Person of Interest: s03 e10 – The Devil’s Share

Oh, my. Such a perfectly balanced episode, with a horde of actions, emotions and revelations all drawn together in the pursuit of a just revenge. Did this episode last forty-six minutes or did it draw you into itself for a lifetime?

Detective Joss Carter is dead, killed brutally by Officer Patrick Simmonds, the last HR standing. There is no title sequence, not even the series’ name. Just Johnny Cash singing ‘Hurt’, one of the most powerful recordings ever made. Carter’s ex-husband, her son, sit in a cemetery, with looks of indescribable pain on their faces. From a distance, Finch watches, also in sorrow, alongside Shaw, who disappears when he back is turned. Shaw wants revenge.

So too does John Reese, shot and wounded, seriously, by Simmonds, but single-mindedly determined to exact revenge, on both him and Alonzo Quinn. John is off the reservation. Jim Cavaziel gets something into his eyes that you had better pray you never see in real life because that is the expression of someone who has gone far past what it is to be human.

And so the episode becomes a multi-layered chase, as the team tries to find and stop Reese, which is like trying to find and stop a will o’the wisp. Instead of Carter, there is Fusco, the weak link, the joke cop, but this is Kevin Chapman’s coming of age in this series. He is now what they have, and he rises to the occasion.

They find Shaw. But Reese is always ahead of them. To find him they nneed to find Quinn in protective custody and to find Quinn they need Root.

There are once again flashbacks, four in total, at four different times, each of someone speaking to an interviewer. Finch, in his wheelchair after the Ferry bombing that killed hiis closest friend, discussing grief and survivor’s guilt. Dr Sameen Shaw, a technically brilliant surgeon who lacks the emotional commitment that makes the difference between fixing and healing. John Reese being psych-profiled for his fitness to be Black Ops, but only as a means to get close to and execute a traitor. Let’s just hold off on the fourth for a moment.

Reese, dying on his feet, gets to Quinn. He’s going to kill him, but first Quinn has to give up Simmonds’ escape route Here is where the quartet catch up, Root, Fusco, Shaw and Finch, but it is Harold, who willnot lose another friend, whose gentle voice reminds John that this is not honouring Carter. Carter wanted Quinn her way, the right way, the legal way. Evidence, arrest, trial, conviction. But John”s body is failing and only his will animates him now. He pulls the trigger, but the chamber is empty. Three take him away, fusco stays to secure Quinn. As they drive off to get John urgent medical attention, Root, speaking with the voice of the Machine, says that Mr Reese is not the only one out to kill Simmonds.

And inside, Fusco finds the note written by Quinn of where to find Simmonds.

We cut to that final flashback, Fusco and a therapist, traume counselling, Fusco has just shot and killed someone for the first time, in self-defence. He’s our Lionel, tough, wise-cracking, forever defensive. Until, assured that whatt he says is completely confidential, he changes. The dead guy was a drugs-dealer. He shot and killed an off-duty rookie last year, kid was 24, baby on the way, the dealer got off. It wasn’t a clean shoot. Fusco trailed him for weeks, just to get him alone, let the guy see him before he put two in his chest. They call it The Devil’s Share, an act of redress for the world’s shittier things. Fusco sleeps like a baby.

So you think you know.  Fusco intercepts Simmonds. He’s got a gun, Simmonds hasn’t. But Fusco has his eye on higher things. Despite the disparity in their fighting strengths, Fusco tackles Simmonds, yes, even with a broken finger in plaster. It’s simmonds’ to win, to execute Lionel and escape after all. But Fusco is a tougher little bastard than we’ve everr been allowed to see before. He whips Simmonds, breaks his arm.

Because Fusco was once the kind of cop who would execute a criminal. But then he got a partner who respected him, who treated him right, who got his back and, though this is insaid, more importantly trusted him to have her back. she showed him how to be a good cop, and drew Lionel Fusco back towards being a good cop. She saved him from himself. And Fusco won’t let that go over a piece of crap like Simmonds. Fusco brings Simmonds in. Fusco rises.

So all is well that ends. John will live after receiving treatment. Root, having been freed, returns to her cage in the Library voluntarily. Something big is coming and she and Finch need to work together.

And in the hospital room where Simmonds is being guarded, a seated, miling, almost cherubic face looks at him from the shadows. Brilliantly uncredited, Carl Elias addresses the still scornful Simmonds. He is awaiting Civilisation’s punishment. But neither he nor Elias are civilised. Joss Carter didn’t like Elias, but Elias liked her. Elias is here to watch The Devil’s Share be taken. John was not the only one who intended to kill Patrick Simmonds, Number of the Week.

One last word. We’ve seen Fusco rise to the occasion. This is also the point that the Team really forges itself into a Team, around the loss of one of its own.

Was this really only 46 minutes? Only in our lives.

15 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s03 e10 – The Devil’s Share

  1. Last week, a major character was written off the show in dramatic fashion, and “The Devil’s Share” has to find a way to pay tribute to that while simultaneously closing out the massive story arc that’s been simmering since the pilot but has taken over the series in the past 20 episodes or so. So, how does it do? It all opens with an intro that shows instead of tells-it a few minutes, we know how every character is dealing with the loss of Carter, set to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt”. It’s one of the most effective sequences in the whole run, and it’s a perfect way to kick things off. From there, we get a series of flashbacks for each of the main characters inter-cut with the hunt for Reese. We don’t follow Reese himself, as this episode prefers to keep him off-screen, as a terrifying force of nature. The hunt involves some outstanding action scenes, witty banter between Root and the team, and even the origin of Lionel’s name. The flashbacks differ in certain ways but also link together thematically as well. Finch deals with the loss of Nathan, which makes sense for the first act of the episode as everyone’s still reeling slightly from the death of Carter. Shaw’s ice-cold, ruthless nature is what allows her to see that they need Root. Reese’s flashback shows how when he has a job to do, he carries it out with ruthless efficiency. That holds true in this episode as well, only this time it’s added with heaping of rage and grief. Lionel’s really ties the whole episode together, and is directly related to Carter. Without her, he had no moral qualms killing someone who he felt deserved it. He was dirty through and through. Carter made him a better man. She helped him change from a corrupt cop to one of the NYPD’s finest. She helped change Reese from that remorseless killer in the flashbacks to the superhero of the present (excluding this episode of course-without her, he almost slides right back into the moral abyss), despite his deep regrets about his past. Carter, and the entire team, will teach Shaw the value of human life that she didn’t really understand in med school. Her absence is felt in nearly every frame, but it comes across most strongly when Fusco brings in Simmons-I think Carter would be damn proud of him. But, there’s one last player, who has no flashbacks dedicated to him, who exists outside of the show’s team and, according to him, civilization. The oldest form of justice is carried out. Our heroes did what Carter would have wanted, but the devil gets his share.

    Grade: A (+++++++++++). A serious contender for the best hour of television broadcast on the big four networks outside of Twin Peaks.

    1. If I had to pick one thing out of this episode, it would be Fusco’s self-redemption. You really do expect him to kill Simmonds and everyone would egg him on. His refusal to do so elevates him in an extraordinary manner.

      1. Fusco steps up and shines. Big time. I think he’s noticeably different after Carter’s death. And he does it while Reese is spiraling. And as brought up elsewhere in the series, it could be argued that Reese has done acts worse than anything Fusco has. And they both find redemption-Person of Interest might not be the most optimistic show out there, but it certainly believes in redemption. Beautiful stuff.

  2. We’ve both seen the last episode. We know what lies ahead, the final outcome. There’s most of a year to go before I reach that point again. All I’ll say is that there are more redemptions than one, and not all are like Fusco’s.

  3. If I was ever not impressed by The Devil’s Share, then I’d start to worry about my state of being. Because this episode is perfect television. I’ve seen it a dozen times and it *still* grips me every time.

      1. Almost every single scene is a complete powerhouse. Every scene has *something*, the kind of quality most episodes of other shows might reach one a season. Here, it’s basically every frame.

    1. I used to grade Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels out of 10. A normally unbelievable number of them genuinely rated 10. Then came Night Shift which, if that was 10 meant EVERYTHING else had to be downrated. So I gave it 11 out of 10.

  4. The use of ‘Hurt’ here might be the best needle drop of the series so far. The use of The Kills’ ‘Future Starts Slow’ at the end of ‘Relevance’ is another killer one as well.

  5. Oh no, I’ve found a flaw. How did Finch and Shaw get to Quinn first, when Reese and the Russians got to his lawyer first?

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