Today I (re)watch: Person of Interest, 1.08

This episode reveals Reese’s character a little bit more, with flashbacks that tie into the number he is looking into in the present.I get all sorts of unexpected John Reese feelings during the rewatch. It’s a wild time.

Trigger Warning (TW) for some torture during this episode

The number in this episode is Ulrich Kohl’s. He is a former Stasi operative who is back to his spy self for some reason.

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.

‘Foe’ has a bunch of tiny cute moments between Harold and John, I love it.
John (offering Finch a cup): It’s sencha green tea, one sugar.
Harold: You’ve been paying attention.
John: Relax, Finch. It’s just tea. I haven’t guessed your favorite color yet.
In retrospect, the fact that Finch just drank it shows a lot of trust, if we know that (SPOILER for season 3) Harold’s previous operative finally got his tea right only to drug him with it.

Because most records of the Stasi are not online, Finch goes to a bookshop owner who owns a lot of papers and secret stuff of some sort. When he asks how Harold knows about him, Harold replies: I told you, I’m a sucker for surveillance. If I was that dude, I would be very paranoid from that point on. There he was talking about how Eastern Germany was the best at surveillance like it is something only spies during wartime used. Cute.

Anyway, here is what Harold and John gather: Kohl’s wife was killed in a staged car accident, and Kohl blames his teammates for giving them up to the US during the war, so he comes back to NYC after escaping prison to bump them off.

[2006] John is at his new job, a little after he ran into Jessica at the airport, with a new partner, Kara. Because he is now working for the NCS, he does not have a new name yet, so Kara jokes that she gets to name him. She also tells him that there is no line to cross back home to, and that they walk in the dark. Warming him up for absolute doom and gloom. The secret-spy way.

Back to the number, John takes Harold on a little ride to stop the German intelligence before they get to the airport, since they are the only ones who know where Anja, his wife (who Kohl discovers is alive) might be. How will he stop them? Shooting the car they’re driving with a sniper rifle, of course.
Harold: Mr Reese, I am highly uncomfortable being here.
John: I’m highly uncomfortable *having you* here, but I need a spotter.
Look at John being concerned for his husband new friend.

[2006] We are back to the same day as the previous flashback, John’s first job with Kara Stanton. Kara shoots a couple of guys who are traitors without questioning them, about which John tries to stay stoic, but he is clearly troubled by it. 

Ohhhhhhh jeez, this episode is giving me more John feelings than I anticipated or care to admit about. I find this next scene particularly interesting. In the flashback, we have John witnessing Kara killing the two men, and we immediately jump to the present, with John telling Kohl how he withstood 16 hours of electricity, and Kohl torturing John with a needle to his ulnar nerve. It is a really good job that the writers did in making us feel a connection between these two instances. John has learned to suppress and/or live with a lot of horror. We kind of see him disassociating in the flashback, and in the present kind of pushing through, tapping into that disassociated place almost.


The entire scene where Kohl has John tied to a chair is so so interesting. They don’t like each other in this moment, obviously, but they understand each other. Better than most people in the world could understand them, to be honest. They talk about a similar background and skill set, and how their country asked them to do what they did, and then their country had no place for them after. Now, I may or may not agree, but it is a valid thing to feel.
The first time I watched this I found it funny and kind of morbid that Kohl calmly explained what every nerve he was going to stab did, and what was going to happen, like it was a medical procedure. But I wonder, would that be a way that he learned to disassociate too, while doing what he had to do in the Stasi? I will obviously never know, but I wonder.

Harold gets to Anja, but Kohl discovers (while torturing John) he has a daughter with her, so he kidnaps her so he can see her and Anja once again. That sounds like it would end great. He points the gun at Anja, so John shoots him dead. The catch? Kohl’s gun was empty. He didn’t have any plans after avenging Anja, after seeing her. There was no “next” for him, and he knew John, as a soldier, would shoot him if he posed a threat. In a way, that was the best John could do for him? I don’t know. I am feeling a lot of feelings, because maybe John could have guessed this, since when he came back for good, and saw Jessica was killed, all he wanted was revenge, and when he wasn’t able to get that, he just wanted to die. So many feelings.

[2006] John tells Kara that they didn’t even question the two men Kara just killed, and asks her how they could know this was right. Kara reassures him that it is right, that his country needs him. While instructing him to take their teeth and fingerprints out. And figuring out names for him. The girl can multitask, I’ll give her that. Kara Stanton is another badass, scary character that I love. There are plenty of those in this series.
She is toying with different name possibilities, until…

This is the first time (I don’t know the total number, but there aren’t that many) the team kills the number the Machine throws at them.

Harold: Do you think anyone will care for our names?
John: After we’re dead.
Harold: I thought we already were.

I love you, Harold Finch. That is all. Good night.


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