Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bring Your Alibis (Person of Interest S2E15 Booked Solid)

We've only been wanting to use the Eagles for awhile in a post title! I'm just saying. Our first look at the number of the week is a hotel maid, oh THAT'S a miserable job. She looks Eastern European, and Reese is apparently undercover as a bellhop. No indications one way or the other aside from the statistical probabilities as to whether she's victim, perp, or both. The phone conversation we get is a little more enlightening, a someone Harris talking to someone, yup, that's a Balkans-area name. I don't know enough about my Slavic languages to say offhand which ethnicity, but it's safe to say the unnamed woman being talked about as a witness saw some form of horrendous war crime. Oh goodie. I guess we know which one she is!

Finch has clever tidbits of information about hotels, probably because he's stayed in so many of them he started learning about their history and assorted secrets out of a sense of self preservation. Or sanity. Reese has snark and a look about him that says he's not really recovered yet from his ordeal with Stanton and Snow and that whole clusterfuck. And they go in the employees entrance to the hotel in question! Alright then, apparently Finch is doing fieldwork too. We don't have to wait on an explanation for why; Finch thinks that based on what little data he has on Dobrica anything that's going down will happen here because she's single, no family, no going out and socializing, puts in 60 hour work weeks. Probably just trying to make ends meet, yeah, those are some fairly significant stats that lean toward her being threatened at work. Plus maids are both in a position to acquire a great deal of knowledge while having absolutely zero power, as Finch points out. I will take a moment to appreciate (sure, with trollfaces, why not) the fanservice of the boys getting dressed for work in the locker room. Om nom suits. And Reese takes a dig at Finch in a way he hasn't in a long fucking time, and I'm not sure how Doylist that's supposed to be, trying to pry further information out of Finch about his aliases and the ways in which he uses them. On account of Finch has a request into Immigration Services for Dobrica's records from '99… yeah, that puts it at Kosovo time. FUN. Not. There's a lot to do with identity this ep, as ever on this show, but for now we'll let the boys walk out into public.

Public, in this case, being the hotel lobby, where Finch gives Reese a brief bit of his background which does not include a last name. Finch. Be better. Okay, their boss is an asshat, we establish this right away by way of his insistence on last names, though granted Finch should've known that. Finch, you really don't do well at even a modicum of obsequiousness sometimes. Other times he does great with it! With assholes and still recovering his own self from the events of the midseason, maybe not so much. REESE. You be better too, I know you're capable of delivering a cover identity less deadpan snarking and pretending to be just the muscle and more, you know, believably. Though I do appreciate them splitting up the duties in a nice, sensible manner, 700 guests does not mean the hotel is necessarily filled to occupancy so it could get worse, and thus having someone at the desk and in the computers and someone on the floors with full access to the rooms makes total sense. In case we didn't already get the message that the boss is an asshole, he chews on Reese for staring around the lobby (yes, Reese, we know what you're doing, but could you be a little more subtle about it?) instead of setting to work. Well, dickhead, you hadn't obviously finished your speech about the incoming conference, and indeed he chose to finish his speech by chewing on Reese.

Much better than dickhead managers is Reese heading up to check out Mira Dobrica on 30 and running into Zoe. HI ZOE WE LOVE YOU ZOE. It's very meet-cute, very we're not looking at each other because we might rip each other's clothes off in this elevator if we do, and I need a minute to squee, okay? So adorable. Having confirmed that they're both working, Zoe flirts, and we'll be seeing more of her later. Yay! With this many unsubs to sort out they could definitely use a third set of hands. I'm sure John could use Zoe's set of hands for all kinds of things. Ahem. Camera planting happens now! I hope that thing's really small, because given the amount of time she spends with that thing she's likely to notice anything out of place. Oh, hey, raised voices behind the door where her cart's stopped. Reese, I know you're a dubiously colored knight in rusty armor, but Mira damn well deals with worse sexual harassment than that every goddamn day. There was no need to tip your hand that oh why do I bother. Suffice it to say, run of the mill sexual harassment from someone who thinks he's entitled to whatever woman he wants especially the ones who don't have enough power to fight back, and Reese charging in and just barely managing to escape being reported. You dumbass. Which Mira tells him much more gently and with a great deal of tactful redirection. I like her already. Starting with the polite I could've handled it and moving onto getting his name out of him, some gentle commentary about how he must have taken some wrong turns to end up here and Reese pulling the thousand-yard stare, ouch. And then offering information about how the hotel works (or in this case doesn't) and bringing him into the fold of hardworking people who would prefer not to be bossed around by an idiot asshole. It's not even calculated, I don't think, it's part survival mechanism and part just who she is, and Reese is both worn down enough by recent events and likes her enough to say it outright to Finch. Who will helpfully explain that she sought asylum as a Serbian refugee, but wait, weren't most of the ones who came to the US from Kosovo Albanian? Why yes. Yes they were. Making her either an odd duck or hiding something, and given that her number came up no points for guessing which. She was 16 when she came over, making her late 20s now, but an old and well-worn late 20s, as you might expect for a woman who lost her entire family during the genocide in Albania.

We move along to Finch managing guests and camera feeds at the same time! Finch, you are really peremptory. Not quite to the point of sucking at this, because he is being helpful, but I kind of facepalm at how not cut out for customer service he is. Oh, hey, on these feeds is the manager with his other bellhop who Mira's already disparaged to Reese! Trapping her in a storage area by the basement elevators, something about the police asking about a side operation and how he was thinking about how they might have found out about that. She's fucking terrified and doing a good job of hiding all but what she needs to look submissive and meek and no-I-would-never, and let's run down the list of possible illegal operations they could be running, shall we? Escort service. Money laundering. Drugs. Any number of other potential operations involving the moving of people, goods, or information. Let's add hotel staff to the list of threats along with the boys and move along, then!

To Hersch! Hi Hersch. How very not nice to see you out walking around outside of jail. Pennsylvania Two likes it, though, which automatically means I like it even less. We're once again given a familiar female figure bringing Two his coffee and some files and GEE, you guys, think you could drag this reveal out a little longer? Yes? Alright then. Two has orders about how their source is compromised (the Machine, one assumes) and Reese is working for someone very powerful, sufficiently so that they're approaching this with language that borders on that which you'd use to take down a sovereign nation or a multinational criminal organization. Congratulations, Finch. Just what you always wanted! Though not quite, on account of if they wanted to make this that messy they could, and instead they're aiming for find Reese, torture the information out of him, dispose of the body. Oh y'all are so CUTE how you think that's going to work. Though Hersch is absolutely right in that messes follow Reese around. For someone trained to military levels of neat precision he sure has a penchant for those. The sarcasm is free of charge, ladies and gents and all in between. So slimjiming a squad car for its radio and taking off with it outside the 31st precinct, sure, that's reasonable. I mean, if you're a government spyssassin with absolutely no regard for anything other than the mission you're tasked with at the time. No, I'm really not very impressed by Hersch. I'm mostly astonished he's stayed alive as long as he has.

On over to the main precinct, where Carter and Beecher are coming into work! Aww. Except not. Because we all know where this ends up. Right now, though, they're being adorable, he's teasing her about how he's got a very serious problem with a good enough deadpan she's even fooled for a second. Beecher, be nicer. Especially when Carter's willing to say that maybe it's time he and her son meet, which as we all know is one of the big signs of This Relationship Is Getting Serious for single parents. Particularly single parents with lots of reasons to be overprotective and not want to have a revolving door of guys through their kids' lives. But over Beecher's shoulder we have a feeb in an ill-fitting suit! Which will put an end to all manner of fun and games, the SAIC, Moss, his name turns out to be. Guy from the investigation into Donnelly's death! Who's been going through the paperwork and just now found the recommendation to extend Carter an offer for a field agent job with the Bureau. Aww! Which of course she will take, and of course they run down the list of background check stuff, which as far as I remember from the days when I was looking semi-seriously into law enforcement (look, it lasted about a month) is accurate. The FBI doesn't fuck around. Carter, poor woman, looks awful shellshocked, but there's a lot of good she could do there, including working for Reese and Finch. But not limited to, is the important part, she'd be out from under HR and dealing with a whole NEW set of potentially corrupt LEOs! Since we've seen those exist pretty much everywhere in this universe. Oh, and there's a polygraph. The hesitations are all very believable and Moss doesn't know Carter well enough to read them as anything other than "whoa what the fuck when did this become my life" surprise. We, of course, know better. Carter, you were an army interrogator, surely you know half a dozen ways to defeat a polygraph from the other side of the machine? Pun intended. From lying about a baseline question to sticking a tack in your shoe and letting the pain affect your truthful responses, there's all KINDS of things you can do. Fusco is concerned about losing his partner and, yeah, probably concerned that Carter's leaping without looking, but I don't think he blames her, either. That's a hell of a career opportunity. And between that and the fact that adding Carter in the FBI as a plotline to keep track of would be one damn thing too many, we know it'll go away somehow!

Back at the hotel where Finch and Reese confer briefly and exhaustedly, at least on Reese's end, over what they've found so far. Which is not a whole lot, though we get a nice foreshadowing pan of some guy in the lobby sitting and reading a magazine. Oh, and the girls that Derek the asshole manager is running. Yay! Or, you know, not, as the asshole in question comes up to chew on the boys some more and wants the "airplane geeks" out of the common areas. Wow, dude. I hate you kind of a lot right now. You know geeks save for this kind of thing, right? And then spend wildly? If you're not an asshole to them? Oh whatever, you earned the loss of income. I'm with Reese in hoping he's the threat, or at least doing something nice and illegal they can bust him over to Carter for in the course of the case. Speaking of! She does have information to pass along from vice, to the tune of anonymous tip, girl picked up but wouldn't talk, bail posted by the other bellhop inside of an hour. That's not the extent of the call, though! Carter I love you for calling Finch on his not even a little bit hiding that he listens to everything, even sideways. Finch, you can drop the disingenuous act now. She needs some calming down about the polygraph but has reached the same conclusion everyone else did the moment Moss made the offer: yes, it would be a great opportunity. And Finch has the same suggestion I did, because he's perpetually in too much control of his emotions. We call it flat affect, Finch, and it's not generally a compliment. You hear it most often in reference to sociopaths. Stop being snarky at each other over the intelligence of machines, especially you, Finch, you know she doesn't know the full extent of how you're getting the numbers yet. Jackass. At least he's being marginally helpful about stay away from him and Reese so she doesn't have any immediate stressors to lie about. And on over to Reese guys, it's never as simple as Mira called in the tip about the escort service and Derek's the threat. Well, almost never. And not in this case, you've got over half the ep to go oh oops was that my Doylist voice? It totally was.

The woman in question and the threat against her are converging, though! Down a maze of hallways which all look alike and she looks awfully nervous for some reason, to the point of nearly jumping at the guy who opens the door simultaneously with her trying to clean a room. Well, I would too, but since we're seeing it we know it's Significant. Oh, we're seeing it because British? Australian? journalist dude from the phone call way back at the start of the ep has a room at the end of the hall and wants to talk. Twitch. Dude, you couldn't have waited for her to finish the hall? Also she's proved capable of dodging much more aggressive guests, so the fact that she goes with as little protest as she does is a good indication that she's willing to do so. Or that he's got a lot of blackmail/coercion material on her, but we have the relevant phone call data and the boys don't. They should still be able to read the body language, though, and this is why you guys need Zoe. More. Finch freaks out, though I'll grant him that the drinking more than eating indicators are kind of worrying, Reese is busy maintaining two datastreams at once and doesn't really care about the bellhop one, so he misses that the hilarious woman is hitting on him until she tells him to feel free to drop himself off anytime. I don't think you want that, lady, he doesn't have all his shots and Zoe would be pissed. Ahem. You know who else sounds pissed? Harris and Mira! And if Reese were a little more on his game he'd know that that's the kind of argument that's not going to end in violence, it's an argument about doing the right thing and while yes, there are raised voices, they're both still well under control. Mira a little less than Harris, actually. Then again, Reese is capable of sounding in perfect control right before he shoots someone, and he is most recently attuned to spyssassin behaviors. Reeeeeeese. This is why you needed time off before jumping back into the field. SIGH. One very, very awkward barge-in and lousy attempt at a coverup (hey, at least he remembered the drinking detail) later and we get to see a number of pictures of people and file folders and that is not Dobrica. Miss Prosi, I think? In case we needed more confirmation that Mira's not who she appears to be, and Harrison looks weary and pleading. Not dangerous. Not a threat except possibly in that other people could be following him, but not the immediate source of the threat and, given the givens, as likely as Mira or whoever she is to end up dead. And now she'll chew on Reese some more in the hallway, yes, Reese, you don't have a clear and present threat yet. You have a highly traumatized woman who's moved on and is surviving if not thriving pretty damn well. You have one obnoxious guest who tried to sexually assault her, and one "boozehound" who neither you nor Finch has taken the time to learn anything about and you're not looking at the physical cues. Oh, and Reese? You're like twice her size. Quit looming and being intimidating with all your information, you of all people should know that doesn't work on the kind of tiny fierce women you like. Which is basically what Mira tells him, only more personally and more freaked out.

Finch continues to be snarky and helpful to the patrons he actually likes, and shove money away from this hotel. I continue to laugh at him. Reese looks vaguely shamefaced when he comes up to the desk. GOOD. YOU SHOULD, REESE. God. But he is right, as Finch relays what he's got on Charles Harris, a respected freelance journalist (which explains the booze) with lots of opinions on international politics (which really explains the booze) would be after Mira as a source. In all probability. Which means there's something for her to be a source about, which combined with the name change means her past may be catching up with her. THAT is a hypothesis worth testing! In the form of the spotter hanging out down in the lobby. Zoe makes a great tester, acting rather like the glammed up but still awkward version of Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That. (Look, there were classics references, I watched it, I'm not sorry.) We will all proceed to die laughing at the notion of Zoe being that accidentally clumsy, though she sells it really well, doing the whole awkward socializing not taking the fuckoff cues from the guy with the magazine. I love you, Zoe. Never change. Guy gets wine all over him! Guy goes off to get clean clothes while talking into an earpiece. Wow, they aren't even trying to hide this, though admittedly they have no reason to suspect anyone's onto them. Finch pulls up feeds! Guy at the bar, which is just behind where the guy in the lobby was sitting, comes out, takes the same seat, and taps his earpiece to confirm he's in place. Oh, and there's a guy at a side entrance rotating to the bar! That's a nice full team of spotters. Excuse, a hit squad, thank you, Reese. Some more exposition elf dialogue to lead us up to the commercial break, though it's a valid question, Mira hasn't shown any signs of the kind of physical training that would lead to her being able to overpower a single man. So this seems like a lot of overkill from a very paranoid person. Well, there's a lot of those in the Balkans, and many of them were and are very, very bad people.

After the break, the original spotter's headed back down, Mira's in the kitchen (with three witnesses, we see on the feeds, so hopefully not in immediate danger) taking a food break, and Reese will totally go check out the spotter's room now. Uh. Reese? You know there might be another guy in there, right? I mean, they've gotta sleep sometime, they ought to have one or two more to stage breaks, not least because frankly, this kind of boringass surveillance work will wear down even the most well-trained operative's reflexes. Oh well. The room is registered to a Peter Krieg, notable mainly because Krieg means "war" in German and it's a nice, neutral European name aside from that, not something to raise eyebrows about. Oh, and he's on a German passport. Of course he is. Because when bad guys from Eastern European countries want to disguise their country of origin, it's ALWAYS gonna be Germany. Okay, there's not another guy in the room, and the hit squad isn't hiding their mission briefing very well at all, since apparently this has to do with Harris (says Finch, let me just hack into his computer! yes, Finch, we know, we're just surprised you didn't have that done when Reese walked up to the desk a couple minutes ago) and a series of articles on a Serbian general, name of Petrovich. Ahhhh. War criminal now running for deputy prime minister, we can take out the "accused" part because we know exactly what's going on now, it's just down to the boys acquiring the data to confirm. So, real last name Brozi, kept the first name, she's ethnic Albanian, and Harris has a transcript of an interview that says she witnessed her family's execution. Was forced to witness. Well the general's just a downright charmer. And now he wants more power and because of this journalist, wants Mira dead. YAY. No, wait, the other thing. Interestingly, they frame this pretty neutrally as far as Harris goes: he's maybe not the smartest in how he's going about handling Mira, but he's not doing a bad thing, that's all on Petrovich. Fusco's in for backup since they could use some extra eyes that don't have to pretend to work a day job. Cue Reese stalking, as far as Mira can tell anyway, the poor woman for the third time. If you guessed that this time is different, drink! If you didn't realize it was the third time, chug! There's a nice bit of purely physical acting where we can see her thinking that Reese and the third spotter are in it together and going to hurt her, and then guns! Action! Rescuing the girl! Who reacts the way someone traumatized very badly as a young woman and then never got help for it would: screaming, freezing, and taking a few seconds to go over and figure out what the fuck Reese is. Reese is the lever by which Finch is moving the world, Mira. (Give me a lever long enough? The Machine is probably the fulcrum. Yes, I just made Finch Archimedes, he likes being birds enough anyway, he can go be an owl.) Well, that's one of three down! And where's Harris, by the way? Oh, just getting dead and his laptop trashed, no big deal. Oh, and all the cameras going dark. Enjoy that information, Reese. Since neither of them has access to the Machine, they don't know about the gunshot, which can't be heard down several floors let alone in the basement where Reese is, so all they're doing is walking into an operative cleaning up his mess. Yay.

On over to polygraphs, which are a different sort of mess. Carter admits to smoking pot in college, which is probably a lie but if it's the truth it's the sort of truth that would stress someone out to admit to. So, you know. Yay for fucking with the baseline! Of course she's the first one to admit that, and if it's true I kind of want all the fic, but eh, we're moving back to the hotel now. Where Reese will politely un-blind the Machine as he steps from the hallway into Harris' room. Aww, Reese, it's like you care! Admittedly it benefits him and Finch, too, but I'm sure the Machine appreciates it. There is, impressively, no body, no signs of a struggle, and nothing left in the room to indicate that Harris was ever there. If Mira weren't running on adrenaline and fear at this point she could probably spot half a dozen other small things out of place, but the chair out of place is a good one for covering up that nasty bloodstain. (Which raises all sorts of interesting questions about how they staged the murder, since that's a bit lower than chest height, that's more like a gutshot on an average man, so what, they got him kneeling? Knocked him over? Who the hell knows.) It is, however, a good thing she's there, both for her own safety and to help Reese play spot-the-anomaly. Not the dinosaur-spitting-out kind. They have a moment to pause, and so we'll also take a moment to remind you of the essence of the Kosovo War. As much as I can, anyway, without the kind of incredibly specific history training I would need to get into first causes. We start for these purposes way the fuck back in the Ottoman Empire, in which the Ottomans looked at the various groups living in the Balkans and said "okay, you've all always lived near each other, now you're gonna live near each other and convert to Islam!" Because that always works. That gives us late 14th century through early 20th century, during which time there were several revolts, many refugees fleeing to Italy, but for a conquering empire the Ottomans weren't too awful to live under, didn't keep Albanians out of bureaucratic/leadership roles, had a fairly efficient central government. And despite the encouragement to convert to Islam this was not the Crusades and they don't appear to have done conversion at the point of a sword. During the 19th century revolts increased due to loss of autonomy, but the Albanians still feared the Ottoman Empire's fall because the emerging states (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Bulgaria) were none of them friendly toward Albanians, and they expected to lose their lands. Which brings us to the Albanian uprisings in 1908-1910, opposing the centralization policies of the Ottoman Empire, and led straight into the first Balkan War in 1912. In which every now-independent nation in the Balkans invaded everyone, because let's not forget, none of these emerging nations had ever had clear borders set up and their attitude towards this was "I'm gonna get mine, fuck you." Everyone did this. EVERYONE. Albania just got invaded by Serbia and Greece and Montenegro simultaneously. In 1913, the European superpowers at the time tried to draw lines on a map for them, which worked about as well as that always does, though the London Conference is probably what Albania owes its existence to. Rinse and repeat this, with large portions of ethnic Serbians and ethnic Albanians ending up outside national boundaries in multiple redraws of the maps by, yes, the outsider superpowers, right up until present day. Throw in several would-be dictators and assholes who decided they wanted to cleanse their nations of all of those other people who don't belong, and you get the genocides in Kosovo in the mid-late 1990s. And Reese going to Bosnia, and that kid in my fifth grade class who had some of the strangest reaction times of anyone I knew. Let us thus remember that the Balkans are in so many ways the result of outsiders trying to dictate terms without bothering to understand a group of people, and how much this informs Mira's reactions to Reese trying to do the same to her.

For a blessed and beautiful change on this slog of posts about people hating those people over there who are Not Like Us, a Serbian friend of the family's saved Mira. For a not at all surprising end to the story, Sanja was killed two weeks ago after she talked to Harris. See also: people barging in assuming they know shit about shit and getting others dead. I may have Opinions. I also have sympathy, because let's not let a war criminal come to power, but based on what Mira says about the now-dead Harris, it's never as simple as you want it to be. There will always be consequences. In this case, we have some really immediate consequences to the tune of, so how the hell did they know Mira was the source if she hasn't told anyone? Of course she hasn't told anyone, Reese, she's terrified, don't be stupid. No, if they killed Sanja and are following Harris, then he's the one putting Mira in danger, which means they bugged the room, which means you two are completely fucked. Oh, and they're next door. Did I mention completely fucked? Reese, why didn't you have Finch look for other guests staying on a German passport while you were tossing the one guy's room? Seriously now. Finch, why didn't you think of it independently. Stay in the room apparently only applies when you're not in fight or flight mode, having broken out of freeze, which means Mira's old reactions are kicking in and she is so running for it. I do not advocate this as an intelligent course of action, but I completely understand why she did it while Reese was choking out the woman running the comms. Oh that's not a good smile. Or a good piece of, what are they using, gaffer's tape? Over the camera. Or a gun.

We come back from ad break to the useful news that Krieg? I think that's Krieg, anyway, it's Thug With The Thin Face, he'll announce that he wants Mira to take them to the basement using her keycard. Okay, so not killing her right in the elevator! That's good, right? That buys Finch time to fuck with the elevator in ways that are clearly not something she can do, and Fusco time to enlighten Reese that the rest of the hit squad is on the move. Guy at the bar is leaving, guy in the lobby is leaving with one of a pair of very large hard cases. Probably lined in plastic. One of them has Harris in it, and one of them's meant for Mira, and Finch's look of horror is kind of epic. Thin-Face wants the recording and couldn't find it in Harris' room anywhere. Harris, the fuck did you do. Meantime Reese uses the passage of another elevator to mask the sound of him jumping down onto the currently-frozen car. Aww, Thin-Face can't shoot! At all. He also makes the mistake of holding still with an insufficiently large meat shield. Also a really cranky one, and that was a nice, quick disabling that by and large doesn't traumatize Mira any further than she already is. That's the efficient Reese we know and love! Also that might have hit the subclavian artery, not that anyone really gives a shit about these guys, but I'm just saying, while it's not an obviously immediately fatal shot it might be an eventually-fatal one. Fusco, meantime, is hot on the heels of Barfly Thug, so much so that he neglects to take the spare member of the hit squad (granted, they haven't seen his face yet and they carefully picked these guys for being bland and having similar appearances on a cursory look) into account. Fusco, I hope he didn't take anything you need. Sigh. Turns out Mira does have the recording of Sanja's testimony, given to her as a guilt trip by Harris. Nominally so, anyway, I'm sure he thought he was leaving himself some additional insurance at the time. Reese can deal with that later, he's dealing with Mira's safety first and foremost, good man. Good to see you're getting your priorities screwed on straight. He even brought this handy lampshade in the form of not knowing how many members of the hit squad they're looking for! Ahem. And then Finch will proceed to be the cutest and try not to traumatize Mira any further by giving her a real voice, at least, to attach to the person Reese keeps talking to. Promise he's not just hearing voices, promise he really does have a partner who's working to keep you safe. It's one of his smarter human moments.

Action!Fusco will use one of the oldest distracting tricks in the book (chihuahua, Fusco, REALLY?) to take out the two members of the hit squad loading up Harris' body, which he will confirm visually by wincing at the contents of the box without showing us. Thank you. Because they probably had to at best break limbs and at worst chop them to get him folded up in that thing, it's not that roomy. I'm just going to trust his dirty cop days to tide him over on explaining shooting the one guy. This is much nicer banter between Fusco and Reese than we usually get, I'll be over here laughing my ass off. Because Reese really does have a good idea of what his assets are capable of, and he trusts Fusco to manage a lot by himself. In this case, he now gets to take Mira off to safety! See, Fusco, you get to take the damsel in and claim all the credit! That's about as close to a "good job" as you're gonna get from Reese. Oh, and don't forget about the other bodies. Yep. Laughing my ass off. Chapman has one of the best "you have got to be fucking kidding me" faces I've seen in awhile.

Meanwhile Pennsylvania Two and Hersch have a little moment and oh, this isn't going to end well for someone. Since we've seen them let Reese get badly beaten up and thrown in jail and myriad other forms of whumping, it's safe to say that we don't actually know for sure he'll come out on top. Hersch found the disturbance at the hotel, and is peeling out of some industrial looking parking lot to go deal with the situation. Yaaay. Please get Mira out of there before he turns up, Reese. What follows is a very Western-audience-oriented speech about how she won't let Petrovich get away with this, she will go public and testify, and she wants to be able to feel safe again ever. Sweetie, even if you manage to put Petrovich away and/or get him executed for war crimes, safety at this point is going to be in defeating the mental demons you've been carrying with you for the past decade-plus. Though I think Reese knows that, by the really, really sad smile he's giving her. He's proud of her desire to do the right thing, but he also knows it's not that simple, and never was. Hence the emphasis on trust with a pointed look at Fusco, it's not about her not trusting another strange man, it's about him relaying to Fusco that she needs to be able to trust people again. Finch's idea of tendering his resignation is wiping his presence from the computer system and walking out. I… actually, no, I totally support that. And giggle at it.

There's really no good segue for this thematically, the segue is that the precinct's about to become a plot point location as well as a metaplot point location this episode. And that we need to finish up Carter's polygraph test somehow. Lies, sure, we'll go with that. Lies and the telling of them to keep yourself and others safe, in this episode mostly yourself, and whether or not a lie can ever be for the greater good. The show tends to lean really heavily in the yes, some lies are necessary direction, though as the current season progresses I wouldn't count out the Machine deciding it's time for everyone to know what its boys and girls have been doing for the past couple years. At any rate, Carter's lying about lying to people at work and associating with known criminals. Frankly, given her history with HR, she could totally tell the truth and let her anger carry the polygraph, because she's totally lied to people in HR to protect cases, probably did some of that prior to her association with Finch and Reese for that matter, and she's totally associated with known criminals in the form of her coworkers. I'm just saying. It's a thing. She could answer that way, even though the people she's worried about (and the spirit of the questions is designed for) are Finch and Reese. But we don't get a chance to linger on that with followups, because here comes another random feeb with whispering and file folders and that's never good. So, Detective, about Cal Beecher! Yeah, that's a look of shock and, under that, relief. Well-disguised relief, and goddamn can Taraji Henson break out the layers when she needs to. Which she's doing more and more often lately. Apparently there's a lot of IAB open investigations into Beecher. See each other socially is cop-speak for date casually but it's not serious yet, and you know, if Carter were more spy-trained I'd accuse her of laying it on a bit thick? But that's all genuine what-the-actual-fuck expressions. I'm really sorry, Carter, but you just lost your job offer with the Bureau. It's okay, the writers didn't want to juggle that many plotlines anyway. I can't say as I blame them.

Meanwhile Reese managed to pick a time when no women were in the locker room (which looks and probably is identical to the men's, as in, they probably just filmed with the same set) to go digging for the CD? DVD? Whatever, of Sanja's testimony. Yay! Oh, and Mira's got a book on hotel management in there. This Is A Lampshade For Later. Reese has a fist to the face for Derek the asshole manager, and I have to say, really, I'm with Reese. He almost assuredly would have arranged things so as not to be caught by anyone, which means Derek's the one snooping around too, and using the best defense is a good offense strategy. Though I'm not sure Reese is thinking that clearly so much as thinking that hey, he gets a chance to punch out a real asshole by way of tendering his resignation! And thus we have encapsulated the difference between Reese and Finch in two short clips. Speaking of, he has data to relay to Finch while he waits for the elevator oh, oops. Hello, Hersch. You're really not even trying for subtle these days, and I gotta say, gun to the back of the head is one of the few certain ways to circumvent the whole range of efficacy issue. Either by way of short-circuiting to lizard brain or general lack of confidence in the ability to turn around and disarm the guy before he blows your brains out. They'll go find somewhere private for their little, ahem, talk.

We'll go back to the precinct, where Carter's coming out of interrogation having finished her polygraph. Or maybe out of the bathroom/break room having taken care of the bodily needs they pretend don't exist to heighten tension levels during polygraph tests. (I'm pretty sure that's a real thing, come to that. I also severely question why an SAIC and not a trained polygraph examiner was running that test, but sometimes conservation of characters trumps Actual Procedure. I admit this. I'm just going to go over here and facepalm at the random data my brain spits out.) Anyway, it's not getting easier from here on out unless we count the fact that Carter's damn good at the job she currently has. Which she's keeping. Because they're rescinding the offer. No, Carter, the feebs really aren't in the business of handing out answers even to people they nominally like and want(ed) to hire, but Moss will give her the runaround about picking her company more carefully. Given that they didn't even hint at Team Machine in there, and only asked about Beecher, yeah, we can go with Carter and the camera's Significant Look over to where Beecher's talking to a uni and everything looks normal and happy. As much as it ever does in a cop shop. Meanwhile Fusco's bringing Mira in and stashing her in one of the side rooms out of the main bullpen, good man, now keep a damn eye on her. Please. He tries to joke with Carter, she's too pissed and confused to particularly respond, Fusco's gun pointedly goes in a desk drawer rather than staying on his hip, and we cut over to where a uni is taking a report of a mugging from… some guy? Hello some guy from the basement who ran into Fusco! Don't you look at Mira or Fusco like that, you fucker.

Ah, an industrial working kitchen, location for all good assassination sequences! Seriously, Hersch, you're a fucking moron, there's about a million weapons for Reese to use in here, as we'll soon see. At least we're on network TV, so he just yells at the sous chefs to get the fuck out instead of shooting them all to make a point, as he might also have done. No, instead he'll shove Reese around to make the point about how Reese has to be working for someone, people like them always are just following orders and don't take the initiative to give them. Or to work rogue. Which says a lot about how Hersch views himself, broken and aware/accepting of it, but needing Reese to be like that. Because if Reese is like that then this whole thing is justified, more so than Hersch's usual orders, I think. This is personal in a way that Hersch needs to vindicate killing someone like himself because he doesn't think there's redemption available. And if we'd had this conversation last season sometime? Yeah, he'd have been right. Reese would absolutely agree that they're the same, there's no hope for either of them, but he'd rather be the one living than dying. Now? I actually believe him when he says, in essence, fuck you I'm getting better. There's a lot of very real rage as they bodycheck each other around the kitchen, not just survival instinct. Oh Reese honey, flames on the side of your face (really, guys? was that deliberate? tell me that was deliberate) at that temperature should really be blistering skin already, but eh, spy genre, physical trauma and the realistic depiction thereof is often spotty. REESE HAS A FRYING PAN. My day? Made. Reese has a knife! Hersch has a knife. We all know how this is gonna end, and I think I last ranted about how knife fights are vicious, extremely dangerous, and generally very short in a Grimm post? Well, they are. (Play Sharpie-the-gi sometime for a nice visceral demonstration that won't actually involve someone's viscera. I know, I spoil everyone's fun. I'm the fun-ruiner.) Reese apparently has a fuck of a lot more control than it looks like he does right now, because being able to gauge the depth of stab wound that closely is really damn difficult. And also, no, there's probably no way OSC will let Hersch live if he makes it to the hospital at this point. But there's also no way Hersch can win a fight with Reese in this state. It's fairly sadistic, all told, but it's exactly what we've come to expect from Reese: when he can't make his point any other way, he'll do so at the point of a knife. Or a blown-out kneecap.

Back to the precinct! Where we all have a lot of "oh Carter" for her gentle brushoff of Cal. She likes him! She very clearly likes him, and wishes he weren't apparently dirty. And hasn't had time to dig into the ways he might be dirty, so she can't even respond to her gut-level emotional response to him with reasons why he's a bad idea, why he isn't what he seems, all the things that we use to talk ourselves down when we've been given good-but-vague reasons to distrust a person. Poor Beecher. He really does seem like he's well-intentioned, like he's not using Carter for HR purposes, and he's almost assuredly someone's pawn. Poor everyone, really. So brushoff given, Carter uses the I need more time line which in this case means, time to decide if she wants to know about Beecher's illicit behaviors and then dig into them, not just time to get used to the idea of a man close enough to her that she's willing to let him into her son's life. He'll take it as the latter, though, and he'll even do the I'm a good guy thing of backing off despite his disappointment and saying he's not going anywhere. Not in the stalkery sense, in the sense of being patient and letting her make up her own mind. Oh Beecher. Fusco, meanwhile, appears to be giving them their space which also translates to leaving his desk and leaving a nice big gap between Stealth Thug and Mira. Once Beecher walks off unhappy, Carter goes for her files unhappy, and Fusco's busy with a bunch of unis, time for Stealth Thug to move! Oh, and he brought a garrote, not a gun, for his primary choice of weapon. Generally quieter, though not as fast and definitely an up close and personal assassination tool. I guess he didn't plan on getting out of there. I guess Carter's standing right by her desk and pulling out a gun faster than Fusco can rush back to his, which is exactly what he's in the middle of doing when the assassin gets shot through the window. Two shots, center of mass, that is fucking textbook right there. I give you Joss Carter, BAMF, ladies and gentlemen and all those in between. Fusco is also appreciative of her BAMFing. As one is.

The next day! Finch and Reese watch Petrovic get arrested for war crimes and hauled off to, eventually, the Hague on the TV at the hotel bar. Reese, be a little more smug, why don't you. Oh, here comes Zoe, that ups the smug quotient a good deal! Reese, did you get laid last night? Zoe looks like she got laid last night, or got a job well done, which in both their books tends to amount to the same thing. At any rate, she was there for the aviation conference and we'll leave it to everyone's imaginations just what things people think they can get away with in hotels. Infidelity? Smuggling? All manner of things! Oh my god you guys are awful, awful people and by that I mean the best, never change. Because they also took down the escort ring and have thus provided Zoe with a lot of work from various powerful men who are terrified their names will get out, particularly with Derek the chattiest floor manager ever. Man, the levels of smug here are rapidly approaching intoxicating and/or contagious levels. Reese snarks off about Harold buying the hotel to ensure it's properly run, and yes, of course he hired Mira for that. Who he refers to by her real name, because she's free to use that now, and I'm not even going to ask how in the space of a day or two (allowing time for the conference to be a full weekend and not going back to check timestamps) they managed to deal with the red tape involved with that. Maybe he's just doing it to make her feel more herself and the paperwork's still in process? We'll go with that. Oh, I see, they didn't just get laid, they're engaging in foreplay! My god you two are adorable. Complete with lead-ins about in-house work and freelancing and yes, we get it, neither one of you wants to be tied to the other but you're very, very attracted to each other nevertheless. It's a good thing they're both dangerous, powerful people or they'd be normal and tooth-rottingly adorable. Aww, Harold, you gave them the penthouse suite? You ship it too! Excuse me while I go burble some more. At least I'm trusting that Finch gave it to them rather than Reese palming it off/stealing a reservation in the system.

And to round out our slow build of metaplot to the end of season, OSC will not, in fact, kill Hersch in the hospital. Funny. I would, if I were an evil government agent who wants no loose ends and whose pet assassin kept failing at his job. But alright, apparently there's something bigger on the move right now. I'm going to take a wild guess that it's do with the bug Kara planted in the Machine. Oh, hey, we know that voice. She brings a suit and a lovely necklace for his wife's anniversary and hello, Root. You've been there two months? That sounds like just enough time to remove the previous occupant of that position (either by murder or by getting her transferred/fired) and then get hired! And we'll handwave how the fuck she got past all the background checks because she is that kind of good with computers and probably established herself as making a lateral transfer to OSC or at most a small promotion, not coming in as a nobody. We won't even touch the layers and layers to "You know me better than I know myself." "That's what I'm here for." Because, duh. So, OSC and State are talking. Is that State or "State"? I know which way I'm betting!

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