We’re still very much in Number of the Week mode as season 2 unfolds, with the show’s wider mythos being developed in cryptic fashion that, at this time, still raises more questions than it answers. Even with the advantage of knowing to what such things lead, the process is still intriguing.
As is the new procedure, we begin in media res, John Reese on the street looking for their new Number, a repeat Number. Who would be stupid enough to get involved twice, the Man in the Suit muses, only for a body to come flying through a window: it’s Leon Tao again, Ken Leung, the Forensic Accountant with somewhat elastic ethics.
But Leon’s a misleading distraction, comic relief, and a device to facilitate the main story. He’s installed in the Library for his own protection, under the watchful eye of Bear, to ensure he doesn’t o anything stupid and Leon-like, whilst Reese and Finch head off together to check out their other Number, Dr Madeleine Enright, world-class surgeon (Sharon Leal).
Maddy’s about to perform open-heart surgery on businessman Oliver Veldt, an energy-Tsar. The whole thing is massively secret, thousands of Non-Disclosure Agreements, falsification of Hospital records, so as to preserve Stock Market confidence. Except that someone knows about it. That someone is a Brit (villains again), Alistair Wesley, ex-MI6. Wesley is a consummte professional who has everything prepared. Maddy will inject Veldt with Heparin, an anti-coagulant and then, at a specified time, nick an artery. Veldt will bleed out, the stocks will be hit, Wesley will make a fortune out of short-selling.
Maddy naturally refuses, but Wesley holds a lever on her. Maddy is married to Amy, a charity organiser currently hostinga fund-raiser in the Park. A sniper has her in his sights at all times. Break the rules laid down by Wesley, and Amy is dead. Dr Enrigt is not the victim, but an unwilling perpetrator.
Pause a moment. There’s a dead body in a parking lot, some ordinary guy, cut down execution style. Detective Fusco pulls the case but he’s rather more concerned at pulling a card from under the victim: an NYPD card for Joss Carter, blood-stained. What has Carter to do with this victim? What does 6611TH, scrawled on the back of the card, to do with this?
Back to the main story. Reese and Finch divide their forces, Finch to the hospital, Reese to the Park. Some computer work is needed and Finch’s here not there. Fortunately, Leon’s there, and he can use Finch’s computers to dig out the financial background. That’s why he was introduced at first.
Reese takes out the sniper easily enough but is immediately called by Wesley, inviting him for a drink in the pub on the corner. You see, Wesley has thought things through thoroughly. The sniper wasn’t his sole asset. There are four sleepers in the Park, keeping Amy in sight at every moment.
So Reese goes for a drink. He and Wesley recognise each other as equivalents, though Wesley is for once wrong in thinking Reese is alternate scurity working for Veldt, and he’s definitely wrong in thinking he can hire Reese. The upshot is that Wesley orders John out of the Park. He becomes another rule: break it and Amy is killed.
So there are multiple complications, not least whether Maddy can choose to kill Veldt to save her wife. The answer to that is no. Reese, after using Fusco to create a diversion, and inadvertently expose one of Wesley’s sleepers, disguised as a beat police, gets Amy out. In the surgery, a nurse, another back-up in Wesley’s plan, nicks an artery, leaving Maddy and a most reluctant but press-ganged Finch, to save Veldt’s life.
All’s well that ends well, though the plot leaves a moderate hole in it. All of Leon’s investigations pointto Veldt’s assistant Rains as being the enemy who gave Wesley the secret of the surgery, but that’s true. Rains is dedicated to his boss, just another mini red herring along the way, but who was the mole inside Veldt’s company? The plot races on, forgetting this.
But what of Carter? She’s investigating her card. The victm’s background leads her to identify his workplace, at 66, 11th Street, but when she arrives, the place is in turmoil, the building evacuated, shots fired. Carter spots a familiar face, Agent Snow slipping away. She pursues him. In a phone dead place, he answers some questions. The victim was killed for his ID. He reveals the bomb vest he’s wearing. He tells Carter to tell John that she’s planning something big, a lot of deaths, but before he can givethe name, or anything more, she intervenes with bullets shooting out the lights.
We know who ‘she’ is. Carter doesn’t. John knows who ‘she’ must be but isn’t telling. In the episode’s closer, he asks Carter, who has family looking to her, a son, to think hard about how much she wants to know…
The episode’s real finale is on the street, after sending Leon off. Wesley calls on the burner phone John’s taken, congratulates him on a good game, recalls seeing him in Baghdad when John was still CIA. John doesn’t recall him, but that was Wesley’s training. They’ll no doubt meet again. Wesley ditches his phone, heads for Kennedy Airport. The show intimates that we’ll see him again, and it would have been good to see an opponent of that calibre again, but other priorities presumably arose and Wesley would never return. A pity.