Warner Bros. Entertainment
Last night’s episode, which opened a three-episode arc, began with surveillance footage of a delivery truck pulling up to a car on fire. A person shot at the truck and two people were subsequently knocked out and the assailant then drove off with the truck. Oh, yes, the mystery person was wearing a gas mask.
The show cut to the library, with John Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Harold Finch (Michael Emerson). Apparently the Machine, which is the center of the whole show, has issued 38 numbers. (A brief primer – this machine, which uses all kinds of surveillance footage, issues numbers for people who are in potential danger. It’s then up to Reese, Finch and anyone in their network to save these people.) These numbers turn out to be all cops. Hmm.
Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), one of the people Reese and Finch regularly call on, came up to the morning scene of the smoldering car. Reese surprised him by also coming up and presenting a fake badge. It turned out to be a Russian driving the truck; for those who have been following the show, you know that the Russian mob has been intertwined with the mysterious HR, a criminal element of corrupt cops. An element that Fusco used to be part of. Reese and Finch knew that a war is possibly brewing between HR and the Russians, since HR was supposed to give safe passage for the Russians to trade their illicit wares. Reese wondered, “Who lit the fuse?”
This show REALLY does well in going back and forth in time. The footage rewound to Nov. 10 (the show pretty much operates as if it is happening on the very day that it airs). Another Reese/Finch cohort, police officer Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson), was meeting with Alonzo Quinn – a prominent member of City Hall, the godfather of the late Cal Beecher (a love interest of Carter’s) and the head of HR, which Carter now knew from events in last week’s episode. She purposely sounded pessimistic when talking with Quinn, saying she was thinking of stepping down from the Beecher investigation. Clarke Peters continued doing a great job of playing Quinn as a sociopath. Quinn left but not before Carter used another technology often featured on the show: She paired her phone with his, so that she could hear whatever calls he makes or receives. She heard him talking with Patrick Simmons, a corrupt cop and pretty much Quinn’s right-hand man, to set up a meetup with the Russian Mafia and their big man, Peter Yogorov. They met and of course, Carter was nearby with a directional mike. Yogorov complained that he was more like an errand boy and then said that he was done. Simmons fired a verbal warning shot by saying that they wouldn’t provide safe passage for their delivery vehicles anymore, which Carter duly noted. Simmons then told a dirty cop that he wanted him to stake out Carter.
Carter went home and found Reese waiting there. There’s always an undercurrent between those two. Reese is very protective, but Carter wasn’t having any of it this time. She said that she wanted to be left alone – since the law says he’s a criminal and HR knew they work together. Reese seemed to respect that and then as he was leaving, tossed over his shoulder for her to call if she got in over her head. After seeing that the former CIA operative was gone, she took the phone that Finch and Reese contact her on, removed the sim card and smashed it with her gun. Well…that was a statement. Not necessarily a SMART one, but a statement.
Two more flashbacks were woven through the episode dealing with Carter and her ex, Paul, at different junctures in time – eight years ago and five years ago. Eight years ago, Paul was a defiant man who refused to get help for his PTSD during military service. Carter had enough and made him leave. At first he was defiant and even went to her home and sat with their young son. He got angry when she told him he still needed help and even smashed a lamp, causing her to reach for her gun. He left, angry. Then the five-year flashback showed that he HAD gotten help and while he knew it was too late to repair their relationship, he wanted to be there for them.. and he left her his number to call if she needed help. This all played a part in the end .
Flash forward to present day, with Carter and Fusco sitting near a dock. Carter had been shutting Fusco out, but her former partner reached out after she had lost her current partner in a shooting. Fusco was trying to figure out how everything happened, but Carter, who had actually been there, diverted his attention. After Fusco left, she made a phone call…which turned out to be to Carl Elias (Enrico Colantoni), an ally only in the sense of keeping one’s enemies closer than one’s friends. Elias, who had been in hiding, paid a visit to Yogorov, which was awkward because Elias had killed Yogorov’s dad. After convincing Yogorov that he hated HR more than him, he left an incriminating file for Yogorov to pore over.
After Carter got a confirmation phone call from Elias and told him to lay low, a recent cohort, Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi), met with her unbeknownst to Reese and Finch (because they would have had a collective aneurysm) and brought a satchel of guns. That led up to the scene with the burning car and delievery truck. It was Carter who did it. Later, Reese and Finch saw the footage and after sussing out that it was a female, thought it was Shaw. Turns out Shaw spilled the beans that it was Carter, leaving both Reese and Finch in a state of consternation
An angry Yogorov called Quinn, accusing him of the theft of the truck. Quinn tried to play cool, but the mobster threatened him. This was interspersed with Carter on a nearby rooftop overlooking Quinn’s office.
While Carter was busy, Reese went to her house (he tends to ignore personal boundaries) and found it empty but located a bulletin board with her HR list. Reese called Finch and then got a call from Carter. She asked him to trust her, which he did, reluctantly. Afterwards, Simmons called Quinn and while they were conversing, Carter shot out his window with a sniper gun, making him think it was the Russians, setting the stage for an all-out war, a war that Finch said favors HR, since they have the law on their side.
There were scenes of Russian men being rounded up by HR and then Carter went to a cornered Yogorov and warned him. The only solution? Have her arrest him, a point she punctuated by holding up handcuffs.
This was a half hour’s worth. The writers do NOT dilly-dally, which makes a very fast show. It felt like an hour’s worth of excitement had been crammed in that shorter span.
The second half-hour began with Yogorov in holding under a fake name. Carter said that he shot at Quinn and that she knows Quinn is head of HR. She also said that Quinn HAS to go down and needs him to sign a statement as such. The carrot that she dangled was moving his brother, who HR has in Rikers as leverage, to a safer facility. Yogorov bit, but not before warning her to be careful which judge she chose to get a warrant on Quinn, since there’s a lot of money moving around. Carter assured him that she had done her due diligence.
Carter surprised Fusco outside his place and after some back and forth on the subject of trust, she admitted that she’s protecting him and gave him the key to a safe deposit box that has everything on HR. Hey, if that’s not trust, I don’t know what is. Fusco was so moved at this that he wanted to help and ran upstairs to get equipment, but of course Carter ditched him, since she needs to be the lone wolf.
HR had the mobsters at a shipyard and were all set for some gunplay. Reese and Shaw were at the scene, hiding. But just as the HR cops pulled their guns out, the FBI came screeching in. After a brief conversation, they found drugs in the trunk of a high-ranking HR cop’s car. Fusco called Reese to say that Carter ditched him.
Carter called a judge for a warrant, but after he agreed to, he hung up and called Quinn. Oops. Right then I had a vision of the ancient Knight Templar in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: “You have chosen…poorly.”
Before heading to the judge, Carter called Paul and had a heartfelt conversation with both him and her son, who was staying there. After hanging up, she drove to the judge, who escorted her to his living room, where Simmons, Quinn and several other dirty cops were waiting. With guns. Quinn had to have a little speech, and Carter got him to keep talking…for them to record his words on his own phone (Knight Templar: “Oops. You chose wisely! Wisely!”) and in that moment of stunned silence, Reese burst in through the doors like the Terminator, guns ablaze. Carter managed to grab Quinn, who got winged by a shot, and managed to drag him outside while he defiantly kept saying that this was the worst mistake she ever made. A cop car came screeching into the driveway, but Reese shot out its engine and they made their getaway while the cop took cover behind his car door.
Of course, though, Simmons got a picture from the police car dashboard. and directed that the image of Reese, Carter and Quinn be distributed to EVERYONE. Including criminal elements. The episode ended there…which was good, since I almost permanently whitened my knuckles during the last 10 minutes.
The wheels are rolling and it’s going to be VERY interesting to see what happens in the next two episodes.