Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All The Sinners Saints (Person of Interest S2E13 Dead Reckoning)

Kara Stanton is watching you this episode. And I don't think we need to ask whether she's victim or perpetrator: as with most people from Reese's past, she's both. Interesting that we're given her as the number of the day when the ep picks up from about the last minute of Prisoner's Dilemma, where Donnelly was the number of the hour. Either that's a number that Finch has been holding in reserve, or the Machine has once again acted deliberately to try and bring its people the most useful data available. Also, we don't get given this as a previously-on, though we get about 45 seconds of the accident, Donnelly's murder, and Reese's drugging from almost exactly the same angles and timing as last ep. I actually kind of approve of that, because they've never done previouslies before and they do need to indicate somehow that they're picking up from exactly where they left off last episode; this is as good a way as any. And serialized! I maintain the Nolans have ridiculous influence over network execs to get them to let a show as serialized as this one sometimes gets on network TV. Hopefully they can pave the way for more of it.

So. We pick up with the Machine watching the accident and a ringing phone. Whose? Carter's! Not that it matters much, Finch would be able to access any phone in that car if he wanted. Oh, and he's tried three times. That's one way to wake someone up from being knocked unconscious in the car crash! There is, by the way, no in-character explanation I can think of for Stanton not simply shooting Carter, but a whole lot of Doylist reasons. The best I can fanwank it is either she thought Carter was dead or she thought it would make this whole game she's setting up a little more interesting, having someone trying to save John on the ground. Or she didn't view Carter as a threat but she viewed Donnelly as a threat, which is just short-sighted and stupid of her and not the Kara Stanton we've come to know and appreciate for her planning skills. So we'll go with the Doylist reasons of can't kill a main character and please let's not kill the badass WOC cop, and move on to Finch checking in with her. I'm amused that we can hear his tone even through the text he adds onto his fourth attempt to reach her, between that and the fact that there's a text at all Carter doesn't even need to ask who it is. Finch also has, as we see when we pan back to the library of infinite worrying, that the three books for (Kara's?) number include "Debugging The Mind: A Guide to Informational Ethics," "Historical Views of the Future," and "Purple Mountain Rhapsodies: A History of American Music." The first two are obviously facepalm-worthy, the third one seems like the odd goose out until we consider that we've been riffing on American ideals and crushed dreams of the people we hire to do the jobs nobody wants to think about for a season and a half now. Both in macro and in micro form. And now I have that damn song stuck in my head. Amber waves of grain, my ass. Carter is not alright, she's got a concussion and lots of scrapes and bruises and she's going to be sore to the point of barely moving tomorrow, but what Finch means is, can you get out of there, and what she means is, yes I can. Taraji is doing her usual amazing job, showing a traumatized but determined Carter. Oh everyone. She doesn't want to flee a crime scene, but she's got no better options and Finch will even first-name her out of concern at this point, which is the first time he's ever done that with anyone other than Reese. So, fleeing it is as she tells him that she thinks Reese's partner isn't so dead after all and Finch confirms that it's Kara as he pulls her number up from the Dewey Decimal numbers the Machine gave him. Aheh. So, yes, at some point (possibly during the delivery of Donnelly's number), an action was taken that we did not see, and Reese acquired Stanton's number. Which has her listed with a New York address on W. 95th St., something about employment at Yeardley Pharmaceuticals (a cover? I would say so), two previous addresses one in Rockville, MD which would be about right for someone needing to get to Langley or Fort Meade or other government facilities in the general area, and Winfield, KS. Aw, she's an ex-Kansas farmgirl? Now I have Carry On My Wayward Son stuck. Because of reasons. At least it wasn't Lawrence. There's also what I'm guessing based on the few letters I can read is an after-action report, looks like she was a captain, was recommended for promotion to commander? Which is interesting, that's usually a Navy rank, though it might also mean commander of a unit. The existence of duty assignments as both XO and Commander would indicate not so much, though. We do not, alas, get full details of what her mission orders are, but it involves CI and HUMINT collection, analysis and dissemination, advisory capacity of some kind, and "force protection" is repeated twice. So, basically, going off that, field agent on the ground who also comes up with how bad it looks for the average troops, what do they need to do to protect them, what are their requirements both personnel and materiel going into an unknown situation. Not much of a surprise, but nice to have the confirmation and that someone took the time to come up with all that and give it to us. I love the smell of data in the morning. Finch? Revenge. She wants revenge. That's not a hard one to answer.

We pick up with what Kara Stanton wants on a bus early the next morning! That was some long-acting sedative, though it would've needed to be. I wonder what their ruse was to get Reese on the bus still passed out, though I trust Stanton's fieldwork to have done that adequately. Caviezel gives us a brief moment of semi-levity when he wakes up as so many of us have when dead tired, head falling back and hitting the glass and oops he's awake now. It'd be funnier if he weren't drugged and bomb-vested up. Annie Parisse brings the smiling and smiling and never letting it reach her eyes, which are cold but not exactly dead. She has a goal, she's not given up hope of achieving it, and she's pissed the fuck off. At whom? Well, Mark Snow is a great first answer! Hi Snow. Nice banter, though this introduction doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know or expect. It does serve to set the balance of power for the episode. Stanton is in charge here, and Snow would like to think he's got the next most power even if he's going to end up dead when she's done using him for her missions. So says the pointed look at Reese's bomb vest, anyway. Yes, Snow, it's cute that you think giving away information and doing an I-know-something-you-don't-know eyebrow dance is actually going to win you points and make you friends. Not so much. Nor will lording Reese's capture over him god you're a moron. Reese does kind of want to leap across the aisle and strangle Stanton with his bare hands, but he's also learned more restraint in the last year or so than she's giving him credit for. Which is good! We like it when there are good, solid reasons for bad guys to underestimate, um, less bad guys. Sorry, Reese, we're all about the shades of gray here and not the pseudo-kinky kind either. But he won't leap across the aisle in a bus full of civilians, no, not while he's still a bit woozy from being drugged and can't trust Snow not to side with Stanton and, for that matter, would much rather see where this goes and live to thwart her plans. A less-suicidal Reese is probably also a novelty for Stanton, for that matter. That said, she has a list of errands for them to run. She's not getting the gang back together out of sentiment, Reese calls her on it more because it's falling into their old patterns of banter and snark than out of any need to say it out loud. They're all knowledgeable here. Snow maybe a little less so, in my understatement of the post. The hard copy of the errands is very smart, considering the difficulty of hacking that, and indicates that she may know more about Finch and Reese's recent activities than suspected. The earbud, on the other hand, less so, though it'll take longer for Finch to hack than a cell phone. Looks shortwave, which means he'll have to be within a certain distance of Finch for communication to be possible. Reese tries, as he stares at the bag full of guns and what is that, hairspray? WD-40? to get her to give up more data, but it's the kind of data that's only useful in light of the fucking season finale. Three dead spies and the afterlife? The Machine's existence is definitely a major threshold moment. Setting it free is another, which this episode spurs into action though we don't know that's what it's doing yet. So yes, I can see how that's the afterlife, in a way, though for Kara this is still personal. This is about her getting revenge on the people who burned her, and I really, really wish we ever knew how much she knew or guessed about the Machine. But she's a good operative and plays her cards close to her chest all episode. Grumble.

Meanwhile over at Carter's apartment, not injured my ass Jocelyn. She probably damn near got a dislocated shoulder from the handcuffs restricting her movement during the crash. And Fusco's calling! Her landline, which would indicate he's either tried her cell already or knows to try her landline first at this hour. Oh, no, he did try her cell! A lot. Carter, what did you do with your cell after you got off the phone with Finch last night? Because "I lost it" is an obvious lie. She's in too much pain to be any good at dissembling, which is probably good in the long run because if anyone knows about covering up things that cops don't want other law enforcement to know about, it's Fusco. And Fusco is loyal to his partner, who he still, I think, sees as the kind of cop he wishes he'd always been. He doesn't call her on any of her tells right now, though Carter's giving off a whole lot. Too flat and unsurprised when asking about Donnelly's death, too interested and the wrong question when she asks why the feebs want to talk to her. All the tells of a guilty conscience. Yes, do get down there and please get painkillers and coffee into you in the meantime, Carter, that should help with the whole lying your ass off thing you're going to have to do. Looks like she took a taxi back to the scene, also sensible considering I'm not sure she can raise her left arm much at all. Fusco at this point is inviting her to tell him what's going on, Carter, for the love of god, he wants to help. I can't tell if she's trying to protect him or trying to protect herself right now; the overall impression is that she's still traumatized and not sure what to tell whom, hasn't heard from Finch, and in general is busy freaking out inside while not giving anything away to the wrong people. So no, she's not going to outright tell Fusco by the way, Reese's old CIA partner is back and responsible for this mess and John is missing. Not yet, anyway. Fusco knows already, though! Quite a bit, because he totally already has her missing earring in his pocket. Jesus, Carter, did you even shower before you passed the fuck out last night? No time for Fusco to call her any harder on her hiding data from him, because here comes the SAIC to bug her about what she knows, when she last saw Donnelly, and all those routine questions that are completely no longer routine for her. Fortunately, the SAIC isn't suspicious of Carter so much as leery of Donnelly's obsessive target fixation. As he might well be, for all the paranoia Donnelly exhibited! Which is why this case might be investigated but it'll also end up being hushed up pretty quick. Carter manages to relax a little when she realizes the direction this is going, though she's not willing to throw Donnelly under the bus. He was a good agent, and he was right, and Carter clearly regrets that they ended up on opposite sides of a case even though she doesn't believe that she's doing the wrong thing. Just working along parallel lines. With that initial line of inquiry tabled, Carter can go over to the crime scene and hunt for the earring she's just realized she lost in the car last night. And if Fusco didn't have the earring in his pocket before, we know he got it while she was talking to the SAIC, hi Fusco! Are you learning to batman from Reese? That would be hilarious. I want to see those lessons. So, Fusco gets the temporary position of The Best this episode, though we'd still like to chew on him for doing the same damn thing he's mildly annoyed with Carter for. At least it's only mild annoyance, and that probably because she's put him in the position of covering for her. Though she'll finally cough up that she doesn't know if she can (should) (knows enough) to tell Fusco all of what's going on. But there's someone who can!

For extra bonus parallel points, they meet Finch at the same bench in Brooklyn Bridge Park where he and Reese first talked about how Reese needed a job and a purpose, not in that order, in the pilot. He has, overnight, pulled together as complete a dossier on Stanton as he can, from aliases to real work history. Do want. Can has? No, cannot has, and anyway it probably wouldn't tell us anything the Machine's flashbacks haven't already. Plus, as Finch and Carter point out, we have the least amount of information on the gap we most need it: post-"death." Who found her? Who's giving her backing? If anyone, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that she's relying on merc jobs and maybe old caches to acquire her materiel and information. Pretty unlikely, however, and they're not making many assumptions in that direction. Just the one from Finch, about what her goals are and who she's doing it for. Particularly since Carter has relevant data to offer up! About Snow and the bomb vest and the hard drive and Finch would like all your data now please. I'd gripe more about how Carter didn't give him the data back then, except Snow was being cryptic and Carter never had enough data on Reese and Stanton as a team to leap to the stereotypically comic book answer. The bomb vest gets a Look from Fusco and a first-name in front of other people from Finch. I love everyone on this crazy Team Machine and their not-so-tiny-tells about how much they care about each other.

The three of them break off to do their share of investigating and probably illegal hacking, and Reese and Snow walk up to some random apartment? storage unit? Seriously, it looks like someone converted an old garage or storage unit into living space. Illegal loft housing of some kind, and Reese is on a very strict need to know basis. He does not need to know who they're meeting, just that they're playing errand boys in a very literal sense. More black humor, whoever's in there is playing some kind of shoot 'em up video game because they knock and get gunfire. Reese, who's more recently worked in the field around civilians who do that kind of shit, is the one to ease off his guard first, and oh hey, they're some kind of Eastern European, because that never ends poorly for Reese. Sounds like Russian or Ukrainian. We will be thoroughly unimpressed with their lack of professionalism, you morons aren't supposed to ask who your customers are. Dirty cops, feds, people who just happen to have similar training and bearing, it doesn't matter as long as they fucking have the fucking money. Snow takes point now, because he's more used to running Stanton's errands, and that hard drive Carter mentioned has now been formatted to some kind of specs that we don't get to know about isn't that great. Virus? Virii? Information grabbers and scrubbers? WE DON'T KNOW ISN'T IT GREAT. There's all kinds of options for what could be on there, limited only by my knowledge of the latest greatest hacking exploits. Hacker the first moron calls it a high end government rig, and comments on Kara's deep pockets, which means a) they've at a minimum heard her voice and b) may know what she looks like, to be calling her a her. Between that and the way he's not handing over the drive, we know that he's stupid enough to ask for more money and was never watching them walk away from this deal. Or getting paid the rest. Though given that Reese says he's been paid already, that should've been his first clue jesus, Kara, you really went looking for someone smart enough to format the drive but dumb enough not to be tipped off by full payment upfront. Reese still doesn't want to kill them himself and will disregard orders to that effect long enough for Stanton to activate the bomb vests. I can't decide if he's been out of serious wetwork for long enough that he's forgotten how this goes or if he's just making Kara do her own dirty work. Maybe a little of both. And her own dirty work she will do, I blame Snow's slow reaction time on his lack of field skills and Reese's on his dislike of this whole fucking mess. Although they're also shooting it to make them look slower than they are, I think. (Also a bomb vest is bulky enough that it'll slow you down some.) Much to absolutely nobody's surprise, Stanton's lurking on a roof as sniper backup and the world is now minus two hackers who are too stupid to recognize red flags in the business or to ask for enough money to disappear with. 50K? Really? You are such small fry.

Speaking of disobeying direct orders, the Machine would like to take us back yet again to the Ordos mission to retrieve the laptop and the orders to "retire" each other. Every time we do this we get a little more data, so we'll skip the old stuff and go straight to the new! Interestingly, Snow apparently did join them in the field sometimes, though given, again, his lack of physical fitness for it in present-day I'm guessing he tended to serve as mission control/C&C or he's been almost exclusively analysis since Ordos. She agrees with far more equanimity than Reese does to taking out her partner, to the point where Snow lets her fill in what he wants done rather than giving her the order directly. Another example of how she's more broken and harder than Reese; she'd have had to be, as we've said before, as a woman in this line of work. Cut over the mission itself and back to Reese not managing to shoot her, with slightly different camera angles that show us the decision she makes about when to shoot him. Emphasis on the sick realization that she's been burned, and you know that data that Finch was muttering about? Well, he asks, the Machine obliges. Us, at least, since it can't oblige him as completely as it might like. Waking up to a gun in the face is never a good thing, but waking up at all when you were expecting to die is at least marginally good, yes? Yes.

We move along to a hospital ward that looks like something out of the VA, empty but for Kara. I curse my inability to read Chinese, all I can get is the probable day of the month, a 9, and before that I believe there was a 6 after the Arabic timestamp. But we know they did a couple weeks of surveillance before hitting up Ordos, so who the fuck knows how long after the mission itself this is. Judging by her bruising and scrapes, I'm going to go ahead and guess no more than a day, though. Also there's a creepy older gentleman standing over her hospital bed. Yeah, I'd get surly and defiant in her shoes too, especially if the response to "where am I" was something cryptic and creepily cultlike. Stanton's been broken in sufficiently interesting shards that she should damn well recognize someone who thinks he's got tons of influence and charisma to fling around. Dear Stranger In A Suit: go take lessons in cryptic smartassery from Reese, he does it better. At least he does now. (Alternately, cross universes and take lessons in cryptic non-answers from the Teagues, who would have you for breakfast.) Stanton's usual badassery has been reduced to bravado, which I can't fault her for considering she's probably drugged up to the gills and still in pain and has just had her whole worldview upended. That's okay, he already knows all about you, Kara, including, by that emphasis, that your last name as given at birth (we'll assume she never married, she doesn't strike me as the type to have gone through even a marriage to another member of the military) is so not Stanton. Maybe not what it actually was/is, but the point of this game is to keep her off-guard and guessing. I dislike him already and wish Stanton would terminate him with extreme prejudice. I'm not exactly not on her side, I just find her damaged and out of control; she's been so clearly fucked over by everyone she's ever given her trust and/or loyalty to (with the possible exception of Reese, depending on how she interpreted his actions at Ordos) that it's a wonder she has any control and planning capabilities left at all. Cryptic Suit goes on to assert that he knows almost everything about her, which I question only because it's the sort of overblown claim that she doesn't want him to prove the hard way, so he gets away with eliding everything but the most immediate facts: who she is, what she does, who she's worked for, what led her to the hospital bed. Oh, and he's got the laptop. Okay, now I believe him a little more. Also I'd love it if he could drop some clues about who he is and who he works for, because if you believe that whatever organization this is has just dropped their CEO into a room with a pissed off spyssassin and shown her his face, I have a bridge for sale. Higher-up of some kind, yes, but I would fully expect that he's on some kind of punishment duty. He's very good at controlling his face, very cold, not the sort of person to attach emotions to very much at all. Likely does view information as power and power as the ultimate goal, and may have been put here to either build rapport with Stanton or to make it onto her hit list for later, if my hypothesis that he's not the one ultimately in charge is accurate. Either way, whoever is in charge wins to some extent! That's not quite Received Pronunciation, but it's a damn close approximation, educated in Britain but I'd guess grew up either somewhere else or in a lower socioeconomic class, it has the tinge of long habit but not longest habit to it. Definitely considers himself upper class now, is genuinely amused inasmuch as any emotion he holds any longer is genuine, by Kara's sullen give-no-fucks attitude, is genuinely curious about the answer to the question which by now we will just outright say is "can man create intelligence?" or something along those lines. Curiosity and power-lust appear to be his driving forces, however. Also that's a very nice but understated suit, we'll come back to that in a bit. Old, almost dated in cut, and I'm betting that's on purpose, an attempt to cling to styles of what he considers to be his peak years, perhaps? And now I'm done chewing on every little behavioral tic and directing choice they've made for right now. Suffice it to say that he clearly has a purpose for Stanton, that purpose is almost assuredly to turn her against the people who made her in some form or fashion, or at least that's the purpose he'll feed her in order to get her to work for him. The truth, as always, is somewhat more flexible.

Back to the present and things that are very inflexible. Like Reese's own sullen defiance of Stanton when she urges him to eat. She's right to some extent about his motivations in not eating (and we'll note here that she did discover her location at some point, Dongsheng, the district of which Ordos is the seat, thank you for that tidbit, Kara; though it makes sense that she couldn't be moved very far from the site to start with, I'd bet on lots of fun internal injuries), in that it serves him to be obstinate and make her think that he's exactly the same Boy Scout that she always disliked (and maybe feared?) in him. However, he probably isn't very hungry what with the recent violence which he's been slowly losing his taste for, at least of the murderous variety. And with having to sit next to Snow. I wouldn't have much appetite if I were sitting next to Snow either. I bet he smells bad after that long in the bomb vest, just on a practical level. But no, Stanton, I think Reese has already accepted his fate. I think he's decided that his fate is to take both of you out at the nearest opportunity that doesn't involve civilian casualties, and he's willing to blow himself up to do it. Which is not, let me be clear, a lack of faith in Finch's ability to get him out of sticky situations. Reese has, however, been increasingly put in situations where he should be having PTSD issues up to his eyeballs by now: imprisoned, forced to undergo interrogation by one of his best friends (assuming he'd admit to having friends right now, which I severely doubt), had his and Carter's cover blown and probably expected them both to be shoved in very small solitary confinement cells for the rest of their lives at best, only to have that reversed into a much worse scenario when Kara found him. If that doesn't hit at least half a dozen triggers that have him falling back on less functional, less willing to fight to live coping mechanisms, I will buy a hat just to eat it. Reese says no, he's not fighting back, he really has no appetite, I wonder if he's thinking he'll throw up from stress and doesn't want to do so in front of either of them, and Snow's snickering in his corner. Snow, unless you have anything to say about damaged goods that involves the words "pot" or "kettle," keep your goddamn mouth shut, Mr. I Think It's Normal To Send Two Of My Best Agents To Assassinate Each Other. I'm just saying. Reese and Stanton's looks seem to say approximately the same thing only with less swearing. (Okay, I don't know, Reese might be swearing in several language in his head right there. If looks could kill, etc.) Stanton is asking questions she knows the answer to, smart of her, of course the missile was for insurance, and that is such a gotcha! look on her face before she asks him how that's working out for him. Seriously, Snow, do not gloat at the psychopath who you broke and betrayed when she's got a bomb vest strapped to you. She learned all her lessons well, including the ones about verbal evisceration.

Now that we've re-established who's in charge here (hint: not you, Snow), time for the next job! Those guys at the counter are totally agents of something or another, but by these three's standards they're civilians. Or amateurs. Probably amateurs, considering it takes about seven seconds to disable them and that's counting the shouted distraction to get their attention. Hey, Snow, about those damaged goods? You find killing comes that automatic these days? You have no idea how fucked up you are, do you. Or he's reveling in it, either one's scary, but I'm betting on the former just by the way he's always been not quite bright enough to be a good handler to either Reese or Stanton, let alone both of them together. He's also broken enough to yield to Reese's insistence at least verbally as far as not killing civilians and move along to the next thing, oh hi there handguns. Come on, Snow, you couldn't tell they were carrying by how they moved? Reese could! I could, in the few seconds we had. You suck and should feel bad about your fieldwork. The point here is to give them ATF agents cover. What do ATF agents typically get called to? I'll be over here preemptively facepalming while Reese gets ordered to answer the phone. KARA STANTON YOU ARE GIVING HIM ACCESS TO A PHONE. That was your first mistake! Also threatening him with his and Snow's death isn't really gonna work, he'd probably be okay if it meant taking you out too. It's that last caveat that's the killer. (Yes, I had to.) Reese uses one of the older tricks in the book when answering a phone and trying to fool someone into thinking you're the owner of the phone: short, terse, clipped answers. While Snow goes over to get… oh, the other guy's phone, okay, Reese does something quick and furtive with his phone, and when they land in the dumpster we see the telltale Message Sent notif and everyone cheers. Quietly. And warily. Because lord knows what kind of damage Team Machine is going to take before they get out of this one.

Bear is sad. Finch is sad. The library of infinite solitude is sad. Finch, you don't sound very hopeful about that, and it looks like he's exhausted all current lines of inquiry that he can work on from there. At best he's got some algorithms running in the background. Fortunately this means that several things are due to break all at once! Starting with Carter, with an update on that harddrive, small batch and model number, oh, hey, it's NSA-certified and made exclusively for the military-industrial complex. Which is to say it's actually pretty top of the line; they're pretty good about their hardware. It's the software they tend to run most behind on. At any rate, whatever Stanton's storing on there she wants it locked up good and tight, and oh hi Reese's text! We seem to be operating in near-realtime, with some overlap for Meanwhile Back At style of catching up. All he had time for was three letters, UXO, and Finch may not know his military shorthand but we and Carter do! Which is both lucky and clever, ensuring that Finch would be likely to bring in Carter for fieldwork assistance on this one, UXO is unexploded ordnance and they leap immediately to the correct if unfortunate conclusion. Yes, Reese is wearing a bomb vest and yes, he's managed to give you a last-known location. Go go Team Machine!

Down at the scene the "ATF" has been called to, we see what should be a fairly self-explanatory sequence unfolding. Hello, bomb threat. Hello, uniforms clearing the area. I will grant that it could be a biological or chemical weapons threat, but we all know Stanton's sense of humor and we can all guess even before we see the bomb disposal truck out front. Snow, your Stockholm is showing alongside your amusement. Facepalming aside, it's a pretty decent plan, gets them inside in their ATF jackets and their We Are Federal Agents attitudes without anyone asking any questions. Kara, Reese doesn't think you're that funny anymore. He might if you didn't have a bomb vest attached to him, but he's definitely not laughing now. She has some highly specific instructions which could be just for yanking their chain but given how precisely she's enunciating I'm going with, it matters which elevator. Because there's only one elevator that will take them to the secret facility in this building! Oh you're so cute baby uniform, you didn't really think that was going to work, did you? Snow starts trying the backtalk approach. Snow, your field skills still blow. Reese carries the casual authority and the I-will-punch-you-if-you-don't-move attitude that are both useful in intimidating poor probie out of the way. Also don't most bomb threats involve not letting people use the elevators? Oh fine, whatever, fuck your SOP anyway, nobody's paying attention to it in any direction. Finch checks in with Carter and Fusco, no they haven't found Reese and Stanton or Reese and Snow or all three, whoever they assume they're chasing with that "they," but they now know the phone belonged to an ATF agent and they have the bomb threat location and god I love having the cops on Team Machine's side. On account of they're not even having to work to find all of this out through legitimate channels. Finch found the interesting bit, though! A building with 21 floors on the blueprints but only 20 floors of businesses and has Reese headed to it under Stanton's orders? (Which is a bit of a leap but not much of one, and it's not like they have any better leads to go on.) Someone's hiding something. Dear three-letter-agencies: if you're going to set up a shell company, could you at least go to the fucking effort of mocking up business transactions? My god. Finch does better than that. He will also keep digging to confirm whose shell it is and what's in there if at all possible, but they have a target! Yay!

What they don't have is cameras that Finch can hack usefully, as Snow fuzzes them up. The access panel gets them to the 21st floor, and Stanton has the decency to tell them it's a level 5 DOD facility before the doors open. Aww! It's like she cares. I mean about the mission. Silencers go on, confirmation that the folks guarding this facility aren't going to leave for a routine bomb threat, that was just to get everyone else out so that any shots fired wouldn't be reported. Sensible, though if it's as secure a facility as all that I wonder if their soundproofing's good enough? Okay, fine, whatever, and it lets Stanton play more games with them, and she does enjoy the gamesmanship aspect to spyssassinating everything in sight. Sort of like if you crammed Moriarty's smugness on top of Moran's skillset. Elevator takes them up, Kara smugs it up some more, Reese did not miss this he has Finch these days, not that he's telling either of them that (and it seems like Snow hasn't told her, which may just be an oversight or may be his one last piece of defiance), and by the way she thinks the guards are Delta Force trained to fire on that elevator if it opens without authorization. Thanks ever so for the warning, Kara! It is, I will grant, just enough time for the boys to finish getting silencers on and Reese to assume a crouching stance with Snow as backup, which means by the time they can think about firing they've already been neatly kneecapped. That's the Reese we know and love! Even if he's working against his will. It's also practical regardless of what casualties Stanton might not give two shits about, on account of body armor, though kneecaps are about as small a target to hit as heads. On the gripping hand, Reese has more practice with knees than headshots recently! Ahem. Snow is still behaving, more or less, and not just executing them now that they're incapacitated, and offers up a few suggestions as to where they could be. Snow, you fucking idiot, you have a fucking top of the line harddrive with some kind of top of the line specs formatted onto it. And you're thinking about wetware of any variety? No. This is why you got caught. Oh, hey, his response to getting punched by a Delta Force guy is to try and shoot him! Again we were saying about damaged goods? There's really no need for that kind of escalation, and brain matter is annoyingly slippery if you have to run. I'm just saying, there are lots of practical reasons to leave them ziptied and gagged and several reasons that shooting them would be a bad idea, starting with the immediate and running into the long term ramifications of a dead US soldier who other people would like you to take responsibility for. Also, Reese will shoot you if you do. That should put a serious crimp in your bloody revenge plans on the poor Delta Force guy. Reese's attitude, which Snow comments on as a major change and I think is more a reversion to someone he'd like to be, someone a little bit closer to who he was before the towers fell, is that the guy's just doing his job. He has a point. He also has a point that the only person he's sure deserves to die here is Snow, which is a major change to us from the beginning of the series, where he was trying to drink himself to death. I'm still pretty sure he'd sacrifice his life to take out Snow and Stanton, but he wants it to be both and he'll preference other measures over suicide bombing them. As we'll shortly see! First Kara has to up the ante because shortwave radio comms don't work so good inside a SCIF, and gives them a 15 minute countdown on those bomb vests. Yay! No, wait, the other thing.

When we come back, we're returning to 2011 and Stanton in that hospital bed, and the 9 is still up in the right corner of the screen but the timestamp has changed, so maybe that's the month instead - actually, since I vaguely recall it being September during that mission, that might make sense. Goddammit, we need to make a full timeline for this show one of these days. Cryptic Suit is saying good morning, at any rate, which implies she's been out for awhile, and there's a small analog TV with rabbit ears pulled up to the foot of the bed for her to watch. Looks like a news program of some variety. Cryptic Suit is here to rub how much he knows about her in her face again. Dude, the fact that she's fluent in Mandarin is not news. At least one half of the team would have had to be, she knows you have her file, and it's an easy cold read to see that she's comprehending what's being said on the screen. So this really has no point except to gloat a bunch. It does, admittedly, get Kara pissy enough to call him out as a government agent for the Ministry of State Security, which is the rough Chinese equivalent to the CIA and DHS all wrapped up in one neat "we spy on whoever the fuck we feel like" package. I'm also not sure about her pegging him as Chinese by ethnicity. Maybe half? He looks fairly Caucasian to me, but he's also being made up to look quite old and the lighting is for shit in these scenes, to emphasize the bland shades of gray we're dealing with. I think his mock-offense at her assessment of him as government is covering up a deeper disappointment that that's what she's going with instead of trying to guess something else. Still, it's not a bad guess, and since we're playing the dig at the opposing side in order to get them to cough up answers it works in that direction as well. A little bit. It definitely serves to tell us all about Cryptic Suit's weird belief system and lets him condescend to her a little bit more. Yes, she went to Annapolis. Yes, I bet she read the classics before she was ever there. Stop treating her like a child. Cornered children, much like cornered animals, are more dangerous than you give them credit for. Lucky for him she can't get up out of that hospital bed as yet. He goes off on this long explanation about the Titans (who are not exactly gods, they're primordial beings much along the same lines as, say, Tiamat) and how they were so afraid of their children that they ate them. Well, actually that was mostly Kronos. He was kind of a dick, and he was so scared of that happening because he also overthrew his father. Stop fucking up your mythology, Cryptic Suit, it's twisty enough without being twisted to your own ends. Fine, whatever, the point is that Kara worked for the Titans and they betrayed her, the implication being that she, of course, is one of the new ones. Uh… no. No, can't see it. Pawn of the new ones, now, that's an implication I buy more. (Hi Machine. How does it feel to be called Zeus? Please don't try to fuck everything that moves, that's all I ask.) Unfortunately, Stanton's not used to dealing with private organizations, so this whole thing fails to make sense to her, she's expecting governmental dealings and global politics, and she's getting the latter without the former. Kara, seriously, you KNOW how many crime organizations are out there, you've infiltrated and assassinated how many people in how many of them? Come the fuck on. Regardless, Cryptic Suit wants to hire her! She thinks this is a bad idea and would like to break his neck, but if she could get out of that bed and do so she already would have by now, so it's more empty bravado. Cryptic Suit will now proceed to get her to agree to work for him with the only coin that she'll accept at this point: information. Not just any information, but the question of who is ultimately responsible for putting her in position to be betrayed and nearly killed by the people she'd given unquestioning loyalty to. Cryptic Suit clearly already has this information and will give it to her for this series of jobs he's having her run, and the most emotion he's showing is that of some small satisfaction at a job well done on his part. He started this conversation knowing how he wanted it to go, knowing how it was likely to go, and allowing for a little wiggle room on either side. I'd love to know where the snipers and bodyguards are, since he's not stupid enough for there not to be any even if she probably can't act fast enough to hurt him yet. But that's not the point of the way he's set this up, the point is that he's brazen enough to make it look like he's walked in alone. What he wants to do is make Kara Stanton into the boulder that the CIA chokes on, or at least that seems to be the analogy he's going for. The impression I continue to get is that he's kind of batshit fucking crazy but in a much quieter way than Kara ever was. Closer to Reese, without the field experience, in all probability.

Once I take a steel wool shower to get THAT out of my head, we're back in the present! Where Snow continues to deal with the cameras, really, dude, if you keep looking up at them like that you're not getting anywhere as far as concealing your identity. Though, alright, if there aren't any off-site backups being stored the next round of instructions would take care of that. And since Stanton's saying the last two hours, I'm guessing she's been in the area prior to Snow and Reese's arrival, ensuring that everything was prepped for them, therefore she has at least some vested interest in making sure she got that part right. She might not give a flying fuck about Reese and Snow getting captured after the fact, but herself? I'm hoping I'm right, anyway. They go on to learn they need to look for a high-level technician, so they need access to somewhere else, it's a very, very standard infil mission but it's also very nicely polished, demonstrating that even working under duress they do all remember how fieldwork as a unit goes. Even if Snow should be on the comms directing and Stanton should be in the field with Reese, because ugh, Snow's field skills are sloppy as hell. If I were feeling generous I'd say that's because it's one of his last rebellions against Kara, but we've seen his fieldwork suck enough in the past that I'm really not feeling generous at all. Carter and Fusco, meanwhile, arrive downstairs and too late to catch them, but wait, what's this? FINCH DO NOT SAY YOU'RE HACKING THE DOD ON A CELL PHONE. I'm sure he's upped his security since the recent travesty with Donnelly, but oh my god really Finch? At least he did find a public location, but Carter's reaction is standing in for ours. Bad Finch. No missile. He will inform us before Stanton informs the boys, because he's giving like that, that this facility is nominally for cyber protection systems and off the record it's for developing new cyberwarfare bugs. Like Stuxnet and Flame, which are both real-world instances of, yes, the US being involved in cyberwarfare against the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Feel free to go google the shit out of them and get yourselves on watchlists with me! I'm sharing. I'm also having Sneakers flashbacks and I'm just glad that Finch doesn't actually say anything about blacking out New England. It is, however, clearly the updated for modern times version of that scene, if you get a virus into the US's assorted computer systems you can do pretty much whatever the fuck you want to them. It's cute how he assumes that they're stealing a cyberweapon instead of simply inserting one right at the source, Finch, I know you know what the deep web is like and what's available on there, what on earth makes you think that Stanton doesn't have the next generation-plus of cute little virii all teeming in the 1s and 0s? At any rate, either way it's bad, and Carter has no quick suggestions for getting past the bomb squad cops. The stairs, on the other hand, will be clear! Or they will be by the time Carter and Fusco are done trudging up them. Poor Fusco.

Reese will continue to demonstrate that he's smarter than Snow by correctly IDing the facility not as a bioweapons lab but as a SCIF. Granted, part of that's probably recently acquired knowledge from hanging around Finch, but still. Snow, you're a fucking moron, or is that you playing it up to make Kara think you're stupid and harmless? Relatively speaking, anyway. Reese has his teeth out, he's not willing to play that game and if he tried Stanton wouldn't buy it anyway, but what he is playing, the part of the killer-turned-Boy-Scout without a friend in the world, will get past her. Stanton's awareness of personal loyalties that go beyond a single mission or loyalty until payment, if it existed to speak of before Ordos, has been so shattered that she can't conceive of people running to John's aid. Multiple people, at that. Here comes scientist boy, I don't know why they need lab coats if they're techie nerds, maybe for disguise? God knows I don't know very many computer desk jockeys who turn up to work in a Mr. Rogers sweater, buttondown and tie. Though it does make him look harmless and a bit older than the actor probably is. Snow, you keep delivering blows like that you're going to find out if you really can kill a man by driving his nose into his brain. Not that he cares, I'm just saying, Reese will be pissed. With that they're in, kid, you're cute how you think they don't know where they are. Speaking of Reese being pissed, he'd like to bring up the very valid point that now would be the time to mutiny, Snow, stop typing. Snow will not stop typing, his Stockholm's doing the talking. Also his belief that anything that gets Reese or Stanton and preferably both dead can only be to the betterment of society. Snow, you hypocritical shithead. Though at least he does seem to have made an effort before giving it up as a lost cause, he's not taking into consideration his changed circumstances and new assets. Yes, I said assets. You have a hacker right there who's got everything but a neon sign above his head going Truly Thinks He's Doing Good And Wants To Continue. You have two cell phones attached to two bomb vests. I am quite certain that said hacker could help you. You know. If you asked the right way.

Reese isn't asking the right way either! Reese is building rapport, though, which is a step in the right direction. He's also taking advantage of having a hard line out, which would seem like a really bloody awful plan except he obviously doesn't expect to survive this. There's no real "we" in the rapport he's building with Kevin-the-techie, it's just Kevin and the people Reese cares about. Fortunately for us, we know that this show plays by fairly standard laws of narrative causality, and they're not going to let Reese be killed off, so the real question is how. Reese and Finch are both doing the softspoken but formal thing with each other right now - there's no time to allow for emotions, but they can allow some degree of careful intimacy. Sort of. Information is shared! Finch thinks there's a project called Cygnus that could kill pretty much everything, including the internet, including the Machine. Oh goodie. It continues our Greek mythology theme this episode, probably meaning Zeus in disguise of the swan in which he seduced/raped Leda, depending on how direct from the text you go. Castor and Pollux and Helen and Clytemnestra came out of that union: the Twins, male and female, immortal and mortal, hatched out of eggs rather than born in the flesh. Which is an interesting parallel, considering how many dark/light mirrors they keep setting up. So far we've got Reese and Stanton, which later becomes Reese and Shaw. Root and Finch. Root and Grace, maybe, in a way. Zoe and Jessica, if you want to go that route. And then of course the partners, Carter and Fusco and Reese and Finch. There's definitely some basis for it, but who's whom? A very good question. Another good question is what Reese plans on doing that requires Finch to stay clear of the building, come on, Finch, you know the answer to this one, you just don't want to admit it. Sigh. Okay, well, first things first, Reese will aim for wiping the drives directly since he can't do it or get Finch to do it remotely, they're not wired into any network. I approve of his methods, which entail yanking a drive out of the array. High tech problems! Low tech solutions. Only problem with that is that it tips Snow right the hell off, and the only reason he needs more than a second to figure it out is because he keeps assuming Reese is as Stockholmed as he is. No, he really isn't. Boys. BOYS. THERE IS NO FIGHTING IN THE WAR ROOM. More seriously, boys, do be careful where you hit each other when you're wearing bomb vests, would you? There's a non-zero possibility of hitting the wires wrong and going kaboom, and Reese, I thought you at least wanted to get the civilian out of there if you could. Also, Snow, your fighting skills, if they were ever up to par, are really not now, though given the lack of tending to that injured leg and general physical stress he's been under for the past several weeks to months, I won't actually take it out of him when enumerating his list of spyssassin deficiencies. I'm giving that way. Hello, Stanton! Nobody should be surprised to see her, particularly not in conjunction with the sound of the bomb vests arming up. Come the fuck on. Reese has the wide eyes of not so much surprise as using surprise to mask whatever other emotions he's feeling. Fear? Anger, almost certainly. And, of course, hiding his knowledge that he's got other people on this case on his side from her, just in case she hasn't figured it out. (It is, by the way, a telling point that they habitually refer to each other as John and Kara: a form of forced intimacy and informality, and after the formality and care which Reese and Finch use as a way of treading carefully around each other it's all the more jarring.) At any rate, the point here was not at all for them to do whatever they thought she was having them do, it was to clear a path. Including, I think, Reese wiping all the drives, given the way she's pleased with him over it. Dammit, Reese, if you'd allowed yourself enough time to talk through the case with Finch you might have reached this conclusion. Or possibly not, Finch is just as bad at target fixation when Reese is in danger. Poor Kevin is at least performing the right motions to maybe survive this, backing out of the way of the scary spyssassins fighting each other and freezing when the boss with the gun comes through the door. If he doesn't get thrown out on his ass for guilt by association he might go far! Oh, and there's another room that hasn't been taken down by Reese's earlier shenanigans. It looks, um. Eerily like a bigger version of Finch's lair, and Reese knows it, and oh, Stanton would like to give them something. As I've been saying for awhile, the government tends to be at least a generation behind the latest and greatest computer viruses, although that gap may be shrinking in recent years. Still, for these purposes and this universe we're going with it, and even though we know the answer Reese has to ask the question. Yes, this is where they use the Machine to monitor all the feeds, not that they have that name to put to it. And on the other hand, Stanton's not doing this part of it for revenge, though her methods would indicate that on the face of it. The revenge is a nice bonus. This is a job, though, and she's killing two of her loose ends with one stone on top of that! I have to admire the cold-blooded efficiency. I also have to admire the amazing acting job from Caviezel and Parisse here, as Reese tries his very best to reforge their old bond, reminding her that he's moved past it, and so can she. No, Reese, you haven't moved past it. Moving past it would look more like not doing spyssassin work for the greater good still, even though he's got a better grasp on what the greater good and is and greater latitude to choose his actions within the confines of a mission. Marginally greater latitude. For a moment Stanton does look a little sad, nostalgic, and she does miss the old days. I believe that part of it, because things were simpler for her then, but, as she points out, you can't go home again. And she really, really hates Snow at this point, but she can't let Reese roam around free after this either, so in some respects Snow's made his own bed and in others she's made hers. Five minutes should, yes, be about enough time for her to get clear of the building before the bomb vests go off, and she'll just have to hope that they don't manage to get out of that room and/or off the DOD floor before then. Or that Reese decides to be a martyr and keep Snow from leaving and killing a bunch of civilians, which would also be a valid aspect for her to take into account!

Frankly if they'd wanted to shock us silly they could have had him do that, but this is network TV and they're relying on Caviezel's pull to a wide range of viewers and yes, he's going to survive this. Not least because Kevin the techie would also really like to survive this, and that requires him to get the goddamn room open. I do appreciate that they allowed him to be intelligent and helpful! (I might have appreciated it more were he anything other than Yet Another White Guy, but on the gripping hand PoI is slowing shaping up its representation to be much more balanced, particularly in s3.) Doors open, it's very nicely done that when it comes to sheer survival they do all work as a unit, well balanced and precise in their timing and shooting. And then they were two, because Reese will be having none of the civilian tagging along after the guys in bomb vests. Seriously, kid, you need better survival instincts, I know Reese can be contagious but really. Reese's instinct at this point is apparently to go up to the roof, which is the easiest clear location for him to go all kablooey without taking out civilians. That's adorable, Reese, that you think nobody else is going to object to this plan. Come the fuck on. Snow thinks it's adorable for wholly other reasons, including the fact that Reese turned his back on Snow. You moron, I know he's shit at fieldwork but you should know better than that. Snow thinks there's a CIA safehouse a couple blocks from here that's his best shot! I wonder if that's the same safehouse they showed us way back when they picked up the supposed terrorist in New York and interrogated the hell out of him. Reese would like to point out that this is a stupid fucking idea on account of the agency is none too kind to assets it believes have been compromised and yes, they will just shoot Snow. Disabling the vest before or after is purely a question of how much time is left when he gets there. Okay, they might manage the time to disable the vest and then spend awhile interrogating him and then shoot him. I don't think that's much better. Neither does Snow, by the way his mouth lowers and he drops his eyes at the last possible second as the elevator doors close. Someone just reevaluated his mission priorities and found a better way to go, methinks.

We'll put a pin in … no, wait, we took the pin out of that grenade, but we're still hovering waiting for it to go off, my mistake. Moving over to Carter and Fusco finally arriving on the floor! I wonder that they didn't have additional guards on the stairwell exits? Really? I hope to hell they did and we just missed Carter and Fusco badassing through said guards. Carter also has an actual point that she saw enough of the bomb vests in Iraq to be of some use getting it off him, except saw isn't the same as disabled. Just like army interrogator isn't the same as IED unit, sorry, Carter, if there were more time we might dick around with this but the boys are right. It does highlight her attachment to him, not just as someone who needs redemption (because Carter does want to redeem people, that's part of why she went into police work even after the way the government fucked her over in Iraq and Afghanistan) but as someone she considers a friend at this point. And, of course, someone she's recently failed, so she needs to make up for that now. Oh Carter. Not like this, honey, even if they are shooting it to make it somewhat ambiguous who's got the moral high ground right now. (Answer: nobody. There is no moral high ground to this kind of a situation.) That said, neither Reese nor Carter have the emotional wherewithal to persuade the other, even if Reese is trying to be gentle about hitting below the belt. Fusco has slightly less of a horse in this race, and though Reese is definitely appealing to him on the ground that Fusco should take Reese's side, I'd bet dollars to donuts that Fusco's also doing it because he'd rather have Carter alive and Reese dead than both of them dead. I mean, if he had to pick I think he'd actually want Reese alive at this point, even with all the shitty handling and abuse Reese doles out, but he definitely doesn't want Carter dead. And between reminding her of her son who has nobody but his grandmother left and reminding her that if she were in Reese's place she'd do the same thing, the boys hit below the belt enough to get her to let go. Interestingly, this is shot somewhere between potential-lovers and comrades-in-arms on the intensity level, and I still want Reese and Carter to have had a hookup somewhere between Beecher and Zoe. I'm just saying. Touching moment of thanks and swelling sacrificial lamb music is a go! Really, Reese, your lack of ability to predict your partner is ridiculous.

Up on the rooftop hackers pause! Er. I mean. The Christmas music this early is getting to me, okay? I will not filk the whole thing. I trust y'all to do that for me instead. Finch would like to fix this. Reese would like to not let him, because apparently Caviezel playing Jesus once bled over. I mean really Reese, walking away isn't going to do jackshit on a rooftop, half a pound of Semtex doesn't fuck around. Also walking away from that drive you yanked is still not going to do jackshit unless you convince Finch to run, and he's physically bad at running. Offering to shoot him isn't going to help either, all of this just highlights how desperate and broken Reese is after dealing with Stanton for a whole day. Ouch. Very, very ouch, he even almost comes right out and says it, this is his past catching up with him and he doesn't want anyone else caught in the radius of this explosion, in any sense. Finch proceeds to hammer him over the head with the fact that the now concerns him and he's not leaving Reese alone to die on a rooftop so shut the fuck up. Almost that bluntly, too, and with copious use of first names which I think actually grates worse on Reese after Kara than soothing and reassuring him that Finch cares about John-the-man and not just Reese-the-asset. We'll wave a rather large trollface sign over this entire scene, because it really is massive shipbait. It's also worth noting, as a recent commenter to the blog reminded me, that Finch did not used to look people square on when he was being honest with them, all his shots were in three-quarter profile at most. Here Emerson's still a bit Riker-esque, but that's got more to do with his usual posture than with camera angles, and he's looking at Reese full-on when he informs him he's not being left. (Subtext: You Dumb Martyrous Fuck.) (By contrast, the scene early on in Brooklyn Bridge Park has the usual profile/three-quarters shots, though he's more full-on facing Carter and Fusco we don't necessarily get that sense from the camerawork.) They engage in some of their standard banter and we can almost see Reese hauling himself out of thousand-yard stare to do so, to allow Finch that bastion of stability to babble his process at. Even if he's not all that happy about being babbled at about diffuse all its energy in a single burst. No. You don't say, Finch. Some damn impressive acting from both of them but especially (and always) Emerson, where his hands are unnaturally steady and his face is mostly still but for the creased brow and hunched shoulders giving him a slight edge of desperation, it's 90% in the voice acting. We get the babbled-out explanation of universal lock codes and how each phone has one and yes he's sure he can do it. Ironic, though, that we come down to random chance of numbers this time, and if the Machine can reach them I would not bet on it not rigging this game. Caviezel does have some excellent deadpan comedic timing on this. That's good, that's not, inDEED. A brief pause while we confirm after the first unsuccessful lock code to confirm that Fusco and Carter are out of the building and staring up at the rooftop and between that and the Christmas lights outside I'm right back to filking. Ahem.

Leaving them sweating for a moment, we see that the Machine still labels Stanton as an enemy of the state and she's making a phone call to her handler, who's tracking the progress of the bug. Uh. Who's tracking the progress of the bug through the internet and/or the Machine, not that there's a ton of difference at this point other than that the Machine has even more access to all the things. Let me repeat that: they are tracking the bug through the Machine, which means they have some degree of backdoor access into the Machine. This is very, very bad, GIR. Hopefully not too terribly bad, but Cryptic Suit appears to have a whole cubicle farm of pet hackers over in China to do his bidding. He toys with her a bit, didn't anyone ever teach you not to play with your food, dude? I really fucking dislike this man. She wants the name of the man who sent the team after the laptop, and by now (if we hadn't guessed back at her hospital bed) we know that it's all coming full circle, and that the name will be Finch's. Which one of Finch's is an open question not answered until the very end of the ep, but Cryptic Suit would like us to know that Finch doesn't exist on any database anywhere. Well, duh. He's good at his job, when he's not emotionally compromised by it. And all they have is a name! Speaking of emotionally compromised, we move back to the roof where Finch wants to know what Reese is grinning at. It's a fair question, though he's known for awhile that Reese's main fallback coping mechanism is inappropriate humor. Well, he always did say they'd both end up dead! That's not funny, Reese. I mean, I get why he's amused by it, the way the past caught up with them both here (not that Reese knows about Finch's side of things and indeed I'm not sure how much of the current aspects of his involvement Finch is aware of, just that he probably does know he sent Reese and Stanton on that last mission), but it's not funny. More touching is the outright admission that Reese would be dead by now if not for Finch finding him, and no, that's not difficult for Reese to know. To admit to, yes, he's about 40 seconds away from their being a messy pile of meat scraps on the rooftop and he's still not using the words "you saved my life" directly, but that's what he means, and that's the debt he's operating under. Oh Reese. Finch thinks better of his third choice, Kara gets in her car with the standard "hey someone's in the backseat" camera work. Gee gosh willikers, I wonder who THAT could be. They do, however, get massive bonus points for not fucking around until the timer was right on 0:01. Seven seconds is still way closer than any reasonable person wants. Oh, and bye, Stanton. Bye, Snow. It's a nice attempt to dive for the timer mechanism on the vest on her part, but too little too late, and Fusco, you know better than to say shit like that. Though I appreciate that they have such a sense of timing that they do actually guess to just about the second without looking at a cell phone timer or anything. Cue explosions, alarms, cops running, Reese snarking, and it's almost like we'll return to business as usual!

Someday. Which is not today, because Bear doesn't generally slobber all over his people with utter love and that dog has been one of the best things to happen to both of them. Though I rather suspect that's some Caviezel peeking out as he wrestles with Bear, that's still also the most genuine laugh we've ever heard out of him. Whichever him we're talking about. And an approximation of an actual smile from Finch. Aww. Wrapping up at the precinct, Agent Moss, the SAIC assigned to Donnelly's murder, wants a word with Carter. Hey, they have a conclusion! They ID'd Stanton and Snow as rogue CIA agents even though the agency's not being helpful in confirming that assessment. You know, as you do when one of those agents is supposed to be dead and you lost track of the other for WEEKS ON END. I wouldn't say a word either. Carter doesn't quite manage to control her face or tone perfectly when they declare Snow her man in the suit, but I have to give her credit for managing to get it down to slight incredulity and an eyebrow twitch. I might have burst into hysterical laughter at that point. Basically this is a courtesy call, they're closing the case on the man in a suit on the grounds that Donnelly found out who they were and Stanton and Snow killed him. Well… half right! Which is better than the feebs usually do in these cases on TV, unless they're the Big Damn Heroes. And the feebs and the spooks will duke it out without the NYPD's input, which I'm sure is just fine by all parties concerned. Fusco's still worried and Carter, to her credit, is investing in a healthy dose of paranoia. Just because everything seems like it's resolved doesn't mean it's not going to come around and bite them in the ass later. And back at the library of infinitely insufficient data, Reese is thousand-yard-staring the photo of Stanton while Finch glares at his computer like that's going to convince it to crack the crypto on the hard drive faster. Who knows, it's Finch, he might. He does know that it's set to go live in five months, which gives us a timeline on the rest of the season! And frankly he damn well does know what's on there, he's just busy hiding it from everyone including Reese because he's back to two can keep a secret if one of them is dead mentality. Not that he's wrong to be this paranoid, it's just frustrating. Reese is still shaken up enough that he doesn't appear to notice, and no, now is still not the time for a heart-to-heart. At least not the kind that you have in words. The kind that you have with nothing but your eyes and gets shippers waving trollfaces at the boys, yeah, they do those a lot this ep.

But Wait, There's More! The Machine pulls us back a day and a half to Stanton acquiring the name, with a red box now showing us Snow in the back of her car, and the subsequent explosion, and oh, yes. That is "Harold Finch" in a fine, almost copperplate hand, crumbling to ash in the aftermath of the bomb. I have a jar for moments like this.

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