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 writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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