Person of Interest: "Is Something Wrong with The Machine, Finch?"

Categories: Film and TV

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"No, really, the dress blues make you look taller."
I admit it: it took me a while to remember what the hell is going on.

It's not my fault, maaan. I mean, two episodes in two months? No "Previously on Person of Interest" last night? And they expect me to just dive in and remember all this HR/CIA/Special Counsel bullshit? *And* follow the NFL draft? It's inhuman, is what it is.

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"There is nothing in the world more depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge."
FLASHBACK! Oh, it's just 2011 and Det. Fusco (Kevin Chapman) is burying his old partner Stills. Remember Stills? No? Neither does anyone else, but Mr. Reese (Jim Caviezel) killed him way back in the pilot episode and set Fusco up for it. Boy, those were the days.

This week's Number of the Week sounds like Michael DeBakey times a zillion. Dr. Richard Nelson (Dennis Boutsikaris) is getting named professor emeritus and getting the stinkeye from some goth girl (it's his daughter). He's also braced by a patient (hedge fund manager Brandon Boyd), former colleague (Dr. Garrett Rossmore, a doctor who works for a pharma company whose wonder cholesterol drug was shot down by Nelson's review committee) and also Nelson's former protégé. And now it looks like the good doctor's been slipped a mickey. Obvious money is on Rossmore for pouring his whiskey. Longer odds are on his former assistant, who was all alone at the podium with the water Nelson subsequently drank from. Still, follow the money.

Det. Beecher's also getting buried. Quinn (Clarke Peters) delivers the eulogy, while Simmons delivers a warning to Fusco: He's a dead man walking. After which IAD scoops him up for the Stills thing. Officer Soriano has "new info," which leads to another flashback: Fusco remembering when his wife threw him out in 2004 and Stills took him in. Carter (Taraji P. Henson), already unsettled after Beecher's death, demands that Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) let her force pair Soriano's cell so she can listen in. One of the old HR crew from Fusco's old precinct, an Artie-from-Christine lookalike named Azarello, has fingered him, bringing up the first time Fusco helped him and Stills cover a bad shooting.

Sure enough, Nelson's been poisoned with polonium. And since Vladimir Putin's not in town, he has to pull a D.O.A. and help find...his own murderer. But first, he tries to make things right with surly daughter.

Nelson's straight-up poisoning plays second fiddle to the Fusco thing. Carter visits Azarello in the joint, but he's...unhelpful. She also finds out Boyd used information on his company's failed trial (leaked by Nelson) to short the company's stock. Back at the reception area, Finch finds the pitcher of tainted water, which has miraculously not been cleaned up 12 hours later. Fire that waitstaff. Reese and his rapidly decaying partner nab Boyd and go see the drug company's big boss, Vincent Cochrane.

The hits keep on coming for Fusco as Soriano provides more evidence of his misdeeds (corroborated by more flashbacks). It's kind of a perverse This Is Your Life. He confesses his sins to Carter, who doesn't want to hear it, but she reconsiders after a phone call from Reese.

"In Extremis" presented us with a juxtaposition, as Fusco finally dealt with the sins of his past and tried to redeem himself, while Nelson came to grips with the mistakes he made and what they ended up costing him. He and Reese confront Cochrane, who looks like a more sedate Glenn Beck, and poison him in return. Reese and Finch ponder why they're losing so many lately NOTWs (Symanski, Beecher and now Nelson). But somebody (Carter! And Bear!) moved Stills's body and Azarello miraculously recanted, according to Elias, who probably facilitated the recantation.

Next week: "Signal corrupted." There's worse than a ghost in the Machine, and Root holds the key.

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