You are, as usual, being watched.
This week's number appears to be a young and frightened woman, but the initial photo gives us nothing more than that. The initial recording gives us a little more; the young woman is talking to her parents, so we know they're still alive and they're important to her. She talks about how she always tried to be good and keep to the rules, and the order of these tells us that while she conflates the two, she does make a distinction between lawful and good and puts good above lawful. As do most characters we're supposed to root for in shows like this. And now, she says, she's going to break them in a big way. The whole tenor of this recording indicates that she doesn't believe she's going to be coming back from this bout of rule-breaking, or at least that she's obviously not going to have an opportunity to explain herself to her parents, whose opinion she values. While we're listening to this, a man walks into a motorcycle shop, smashes the glass top of the case, takes the keys to the one he wants, and drives off. The whole thing takes less than thirty seconds, but it's still a brazen robbery. We don't know who this man is (though it's most likely a man going by the movement and shape of the body) or how this connects to the young woman who's in trouble. Or even if it does.
Let's see what we can find out at the office. Although right now the office is a doggie wash, as they're trying to scrub off Bear, who's standing relatively still, really. Awww. This week's number is a woman named Abby Monroe with a degree in engineering, honors student, worked at a military charity to do with supplying homes to veterans. Which fits with the trying to do right and keep to the rules that she mentioned, as well as why she'd break them, if her convictions are as strong as working for a charity and some form of military-related family would indicate. There's also a degree of stubbornness that that gives us, because a woman in a STEM field usually requires some level of fighting a social system that is not kind to women. And her younger brother was killed in Afghanistan 18 months ago, which gives us at least one potential motive for rule-breaking as it's generally not considered "American" to say anything negative about the war in Afghanistan. On some level, anyway. She recently quit that charity job, worked at the city planning office, then moved and dumped her phone and every identifying marker except her records with the temp agency. Which, any of those events individually might not be curious, but taken as a whole that's really fucking suspicious and indicates that the triggering event most likely happened at the military charity (though not necessarily, indicative and not probative), that she took the job at the city planning office to gather information related to this rulebreaking in the name of good, and that she expects people of means to track her and punish her for it. Okay then! That's a good reason for her to come to the attention of the Machine. Reese makes a very slightly exaggerated worried face and grabs his jacket to go chase after her, while Finch protests that it's his turn to dry Bear. Oh boys. Yes, I agree that she probably is in imminent danger but, Reese, you could be a little less obvious about getting out of bathing duties.
Over at the precinct Carter is being flirted at by Beecher. Their relationship seems to be progressing well! Even though dinner tonight is out of the question, Carter's got a case. We go over the Davidson issue again while Fusco eavesdrops, out of Carter's line of sight so that the camera has to keep switching over to close in on his face so that we know he's listening and getting worried. We get the rundown on the anonymous tip that told her a cop killed Davidson, and Beecher talks about a group out of the 51st that used to sell the drugs they confiscated. Not that we have any idea who that could be! While they discuss that, here's Donnelly with some Man in the Suit froth on his lips. Fortunately he's not facing Carter when she says of course she's interested in catching him, so he can't see her making an exaggerated face of agreement. We can, and we know that she's full of it. But he doesn't know, yet. It turns out, as well, that he thinks he's got a lead on who's backing the man in the suit, and the second we hear 'private intelligence network' we know he's at least onto something even if he doesn't fully grasp what he's onto. Hoo boy. Definitely doesn't grasp what he's onto, though, because he's linking Snow to Finch and Reese, not to mention Chinese corporations, and we're with Carter on this one. Snow? Really? The connecting details are classified, of course, but Donnelly wants to read her in on it, which means giving her a temporary FBI assignment. Hey, she's moving up in the world. Donnelly has every faith in her and thinks it will become permanent. Carter thinks Donnelly may have lost his tiny mind... or maybe that's just me. But by the grimace as she watches him leave and the expression when she calls Finch, well, maybe not quite so much. He's getting a tad obsessive, and she finds that worrying. I find it worrying. Everyone should find it worrying, including his superiors, because nobody likes an obsessive cop. As for calling Finch, she's apparently only calling him to find where Reese is. Shouldn't you be telling Finch, too? No? Well, arguably, they know less about Finch than they do about Reese so, sure, we'll go with it this far. He's at the office of city planning!
Down at said office Reese is using one of his law enforcement covers again, and when we meet him he's talking to someone about "just downloaded the file and walked out." We can safely assume that's either Abby or the man in the bike shop, and most probably Abby. Carter doesn't look as resigned as she usually does when she catches him using a law enforcement cover, probably because Donnelly is uppermost on her mind. She does walk up, flash a badge, and act as though she's supposed to be there. The people on staff seem to be a little surprised to see her there but not overly so, most likely they're used to departmental snarls. Ah, there's the usual raised eyebrows of resignation for "Marshal Jennings," and Reese making innocent faces. Which he doesn't do very well, as we know. It turns out the manager noticed after the fact, and she walked out two hours ago, which doesn't give her a very big lead time as far as Reese is concerned. As far as the city planning office and Marshal Jennings are concerned, or the Marshal Jennings Reese is pretending to be, that probably makes it quite a bit more difficult. The plans she walked out with are to a building with no major infrastructure value to their thinking, which probably involves looking at terrorism angles or massive financial shenanigans. The building itself holds the offices of some lawyers and an investment bank,and an electrical substation. And evidently neither of these guys are watching the right movies because nobody mentions what's next door to it or anything. Tsk! Although it's possible either the lawyers or the investment bank is her target. She gave a false address and a payphone as her contact information, so she really is in the wind as far as they're concerned. Reese just has to needle the manager about the strength of his background check, and Carter in general. Reese, be better. Which is almost what Carter tells him after she hurriedly gives the city office staff her card and rushes after him. Impersonating a federal officer, John? Really? It's not enough that he has to go and flash his badge, either, he's got to gloat about it to Carter. I'd've punched him. Carter's only warning him, not for herself, but because Donnelly's back. Reese confirms that he and Finch both heard the whole thing, to remind Carter more than the audience that they are there and listening to pretty much every damn thing, and says it might not be a bad thing if she does transfer to the FBI. We get a touch of sitcom cinematography as Reese moves out of frame first, leaving Carter to ask him with deep exasperation if he listens to all her conversations.
He's not answering that question, he's just going to continue to bug her about her looking nice and dating Beecher, and the requisite if he does anything to hurt you speech. Which is both touching, hilarious, and for Carter, exasperating. Understandably exasperating, she didn't ask for that from anyone and they're far from close enough for that kind of thing to be permitted, especially since she doesn't have the information or the personal capital to make the same comment about him. Not that he has the personal or trust capital to say that about her, he just gives fewer damns than she does. And in a way, it's one of the few ways he can comfortably say that he cares about her and what happens to her. Still. With the personal capital, and the comfort levels, and Carter stops him right after the if he does anything to hurt you bit to set some boundaries. Which he promptly steps right over by offering at least one scenario, Finch and Reese listening into her sex life, that's uncomfortable to think about let alone experience, causing her to skip right past it. Meanwhile, back on the case, Reese was checking to make sure Abby wasn't in trouble, presumably intending just to check up on her at her work. Alas, he is a little late for that, but not because he was washing the dog. Reese. Just in case you thought you were being virtuous by squirming out of your drying duties. Just for the icing on the Reese Behaving Badly show he off-handedly requests the camera footage for the security cameras outside the offices, thanks Carter, you're a doll. Okay, he doesn't say you're a doll, but it's almost that dismissive. Reese, there's a fine line between being snarky and acting like a dick, and you're dancing on the wrong side of it.
Back at the library they go over the footage with Carter over the phone. It's not very forthcoming. Abby gets on a bike and drives away, what turns out to be that stolen bike we saw in the very beginning. So we do have two perpetrators, people in cahoots, one or the other of these things, and we still don't have the specifics of her motive. Carter looks at the surveillance footage we saw at the beginning of the episode (while Finch hilariously tries to catch up by hacking into... you know, I'm not sure if he's hacking into her computer or the surveillance feed itself) and sees pretty much what we see. The perp walks in, according to robbery he blew the locks with detcord. Didn't bother with the alarms, just got the key to the one he wanted and walked off. Well, drove off. Through the window. Reese is making the face of being impressed against his will and wishing he'd thought of it first. Reese, what's gotten into you this episode, are you five? Did you not get your naptime? Milk and cookies kept you awake? What? He leans over Finch and rewinds the video to see how the guy put his fist through the case and we get our answer to what Finch was hacking earlier when Carter squawks. So, yes, he did go straight into her computer. Carter's tone as she takes them to task for invading her privacy is exactly the kind of talking to a five year old tone that Reese deserves right now. Possibly Finch as well, but as far as I can tell Finch's ideas of boundaries on computers is a bit skewed, and it's unlikely that he views this as an invasion of privacy and taking advantage. More of reaching out to turn her monitor so they can both see. It's no less exasperating in the result, but the mentality and therefore the rebuke required would be different from Reese's apparent five year old with boundary issues thing he's got going on today. Antics aside, it turns out the reason the robber can break open the glass case with his hand is because his hand is actually a high-end prosthetic. That would do it! And does this have to do with people getting shot, injured, and killed in Afghanistan? Given Abby's connection and the use of detcord to get into a building. Reese and Finch think so, and we approve of this little leap to conclusions. For this correct assumption we are rewarded with more data! If only it worked that way in the real world. Carter gets a hit on the bike's plate (how does the bike have a plate already? We don't know and we're not asking, call it the convenience of television.) from a traffic cam near the sight of a robbery from a construction site a few days ago. Blasting caps and 20 pounds of Semtex were stolen. Lacking a demolitions expert on my rolodex (shut up I'm old), a quick Google search tells me that half a pound of Semtex is enough to blow up your average 747, so multiply that by 20 pounds and you have the reason Finch's face looks like it's made of frightened circles. Finch also doesn't want to believe Abby's involved with the kind of terroristic activity that requires 20 pounds of Semtex, but Carter is going to do her job on this one and put out an APB for her. Just to make sure Reese and Finch remember that she's a cop, too, she phrases it that way. Finch says they need to find her first, but Reese, oddly, doesn't change expression. Reese, what on earth is going on in your tiny mind.
We're not going to find out anytime soon, because after the break we're back at the precinct and back with Fusco again. This time he's asking Olson about Cal Beecher, and it takes all of three sentences before we get that they at least want us to think he's on the take, if he isn't actually. It's likely at least somewhat true, but especially on television, if a cop is spending money outside his pay grade and doesn't have a rich spouse or relative to account for it, he's dirty. Apparently cops on TV don't invest, don't have side businesses, and don't have good luck with the horses ever. (That's deliberate phrasing, actually, it is possible to win at gambling with horses and cards, to an extent and if you're careful. Other things, though, like the lottery, it's definitely a sucker's bet.) So, they're leading us to believe he's on the take. Clearly that's what the esteemed Detective Olson wants Fusco to think, too, or at least that's what Fusco calls him out as implying. Olson isn't saying anything directly, but he does say how Beecher worked narco and was around a lot of money or drugs that were as good as, so. And why does Fusco want to know? Well, 'cause Beecher's been hanging around the precinct a lot. Because Detective Carter. Olson doesn't find this upsetting at all, or even surprising. Fusco doesn't find it surprising, at least, but upsetting might be another matter.
Back to the library, Reese isn't ready to rule out that Abby and her boyfriend are going to do something showy and stupid, while Finch seems unusually fired up about defending her good intentions. He does, however, have a very good point that if Abby and her boyfriend were planning some sort of domestic terrorism with all that Semtex, the Machine would have routed it to the appropriate desk. They're not domestic terrorism, they're personal homicides, which means it must be personal. Reese, perhaps in continuing with the theme of he's left his brains in his other suit, doesn't see how this is personal or what they can pursue at this point. But Finch does! Thank you, Finch. The payphone gives them a geographic profile, and the charity gives them at least some personal connections she made within the last year who might be able to better round out her profile and give them a clue as to what she's thinking right now. He'll take the charity, Reese can take the other lead, which he will do with a chipper comment and a skip in his step and the rest of us giving him extremely funny looks. The impetus, it seems, behind this uncustomary chipper and mischievous behavior is that he feels happy, for the first time in long enough that he didn't recognize the feeling when it hit him. Oh Reese honey. It is, in fact, incredibly tragic that he doesn't recognize happiness and contentment when it hits him. And at the same time, I really do question the writing choice of how to display what Happy Reese looks like. I realize that they're going for impish sense of humor and playfulness in his work, but overreaching and riding roughshod over Carter's personal boundaries, when he has both personal reasons to be aware of other people's boundaries and enough time with her to be aware of hers? That's a dick move. That's not the John Reese we love and want to know better. And I wish they'd come up with a better way to show uncharacteristically happy Reese than having him gleefully prance around poking fun at the expense of other people's comforts. Still, it won't last long. We know it won't both because the narrative won't allow him to be this brightly happy for long, and because they take a moment to focus on Bear wanting to go out with his daddies and whimpering at the door when Finch tells him no. It's like that photograph of the family the doomed soldier or pilot or astronaut or whoever is supposed to come home to. If the camera focuses on that picture, you know their chances of coming home dropped by a factor of lots.
Over at the payphone, it's clearly been tampered with, which also indicates that this area is at a level of disrepair that tampering with a phone won't get too many funny looks. And then again, when was the last time anyone either saw or paid attention to a payphone on the street in the first place? (I actually know of one a couple blocks down from my workplace, granted, and it even works, but that's the very odd exception to the rule.) The tampering also indicates that wherever they're staying, it's a place with a view of the phone. That apartment complex across the street looks like a good bet! An apartment in that complex with a very well secured door, that looks like at least four different types of locks. Possibly not original to Abby and her boyfriend, though, those locks look like they've been there a while. Bet it was a selling point, nonetheless. The apartment itself is neat, very very neat, the furniture resembling that which we saw in the background of Abby's video, and there's some sort of wire work going on in there. I can't quite tell if it's an alarm on the window or related to the phone tapping or both. Reese looks through the apartment briefly, pokes his head in a closet and starts to look in a cardboard box, then finds the wrapped picture next to it more interesting. A picture, flag, and medals. Looks like the poor boy was 22 when he died, and he got at least one Bronze Star. A couple of the other medals are for Iraq and Afghanistan, one for what looks like the European/African/Middle East Campaign, and a final medal that has the Afghanistan flag on but damned if I know what that one's awarded for. Second Afghanistan campaign/tour? Something. Close enough to have Reese sitting down with the display box and thinking.
Over at the charity, Finch is talking to the director who says he had to fire Abby? For stealing? Significant amounts by manipulating bank accounts via computer, which means of course that he had to let her go. Unfortunately for him, this doesn't fit with the information we've learned about Abby thus far. It fits in with rulebreaking, but it doesn't explain the need for breaking and entering to get the bike; if she was stealing money she could have just purchased it. It also doesn't explain the need to steal Semtex; if she was manipulating accounts that likely included those of construction companies, she might have purchased that, too, with only marginally less difficulty. And finally, there's no indication that she would have been redressing any wrongs by stealing from the accounts of a charity that she by all indications was passionate about. In a narrative sense, this should have come up before now, too, it being a significant part of her background. That being said, we have no behavioral cues as to what's going on but the narrative would tend to dictate that this guy is using her for a patsy. We know that somehow she's either going to commit a murder or be the target of one, and making her a patsy is a good way to incite either of those. Let's go with that one, then.
That established, let's hear the rest of that video she made for her parents, since Reese is watching it for us. There's some anecdotes about her brother, a lot of talk about her brother actually, confirming that he's still a big part of her life. We also get confirmation that she's aiming for the side of doing what's right rather than what's lawful since what's lawful is failing her at the moment. Neither of which sounds like an intent to either steal money from the accounts of people trying to give homes to war vets or to blow up buildings to hurt people, so. Now we have a mystery. What is she doing with the Semtex, and where did the money go, assuming it was ever missing at all? And if not, or even if so, what did she do to earn the enmity of someone at that charity? Reese is clearly affected by this video, as he is affected by all plights involving military veterans and their loved ones. If he wasn't on the side of the young woman as strongly as Finch was in the beginning, he probably is now. Back over at the charity, the director blames Abby's misconduct on a Marine she met, the boyfriend we saw in the video. When pressed for details the director hides behind strict privacy policies, but they do get a name eventually. Corporal Shane Coleman, explosives disposal. Now not seen or heard from by his family in more than two months, plus his home was foreclosed and his fiancee dumped him. No mention on whether or not that was to do with the losing of a hand, but either way, seems kind of shitty. Carter will add his name to the APB, because she is a cop who still has cop responsibilities and cop sensibilities, and Finch and Reese will continue with their severely questionable and illegal investigation! Now with bonus Finch doing the surveillance that nets them the break this time, charity director Chapel is meeting with some heavily armed goons. Hilariously, Finch describes them by comparing them to Reese and using the words "low-key and vaguely menacing." Yeah, that's actually a fairly apt description, there. Though their suits aren't as sinister or menacing as Reese's, they're actually wearing colors. We also learn that Chapel slipped a GPS transponder into Finch's pocket as he was leaving, which does not impress Finch in the least by the utter lack of vocal shifts or any kind of alarm. Also he left the transponder on a laundry van. Well, they'll have fun tracking that down, then, and it seems that Abby is the patsy after all and Chapel really, really wants her found so he can finish pinning that frame job on her. My heart bleeds. Wait, no, that's just the pizza. So, Finch will go break into the charity after hours and Reese will wait for Abby so he can better protect her, and I will be over here wondering if there's something in the water that's making everyone act like demanding five year olds today. Yes, there's a certain distribution of labor that needs to go on here, but Finch, you were seen at the charity earlier and, let's face it, you aren't exactly the most experienced at breaking and entering here, are you sure you don't want to turn it over to the more anonymous expert on these matters? No? No. Goddamn you all.
Speaking of inexperienced at breaking and entering, let's have Finch not react beyond "oh isn't that interesting that the alarm's been tampered with." No, I'm with Reese on this one again, stop being a moron and get out. Too late! Our dear Mr. Coleman shows up with a prosthetic arm to the throat. Yes, yes, they're here for the same purpose, I'm not sure if Finch's acid commentary on waking the whole building is about shoving him up against a wall or about a shoddy job of hacking the alarm system. Or both. Reese is on his way and would like Finch to walk away now and stop getting in over his head out in the field, but Abby picks that moment to come home. Of course she does. The rules of narrative causality say so. Cue the boys at the charity breaking into the safe with what looks like some kind of acid, I'm not sure what Finch is doing other than being useful with his hacker skills, and Reese still wants him to get out of there. Take note of all the begging he's doing because This Will Be Important Later. I'm sure that would be more possible if Coleman didn't look like he was prepared to do violence to Finch if he thinks of cutting and running. We know that Abby is one of the sorts of women that Reese likes by the way she kicks him hard in the shins. I've wanted to do that to him a time or two myself, and she has excellent reason even though he's trying not to give off rapist/stalker/murderer vibes. Doesn't matter, Reese, you're in her apartment holding her against the wall oh good Reese. Not that he can't overpower her easily again, but doing as she asks is a good first step toward gaining any measure of trust at all. The boys finish with the safe, Finch talks Coleman out of shooting the security guards and all I can think is, Coleman must not have been all that set on shooting them in the first place if it takes a whole three words. I mean, I love you Finch, but persuasion is not generally your strong suit under pressure. We also know he's mostly a good guy because he doesn't just abandon Finch, but picks him up on the motorcycle. Aww. They are also fucking lucky that this is the lead-up to the mid-season, not the mid-season itself, or Finch would probably have gotten hit. At least by one of those ricochets. Yes, Reese, he's fine other than the adrenaline rush, you should probably make him take the time to check himself out if he won't let anyone else do it because adrenaline can make you ignore pain that you shouldn't. Finch probably doubly so, being unused to it and also being so very used to ignoring the demands of his body.
And we get the usual introductions of "hello $NAME, I'm John" before we fade to commercial break. Picking right back up, she's still scared, angry, and inclined to go on the offensive when confronted with both those emotions and someone convenient to take them out on. I really like her. From the "my boyfriend's a Marine" to the increasing rage at the violation of her privacy to calling him on his bullshit dodges. No, she did not ask what you want, she asked who are you. Reese, I'm going to sit you down and make you watch Babylon 5 one of these days at this rate. And it's been so long since anyone did call him on his bullshit that he's startled into a mostly-honest answer, that he doesn't know anymore. Or at least that he finds it a hard question to answer, with a side implication of hard to look at himself in a mirror to figure it out. I think that's the first direct acknowledgment of his loss of identity he's made, in fact. He goes on to give Abby the part she can identify with, he used to be a soldier, he got out. Well, his body got out. Anyone looking at him can tell his mind's still back in those warzones. Finch interrupts this little bonding moment to inform Reese that things are "a little tense" because Shane doesn't believe they mean to help him and doubly so now that he knows that they have Abby. Finch, remind me never to hire you for hostage negotiations, though I suppose you might have more ability at it when not engaging your own utter lack of self-preservation. At least he's learned how to move slowly and not startle the man with a gun on him. Reese and Shane organize a meet for a hostage trade-off in about five sentences, because they are Manly Military Men and speak the same language. I lambast a little because this is awfully quick, but they're on the clock, as always. For all values of "they" in this scene.
Hostage trade-off in this case takes place in your usual empty parking lot, looks like a school or maybe a church. Nice and brightly lit. Reese got there first for reasons unknown in the Doylist sense (though possibly they walked, I don't see a car that's obviously belonging to Reese aside from those taillights in the foreground), but in the Watsonian it's so he can have this little continuation of his conversation with Abby. She didn't ask for his protection, she doesn't want it, and would he kindly fuck off. No, no he will not, he wants to know all about her motives. Really? Now you want to know, Reese? He also points out that loans and defaulting on homes isn't much of a reason to have guns and explosives and so forth, which, Reese. You know better. You also know that it's never that simple. Abby twists the knife by pointing out in return that yeah, maybe Shane only lost his money and his fiancee, but he also pointed his buddies at Chapel, and one of them committed suicide as a result. Seriously. You should have seen that coming, Reese. You should also have seen the fact that this is a massive operation coming. She's still not coughing up any data about what they intend to do, have I mentioned how I like this girl recently? And Finch gets his moment in the sun of technobabble about how he put a tracker on Shane via the prosthetic arm, which will now attempt to force pair every phone it passes. No, Finch, you do not get a motorcycle and you do not need to learn to program while riding it. Nuh-uh. Someone still has five year old pills in the water.
Back at the police station Carter is still looking at Abby and Shane's records (and Fusco is still hovering around looking worried and suspicious, and I mean that in both active and passive sense) when Beecher walks up. Hey, Beecher! Please don't be evil. They banter a little bit but Carter's clearly distracted even though her voice and expression softens when she's talking to him. She also trusts him enough, at least, to tell him about the offer Donnelly made. Though, obviously, not telling him why it's inconvenient at best and really fucking awkward at worst. Touchingly, Beecher evinces faith in her and tells her she should totally do it, it'd be a good career move for her. He doesn't object to her moving out of New York, either; teases, but doesn't object, and doesn't offer an opinion on her relationship with her child. All important things, and signs of being genuinely interested in her for herself as well as being at least a decent communicator. Unfortunately they're interrupted by a phone call for Beecher, which Fusco will now helpfully clone. Thanks, Fusco. Carter and Beecher get back to flirting, but only briefly, as it turns out. The phone call was from Quinn, and by Quinn we mean the Mayor's chief of staff and the head of fucking HR. Because this wasn't going to go sideways or anything. The meeting is in an open area late at night, which isn't the best of settings or implications either. Fusco is still watching, though we don't get a sense of how far up or away he's perched so it's hard to tell what he can see and hear and what he can't. Quinn says the Mayor's office is concerned with the rate of crime in Crown Heights, and that he told the Mayor he'd look into it with a guy he knows. So far, so legit? Or at least, within the boundaries of not-quite-protocol-but-still-okay. Beecher doesn't see anything wrong with it either, there's no hesitation or question in his voice when he gives Yogarov's name. There's little in the way of new information between the two of them, most of it is easily extrapolated from what we know, but hello! It's Simmons from HR, and he's made Fusco. Again, I can't tell if this is due to Fusco's inability to stealthily surveille or simply that he didn't expect there to be anyone following him. Since, by Simmons' statement, he didn't so much make Fusco at the scene as follow him to see what he was up to outside of work hours. It doesn't him long to figure that out, either, though Fusco plays it like he's following Beecher to see if he knows about Davidson. Because now he's pissed, and he even does get up in Simmons' face about making that anonymous tip. The camera angles do nothing to help poor Fusco, accentuating Simmons' height and making it about Fusco's disadvantage up until he doesn't give a crap anymore and delivers a well-put threat. Simmons isn't impressed, but it's a decent threat. Sadly, Fusco doesn't have the energy to back it up right now, and he does turn back towards his car. Beecher and Quinn are still talking, he's going to miss all the good stuff! On the other hand, it's even better stuff if HR doesn't know he has it. Which would be of particular concern to HR; Fusco has decided Simmons isn't there for him, but he hasn't yet figured out what Simmons is there for. I'd argue that it's entirely possible Fusco did something or interfered with something that Quinn decided he wanted to put a tail on him to see where he jumped next, but the fact that Simmons avoided the answer indicates that it doesn't have to do with Fusco after all, that he did make Fusco in his poorly concealed place of surveillance, and this is something else entirely. Hey, Fusco. Know what? Now would be a really good time to get your uber-equipped buddies in on it. Fusco. Fusco? Goddammit.
Back over to the primary case, Finch and Reese are trying to figure out where the angle is and why Abby and Shane are still heading to that block of Hanover street. As always, the answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind but is at the end of the money trail. After a couple false starts they find out that the investment bank at that location has first lien on any properties Chapel the charity director lends money for the purchase of. Which means they handle the foreclosures and can yank the houses back out from under the veterans, pocketing the profits on the way. I wish this sort of thing were exaggerated for fiction, but it really isn't. Shane, obviously, is doing this for justice and revenge, Abby's motivations are less clear to Finch but crystal clear to Reese. Both in the reasonable treatment of military veterans aspect and in the due to the dead aspect, though Reese cites the latter. He's also quick to perceive their plan, which admittedly we had already sort of figured out, find an entry point from one of the adjoining walls and break in through the back door. But it's the kind of thing Reese seems to think he'd do, and he empathizes with them. Or likes them, as he puts it. Yes, we all like these kids, Reese, go bodyguard. Because right now Chapel and his hired goons are discussing what their vulnerability level is, and coming to exactly the right conclusions. Or the wrong ones, from our point of view.
Hey, speaking of clandestine meetings in the dark, Donnelly's calling Carter to one! We're all just meeting in or around strange cars in the middle of the night this episode. At the moment, this isn't to imply that dark dealings are going on, but we're certainly setting them up. It's too late in the episode for all of these meetings to go off immediately, but in the overall it's about the right time (mid-season) for some dominos to start falling. Let's see what some of those are! Donnelly asks to see her phone and then monkeys around with the innards and the SIM card, talking about the people he's after being technologically astute enough to eavesdrop. He's not wrong! He's just a teensy bit overzealous. He's also got the lead of Reese being seen at the charity robbery, but that's all he'll give before Carter agrees to be in his little secret boy band. Yes, sure, fine, Donnelly. Spill. He starts in discussing how long he's been tracking the man, how he finally realized his man had to be in constant communication with his handlers, whereupon Carter interrupts with her investigative results and all the reasons why that can't be possible. Because yes, please, let's not have Donnelly tripping over Finch's computer network of cloned phones and spyware. That'd be bad. He accepts her reasoning but moves right along to the fruits of his investigation, which turn out to be a way to track the cloning of the numbers' phones that Finch has been doing. Well, shit. Carter's mastery of her face is impressive, but we can see the tension ratcheting up around her eyes and mouth. Poor Carter. This is a crappy situation to be in, and no one's giving her either a break or a reason to feel good about what she's doing apart from the fact that she's saving lives. One of these days that's not going to be enough anymore, but it is not this day. Night. Whatever.
Over at the scene of the impending crime, Shane is breaking into the service entrance while Abby keeps a lookout. Then he tells her that she's come far enough with him, she should go, he doesn't want her to get into any more trouble. That's, um. Admirable? As far as that goes, but she's already stolen from the city planning office which might well be a federal crime (indicated by the fact that no one was surprised someone of federal marshal rank was investigating), not to mention been accused of the theft and attempted theft of large sums of money, and other crimes. Breaking and entering, or not breaking and entering, is not going to do her much good at this point, and he might as well let her help. Her argument is more emotional and passionate, but it gets the job done. Also on the street tonight, the FBI are out in force, and Carter starts to reactivate her phone, presumably to warn the boys? But thinks better of it and doesn't. Shane and Abby are now placing the, um, ball of plasticine, in my research I have discovered that Semtex is not actually the grayish color we've come to associate with plastique explosives! But see also: color we've come to associate with explosives, and the comprehension of the audience is more important, a lot of the time, than physical or color accuracy. They unspool the cord, take cover behind a protruding rack of shelves, is that? Cabinet? and they're about to blow the wall when Reese calmly announces himself behind them. Got to give Shane credit for reflexes with the gun, but not only is Reese better, he has comedic value on his side for disarming Shane and removing the bullets from his gun. Because yes, it is hilarious the offhand way he does that. He also wants to know what they're going to do after they've stolen all of Chapel's money. Which, predictably, they haven't thought of. It took a fair amount of planning and going against both their law-abiding instincts to get this far, poor kids, they haven't a clue what to do next. Not that Reese seems to hold this against them. He asks why they didn't try the legal means; predictably, the legal means were blocked by Chapel and his goons, in this case, Chapel either discrediting her or outright threatening to bring charges against her in front of the DA before she could gather her own evidence, and one of the goons assaulting her and threatening her life if she talked. So, about standard, then. Reese is almost smiling, too. Not the safest of expressions on our dear spyssassin. Finch is alarmed at the turn this conversation is taking, too, he'd rather he take down Chapel at a distance than have Reese protect these kids up close and personally by accompanying them on their errand of thievery. And I can't say I blame him. It sounds a lot more like Reese is doing this for the vicious glee of it than because it's the expedient or prudent thing to do. And that's before he turns off his earbud, really, Reese? Really? You're still five years old? Goddammit.
Reese does at least have some useful experience to lend, which is to wait for covering noise before you blow a big hole in something. Into the neighboring building they go, Abby taking the lead with the building plans on her tablet in front of her, everyone moving efficiently and quickly without hurrying so much that they trip over their own feet. I do approve. And they end up underneath the safe deposit boxes, which is a trick we've certainly seen before! Reese's vicious amusement is now fully in the open, and he seems to approve as well, which is not a good thing. As good as the plan is, it's also very dangerous, and a five year old Reese with a stubborn streak is not the Reese we want working this gig. Outside, Chapel's goons are approaching the building at least from one angle, and have discovered Shane's leavings at the door, so that's at least one other player in this little party. Two when Finch turns Reese's earpiece back on, or at least I presume he did because I didn't see Reese do it, and says that he's getting interference on the phone link. Some sort of broad spectrum sweep, like that of from an FBI van, perhaps? At least Finch is able to guess this with alacrity and tells Reese to get off the line and get the kids out. And to leave them if they won't come, which both shows how urgent he feels the situation is and how much he has come to care for and value Reese. Previously, it was all about the mission and bringing justice to bad people, on behalf of good people. Now Finch is ready to scrub the mission, albeit not without cause, as long as it gets Reese out of there. Reese is not having with this, not the least of which because Finch did tell him to leave the kids behind, and he does not leave people behind. He all but accuses Finch of losing sight of the mission, whereupon Finch points out that the mission is to stop people from getting killed, and getting caught breaking and entering into a bank is not going to do a damn thing for anyone. Reese will concede to hurry it up a bit, but not much else. Reese. Reese. The goons are coming. Reese. The kids blow the roof, rifle find the safe deposit box, rifle through the contents. Guys. Guys. Now is not the time to look beyond making sure it's the right box, now is the time to get the fuck out of here. Seconds are precious. They matter. They are, in fact, what this escape hinges on. So get your asses in gear, and Reese should know better. Oh look, goons with guns in your exit route. This is what happens when you linger to boggle over how much you've just stolen. The kids are new to this but Reese, I judge you. I'm judging you harshly right now.
Carter has a hard decision to make right now, which is not necessarily a hard decision in and of itself; she's broken a lot of laws and crossed a lot of lines already and given her loyalty to Team Machine. But definitely a difficult one to figure out how to handle. Somewhere in the interim she's reactivated her phone, so when Donnelly and some of his pet feebs come charging up to tell her about an explosion near Wall St and the IME bands match, she has that much to hand, at least. And judging by everyone's level of edgy paranoia, I'm guessing they've been up most of the night, maybe catching some catnaps in cars or on cots at the precinct, who knows. That said, Carter's gotten really damn good at inventing rapid excuses, with the sun coming up she needs to make sure her kid gets to school on time and though we know she trusts Tyler to be responsible without her mother acting as second parent, it's entirely likely that Donnelly doesn't know that. Or that it can be written off as nerves and overprotectiveness, given the case she's ostensibly working on. Regardless, with Finch and Reese out of the question for her as a contact, she goes the next best route and calls Fusco to pass along the message. No, Fusco, she hasn't been drinking, and stop making that face. Okay, make that face, but not at Carter, make it at Donnelly. Or at Finch, Finch is good too. Finch is heading out to the bank to run his own brand of interference and as much as I dislike the sudden recursive five-year-olds problem in this ep, I do like that there's a level of trust and confidence in each others' abilities to play multiple misdirections while not getting in anyone's way. Except for Donnelly's. Getting in Donnelly's way is good. We close out the scene with a whining, fussy Bear who doesn't want to be left alone by both his people as Finch strides off (as much as he strides ever) to do battle with the people who want to hurt his friend. Just in case we needed the visual bookend to the boys with Bear earlier in the ep.
Let's have another meeting in a car, this one held in the daytime but significantly more ominous and far-reaching than at least one of the others this episode. Hello, Simmons. How very not nice to see you. Hello, Quinn. Have you dug Fassbender's teeth out of your throat yet? I see that you have. Dammit. Quinn has a mugshot of a former Russian enforcer who got screwed over by Elias. I see where this is going pretty rapidly, with all the previous talk of needing a new revenue stream and Elias deciding to completely burn his bridges with HR. Simmons is slower, and will for once demonstrate this at some length. No, Simmons, stop inhaling the I'm-five revenge pills that Reese is on, hitting back at Elias in the short term will get you all killed. Or all but Quinn, and then he'll really have to start from the ground up, and he'll be pissed. So on second thought, do that! I want to see a desperate pissed off Quinn making mistakes. Anyway, there's a bit of a problem with the Russian enforcer and his baby brother who's also in jail, namely that the DA's got a dozen charges and an airtight case, which, come on, Simmons. You know that's not an issue for Quinn. Or you should, by now. Also you don't need to go digging for dirt on the DA, that's your boss' job. He's the scalpel with the subtle blackmail. You're the sledgehammer to the kneecaps. Finally Simmons gets it, they're to be reaching out to the Russian mob for new allies. That's going to get messy and cannot possibly backfire, though I suppose with Quinn holding the reins the chances of him getting deposed are smaller. He might eventually have to discard Simmons, though; I think this is one of the clearest times we've had Simmons show how horribly over his head he is with the subtleties of power plays like this. But he has good news! Donnelly's done being a pain in their ass and is right behind the man in the suit. I'm sure you'd like to believe that it's a perfect day, Quinn, but seriously, even as a semi-cackling villain figure you should know better than to say shit like that. Not that we're complaining.
On over to the bank, which is about to open for the day and Finch what are you doing. Why are you on comms when you know they've been compromised? Reese is not upstairs. Reese is still hanging out downstairs with a gun and some of Chapel's guys, and I suppose we'll give them these lines of communication as being short-wave and not cell phone frequencies? I guess? And arguably a broad spectrum sweep is not the same as a direct wiretap, still and nonetheless. A line reference to confirm it would be nice. One of the nicer things about this scene, on the other hand, is the ease of Reese and Shane working together; hitting us upside the head with military bonding wasn't really necessary when we get moments with Reese holding out his hand for a new clip and Shane passing it over automatically. Not to mention the seamless shifting of positions; Shane doesn't even blink as he takes over laying down suppression fire while Reese works on their getaway plan. Which is apparently to steal clothes from the lockers, dress like they belong upstairs in the building instead of downstairs in the dust and the firefight, and walk right out. Given the traffic apparently going through that building this isn't a bad plan either, most likely a better one than the kids had. It's still a sign of Hollywood makeovers given that their hair will still be covered with dust and at least one if not two of them will still be on edge from the firefight. Not likely Reese, he's proven he's more than capable of killing people and walking on as though nothing happened. Still, they're under a lot of pressure. It'll make them either choke or pull this off because they have no other choice.
The Feeb cars are coming in. This is a lot of birds coming home to roost in this one spot: HR, Donnelly, and the inexorable geas of the Machine in its own way, with the assignment to get the kids out. About the only thing we're missing is a heavier presence of Elias and Reese's old friends, though we did touch on him earlier with the meeting between Beecher and Quinn and Snow got a mention as well. Everyone's here in spirit, all lines colliding for the ramp up to the mid-season crisis. Even if you're not counting episodes, this is how you know the shit's going down. Oh, hey, remember how we were yelling at Finch to quit using the fucking comms (and, by now, build yourself a damn backup system you idiot) when he knows they've been compromised? Donnelly will confirm that for us by having a discussion with one of his subordinates about bursts of comm traffic! Carter, your face, it is still not entirely under control. Though I give Taraji massive props for conveying straight-faced worry, that's not as easy as it sounds. She wants to know if he can hear anything they're saying and if he knows who's behind Reese, for strategic Feeb purposes of course. Not yet, but by the tone of even those two words Donnelly is certain he'll find out. Oh honey. You have no idea the shitpile you're about to step into.
Shane is still trying to get everyone but him out, which to me indicates a massive guilt complex, survivor's guilt maybe? He did work demolitions. Trying to get Abby out ahead of himself is one thing, but trying to alter Reese's plans when Reese is clearly the more trained and more experience covert operative here is foolhardy at best. It's also more likely about protecting Abby, since Reese is the more trained and lethal covert operative and the most likely to get out of all this alive, so it might be less of guilt and more of misplaced priority of love, but it's still a dumbass move. Fortunately Reese isn't listening, and is still insisting that they are all going to get out. Specifically, the two relative civilians (very relative on Shane's part) are going to get out ahead of him. See also Reese is the trained and experienced operative, and also they're his assignment. Finish the mission. Shane hauls himself up first, hauls Abby after, and Reese is still laying down suppression fire when we change scenes. We're changing scenes a little bit quicker now but still slow enough to complete a pretty complex thought in each, so it's not immediate tension with payoff within the next minute. The payoff's coming soon, though.
Up in the bank Finch is wandering around knocking out cameras like it's nothing. Sometimes Finch's lack of standard emotional responses comes in handy, he's giving no outward and significant distress signs, so he's largely ignored by everyone else who sees a suit with glasses and expensive equipment and assumes he's supposed to be there. If anyone notices the distress, well, it's a bank. There are a lot of quietly distressed businessmen running around, especially these days. The feebs come roaring up, and now we are getting to slightly more quick scene changes, and more complex things going on. Such as Chapel coming in the doors while Donnelly's laying out the assault plan! Carter's half-hearted half-query about how quiet it looks in there has, for us, the tinge of desperation, and it's likely due to Donnelly's target fixation that he doesn't find it odd that a sharp and tenacious cop like herself doesn't remember the explosion was underground with little to no surface disturbance. He's not paying attention to details like that, though. All he sees is that they finally almost have the Man in the Suit. And, you know, the real bad guy in the current picture is just waltzing on in, because he's a businessman, and they're not criminals. Or so they'd desperately like you to believe, at the moment. It's a smooth cut from outside following Chapel to inside, and he'd like to get into the vault now please and thank you. I assume that's reasonable protocol for someone with a mighty need to access his safe deposit box, because otherwise the woman at the front podium should really be calling security right now. But he is presenting ID, and he is keeping calm, maybe it is appropriate protocol. Finch isn't pleased by it, though. He turns and almost runs into Shane and Abby, hey! And presents them with their cover IDs and their cover answers in quiet, rapid, but still clear tones. He does very well under pressure, our Harold. As long as they can avoid eye contact with Chapel they should also be able to avoid scrutiny from the FBI who, about five minutes shy of thirty in-episode seconds, come marching in. Seriously, you couldn't have cut that a little closer? That was almost thirty in-episode seconds! They secure the foyer, Carter does not react to seeing Finch, everyone's safe except for Reese, who is still unaccounted for and Finch is getting really worried. Though about the only way we can tell is the slight widening of the eyes and increasing facial tension, accompanied by his use of the familiar name.
Down in the basement, the goon leader is also sounding the alarm and hiding from the Feebs, so at least there's that silver lining. It's a very dark cloud, though, Reese is listening and looking around and has decided that escape is such a slim probability as to be ill advised. It's a nice callback to earlier, and this ep is just full of call backs and forwards, isn't it? when their positions were reversed, but Reese is far more boxed in than Finch was, and if they don't all know it yet it's only because Finch isn't as reflexive about Reese in thinking that way. He lets Finch know via the comm and gives him the traditional It's Been An Honor speech, and smashes the phone as Finch all but whimpers. There's a character development marker for you, we wouldn't have heard that quiver in his voice nor heard him address Reese by his first name this time last season, and yet, here we are. No time for freakouts, though, and his voice is steady and strong as he gives his ID and cover story to the FBI agent doing the security check. Now we are on quick cuts, wrapping up lines in rapid succession and building up to the final reveal. Chapel gets to stand in line and be security checked by many men with guns and can't do a damn thing about watching the two people who he knows robbed him hand over paperwork to a third party, so that's like karmic retribution! Abby gets the satisfaction of screwing Chapel over for justice, reparations for the injured, and revenge. Finch gets at least half a job well done, though given that Reese is still in jeopardy I doubt that's anything like satisfying. Fusco has them covered for an escape through the front door, keeping their covers from being questioned too hard, and Donnelly has.... four clean-cut military bearing white men in suits all with the same pokerfaced expression. Carter isn't prepared to identify any of them concretely, and Donnelly's irritated "cuff 'em all" is priceless. This is going to be the best pea-and-shell game ever!