'Person of Interest' Recap: The Prodigal Son Returns
'Person of Interest' Recap: The Prodigal Son Returns
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
This week's episode of Person of Interest opens with the still-unshaven Reese in an airport, checking his emotional baggage for a one-way flight.  Some blatant hacking gets him on a different plane and in the same class as "4C," this week's number and episode title. Though it's initially presumed that Finch is doing this in an attempt to get Reese back to work, it's actually the Machine giving him an assignment. Reese handles this profoundly disturbing turn of events as he handles everything and orders a lot of alcohol.

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Zephyr Airline's Most Wanted

The man Reese is tasked with helping is Owen Matthews. Owen is an obnoxious computer programmer with moderate hypochondria and severe delusions that bitcoins are a safe currency bet. He's being escorted by US Marshals in order to testify in the case of Black Market Bazaar, a drug trafficking website known as "eBay for narcotics." Owen designed the website and is apparently friends with Black Market Bazaar's owner, known only as the Sphinx. This has prompted many, many people to try and kill him. An overview:

  • The Lanceros, Colombian assassins working for a drug lord who could be incriminated by Owen's testimony.
  • Israeli ecstasy dealers don't like Black Market Bazaar cutting into their business.
  • The ISA, which I'll get to in more detail because that plot involves Shaw and Shaw always deserves more detail.
  • Reese, after listening to Owen whine for the entire flight.

Given the sheer volume of bad guys on this plane and the fact that he is not totally an apathetic jerk, Reese finds himself dumping a lot of unconscious bodies in the plane's bathrooms. Long suffering flight attendant Holly helps him out and offers lots of alcohol. She's a good woman.

Weirdest Reunion Ever


Once Finch begins to suspect that Owen may actually be a relevant number, he sends Shaw to investigate with ISA. She ends up drugging and interviewing Hersh, who apparently survived last week's bank explosion. Hersh explains that the government was taxing Black Market Bazaar rather than stopping the drug trade, and Owen's testimony could expose this corruption. Shaw and Hersh seem to genuinely care about each other, as she refrains from killing him (which is how she shows affection) and he wants to make sure that her new employers are treating her right. It's sweet, in a really messed-up sociopathic kind of way.

Terrible Observational Skills


By this point, Reese has figured out that Owen is actually the Sphinx. But this still doesn't explain why he is considered a national security threat by the Machine. Finch finally discovers that it's because the Lanceros were instructed to take the plane down if necessary. Though Reese had incapacitated one of them, another had been posing as a jackass flight attendant. This guy shoots the pilot and locks himself in the cockpit. Reese manages to break in, and he and the assassin begin stabbing each other with household objects.

Since there is now no one flying the plane, Finch hacks it and takes over. He lands the plane safely and everyone on board remains blissfully and improbably ignorant of everything that has just taken place.

A Happy-ish Ending

With all of the danger out of the way, Owen escapes to start a new life. Reese gets his flirt on with Holly, and Finch flies out to Italy because, hey, he's a billionaire and he can do that. He explains to Reese that he purposely made the Machine have only a limited capacity for judgment so that the human element wouldn't be taken out of what they do.

I find his speech about free will kind of ridiculous since the Machine forced Reese onto the plane, leaving him very little choice about what he was going to do, but that contradiction will have to be discussed another day. Today, Reese finally decides that he wants to come back, and all is right with the world.

Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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