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Recap / Person Of Interest S 01 E 08

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Season 1, Episode 8:

Foe

Wernick: He's on his way now. What do we assume he knows?
Steiller: Assume he knows everything.

Former Stasi hitman Ulrich Kohl arrives in New York, pursued by German intelligence and determined to carry out a mission of revenge against his former colleagues who have since defected to the United States. When his number comes up, Reese and Finch intervene to try and stop Kohl before his Roaring Rampage of Revenge reaches his supposedly-dead wife, while Carter and Fusco attempt to smooth over a potential international incident.

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In flashbacks to 2006, Reese reports for his first CIA operation and meets his new partner, Kara Stanton, who has the task of bestowing him with a new operational name. They meet with a pair of American spies who have been flagged — by an anonymous source — as being responsible for helping a terrorist escape the country. Stanton casually murders both spies and orders her new partner to clean up the mess, and comes up with his new name: "John Reese".


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Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Alliterative Name: Heinrich Hauffe, Kohl's first target.
  • And Then What?: Reese asks Kohl what he's going to do after he finishes his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. After receiving a fatal gunshot wound from Reese, Kohl reveals he didn't have a tomorrow.
  • The Atoner: Wernick (and to lesser extent Steiller) are disturbed by what they did in the Cold War (and in Wernick's case, by what he thought happened to Anja, who wasn't supposed to be involved) and have been trying to live model lives since, with Wernick also showing no resistance when Kohl is prepared to kill him.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Reese tells Kohl that he was once tortured with electricity for sixteen hours without even giving up his name.
    • And with the sniper rifle.
    Finch: What if you miss?
    Reese: I wouldn't know. Never have.
  • BFG: Reese's Barrett sniper rifle.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Reese hijacking Wernicks' ambulance and injecting him with something to counter the poison.
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  • Establishing Character Moment: The final 2006 flashback is this for Stanton, when she goes straight back to thinking of a new name for John after executing two men right in front of him. She then orders him to dispose of the bodies, and sums up the reality of their job in five words: they're walking in the dark.
  • Flashback: To Reese's early days with the CIA, working with Stanton.
  • Heel Realization:
    Kohl : You were right to fear me. You were right.
    • Steiler claims that he and the others had this after seeing Kohl become too ruthless, and too eager to assassinate their targets.
  • Hidden Supplies: Kohl had stashed a sizable amount of East German Marks (and possibly weapons and other spy gear) in a graveyard plot he had purchased years before.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Justified as the Welrod pistol was designed as a silenced weapon.
  • Information Broker: Pilcher, who Finch blackmails into giving up information on Kohl and his team before having much of an idea of who they are.
  • Ironic Death: Kohl dies sitting up like his first victim and is buried in the plot he used as a supply stash.
  • Jumped at the Call: Reese and Kohl. "Your country needs you." Reese bitterly notes that recruiters always say things like that.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Heinlein the German agent is a stone-faced man who took part in Kohl's illegal imprisonment, but seems motivated by genuine passion, shown when stating that Kohl "killed Germans for years", and is willing to cooperate with the Americans to save Kohl's targets after being arrested.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Kohl, Anja and their daughter dance around this reveal.
  • Master Forger: Wernick filled this role for Kohl's team.
  • Morality Pet: Kohl lampshaded this with his Famous Last Words.
    Kohl: They took everything I had, but part of me survived. It was... her.
  • Nerves of Steel: When convinced that Kohl has fatally poisoned him, and is going to kill Steiller next and then escape, Wernick shows no desperation or defiance towards Kohl, even wishing him well before collapsing.
  • Not Quite Dead: Anja.
  • Not So Different: Reese and Kohl.
  • Un-person: Kohl has been jailed illegally by the German government, hence they can't ask for help officially. "He's not supposed to exist."
  • Rare Guns: Kohl uses a Welrod, a pistol with an integrated silencer that is purported to be one of the quietest ever madenote . They were made for Allied spies during World War II and had no distinguishing markings beyond an engraved serial number.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kohl is determined to murder his former teammates for betraying him.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Heinlein, the German agent, telling Carter and Fusco the truth about Kohl in order to help his targets rather than just stay silent until his Diplomatic Immunity kicks in.
  • Secret Keeper: Steiler was the only one who knew that Anja wasn't really dead.
  • Shadow Archetype: Kohl, for Reese.
  • Suicide by Cop: Kohl threatens to shoot Anja, forcing Reese to shoot first. He only realizes after that Kohl's gun wasn't loaded.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Kohl displays this when he is able to get the drop on (and later overpower) Steiler, the only one of his old team to put up a fight.
    Kohl: I learned from the best. I learned from you.
  • Torture Technician: Kohl was a student of inflicting pain on others. Hearing him calmly describe the various nerves in the human body and exactly where he'll cause pain as he jabs acupuncture needles into Reese is genuinely chilling.
  • To the Pain: As he's torturing Reese, Kohl lectures him on human nervous anatomy and where exactly he's sticking the needles.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Kohl finds out too late how complicated the world really is.
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