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2012 Most Memorable Episodes: Person of Interest “Many Happy Returns” 

Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/CBS

Episode: “Many Happy Returns”
Airdate: May 3, 2012
Teleplay: Erik Mountain

Story: Erik Mountain & Jonathan Nolan

The Person of Interest episode “Many Happy Returns” is one of those hours of television so good I wish I could erase my short term memory and watch it for the first time all over again.

What I loved:

  • It was John’s birthday and Finch knew it. He gave Reese a key and didn’t tell him what door the key opened — at first.
  • Finch gave John the day off — which I really think threw Reese off big time. He didn’t know what to do with himself. So, of course, he got himself involved with the case.
  • Finch’s reasoning for giving John the day off was a case that may have triggered some issues in Reese. But like he’s wont to do, Reese finds about it anyway and actually saves Finch from a hairy situation with Marshall Jennings. Finch and Reese look out for each other.
  • Clueless Agent Donnelly is on the scent for the “man in the suit” and enlists Carter to go to New Rochelle where there’s a lead. I love how Donnelly has no idea about Carter’s alliance with Reese. This is still going on to this day.
  • There was a Finch/Carter meet-up which is rare on this show.
  • The flashbacks delve into what happened to Reese’s love of his life, Jessica. Her husband abused her and ultimately killed her.
  • There’s a scene where Reese enters the U.S. Marshall’s office and proceeds to go all medieval on the abusive husband of the number of the week. In the process, he takes down the marshalls who get in his way.
  • Finch is in fear of how far Reese will go to get justice. But we find out that Reese’s idea of justice is much worse than death. It’s a one-way ticket to a Mexican prison on trumped up drug charges. There’s no way Marshall Jennings — or Jessica’s husband — are ever getting out of there. So cold yet so awesome. Reese definitely has a few surprises up his sleeve.
  • Carter learns about Reese’s past and she shreds all records. Love that Carter recognizes John’s a good man and is firmly entrenched as one of his allies.
  • “Many Happy Returns has my favorite music cue of last season when Revenge (by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse ft. Flaming Lips) ushered the end of the episode.
  • Finch gives Reese the other part of his gift — the address which is Reese’s new apartment. It overlooks the park where he plays chess with the blind Asian man.
  • At the beginning of the hour, Reese is at the nurse’s station at the hospital and receives the news that Jessica died. He walks away and bumps into someone in a wheelchair — that person says “sorry.” At the very end of “Many Happy Returns,” we find out that the man in the chair was Finch. Reese had a brush with Finch before he even knew it. Such a brilliant way to end the episode.

What was even more special about this episode was that I originally saw it with a group of other POI fans at a Paley Center panel that celebrated the show. The cast was there and it was wonderful. I watched “Many Happy Returns” again a little later and it was as good as the first time.

Person of Interest returns with new episodes this Thursday, January 3.

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