'Person of Interest' Recap: The Birth of a Bad Guy
'Person of Interest' Recap: The Birth of a Bad Guy
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The good news: Person of Interest is back! The bad news: Root is not. Bear is also missing from this week's episode, "Last Call," so I'd like to think that they're having some bonding time. Root could use a friend who doesn't periodically institutionalize her.

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The Dangers of Outdated Technology

The Machine gives the number of Sandra Nicholson, a 911 call center operator. Finch goes undercover as a coworker and is impressed by Sandra's excellent crisis management skills. These skills are tested when Sandra gets a call from a little boy named Aaron, who is home alone and terrified by people trying to break into his apartment. Sandra helps him find a place to hide, but his 2003 model flip phone has poor battery life and alerts the intruders to his location. Always use your upgrades, kids.

Sandra goes through the traumatic experience of hearing Aaron get kidnapped, and then becomes even more terrified when the mastermind of it all calls her on her personal cell phone. The abduction was orchestrated to get Sandra's attention and emotionally blackmail her into cooperating. Sandra is a good candidate for this manipulation because she accidentally let a 3-year-old drown when she was a teenage babysitter. Her guilt, much like her easily unsealed juvie record, has followed her ever since.

There's No Dead in Team

There are more or less three distinct personal sagas that arise from here on out. The first is that of Reese and Shaw, who prove once again that their impressive individual abilities are downright terrifying when combined. I like to imagine them as Planeteers uniting to make Captain Planet, but instead of harnessing the elements, they use the powers of "Threatening Whispers" and "Uncomfortable Enjoyment of Causing Bodily Harm."

They mostly handle the grunt work of the episode, since Finch is doing the undercover work, so I don't really need to talk about them much more. I just love a good '90s cartoon metaphor.

Terrible People Doing Terrible Things

The second saga belongs to Fusco. It's sometimes easy to forget, because of his origins in the series and because he is surrounded by such remarkably capable people, but Fusco is really good at his job. He's gained a lot of well-earned clout at the station and the admiration of a rookie named Jake Harrison. Harrison gets Fusco involved in the murder case of Tara Cooke. This initially seems like a totally separate plotline meant to show how uncomfortable Fusco is working with other cops because he misses Carter, but in true Person of Interest fashion, it rapidly intersects with the Sandra situation.

The reason the mastermind of Aaron's kidnapping needs Sandra is because he wants to erase all the 911 calls from two days before. Finch rightly assumes this is to get rid of one specific call, and some digging reveals that Tara made a 911 call the night she died. Whoever kidnapped Aaron is also involved in Tara's murder and is trying to destroy evidence.

Naturally, the team wants to prevent this, but Sandra can't stand the thought of being responsible for another child's death. This becomes a very real possibility when the mastermind reveals that he's strapped Aaron to a bomb and will detonate it in 15 minutes. If Finch and friends can't find Aaron by then, Sandra will delete everything.

Through the power of close observation and a handy pair of pliers, Reese and Shaw find the criminal group that was hired to kidnap Aaron. They also find his location (I refer you again to the pliers) and manage to save Aaron from being blown up. What they don't find, though, is the guy who organized this whole thing. Everyone else involved was hired by him, but they have no idea who he is. Neither do the people who hired him, Ron and Gina Kincaid.

Ron and Gina own the company that Tara worked for, which means Ron and Tara inevitably had an affair. When she wanted to go public with it, Ron killed her, and Gina hired someone to get rid of the evidence. They didn't know a child would be involved, but that's the only mildly redeeming thing about them. Long story short, they're bad and they should feel bad.

He's Like You If You Were Evil

Which brings us to our third personal saga, that of Finch. While his team is out saving Aaron and solving Tara's murder, Finch is trying to keep Sandra safe. The mastermind always intended to kill her, and Finch has to help her evade and disarm the assassin he sent. They both get away safely and have a lovely closure meeting in a park later.

But then Finch discovers a burner phone within one of the phone relays Shaw recovered, and he gets a call from the mastermind. The whole episode sets them up as good and evil versions of each other, since they're apparently both crazy tech geniuses, and the mastermind vows to get revenge on Finch for ruining his plans. 

They're clearly setting him up to be a new villain on the show, but in my opinion it loses a bit of its impact because it's so reminiscent of how Root was introduced. Root is an incredibly complex character who compliments and challenges Finch, so I wonder what kind of role this new character will fill in Finch's life without rehashing Root's existing role. It definitely has potential to be an interesting plot, but only if it doesn't interfere with how Root participates in the story. She will always be number one in my heart.


Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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