Person of Interest: Watch Your Back

Person of Interest S01E20: "Matsya Nyaya"


UNKLE ft. Richard Ashcroft, "Lonely Soul"


Did you know that yesterday, April 26, was National Pretzel Day? And to celebrate the knotted bread, last night's Person of Interest had more twists than a bag of Rold Golds. Boom! How's that for a lede!?

A quick Bing search will tell you that the episode's title, "Matsya Nyaya," is not a schoolyard taunt, but the Hindu philosophy that dictates bigger fish will always eat smaller fish when the pond is all murky and no laws or order exist. Yep, that sounds like Person of Interest to me, and "Matsya Nyaya" was like an all-you-can-eat sushi bar.

In both the case-of-the-week and the Reese-centric flashbacks, the moral of "Matsya Nyaya" was NEVER TURN YOUR BACK TO SOMEONE. Shimmy along the walls if you have to, otherwise you'll end up with a bullet in your spine, because the fishes of varying sizes all had guns and they seemed to hate face-to-face shooting. In fact, there were so many twists and backstabsshots that I puked my guts out at the end of the episode because I was so dizzy. But it made for a thrilling, if a tad ridiculous, action-packed television.

The coolest parts of the episode by far were the flashbacks to Reese's 2010 past. Clandestine missions in China! Double crosses! Software engineer massacres! Requests for vacation denied! Reese longingly looking out toward the horizon and receiving a phone call from his ex! It was Reese and Kara Stanton (remember her?) on a gofer mission to retrieve a laptop from China, and we (thought we) knew the following: Reese was supposed to kill Kara once the intel on the laptop was obtained, and he carried out the order (Snow told us this a few episodes ago, in present day).

So of COURSE none of that actually happened. Instead, Kara SHOT REESE IN THE BACK put a slug in Reese's gut (right after he was going to shoot her in the back) and left him for dead, because she'd had orders to kill him, too. Her work done, she marked a landing zone with pretty blue glow sticks, but Reese figured out that they weren't serving as a beacon, but a target for someone who'd just come off a 12-point streak in Call of Duty, because the CIA wanted to cut ties with everyone who had any knowledge of the intel. Reese bailed (because a bullet in the back is NOTHING to him and don't you forget it), leaving Kara to stand slack-jawed, wondering what just happened while an AC-130 nuked (exaggeration) the site from orbit. Goodbye, Kara. What a shame, you two made a cute sexless old married couple. So Reese didn't actually kill you, eh?

Wait! It was National TV Twist Day, so that didn't really happen, either. Flash forward to the present day, where CIA agents Snow and Evans were tracking a lead on Reese to a hotel in New York City. Only it wasn't Reese. It was sexy Kara (yes!), who SHOT EVANS IN THE BACK and Reese'd (Rees'd = shooting someone in the leg) Snow, calmly telling him that they had a lot to catch up on. Like, "Why did you send a Spectre gunship to blow me up, dude?" I didn't see Kara's comeback coming, but I'm glad she's back. Whose side is she on now? Is she working solo? And what's her current stance on Reese? And what's Reese's current stance on her? If there was ever a situation where you might forgive someone for shooting you in the back, it's this one. And if this string of scenes wasn't cool enough on its own, everything played out to the tune of UNKLE's "Lonely Soul," featuring The Verve's Richard Ashcroft on vocals. Total badassery.

In the case of the week, Nick Sabotka from The Wire's number came up. He was a private security man shipping all sorts of valuable things, so naturally Reese figured he was a target. But of course, thanks to National What You Think You Know Is Wrong Day, Nick Sabotka turned out to be the perp and SHOT REESE IN THE BACK. He was doing an inside job with the help of his mistress waitress.

But of course, with it being National So Many Twists That You Begin to Suspect Them Day and all, Nick wasn't the target, he was the opposite of a target! CUTE WAITRESS MISTRESS SHOT NICK SABOTKA IN THE BACK because never trust a cute waitress to do anything more than bring you your French Dip. Meanwhile, Lionel Fusco was getting closer to the dirty cop syndicate known as HR, who had eyes on the same prize Nick Sabotka was heisting. That led Fusco and the Captain of HR to cross paths with Reese and Nick Sabotka's waitress mistress right after waitress mistress shot Nick. But like a gentleman, the Captain of HR shot the waitress mistress in the chest instead of in the back. And just as the Captain of HR was going to shoot Reese in the face, FUSCO SHOT THE CAPTAIN OF HR IN THE BACK. The room was spinning from all these twists, and my back hurt due to my high levels of empathy.

Lesson of the episode, this world is in absolute chaos as the Season 1 finale begins to materialize on the horizon. Kara is alive, she's got Snow, Fusco killed the head of HR, and Elias is somewhere giggling while everyone else kills each other and makes his job that much easier.

This was a thoroughly entertaining episode, even though it featured more twists than a Chubby Checker album on repeat. But with three episodes to go, I would have liked it to focus a bit more on what we can expect the big finish to be. Where's Root? What about the Nathan Ingram murder mystery? Will all this be covered in the final trio of episodes? I hope so.



Surveillance Notes

– There was some really cool gunplay outside the security truck when Reese blasted those two dudes before Nick Sabotka shot him.

– Not a lot of Finch in this ep, but at least we saw that he's really good at hacking The Cloud and pulling sexy photos off chicks' phones. Very valuable talent.

– The dialogue was full of cliches last night, which almost made the episode more fun.

– Person of Interest is so good at putting together its episode endings. The music! The reveals! The mood! So, so good.


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

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"Where's Root?"



She's the one having a tea party with Snow, except she forgot the tea, so her arsenal will have to do. She's Stanton, flowing hair and all. Where else would Root have gotten a laptop powerful enough to snare Finch's system, or the skills to bump off a failed client and make it look like suicide?



Root's not Corwin--she needs others to do her dirty work. She did look pretty crappy too this time--I guess trying to clean up Nathan's murder didn't allow her much beauty rest.



Root's not Zoe--even Wonder Woman couldn't have gotten from City Hall to the co-opted dorm room in 5 seconds flat in "Root Cause."



Root is Stanton. And she has got a vengeance streak in her that makes PMS look like happy-happy-joy-joy time. Too bad for certain cowardly bald CIA supervisors who have played their own agendas one hand too far. Although I guess Finch took her bait once before too--it's just that Snow was so desperate to kill Reese that he didn't even notice what was on the floor--like a pair of heels followed by his dead yes-man--untill he could no longer get off of it. He needs Life Alert--"Help! I've been shot by a former operative/assassin that I lied to, betrayed, and ordered dead (and even made up a story about how uglied-up her corpse had been), and I can't get up!"



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just re-watched the episode in preparation for tonight's and it still makes me smile. Reese offering to look into her partner was hysterical but it makes me somewhat nervous that Carter will probably be quite pissed that he never told her, but then she got him shot and nearly killed so all's fair...lol



and for some reason, the moment i loved the most was when Fusco saved Reese then helped him up. it could just be me, but i got the feeling Reese expected him to let HR guy kill him(and lets be honest here, it would solve a lot of Fusco's problems...lol) i don't know Reese's face seemed to convey a gratitude and respect that hadn't been there before. Then again, I've always adored Fusco so it may just be me projecting.



Either way, tonight's ep is gonna be FREAKING AWESOME!!!!
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The fact that Carter and Fusco still don't know about each other makes me laugh constantly. Pulling that storyline off is a talent. I like the episodes where someone has to save Reese. It reminds him (and us) that he's not infallible and he is human. With Kara being back, it'll be interesting to see how long it takes one of them to track the other one down, and their meeting. Also what does Kara plan to do with Agent Snow? Nothing good I expect.
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what i liked most about this episode was that both Reese and Kara waited till the last possible moment before shooting each other. Kara threw the beacons before deciding to shoot (and she's was operative so she could have killed him in one shot but she only wounded him) and Reese even changed his mind... it really shows their human side and how hard it was for both of them to bring themselves to kill their friend and partner.

also the discussion between Carter and Reese at the bar about Fusco cracked me up...the way he said he'll keep his eyes on Fusco makes me grin even now
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I find Reese's flashbacks to be much more interesting than Finch's, which may put me in the minority. Compared to the way he acts now, the flashbacks seem to paint Reese as a bit of a bullied yes-man to Snow and Stanton. Even Jessica can get him to think he can walk out after a covert operation in the Middle East and run to her aid. This makes his relationship with Carter something of a mystery. I thought it was fun to see them having a pint at a bar while he continues to "show her the ropes" of working with the Machine.
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I too like Reese's flashbacks better than Finch's. They're so much more interesting.
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Reese's and Kara's job is to follow orders no questions asked so of course he was a yes-man... i don't know about bullied as Reese was made clear that he (and all other operatives) should cut his ties with family members so he was going against the norm. His relationship with Carter is a mystery to me too... sometimes she feels just like an asset sometimes more like a moral compass or a possible partner (if she were just an asset he wouldn't spend time with her in a bar having small talk)
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It was a great episode.



I loved that Reese was almost destined to be involved with The Machine...since he and his partner were sent there to acquire it or whatever back in 2010. That's how you pull of fate and interconnection and six degress of Kevin Bacon or whatever in a compelling and badass way (ya hear that Touch!). Good times. I loved the twist that his partner was still alive. I love that Fusco is getting sucked further into the bad side of things and he came off as steely and solid this episode rather than the bumbling idiot thing he does so brilliantly. And I loved the foreshadowing of things with the opening convo Carter and Reese had over drinks about trust. I love their dynamic. I really, really do.
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I so love your reviews! (and love that you review my favorite shows too) I can't never wait to see the show just to read your review. It's a part of the viewing experience for me. Keep 'em coming.



I love how you can 'smell' the incredible talent behind this show! For me this is as real-life Batman as it can get. Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson's relationship is off the charts.
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It seems like the show's creators are big fans of UNKLE, it's (I think) the third song of theirs they've played throughout the season!
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Great episode. This show has so much talent behind it. Awesome.
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I posted this on another forum last night but thought I would share my thoughts here too seeing as some of you seem to be leading the same direction as I am...





1) Who is Alicia Corwin? This is the third episode we've seen her in. In 2005 when she met Nathan and he gave her the first number she was with the NSA. In 2010 she's with Snow with the CIA. In 2012, she's living in Greenbank, West Virginia...which both on the show and in reality has no cell coverage and radio broadcasts. When she agrees to meet Nathan's son she got scared when he mentioned Harold and takes off. Another interesting point I noticed in this episode is when they found the one Chinese guy who was still alive. He referred to the item that was stolen as "The Machine". To me, that's an interesting choice of words. Is it possible that the source code for Harold's machine was stolen and Alicia sent Reese and his partner in after it????



2) Reese's partner...we never actually see her leave the building before it's bombed. Is it possible that she went back in, grabbed the laptop and took it with her? If so, is this the first episode we've seen her? Obviously we have seen Reese's partner before in flashbacks...but I can't help but wonder if(assuming it is the source code) after getting the laptop out of China she studied the code, and hacked into Harold's machine in the episode "Root Cause". At the very end of the episode when she opens the IRC chat window with Harold, he asks her name. She replies with "I've had a few. You can call me Root". Being in the CIA, she would have had a few cover names. Also, even though her voice was digitized in the episode, it does sound a lot like her.



One more interesting tidbit that ties into both of my questions is that according to sources, Alicia will pay Harold a visit in the Season Finale. The name of that episode to air on May 17th is called "Firewall". Does Reese's old partner breach Harold's Firewall and tell Alicia where to find him????
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My first instinct was that the "package" was the Machine, but the years don't match up-right?

The Machine was built earlier in the 2000's than 2010, I thought. I am extremely curious as to what the package is, though.



I also laughed after Carter couldn't remember other CIA agent's name, which made me miss him actually say his name, which made me laugh again because it almost further underlines that no one knows his name.



This show has evolved from simply a good procedural with an interesting premise to a very good conspiracy thriller/procedural with excellent characters, smart writing, and a lot of UNKLE songs. All of which pleases me.
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Great show - right up there with Fringe in many ways. Can't wait to see what happens next!
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Loved your review man! Made me laugh... perfect ending after watching POI! ROFL!



BTW, that black guy (Evans?) didn't have a chance! Why they should have given him a red shirt! ROFL!
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I could not belive how I missed the most important point, if it werent for this review I could have just passed it.. in the final scene I thought we were still in a flashback -probably because I was soo convinced that Kara was dead- and now I got it, she is back! how great was the disappointment, anger, fear and surprise in Snow's face! loved it! this was an epic episode, with solid philosophy.. I also loved it when Reese resolved the whole scheme and said "I'm so sorry" while the was tied up in a chair, how he felt weak for the waiteress girl and did wrong.. it is nice to see for every once in a while, that our characters are not super-heroes but normal human beings with mistakes and weaknesses.. and the HR story had a great twist right now, with the captain's death..



It was also a great moment when Carter was stuck between FBI and CIA:)



here is my guess on how things went on: Ingraham sold the machine to the Chinese.. but Finch had a team to gather it back and he ordered all of those engineers' death.. CIA, not knowing this, sent the team up there to gather the machine from chinese and destroy it and kill everyone who had a contact with it.. but it did not exactly work out.. then alicia resigned and hid in a town, Ingraham died..
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Loved this episode...and your review (nice play with CAPS!)..



I hope Carter and Fusco get to be read in ( being on the same side) soon. BTW was that CIA lady Alicia?. Is "The machine" the "numbers machine"?
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it definitely was that lady..
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Great review, amazing episode. Yes is twist day hahahhaha
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Wow I've loved every episode so far of this show but this one's been THE BEST!!! Adored it from beginning to end! I really can't wait for next week's episode!
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Best show since early episodes of 24!

And like we grew to expect in that series, the POI finale will likely have us biting our nails till

next season.

One point I didn't see mentioned here: In Super, a flashback showed Stanton, Reese, and Snow holding a hostage in the bathroom-- someone that Snow indicated had sold software secrets to the Chinese.

Coincidence? I think not. So who was that? Ingram?









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many people thought about it like that but it was never revealed.. however the women in this episode that was declaring orders to go to china was the very same women working with Ingraham and freaking out when she heard about Finch.. so there must be a connection but that will be resolved probably in the finale..
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I really don't know why this show isn't getting TONS more press! POI is easily the BEST TV I've seen in a few years (especially since "24") - the show closest to it right now with its' writing, characters, and powerful scripts is "Game of Thrones." On POI, even a WAITRESS can be near the center of an episode! This show MUST be what actors who are asked to play waitresses drool over script-wise!



Even the music for each episode is SPOT-ON (as demonstrated again with the UNKLE song from this one)!



Can't wait for the last few episodes, and SO glad this show has been renewed!
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This episode taught me a valuable lesson: Don't watch Person of Interest if you're sleepy! Otherwise you'll have to go back and watch it again due to so many twists and turns; and not blurring, fogging, or lowering colors of flahsbacks (VERY confusing for folks that might nod off for a few minutes LOL).
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WE HAVE BATMAN, WE HAVE WILLFRED, WE HAVE COMMISSIONER GORDON!! NOW HERE COMES CATWOMAN!
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Haha. If the show gets renamed "Batman" the next season it will be the best twist in television history.
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An excellent episode, and I like the infiltration of the 'ghost' city in China - but did anyone else wonder at the whole 'steal the computer thing' which the dying Chinese guy called 'the machine' and the fact the woman who sent Reese and Kara on the mission was the government agent associated with Ingram (and silent partner Finch) when they built 'The Machine'? What does it mean? That Finch out-sourced his labour force to China when he built The Machine?
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I don't know how but it looks like Ben is somehow linked to Jesus' last mission in China. Err... I mean Finch and Reese. But I doubt that he would have outsourced the machine to China. I mean come on - that's like hiring a company in Iran to develop Plutonium. What could possibly go wrong?
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I didn't even remember Alicia until I saw a comment posted on the episode forum. I went back & watched the scenes in "Super" which she appeared in to jog my memory.
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May have been mentioned already, but seems pretty possible to me that Kara is in fact our mystery woman who out-foxed (well, not entirely, Reese, Finch, and then used their computer software against them before they bailed Finch's place. Makes sense, doesn't it? Especially if she had kept the package from China and is using it herself to keep tabs on things (including Finch and Reese). On a technical note, she had actually activated and thrown the light sticks BEFORE shooting Reese, not after.



Anyway, awesome episode, and a clever title.
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Awesome episode. When we found out that Snow was behind the CIA drug dealing guy. And we got to see what corrupt individual he was, I then wondered if all he said was true, and if it wasn't then he was full of crap in regards to Reese's story. But I didn't think until half the episode was done that she was still alive. Which then led me to wonder, she is a girl, is she root? Or is she somehow connected to root. If she escaped with the big bad code, that would give her crazy hacking capabilities more than possibly finch could handle or possibly even the machine. Inquiring minds want to know.



Overall a fantastic episode. And someone should start keeping a tally as to how many times Reese has been shot. I really can't wait until the finale. It has to be off the scale of awesome
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Solid episode, great back-story - one of the best of the season. Really wonder how these old partners are going to receive each other when they meet up.
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Wow what an episode....

I'm glad I know there is a season 2 because I get the feeling the last episode is going to be a doosey of a cliffhanger.

Did anybody notice Reese and Kara had red boxes around them when they entered the quarantine zone in Ordos China?

I agree with Gorand 2055 that Kara is Root. Reese was going to shoot Kara (in the back) but lowered his weapon and was going to tell or ask her if she'd been compromised. After Kara shot Reese, who had possession of the computer they found when Reese made his get away? Where is the computer now? If Reese injured, had time to safely make it away from the bombing why wouldn't Kara? I am surprised Reese did not think of this as he watched the building blow up from a distance.

Kara knew more about the mission than Reese and sheknew about the machine because she didn't ask what machine or try to get details from the guy she shot.. I think Finch and Ingram were somehow involved and the machine was referring to the one Finch built.

When Finch first approached Reese to join him he said he had been watching him for a long time......maybe since the day of the bombing.

Killer episode with killer action!!!



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I too also noticed those red boxes. Most likely from all the harsh things Kara & John did before.
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Also, I will never use Bing again ever. I'll go back to Ask Jeeves or something.
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Also I have amended my Reese shot in the back by Kara because I was in fact wrong about that but with all the back-shooting in this episode I got confused. Sorry! Love you all!
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SEVERAL OF YOU ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH HUMOR AND BING APPARENTLY. Not everything is corporate conspiracy. Bing is a piece of garbage fake search engine aimed solely at youths in a lame attempt to make itself relevant. Are you all 60 years old? Sheesh!
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Humor? What is this craziness you speak of?
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lol...
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Are you freaking kidding me?? A QUICK BING SEARCH???? WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
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YES BING
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"A quick Bing search" Really? Is M$ paying the bills at Tv.com now?



This is the best show on tvland right now, and when the season ends, i might just put myself on a medically induced coma until the Fall.
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Are you blind to humor and irony?
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YES BING
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A quick bing search is not a turn of phrase.



A quick google search for sure, but writing a quick bing search is essentially gibberish. These articles need to be edited before posting.
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Sure it is! I "bing" all the time. Just yesterday I "binged" my girlfriend.

It was fun. You should have a "bing" once in a while, too!
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BING DISAGREES WITH YOU
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BING who? Crosby?
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Great good gods, I didn't realize just how much backshooting there was until reading this. Did really seem to be the motif of the episode.



I really want a Finch-focused episode. PoI seems to have focused its attentions on Reese when we still know next to nothing about his partner. Give me Finch, dammit!
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It was not bad (medium) episode for my taste. If it's not for ending I'll forget this one very quick. I hate standalones. Whole month of waiting and here we go... But it was worth a bit coz of flashbacks. It was weird though. So many people in China dead and nobody knows about it. It was too much out of reality.

And I think what if Kara who is alive and hot and dangerous is the hacker (Root?) She is a spy so knows something about computers may be. Or may be Root is her ally?
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In the scene when John & Kara are walking down the staircase (note they have red boxes around their faces) Reese said that a bird flu outbreak was a cover up story & that the city was under quarantine so no one would enter the city.
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Love this show. I hope it stays fresh next season. It's about time for the CIA to leave Reese alone. If THAT goes on for the entire run of the show, it will get old fast...think back to The Pretender & his pursuit by "The Centre". Jarod was always one step ahead. That's what this show reminds me of. Also, how many more times can John be shot and still live?! He must have some serious self-mending capabilities!!



I hope this show stays on air for years...it is quite entertaining. Love the characters and the actors portraying them. Kudos for CBS having another hit show!! I swear I watch CBS EVERY night for 2-3 hours!!
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Great ep, great review and soundtrack!



Didn't anyone wonder about the piece of equipment Tara and Reese were retrieving in China and whether it may be connected to the machine Ingram+Finch eventually developed? Tara did lie to Reese about the dying guy's words that mentioned 'machine'....



Either that or that was something to do with the Dharma initiative....
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That was definitely Alicia Corwin who gave the order. Furthermore, Nathan Ingram died in 2010 ... and apparently Finch received his injuries in 2010. I'd say all this must be related somehow.
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The back story of Reese confused me. Mainly because of the scene with the dying engineer in China. He said that "they took the machine", and Kara withheld that from Reese. First of all, why? Secondly, and more importantly, I immediately began thinking that maybe that "machine" has something to do with Finch's machine! The engineer didn't say laptop, computer or computer program. He very clearly said machine. Was a Chinese machine taken and the laptop left there for Reese and Kara to find?



it was quite obvious though that Kara was alive. If Reese can run far away from a factory with bullets in him and missiles on his tail, Kara is not going to just stand there and take the missiles up her butt. She ran too, but apparently not far enough if she got injured.
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She didn't tell him what that engineer said for the same reason she shot him: because they told her that Reese was working with the enemy.
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I just realized after reading your review that in text, this episode seemed quite ridiculous. However, as I was watching it and despite the countless scenes of being 'tricked-and-shot', I was entertained the whole time.



I had a small inkling after the episode finished that maybe Kara is Root... but I'm going to go with the belief that she's not. Doesn't seem like the super-hacker type.
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One thing you left out. I'm almost certain that the woman who gave Reese and his partner the mission was the same woman who met with Ingram's son and was scared to death by the name Harold.
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I was thinking she looked familiar too! I wish they wouldn't have so many reruns. It would help to watch all the episodes in a row to keep up with the twists and turns. Maybe I need to re-watch some of the episodes to find that woman and see if I can ascertain what she's up to:)
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It was absolutely "Alicia Corwin" -- the woman terrified of Harold, the woman tasked with negotiating with Nathan Ingram for purchase of the machine (I think she showed up in Super?)
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OMG I think you're right!
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Hilarious review. I really lol'ed hard to the COD-line and "Reese'd"....

Anyway, the episode was awesome (as always). POI sure is getting better and better. I also have concerns wether all the mysterious storylines about Root, Ingram, Finch, CIA/FBI will be resolved. However, I am confident they can and will do that in time. We already have Elias behind bars and Snow caught. I even hope they don't resolve everything in 3 episodes. If this show would get a big story arch for season 2 it would be awesome time.
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Another brilliant episode. I cannot believe this hasn't been picked up here in the UK.



Is my life sad and pathetic as my goal is to move to the States due to superior television?!
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That's not true. you guys have sherlock which we are truly humble to have such a fine show like that come from the UK. in fact, I'd say britain has had a history of having superior television programs
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I agree that historically the UK has had some great moments but these days there's only the odd beauty like Sherlock, Dr Who and Top Gear
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After Elias was arrested last week, I pretty much knew they would take the oportunity to go further into Reese's past with the CIA, and some of the other threads they've set up. I liked the glimpse we got of Reese's history, why he severed ties to the CIA, and what happened to his partner. It makes me that much more interested in the CIA storyline. Also, once again, Fusco was great in this episode. I loved that he shot the HR guy to save Reese. BTW, did anyone else immediately think, once Reese's old partner showed up in 2012 to come after the CIA agents, that she was the hacker from a while back?
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Kara IS Root
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Did you watch this episode? Reeses partner shot him in the front. He had just turned around and she shot him
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Ow come on, if he turns around just before she shoots you, she's shooting you in the back (it's not all about the position of the shot)
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I read that and thought maybe I remembered the episode wrong! I'm glad I'm not the only one that picked that up...but again, I thought I had missed something. Plus, when he was running, he was holding his abdomen/stomach area which you would do if shot there. This show just gets better every week:) It's one of my "can't miss" shows!
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That's right.



And Kara probably had orders like to kill everyone who knows about "the machine".
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