Person of Interest 1.23 – Firewall
First, let me apologize for the lateness of this recap. I was out of town last week and actually just got to see the episode last night. It was well worth waiting for, it turns out!
This week’s number is a Carolyn Toring, a psychologist with a very high-end clientele. Reese surveils her and overhears one of her clients threatening her. Reese replaces the thermostat outside her office with one with a camera inside so that they can spy on her clients.
Fusco is meeting with the HR brass and wants to get Reese involved, but he’s still not too interested. He’s rather have Fusco look into Toring for him. Turns out that it isn’t so hard for Fusco to do both as when he finally meets the HR brass, including Larson, a prominent city council member, it turns out that they are now in the murder-for-hire business and the target is…Carolyn Toring. HR has been paid 5 million to take care of her.
To get into her office, Reese poses as a client (how appropriate). She profiles him pretty quickly – he’s ex-military, hyper-vigilant, paranoid, sees the world differently than most with a threat around every corner and has a need to protect people (Yep, definitely Reese!). He also get a bit of a handle on her – she has a panic button under her desk and he takes pictures of her appointment book when she leaves the room to get him a drink.
Later, Finch is on the streets headed to the bat cave while someone watches him and takes pictures. For once it isn’t Reese – it’s Alicia, the government operative who overheard Finch talking about the Machine to Peck last episode. Finch hacks into the account that was used to fund the hit, but doesn’t come up with much.
Reese is at a bar, watching Carolyn sit at an outdoor cafe below. Zoe Morgan, the “fixer” that we met earlier in the season arrives and sits next to him to watch Carolyn. Finch has brought her in to assist. She’s gone through pictures from the thermostat cam and has identified some likely suspects out of Carolyn’s clients. Each of the men has a secret that they are trying to hide, that Carolyn likely knows.
HR has been watching Carolyn and has figured out her routine. They locate the best location to fake a robbery while she’s on her way home. She walks along her normal path as it starts to get dark. Just when she gets to the chosen spot, Reese appears out of the shadows. He offers to call her a cab, but she shrugs him off. At first she seems a little creeped out, but then she warms up a bit and talks to him, assuring him that she’s safe and that he should go home and get some sleep. He seems to walk off and she continues towards the subway. Several HR goons approach her and one pulls a gun. As he pulls the trigger, Reese appears, pulls her out of the way, and shoots one of the men in both legs.
As they hurry off, Reese explains to her that a group of cops are trying to kill her. He takes her into a nearby hotel and they check in to the only room available – the honeymoon suite. Reese calls Finch for help as they head up to the room. In the room, Reese cleans his wound (a bullet grazed his hand) while Carolyn tries to keep herself together. Reese does his best to comfort her.
Finch calls Carter and tells him that Reese needs her help, immediately. She gets her stuff together to go, but before she can, Agent Donnelly grabs her because he has something that he needs to show her. He takes her to a situation room and shows her a video – it’s Reese and Carolyn, leaving the scene of the shooting. He assumes that Reese has taken Carolyn hostage and is determined that he’s going to catch Reese. Conveniently, Reese and Carolyn were last seen in the most surveilled part of the city (how ironic!). They have started a federal manhunt and the entire room is filled with video screens and people. Carter looks over and sees Fusco is also in the room.
Reese sees HR cops arriving outside the building from the balcony and he and Carolyn flee towards the roof. Finch has found out that there is a helicopter on top whose owner happens to not be around. Before Reese can get to the roof, however, an FBI chopper lands and a SWAT team starts down the stairs from above them. Reese and Carolyn reverse direction with Finch guiding them. Reese plays cat and mouse with both the FBI and HR simultaneously with the help of Carter and Finch, but HR always seems to be able to anticipate his moves.
HR has a plan to solve both problems – get rid of Reese and kill Toring – while thwarting the FBI. They are going to set up a bunch of explosives and destroy the entire floor that Reese and Toring are on, so the FBI will blame Reese.
Zoe, meanwhile, is tracking down the three clients of Toring’s that she thinks are most likely to want to kill her. Turns out the guy that Reese saw threaten her isn’t who he said he was – he was blackmailed into impersonating a lawyer and becoming Carolyn’s client so he could threaten her. He has no idea who the blackmailers are. Zoe heads to Carolyn’s office to see what she can find.
When Finch leaves the bat cave to try to help Reese, Alicia breaks in. Finch’s computer is missing, but all the pictures and info about the PoIs are all there on the boards.
HR locates Reese on the freight elevator. Reese and Carolyn get stuck in the elevator between floors and between HR and the FBI. HR sets charges around the elevator while the FBI close in. Both groups start a countdown with their respective leaders offsite and communicating via cell phones. As both countdowns approach one, we see Finch on the roof with his computer. Just as the countdowns hit zero, all the phones go dead. Finch has apparently hacked the the cell phone tower emergency plan and brought all of them offline except for authorized numbers (i.e. his, Reese’s, Fusco’s and Carter’s). The disruption buys Reese enough time to get past both HR and the FBI.
Carter realizes that someone must be feeding HR information. She follows Fusco into the restroom where he’s talking on the phone and confronts him. He tells her that he’s working undercover to bring down HR. She doesn’t believe him and at gunpoint, he finally tells her that he’s working for the “guy in the suit”. Just as they are realizing that they are both working for Reese and Finch, Finch calls and cheerfully suggests that they both get downtown to help Reese. Fusco tells Carter that he knows everyone in HR and once they get done helping Reese, they can take them all down.
Reese and Carolyn finally get to the parking level where there is a service tunnel that goes down near the river. Reese sees an unmarked police car parked in an alcove and breaks into the trunk of the car – it’s full of guns and explosives. He grabs the guns and they head for the service door.
Finch calls to tell them that he’s in position at the other end of the tunnel. Reese hears HR arriving and sends Carolyn down the tunnel on her own. He gets in a shootout with the HR guys.
Finch is waiting in the car when the door opens – it’s Alicia and she has a gun. She wants him to help her shut down the Machine. Turns out that Nathan and Alicia were close and she blames Finch and the Machine for Nathan’s death. As she talks about Nathan, she starts to cry. Finch tells her that making the Machine was not a mistake and that the Machine didn’t kill Nathan. People that they both trusted betrayed them.
Reese is about out of ammo and definitely outnumbered. He goes for one last charge and suddenly a car careens in his direction. Fusco gets out and joins the fight. Reese jumps in the car with Fusco and Carter and they chase after a car full of HR goons. Fusco and Carter tell Reese off for not telling them that they were working on the same side as they drive. He tells them that they were trying to protect them.
It doesn’t look like the chase is going to end anytime soon and they are in a less populated area, so Reese asks Carter to slow down and pulls out a detonator. After Carter slows, he detonates the explosives in the trunk of the unmarked HR car. The car explodes in front of them. Carter stops the car and she and Fusco turn to stare at Reese in disbelief. He smiles, tells them that they should “all grab a drink together sometime… my treat”, and leaves the car.
Zoe breaks into Carolyn’s office. She realizes that she isn’t who she seems to be – her life is fake. She tries to access the computer, but the screen goes all weird and a DOS prompt comes up that says that the files are being deleted and then just “#root”.
Finch accuses Alicia of hiring HR to kill Toring just to bring him out of hiding because she knows about the “irrelevant list”. Oops… apparently she doesn’t, Finch! She tells him that she’s been following him for weeks, she didn’t need to lure him out. Before she can say anything else, she’s shot in the head from outside the car. The backdoor opens and Carolyn jumps in and introduces herself cheerfully as “Root”.
Zoe calls Reese to warn him – before the computer was wiped, she got a look at the account that paid HR and Carolyn set it up herself. Reese realizes that Root is after Finch, not him.
Finch realizes that Root put a hit out on herself just to draw him out. She admits that she trusted that Finch would save her, smiling endearingly while holding a gun at his head. They have a lot to talk about, she says…
Reese arrives at the rendezvous point and finds Alicia’s body but no Finch.
Donnelly’s still trying to figure out what went wrong with catching Reese when his phone buzzes. He’s received an anonymous email full of pictures of all the members of HR. At the NYPD station, Fusco has just finished sending an email and sits back in his chair and grins at Carter across the desk.
Reese retreats to the bat cave but finds little useful info. He goes back out to the streets. As he walks, he sees a security camera. He stands in front of it and talks directly to it – “he’s in danger now, because he was working for you. So you’re going to help me get him back!”. Reese stands staring at the camera for a few seconds and then a nearby payphone rings. He picks it up…
I often feel disappointed when it comes to season finales because they often don’t live up to the hype. This episode, however, was everything that I’d hoped for and more. We get a tiny bit more of Finch backstory/development, the dialogue was wittier than usual, and we finally have Fusco and Carter realizing that they are on the same team. Some of the HR members died in the car explosion, and others will no doubt be brought down by Donnelly, so Fusco may be back on the straight and narrow again. All great plot points, and they were the minor ones! The set-up with Reese and Toring (Root) was fabulous as it offered the opportunity for some entertaining psychoanalysis of Reese. Let’s face it, the guy puts the “b” in “baggage” and could probably really benefit from a bit of therapy at this point.
I wonder if it’s intentional that with the exception of Elias, every PoI who has gotten the best of Finch and Reese has been female and good looking? You’d think they’d learn (you’d think I would learn!) but this week neither of them (nor I) saw it coming until way too late. I even wondered, mid-episode, whatever happened to Root, but it still never occurred to me that Toring could be her. I pondered Alicia being her, but never Toring. Probably because you’ve gotta be pretty diabolical (and insane!) to put a hit out on yourself because you *trust* that a complete stranger will save you in time so you can make contact with him. It’s hard to anticipate crazy.
The discussion between Alicia and Finch was interesting. Apparently we aren’t going to find out anything more about Nathan’s death this season, but each new tidbit makes me more and more interested. The last few episodes have elevated the Machine from a powerful but lowly computer to something of a cyber God. I’m sure I’m not the only one who got a HAL/Space Odyssey vibe from Reese’s behavior towards the Machine at the end of the episode.
Hard to believe that we have to wait until the fall for the next episode, but I’m looking forward to a rewatch of the whole season to see what details I missed the first time around.
Good Morning Mr Reese. What have you been doing? – Finch
Corrupting Fusco. – Reese
Does he really need any help in that regard? – Finch
Time for you to work through some of your issues, Mr. Reese – Finch
You’re saying I’m paranoid – Finch
Is that what you think? – Carolyn (in true therapist mode!)
Now you’re hearing voices – Carolyn, not realizing that Reese is talking to Finch in his earpiece
Here, have some chocolate – Reese
Will these help to reduce an adrenaline response? – Carolyn
No, but they taste good – Reese
I owe you an apology. I diagnosed you as paranoid – Carolyn
Trust is complicated, Lionel. For example, I’m sitting in a police car with one cop who tried to murder me and another who spent 6 months trying to lock me up. So you’ll forgive me if I take things one step at a time. – Reese
What did you think of the episode? Tell me in the comments!