Person of Interest 2.17: Proteus
Finch, Reese and Bear go to see a movie as a big Nor’easter storm approaches the city. They haven’t heard a word from Agent Shaw, but also nothing from the Machine for three days, which is an anomaly. Finch is concerned that Kara’s virus might have made it all the way to the Machine. Finch can’t (or won’t) access it though, so they will have to wait and see. Just then, a nearby payphone rings.
The Machine gives them 6 numbers spread all over the country, which is extremely unusual. The six people appear to be unrelated. Three of the people are listed as missing, 2 seem to have just disappeared, and one is a local – Jack Rollins. Reese goes to his apartment, but the man is gone. A trash can is overturned and torn up bill has been reassembled – it’s for a rental property on Owen’s Island, off the northeast corner of Long Island. Rollins credit card charges suggests he’s in a hurry to get out of town, storm or no.
An FBI friend of Carter’s, Agent Moss, brings her files on the other 5 numbers, one of them has been missing for 7 years. The same FBI agent signed off on each file – Alan Fahey. She asks Moss what he knows about Cal Beecher and he tells her that he doesn’t know much, but Carter should definitely steer clear based on the amount of interest in him.
She calls Agent Fahey, who signed off on the missing persons cases. She asks him about a comment in his reports about missing photos from each of the victim’s homes. She tells him that she has new information from a confidential source and he tells her to call the Bureau liaison if she has new info and dismisses her.
Reese goes out to Owen Island, where Rollins had rented a house. As he gets to the house, they are evacuating the island. He picks the lock and soon realizes that he’s not alone. In some very bad luck, it’s an FBI agent – Fahey. They discuss the situation at gunpoint. The agent shows Reese a badge and asks for ID. Reese shows him a US Marshall badge. They start working together and soon find evidence that the man left in a hurry. They drive to the local police station together, hoping to get more manpower.
Meanwhile, Finch goes to the man’s apartment again looking for pictures of him or a lack of them. He finds a key for a storage unit in the basement. Inside, he finds a bunch of empty photo frames. Bear alerts Finch to a furnace grate in the basement. He opens the door and finds ashes and human teeth that they assume belongs to Rollins. He calls Carter and she goes out to collect the teeth. Finch worries that the killer may assume the identity of his victims, so they are looking for an identity-stealing serial killer. He wants to get to Owen Island, but the bridge is out, so he gets the completely asinine idea of flying a plane through the storm to the island.
Reese and the Agent go to the local police station and show the sheriff a picture of Rollins. The storm is strengthening and the power is out at the station. Fahey confides in Reese that he thinks that Rollins is dead and that they are tracking a murderer. He thinks the killer takes on each victim’s identity in turn. He suspects the killer is still on the island.
Cal comes to visit Carter, who is one of the few people left at the station. Beecher enters, he’s come to see her. He wants to know what he did wrong. She tells him that she’s busy and she’ll talk to him later.
On the island, stranded people start to arrive at the station as the tide covers the bridge off the island and the power goes out. Reese and the Agent go to investigate a report of a man attempting to launch a boat. He tells them that he has to tend to his lobster traps to protect his catch. They find another man hiding by the boat, who tells them that he came to town to find a job on a boat and also got trapped by the storm.
Meanwhile, Finch has arrived, he landed his float plane in the town square, which got him arrested by the local sheriff. He tells her that he’s an amateur storm chaser, but she’s not impressed. Reese convinces her to wait until after the storm to arrest him. Finch and Reese compare notes. Finch wonders if the killer they are looking for impersonates his victims until he grows tired of their lives and then moves on to the next victim.
Fahey finds some burnt drivers licenses in the roofed area outside the station where the generator is kept and shows them to Reese. It seems clear that the killer is among them.
Cal comes back later and she asks him to look at some security footage with her. It’s of Rollings at his antiques shop in Chicago, before he moved to NYC. They notice that the man they see entering and then leaving the apartment are not the same person.
Fahey and Reese interview all the people at the station. They use a seismograph that is part of Finch’s meteorological kit to detect vibrations in the table (such as an increased heart rate) as they interview people. No one seems nervous except for the fisherman until they get to the drifter from the dock and he’s clearly nervous and sweating. Reese is suspicious that he’s military based on his duffle bag.
Carter continues to look into the missing people. She finds another name associated with one of the victims – Alex Declan. She calls the station on Owen Island on the emergency radio but the generator cuts out before she can tell Reese what she’s found.
Reese goes out and finds that the generator has been unplugged. He restarts it and heads back inside. While he’s gone, one of the women and Finch find the sheriff dead in the hallway, stabbed in the chest. One of the men asks what Finch was doing when he was in with Fahey and Reese. He tells them that he was using his equipment as a lie detector.
With that announcement, the people all start blaming each other, a la Clue, and Finch waits to see what they reveal. One of them suggests that whoever owns the knife is the killer. Reese recognizes that it’s a military knife and confronts the drifter. He attacks Reese but is soon overpowered. He admits to being AWOL, but denies killing the sheriff. The group soon realizes that the fisherman is gone.
Carter wants to go to Owen Island, and Cal insists on driving her and wants to discuss her change in attitude towards him. She asks him about his situation with internal affairs and he tells her that narcotics detectives commonly get investigated by internal affairs and it doesn’t mean anything. As he talks he gets agitated and drives faster and faster, despite the storm raging around them. Carter gets freaked and demands that he stop, pulling her gun on him.
Reese decides to go back out into the storm to find the fisherman. He goes to the dock and investigates the lobster traps by the fisherman’s boat, finding that traps full of pot. The fisherman tries to shoot him with a spear gun, but Reese quickly disarms him and drags him to Agent Fahey’s car and tries to put him in the trunk. Unfortunately, the truck is already full – there’s a body in it with an FBI jacket – the real agent Fahey. The fisherman takes advantage of Reese’s surprise to knock him out.
Inside, Finch puts a few things together – he realizes that the seismograph shook most in between people, when “Agent Fahey” was the only one at the table. He looks through the man’s stuff and realizes that he doesn’t have an ID to go with his FBI badge. This realization comes a few minutes too late, though, as “Fahey” is watching him from the shadows and quickly has him at gunpoint.
Outside, the fisherman is about to dump a seemingly unconscious Reese into the ocean. Reese is actually awake, though, so within minutes he’s back in control and has the fisherman in custody.
The killer is quite interested in Finch and who he is. He takes him outside into the garage and they go through the whole “evil-guy-explains-his-motivations-for-his-crimes-and-tries-to-convince-you-that-he’s-sane-and-will-win” routine. The guy is seriously disturbed. He tells Finch that he’s going to take over his identity after Finch flies him off the island. Finch tells him what an evil person he is and he changes his mind and decides to just kill Finch. A gun fires and the killer falls – Carter came up behind and shot him.
She tells Finch that she caught a ride to the island with the Coast Guard. As they walk away talking, Finch remembers that the killer was wearing body armor. Of course, just at that second, the killer had stood up and was about to shoot Finch and Carter in the back. Before he can, though, he’s shot again, this time by Beecher.
Back in the sheriff’s office, Beecher and Carter talk. Cal asks her where they go next. She doesn’t know, but she is glad that he followed her to the island.
Reese and Finch talk as the storm clears out the next morning. Reese suggests that the Machine is working fine as it was able to put together what was going on with the 6 victims. Finch is sure that the Machine’s silence for the three days before was a glitch. It should have given them the number for the real Alan Fahey. He fears the worst is yet to come.
This episode was very entertaining, and made that much more realistic by the fact that I watched it during a snowstorm, with the wind howling around my house. The part about Finch flying a plane into a huge storm and landing in the town square was completely ridiculous, but it didn’t detract [much] from the rest of the episode for me.
The very ominous thought that the Machine may be compromised by Kara’s virus opens a lot of possibilities for the rest of the season. Every time I start to wonder where they could possibly go next, the story veers off in an unpredictable, but awesome, way. The idea of Finch and Reese tracking a serial killer, especially one who is quite good at impersonating other people was also a great plot point. It does bring some questions up about how exactly the Machine works, though.
Clearly the Machine sees the whole country, yet for the most part, Finch and Reese only go after the irrelevant numbers within the NYC area. How then, would the Machine have given them Fahey’s number in time? Because he was planning on going to NYC, even if he didn’t live there? What happens to all the irrelevants outside of NYC? If Nathan put a NYC filter on the Machine as part of his contingency, why did it give them only the numbers of dead, mostly out-of-state people this time?
It’s not clear to me how much Beecher saw between Carter and Finch. Enough to realize that they know each other well, or did he just see them talking, but not hear or see anything incriminating? Beecher would certainly not be someone that you’d want to know about Finch and Reese. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Beecher and Carter plays out and whether he proves to be a good guy or the crooked guy that we’re being lead to believe he likely is.
Isn’t the service vest a little unethical, Finch? – Reese
I may be handicapable, but I do require some assistance, and we don’t want to exclude Bear from our rainy day activities – Finch
Unbelievable! We’re hunting a killer and we end up getting amateur drug night in the sticks…Aw, don’t say anything, just bleed if I’m right – Reese
You have *no* idea, you’re an amateur at this – Finch, when the killer suggests that Finch is an imposter just like him
You could never be me as I save lives and you take them – Finch
A drug smuggler shot at me with a spear gun last night. – Reese
Is that a first for you? – Finch
Wish I could say yes – Reese