Person of Interest: s03 e08 – Endgame

Not playing anymore

‘Endgame’ is an awfully final title for an episode only one-third the way through season 3, and especially for one that is but the first half of a two-parter. But it’s what it is. Last week, former-Detective Joss Carter discovered the head of HR to me the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Alonzo Quinn (Clarke Peters). She’s not pussy-footing around any longer, she’s going for the throat. And the evidence of that is 38 simultaneous Numbers, all cops, all HR.

Because Carter wants her revenge for Cal Beecher’s death to be visceral, and delayed no longer. And the way to  do this is simple: to foment a war between HR and Peter Yogarov’s gang, the Russian Mafia.

It’s so neat and simple. The Russians have a drugs shipment coming in. Carter attacks it, steals it,  frames HR. She pulls in a favour from the ever-calm Carl Elias (Enrico Colantoni) to do an infodump – names, addresses, numbers – of the complete HR roster, up to and including Quinn. It’s going to be a bloodbath.

Finch is horrified and petrified. Reese is fearful for his friend’s fate. Only Shaw, gleefully pillaging Reese’s weapons locker to supply Joss with the tools to hijack the lorry, seems to respect Carter’s need to do this herself, though she’d just love to get in on this.

At stake is a catastrophic outcome. Win or lose, things are going to change out of all recognition. Joss brings things into Quinn’s circle, pretending to be overwhelmed by her task and backing off from it. The audience is given more reason to think that’s true that Quinn or Simmons (Patrick John Burke). But she won’t let Reese help her, she won’t let Fusco help her, she’s going down the rabbit-hole on her own.

And we’re pointed in the direction of her probable failure and death, though this is merely routine PoI misdirection that anyone who’s got this far has no business believing. Even when the ‘honest’ Judge to whom she takes her evidence to get an arrest warrant for Quinn betrays her to Quinn and Simmons, and the latter puts a gun in her face.

We’ve been led to this time and place by flashbacks too, Carter’s ex-husband, her son’s father, Paul Carter (Laz Alonso), an Afghanistan Vet with trauma that leads her to cut him off from contact with Tyler who, in the end, takes the road to Redemption, enough so that it’s to Paul that Joss has committed her son’s care these past eight months. Final words, the fateful see you soon.

But PoI has its other routine to perform, the one where the gunshot isn’t the one from the bad guys but the offscreen one from the good guys, John Reese, disrupting HR’s little execution party, snatching Joss and Quinn and setting off to get the latter to the FBI. But Simmons raises a gauntlet, of HR cops and crooks, through which they must ride.

And that’s next week. and I remember what happens next week. There’s still a bumpy ride to come.

10 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s03 e08 – Endgame

  1. “Endgame” [3×08]
    Written By: Nic van Zeebroek and Michael Sopczynski
    Directed By: Sylvain White
    Originally aired: 12 November 2013

    “Endgame” begins the task of resolving the series’ longest-running story-line, and it makes it perfectly clear that HR will not go down with a whimper, but with one hell of a bang. I don’t even know what to say about this one. It’s just a stunning example of how great action tv can be. In the hands of a different, less-skilled production team, I can see this episode resolving the whole thing, with HR neatly taken down and Carter either riding off happily into the sunset or going down in the most melodramatic fashion possible. Person of Interest is not going to do either of those things. It’s tough to explain why this episode works so well, but ultimately, it’s down to airtight storytelling with the action flowing faster than water out of a broken dam. I’m wondering now if I will I run out of weak metaphors before your re-watch is over. “Endgame” acts as an ode of sorts to Joss Carter, reminding the audience of why she’s been such a warm, welcome presence on this series while simultaneously setting up her tragic downfall.

    Grade: A (A+ in execution, but I don’t give those).

      1. I certainly wouldn’t want to spoil anything-the show’s too awesome for that. But it’s worth nothing I accidentally spoiled pretty much all the major deaths for myself the first time I watched the show-it doesn’t affect the quality of the show at all, really.

  2. Certainly not, but ever since the 50th anniversary Dr Who special, i have become a purist who wants to approach everything as seeing it for the first time, unforewarned, like it always used to be.

  3. A very long time ago in a world that no longer exists. I missed part 2 because it was dropped when President Kennedy was assassinated the day before and didn’t get to see it until 1981

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