This week, Person of Interest presented an interesting scenario. What happens when the man who the Machine declares the next number is a victim not a perpetrator, but he’s also a dangerous mob enforcer traveling with a complete innocent? It put John and Harold at odds with one another as John argued that Riley Cavanaugh (Jonathan Tucker) may be a killer but so was he at one point. While Finch gets offended by the notion of letting Riley’s lover, Annie, be put into harm’s way at all even going so far as to quote his recent captor by stating that some people are just ‘bad code’.
Frankly, the story itself wasn’t the strongest this week as the young lovers tried to get out of town before Riley’s former boss, George Massey, could get them both killed. The fact that Annie was a widow of someone in Massey’s organization and Riley was the person who carried out the hit made it a little more interesting, but Tucker held the screen nicely enough with Caviezel in the latter half of the episode. There was a certain honor amongst professionals that made John’s insistence of helping out Riley, a man he could tell has a good heart ultimately by his need to keep Annie safe no matter the cost to himself, work so well. It was also nice to see a character that could trade blows with Reese instead of it being another of the many one-sided fights that, while entertaining, certainly lack in tension at times.
We also saw the return of Detective Szymanski after he was wounded last year. Having a cop back on the beat that isn’t part of John and Harold’s thing with the Machine is a good thing for the show. It’s nice to have Carter and Fusco as members of the team now, but it’s necessary to have that opposing element on the side of the law that would still find Reese to be a vigilante. The last few episodes really have seen them with little opposition to worry about from the police and what better way to reintroduce that element than in the case of a hitman POI?
But that isn’t the return that should make POI fans the happiest as this episode first name-dropped Elias then featured the man himself later on. Finch managed to fight against last week’s spate of trauma-induced panic attacks to go meet with the man himself in prison–their very first proper meeting. When Massey put out an impressive $1 million dollar bounty out to the low-life population of NYC to bring Riley and the girl to him it’s Elias who has the power to rescind the order. He tells Harold that this favor will have a price even if he and Reese saved his life last season. Unfortunately, the memo doesn’t get out to everyone and Annie gets kidnapped just when she and Riley try to skip town. It leads to the kind of standoff you’d expect as Reese assists Riley in freeing Annie from Massey and his men. Where this show differs in a refreshingly unexpected way is in the fact that there was no happy ending for the young lovers. Riley is killed and Annie heads off alone to try to start a new life–something Riley had planned for her all along having bought only one ticket in the first place.
The end had Harold admitting he was wrong to call Riley just bad code as he stated that people change and evolve so nothing’s quite so black and white. I was shocked that he ever called him that in the first place considering Harold is the guy who believed in the potential of a man like Reese and gave him a chance at a new life. It isn’t as though John’s killing days are over either as the episode fades out with him giving a little visit to the man who killed Riley during the shootout at George Massey’s club. The last scene for Harold had him sitting across from Elias playing a game of chess. Definite foreshadowing that now that they’ve been face to face, Elias can play his games against an opponent who can give him a run for his money in a different way than their mutual friend John can.