We get down and dirty with Reese in this episode. Take a seat, my friends.
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.
CW for domestic violence – shown in the episode and discussed in this review.
Many Happy Returns is super important to me. It is very intense to watch, though, so take care of yourselves.
It’s John’s birthday today! And Harold reports there are no new numbers, so he gives John the day off, as well as a key, as a gift. But, uh, there *is* a number, and Harold is hiding that from John. Naughty naughty Harry. Sorry.
Meanwhile, Donnelly has some new information for Carter, on John. He found his prints and blood on a crime scene (the trunk he was put in on Blue Code), and they match a cold case from New Rochelle, from 2011. So we know this must connect to the flashbacks. He offers Joss to come along, and Harold encourages her to go, in case there is evidence to incriminate John. I love how Harold just assumes she will help them out.
Carter: Are you suggesting I obstruct a federal investigation?
Harold: Of course what you did with that evidence would be entirely your concern.
[February 2011] John is trying to get Jessica on the phone, and goes to her workplace, where
Poussey a nurse tells him that Jessica died two months prior. Ohhhh John. My darling. He storms off, bumping into a man in a wheelchair, ready to stab someone.
Up in New Rochelle, Donnelly tells Carter more about Peter Arndt, the guy who was very possibly murdered by the Man in the Suit, back in 2011. And we already know Jessica’s husband’s name was Peter. His wife (who we know dated John, but Joss doesn’t know yet) had died two months before, and he owed a lot of people by le” href=”#78057707″> money, so Donnelly suspects loan sharks hired the Man to collect or kill the guy. Maaaan is he off, but he tries.
Since Harry is keeping John out of the loop on this particular number, for some still still unknown reason, he himself goes to her usual place of work and comes across this guy, Marshall Jennings, who looks like an absolute asshole. Jennings starts questioning Harry about Sarah, but John, who had probably been following them for some time now, jumps in and takes his
Daddy boss away.
John: What did he want?
Harold: Just to ask me some questions.
John: Funny. I’ve got a few of those for you too, Harold.
So why was Harold hiding this number from John?
Harold: When I was building the machine, I kept seeing the same numbers a week, a month, six months apart. Usually women. At first I thought it was a mistake. How could anyone’s life be repeatedly threatened? And then I realized, they were living with the person who would eventually kill them.
Holy shit. The show gets very real some days.
Oh, John is *pissed*. He is ready to fight. And I am ready to fight too. Because that quote was so real and this show gets real sometimes. I wish all survivors had John to snap our abusers’ neck in two, or storm in with a fucking grenade launcher, or something. But, besides being a decent human, is there a particular *reason* John is particularly set off by this case? (By the way, I had not thought about it this way, many times in crime shows that deal with domestic violence, there needs to be a specific personal reason the male characters care a lot. I don’t like this. Men should be fucking beyond angry without needing to relate to a personal story.)
[Feb 2011] John is spying on Peter, since he isn’t necessarily buying that Jessica’s was an accidental death. Why does he suspect fishiness? Who knows, maybe spies have spidey senses for jerks. John breaks into their house and looks at videos and photos of them, which confirm what he thought. He was an abusive piece of shit.
Turns out Jennings falsified multiple charges against his wife, to enlist the entire US Marshal Service to hunt her down. That is both pathetic and absolutely terrifying. So John is now even more pissed. But what does he do? He barely punches him, barely threatens him, mostly just pisses Jennings off. I’m so disappointed. If you’re gonna do the “I’ll show you what a real monster looks like” macho bit, do it well. Half-assing when it comes to abusers only makes things worse for the survivor, in most cases.
John fucked up, and Sarah didn’t trust them enough to stick around, so now she is on the run, gets captured by Jennings, and because of what John did, Jennings will now have to make her disappear.
Up in New Rochelle, Carter is starting to suspect the accident Jessica Arndt was involved in was staged, and that Peter probably killed her. Nice work, detective.
She interviews Jessica’s mother, who seems to think things were great between her daughter and Peter. In a doorknob moment, just as Joss is about to leave, the woman mentions Jessica’s past boyfriend, a soldier.
Looking through Jessica’s things, Carter finds the only photo of John and Jessica, and keeps it to herself. She figures John probably avenged his ex lover’s death somehow, but decides to shred any evidence that could lead Donnelly to figure that, or John’s identity, out. Bros before cops
(I know that doesn’t rhyme I don’t care.)
John is uber pissed and ready to kill a man (a specific one), and Harold urges him to chill. So John urges him to either deal with it, or hire someone else. Go John, go John! Break his face! #Sorrynotsorry, I get cheerleader feelings when an abuser is about to get his ass handed to him.
The scene with Jennings and Sarah is too painful to watch. He whines about how hard loving her is for him, grabs her and slaps her, says the most ridiculous abusive things. And he looks ready to kill her, too, when John storms in and beats the living hell out of him, urging Sarah to go and that she’s safe now.
We cut to Carter trying to stop John, who has by le” href=”#5367991″> Jennings in the trunk. Once again Carter is being super naive about how much the law does or doesn’t let abusers with power get away with shit, and so John asks her to trust him.
She thinks John is ready to kill, Harold thinks he is ready to kill, we think he is ready to kill, I am personally ready for John to kill this jerk… but does he?
[Feb 2011] Peter arrives at his house to find John sitting there, being all broody. “When you find the one person who connects you to the world, you become someone different, someone better. When that person is taken from you, what do you become then?” As Peter grabs a fire iron (the poor incompetent idiot), John stands up and strides toward him.
Now, this is obviously a gore discretion shot, since we know from the beginning of the episode that the cops thought Peter was dead because of the amount of blood they found in the scene. That’s intense. But because they don’t show what happens, we still don’t know if Peter was actually killed by John.
Back in the present, John sits next to Harold overlooking the river, and John asks if Harold knew about Jessica, to which he replies that all he knows is that since this was before the two met, there is nothing neither of them could have done. We know Jessica’s number appeared when Nathan was still alive, but since we know from Harold that many abuse victims’ numbers appeared a few times (and that is way too real and breaks my heart every time I think about it), we don’t know if Harold could have possibly done something any of those times.
In the precinct, Joss receives a call from a jail in Mexico, and an officer tells her “Marshal Jennings”, a tall guy in a nice suit, brought in a man with 10kg of heroin, and that he was told to report back to her. He also tells Carter that he has a few other Americans there, suggesting both Peter Arndt, and Andrew Benton (from Cura Te Ipsum) might be there too. While I would have been fine and well with John killing them all (two abusers and a serial rapist? any day) it is more consistent with John’s character and methods that he’d do this, so I’ll accept.
Harold gives John a card to go with the key he gave him at the beginning of the episode, and the card has an address. What is it, you ask? Well, Harold, who is not at all married to John, gave him an apartment for his birthday. Right next to where John plays Xiangqi in his free time. A little creepy, Finch, but sweet, in an everyone-spies-on-each-other-in-this-show-anyway kind of way.
[Feb 2011] We go back to when
Poussey the nurse tells John that Jessica is dead, and he bumps into the man in a wheelchair. That man was HAROLD FINCH. Holding a file with photos of Peter, Jessica, and John. He received Jessica’s number and couldn’t do anything about it. My sweet tortured darlings. I am still crying.