Today I (re)watch: Person of Interest, 2.20

Woah, we are so close to the double-feature season 2 finale. Can y’all believe?! And it’s gonna hurt soooo good.

‘In Extremis’ has some very good, some very weird, and some very stressful. A lot of ups and downs, we’ll see how the review goes.
On the one hand, we get a very Fusco-centric episode which I had been waiting for since the dawn of time. That was amazing, and stressful but in a good way, and gave way for great character development for Carter too, and for their friendship.
On the other hand, the number of the week is not likeable enough to carry his own plot successfully, in my opinion.
And on yet another, third alien hand, Reese and especially Finch act kind of out of character. Or really out of character, depending on who you ask.

CW brief emotional abuse

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.

[2011] Remember when Fusco had to bury a really good friend of his in the Pilot? Probably not, because back then Lionel was a dirty cop we didn’t give a shit about. But we open on a flashback to when John killed Detective Stills and gets Fusco to go bury him. We see Fusco clearly overwhelmed and crying on Still’s corpse. 
I know he fucked up a lot, and his friend was a manipulative asshole, but still, Lionel cared about him, and burying friends doesn’t sound pleasant. 

Alonzo Quinn is having the fucking nerve to speak at Beecher’s funeral, quoting Plato and pretending to be hurt and surprised at the “injustice”.
Fusco goes after Simmons and threatens him, which is cute. I say “cute” because, as much as I love him, what is Fusco gonna do against HR, when HR has all the power? Piss them off is what he does. And so they tip off Internal Affairs about his involvement in Stills’ disappearance.

Poor Fusco, he didn’t even kill Stills. And poor Carter, first her friend gets shot by HR, then her cutiepie boyfriend also gets shot by HR, and now her cop partner is being investigated in relation to HR. And then Finch needs a favor. But Carter says NOT TODAY, SATAN, and I love it! Finch always asks for things, and Carter obliges, but now she needs a favor, and has no time for that irrelevant (geddit?) doctor. She wants in on the phone cloning thing. Yessss Carter, do your thing.

As the IAB (Internal Affairs) guy continues to interrogate Fusco about his “adventures” with Stills, we get flashbacks throughout the episode.
[2004] Fusco is at a bar, drunk off his mind. His wife just told him to fuck off forever. Life’s not going well. Stills comes in, offers him to stay with him and his family, drives him to safety. “What are friends for?” he says. 

The number in this episode is Richard Nelson, a big shot heart surgeon who gets poisoned before Harry and John get his number, and now he has 24 hours to help solve his own murder. This is a fun trope that got wasted on a very dull character, in my opinion. His daughter doesn’t get along with him? I don’t care. He divulged private information to the wrong people? I don’t care. He is dying ASAP in front of John? I don’t care. There is something about his relationship with his daughter that feels true for my relationship with my dad, so it touched my heart a little bit, but not enough.

[2004] Stills manipulates Fusco into covering up for murder like it’s a one time thing, a mistake, a favor for a friend. The way Stills talks to Fusco is extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive. I hate him a lot.

The doctor and John track down the trader who made money off the doctor’s accidental tip. John knocks him out and cuffs him to the backseat with the doc.

Now here is when shit starts to feel a tiny bit out of character. John drives while the doctor interrogates the trader with a gun aimed at his crotch, which he fires at the seat every time the trader doesn’t answer. Now, I can sort of buy that John feels okay handing a doctor a gun because the doctor would not shoot to kill. I wouldn’t bet on my spy(dey) senses tingling (geddit?) so hard, but maybe I buy it. But I wouldn’t bet a collateral’s life on a dying, trembling, angry man aiming correctly, even if he doesn’t mean to harm.
So that feels weird.

[2005] Fusco gets dragged into another drug stint that’s going terribly, and tells Stills that he is done helping him. Stills snaps back that it’s too late for that. And then an armed guy comes in out of nowhere, and as a reaction, Fusco shoots and kills him. 
Stills: See? I knew you were solid. *Slips money in his pocket* Welcome to the crew, Lionel.
And honestly, the score for this show is impeccable as always. You can feel Lionel’s descent into a darkness that he did not choose or saw the full extent of, a deep darkness he was always just aware enough of for it to eat him alive, but not enough to get out of. Eventually my guess is he just shut it down. Which doesn’t excuse it, but man, I still feel sad for him. 

IAB is closing in on Fusco with evidence, with a possible location for Stills’ body. They are dragging up all these things that Fusco did, and Carter is listening in with the phone cloning thing Harold let her use.

She confronts Lionel about what she’s heard, about what he’s done. Lionel confesses that while he didn’t kill Stills, he deserves to be busted for all the other shit he’s done. Kevin Chapman fucking wins in this episode, looking genuinely mortified, like he’s shut those feelings down but now they’re coming back up. First he stole, then he covered for murder, then he did some bumping off himself. Carter is very distraught and disturbed, so she asks him to stop, and he does.
Will she help him, even though she now knows he murdered people? Does she trust that he’s changed enough? I need my cinnamon rolls to trust each other unconditionally, but that kind of trust is very rare on this show.

And now for more shady/out of character moments: at some point in their revenge expedition, the doctor looks like he is about to expire. What does John do? He gets him out of the car in the snowy middle of the road, injects him with what I’m guessing is adrenaline, and tells him he can’t die because their mission isn’t finished. Why is John doing this? He can’t know the doctor well enough to know that’s what he would want to do. Is it because they weren’t on time (probably because the Machine keeps glitching and being late) and he has Feelings about that? That’s a shitty selfish reason, so I hope that’s not it. The doc could be spending his last day with his daughter, or having a few drinks with friends, or something. But John has been pushing the doctor to seek revenge in a way that feels cruel, unnecessary and more about him than about the number. Blergh.

We knew the ending from the get-go, but obviously the doctor dies. But not before poisoning the guy who killed him first. And again I have to ask, who is this John Reese that’s okay with justice via killing? Where is Harold ‘pretentious moral high ground’ Finch? I know John can go very dark places and I personally don’t care they killed the bad guy, but this is weird for them.
Anyway, I’ll leave that storyline with this angel-of-death type scene that John has with the doctor, like the Machine has with so many people in season 5.

220 angel of death.gif

Later that day, Carter calls John to ask what he’s doing about Fusco’s situation. John replies that he is working, and that he can’t decide for Joss what to do. Yea ok, John, but a tiny bit of concern in your voice would help me believe your body hasn’t been hijacked by heartless aliens. Like, I get the sense from how he sasses out to Carter – sarcastically saying that things are usually very black and white in her book, etc – that he “knows” she’ll make the “right choice”, but he keeps betting on his *knowing* things he doesn’t actually know, and betting big. Fusco is not only a great asset, but a friend who has proven he’s not only willing but capable of changing. Why is John being a dick, then?

IAB takes Fusco out to Oyster Bay, where he buried Stills after John killed him. Fusco looks understandably ready for doom, and is dousing his own brain in self-loathing.  Everything is so close to Fusco’s ass he can probably feel it burning.

And Finch! Where is Finch this entire episode? He isn’t researching anything anymore, he’s not talking John out of his selfish ridiculous revenge crusade with the doctor, and he’s not helping Fusco, as far as anyone can tell. This is very out of character, and very ugly.

The IAB looks into some loose soil where a body used to be, but there is no body. Somebody moved it, and Fusco (and Simmons! Mwahaha!) looks as surprised as everybody else.

Fusco is off the hook for now, and sees Joss at the precinct. She says they can catch up later, since she’s had a long day. What about this day has consumed her so? Well…


She was the one to move the body! And it was the right thing to do, for her, so don’t even try to fight me, this was a natural escalation in her character development. She was supposed to move the body (hey-ohh! shout out to Buffy fans!).
The weight of the world, sitting tight but heavy in the shoulders of a black woman. If this is not A Moment, I don’t know what is.

After all that excitement and distress, and I’m not even done yet. As you may have noticed, the Machine has been giving them numbers (Szymanski, Beecher, the doctor) too late, and the blue screens of death have been escalating in frequency. What does it all mean? Well, we’re about to find out, ’cause the Machine seems to be having a harder time than usual right now. Just look at this mess:

Shutting down?? My baby?? WHYYYYYY??

Don’t worry, we find out why in a bit. And by a bit I mean in the next episode or two.


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