Saturday, June 9, 2012

Person of Interest 1.22: "No Good Deed"

“I know who wants Peck dead and I know why. I know what he’s been asking questions about. They want him dead because of me.”
- Finch

Our penultimate episode of season 1 is a very Finch-centric hour. Not that I’m complaining. I think the writers have done a good job balancing the emphasis on the various characters (though admittedly, I’d like to see some more of Lionel’s history in season 2). But regardless, this episode sets us up very nicely for what should be a tension-filled season 1 finale. We begin this week back in 2009. It’s the day before Finch and Nathan are supposed to turn the Machine over to the government. Finch wants to keep it running as long as possible. Nathan is starting to worry about Finch. He’s spent so long watching other people that he’s not spent time, developing his own life and relationships. Finch smiles and suggests that maybe he has. Back in the present, Reese is back to tailing Finch to try and find out anything about him. Lionel calls with some interesting news. HR brass wants to meet with him. Reese is more focused on Finch right now (especially since the meeting with HR doesn’t go down for a week). Reese watches Finch buy a magazine and get an alert on his phone. Finch ducks into a pay phone and moments later calls Reese with news of a new number, Henry Peck. He’s a financial analyst but he’s got really good security. Reese alludes to the fact that Finch is the same way and wants to know how the Machine communicates with Finch, since there may come a time when Reese has to do this alone. Finch brushes it off, saying he has a contingency if that were to happen.

So Reese is doing his usual surveillance of Henry while Finch tries to crack his online security. It isn’t going well. Finch can’t hack the security on Peck’s company and Reese can’t get signals from his Wi-Fi or phone. So he tries the charming approach and fails. Well okay so if the secretary didn’t have a gun pointed at him from under the desk it might have worked. Probably would have helped too if it weren’t an NSA listening station. It reminded me a little bit of LOST with the Dharma stations. Finch slips in dressed as a delivery and handyman and hooks up a camera to a new coffee maker so they at least have eyes and ears sort of inside. Reese is monitoring Peck at home when things get interesting. He gets arrested for having felony weight Adderall. He makes bail the next morning and heads back to work. Carter shares that he had one charge against him but it was expunged. Apparently it was “the principle of thing” and that’s why he sent the judge an obnoxiously long brief to wipe the speeding ticket. Anyway, things go from bad to worse for Peck. He gets kicked out of work because of the drug charge. At home, he’s greeted by an assassin. Reese manages to fight him off but loses him again. Finch tracks Peck via his phone and we learn that Peck asked some questions about how a name ended up in a report he wrote three weeks ago (the name led to the aversion of a major terrorist attack). Finch puts it together. Henry’s been asking about the Machine.

We jump back to 2009 to find Alicia meeting with Nathan. She seems nervous about things but he tells her everything will be fine and that the less people that know about the Machine the better. And Alicia assures Nathan that they have a way to disseminate the information so it won’t track back to the Machine. In the present, Finch admits that he knew measures would be taken to protect the Machine, he just didn’t realize how deadly they’d be. Peck gives them the slip after finally talking to Alicia. She gives him something to look into and tells him to run. So he does. Empties his bank account and gets rid of all his credit cards. Finch finally locates him at a youth hostel. Meanwhile, the team who is hunting Peck reports in to Washington that they’ve hit a snag. Their contact tells them to just get it done. We jump back to 2009 again and it’s the night before the Machine gets turned over to the government. Nathan wants to put in a back door to completely shut it off in case something bad happens, like the government abusing the tech. Finch says that he built the Machine in such a way that it can’t be abused or hacked or altered and that putting in a back door exposes the Machine.

Peck sneaks back onto the NSA and finds some files. Reese manages to tackle him out of the line of fire but he takes off again. He gets himself arrested by throwing a bottle at the cops. This guy is just not having a very good day. I mean, really. He ends up spilling his guts to Lionel but clearly Lionel thinks he’s crazy. Reese breaks him out of the precinct but isn’t fast enough to stop him from calling the Office of Special Counsel. Apparently one of the government people who knows about the Machine works there and sends a sniper to take Peck and Reese out. Things aren’t looking good when the cab they’re in gets hit and explodes. But Reese manages to get out and take down the sniper. And yes, he loses Peck again. Reese really needs to pay more attention to what he’s doing. His job would be so much easier if just handcuffed people to railings or something while he took down the baddies.

In our final jump back to 2009, we find Nathan sneaking back in to put in that contingency in the Machine. I guess maybe someday we’ll find out what it was. Meanwhile, Peck has contacted a reporter and unbeknownst to him, more assassins have been sent. Luckily Reese intercepts them while Finch meets with Peck. He gives him some answers (that the Machine does exist and that Finch built it0 but he also provides a new identity. Later that day, Reese thinks he’s found where Finch lives but he’s a little off. Finch had a fiancée named Grace and he used to live there. Now he just watches her from afar. Knowing about the Machine put him in harm’s way which put her in the line of fire, too. I find it interesting that both of our lead guys have lost people they loved because of their work. I kind of hope that someday Finch can come out of hiding and reunite with his fiancée. We end with the Machine rolling back to Finch’s conversation with peck and we find Alicia sitting at a table nearby, listening and she catches Finch say that he built it. Obviously she’s surprised to hear his voice. After all, the world thinks he’s dead.

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