Person of Interest: The Ghost of Reese's Future

One thing that's become a trademark of Person of Interest's first season is a weird snowball effect as each episode progresses. From the pilot to last night's "Foe," Person of Interest has a habit of starting off slow and dumping a ton of info on our heads, but once the halfway point arrives and a twist is revealed, things get good quick and the puzzle comes together. It's a nice reward for sticking with each episode, and "Foe" gave us the gift of humanizing a man in Reese's line of work.

This week's number belonged to a former East German Stasi operative named Ulrich Kohl, but we're going to call him Charles Widmore because he was played by Lost's Alan Dale (POI's awesome guest-star streak continues!). Widmore had been off the grid since before old George Bush was president, and the intent behind his return wasn't clear until he started offing his former Stasi buddies, who'd all attained asylum in the United States to live the dream of being lawyers and construction foremen. After some incredibly quick research and investigation, Finch and Reese discovered that Widmore was after his old team because they'd turned on him and were partly responsible for the murder of his wife.

Despite all this, we weren't given any reason to sympathize with Widmore-Kohl—a move that would pay off in the end—as he'd become a real jerk. Widmore blamed the Stasi for turning him into a cold-blooded killer, saying it was the line of work that changed him. I can sympathize, as my job has turned me into kind of a jerk too.

But somewhere around the middle of the episode, things changed. The big twist was that Widmore's wife Anja wasn't dead, and that his thirst for revenge should have been quenched with a Diet Rite instead of the spilled blood of his old pals. Eventually Reese and Widmore met face-to-face, and wouldn't you know it, the old man took Reese out with a double-reverse Vulcan neck pinch. With Reese tied to a chair with needles in his ulnar nerve (editor's note: ouch), the two had a talk about what it means to be a soldier. Reese stared his bleak future self (minus the German accent) in the face, and suddenly both men became more humanized as each second-guessed his own career path. These men weren't always heartless, perfectionist life-enders; they once loved and had dreams of opening a soda shop on the corner before armed forces and government agencies buried their humanity in the darkest recesses of their psyches.

Widmore was dead-set on revenge, saying he'd waited for "today" his entire life, and Reese countered with, "What about tomorrow?" Widmore had no answer. But then he found out that Anja had a daughter—his daughter—and a glimmer of a human being returned. Of course, he handled the news in his own professional murderer way, which meant kidnapping his daughter and arranging an at-gun-point meetup with his wife. It was too late for Widmore, and he knew it. But his daughter told him the story her mom told her, about how he was a hero and helped them get to America to live a better life. This gave Widmore the opportunity to decide what legacy he'll be remembered by, and ended things relatively peacefully by being fatally shot by Reese. Reese discovered that Widmore's gun wasn't loaded, and Widmore answered Reese's question: "I never had a tomorrow."

Man, that was sad. After 40 minutes of making us hate him, Widmore made a turn and came to understand the errors of his ways. It was like Reese was seeing himself 30 years from now, like he still has a choice between turning back or following the same dark path Widmore took. The cold, lonely trajectory of an old man killing other old men.

This whole episode was studded with flashbacks (yay!) of Reese from 2006, when he was starting off with the CIA as an agent of mystery. We learned that the name John Reese was given to him by a sexy agent named Stanton, who taught him how to behave in situations that involve killing bad guys and becoming a super-agent.

The episode ended with Reese and Finch standing in a graveyard over Widmore's plot, practically seeing their future, and they had one awesome exchange that pretty much sums up their current situation.

Reese: "I always thought I'd die in a place that didn't know my name."
Finch: "You think anyone will care for our names?"
Reese: "After we're dead."
Finch: "I thought we already were."

Just another day in the life of two dudes who won't get any respect for keeping New York safe. Badass.

Notes:
– That GUN Reese had. Wowza. Me want.

– We didn't really get that Ben-Widmore scene we had hoped for, as the two only met each other in the park. But it was still good to see them on the screen at the same time.

– Reese: "I lose my patience when I get shot."


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I, as well, prefer serials over procedurals; I was a little disappointed, at first, when the episode didn't start with any mention of the previous episode considering the way it had ended. The show doesn't have to be a serial drama like 24 or Breaking Bad, but when the previous episode ended the way it did, a little continuation would be nice. But that disappointment was quickly pushed away and I found myself loving this episode. I was gripped and engaged in the whole 40 minutes, which procedurals very rarely are able to achieve with me.
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Who phoned the police about the hostage situation? Is it possible the computer did? And what happens to Finch's security most of the time? Someone else is driving him and Anja. Why couldn't one of them spot for Reese?
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and btw the expression on Finch's face when he took out that massive gun was fantastic!



F: Mr. Reese, I'm highly uncomfortable being here!

R: I'm highly uncomfortable having you here, but I need a spotter..



(and he did hell of a spotting really, what a lovely nerd!)

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I really dont understand what people are "expecting to happen" in a procedural with a touch of serialization.. this cannot and should not be compared to 24, Lost, Breaking Bad, The Wire or similar shows mentioned in several comments.. and for a procedural there is so much going on, I really wonder what else needs to be done to make you guys happy.. every week we learn sth more about main characters, we get good lines to chuckle on, an interesting story to keep us going for 42 minutes and this is as good as a procedural can get..
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I'm so used to shows with continuing storylines that as much as I do like this show I can't help but want more continuation. As of now if I miss an episode nothing is lost as 98% of each episode stands alone. Maybe I'm just missing Lost, 24, Breaking Bad etc.



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Great Episode! I loved Finch's line "Told ya. I'm a sucker for surveillance." And Reese's line about getting shot that you mentioned also gave me a chuckle. I'm actually kind of glad we didn't get a Ben-Widmore seen, because at this point Emerson has done such an excellent job making me see him as Finch that I wouldn't want to go back and start seeing him as Ben.



Also, did anyone else notice that at Finch's computer set up area, he has all his books locked up? Weeeeeeeird. He doesn't like sharing facts about himself or his books! Finally... I always feel like his limp gets better and then worse again depending upon the episode!
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Speaking as a person with a bad neck/back, it really does fluctuate like that day to day. Weather is the main determining factor
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This was such a great episode.
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Hey lovers of PersonOfInterest, I was given an episode of a Brit series called "The Last Enemy" it's from 2008. It is a mini-series with Benedict Cumberbatch (from Sherlock), David Harewood (from Homeland) and the excellent Robert Carlyle (from Once Upon a Time & SGU) and some other brilliant Brit actors (you might have never heard about! LOL!) but it has a similar premise in which there is this massive computer surveillance project...



Very intriguing! I've only watched the 1st episode I think there are 5 or 6 episodes total... Highly recommended! Trust the Brits to come up with a modern version of Big Brother (I mean the "Nineteen Eighty-Four" G. Orwell novel, not the moronic, voyeuristic "reality show")
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A lot of modern British Drame are highly recommendable. Spooks is (was actually :( ) the best spy drama ever. Hustle and Luther are also huge hits as well.

Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.
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Great episode, I was on pins and needles the entire hour.
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Is it just me or is Person of Interest's episodes, while seemingly procedural, this week, still tugged at the heartstrings. Damn, I love this show. It doesn't even deserve to be called a procedural. It is on a whole new level of playing field.



That final scene was brilliant. I always liked Caviezel's works, his best being Passion of the Christ. After that, I think POI is his best yet. The emotions which his face doesn't betray are emoted through the eyes. In this episode, seeing the ghost of his future in Charles Widmore was so excruciatingly sweet. POI is my fav new show this fall. And I have complete trust in the writers and mainly, the showrunner - Jonathan Nolan. Also in Michael Emerson, because lets face it, the guy doesn't pick anything which doesn't have serious potential.
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Finch: "What if you miss?"

Reese: "I wouldn't know: I never did."
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Did anyone hear what Widmores gun(the silenced pistol) was called ? I only heard this "23db when fired" - comment by Reese . Thats pretty quiet, isnt it ?
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Reese: "That's a Welrod isn't it? Only 73db when fired"



http://www.ask.com/wiki/Welrod
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I'm with Swinglabacase and some others here. In a way it's one step forward, two steps back with this show. The writing is very uneven. I didn't care for this week's episode at all. Stories like this have been told much more compellingly before and I thought the analogy between Reese and Kohl was somewhat ham-handed. - I know that this is primarily a procedural but IMO they still should focus more on the long-term storylines, on the relationship between Finch and Reese, on Carter (if not, she will become ridiculous) and maybe Elias. They should also try to be more consistent. Even regarding the long-term story arc(s) the new episodes almost never pick up on the last episodes' developments. One week Reese is pissed off and threatens to leave, the next week he serves green tea in perfect harmony. - I wonder why the quality of the procedural part of this show is so uneven and the serialized parts are so inconsistent. Maybe they should replace some of the writers? I really would like to like this show. I still think it has a lot of potential which hasn't been realized.



BTW: Reese's gun was really awesome!

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Just one little thing, Mr. Surette. I believe the cutaway just before Stanton said Reese's name was done on purpose. I think it was meant to keep us in the dark about what his name was back in '06, rather than as a clever editing technique where Finch finishes Stanton's sentence.



Boy, those last four words would make a great tongue-twister.
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Even though you're theory is interesting, I don't see the point of all the flashback in this case. One of the themes of the ep was identity and aliases. I think the whole point was for us to understand that Reese is not his real name (what we've known for long) and to know the history that comes with this alias. History that was similar to the case of the week as it was an alias for his "trouble-shooting" duties.
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Loved this episode. In fact, the reviewer is right. Reese was practically looking into his future when he was facing off with Kohl. Everything Reese has experienced up to this point was almost the same as Kohl's past.



I like the slow-burn pace of this show. I want this show to last, and having every little secret coming too soon would ruin the anticipation I feel every time I watch it.
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Maybe their past is similar but the present and Reese's future are decidedly different. Reese is on a path of redemption now. If anything, this episode showed how lucky Reese is that Finch picked him out and offered him a second chance.
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The show is still good, and i enjoy watching it, but I do want something more to happen.

Obviously they can't bring back Elias so soon, or they'll run out of material for him, but as the Big Bad of the season it would be interesting for his presence to be consistently felt.

The show just hasn't found its niche yet-it's a much more serious, less sexy version of Human Target.

I was personally hoping to see John take out Stanton. I thought maybe he'd been sent there to clean up, and that he'd totally turn the tables on her, but no.

I'll keep tuning in, it's one of the better procedurals on TV and it doesn't feel as procedural-y as others.
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"the old man took Reese out with a double-reverse Vulcan neck pinch" na ha! Xena move!!! LMAO!
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the slow burn that is this show just gets better and better every week.

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The rifle looks like an M107 .50 Caliber Long Range Sniper Rifle, manufactured by Barrett.
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I hope you are just a deer hunter.
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Me too : l
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BEST EPISODE YET! I spent half the episode choked with emotion. Admittedly I am a sucker for old spooks sold out and done wrong, and I love Alan Dale, so this one was going to have to really go foul to go wrong with me, but IMO this episode did a number of things really right.



First, the score on this episode was brilliant! The music ratcheted the emotion up to phenomenal levels. I am consistently impressed with POI's scores.



Second, POI is totally redefining the "bromance" and I for one could not be happier. I am sick of seeing a bunch of pansy dudes with low testosterone sitting around whinging about women and work and life in the middle of some pathetic identity crisis, or worse, acting like infantile morons and blaming it on booze and Vegas. Reese and Finch are each in their own way a man's man, and their developing relationship is a treat to watch. Fav moment:



Finch: "No thanks, I don't drink coffee."

Reese: "Sencha green tea, one sugar."

Finch: "You've been paying attention."

Reese: "Relax Finch, it's just tea. I haven't guessed your favorite color yet."

Finch: "New number."



I love that Reese continually pushes Finch's buttons with these tiny intimacies and then teases him about his ivory tower syndrome.



Third: Alan Dale and Jim Caviezel were fantastic in the interrogation scene, temperantly evocative without being trite. The comparison between Reese and Kohl was unavoidable and we learned something important about the reality of the service that these men gave to their countries. They each believed in their countries, they were good soldiers, they followed orders, and it cost them everything. We do not even know if Reese was John Reese before Stanton or if he was John Smith, or John Jones or whatever. What we do know is that John had to turn his back on his pre-2006 life to keep anyone he cared about from that time safe from his own government, from his own team, and just like Kohl, Reese is a loose end that someone if going to come round to tie up before it is all said and done. There are no retirement plans for old spooks.



Last, I love that the show is measured and things are revealing themselves slowly. The 21st century has inured us all to instant gratification, instant intimacy, everything must be action and excitement, edge-of-the-seat-every-second. There is a reason men are attracted to women of mystery: they always keep them guessing. I do not want POI to lay all the cards on the table - take it slow, retain the mystery and always slip me just enough to be sure my fascination never wans. Reese and Finch are the type of men one comes to know with patience and attentiveness, and as my daddy always said, nothing that came easy was ever truly appreciated.



BTW, I stand by my prediction that a covert team of Reese/Finch and Fusco/Carter may soon become reality. There was a crucial shift in Carter's perspective this episode, and she is now referring to "the man in the suit" as a "vigilante" and not a perpetrator.
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PERFECT !

Specially on your pointed critique of the culture of the 21st , century !

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Your pointed critique of the culture of the 21st century could IMO easily be turned against this show... I would add the lack of consistency, the reduction of moral dilemmas to pretentious one-liners and the fact that everything is overcoded: every problem and even feelings have to be spelled out explicitly by the actors and are underlined by a very manipulative score instead of just being shown. The viewers are not taken seriously. Please don't get me wrong, all in all the show is very enjoyable, but I think you are trying to make more out of it than it will ever be. If you're looking for nuance you will probably have to look elsewhere.



And btw, you're right, many men are attracted to women of mistery but these are usually not the women they marry and have children with. Consider this as a metaphorical warning to the producers of this show ;-)
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I second everything you said. The slow pace is good but don"t you find that all the things we learned so far don't seem to fit together, like there is no continuity ? It's like we got pieces of a puzzle but none of them are adjacent or seems to be from the same puzzle.



I totally with you about the bromance. It humanizes Reese so much that it prevent the character to become a one-dimensional soldier of fortune. Theirs exchanges in every episode are so pleasant to watch.
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From my perspective the pace and flow of information have been another facet of the storytelling. Reese and Finch each have their stories, and learning about them in flashes and moments is another way to characterize them. These are not the sort of men that would sit down with a near stranger and have a get-to-know-you conversation. These men are in their own way intensely private, and the information we are compiling about them is hard won, just as it is between them. Personally, I do not need a linear dose of information and continuity in the timeline because I am more interested in getting to know Reese and Finch and understanding why they are the way they are - what made them that way is only as relevant as helping me to those ends.



Perhaps @thomaspaine is correct and I am applying nuance where none exists, it is simply my own perspective coloring what I see and take away from the episode, but equally that sort of logic can be applied to all our opinions and conclusions. I think the show is fabulous, and I hope as time goes on we only see an increase in quality and viewership, regardless of where we each think it is presently.
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This is one of just a handful of killer shows this season!
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I love the show but I'm on the same line than Swinglabacase (for a change).

Every previous episode (and this one) was a thrill and we all were like : "oh, that character will be surely useful later". But none of those case-of-the-week characters came back yet. So ok, it's a 24episodes show and we are just at the eight but still, I would have liked to see some connection between all we learned previously. So far, the only serialized thing that we got was the three(or four)-episodes-trail of the Elias thing which was closed last week. If they don't want to get on how works the machine, at least use the great characters that you showed us.

However, all those fillers are just great. The stories are interesting and the narrative schemes various. It's just one of the best procedurals I know. (The comparison below with Unforgettable made my eyes bleed by the way.)

Fusco and Carter though do look a bit dumb. Fusco is a bit too loyal and Carter is slightly ridiculous to helplessly watch and clean Reese's mess. I hope this part of the show is gonna know some kind of revolution. If not, it just shouldn't get that much screen time.



I guess it's tempting to keep the show a straight action procedural but the mythology that comes with seems so great that it would be a shame to not capitalize on it.



Last thing : I can't help but think that Caveziel is just awesome : the same lines in Chuck Norris' mouth would be so cheesy !
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I think fusco will be evolving into a team member than a corrupt officer being blackmailed, because if I remember correct, he offered the word "vigilante" firstly to Carter.. he seems to be feeling the purpose of finch and reese and backing them up sort-of-willingly..
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I thought this was the worst episode so far. Anja being alive was kind of a surprise, as was the revelation of their having a daughter, but the writing was as much by the numbers and plodding as any given episode of Unforgettable, right down to the "villain-as-mirror-character" conceit (which was down better on CSI the night before). I was more psyched by the presence of the other guest stars (Laila Robins, Sherman Howard, Larry Pine, and Austin Pendleton) than of Alan Dale, and they weren't much bigger than cameos. Finch is in the field too much and Fosco is becoming too much of an outright sidekick.
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Tim I think you're playing too much CoD, if you want a weapon like that go on eBay =)



After a week off, I thought the story would be picking up where we left Reese, Finch the new mob boss ... But no. The thing that I like about this show is that slowly we are finding out about Reese and almost nothing about Finch (ok we have found that he likes green tea).



Maybe it's not the best episode of the season but there is always sometning new. I like.

I'm convinced that PoI and Homeland are the best new shows of this season.
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Yeah that gun was something!!!

Reese: "I lose my patience when I get shot." Aren't we all? LOL
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Lol I was so hoping for a big Widmore-Ben standoff but it was a pretty good episode anyway

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Am I the only one who thinks the one consistency of this show is the shoddy and uninspired writing? For someone who reveres with staggering acclaim the likes of Breaking Bad and The Wire for their writing, I find it strange this reviewer misses it here. Or maybe it's just expected not to be stellar, so we look beyond it? Basically, am I expecting too much?
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I think you guys need some patience. I want this show to continue a long time and if we get too much pay offs too early what would be the point. I like the pace, I like the characters and that they are not the typical tv personas.
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We are at episode 8 and there hasn't been any solid premise established yet. Most of the best shows do this by the 6th episode. We're still watching so I think we are very patient.

It's not because a show is great and gives more at the 8th episode that it cannot last many years. 24 gave us a lot on the first episode and it lasted 8 seasons.



And advertisers, who are really the one who decide which show lives and which show dies, are not always as patient if the viewership drops because the development of a series is too slow.



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This is a 24 ep show my friend. 24 !

Calm down
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Yeah... that might be the problem.
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I'm with BiniBeans on this one: have patience. I know comparisons to 24 are unavoidable, but POI is not 24, plain and simple. I LOVED 24, and the product, with the exception of a couple seasons, was solid, nail-biting suspense. Yes, every season the first episode sucked us in, every episode was a cliffhanger of world changing proportions, but the formula was pretty much always the same.



POI might have its own wounded hero savior fighting for his own redemption, but there is so much more mystery, more subtlety and allure while we learn the characters in a slow reveal. It took Jack several seasons to articulate the emotion Reese has simmering just beneath the surface all the time, and I do not think 24 ever had anyone as cool as Finch. To me, the numbers/cases are interesting and the cases have been handled well, but the cases are the vehicle to allow me to get to know the characters. Reese and Finch are fascinating, and we still do not have nearly enough of Finch's story.
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I never said that PoI was like 24. I mentioned 24 simply because he seemed to imply that if we get to much substance too early, the show would last for less time...

24 was not a procedural series, anyway. If I would compare, it would be more vs NCIS and Hawaii Five-0. Both have had characters stories in the background.



Anyhow, whatever patience I may have, we've seen very promising shows get knock out by Networks and I just wish it doesn't happen with this one.



I think they need to show more consistency from one ep. to the other and, yes, they could pick up the pace. If they have good writers they still can managed to start new dynamics for the episodes and seasons to come, I believe.
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I, for one, praised that show a lot at the beginning. I was expecting more also. I wouldn't say that it is getting" boring" but it is kinda "just another procedural".

Absolutely nothing is happening with Carter. She's just there, like Batista in Dexter (tho, much better looking). We still don't have much more information about the system and how it decides to select a number. And, what probably bugs me the most, they do not seem to build on the previous episodes. It's like nothing else happened. Mostly that they made a terrible mistake that p*ssed Reese off so much in the previous episode ... Now it's like nothing happened.



Still, a good procedural, not yet at par with NCIS and I think I even like the new Hawaii Five-0 a little better.

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