Monday, June 4, 2012

Person of Interest 1.21: "Many Happy Returns"

“It won’t be up to you, that’s my point. There are things you can do Detective and things you can’t. That’s where I come in.”
- Reese

At the outset, I just have to say I think that this episode would have made a very strong season finale. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we have 2 more episodes this season but it tied back to the pilot so much that I feel like if this was all we got for season 1, I’d be very happy. We had a lot of parallel imagery going on. We start this week with a brief revisit of scenes between Jessica and Reese. Obviously things are very unresolved still for him. In 2012, we find Reese already at the library when Finch gets in. But Finch says they don’t have any numbers and it being Reese’s birthday, Finch is giving him the day off. So Reese goes to play Chinese checkers with a guy named Han in the park.

Meanwhile, Carter gets a visit from Special Agent Donnelly from the FBI. Clearly she isn’t following Agent Snow’s decree of “stay away from the FBI”. He’s found a link to Reese up in New Rochelle to a suspected homicide from February 2011. Carter meets up with Finch at a pool hall to share the news. He tells her to go along and see what she can find out. Not surprisingly, Finch lied to Reese about a new number. This week’s POI is Karen Garner. And she happens to be the waitress for Finch’s table. We jump back to February 2011. Reese shows up at the hospital Jessica used to work at, only to find out she died two months earlier in a car accident. He’s rocking a scruffy beard (though not quite as bad as the pilot).

Back in 2012, Finch is using Lionel to follow Karen since Reese still has time off. Unfortunately, Lionel loses her once she finally leaves her apartment. So Finch is going to take matters into his own hands. Up in New Rochelle, Carter gets the rundown of what happened with Peter Arnt and Jessica. She wants to talk to the local detectives about the suspected homicide. Agent Donnelly is off to talk to one of Peter’s bookies. He was so deep in debt that Donnelly thinks someone hired Reese to take him out. Carter isn’t so sure he’s the guy since it was so messy and he left DNA. Yeah, I’m thinking Reese had a different reason to be messy on this one. Back down in the city, Finch swings by the bar where Karen works, only to run in to Deputy Jennings of the US Marshals. He says Karen is a wanted fugitive and he just wants to ask Finch some questions about where he might find Karen. Finch isn’t quite sure how to get out of this one and looks a little relieved when Reese swoops in to save the day. Reese is none too pleased at being kept out of the look. He is a bit of a control freak, let’s be honest.

Finch says he wanted Reese not involved with this case because of Reese’s special sensitivity. In less silly terms, Reese has a problem with domestic violence. But Reese just bullishly demands Karen’s address and he’s going to help her. After assuring her he’s not a cop, she agrees to let him help her. Finch also discovers that Deputy Jennings is her husband. He’s using the whole US Marshal Service to hunt her down. Reese is not going to take that well. We zip up to New Rochelle where Carter gets the case file on Peter. She has some digging of her own to do. She pays a visit to the ME and learns all of Jessica’s injuries from the accident could have happened beforehand. She suspects a domestic abuse situation, much like Reese did. And once more, we find ourselves back in February 2011 where Peter is leaving the house. Reese sneaks in and takes a look around. He replays Jessica’s last voice mail to him (when he was in the Middle East). And we get a bit of a flashback accompanying it where we see Peter get kind of angry with her for making the call.

And Reese makes his presence known to Deputy Jennings by beating the crap out of him and three other marshals just so Reese can deliver his messages. Jennings better stay away from Karen or else Reese will kill him. Reese angry, Reese SMASH! I couldn’t help myself. It’s funny and given that the Avengers is in theaters, it just made me smile. Unfortunately, Finch has lost Karen and he’s rightfully concerned with the fact that Reese just antagonized an entire federal agency. Not one of his better moves if you consider he’s trying to stay off the grid. Karen has run to the train station, hoping to make a break for it but she gets nabbed by transit cops. By the time Reese and Finch get there, Jennings has already picked her up and is heading out of the city. Finch finds him using the hotspot function in his car and Reese gets a little scary. He orders Finch out of the car. I’m guessing it means he’s going to do something rather dangerous and illegal. Murder perhaps?

Carter and Agent Donnelly are talking with Jessica’s mother. She didn’t know anything about Peter’s money issues and she isn’t willing to admit there was any domestic abuse in the relationship. But she does let Carter look through Jessica’s things after she mentions she thought Peter was a better fit for Jessica than the soldier she had a fling with back in 2001. Of course Carter finds a picture of Jessica and Reese. She puts a call in to find out what she can about John’s service record. Meanwhile, Deputy Jennings checks into a motel with Karen and Finch contacts Carter for some help. Reese blew him off at the suggestion of police involvement and Finch is worried about what John is going to do. Carter heads out to find him. Lucky for Karen, Reese shows up and beats the ever-living hell out of Jennings. Carter stops him on the road and he says he’s got to do what needs to be done. We have our final jump back to February 2011 where Reese confronts Peter about what happened to Jessica. At least now we know what really happened and we have that piece of Reese’s backstory figured out. He and Finch meet at the same bench by the river as they did in the pilot (hence my earlier comment about similar imagery) and Finch gives him a business card with an address on it I can see both sides of why Finch kept quiet about the case and why Reese needed to work it. Obviously it dredged up painful memories for Reese but this time, he was able to save the woman in danger. Carter gets the file on John but shreds it and the police file from New Rochelle. She hangs on to picture of Reese and Jessica though. She gets a call from a prison warden down in Mexico saying a Deputy Jennings (aka Reese) dropped off a fugitive that Carter was supposedly looking for. So I guess Reese didn’t kill him after all. It turns out the key Finch gave Reese was for a new apartment (instead of the crap hole he’s been living in). It overlooks the park where he plays Chinese checkers. And in an interesting little twist, we see that Reese ran into Finch in the hospital after he found out about Jessica. Finch had a file with Peter, Jessica and Reese’s picture in it along with a social security number. I guess we’re left to wonder whose number came up.

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