Person of Interest: s03 e15 – Last Call

Yes, again it’s a procedural, a one-off, but this time with a far better, much more involving story, and another opponent who offers recurring possibilities but who, in the end, will return only once.

We start in media res, with Finch in the field as a Trainee operator in an NYPD 911 call centre, where he’s got his eye on the Number, Sandra Nicholson, an experienced, wise, calm-under-pressure supervisor (Melissa Sagemiller). Reese and Shaw are on standby outside, amused at Finch’s lowly role.

Meanwhile, at the Precinct, Fusco is enjoying popularity after his takedown of Simmonds, in demand from his colleagues, especially rookie Detective Jake Harrison (Gavin Stenhouse) seeking guidance on working the  murder of Tara Cooke, which is not the street mugging it initially seems to be.

The threat to Sandra comes out of left field: she takes a 911 call from Aaron, a ten year old boy kidnapped from out of his apartment by professionals associated with a Mexican Drugs Cartel: off go Reese and Shaw. But Aaron is merely a lever to use against Sandra. unless she does exactly as she is told by a mysterious voice on her mobile phone, Aaron will be killed.

The vooice is clever. He’s  hacked into the system to divert this call to Sandra, he knows who she is, he knows what’s in her sealed Juvenile Court records (whilst babysitting and bathing a three year old boy, she left him to get a toy from downstairs, during which short period he drowned) and what makes her completely vulnerable, he’s even gotten a webcam attached to her headset so he can see everything she sees. All Sandra has to do is wipe 30,000+ 911calls from two days ago, calls that are part of evidence in innumerable cases.

One of these turns out to be the death of Tara Cooke. Fusco and Harrison’s case dovetails with the Number. Cooke was having an affair with her CEO and wanted to go public. He and his wife wanted her out of the way. In  order to save Aaron’s life, she agrees to do it.

The arrest and confessions of the married pair terminates the contract and spares Sandra the final decision, but both she and Aaron are to be killed anyway, to clear up loose ends. Reese and Shaw save Aaron from a bomb, Finch threatens to electrocute the hitman sent after Sandra, and she gets to relieve a certain amount of tension by belting him across the back of the skull with his pistol.

And Finch arranges a final meeting with Sandra, enabling her to see the boy she fought for and helped save before she returns to work. Shaw produces the only lead they have as to the voice, paired burner phones taped together. One rings: the voice speaks to Finch, assures him Sandra and Aaron are no longer under threat. But Finch… that’s a different matter.

The voice does return, a long way from here, whilst the show has much weightier matters on its mind, close to the end. Were it not for such matters, I don’t doubt this invisible mastermind would have proved to be more of a recurring threat. Indeed, as we will see, there’s a moment when this figure could have been introduced for a half-season arc, but the show chose a different threat.

As for now, though ‘Last Call’ effectively repeats the same trigger – a child under threat – as ‘Provenance’, it’s a far better story, in ppart because it’s not clogged up by implausibility. Sandra’s emotional commitment to saving Aaron comes over as deeper and more effective despite his being a complete stranger, and that’s down to Sagemiller’s performance. She stays graceful, and doesn’t let the emotions overplay, and it doesn’t hurt that whilst she’s a very attractive woman, that’s downplayed: short hair, full police uniform, no obvious make-up. There’s no glamourisation and that keeps her and Sandra grounded to great effect.

All told, a very solid episode that shows that Person of Interest can still succeed admirably even when it detaches itself completely from its overall flow. But with only eight episodes left, and a lot of ground to cover, it’s time that tide rolls over us.

Person of Interest: s03 e14 – Provenance

Implausible but watchable

Watching and blogging a television series from beginning to end, the same day each week, is a vulnerable process, since you cannot bring the exact same set of sensibilities to bear every single Tuesday. Though it’s not happened so far with Person of Interest, it’s too much to expect for the entire run to go unaffected, and this has been the case today. Feeling at a low ebb, mentally as well as physically, due to various things going on, and watching one of those almost-never standalone episodes, ‘Provenance’ wasn’t going to lift me out of my prevailing mood. Perhaps I should have taken a week off?

The episode was a genuine standalone, its only connections to the ongoing story being at top and bottom. Reese returns from Italy, with a new suit, ready to resume his job, with a Number already on hand. At the end, the crew gathers to celebrate their success with drinks, and Reese places a glass at an empty place round the table, for the one who isn’t there.

After so many intense, serialised weeks, a one-off with no ulterior significance would have to be pretty damned strong to make it and this wasn’t. The Number was Kelli Lin, real name Jai Lin (Elaine Tan), a high-flying events planner who, it quickly turned out, was an international, world class art thief specialising in cultural artefacts of tremendous value. She was also, under her real name, a Chinese former Olympic Silver Medallist being chased by her own Jean Valjean, Interpol Agent Alain Bouchard (Henri Bulatti).

Jao basically had two skills in life: gymnastics and very high power stealing. She had a little daughter being held hostage by a Czech gang requiring her to repay her debt to them, as represented in New York by Cyril (Gene Farber) who was obviously never going to let her go.

It was this conception, gymnast and thief, that bent the plausibility curve out of shape for me and left me unable to get into the episode in the way I usually do. It was the usual, well-constructed thriller: the team start off aiming to frustrate the theft by Jao, in whose wake bodies drop like flies (Cyril was doing it behind Jao’s back) and then had to switch to carrying out the theft itself to protect Jao’s daughter and bring the Czechs down.

Even then, to achieve the required happy ending, logic had to be bent to get Bouchard, who’d pursued Jao across Europe for years, to slip her a key so that she could escape.

No, on another day, of fairer frame of mind, I could buy this and enjoy it for what it was, but not today. Today, I was not receptive to what I could only see as a weak episode by PoI standards. Next week will be better.

Person of Interest: s03 e13 – 4C

Hero and asshole

As I’ve mentioned in passing before, Person of Interest has the ability to turn a one-off episode into an integral part of an ongoing art with a naturalness no other series can master. ‘4C’ is the last part of a six-episode sequence that started with Joss Carter’s final takedown of HR and her subsequent murder, and yet it’s a procedural Number of the Week, whose subject, Owen Matthews, computer programmer and all-round asshole (Samm Levine), has nothing to do with anything that’s been going on before or after him.

John Reese came back last week to save his friend, Harold Finch, but not to return to his job. Instead, Reese is going to lose himself, a one way flight to Istanbul. Except that his flight is suddenly overbooked and he’s bumped, and equally as suddenly a place opens up on a flight with a stopover in Rome. Reese can spot Finch’s meddling a mile away, and he doesn’t want it.

That’s not the whole of it. The pretty stewardess, Holly (Sally Pressman) asks if he’ll change seats to enable a newly-wed couple to sit together, which he happily does. His new seat giives him a view of Matthews, being transported by two ~US  Marshalls. His phone receives a text: 4C: Owen’s seat number.

There’s just one problem about all this. No, actually there are three. Someone’s trying to kill Owen (with a mouth like his, you should be surprised?) and has incapacitated one of his Marshall’s. And Reese doesn’t want to know. It’s not his job anymore, not his responsibility, he will not be manipulated llike this by Finch. The third one is, Finch isn’t doing this. he’s as much in the dark as Reese is. This is the Machine, operating by itself.

But on a commercial passenger flight from America to Europe, there are no avenues for walking away. Owen has too many attackers, Columbians, Israelis and National Security. With only the willing and optimistic Holly, who will deliver the crucial little speech about helping each other in an entirely naturalistic manner, to trust, Reese has to take the job.

It’s a tight, stream-lined thriller, with Caviezel at his most magnetic, even in sloppy clothes and a baaaad shave. Shaw is used as a sideline to discover why Owen is a target for her former Agency, making Owen a Relevant rather than Irrelevant Number. This leads to an almost touching scene wwhere, having drugged her former trainer, Hersh, he explains that Owen is about to become a National Embarrassment: there’s a near-fatherly concern for whether Shaw’s ‘new employers’ are treating her well, which draws the line we all of us would have used at this moment: ‘They haven’t tried to kill me yet.’

The final moment comes when the last assassin standing, on board as the coach class steward, takes over the plane and tries to fly it into the ground, requiring Finch to take over the controls and land the plane using a toy flight simulator attached to his computer back in the Library, but there’s a hppy ending to it all, and we sigh with relief.

Owen, who has caused all this feverish activity because he’s not just a programmer but the guy who set up and ran a Darknet Drugs trading facility, to take violence and death out of the trade, is smuggled off by Reese and fitted out with a new identity by Finch. Who happens to be sat with his back to John and Holly when they finish their coffee. What’s needed now is a graceful climbdown by Reese, which Finch facilitates by never once acting as if anything has changed. he explains that the Machine is, of necessity, manipulative in the way Reese hates, because Finch designed it so that the human intervention should always be the last part of the process.

That gives Reese chaance to joke about getting a new suit, so that he can get back to work. With that, the personal turbulence is ended and the show can reset itself for the final phase of the third season.

Person of Interest: s03 e12 – Aletheia

Don’t cross this woman

‘Aletheia’ is a Greek word meaning, for our purposes, ‘disclosure’ or ‘truth’. It’s an apt title for an episode that uses Person of Interest‘s capacity to construct a tense, slick and violent thriller whilst incorporating the show’s philosophy witth regard to the existence of the Machine.

As an episode, this is so much a direct sequel to  last week’s ‘Lethe’ that it could be joined to it to create a 90 minute feature without any seams showing, a fact recognised internally by the way only a title card is used to identify the show instead of the standard monologue.

We pick up with Control threatening Arthur Claypool and Harold Finch: one of them will give her what she wants and that one will live. Agent Shaw, in the meantime, is disposable and will be shot: mind the bloodspray. This is interrupted by the arrival of the Cavalry in the form of Root (who has freed herself from the Library in a manner she could have done at any time), two-guns firing. But on the way out, she is shot in the arm and captured.

Root goes on to secret immprisonment, interrogation and torture at the hands of Control herself. It’s vivid, it’s horrifying and it includes mutilation: a smll bone, essential to hearing, is cut out from behind Root’s right ear, making her completely deaf on that side.

It’s easy enough to loathe Control, and Camryn Manheim makes her into a total monster without ever once foaming at the mouth or chewing the scenery. Control is frighteningly self-righteous in pursuit of goals that protect the State, and is ruthlessly unconcerned about life. Secrets must be kept, maintained, controlled and anyone who potentially disrupts that world by having knowledge is to be killed, without thought or conscience.

What makes this so frightening is that this is John Reese’s world, that John Reese is every bit as capable of the actions undertaken by Control. It’s not played up blatantly, nothing the series does is ever blatant, it’s all their for the audience to draw the conclusions and, hopefully, think upon them.

Speaking of Mr Reese, he and Fusco are stuck in a Colorado jail, almost by arrangement. Fusco claims the Sheriff can’t recognise an NYPD badge, but when his attempt to turn Reesse back fails, they get out free on a word from the cynical detective. Nothing has changed. Reese has lost his anchor, he has twisted into the nihilistic frame of mind he had when Finch first gave him a job. Nothing is worth it, entropy always wins, Fusco will turn back into the corrupt slimy piece of garbage crooked cop he was. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.

The meat, so to speak, of the episode takes place in a bank vault. negotiating his way around Claypool’s brain tumour and his wandering memories and perceptions, Finch establishes that disc drives exist preserving Claypool’s Samaritan, in a safe deposit box in a bank under an account opened in the name of a false persona created at MIT by Finch, so solid that it could open a Bank Account. And these drives contain a correct and working Samaritan.

Unfortunately, Control, via Hersh, want the drives, and so does Vigilance, who are equally unconcerned as to the sanctity of human life. Samaritan is Arthur’s child, as much as if it were biological, so his acceptance of the need to destroy the discs to prevent either side from getting hold of them is almost infanticide.

Everyone gets out, though unfortunately they have to jump into the sewer to do so (at least that means we should never again see the hideous checked suit Harold wears throughout these two episodes). There is another of the show’s gunshot set-ups, which frankly are overused. Someone’s been held-up at gunpoint, is about to be shot, a gun fires but it’s someone offscreen doing a last second rescue that’s so frequent you get conditioned to expect it. These are two of Hersh’s SWAT team members, but they are also Reese and Fusco.

But John’s not back for good, he just came back to save Finch and then it’s back to his nihilistic stream.

I haven’t yet mentioned the continuing flashbacks to Harold’s youth and to his Alzheimer’s affected father. Dad has to go into a home. Harold’s still trying to build the machine that will be his Dad’s memory. In search of more computing power, he breaks into Arpanet, the Government forerunner of the Internet, as a result of which he has to go on the run, accused of treason. But by then his father has forgotten him.

Just two more touches. Harold has set Arthur up in comfort under medical care, at a secret location. More and more of Arthur’s memory is disappearing. He can’t ever remember the colour of Diane, his wife’s eyes. But Root, who is becoming or perhaps already is the Machine, who’s gone her own way for now, has a gift for him: old surveillance film and photos of Arthur and Diane together, beamed into his computer. Saul Rubinek, who plays Arthur, has been magnificent these two episodes, up to and including his utter absorption in the life that has been conjured back for him.

At least the discs have been destroyed. But a Bank Manager has been found dead, stuffed into a closet. She’s the Manager who let Claypool and Finch into the vault, was trapped with them, wounded and forgotten in the panic. No, she’s not. The woman who entered the vault was posing as her. She switched the discs. The ones Claypool destroyed were meaningless. The real ones are delivered to Greer, who is so pleased with her  sterling work he shoots her through the heart. Greer has Samaritan. Greer has an AI. And he does not have Harold Finch’s reservations.

The future starts here.

Person of Interest: s03 e11 – Lethe

Two geniuses

From the opening moments – The Machine showing flashbacks of recent events – we feel as if we are in a different dimension. There’s a disorientation to things, made manifest in John Reese’s rumpled and empty bed and Harold Finch’s pretence to Sameen Shaw that there are no new Numbers, which is only true because he is ignoring the Machine’s efforts to contact him.

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy is leashed upon the world. Reese has left, in silence, gone to Colorado where he sits in a bar drinking whisky, ignoring the litle man getting a beatdown from a bigger thug. ‘Lethe’: a Greek word meaning Oblivion, or Forgetting.

And the flashbacks return, brief vignettes from the life of a bright, eager, intelligent boy in 1969 and later, a boy interested in birds, learning about them from his father. Ah yes, his father: a man with some kind of illness that is slowly eating his memory, a father being looked after with love and devotion by an extraordinarily bright boy, who will restrict his own life to take care of his father. We do not need to be told the boy’s name is Harold.

But if the Numbers can’t come one way, they will come in another, via Root, still caged, but now voluntarily, in her Faraday Cage in the Library, yet able to piece together the Number: Arthur Claypool, a man in late middle-age played by Saul Tubinek, about whom there is a very small digital footprint. But a man about whom Finch has a natural advantage: Shaw is too eager to return to action to recognise that Harold knows Arthur.

But Arthur Claypool is in Hospital, with a brain tumour. He is a dying man, joking with Shaw, posing as the Doctor she once was, about being a honeybee rather than a dragonfly: a dragonfly has a life expectancy of four months, a honeybee of four weeks. As long as you don’t mayfly on me jokes Shaw in return.

But the hospital is no laughing matter. Claypool is surrounded by security, Secret Service security. That’s because Arthur works for the NSA, the National Security Agency. He is privy to secrets, but his condition destoys some memories but floods others out, uncontrollably. The name of Samaritan is mentioned for the first time. It will be mentioned in every episode to come.

Claypool is a target. He’s a walking leak, a magnet for agencies who want his secrets and a magnet for agencies that want his secrets locked up real tight, maybe even dead tight. Rudy has them, he says at one point, under the influence of sodium pentathol: has what?

But Claypool is a target for Vigilance, our privacy-terrorists who’ve laid mainly low hilst the drame of HR has been working itself out. To get everyone out, Finch has to do the one thing he’s been trying to avoid all along, appear before Arthur Claypool. His old friend, his fellow genius, his ‘brother’ at MIT. Harold knows Arthur and Arthur knows Harold.

They flee to a safe place, Finch, Shaw, Claypool and Diane Claypool (Camryn Manheim), Arthur’s wife who he doesn’t recognise, sweet, helpless, gentle, distraught that her husband doesn’t recognise her, but we who have been here before recognise her (I’m pretty sure I had her pegged first time round).

Why does everyone want the dying Arthur. It’s that name: Samaritan. Samaritan was a Machine built and designed by Arthur to accept, analyse and interpret all surveillance feeds post-911, to pre-identify terrorist activity. An AI, an artificial Intelligence that could learn, remember and grow. Samaritan doesn’t exist. It was scrapped, a few weeks before Arthur could complete it, in 2005, along with a host of other prjects all with the same intent. Arthur knows why Samaritan was scrapped: because somebody else got there first, somebody built a Machine that did it, that worked.

Arthur’s memory is full of holes. He remembers Harold, but he doesn’t remember Diane. Unfortunately, he remembers why he doesn’t remember Diane.

Let’s cut away though, to Reese, in his Colorado bar. Not just Reese, but Fusco, assigned to watch over Reese but also concerned himself for the Man in a Suit who gave him the impetus to turn himself around. Reese will let Fusco stay provided he doesn’t talk and accompanies him in drinking himself into oblivion, into Lethe.

But Fusco has changed more than we think. He’s on bourbon and soda, hold the bourbon. Reese is in despair. A genuine war hero is celebrated in this bar, with photos and clippings. Fusco spots the resemblance: Reese’s father, a Vietnam vet. Who survived the war and was killed at the oil refinery. Reese is burned out. No matter what they do, bad things happen. Doing good things is pointless, entropy always wins, why bother raging against the dying of the light? Fusco will have none of this. Reese changed his life for the better, is he saying that was pointless. Fusco provokes a fight, out back, in the driving rain. at first, Reese merely dodges but Fusco is a tough little bugger. They’re starting to fight in earnest when the lights and the siren of a cop car interrupt them.

And why does Arthur Claypool not remember Diane? Because she’s not Diane. Diane died two years ago, Arthur can remember the exact date he buried her. ‘Diane’ is another whose real name we will never know. The name we will know her by is Control. Agents bust into the room, outnumber and overpower Shaw. Hersh enters. What is it all about?

It’s about Samaritan. It may have been scrapped but Arthur still has the discs and Control wants them. As a bonus, she has the creator of the Machine. She wants to know where that is. One of them will tell her what she wants to know. That will be the one who lives…

This is a two-parter. And it’s a gateway. We have already stepped through it.

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.

Person of Interest: s03 e09 – The Crossing

This was the one where it was really never going to be the same again.

‘The crossing’ is the second half of ‘Endgame’. Joss Carter has Alonzo Quinn and everything she needs to bring him and HR down for good. There’s only one catch: she has to get him to FBI headquarters across town. Across a town where every dirty cop and every crook has John Reese’s photo. And whilst Simmonds wants Carter and Quinn alive, the order is shoot to kill for the Man in a Suit.

Meanwhile, Harold Finch has received a string of numbers with one thing in common. They are all aliases, all aliases for John Reese.

Getting to FBI HQ is a problem. With reese runing interference, they get to the City Morgue, four blocks away, but that’s as far as they can go. Finch has brought Sameen Shaw into play. Lionel Fusco has helped Resse and Carter get as far as they have but he’s been captured, the key to the safe deposit box with all of Carter’s evidence taken, and they’re torturing him for the Bank’s name and location.

Meanwhile, Finch faces a dilemma. Root has a connection to the Machine fundamentally different to his own. She can help. She wants to help. It’s not that she cares all that much for John but she understands just how much Harry does: John is Finch’s creation as much as is the Machine. Nor is he Harold’s first partner. But Harold can’t break his fear of Miss Groves: she has changed the Machine. She has become closer to it than he has.

Fusco’s in deep trouble, fingers broken, but still defiant. This once dirty, once lazy cop has transformed, imperceptibly, into a stalwart. He’s tough, still wise-cracking, and he sends Simmonds on a wild goose chase to the wrong bank. In consequence of which Simmonds sends someone to Fusco’s home, to kill his son, Lee, with Fusco listening in by mobile phone. The shot is fired. Fusco crumples, his son is dead. But the voice on the line is Shaw: it is going to be alright. But if she is there for Lee, she cannot be where Fusco is for him.

The promotion for this episode leaned heavily on the idea that Fusco would die. But not tonight, brother, not tonight. Broken fingers made it easy for Fusco to break his thumb, slip his cuffs, attack and throttle his intended killer. Not Fusco.

Meanwhile, HR are in the Morgue, the power’s down, John and Joss are trapped. It’s the longest time they’ve spent together without an immediate threat, so they talk, compare scars. John explains just how important Joss is to him, how her intervention when he was a homeless drunk, planning on killing himself, changed him into what he is now. There’s a tremendous warmth between them, a growing intimacy.

And then John exits. Harold runs interference for him, he leads the HR cops away, and is arrested – by two honest cops found by Harold. It means arrest. But it’s better than death.

So Carter makes it. Quinn’s threats continue to the end but now they’re hollow. HR is broken, the story goes public, Simmonds is still missing but the lot are in custody. Joss is reinstated as Detective and uses her influence to get ‘John Doe’ out of the 3rd Precinct, in an echo of their first meeting.

What a long, strange trip it’s been, all the pieces, bright, shiny, sharp-edged, brought together in perfect balance to create so tense, so thrilling, so roller-coaster an episode, everything is going to be alright.

And then Simmonds steps out of the shadows and shoots both Reese and Carter. Aghast, Finch watches, a payphone ringing unanswered, conveying another Number but this one too late. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Joss Carter. Simmonds is wounded, Reese is wounded, but Carter is dead.