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Recap / Person Of Interest S 03 E 13

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Season 3, Episode 13:


"The only relevant number on this plane is one hundred and thirty people."

After resigning from Team Machine, Reese tries to leave the country on a one-way flight to Istanbul. But an overbooked flight causes him to be bumped to a different plane, which happens to be carrying a witness to a major criminal case about an online drug market, who someone (several someones, actually) doesn't want to testify.


Tropes present in this episode include

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Saving a planeload of lives gets Reese back in Team Machine.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Reese uses one against the ISA hitman.
  • Arc Words: Owen protests that he's just an innocent bystander caught up in events. "Whatever's going on here, I'm irrelevant."
  • As You Know: Shaw with the symptoms and effects of scopolomine. Hersh says with irritation that he already knows what the drug does.
  • Badass Bystander/Hypercompetent Sidekick/Unfazed Everyman: The stewardess is far more helpful to Reese than you'd expect she'd be capable (physically, mentally, or emotionally) of being!
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Shaw correctly predicts the ISA hitman will be tall, dark and well-dressed.
  • Battering Ram: Reese busts into the pilot cabin with a drinks trolley.
  • Black Comedy: Half the things Reese does could rival Shaw in their Comedic Sociopathy.
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  • Blatant Lies: Reese is with the Department of International...Homeland Security.
  • Bond One-Liner: Owen knocks out the hitman with a golf club and shouts "Fore!" Reese approves.
  • Breather Episode: After the brutal one-two punch of the Endgame trilogy and the 'birth' of Samaritan, this is a much-needed moment of levity.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The jerkass businessman that Reese knocked out giving Reese a Death Glare as he leaves the plane.
    • Finch's twig comment (see Stealth Hi/Bye) takes on a new context in "RAM" which shows Finch was nearly killed by Shaw after stepping on a twig.
  • ...But He Sounds Handsome: Owen describes the Sphinx as a smart guy who's just misunderstood.
  • Butt-Monkey: Owen Matthews.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: An accidental version, when the film North By Northwest drowns out Reese dueling various hitmen, including a gunshot that goes off at exactly the right time.
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  • Call-Back: Shaw makes a point of reminding the ISA travel agent of the events of "Relevance", having assigned all the hit teams sent to kill her and Cole.
  • Carnival of Killers: Five assassins from three different groups are trying to kill Owen Matthews in four separate ways.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The ISA 'travel agency' used to assign hit teams.
  • Crash Course Landing: Finch - who is only certified to fly prop planes - has to land the airliner. By remote control.
  • The Chessmaster: The Machine.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Finch re his decision to introduce the human element to the Machine's warnings.
  • Death in the Clouds: Involving the identification of several potential murderers instead of a single murderer.
  • Dirty Coward: Wilson, who makes travel preparations for Northern Lights, quickly folds when threatened by Shaw.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Owen is The Sphinx.
  • Elite Mook: As to be expected from a government agent working for Northern Lights, Indigo 6 Alpha is one of the tougher opponents to appear and gives Reese a decent fight.
  • Episode on a Plane
  • Everybody Lives: Assuming that the shot pilot made it to the hospital, not a single person — passengers, crew, Team Machine, or assassins — is killed in this episode.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Reese is talking to Finch, wondering out loud why so many people are trying to waste one lowly website designer...instead of the mastermind. Then he realizes that the designer IS the mastermind.
  • Foreshadowing: Finch talks of the importance of keeping a human in the decision-making process, rather than leaving it to the Machine. In "Death Benefit" the Machine leaves a choice to Finch that he really doesn't want to make.
  • Funny Background Event: Reese knocking out the businessman who's patronizing the stewardess.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Someone overriding the cockpit door's code so they can crash an airplane? It happened for real a little more than a year after the episode aired with 150 fatalities.
  • He Knows Too Much: The ISA wants to kill Owen because he knows that the ISA has been skimming money from the drug trade to fund their operations. Everyone else just wants to kill him because he's competition.
  • He's Back: In Italy, Reese decides to get himself fitted for a new suit, signaling his willingness to stop grieving and get back to work at Team Machine.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Reese drops one on the ISA assassin.
  • Implacable Man: As befits an ISA assassin. Being knocked unconscious by Reese once doesn't stop him.
  • Improvised Weapon: Since the fight scenes take place on a plane, where obvious weapons like knives and guns would not be easy to bring in or get, Reese and the assassins end up having some creative moments. Reese pulls off some brutal ones like trying to pin a man's hand to a wall using a wine corkscrew and burning another with a makeshift flamethrower.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Played with when Finch uses a PC flightsim yoke and throttle setup. He is a certified pilot however, just for prop planes.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Reese as a Running Gag. The stewardess knocks back a few during her rant about how her job sucks.
  • In the Back: Reese gets stabbed with a dinner fork by a female ex-Mossad agent. Who then gets clonked by the stewardess with a coffee mug.
  • It's What I Do: When Reese indignantly refuses payment from a grateful Owens, the latter comments that he talks about helping people like it's his job. At the end of the episode Reese finally accepts this, returning to Team Machine.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Finch is shouting to Reese that the plane is crashing, which he already knows because he's fighting with a hitman in the cockpit. Finch has to take charge of things himself.
  • Knuckle Cracking: The ISA agent cracks his neck before throwing down with Reese.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Owen is nearly stabbed with a syringe containing blood coagulant so he will die of apparent deep vein thrombosis. Reese of course says That's What I Would Do.
  • Mythology Gag: Back in season one, Reese mentioned that the CIA was using the War on Drugs to fund their black operations. Now it appears that Northern Lights is doing the same.
  • Not Me This Time: After a series of computer errors land him on the Rome flight, and he gets a text message on a phone that's not his own directing his attention to the man in seat 4C, Reese calls up Finch and accuses him of arranging all this. Turns out Finch knows nothing about it.
  • Oh, Crap!: The ISA travel agent the moment Shaw walks in the door.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Owen quickly realizes the "Reason You Suck" Speech Reese is directing at him is actually about Finch, who's listening in.
  • Person with the Clothing: The elderly woman next to Reese mentions how you don't need a suit to fly these days. At the end of the episode, Reese decides to get a tailored Italian suit.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Shaw meets up with Hersh, he asks how her new employer is treating her. His tone makes it clear he's honestly concerned about her well-being, despite having once tried to kill her.
    • After abusing Finch earlier in the episode, Reese holds up the mobile so Finch can hear the passengers clapping and cheering his successful landing.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Owen tries to justify his creation of the online drug market by saying it will avoid costly gang wars, Reese lets loose his frustrations over computer geeks who think they can save lives via their behind-the-scenes manipulations, but end up getting people killed instead. Owen quickly realizes Reese isn't referring to him.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Finch may have accepted Reese's resignation, but the Machine didn't.
  • Rescue Romance: It's implied that Reese spent a night with the stewardess, who leaves her number with Reese the next day.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: that "online drug market" that only took payment in Bitcoins sounds awfully familiar.
  • Running Gag:
    • Reese asking for blankets and scotch whenever he knocks someone out.
    • Shaw sneaking up on Finch again.
    • Reese answers the Who Are You? question by claiming to be a "concerned frequent flyer."
  • Say My Name: Shaw tells Foster the ISA agent to say her name. Shortly before she threatens to make him eat his own tie.
  • Shock Collar: Reese has a lot of fun when he discovers Owen is wearing a stun belt. Then he hands the remote to the stewardess, tells her that it's his beeper and that she should 'summon' him if Owen gets out of his seat.
  • Show Some Leg: The female ex-Mossad agent reaches for an overhead locker, given Owen a good look at her bare midriff while her partner sneaks up with a garotte. For good measure, what she's reaching for is a pillow to smother him with.
  • Silver Fox: Reese. "That salt and pepper thing's like catnip to soccer moms."
  • Somebody Else's Problem: Reese tries arguing this, but events overtake him.
  • Sneeze of Doom: When Owen manages to ditch his stun belt and sneak away, he spoils his hiding spot by sneezing.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Subverted. While Shaw does sneak up on Finch, we actually see her walk into frame.
    Finch: Would it be too much to ask you to snap a twig?
    Shaw: [obviously suppressing a smile] Not my thing.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The first Colombian assassin having failed, his partner plans to crash the plane. The Machine realizes this, and thus Owen becomes a relevant number.
  • Truth Serum: Shaw drugs Hersh's drink with scopolamine.
  • Wham Shot/Wham Line:
    The Machine: Mass casualty event: 94.50%
  • Who Is Driving?: "Mister Reese, who is flying the plane?"

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