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Recap / Person Of Interest S 03 E 19

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Season 3, Episode 19

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"I can't believe Finch and Fusco get to track Vigilance while we're stuck in suburban-high-school hell."
Shaw

After a Vigilance suicide bomber kills a federal bureaucrat vacationing in New York, Finch and Fusco travel to Washington, D.C., to try to discover what they were after her for. In the meantime, Reese and Shaw pose as alumni at a high school reunion in Westchester in order to keep eyes on the latest Number, who is suspected by his classmates of murdering his date twenty years ago on prom night.

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Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Affably Evil: Control.
    Control: Senator Garrison. I don't expect you're here to discuss the DOD's budget. Tea?
  • Amazon Chaser: Reed says he'd like to look up Shaw when he gets out of prison.
    Shaw: I don't do relationships. (walks off)
    Reed: Who said anything about a relationship? (Shaw smiles)
  • ...And That Would Be Wrong
    Shaw: Torturing Doug so he would confess and then staging his death to look like a suicide? That's just plain artistry. ...but killing's not the answer.
    Reed: 'Killing's not the answer'? That's the best you can do?
    Shaw: I don't know. I've killed lots of people, but my friends keep telling me it's wrong.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Shaw toward Reed's plan. She then does a Verbal Backspace and tries to deliver Team Machine's Thou Shalt Not Kill aesop, but isn't convincing.
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  • Big Damn Heroes/Guns Akimbo: "Sorry I'm late, Harry."
  • Break the Haughty: Control acts cocky through this episode until she is forced to shut down Northern Lights.
  • Breather/Wham Episode: Manages to be both. The whamminess comes from the Finch vs. Vigilance storyline, which opens the episode with a bang (literally) right off the bat and ultimately ends in Vigilance leaking information about the existence of Northern Lights (though not the Machine, specifically) to the press, causing the government to shut down the program. The Machine, in turn, reassigns the relevant numbers - to Root. However, this is mostly compressed into the last five minutes of the episode with only a few elements of it showing up in the earlier acts, letting the fairly comedic plot involving Reese and Shaw at the reunion comprise the majority of the story.
  • Call-Back:
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    • To "Aletheia".
      Senator Garrison: And right now, you should be asking who's going to protect you.
    • To "Last Call":
      Root: My dance card just got booked.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: The Number was suspected by all his classmates of murdering his prom date.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: A shootout between Team Machine and Vigilance with silenced weapons is covered by the reunion party.
  • Clear My Name: The Number seeks to do this by murdering the person actually responsible and leaving a forged suicide note.
  • Faux Horrific: Shaw's reaction to everything. Except Reed.
  • Foreshadowing: The stoner tells a guy that he's been baked for twenty years, but he doesn't recognize him. The camera lingers on the guy momentarily afterwards, and the guy turns out to be a Vigilance hitter, there after Shaw and Reese.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the sequence where the Machine reassigns the relevant numbers to Root, Roger McCourt's name is visible in the background. It flips from blue to red and back again before the Machine flags it with 'Error: directive conflict'. He is then the number of the next episode.
  • Heads or Tails?: Shaw and Reese deciding who has to sit through a musical to protect the Person of Interest.
  • Human Shield: The Vigilance hitman threatens to Neck Snap the stoner if Reese doesn't drop his cleaver.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Collier. He thinks Northern Lights is the Machine, rather than a project of the Machine's, for starters.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Root using her FBI badge.
  • Improvised Weapon: Reese uses an institutional-size can of sloppy joes as both a defensive and an offensive weapon. Shaw makes a grenade from various materials in the chemistry lab.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: As part of making the person who actually caused his date's death confess, Reed recalls that she was angry with him because she thought he was flirting with another woman, but intentionally gives out the wrong name. His target then corrects him, proving that he was with her after she left Reed, contrary to the statement he originally gave regarding that night.
  • Kitchen Chase: With the inevitable meat cleaver fight.
  • Mascot: The high school's mascot is a muskrat.
  • Meaningful Background Music: The first song heard over the sound system in the bowling alley is "Low" by Cracker. It reaches the chorus just as Reese meets up with "Tokes" The Stoner: "Hey, hey, hey like bein' stoned..."
  • Modesty Shorts: Shaw doesn't believe in bathrobes.
  • Mythology Gag: The guilty party is inadvertently kneecapped by a Vigilance gunman instead of Reese.
  • Non-Action Guy: When Fusco is captured by Vigilance, Finch tries to threaten Collier, who says he knows Finch is this trope.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: As of the end of the episode, Northern Lights has been shut down, meaning the government will no longer investigate or deal with relevant threats.
  • Odd Couple: Finch and Fusco.
  • Plausible Deniability
  • Ransacked Room: The FBI have cleaned out Wainwright's room, so Finch has to break into the FBI evidence room to steal the information she had in her safe. Unfortunately Collier has the same idea.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Lampshaded by Fusco while he and Finch discuss how to try to get at digital copies of the files in Wainwright's office safe after it's confiscated by Control's mooks.
  • Reunion Revenge: Reese and Shaw's part of the episode, though they start the case thinking the Number is going to be on the receiving end when the truth is the opposite.
  • Running Gag:
  • Sarcastic Confession: Reed asks 'Betty' how she handles stress. Shaw replies, "I shoot someone."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Fusco's immediate reaction upon seeing FBI Special Agent Augusta King, aka Root, at the crime scene.
  • Slipping a Mickey: A friend of the Number's prom date did this to her at the prom twenty years before. She didn't get sufficiently stoned to accept the drugger's advances, but was sufficiently stoned to die of an overdose.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: The Vigilance hitman.
  • Suicide Attack
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Reed.
  • Taking You with Me: The suicide takes a picture of Reese and Shaw with his mobile and sends it to Vigilance before blowing himself up. Reese finds the picture on a Vigilance hitman.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Reese and Shaw solve this by both taking the floor. Played for laughs, as Shaw got the room she's in by starting a bedbug scare.
  • Time for Plan B: After Northern Lights is shut down, the Machine sends Root the Relevant List.
  • Title Drop: Control's file on Collier marks him as a "Person Of Interest".
  • With Friends Like These...: Root leaks the location of Shaw and Reese to Vigilance, to find out how they're communicating their information.
  • Worthy Opponent: Collier actually admires Finch, seeing him as a force of good. Sadly, he also wants Finch dead for concealing the existence of the Machine.
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