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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Person of Interest: If at First You Don't Succeed to Kill an Entire Family, Try, Try Again

Person of Interest
Episode 102

This was a solid episode following the Pilot and helped set the groundwork for the likely rhythm of the show. As you can imagine, we'll be following a Social Security Number of the Week and while working through the circumstances surrounding the person of interest, we'll reveal bits of the past of Caviesus and Finch.  Before I get into this episode, I have to take umbrage with one flaw in the "prevent premeditated crime" premise. The cold open shows Caviesus at the end of a mission, wherein he ends up killing 2 guys that were sent by an angry wife to kill her philandering husband.  That seems to be 1 life saved at the cost of 2 lives and the life saved was for a douchebag cheater. Houston, we have a problem with the logic.  Anyway, on to this week's episode.

I should note that the opening credits for this show are nontraditional and fantastic at catching new viewers up to speed on what the show's about (good way of attracting casual viewers); plus Michael Emerson narrates which is a plus! 

This week's person of interest is one Theresa Whitaker, a teenager that was lost at sea with her family some two years ago in an apparent murder/suicide perpetrated by her father.    BUT, before we get to that, lets catch up on Caviesus stalking Finch (I appreciate his wanting to know more about his mysterious benefactor/employer, but dude, he made it very clear he doesn't want to be watched. Seeing as he built this all knowing, all seeing super computer program, I think I'd leave well enough alone).  I should note that Finch's limp from the Pilot has progressed into something much more akin to a full side paralysis like condition.  He's very rigid on the right side.  Back to Theresa. Her body was never found. Finch adds this info to the fact that the machine has spit out her number and gets, she's alive and about to be in the middle of some shizz. 

Caviesus pays a visit to dirty cop/frenemy Lionel (Fusco). he requests Lionel pull Theresa's file and reminds Lionel that he is, in fact, a dirty cop.  Lionel seems oddly indignant.  Back at the Lair, Caviesus has figured out that this was a professional hit, that the dad was posthumously framed to look like the murderer/suicider.  We also learn that Theresa hasn't reached out to her surviving Aunt (Elizabeth) or Uncle (Derek, dead dad's brother).  While Caviesus goes to track down a hoodlum friend of Theresa's, Finch goes on assignment to the Aunt's house, impersonating an insurance paper pusher following up on the dead dad's term life policy.  Auntie E takes this visit as a sign that the police have given up on looking for Theresa; she seems genuinely upset. She also exposits that she and Derek have split (over his inability to move beyond his grief).  Meanwhile, Caviesus has located Deacon, an old friend of Theresa's and skateboard enthusiast, hanging out in Washington Square Park (sidebar: have you seen what they have done to Washington Square Park lately? Its all torn up; ahh progress in NYU-land).  Deacon sticks to the party line about Theresa being dead while Caviesus pairs his cell phone to Deacon's (what did secret enforcers do before Bluetooth?).  As soon as Caviesus leaves his sight, SkaterBoi Deacon IMMEDIATELY textsTheresa, who is hanging out on the other end of the park, using a skimmer (a device which captures ATM card numbers so that you can then use them to get cash from the associated accounts) on an ATM dressed in the latest Village Incognito-wear (with the skateboard in hand, think Avril Lavigne when she first came on the scene). She bolts, skatergirl style, when Caviesus engages her and just as he's about to grab her, she manages to slash him with a switchblade.

Finch apparently spends his daytime hours working as an engineering stiff, named Harold, in a company that he secretly owns.  Strange way to spend the day but, if Undercover Boss taught us anything, it taught us that the head honchos need to spend time among the grunts in order to appreciate their struggles and morale.  They come up with a plan to try and locate Theresa by tracking her IP address when she inevitably goes to sell one of her ATM skimmers online.  You really can buy anything on eBay, huh? Caviesus will help the investigation by learning where to hire a professional killer. All in a day's work. Lionel tells Caviesus the killer bar to go to ... Caviesus gets thrown out once but quickly fixes the situation by using his Caviesus-Fu the second time around.  Lionel looks like he's going to throw up that this guy is driving around in his backseat all the time (remember the flashbang grenade the last time Caviesus was in his car... yeah, Lionel remembers too).  Caviesus tracks the family killer down in prison but the guy confesses he doesn't kill kids (its become an issue for him in jail, actually. The serial killer with a conscience).  Whoever hired Conscience Killer has clearly hired someone else to finish the job.  Finch's clickity clicking leads them to a real estate company called Landale which invested in all of dead dad's deals. Oh who is this hanging out with Landale?  Uncle Derek. What's that about?  Well, it'll have to wait because Finch has located Theresa's IP address in a laundromat uptown.  When Caviesus confronts her, she doesn't get a chance to slash and run because they are interrupted by the clean-up killer, come to finish the job.  Fight, Fight, Fight.  For a goateed, fat guy, the clean-up killer matches Caviesus-Fu blow for blow and even seems to best Caviesus when he flings him through the plate glass window. Just as Clean-Up Killer is about to "for really this time" kill Theresa, Caviesus shoots (but doesn't kill cause he's wearing a vest) Clean-Up Killer (convenient they are in a laundry mat to get those blood stains out *rim shot*).

Caviesus takes Theresa back to his hotel pad and they discuss Uncle Derek. Apparently, Dead Dad didn't trust his brother and so, Theresa doesn't trust him.  Finch shows up to babysit Theresa while Caviesus goes out to track down the Landale/Uncle Derek angle (he smartly secures the forks before leaving).  Using the old, "my dead brother's cell phone is calling me" trick, Caviesus is able to get the surprise jump on Derek and takes him for a ride. Plot revealed: Landale, not happy with the speed of the outer borough real estate investment they made with Dead Dad, had Dead Dad and his entire family killed in order to expedite the sale of the property (so they could recoup their money). Uncle Derek is necessary because he's the executor. Or something.  Apparently, he didn't realize Theresa is still alive. Finch and Theresa have some bonding time over their shared feelings of loss and wanting to disappear.  When Uncle Derek gets picked up by the Clean-Up Killer, he ends up getting himself shot instead of betraying Theresa's whereabouts (not that he knows). Apparently, being shot in the head causes the city's surveillance cameras to vibrate a bit. 

Finch's wise words have helped to melt Theresa's hardened heart and she tries to call Auntie E., only to come off as a creepy heavy breather.  Unfortunately, that wasted phone call allowed Clean-Up Killer to figure out where Theresa is (he has Auntie E's phone bugged).  Caviesus is able to disable Calhoun's (head Landale Baddie) car but Calhoun can't call of the killer, he's already gone silent to kill Theresa.  Caviesus tries to warn Finch to run but oops, Clean-Up Killer just showed up on the hotel floor (by the way, Caviesus, using Finch's unlimited funds, booked the entire floor so they would have privacy).  Clean-Up Killer kicks in the door on a room with voices coming from it, but, through phone trickery, Finch and Theresa are really able to make their escape from another room. Damn elevators are sooo slow. Clean-Up Killer is able to catch up to Theresa and the Gimp, er, Finch but before he takes his shot, Caviesus puts 3 bullets in various parts of his body. Not to be a downer but, (i) this guy would have learned from the laundry mat to not take his sweet time in firing his gun and (ii) Caviesus should have head shot him straight away -- why risk a involuntary finger squeeze or leave him enough time to get a shot off while you're busy shooting his leg?

Wrap ups.  Earlier in this episode, we saw that Detective Carter's Caviesus druthers are continuing because she cannot access any information on him.  Turns out, the federal government has redacted every  piece of paper dealing with his history.  Carter is super pissed because she has him at least 8 different crime scenes.  Anyway, Caviesus calls her and agrees to meet her in the park. She agrees but only finds Theresa there waiting.  Theresa says that she was told Carter was someone to be trusted and that could help.  She also denies being able to remember any information on who may or may not have helped her (Carter does now seem to realize that there are 2 people involved, not just Caviesus). Theresa and Auntie E. are reunited.  Harold has left the company, Caviesus finds. Finch reminds Caviesus that he is a private person AND REALLY DOES NOT WANT REESE POKING ROUND IN HIS BIDNESS.   As Harold heads out of the building, we pan over to a memorial bust/plaque thing (which I think is supposed to be a likeness of Finch); said plaque describes the bust as in memory of the company's "Founder" and shows him dying in 2010.  it does not give a name. 

I saved the best for last. The weekly installment of Finch backstory! During the episode, we are shown flashbacks beginning in 2002 where a fully mobile (particularly interesting given the pronounced rigidity mentioned above) Finch is ddiscussing the beginning of the super computer's program with his apparent partner, Ingram.  Finch has hacked into Fort Meade (read: the NSA)'s surveillance equipment and has achieved full access to every communication and camera in the NY area. he still predicts 4 or 5 more years until the whole thing is mature and the program he always planned.  Flash to 2007 and the operation has clearly branched into a lot more servers. Still fully mobile Finch is confronted by Ingram who has discovered the "irrelevant information" byproduct of the Machine. At this point in time, Finch is unbothered by the implications of ignoring the irrelevant information.  He justifies the action by saying that if the knowledge of the machine got out (which would happen if they were sharing the irrelevant information with local authorities), the outcry to turn the Machine off would be unbearable and think of the national security implications of Not having the Machine. 

See you next week!

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