S1E14: I’ve never really noticed this before, but Reese is kind of starved for attention. In the earliest episodes of Person of Interest, Reese would pop in on Finch, toying with his boss’ paranoia and “threatening” to get to know him better. Now that Reese is coming to distrust Finch more and more—thanks to Finch’s not-so-secret relationship with Will Ingram—our vigilante hero is seeking attention, and camaraderie, elsewhere. In fact, we see Reese tread the waters of three new friendships this episode, each more unlikely than the last.
“Only the paranoid survive.” – Finch
We begin with Reese popping in on Carter, adorning her with his robotic charm, and filling her in on this week’s case. The number of the week is that of fourteen year-old Darren (Astro, from The X-Factor), whose older brother and sole guardian Travis has just been shot and killed by some local young criminals. First and foremost, I am glad that this episode takes a different approach to the crime scene than the show’s usual forte. We often see political figures, Wall Street executives, businessmen, high profile criminals and the like involved in these cases. This week, it’s (for lack of a less lame term) street toughs. After Travis is gunned down, his younger brother heads on a vigilante quest to avenge him.
“What are you?” – Darren
“One of these days I’ll have to come up with an answer to that.” – Reese
Enter the superhero team, with Reese on the foreground. Darren is the second friend Reese makes this week, although this relationship is formed gradually. Young Darren is a promising musician and illustrator whose brother wished to send him to an arts school. He’s also well-versed in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (that’s the second reference to this work on a CBS series this week) and comes to respect Reese as he sees him: a lone, disgraced samurai, wandering the world looking for what he has lost, helping people along the way. Very romantic.
“The most efficient way to win a fight is to act by knowing your enemy.” – Reese
Meanwhile, on the other side of the team, we are reunited with Will Ingram, who comes to Finch with a question regarding a note he found in his father’s old things: dated February 24, 2005—a date amid the hiatus of his company’s productivity—Nathan denoted the inception of the Machine, and wrapped the note around the cork of a wine bottle to indicate celebration. Will is determined to find out what the Machine is and why he was celebrating. Finch plays dumb, so Will goes to another associate of his father’s: a woman who worked for the White House, and who was involved in Nathan’s one dollar sale of a mysterious invention to the government. Unfortunately for the ambitious young man, his next interrogation is just as closed-mouthed as Finch, leaving him without any further leads on who his dad really was or what sort of work he did. So, he does the natural thing that someone does when no one will answer questions about his dead father: he moves to Sudan.
“ The idea of letting a fourteen year old hire you to avenge his brother has backfired?” – Finch
Reese’s bond with Darren grows stronger by the scene. Darren “hires” Reese to capture the men who killed his brother, and Reese shows him the ropes of his work as they go along. Apparently, the boys responsible for Travis’ death are controlled by a man named Andre—a seemingly genteel comic book shop owner played by Malik Yoba (although he’s more famous for other roles, I prefer to remember him as Ice from Arrested Development)—whose criminality goes so high that he has the police in his pocket. Again, concerns about where Elias fits into all this arise. I can’t imagine that the show is replacing the character with these new threats, but one wonders what conflicts might arise from the police force being under the control of two logically conflicting crime syndicates.
“Nothing wrong with cops. Just the bad ones.” – Reese
Reese’s primary lesson to Darren, trumping tips on observing your enemy and finding out his weaknesses, is that living a life of vengeance never ends well. Reese explains to Darren that by pursuing his brothers’ killers, he’ll end up in jail or dead, as the ladder of responsibility is interminable. Muddled by his anger, Darren finds himself with a gun pointed at Andre and the thug who shot his brother—Reese intervenes, but when the tables turn and Andre is in possession of both the gun and Darren, an unexpected hero is revealed.
“Darren, this is Det. Fusco. He’s a…f-friend.” – Reese
Andre loses grip of Darren, but manages to fire at him from several yards away—blocking the bullet from the boy is Det. Fusco, on the scene with Det. Carter (neither of whom have any idea that they’re both on Reese’s squad). Fusco is injured, but fine, and is in the boy’s good graces for saving his life.
You could have been a good cop if not for a few bad choices.” – Reese
And he’s in Reese’s good graces as well: thus marking the third friendship Reese forms this week. Reese pays some rare kind words to Lionel, and shares a pleasant moment with the would-be decent man. In return, after the duo drops Darren off at the doorway of his new life—a foster family and entry into the aforementioned arts school—Fusco shares some info with Reese about what Finch has been up to—and some info about some other aliases he’s used over the years, including Harold Wren (also not his real name). As bonds form, others fizzle.
Do you think Reese and Fusco might form a more substantial relationship? When will Carter and Fusco find out about one another? And when might Will find out about his dad’s work? And what exactly would be the degree of the consequences of that? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, or on Twitter (@MichaelArbeiter).