This is the second time I’ve seen this episode and it was just as emotional, intense, funny, surprising, and exhilarating as the first time. I’ve been a fan of this show since the pilot and I like that Finch and Reese have been such enigmas. We get little pieces of intel on them every once in a while, we put some pieces together, but what do we really know? Well, in “Many Happy Returns” we learn so much about the strong, sometimes silent Reese.
What did we already know? Reese was in love with Jessica, but thought her life would be so much better without him. What could he offer her anyway? Peace of mind? Not with his job. The promise to come home safe every night? Not when his work took him around the country and the world and often put him in mortal danger. He loved Jessica enough to want the best for her and he just knew that wasn’t him. He’d been keeping tabs on her, thinking she was making a life for herself. But he didn’t know she was being abused and although he made her promise to wait for him, she died before he could get to her.
It’s the present-day case that reveals what really happened to Jessica and John’s part in it. Although Finch tries to give Reese the day off – it is his birthday after all – he knows something isn’t right and swoops in to save Finch, who is still not even close to as good as Reese is in the field. Finch thought Reese’s “sensitivity” in this case might compromise his ability to do his job, but it seems like Reece is mostly upset that Finch is working a number without him. This week’s number belongs to Sarah Jennings. She’s running from her abusive husband, who happens to be a US Marshal. There’s nowhere she can hide where he won’t get it her.
Finch had thought to bring Carter in on this case, but her time is better served keeping an eye on Special Agent Donnelly’s investigation. Finch thinks if some incriminating evidence surfaces about John, Carter can make it disappear if necessary. Donnelly thinks Reese is connected to the apparent death of Peter Arndt up in New Rochelle. Carter suspects that Arndt’s wife didn’t die in a car accident as previously thought and maybe that’s why Reese was there. When she’s going though some of Jessica’s things she finds a picture of Jessica and John together and it all falls into place.
When Carter catches up to John she knows she’s got to step in to save Jennings’ life. But John asks for her trust to do what needs to be done. I wasn’t sure Carter would let him go, but I’m glad she had enough faith in him to watch him drive away. I was worried about the Marshall, but John didn’t kill him. And he didn’t kill Arndt either. They’re probably suffering a fate worse than death, but it’s what Reese thinks they deserve after what the did to the women they claimed to love.
When Reese asks Finch if Jessica’s number was one of the numbers that kept coming up, Finch chooses a misleading answer. He tells Reese her number came up before they started working together. The truth is Finch was working by himself – and still in a wheelchair – when the numbers for Reese, and Peter and Jessica Arndt came up. John even ran into him at the hospital after he learned that Jessica had died. But Finch only had John’s number; he didn’t know what it meant.
- When Carter gets Reese’s military records it’s the information both Snow and Donnelly have been looking for. That she chooses to shred the records reinforces that she’s a great partner for Finch and Reese. I just hope they decide to bring her all the way into the fold and soon.
- Carter’s faith in Reese is rewarded when she finds out Jennings is alive. He definitely won’t be bothering his wife ever again.
- Finch knows how to give an awesome birthday present. That key means so much more than a (much) better place for Reese to live. It means he belongs somewhere.
I loved this episode. It’s the best of the season so far, and I’ve liked every single episode. Not only do we get some serious insight into what set Reese on this path but we get to see just how far he’ll go to help protect someone in trouble. I have to admit I kind of like seeing both Finch and Fusco flail a little bit when they’re doing Reese’s job. It proves he’ll always be a necessary part of this team, it proves he’s irreplaceable. And when he had to “save” Finch from Jennings? I loved it. Yes he was following Finch, but for good reason. I’m still hoping Reese will come clean about his snooping into Finch’s past. I don’t know if these two men will ever truly know each other, but the secrets they’re keeping are dangerous.
Person of Interest airs Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS.
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