Thursday, November 7, 2013

Better Make Up Something Quick (Person of Interest S2E14 One Percent)

Yes, yes, we're being watched. (Fun fact: Whenever A and I sit down to simulwatch an episode of this we generally signal that we've got the TV/computer cued up with "Are you being watched?" "Yep, you?") All we get of this week's number is a guy in a rather nice suit looking back at Reese, who is also dressed in a rather nice suit. We can guess, though we don't get an explicit meeting of the eyes or minds, that this week's number has made Reese at some point in the initial surveillance, and that he's either rich or works as a con artist among rich people, but that's about it.

So! On to the data, then. This is not actually the data we were led to expect by the opener, though I suppose Guy In Tux could be some sort of star basketball player or other sportsman? No, not likely. This directly contradicts the data given in the opening, in point of fact, implying that the number of the week is whimsical to the point of being radically unpredictable. And we all know how much Reese and Finch love things and people they can't predict. He's playing basketball, rather well actually, and talking trash with his fellow players. Definitely just talking trash, though, since they're playing to the best of their abilities around each other and nothing else in the body language indicates hostility. In the category of less observational and more recorded data, the number's name is Logan Pierce and he dropped out of CalTech to do something else. Oh, hey, we do have a little courtside violence or at least Pierce falls over, whether that's due to a sudden bout of lack of coordination (hey, it happens) or aggression it's hard to tell. At first. No, the one guy throws the ball to him with no more force than necessary, so Pierce is just tripping over his own shoelaces. And they're still talking trash. So, these guys are familiar with each other, and friendly. In the next couple seconds we also learn that he's into performative physical comedy (he's a showoff clown, in other words) and he's filthy fucking rich, because that is a car that serves no purpose other than to show off how filthy rich you are. Or how flat is the place in which you live, because as low to the ground as that thing is you'd scrape your undercarriage apart within a month if you lived in the mountains like I do. More recorded data after Pierce zooms off in his showpiece, he's a self-made billionaire (which is one explanation for why he doesn't seem to be concerned with doing typical rich people things or maintaining a public image) who made his fortune with his genius IQ (which means increasingly little these days, as far as I can tell) and a social networking site called Friendczar dot com. Because that doesn't sound familiar at all. Reese asks what we're all thinking, which is didn't Finch invent social networking? While Finch might have invented social networking, he describes Pierce as perfecting it, which is an interesting tack to take when Finch usually describes their numbers in terms subordinate or at least equal to himself. Particularly when they're in the same field, but generally either morally or intellectually he considers himself above most people. Yes, we're amused at the moralizing too. Not so much with Pierce, he seems to admire the guy at least as far as his programming and technology skills go. Pierce has a friend who handles the business side of things, Justin Ogilvy, and they're taking Friendczar public in 72 hours. Essentially, they stand to make a lot of money if nothing changes and everything goes to plan for the next 72. Pierce's death is certainly an impending change! Reese is up for bodyguarding him except for the tiny problem that he can't track Pierce because he can't clone his phone, to which Finch responds that Pierce changes his phone twice a day anyway to avoid corporate espionage. Well, I guess if you have the money to buy burner phones by the case, but, seriously? That seems inefficient and impractical. Especially if the phones are sequential. Anyway, Finch has managed to discover by the old school expedient of reading the news that Pierce is supposed to attend a charity auction, to which Reese will also be sent. Though I'm amused that Finch's plan consists of suit descriptions. And also how the hell did he get a bespoke suit without Reese knowing? I'm pretty sure that's physically impossible.

Over at the police desk Carter is still working the Davidson case and Fusco is still squirming over it. Really, he has a point about the likelihood of a single anonymous tip on a murder case that's got a lot of controversy around it by its very nature panning out at all, but since this is television we know it would if she followed it to the end. And she, too, has a point that an IAB cop who may or may not have been corrupt is someone a lot of people would want dead. Oh yes. But apparently Davidson isn't the only cop who went missing last year. We also have, wait for it. Detective Stills! Hey Reese. Come over here and join Fusco in the hot box. I seriously have to wonder, though, if she's investigating Detective Stills when she hasn't come up with the fact that there's been continuing activity under Stills' name and likely his badge number. Since Reese has been using it and all. Into this morass comes Finch with a task that's at least more clear-cut if not less frustrating: can she look into several lawsuits regarding this Pierce character, who apparently has also a history of violence, prior convictions. Prior convictions? Several lawsuits? Apparently two hundred, oh goodie. Finch, now you're just trolling, on purpose by the way he doesn't even blink when she hangs up on him. Some days he's a jackass, some days he's just oblivious. That settled, Finch leans over and looks... at Bear? Who is lying on the ground pointed at the door making forlorn noises. Oh Bear honey. This is just one of those things that pet owners know from experience; with Reese having upset their routine by being gone several days, any long absence from the library makes Bear sad because his human might not come back! His human was gone and didn't come back for A Very Long Time, and what if that happens again? Whimper! Finch can't even interest him in his tennis ball, his tennis ball is not Reese. Poor puppy.

Reese is at the auction, though, doing all right as far as moving in the crowd goes but evidently this is the sort of place where Reese feels the weight of imminent social difficulties? Or as he calls it, feeling out of place. Finch says not to worry, he'll talk him through it, and this right here might highlight more than anything else the class differences in the origins of our dynamic duo here. Consider that Finch has removed himself from society for decades, if not most of his life, but he feels comfortable enough among the ridiculously wealthy, the One Percent to drop an episode title, that he can talk Reese through any difficulties that may arise. While being several decades out of practice. Reese, on the other hand, despite having at least a handful of years experience in infiltrating places, masquerading as different people in different social situations, and otherwise being inoffensive, feels stand-out-ish and awkward in the center of the glitz and glam of high society. We've seen these two hints at our boys' background before, but never quite so handily summarized in a couple of sentences. And this, of course, will be relevant to the case at hand. Reese finds Finch and Ogilvy, along with a third person who Finch decides is Jeremy Campbell, Pierce's lawyer, whose only source of income is Friendczar. Pierce is telling an amusing story about some trouble he got into and Finch is reminding Reese, unnecessarily, of his cover identity. Well, unnecessary for Reese, who is probably putting up with it only because the narrative demands and because he's used to Finch backseat spying by now. We get to hear this for the first time, though! Apparently Reese is now John Wyle (Wiley?), Hedge Fund Manager. John Rooney, Assets, is only a single digit millionaire, and this requires a different kind of rich. Reese wonders with some amusement and incredulity how much money Finch has, and so do we. Except that all I can think of is a scene from Sneakers where they're in the bank, on the computers, and Sidney Poitier is asking Robert Redford just how much money he wants. Yeah. That's how rich Finch is, I'd bet. Up comes another couple who engage in some passive aggressive social jockeying, as we learn via Finch that these are the Kamins and they are also social networking site managers whose property was severely devalued when Friendczar came online. Well, that does explain that. And Pierce looks over and stares right at Reese. Yeah, I guess he was right about that sore thumb thing. So, there's a brief conversation of less than a minute wherein Reese takes Finch's cues (presumably, because there's very little reason to think that he knows anything about a carried interest loophole, enough to pull it up at short notice) and Pierce's eyes glaze over and he doesn't even bother to excuse himself. Remember about how our boys' contrasting backgrounds was going to be important later? Turns out it wasn't even five minutes later. Finch refers to Pierce as a One Percenter who finds other One Percenters boring. I'd go a step further and say it's not just that, Pierce enjoys subverting expectations to an extreme, and finds it dull when other people don't share that interest. So, to get his attention... well, yeah.

On to the auction itself, where the first lot is a collection of Albert Einstein letters, oh shiny. It rapidly turns into a cockfight between Pierce and Mr. Kamin, which turns into a dick-waggling from Pierce. I'm not even kidding, he's putting on a blatant peacock show here and expecting no one else to rise to the challenge. Poor Finch. Poor Finch's bank account. No, I don't feel that sorry for Finch's bank account. Reese doubles the bid, getting the letters and Pierce's attention and a mild whimper from Finch. Really, Finch, you're going to talk about giving Reese a cover identity of a nine figure millionaire and you expect him not to actually use it? Don't be stupid, Finch. Leave that to Pierce, who appears to be having an enthusiastic affair with Mrs. Kamin. Oh goodie. I like Reese's use of the word 'encroaching.' While Pierce is off canoodling with someone else's wife his co-workers seem to be holding a presser, the announcement Finch spoke of earlier. The announcement is pretty boilerplate when a company wants to raise expectations without giving details, but it's what happens after that's telling. The board isn't happy with Pierce, they consider him a loose cannon by the sound of it, and they want Ogilvy to get control of him, to wrangle him into a more acceptable form of eccentric millionaire so the rest of them can have their fortunes assured. And that said, this millionaire will proceed to get even more eccentric and become more of a pain in the ass to Reese and Finch by booking out of there via helicopter. Oh fun.

All right, for this week our past experiences are in 2001, Finch is happily coding some new heuristic algorithm that he wants to tell Nathan all about, except Nathan's kind of wrecked right now. Not very disheveled or dirty as such things go, but looking very strained and with his suit rumpled enough that he's either been out all day doing exertive labor or he hasn't slept or changed his clothing since the day before. It's dark outside and the timestamp says 10 and change, so at a guess he's been out all day? Well, never mind that, something happened that Nathan wants to show him. It takes about four words for us to know what happened "... a plane?" "Two planes." Yeah, we all know, it's one of those things where you don't have to explain, not to anyone born old enough to realize at the time. And in fact the editors, director, writers, someone out there is merciful because we get those informative words and then cut to the reaction shot of both of them sitting dully in their chairs with the shocked expression of just about everyone in the country at that point. Nathan muses aloud on how they set out to change the world (There's that Sneakers echo I keep hearing, again.) but they're the only one who changed, and it's the people who did this horrible thing that really changed the world. In order to affect the world, they have to match the impact and, as Nathan is fixated on, stop the people who did this. The camera closes in on Finch, who we know is the executor of the plan if not the impetus behind it. The reflection in his glasses gives him a really sinister air, too.

Back in the present Pierce is giving at least Reese and probably the people around him and even some of the audience every impression of losing it. Because what else are you to think when the guy is walking down the street in boxers and bathrobe, and everyone else seems to be bundled up in winter coats. Maybe not freezing dead of winter, but he definitely should be feeling it. And he's whistling. Finch lets us know that the closest thing he has to a routine is a weekly visit to the dry cleaners, which seems to be where he's headed now? Or a clothing store. Reese sounds a bit peeved as he asks Finch where he is, who simply responds "at work." Finch, that jackassery you were doing earlier? You're doing it again. No, it turns out that Finch has replaced the normal guy by dint of giving him a full scholarship, so I do rather approve of Finch's techniques of getting people out of the way. It's not as though this is the first time that's happened, either. Finch knows exactly how Mr. Pierce likes his suits, and it turns out that not only has Pierce not run out of clean suits (well, in a way he has), he only has the one. Which he passes off with a quippy comment that sounds rehearsed for either just such an occasion or because he gets asked that a lot. My money's on the latter. And then he leaves, and while Finch is rather bad at being a blue collar worker, he's not too bad about being unobtrusive. And in the meantime he's replaced the guy's credit card with a bugged one and hacked into Pierce's calendar, so he can at least predict where he's supposed to show up next! Pierce doesn't seem interested in following a calendar that doesn't suit him, so the odds of being able to use that as a tool to keep an eye on him drop drastically with every event. Fun!

Pierce has his head on the table at the deposition. It turns out that Friendczar goes after the competition aggressively forcing them out either by purchasing them or by suing them until they collapse. Except that in this case, once Pierce is smacked into consciousness by means of a pen to the head, he seems to not only know what's being talked about, he essentially verbally contracts to fund the guy and drop the lawsuit. Probably not to anyone else's pleasure but the small business owner. Who's next? Someone who wanted to launch a matchmaking site but got buried when she agreed to be assisted by Friendczar, which sounds par for the course. The plaintiff in question, though, is nowhere to be found at this deposition. Apparently because of intimidation tactics! Or so her lawyer alleges. Pierce would like not to be found at this deposition either, or at the following board meeting, he'll be over on Coney Island, with some more quippy comments that at this point seem like he's thinking them up just to dig in the fact that a) he can wander off whenever he wants and b) he has no fucks to give. He sold them all, that's how he made all his money. Meanwhile Emily's lawsuit for her matchmaking site is going to drop if she doesn't show up soon. Oh, hey, it's the Board member guy, still complaining about Pierce's behavior and in this case he has a legitimate complaint because Pierce's stint in boxers and robe is now on the front pages of some newspaper that does not look legit in any way. Pierce still has no fucks to give for anything except the Board Member's inclination to try to keep him from doing what he wants, which is shabby crap up with which Pierce will not put. Pierce will now proceed to use his software creating genius as leverage, by pointing out that he is in fact more valuable to the company than either the Board Member or than he is a detriment by wandering around New York in his boxers, and he'll see everyone at lunch. On Coney Island. This is about the most aggressive I've seen anyone passive at, well, anyone. He's managing to combine the internet terms of trolling and "look at all the fucks I do not give" into physical form. It's kind of elegant, really. Also deeply irritating for everyone around him. Including Reese!

Who at least gets to follow him to Coney Island on a bike, which gives him full vantage of Pierce losing control of his very fancy car. Since, hey, not only is his car very fancy, it's also very computerized. Thereby letting someone hack his car, take it over, and drive it very fast and very recklessly, much to Pierce's distress since as Reese notes for us, he normally drives with precision. Which about fits with Pierce's carefully cultivated gives no fucks attitude. He's kind of a jerk, but he's already demonstrated a willingness to be caring to others. Driving recklessly, that fast, would not be demonstrably caring to others. So, yes, Pierce is in distress, and Finch will piggyback off of Reese's phone if Reese can get close enough, and hack the car himself. Which he does! Thankfully quickly, since Reese can't keep up with him for long. It turns out someone has gone in and just locked the car in third gear at high speed, which, for anyone who's driven a manual? Ow. Pierce does what anyone would do in the situation (or maybe not, since I think a lot of people would take longer to work through the panic first, digital cars are still relatively new), he calls Tech Support! Played in this case by Finch, who is doing somewhat more than your average tech support staffer would, he's actually trying to hack into the car and get control back to Pierce. Just so we have a further element of suspense to the whole thing, as though one was needed but it's customary, Reese warns Finch that if he doesn't stop him that incoming cargo truck will. Which I suppose is better than hey look there's a young lady on a bike Pierce is about to hit. Finch does return control to Pierce, who slams on the brakes, and that's a rare example of Reese's narration "Finch, you saved him" being entirely unnecessary and therefore feeling a bit extraneous to the situation, but necessary in the story because Finch may have no real way of knowing just from his display if Pierce crashed or not. Everyone can now collapse in relief.

Or not,  because Pierce has ducked out of the car and into a cab by the time Reese gets to him. Maybe they need to put a bell around the guy's neck. Reese suggests a different tactic that, please, say this involves bells around necks, and Finch is right now too drained on the downswing to object. Cut over for an explanation to the building where Pierce seems to have at least one of his offices, and a voice on his intercom telling him there's a John Wiley here to see him. Pierce isn't interested and if Wiley objects, Security can explain it to him, but Reese is busy explaining the situation to security as we hear from the standard combat sounds wafting through the door. As does a security goon shortly thereafter, to Pierce's surprise and our amusement. Violence played for comedy! One of Person of Interest's stocks in trade when it comes to Reese. Our friendly neighborhood spyssassin explains the situation to Pierce in blunt terms, without equivocation, and Pierce looks at him, looks at the unconscious body (in a very awkward position, ow) of his security guard, comes around the desk to look at Reese some more like he's evaluating the situation. Difficult to tell whether he's evaluating it correctly. The other interesting thing here is that the moment of walking around the desk and staring is shot and scored to be loudly equivalent to Reese's all out of bubblegum moments, when usually that music dies down with the end of combat rounds. Not here, though. It continues up through Pierce's response, which is "Sounds like fun" and ends on a couple of dramatic beats between that and "See, I knew you were interesting." And by this we know that Reese's dream of this being an easier assignment once he explained things to Pierce just popped like a soap bubble.

Are we going back to 2009 on a wave of subverted expectations or eccentric rich people? I can't tell. But as of 2009 sometime the Machine is on a train to Des Moines (HAH. Probably not.) and it'll be at its destination in 10 days. (Okay, that I believe.) And now, Nathan? Finch asks what he would like to do next, invest in clean energy, clean water for everyone? Nathan, as it turns out over the next couple of exchanges, would like to invest in saving the irrelevant list, too. Finch is not interested in saving the irrelevant list and apparently they've discussed this and agreed not to put in a backdoor. It takes a second, but eventually it does come down to Finch giving him an ultimatum either to pick something more acceptable or to move on without him. Ouch, Finch. I'd say this is supposed to illustrate how much he's changed in the last few years, but honestly? He hasn't.

Back in the present Finch is looking at what seems to be testimony from the young lady Emily who created Alchementary, talking about an algorithm to predict if relationships will last. And how she is going to make sure Pierce and Ogilvy keep their promise to help launch it. That sounds ominous. And like a potential suspect. Finch certainly looks worried, and Bear concurs! Oh Bear. Meanwhile at Friendczar Reese and Pierce are leaving together, so Pierce hasn't ditched him in the time it took to achieve nightfall, and they're stopped by Ogilvy! Who wants to know if they'll be at the party. Oh, right, that party. Suddenly I have low expectations for Pierce showing up at the party. But yes, he says he'll be there and he'll be bringing Mr. Wiley. Apparently he's considering a merger! Despite the fact that he barely knows the guy. His quip for this is that makes Reese ideal, he hasn't had time to learn all his flaws yet. Oh Pierce. That's an incredibly jaded view to take of the world, despite your devil may care attitude. Onward and upward, with Finch telling Reese about Emily Morton's video. So, at this point Emily Morton is missing, she has cause to be angry with Pierce, and she has massive computer hacking skills. At least according to Finch, and while we have no real reason to disbelieve him, I wonder how much overlap there is between matching algorithms and car operating systems, and how much time she would have had to learn it. This may be akin to what TV Tropes calls the omnidisciplinary scientist, the scientist who can patch people up and diagnose a disease and explain why the star's about to explode all at once. That's not as common as it sometimes feels like, but it does strain disbelief if you think about it too much. Let's not think about it too much. Up comes Pierce, who apparently has bought the exact same car despite the old one not being damaged superficially in the speeding incident. Superficially, but I bet those brakes need worked on at the very least. Reese would like to know why, with all his money, he's buying the same damn car? Pierce claims not to collect toys, he buys the very best the first time around and if it suits him, he keeps that. Like this two million dollar watch he doesn't have to wind. Now, I can understand buying only what you need when you have the money to buy really good quality items the first time around, it goes with the Vimes Theory of Boots, but the hell would you buy a two million dollar watch? Unless, of course, you were indulging in conspicuous consumption, which is one of the first things we learned about Pierce. Sigh. Away he goes in his ridiculous car, mark two.

And over to the penthouse apartment of some kind in New York City, which automatically means expensive. Also going by the fact that they're descending instead of ascending into the next scene either Pierce has been taking Reese on a tour of the place, the elevator stops above what appears to be the main living area, or they arrived by helicopter. Not sure which of those is most likely but all of them indicate that Pierce is continuing to show off. And showing off is exhausting. Pierce's posture is more subdued here, his face somewhat more slack, he offers Reese a drink but since Reese is on duty and the situation offers him the luxury of turning it down, he does so. He is impressed that Pierce remembered what he had to drink at the charity auction, though. At least by way of saying so, albeit in a casual and bored tone. Pierce opines as knowing people is his business, whereas Reese comments that he thought Pierce's business was schmoozing. Technically, the latter requires the former, at least if you want to be at all successful at it, and it looks like Pierce is. I have to assume that Reese is just yanking Pierce's chain at this point, though. Reese would know something like that. Besides, isn't Pierce late for his own party? No, Pierce would rather play video games. Reese lets Finch know this, at which point Finch lets Reese know that Pierce basically sabotaged his own IPO by saying it's not nearly as shiny as it looks and people should wait a bit before jumping in the pool, test the water. Wow. I can't actually think of another business head real or fictional who's been quite that brazen about tanking his own public offering. The Board of DIrectors has predictably deposed Pierce, who really doesn't seem concerned either knowing that must have been about to happen or having heard that it did happen from Reese. Though he does down his scotch. Honestly, it's at this point that I'd start wondering what he has up his sleeve because anyone clever enough to make that kind of money would not be stupid enough to tank his position in keeping that money without some kind of backup plan. Still, Reese doesn't have time to wonder this, Pierce is starting to choke to death. And turn purple. Well, reddish purple. Time for an emergency tracheotomy! Wait, no, this is apparently an emergency intubation. I don't have the medical chops to determine whether or not this is safer than an emergency tracheotomy (I'm betting it is since it involves the least amount of cutting into the body.) or whether it would be effective at all given that that's a hugeass tube and Pierce's throat might well have swelled up enough to make it difficult to impossible to get that thing down. Still. This is television, and it works. Don't try this at home, kiddies.

After Pierce has recovered enough to snark some more, which can't take very long, he refers to that old allegedly Chinese (really it's more widespread than that) belief that if you save a person, they're your responsibility now. Reese is less than amused, and is more concerned with figuring out who had access to the drugged scotch. Oh, apparently only a hundred or so of his closest friends have access to his apartment. Yeah, Reese's look about sums up what I'm thinking now, only with less swearing. That's a pretty dumbass move even if no one's actively trying to kill you. Since we can't narrow down the suspect pool that way or by motive, who knows he's allergic to naproxen? He's not sure, it's an allergy that developed recently. All right, that does even narrow the suspect pool. A little bit. Now Pierce has a question, why is Reese doing this? His first and second guesses are even accurate simultaneously, as well as covering the most common reasons why people volunteer to do altruistic things. Admittedly not quite this extreme, normally, but it's television. Reese is not interested in answering questions, he's more interested in why Pierce picked out that second answer, intimating that Pierce knows from making deep dark mistakes. Pierce never thinks about the past, darling, it distracts from the now. Only less genial and high-minded than Edna and more driven, with a dark edge. Reese comments that this makes sense coming from a guy whose parents went bankrupt, ah-hah? Sort of. It explains some things, the not collecting, the behavior in the deposition, as well as the drive. It doesn't entirely explain everything, but really even at this point we don't need as much of an explanation as we got. The point of that line isn't to explain Pierce, it's to show him that Reese knows things too, and isn't necessarily to be underestimated. Then comes the relevant bit, sort of, and pun somewhat intended. It turns out Pierce's parents owned a little camera shop, and Pierce's father insisted that things would turn around as film slowly died out and digital replaced it. From this, Pierce learned that change is inevitable, that you have to accept that and keep changing, keep moving, or you'll be left behind, go bankrupt, and die poor and painfully. All technology dies eventually, and the only constant is people and making connections. I would posit that this supposedly throwaway line, all right, yes, isn't meant to imply anything for plot down the line, but is meant to reflect what Finch is doing in building the Machine, that he built something that was more than just technology that would become obsolete, he built something that would see people, perceive them as other people do, find connections, and build on that. At any rate, Reese observes that Pierce might want to start building a suspect list from some of his hundred plus connections, and with that observation Pierce is done for the night. Reese is not. He'll just be off with this bottle to find out what he can find out.

Which apparently means leaving Pierce alone in his apartment. Because that's clever. Goddammit Reese you're usually better than this, what happened to making Finch come to you? As in, to the fucking apartment? No? No. Finch has to meet him outside, around several corners by the look of the building they're meeting in front of, and talk about how sad Bear is and how he didn't want to come for a walk. Oh, wait, no, Finch will grab the idiot ball and start nattering about stress in the home makes dogs sad and has Reese been under any undue stress lately? Reese answers in the only way you could, sarcastically, reminding Finch of exactly what he's been through the past several episodes. Anyway, Reese hands off the scotch bottle to Finch to hand off to Carter for prints (Reese, you couldn't have called Carter directly? Is making everything as difficult as possible contagious or something?) and Finch agrees it's time to move Pierce to a safehouse. That should be easy, he's right behind them. REEESE. How the FUCK did you not hear him walking up behind you. Jesus. Wait, no. Also Finch has totally been made.

After the commercial break we find out just how made Finch is, which is a lot. Pierce found the bug in the credit card, made his voice for the one over the other end of the car who fixed it so Pierce could actually drive again, and probably the dry cleaners too, though that doesn't get a mention. What does get a mention is Finch's suit, and all of them are probably bespoke except since we heard the word earlier in the episode we have some context to understand that, even if we didn't know the definition before this, it means 'very rich person.' And that security guard Reese took out is apparently ex-Mossad and highly rated in Krav Maga. Which I think is actually most to all Mossad after a certain level, and definitely anyone who would subsequently be regularly employed as a bodyguard instead of an analyst or something, so, um. Yes. Pierce has made Finch and Reese as the money/logistics and the muscle. Pierce continues in this line of not really questioning, more like gushing, over how he's figured them out but he hasn't been able to find out a damn thing about them (which causes Reese to give Finch a look, possibly because not everything he's ever done has been that well classified, especially against Pierce) and do you know how awesome that is? Finch is not best pleased. He would like to get back to the business of saving Pierce's life now, which means getting him to the safehouse. Pierce thinks it's silly to keep him in the city, and they should have him go hide out some other place he knows. Um, guys? Why are you letting this already problematic subject dictate where you hunker down? Guys? Hello?

St. Petersburg. St. Fucking. Petersburg. Okay, sure, why not, I give up, you all can do what you want and make the most ridiculous fucking mistakes, I don't care. I'll be over here with my oversized cookie muttering about how I know you're not this dumb. The point of putting Pierce in a safehouse was to keep him in an environment they could control until they could locate and neutralize the threat. About the extent of their control in St. Petersburg is the room of wherever they hole up in, if that. They're not even holing up in a room! They're walking out in the open. Because that's clever. Oh, they're letting him dictate the safehouse? Even better! Reese is correct, this isn't a safehouse, this is a bar. This is nothing like a controlled environment, no matter what the bar started out as, and yes, Reese, you let the billionaire drive, so you got flown all the way to Russia for double-fried dumplings. Stew in your own idiocy. Back in New York Finch is trying to solve both the mystery of who wants to kill Pierce more actively than everyone else, and what to do about Bear not wanting to eat or play or walk or anything. It turns out Carter did get a match off the bottle for at least one set of prints. The lawyer's! I'd be more excited if I knew whether or not the lawyer got invited up to Pierce's pad on a regular basis. And we're back in Russia, where Pierce is eating dumplings and getting glared at by Reese. I have no sympathy for you anymore, Reese, you let the subject run the operation, you get to choke on the consequences. Which include, by the way, one of the top suspects turning up at the bar because Pierce called him there for signing things. But, hey, at least we get the explanation for Pierce's ludicrous behavior! Well, some of it. The Board's forcing him out means he doesn't operate under a non-compete clause, which leaves him free to work on other projects. The information's coming fast and thick now, not that it's going to make my headache from everyone's idiocy go away very easily, but it turns out that not only does the lawyer have access to Pierce's medical records for insurance purposes, Friendczar-as-Pierce was going to be looking for new representation after the IPO. One might expect that, since Pierce was also going to be looking for a new job after those stunts, he might have decided to take his old lawyer with him, but using that to counterindicate murder would require informing his lawyer, and that seems not to have happened. Lawyer person, don't waggle your finger in Reese's face, you're not in the states anymore and I doubt the police here give a shit if you're being assaulted by your client's bodyguard. Oh, and while the lawyer's writhing on the floor with a broken finger, here come more of Pierce's friends! Who he may have invited to a hideout shindig. Reese is in fact so disgusted with the cavalier attitude that he walks out. Really? How is any of this a surprise to you? Though I'm not sure this isn't a part of the plan, either. He calls in to Finch that the lawyer is down and no longer a threat and Pierce is surrounded by, well, people. Of intentions unknown. The number of fucks Reese gives could be measured in a quarter of a thimble.

Back over at the precinct where Carter still has fucks to give she is currently focusing them on the Davidson case again. Still. Something. Fusco checks up on her, if she wants a coffee or something, which is fine, then keeps prodding a bit. The first question is subtle, though his intonation is off from what it usually is, but by the time he gets around to being all smiles and saying he's glad she has his back because lawyer trying to kill his client, yeah, Carter knows something's funky and so do we. She would like him to quit the bullshitting and just drop it, so he does, and then she really wants him to drop it before he gets into the details of these mistakes he's made. For the next few sentences we'll get into personal opinions, murky as they are: I don't know how I feel about this. My gut feeling and first instinct is that this is a dick move for Carter to pull, she's already compromised the hell out of her principles for Finch and Reese, not to mention received help from Fusco, but she's not willing even to hear him out about something he might only want to confess in the interests of full disclosure to his partner? I don't like that. I'm less clear on whether or not I think it's in character, or if I think it does a disservice to the character but reflects some flaws it'd be likely for Carter to have, or whatall goes there. I also think Fusco is the kicked puppy in this little team, and that irritates me periodically, now being one of the periods of greater irritation on that particular front. Okay, personal opinions over. I leave them out clearly labeled so you can interpret and treat them as such! Carter is very adamant on all her points but her phrasing makes it unclear, maybe because she's unclear, whether or not she believes Fusco is asking for her help to cover up past crimes or whether she doesn't even want to hear about it because she would feel like she's covering it up just by not reporting it. She is, however, clearly associating it with at least the general severity of cops murdered by cops, if not these two cases specifically. Fusco, meanwhile, is obviously hurt and unhappy about her decision even as he agrees to respect it. It's possible he thinks it's no less than he deserves; he's definitely not surprised by her position.

Back in St Petersburg Reese is walking along a bridge cheerfully asking Finch what their new number is and he'll be back for it soon. Ah, but they don't have a new number! They have a new threat for their old number! Le sigh. In general, sighing and eyerolling. Either they have a new threat other than the lawyer or the lawyer wasn't the overall threat, and whichever it is the point is Pierce is in trouble again, so they have to rescue him or the Machine will torment them with ringing phones. I'm only partly kidding, there's definitely an air of 'sigh, again?' to Reese getting a location on Pierce. Bed, made, lie, Reese. Over at the hotel he doesn't get an answer when he calls Pierce's name and tries the door, so out comes the gun and in comes Reese's ready for violence music. Except the armed chick on the other side of the door does not look like she intends to do violence first. Besides, it's Emily Morton. She might be a decent shot, but Reese disarms her easily on account of how she's not used to firearms and doesn't seem to like them anyway, by her weak grip. That's more the weak grip of someone who doesn't want to be holding that than someone who is physically unable. From here it's a short jump to concluding that Emily and Pierce are working together to, as Finch says, cannibalize Friendczar and, as I would say, make beaucoup bank off of the new arrangement. Which Pierce is now even legally able to do, given the actions of the Board. It's pretty slick, and it even gives us a new prime suspect: Ogilvy, Pierce's most likely former friend and partner in the original enterprise. Hey, speaking of! Ogilvy is standing on a bridge, another one? The same one Reese was on? I'm going to go with the same for ease of travel time, anyway, Pierce is walking up on him all buddy-buddy. Those very large men behind Pierce are not feeling very buddy-buddy. Ogilvy isn't even sorry, really, or maybe the bitters outweigh the sorry? Because the last thing he says before we go to commercial on the sound of Pierce getting hit hard is that Pierce brought this on himself. Ouch. True! But ouch.

Back from commercial Ogilvy halts the beating so he can ramble, which, okay, fine, let's have the motive rant. He always knew a woman would come between them, but he expected the sultry, late night television version rather than the tech, etc. Ouch, dude. Can't women have slick, badass code skills too? I'm only halfway kidding, this reflects a pervasive and pernicious idea that women aren't programmers or developers or technologically inclined and therefore aren't a threat in the related fields. And even though it's coming from the mouth of someone we're meant to dislike, I still give the writers some side-eye for it. I'm assuming, though, that we're meant to take this as a sign of Ogilvy's perfidy because Pierce goes on to praise Emily's passion and say how Ogilvy used to be like her. From there on it's pretty standard I had to do all the heavy lifting while you chased your dream and you never appreciated that ramblings, the one twist does come when Pierce is holding forth about how Alcumentary is what people want, the perfect match, he gets to friends and Ogilvy interrupts to ask him what the hell does he know about friendship? He has no friends, all his friends want him dead. It's a fair point, too, despite Pierce clearly having some idea of how to interact with and treat people, apart from the initial basketball game we haven't see him around anyone who doesn't have a reason to, well, kiss his ass. Or at least attempt to play nice. What he does seem to have plenty of are sycophants. And now he has one ex-friend who's getting into a car and driving away as the two goons he hired get ready to throw him over into the river. That's okay, the goons also have kneecaps, and Reese has a gun. And really, that's all you need. Reese at least only gives a mild I-told-you about the friends part as he helps Pierce up and walks him back to the hotel. We do get a parting bit of physical comedy, though.

2009 again. Finch delivering his ultimatum. Followed by the Machine's first irrelevant number or as it terms them, non-relevant, and it seems to have a protocol installed to contact the auxiliary admin. Oh Nathan. What did you do. As he sits in his car we see the woman's picture over his shoulder, and "domestic assault" "restraining order," things of that nature written on the paper below that. Nathan, sweetie, you're not a Spec Ops trained anything. Just what are you going to do with that gun? To be honest, the first time we saw this we did think this was how Nathan died and how Finch got started on the numbers, because the likelihood of this ending well was not very high at all.

Still, we don't get to see how it ends, because we're too busy zipping back to the present in time to see the news broadcast about Ogilvy being brought up on charges of attempted murder! Yay! Ish. Friendczar's stock is doing a Facebook (leading me to really wonder about the writers' predictive model since this is somewhat less obvious than The NSA Is Spying On Everyone) and Pierce's new enterprise has been announced, the only surprise there is that they're also partnered with Kamin. Huh. We skip back over to the basketball court where Pierce is betting cars against the other guy for next baskets. Oh Pierce. It's a TV show, and Pierce isn't actually a bad guy, so between the two factors we can pretty easily guess that this is a silly way of giving the guy a car. Aww. Reese has been watching this, and though it's hard to tell what specifically he makes of the whole thing once everyone's left to go drool over Pierce's friend's new car, we get a rare moment of Reese actually behaving like a normal person and shooting the ball once. Okay, poor choice of words. You know what I mean. I'm reasonably sure this is a nod to Jim Caviezel's tragically cut short basketball career, but it works, given the circumstances. We tie up a few loose ends, including the affair, apparently Emily's algorithm said Pierce and Kamin's wife weren't compatible. Oops. And why didn't Pierce, if he'd warned Emily about Ogilvy, tell Reese that he knew who was trying to kill him? Not that Pierce will answer, but we all know it was to see what Reese would do and how he would operate. (POORLY. THE HELL. But at least Pierce doesn't know that.) He's decided that Reese does what he does because of altruism, which is sort of like a more accurate word starting with A, and gives him a watch for his trouble and as a thank you. Aww? And now he'll take the subway back to his penthouse apartment, because that's how he rolls. Still don't trust you, Pierce. Still think you're being dumber than usual, Reese.

Over in the park for our closing scene Finch is walking Bear with Reese. Not for a number, which establishes the continual lack of Finch and Reese spending social time with each other, but for a date! I'd be surprised too, if I were Reese, but it's not a date for him, it's a playdate for Bear. Who Finch lets off the leash. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do that, Finch. Relatively sure. We'll go ahead and assume it's a potentially off-leash dog park, since Bear's only the excuse to have this conversation out of doors; Reese shows Finch what Pierce gave him as a thank you present. A watch! A two million dollar conspicuous consumption watch, which Reese does actually seem rather pleased with. At least until Finch stomps it into a two million dollar loss, and now Reese even sounds perturbed. Emotions! Over this billionaire and his watch gift! It's like he actually came to care for the guy. Finch would like to point out, though, that the watch came equipped with its very own GPS tracker. Reese will now point out that Finch does the same damn thing, though he sounds less peeved about the watch smashing, and quips that Finch may have just made a friend. Finch is not nearly so sanguine about this alleged friend, and neither is the Machine, who now has Logan Pierce on its list of subjects to be watched closely. We're still waiting for that one to go off, by the way.

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