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Recap / Person of Interest S02 E13

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Season 2, Episode 13:

Dead Reckoning

Reese: So what's this really about?
Stanton: This is about three dead little spies in a brave new world. It's about the afterlife, John, and us negotiating our places in it.

Following the events in "Prisoner's Dilemma," Finch, Carter, and Fusco race to save Reese, who has been kidnapped by Kara Stanton and is being forced to assist her in carrying out an act of cyber-warfare.


Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Batman Gambit:
    • Reese wipes the system so Stanton can't steal the cyberwarfare viruses. Turns out she was counting on Reese doing that, to make it easier to load her own program.
    • Finch knew Reese would go onto the roof (anywhere else in the building would confine the blast, causing more damage) so goes up there to intercept him.
  • Burn Baby Burn: The final shot is of the notebook page on which Stanton wrote the name of the person who sold the laptop to the Chinese.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: When it looks like Reese will attack her on waking up with an explosive vest, Stanton tells him to take a look around. He's on a bus with women and kids.
  • Call-Back:
    • Reese says that if Snow goes back to the CIA he'll end up in a black hood. From Snow's expression, he remembers doing this to L.O.S. all too well.
    • Advertisement:
    • We find out what Snow was forced to steal in "Critical".
    • As in "Matsya Nyaya" a mission ostensibly involving the theft of a cyberwarfare virus turns out to be something else.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Greer shows up in the flashbacks with Kara, and gives her Harold's name to help her in her quest try and find out who it was who sold the laptop to the Chinese.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat
  • A Death in the Limelight: For Kara Stanton and Mark Snow.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even the prospect of their imminent death can't stop these two.
    Reese: Have you ever defused a bomb vest before?
    Finch: Can't say I have. But I believe I grasp the basic principles.
    Reese: Well, that's encouraging.
    • Kara gets into the spirit of things, too.
    Stanton: So why the cruise missile?
    Snow: Had to be sure.
    Stanton: [smirks at the man she has strapped to a bomb vest] And how's that working out for you?
  • Death Seeker
    Reese: This is my past catching up with me; it doesn't concern you.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Invoked accidentally. When the FBI realize that the recently blown up Mark Snow is an ex-CIA agent who meets the vague description Carter had for the Man in the Suit, they decide that he is the Man in the Suit, pin Donnelly's death on him, declare the case closed with the death of the suspect, and go home.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Reese has to stop Snow from putting a bullet in a mook's head after the mook punches him in the face.
    • Kara Stanton's plot; even though she knows Reese wasn't responsible for putting her on the suicide mission to Ordos, she still drags him along for the ride.
  • Exact Words: Finch apologises for getting Reese into this mess, Reese assumes he means Finch recruiting him back in the pilot episode.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Finch is listing possible targets for the cybervirus when he suddenly falls silent, having realises the target must be the Machine.
  • Explosive Leash: For both Mark and John.
  • Foil: Snow is only interested in saving himself, whereas Reese is willing to sacrifice himself to save others. Stanton is 'damaged goods' like Reese, but isn't willing to put the past behind her.
  • Foreshadowing/Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • A few minutes into the episode, one of the Machine's-eye-view cuts shows a skyscraper with the top couple floors marked in red as an exclusion zone, and labeled 'NSA DSF'. Presumably this is the same building Kara sends them to infiltrate later in the episode.
    • There's a momentary glitch in the security cam view of Stanton's car exploding. Did she somehow escape in that interval? If this was the intention, Stanton never turns up again, so presumably she was Killed Off for Real.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Kara Stanton is out to eliminate anyone she blames for the Agency betraying her. Including John, despite knowing that he had nothing to do with it.
  • Held Gaze: Carter and Reese, before she leaves him to potentially die.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Reese was prepared to make one, but it was thankfully averted with a little help from Finch.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kara Stanton. Doubles as Laser-Guided Karma and Death by Irony.
  • I'm Not Hungry: Discussed Trope by Stanton.
  • Impersonating an Officer/Mugged for Disguise: Reese and Snow knock out two ATF agents, then pretend to be responding to a bomb threat.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Mark telling Kara that she was right; he's going to be great at being dead.
    • Snow had tried to get Reese and Stanton to kill each other by telling them the other had been compromised. Reese tells Snow the same thing when he tries to run back to the CIA.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Kara's plan. She sets it up to appear as if she is stealing a computer virus. In reality she is planting one.
  • Kick the Dog: Kara's on a roll in this episode. Along with Mark, she also takes the opportunity to make John squirm as well.
  • Missing Floor: The 21st floor has no button accessing it. You need to press a combination of buttons in a particular elevator.
  • Not So Dire: Reese and Snow reach for their guns on hearing gunshots, only it's a First-Person Shooter game.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Reese thanking Finch and trying to pull a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Oddly Overtrained Security: The DOD facility has two Delta Force operators playing security guard in the elevator lobby. Subverted when these Elite Mooks go down with synchronized gunshots from the suppressed Glocks John and Mark are using.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kara's face when she discovers Mark - and consequently, his bomb vest - waiting in the backseat of her car.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Reese talking to Stanton on her earpiece, while talking to the Russians.
  • The Power of Friendship: Reese is saved because Finch refuses to abandon him. Snow gives up hope because he knows his colleagues will kill him.
  • Race Against the Clock: To motivate Reese and Snow, Stanton activates the countdown on their vests.
  • Revenge: Stanton's employers know that money will not appeal to her, so give her a chance to avenge herself.
  • A Shared Suffering: Averted; Reese tries appealing to Stanton (over their mutual betrayal) and Snow (over their mutual predicament) but each of them are too self-centered.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Justified; Reese and Snow shoot the battery of the electric lock holding the door closed, then push it open.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Finch disarms the bomb vest with 0:07 seconds left on the timer.
    • The whole episode is Inception. They thought Stanton was trying to steal a cyber weapon when really she's trying to plant a virus.
    • The game the Russians are playing is Far Cry 3.
  • Skewed Priorities: While in a state of shock, Carter initially refuses to leave the crash site because it's a crime scene.
  • Stairs Are Faster: Carter and Fusco get past the police evacuating the building and the security-locked elevator by going up the fire exit.
  • Stock Episode Titles
  • Taking You with Me: Well hey, if Mark Snow has to die, he might as well make sure he's not the only one. Doubles as a Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Reese and Snow aren't very fond of one another. The dislike is justified.
  • Think of the Children!: Carter refuses to leave Reese behind, until Fusco asks her to think of her son.
  • Think Nothing of It: Reese thanks Finch for saving his life, but Finch tells him not to mention it. And it seems there may be a reason for that.
  • Third Time's the Charm: The third code to hack the phone bomb, not to mention if Finch had messed up the phone would have locked him out.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Reese refuses to kill anyone while carrying out Stanton's plan.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Stanton knows Reese refused to obey Snow's order to kill her, but sets him up to die anyway.
  • Villainous Rescue: Stanton snipes two criminals who are about to shoot Snow and Reese.
  • Visual Pun: Reese says, "Just give us a hand" to the tech who uses his palmprint to get inside the secure room.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Reese wakes up on a city bus after losing consciousness in a wrecked car. And then he sees Kara Stanton sitting across from him...
  • Wham Episode: One of the most important episodes of both the season and the series as a whole. Mark Snow takes out Kara Stanton with his Dying Moment of Awesome, but not before she's already activated a cyber weapon that may be a threat to the Machine. And then in the final few seconds we learn that Finch may have been the one ultimately responsible for Reese and Stanton being set up at Ordos.
  • When He Smiles: The genuine smile on Reese's face as he accepted Bear's welcome home dog-tackle. Not a smirk, or a lazy smile, but a genuine happy smile.
  • Wicked Cultured: Greer, who uses the Titans as an analogy.
  • Wire Dilemma: A variation where Finch must guess the code to unlock the phone being used as a detonator. He has three out of five possible answers before the phone locks him out.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: When they take an NSA technician hostage, he says incredulously, "Do you guys have any idea where you are?"

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