So. Much. Win. This episode was absolutely fantastic. Carter is forced to question Reese under the watchful eyes of Agent Donnelly and Finch, attempting to appear to try to break Reese without actually breaking him. Tricky stuff.
As always, every single cast member brought their A game. Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Emerson, and Brennan Brown (Donnelly) were all great. This episode had everything. We got tension, we got emotion, we got flashbacks, we got to see our gang care for each other, and we got to witness Finch’s seriously impressive cover-creating skills. Not to mention the return of several characters including Bear, Elias, the skinheads from “The Contingency,” that guy from Washington who knows about the Machine, and the fabulously fierce-tastic Stanton. I’ve said before that the more that happens in an episode in PoI, the better that episode is. Once again, the show has proven my point.
I loved how Reese’s cover story was just a thinly veiled version of the truth. He’s former military, he’s been in love once, and he spent a number of years post-military lost and broke until a rich man befriended him and gave him a job. Like Reese, “John Warren” watched the Twin Towers fall with his lady love from a hotel room. Unlike Reese, “Warren” chose to be with the woman he loved rather than reenlist. How much do you want to bet that Reese would choose that path if he had it to do over again?
Also wonderful was Finch constructing Reese’s cover as Reese was making it up. Finch is just amazing. No question about it. I love the whole workplace he had set up for Reese. Now that is a damn good cover. Bravo, Finch. Bravo.
Donnelly finally redeems his crime-solving abilities by revealing that he’s suspected Carter’s involvement for a while now. He claims she “played a pretty good game.” I have to disagree. She was as obvious as obvious can be. Still, Donnelly caught her...just in time to get shot in the head by Stanton. The second the phone started ringing, I knew it would be Donnelly’s number. I’d like to think that if Finch had gotten to him just a few minutes earlier, he would have survived, but I seriously doubt Donnelly would have believed an anonymous man on the phone claiming to be The Man in the Suit’s partner telling him an unknown but infallible source has indicated he was in danger.
This seems to be the year of the abduction. We started the season with Finch being held by Root, spent the last few weeks with Reese in federal custody, and now it looks like Stanton has Reese and probably Carter too. I’m not going to lie, I’m getting a little sick of the constant kidnappings. But I am looking forward to Stanton!
I just adore Stanton. She’s a fascinating character and I’m crazy excited to see how she and Reese will interact now that she’s back from the dead. So far, we’ve only seen Stanton as a sociopath, but it’s not hard to imagine that she might’ve started with the CIA innocent and idealistic and gradually become warped just like Reese. Jessica was the force that helped Reese hang onto his humanity. If Stanton didn’t have a person in her life like Jessica, it’s not hard to see how becoming a government-certified killer would have turned her into an (as yet) unmitigated monster.
With this much awesome, it’s hard to pick a highlight. If forced, I’d have to go with the relationship between Carter and Reese. After watching Reese get the crap kicked out of him, powerless to help, Carter purposely puts herself in physical danger to get him out of trouble. I LOVED the twist that Donnelly’s purpose in sending Reese to get beat up wasn’t to see what Reese would do, but what Carter would do. I didn’t see that coming and it was a nice character beat.
The episode’s one downside was, of course, the B story featuring Karolina Kurkova as Karolina Kurkova. CBS has a rather disturbing habit of tossing Victoria’s Secret models into their shows with little or no justification for their being there. The straight male viewership might not mind, but it bothers me. At least she kept her clothes on, I suppose. I didn’t see that part coming. I was half expecting Fusco to bodyguard her during a lingerie runway show.
With the Kurkova storyline, the writers attempted to provide a bit of comic relief to the rather heavy interrogation scenes between Reese and Carter. I think they were attempting to go for a BtVS “The Zeppo” feel, where we just check in to an overly melodramatic situation for a few seconds at a time. In Buffy, this was funny. In PoI, it just felt forced and strange. Thankfully, these moments were few and short.
Bits and Pieces:
The prisoner’s dilemma is a tactic in which suspects are separated, interrogated, and offered immunity for turning on each other. I did not know this staple of police procedurals had a name. You learn something new every day, eh?
It’s still 2012 in PoI-land. I cannot explain how much or precisely why this bothers me.
“John Warren” has a boss named Howard French.
Reese and Carter compared (possibly fake) military histories. I wonder if they ever crossed paths in reality. What an interesting episode that would make...
I really liked the way the show incorporated the flashbacks from last season into the body of the show and didn’t just tack them on in the beginning. Clever. A lot of the time, those ‘Previously Ons’ can spoil certain plot points of an episode.
How adorable was Finch getting geared up for extracting Reese from jail?
“When you cook up a cover, you don’t mess around.”
“Do you know the penalty for treason?” (shoots guy, laughs)
Stanton is such a badass.
“It’s my first triple homicide. I didn’t know I was supposed to prepare jokes.”
God, Reese, lighten up. It’s not like it was a quadruple homicide.
“If you want to be good at your job, you have to learn to love your work.”
“There’s a point where, if you stay a soldier, you forget how to be anything else.”
“You have to decide which man do you want to be: the boy scout or the killer, ‘cause I’m sick of working with both.”
Yeah, it’s not like you can be both a CIA operative and a boy scout. What do you think this is, Alias?
four out of four Victoria’s Secret supermodels