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Official Discussion Thread: Many Happy Returns (possible spoilers)

  • Avatar of Gislef

    Gislef

    [1]May 1, 2012
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    Please direct all general and specific discussion of the 5/3/12 episode "Many Happy Returns" to this thread.

    Enjoy!
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  • Avatar of blackmage8472

    blackmage8472

    [2]May 3, 2012
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    Another excellent episode. I love how they keep making connections of Finch and Reese in the time before the series actually begins. I also liked how they made us to not only look at Reese as a man who needed a mission but also as a man who needed to be a sort of avenging angel.


    Definitely excited for the last 2 episodes and next season.

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  • Avatar of DouglasMcCast

    DouglasMcCast

    [3]May 4, 2012
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    the final song... anyone ?

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  • Avatar of TomWayne

    TomWayne

    [4]May 4, 2012
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    Like I said in my review, just when I thought Jonathan Nolan couldn't top himself, he delivers with "Many Happy Returns," hands down the best episode (so far) of this truly awesome first season. Yeppers, Nolan stepped in to co-write this crucial episode, not that the other writers aren't fantastic, but to be sure to weave all of the parts together in his masterful way. We didn't even pause the DVR once to leave the room! (Although we did pause and rewind to be sure to catch everything, or simply to enjoy a scene over again.)



    Some gems from this one:



    Reese data on-screen!


    His real name is John H. ____s. Carter sees his real last name when she lifts the photo covering part of the document, but we only get to see the final letter of it, along with his first name and middle initial. While his last name could be anything, it might follow Harold's pattern for consistency in the show. Harold has used (with one exception so far) bird names for his last name--Finch, Wren, Crow, etc. The fact that Stanton smirked playfully when she gave John the new name of Reese, it's quite possible that there's a pattern there, too. The most widely-known Reese would be the name on the candy (PB Cups, Pieces, Nutrageous), maybe Reese's last name is Mars (as in M&M/Mars, a rival company to Hershey's/Reese's), or maybe Cupps, or something else in that same general range. (I very much doubt it's John Pieces or John Nutrageous, of course.)


    Reese's birthdate is partially shown on the same document (May 1)--the year is obscured by the same photo as above.


    Reese's Social Security number (X's in the Machine POV scans up until this point) is plainly shown in Finch's Jessica Arndt POI dossier folder in the final scene, handwritten on the photo.



    Yet another character is introduced who shows that Reese's compassion is far from gone--an elderly blind Asian man with whom he plays checkers. Caviezel's execution of that scene is flawlessly subdued.


    And speaking of that scene, Finch's claim at the beginning of the episode that he doesn't know where Reese spends his free time because he respects his "privacy" (to which Reese voices his obvious skepticism, noting that Finch knew his real birthdate by nodding at Finch's gift for him) is further verified as being not quite true, as the apartment he gives him the key to overlooks the very spot where the Asian man plays checkers with Reese. Reese smiles as he realizes that Finch (who also acknowledged his old alias as Harold Wren by giving Reese one of his old (fake) business cards) is building more and more trust in him.



    Carter's progression from stress as she assumes the inevitable, to understanding and sympathy (but which still expects that the worst-case scenario is what has played out and likely will happen in the present), to the realization that she can actually trust Reese--not just for protection, but that deep down, despite his training and even his intensity (that this time spills over into rage), he is a man who seeks redemption, instead of just blind vengeance.



    Carter keeps the photo of Jessica and Reese instead of shredding it. She knows the importance of preserving the memory of a lost loved one (the photo of her presumably dead husband that Finch found in her car in "Get Carter"), and it also shows Reese before the CIA, when Jessica had lit up his life and was his connection to the world--to life outside of the trenches.


    About that shredder. Uh oh.Shouldn't Carter have double-checked that it wasn't rigged first, either not shredding at all or in some manner able to X-ray scan the documents (like in "Legacy," the first case she worked with Reese)? The brief pan down toward the shredder was, to me, a wink toward that possibility. Between "HR," the FBI,Snow (alive or not), Stanton/Root, Elias,Alicia Corwin's people, etc., anyone could have rigged it. The pan down might have been a hint, or a red herring--as usual, we'll have to wait and see.



    Best. Finch moment.Ever. The surprisemoment in the final few seconds of the episode. Perfect delivery on all aspects--reveal, expression, line. Emmy award stuff right there!



    We FINALLY find out the (likely) end to "Cura Te Ipsum" (which incidentally is being rebroadcast this Saturday evening, just to be sure you didn't miss it) when Carter asked the Mexican prison warden if there were any other Americansdetained there besides Jennings (to see ifReese hadn't killed Peter after all)--the warden said, "One or two." Carter smiles as she realizes that, when faced with the mostflagrant opportunity tokill in vengeance, Reese even then stopped himself from killing Peter. What we as fans realize, courtesy of the special weekend rerun, is that the second "other American" is likely the sex offender from "Cura Te Ipsum."



    About that confrontation with Peter, Reese gives him the opportunity to show anything--anything at all to redeem himself, to show that maybe he actually felt regret, that maybe there was something in him that actually had cared about Jessica. When he even bares the desolation of his own soul over the loss, Peter grabs the fire poker menacingly--no hint of remorse or even care that Jessica was dead, that he'd caused her death, or that this man in front of him was truly broken and devastated. No, the depth of his depravity is confirmed. Reese's expression turns from shocked grief and loneliness to steeled resolve as he sees that Peter plans to do to him what he did to Jessica. Not this time.



    And, on tap for next week, Reese just may get to connect the dots from his final mission to the Machine, as present-day Alicia Corwin resurfaces for the first time since learning about Will's "Uncle Harold"--Nathan's best friend and business partner (Yes, Alicia, remember the other guy in Nathan's office all those years ago?), and we also get more Finch backstory as Nathan is in the cast list as well.


    The two final episodes can't come soon enough, but then this will be the first summer in years that I hope flies by!


    Edited on 05/04/2012 10:37am
    Edited 3 total times.
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  • Avatar of cavanagh15

    cavanagh15

    [5]May 4, 2012
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    I'm confused by something. Was the Reese reveal at the end just supposed to signal that's when Reese picked Finch to be the guy he would approach with this seasons worth of cases or was the reveal that Reese had something to do with thecover-up?


    Pretty sure it's the former but just wanted to make sure.

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  • Avatar of TomWayne

    TomWayne

    [6]May 4, 2012
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    cavanagh15 wrote:


    I'm confused by something. Was the Reese reveal at the end just supposed to signal that's when Reese picked Finch to be the guy he would approach with this seasons worth of cases or was the reveal that Reese had something to do with thecover-up?


    Pretty sure it's the former but just wanted to make sure.



    The reveal that, when Reese found out about Jessica's death from the nurse, Finch was right there in a wheelchair, having been at the hospital recovering from the injuries he sustained when Nathan Ingram was killed (details still to follow in future episodes). As a result of his conversation with Nathan (in "Ghosts") about the moral issue raised by the non-relevant numbers being deleted at the behest of the NSA, Finch had already begun to build his case list of "non-relevant" victims (that he showed Reese in the "Pilot" episode).



    In that scene at the hospital,Finchwas holding in the folder in his hands an early version of what would later become his trademark POI dossier--the one he'd built around Jessica (as she'd been one of the recurring numbers over the years, who eventually had wound up dead). It was cases like hers that made Finch realize that situations like that usually meant an abusive spouse that eventually turned to murder. As Finch had admitted to Reese in the "Pilot" episode, as more non-relevant numbers turned up dead, he knew he had to do something with the numbers but was powerless to act by himself--because he lacked the "skills to intervene" (and also due to his extensive injuries and the risk of revealing himself to those who had murdered Nathan). When he saw Reese at the hospital and heard him ask about Jessica, he recognized him from Jessica's POI dossier that he'd made, and, knowing that she and Reese had loved each other deeply, he felt overwhelming sympathy and sorrow for the shell of a man who stumbled past him, as Finch had known that Jessica's life was in danger, but again had been unable to stop it.



    You are correct--it was that moment (discovering at that time that the victim's dearly-loved ex, Reese, was alive, not dead as the government databases would have shown, and that he would likely identify with Finch's desire to try to prevent others from experiencing the same loss) that would have been the start of Finch considring Reese for the job. Also, the location of the apartment that he gave Reese for his birthday shows that Finch had begun observing Reese once he'd located him agin after leaving the hospital, likely to continue to assess if Reese was the man he could entrust with the job. Knowing what he'd learned from fully looking into Reese's background during that time, Finch immediately acted when he'd learned that Reese had been taken to the police station after the subway fight ("Pilot"), knowing that if he was going to approach him with the job offer, it had to be then, given that the NYPD running Reese's prints would alert his CIA superiors that he was in fact alive (as Snow later confirmed).

    Edited on 05/04/2012 2:33am
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  • Avatar of AriSky

    AriSky

    [7]May 4, 2012
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    So many things in this episode made me incredibly happy. It was a great episode all around and a very involved one.


    The friend I was watching with and I were yelling at Carter not to shred the picture of John and Jessica and were positively relieved when she didn't. (My friend ended this event by pointing out how sad we are.)


    When John first ran into the man in the wheelchair, I was so involved in his emotions it didn't even cross my mind that it might have been Finch. I loved that they went back and revealed that, as well as how recent Finch's injury is. That tells me there might be hope for further recovery of his physical abilities later in the show (not highly likely, but possible).


    Not really from this episode, but just in general: I really want Carter and Fusco to realize they're both working with the boys already. I think that bit's been dragged out well more than necessary and that they've been in several situations where they should have pieced it together. They're intelligent people. Unless there's going to be some ingenious plot revolving around their finding out, I think it's time to stop holding out and just let them in on it already.


    One of the best-done episodes. Can't wait for next week and can't believe we're almost at the end of the season.


    Oh, and the release date for the season one boxset is out: October 3.

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  • Avatar of epohdem

    epohdem

    [8]May 4, 2012
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    I'm a little shaky on the Alicia person and why she's so important - can someone break that down for me?

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  • Avatar of ronwhitehouse

    ronwhitehouse

    [9]May 5, 2012
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    The real reason Finch was confined to a wheelchair, was that he had barely survived a traumatic fall from when Ingram took one of his kidneys and then pushed him out of a tall-story window. If he seems emotional, it's because he's just been denied participation in an Australian walkabout, and has no choice left but to fly Oceanic Flight 815 back home. It's true that he eventually regains the use of his legs...but that's what possession by a black smoke monster will do for ya.


    It was a good idea that Carter kept that old photo of Reese. If he ever starts to slip away from his humanity, she could hopefully use it to talk him back in off the ledge...


    ...And I too was pondering what possible surnames might be synonymous with 'Reese'. This name predominantly originates from the UK, the Welsh 'Rhys' or Old Welsh 'Ris' meaning "enthusiastic, zealous, ardent; a driven and fiery warrior". Cornish meaning is "a violent, strong, or powerful man". Anglicized 'Rice' or 'Price' suggest a "prize, value, or reward". The German word 'Riese' refers to a "giant". And in Luxembourghish, 'Rees' is quite simply a "trip or journey". Going further outside of the box, 'Reese' is also a Southeast Asian slang-term for a local who has darker skin than usual. It's not meant to be derogatory, simply a candy-inspired analogy for a "yellow" Chinese, Vietnamese, or Malaysian who appears as "brown" on the outside as an Indian or Arab might. One last interpretation of 'Reese' I can think of is musical in nature, referring to a special synthesized bass sound consisting of two separate oscillating waves. One of these waves is detuned, so that when the two are phased together they create a unique, pulsation effect. I realize these ideas are probably a stretch, but until the writers reveal more clues all I'm left with is my dictionary and my imagination...

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    Just_Jos

    [10]May 5, 2012
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    GREAT episode once again. In my first viewing, I thought Reese actually killed the guy he put in the trunk, LOL, got right the second time I watched. I watch every episode of ''POI'' twice.

    Edited on 06/06/2012 2:21pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of blackmage8472

    blackmage8472

    [11]May 5, 2012
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    epohdem wrote:


    I'm a little shaky on the Alicia person and why she's so important - can someone break that down for me?



    At first I thought she was Root but it seems far more likely that Stanton is. Alicia is either a CIA or Homeland Security boss who brokered the deal to create the Machine. At some point later she and Snow gave Stanton and Reese the job to recover tech from China which was either (at least this is my theory) a thebeginningsof aChineseversion of the Machine or a way for the Chinese to access the Machine. At some point after that she probably realized the dangers of the Machine and went to the one place in America where the Machine couldn't find her.


    That's all we really know about her. My guess is she'll become important when we finally find out exactly how Ingram died.

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    AriSky

    [12]May 5, 2012
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    blackmage8472 wrote:
    At first I thought she was Root but it seems far more likely that Stanton is.


    ...small detail that could be a coincident, but Stanton had black nail polish on in the end scene of Matsya Nyaya. And one of the only things we've seen of Root is hands with nails painted black. Hmmm.....

    Edited on 05/05/2012 7:37pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of blackmage8472

    blackmage8472

    [13]May 5, 2012
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    AriSky wrote:


    blackmage8472 wrote:
    At first I thought she was Root but it seems far more likely that Stanton is.


    ...small detail that could be a coincident, but Stanton had black nail polish on in the end scene of Matsya Nyaya. And one of the only things we've seen of Root is hands with nails painted black. Hmmm.....



    Also we got a look at the back of Root's head and I might be reaching but she seemed to have close to the same hair color and style as Stanton.


    If you think about the heros and villains so far it's kinda funny. Elias is kinda the anti-Resse since it's them who are battling for the city yet Elias is more similar to Finch in that he's methodical and more of a leader rather than a soldier. Meanwhile Root is the anti-Finch, a fight for the supremacy of cyberspace and yet if Root is Stanton then she's far more similar to Reese. Maybe I'm over analyzing it... but still interesting.

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    HashimAbbasi

    [15]May 6, 2012
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    the last song is Revenge by Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse
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    protonefrid

    [16]May 9, 2012
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    TomWayne wrote:

    About that shredder. Uh oh.Shouldn't Carter have double-checked that it wasn't rigged first, either not shredding at all or in some manner able to X-ray scan the documents (like in "Legacy," the first case she worked with Reese)? The brief pan down toward the shredder was, to me, a wink toward that possibility. Between "HR," the FBI,Snow (alive or not), Stanton/Root, Elias,Alicia Corwin's people, etc., anyone could have rigged it. The pan down might have been a hint, or a red herring--as usual, we'll have to wait and see.




    she shred his file in a closed folder so even if someone rigged the shredder they would only scan the cover of the folder and the cover only said it came from the military, nothing that could trace back to that Gene guy.
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    Chimera

    [17]May 10, 2012
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    AriSky wrote:




    Oh, and the release date for the season one boxset is out: October 3.



    AriSky: Where can I get the information about the boxset? I've not been able to find a release date anywhere!
    POI started on 9/22 last year, and if that schedule holds for 2012, then Oct. 3 would be after the new season started airing...a very long wait from now.

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  • Avatar of AriSky

    AriSky

    [18]May 10, 2012
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    Chimera wrote:
    AriSky: Where can I get the information about the boxset? I've not been able to find a release date anywhere!


    POI started on 9/22 last year, and if that schedule holds for 2012, then Oct. 3 would be after the new season started airing...a very long wait from now.


    ...checking back, it seems they hadn't posted the correct information. Oct. 3 is now listed as the release for the Region 4 version, not the Region 1, which is what you're looking for in America. A release date isn't listed for Region 1. =/

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    chaotickristi

    [19]Aug 29, 2012
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    The ending, where it turned out that it was Harold in the wheelchair that Reese bumped into in the hospital, Harold had a picture of all 3 in the file on his lap...what did he SAY? Could not understand it... 2 words?

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    blackmage8472

    [20]Aug 30, 2012
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    chaotickristi wrote:


    The ending, where it turned out that it was Harold in the wheelchair that Reese bumped into in the hospital, Harold had a picture of all 3 in the file on his lap...what did he SAY? Could not understand it... 2 words?



    I'm pretty sure he said "I'm sorry."

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