fun not denying it, too. I have no idea how many Reese/Zoe shippers are out there, but it'd be hard to deny they're not both having fun playing the part, whatever their ultimate destinations are. So it's, no, not actually introducing themselves to the doorman or even acknowledging him much. Two hilarious things about the doorman, too, firstly that he knows Zoe on sight and secondly that grin he says when he nods them in saying that "he" is expecting her and her friend. Anyone care to bet that he knows exactly what kind of friend "Rupert" is expecting? I have no idea what he actually thinks is going on, though. Zoe will now tell John and us that her friend is expecting an exotic dancer named Savannah. Dammit, John, you could crack a smile now and again, it won't kill you and this shit is hilarious. No? Well, he does kind of have to focus on the job at hand. It's still hilarious. Poor Rupert, standing there with glasses in hand and a slowly fading smile as he goes from "yay, good times!" to bemusement and disappointment. I do wonder who Rupert is that Zoe can yank him around like this. For that matter, who has Zoe been to Rupert that he thinks she'll just show up unannounced with an exotic dancer in tow? I'd ask why he's suspicious except given how long it took him to realize what was going on I'd say he's not the quickest of cats. Finch will proceed to give us a load of technobabble that amounts to he's hijacking a webcam to give them eyes in the room, and there's a lot of criminals and a lot of guests in there. It's okay, though, because Reese isn't going in the front way. He says as he cables down the side of the building. Oh Reese.

The robbers are somehow alerted by the sound of Reese gently landing on the outside terrace but not by the struggle he makes subduing the other robber tasked with checking out the noise. I have no idea how that happened without throwing him off the side of the building, but we'll go with it because this episode is largely about hitting all the right procedural notes and throwing John and Zoe together in comedic husband-and-wife moments. Graham is still working on the safe and, for once, I actually have no idea if that's an accurate sort of diagram that people use when they're breaking into safes. Hey, look, it's a field I have no expertise in. Apparently he was collecting the numbers at first, now he's got to put them in the right order? Seems a bit like dusting the keypad with fingerprint dust and then punching in random combinations, but sure. Like I said, no expertise. Reese, meanwhile, will pull on the robber's disguise and "rejoin" the others. Because, by incredibly lucky coincidence, he is the same height and build as the robber he just knocked out. Yes, if they're going to pull this, I'm going to poke holes in it. Though again, given the robbers' conspicuous lack of intelligence I'm not sure they're going to notice as long as Reese has the right number of limbs and is wearing the outer clothes. Oh crap, nephew, don't do that don't do that don't... and he pushes the panic button. Which both isn't the wrong move because you do want the police knowing you've been taken hostage by men with guns, and is completely the wrong move because he didn't even palm a remote or something to push it discretely. How do you do that, I hear you ask, or maybe what the hell are you talking about, Kitty? If the panic button is under the table and you're standing with your back to the table, you need something long and flat and rigid to hold in one hand, swing upward, and hit the button without making it look like you're hitting the button. This is why putting panic buttons under things is good for not getting false alarms unless people bang their knees a lot, but bad for trying to get to it in an actual crisis. Nephew will be appropriately beaten for his pains.

Outside Finch is resigned to law enforcement showing up because he's not faster than electrical impulses, and alerts Carter, who's resigned to law enforcement not in on the vigilante thing showing up. She at least does have a clear idea of response time, though. Which is quicker than Reese can spare, upstairs, because things are getting dicey. Graham has decided that of all places and times, here and now is where he's going to make his stand because... no, I have no idea what he's thinking. Jail is better than living a lie? Honey, if you balk now, you're not going to jail, you're going to an early grave. Be polite to the men with guns if you don't want to get shot in the face. Sirens drive up, Carter has a tiny lampshade for her dash and the pattern of Finch and Reese continually asking her to do illegal vigilante things, and Reese and Graham better hustle their butts on out of there. With the rest of the criminals. The very jumpy criminals. Oh, hey, the safe's open. Oooh, blue garnets. I do love the look of those, very pretty. Also very expensive, 20+ million, he said? Yeah, I'll stick to the crystal version of the same shade. To no one's surprise, Chris intends to kill Graham now that he doesn't need it anymore. Not even Graham looks surprised at this. But Finch has a surprise in store, which is to say he's hacked into the entertainment system and will now play a klaxon at top volume. That's always good for a distraction! Unfortunately it's also drowning out Reese's all out of bubblegum theme. Pout. We will now proceed to have one of those conversations wherein the number of the week really wants to do something stupid but emotionally satisfying and Reese has to talk him down from becoming a bad guy and a murderer and think of your family and so on. Then the punching as the villain gloats! Nothing terribly different from standard here, except perhaps Reese's amused and harried satisfaction in punching the guy.

It's a text message from Carter! She's cleared the east stairwell! And Finch comes over the earpiece telling him he's waiting with the getaway car,  but Graham balks. Because he's told Connie everything (in a note, granted, not the best way but he probably also didn't think he was coming back from this) and how is he supposed to face them now? Those first couple of sentences thus imply that his decision to stay behind and go to jail with the rest of the gang is as much running away from the possibility that his beloved wife and daughter will reject him. Reese offers stirring faith considering how cold he is, even with pretending to be a husband to Zoe, but that only makes Graham more resolved, in a way. If I had to guess I would say that being reminded of his wife and daughter having faith and loyalty in and to him also acted to shame him into doing what he felt was the right thing, or at least nudge him in that direction. To be someone worthy of the love of two good women. Reese watches him a bit longer, in apparent admiration. Awww.

A couple of days later we learn that Graham is turning state's, giving testimony in exchange for a reduced sentence that turns out to be probation and house arrest when Reese knocks on his door! Or at least, Reese is expecting to be able to talk to Graham, so that seems reasonable. Connie doesn't seem nearly as wary as she might be around Reese, but since she doesn't know the details of the help he gave Graham, probably whatever she imagines doesn't include rappeling gear and vicious hand to hand. Also Reese is being benign and doing something that sort of looks like smiling if you squint. Anyway, here's Graham, Reese just wanted to check on him before he packed up and headed out. Yeah, it looks like Graham will be doing just fine. Ankle bracelet and all, but there's no major tension in either his or Connie's faces as they interact for this last minute or so. About the only secondary meaning or subtext we might draw from this is that after Graham's line about putting Connie through a lot but she's still there every morning, Reese clearly looks over at something or someone, which turns out to be Zoe. Given that subsequent episodes have shown no sign of giving the two of them a more formal arrangement I doubt this will amount to anything, but it's also worth noting that Zoe is one of the few people who knows and accepts Reese for very nearly all that he is, and the only one of those to have a sexual relationship with him. So, there's some foundation for future entanglements. Hey, speaking of future entanglements, he almost does sound sorry it didn't work out. Or maybe just sorry that a job with an enjoyable co-worker is ending. Yeah, I'll go with that. But the fun times don't have to end quite yet. They still have some scotch, the cards, and she has an unspecified amount of his money. Intrigued Reese is intrigued! Intrigued and insatiable fangirls want to know what goes on at these poker nights.

And Finch cleans up the pictures and clippings from off the board by his lonesome. Choice of words deliberate there, as is the director's? DP's choice of closing in on the last two pictures Finch has yet to take down, one of Graham, the other of his red-headed wife just in case we thought her casting might be a coincidence. No, no it is not. Hey, you know who else has red hair? Grace Hendricks. Back to Grace Hendricks we go, January in 2006, and Finch is getting a vanilla cone from a food truck vendor he seems to be on good terms with. They're awfully cute buddies. The Machine interrupts their banter, though, with a nudge. Speaking of not denying yourself simple pleasures, Finch. I'd be deeply amused if the Machine heard that and decided it was a good time to nudge him, with Grace's name. Finch turns around, there she is, painting. And finally he will now go over to her and say hello. It's a good thing we close on that, because I'm about to die of adorable.

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