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Person of Interest: Number Crunch

“Careful what you look for Mr. Reese, you might find it.”

Such a good episode. Forget being on the edge of your seat, that scene on the roof had me on my feet. Not shockingly, Reese’s past has come back to haunt him. Thanks to Carter, the government has realized that Reese is not dead and they are coming at him. Hard. Why? To kill him, to question him, to keep him from revealing something he knows? If I had any doubts about this show, this episode has effectively wiped them away.

I love love LOVE the development of the Finch/Reese relationship. Reese and Finch truly don’t know much about each other (including the other’s real name), but they trust each other. This trust isn’t inherent, it’s been growing all season. They recognize in the other similar intentions, motivations, and a need for atonement. They have different skills and pasts, but are remarkably similar when it comes to what really counts. I love that Reese tries to warn Finch away. He must know he will die without help, yet it seems he’d rather die than put Finch’s life at risk. Possibly he’s thinking of their work with the Machine. Reese himself may be replaceable, but the man with the back door into the irrelevant list?

Once again, Carter does the right thing. Fusco jokes with her early on about not knowing whether to thank or arrest Reese. She does both. While from the audience perspective, turning Reese in is demonstrably wrong, Carter isn’t coming at this from the audience perspective. All she knows is that some men from the government are telling her that her vigilante is a dangerous murderer and a risk to himself and others. What other choice did she have? She may have had misgivings about Snow and his “preppy friend,” but she already knew for a fact that Reese was dangerous. Oh, also, apparently he killed his partner. There is no way he did that! Unless it turned out she was a double agent or something, which I could see. But Reese does not kill good people.

Mark Snow, the guy with the clearly symbolic name (marked snow, dirty snow, get it?) claims to have been Reese’s “best friend.” Why do I get the feeling that is not the whole story? Also, I always find it ridiculous when middle-aged men say “best friend.” Did they braid each other’s hair and gossip about boys all night? Snow doesn’t have much hair to work with.

The main part of the episode was very good, very PoI. Standard crime procedural in a Touched by an Angel format with heavy hints of social commentary. The leitmotif of Wall Street and/or the government is evil isn’t exactly leit in this episode. The congressman charged with investigating Wall Street is actually in business with shady bank owner Bannerman. He’s using a charity for Haitian orphans as a front and his own son is his fall guy. Can you get any sleazier?

Bougey Claire Ryan and Matt Duggan go shopping after their windfalls, while earnest Wendy and Paula only take the money to help out their mom with her underwater mortgage. In what I’m sure is just a coincidence, the people who intended to use the money for selfish purposes wind up dead, while those who think of others not only live, but get to keep their money.

Bits and Pieces:

The book Reese picks up in the opening is The Ghost in the Machine. Nice, writers. Very nice.

Reese keeps a CSU jacket in his trunk. Clever boy.

Claire Ryan comes into money and the first thing she does is buy shoes. A woman after my own heart.

How cute was Reese with Wendy? Nice to know that just because you’re an almost super-human spy doesn’t mean you’re immune to a pretty face.

We got to see Finch in the field and clearly out of his element. I love when he looks uncomfortable. And his reaction to the bomb? All that guilt? God, Michael Emerson is so good.

Fusco gets to showcase his cop instincts, and actually sees something Finch doesn’t. I suppose there’s a first time for everything.


“Where did you come from?”
“I breached the space time continuum. Not really.”

“You can hear me all the time?”
“Yes, and I’m hearing rather too much of your lower intestine. Could you possibly move your phone from your belt to your jacket pocket?”

“Detectives Olsen and Fiasco.”

Three out of four bags of knitting for the main plot
Four out of four for the last few minutes


  1. Definitely one of the standout episodes of the first season. Excellent review, so I only have a couple of tidbits to add.

    * I'm ALWAYS happy when Bridget Regan(Wendy) is on my tv screen, I have a real soft spot for gorgeous redheads :)

    * The CSU jacket, did he actually pull that from HIS car? When I watched the episode I got the impression he swiped it from the trunk of a cop car.

  2. Fantastic episode! While the case itself was not the strongest, the relationships between our four main characters just continues to grow stronger. I'm interested to see how Carter becomes part of the team now.

  3. Whoah !

    Hate you Carter ! Thank you Carter !

    Mark Snow : the X Files music composer !

    "Sorry" sunbunny, this a 4, from the beginning to the end.

  4. I've been searching like crazy to see if there's any correlation between this Mark Snow and the X-Files music guy. Did you ever find out anything? :)

  5. Lori Lee - I don't know! I hadn't watched The X-FIles before I reviewed this, although I have since. Maybe it's a coincidence or maybe one of the writers is a fan. :)

  6. I've read every review and recap I can find on this episode, and no one has noticed the single most important thing that happened: when Carter catches Reese and Finch about to escape from the parking garage in the final scene, she was clearly going to arrest them, but then changes her mind when she looks at Finch and says: "you!?". She clearly recognizes him, but I can't recall when they've met or how she would know him. Why does the fact that she recognizes Finch make her decide to let them go? Am I forgetting something important that has previously happened? Nobody has asked this question.

  7. Unknown, there was an episode early in the first season(I want to say it was Mission Creep) where I believe Finch posed as a hostage during a bank robbery or something similar. Carter interacted with him then as an innocent hostage afterward. I'd have to rewatch to be certain.

  8. I remember that episode, and you're right, that's when she previously saw him. Thanks, Patrick!

  9. "Number Crunch" is the show's first mid-season finale, and displays the show's penchant for getting them very right. The ending, of course, is spectacular-great music choice, a dramatic 'it has been an honor' speech, and Carter's act of helping Reese and Finch. But the rest of the episode is very good as well-mainly because it switches up the formula, just a bit. I think Person of Interest excels when it does that. Even if this is an early example of it, it's still great to see.


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