John and Harold are working on the number of a teenage girl who is supposedly dead. What?! Yeah. That’s why it’s called Ghosts. But she’s not an actual ghost. Wrong genre, friends. This is (
thankfully) not Supernatural.
I have watched the whole show before, so SPOILERS MIGHT HAPPEN. Big spoilers will be blanked out but references and irrelevant spoilers are going to be out in the open.
In this episode we start off with the tail end of a case they were working on, with just enough action to establish that John is a badass, but also to allude to the fact that John and Harold work on far more cases, all the time, than we get to see. I like those little moments. They’re usually fun to watch, even if they’re not relevant to the plot. In this case, though, it points Detective Carter to a pattern of a “man in a suit” shooting kneecaps all over town. So it does carry the plot along, I guess.
John is trying to find out more about Harold, since he knows so much about John. He *mostly* fails, although he surprises Harold on his ‘muggle’ job (where he pretends to be a regular Joe when in reality he owns the company) which forces Harold to fire himself. Poor lil’ rich Harry. But oh, what a beautiful
marriage friendship awaits these two.
[June 2002] Nathan Ingram is introduced. He is Harold’s business partner, or rather, the public face of the company, while Harold works in the shadows. They just got the NSA feeds for New York City, so they’re on the early stages of building The Machine. Harold is ready to start teaching the Machine how to detect double lives, anomalous behaviour, to be able to spot terrorism.
A note of interest: We see lots of things through the MPoV (Machine point of view). The machine also “tags” certain people and vehicles containing people with colored boxes: yellow boxes indicate people who know about The Machine (so far we know Harold, John, and Nathan do), red boxes indicate immediate threats, and white boxes indicate people that The Machine is looking into. This is interesting because, on scattered but important occasions throughout the series, these boxes will reveal plot twists before they happen, by assigning someone a box that doesn’t fit with what we know of them so far in the episode. Makes my heart sing. ‘Cause I’m a nerd.
The number (which is what Harold and John call the case-of-the-week, since The Machine gives out their social security number) on this episode belongs to presumed-dead teenage girl, Theresa Whitaker. Her family was killed by a hit man who made it look like the father murdered them all. How do we know it was staged, you ask? In John’s words: “That’s how I would have done it.” Well then. The girl has not contacted her remaining family, which strikes us all as somewhat strange.
We also get to meet the first (well, the first two, since Finch is also not his real name) alias Harold uses, as he tries to find out more about Theresa’s family. All his last names come from species of birds. #TheMoreYouKnow. And if you wanna know why, you’ll have to wait until halfway through season 3. Slow-as-hell reveal, I’m telling y’all.
John finds the original hit man in prison, who tells John he doesn’t kill kids and that’s why Theresa survived. It’s nice to know hit men have standards. But now someone found out about that – Theresa was supposed to get some money from some sort of deal that her uncle had to do with – so the kill order is back in motion, only with another hit man. Theresa decides to finally keep still, with Harold.
Here is a thing, though, when I first watched this episode, I kept thinking: this random, clearly dangerous dude, John, takes Theresa, a teenage girl, into a hotel room to stay with Harold, another random man. My first thought was, I WOULD NOT FEEL SAFE THERE. Because, uh, men. But I guess they look safer than the hit man who tried to kill her at a laundromat earlier, so, I’ll accept this.
 Nathan finds out about the “irrelevant” numbers, that The Machine sees and erases every night because they’re not relevant to national security, and confronts Harold.
Harold says there is no other way, and turns off the screens in front of Nathan. *Not* before we see that Jessica Arndt (John’s ex girlfriend who we saw in flashbacks in the pilot) was one of the irrelevant numbers that day. Intriiiiigue.
Anyway, the hit man finds Harold and Theresa, but John comes back (from kicking the uncle’s ass) just in time to save them both. By “just in time”, I mean literally the last possible second, because this is television. He does this also after doing one of his now classic John stunts, which is to slam a large truck onto whatever vehicle the bad guys are in.
All throughout the episode, Carter is investigating into all the files that have John’s prints on them – all redacted, because he was some sort of government ninja – and trying to find out more about this ‘man in a suit’. Towards the end, John calls Carter and tells her it’s time to meet up. Carter shows up, ready to fight someone, and all there is to see is Theresa Whitaker wearing John’s suit jacket. Wanting to reunite with her aunt, and giving zero information about the men who helped her, because fuck the police.
Carter, m’dear, you have a long way to go.
The episode ends with Harold leaving his former place of employment, after being discovered by John. We see a plaque and a bust on the entrance of the building: of Nathan Ingram. 1962-2010. He died, then, sometime between the flashbacks and the present. Intriiiiiigue.