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Recap / Person Of Interest S 04 E 06

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Season 4, Episode 6

Pretenders

"Hey, listen, that vigilante I heard about, The Man in the Suit? I didn't tell you the rest. He disappeared a few months ago, and crime went up; violence, killings, and the city needed somebody to keep up the fight, so I figured, why not me? But you know, 'me' kind of sucks, so I invented Detective Forge, all because The Man in the Suit went away. But I was wrong, wasn't I? He wasn't really gone at all."
Walter Dang
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Walter Dang, a milquetoast office worker with an active imagination, creates a Secret Identity as "Detective Jack Forge" and begins "investigating" the apparent suicide of a co-worker's brother. He unwittingly discovers an illegal arms shipment of 100 25mm "anti-materiel rifles," which brings him to the attention of The Brotherhood and Elias. It's up to Team Machine to find the guns and keep Walter from getting himself killed.

As an added challenge, they have to do it short-handed, as "Professor Whistler" (Finch) is in Hong Kong at an academic conference, where he meets Beth Bridges, the CEO of a startup company working in artificial intelligence, and gets into a few adventures of his own.


  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Unusually downplayed with Samaritan in this episode. Greer looks uncomfortable when he admits he has no idea why Samaritan is taking an interest in Beth, but it never goes anywhere.
  • Adorkable: Three cases:
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    • First, the episode's number, Walter Dang. When he's not masquerading as Jack Forge, he's skittish, clumsy, and says some of the silliest things. It's hilarious.
    • And then there's Finch, when he's around Beth. Mutual adorkability when they're taking a romantic stroll and discussing their favorite equations.
  • Answer Cut: After seeing Team Machine in action, an enthusiastic Walter wants to know what he's supposed to do next. Cut to Reese locking him in a room in the police station.
    Walter: This sucks!
  • BFG/Cool Gun: the Barrett XM-109 25mm anti-materiel rifle, a shoulder-fired cannon using high explosive rounds.
  • Big Bad: Name-dropped by Shaw at one point.
  • Buffy Speak: When Reese points out the Van in Black abductors weren't trying to kill Walter, he exclaims, "Well, it felt pretty kill-y to me, okay?!"
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  • Cane Fu: Finch puts an umbrella to excellent use to hit a mugger over the head. Which seemed to not be part of their original agreement.
  • The Chessmaster: Finch.
  • *Click* Hello: Hidden snipers do this when Reese threatens Elias.
    Reese: Give me one good reason why I shouldn't take you out right now.
    Elias: I'll give you three. [Guns cocking] All pointed at your head.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Oh, you thought you were going to see Finch talking to the Machine? Too bad!
  • Come Alone: Reese being told where to meet Elias. Elias, of course, is not alone, as Reese discovers when he threatens the mob boss.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: The Armorer's mooks are apparently shielded entirely from gunfire from Fusco and Reese by some wooden crates - several of which are holding the BFGs they were willing to kill over. It's not until Scarface shows up wielding one that the tide turns.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Shaw saving Reese from being splattered by a BFG.
  • Cool Shades: Fusco doing his superhero thing.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: Shaw does this to say "Samaritan" after being told to avoid certain words in a conversation over an unsecure line.
  • Enemy Mine: Elias helps Team Machine to go up against the arms dealers, since he wants to keep a strict leash on the illegal arms trade in general and powerful experimental rifles in particular (unless, of course, Scarface is the one wielding them). This might backfire on Team Machine, as Dominic now assumes that 'Detective Riley' works for Elias.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Walter talking about his enthusiasm for the Man in the Suit before realizing who Reese is.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Scarface posing as an FBI agent.
  • Fedora of Asskicking: Our first sign that Walter is a Heroic Wannabe.
  • Fiery Coverup: The Port Authority official is shot, then burned inside his office.
  • Gun Porn: Shaw gushes over the BFG, and there's also Elias in his armoury.
  • Guttural Growler: Reese. Lampshaded by Walter:
    Walter: "How do you do that with your voice?"
    Reese: "Do what?"
    Walter: "N-nothing."
  • Hardboiled Detective: Jack Forge.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Walter
  • Holding It for a Friend: Elias claims to Reese he's not in the gun smuggling business. The huge arsenal surrounding them just belongs to a friend who is.
  • Human Shield: Scarface uses Walter as one to get out of the police station once Reese spots him.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Walter, Reese, and Scarface.
  • Insistent Terminology: Elias is simply "a man with business interests." Neither Reese nor Dominic buy it.
  • Interface Screw: Played with. The Samaritan-style "We are being watched" intro is still being used, but the transition scenes are framed from the Machine's perspective. It serves as a hint for Harold's true reason for being in Hong Kong.
  • I Was Never Here: Walter doesn't have to be told not to say anything about Reese and his friends.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Used for another Batman Cold Open.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Walter" as in "Walter Mitty".
    • "Jack Forge" as in "forgery".
  • Meaningful Title: There's a lot of pretending going on in this episode:
    • Reese working to maintain his cover, as usual.
    • Walter pretends to be a cop.
    • The Armorer is an agent of Dominic and The Brotherhood.
    • Finch stages a mugging to plant spyware on Beth's computer.
    • Dominic is the metaphorical pretender to the throne of Carl Elias who after Season 3 rebuilt his organization and is now the leading figure in the New York Criminal underworld once more.
    • And finally, Samaritan is pretending to be an angel investor in Beth's company.
  • Mission Control: Shaw is stuck in this role while Finch is overseas.
  • Meet Cute:
  • MacGuffin: Though Team Machine only discovers this in the final act, everyone is after the mobile phone Walter stole as part of his investigation, as it has the GPS coordinates of the missing truck with the guns.
  • More Dakka: The Brotherhood is arming up for war.
  • Nerd Glasses: Shaw playing a temp. Played straight with Walter.
  • Never Suicide: Detective Forge does not believe in suicide.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: When they first meet, a smiling Reese dodges Walter's wild haymaker.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Walter enthuses that Team Machine are like superheroes, which Reese grumpily denies. Just then Shaw and Fusco pull up in Cool Cars and do a Slow Motion Power Walk.
  • Not So Different:
    • Scarface fighting alongside Reese as a Badass in a Nice Suit.
    • Finch has now taken on Root's role as the Machine's asset in the cold war with Samaritan.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Reese says this when he realizes he and Fusco are outgunned by The Armorer.
    • Elias' smile slips a fraction when Dominic identifies 'Detective Riley' as his Friend on the Force.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    Reese: [winces] I think it missed the major blood vessel, Shaw.
    Shaw: Oh, but your deltoid is gonna hurt like hell.
  • Power Walk:
    • Done by Finch at the end. Complete with Lens Flare, no less.
    • Shaw and Fusco also get one when they meet with Reese.
  • Properly Paranoid: Apparently Elias doesn't have a meeting without multiple snipers trained on the person he's talking to. He does it to John and to Dominic.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Scarface and his men try to snatch Walter and the prototype right out of the police station by posing as police officers.
  • The Reveal/The Ending Changes Everything: The last five minutes of the episode is one reveal after another. The Armorer is a Brotherhood agent, Finch is staging robberies, Samaritan is the angel investor...
  • Secret Crush: Walter has one on Elena.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Reese has to invoke this when Walter thinks he and Shaw are a couple.
    Walter: W-Why not?!!
  • Shout-Out: To "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Given by another Hannibal:
    Dominic: A man is not a river. And you are not a king.
  • Smooch of Victory:
  • Speak in Unison: Walter wants to know what the BFG is. Reese and Shaw answer in unison, "Barrett XM-109."
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Reese takes Fusco aside to tell him to play along with 'Detective Forge'. They turn round and find Walter has done a runner.
  • Suspect Is Hatless:
    Reese: The man who called you on Abel's phone...could you tell anything about him?
    Walter: Yeah, he was really, really scary.
    Fusco: Wow. Good detective work.
  • Taking the Bullet: Walter takes one for Reese. Reese thanks him...in front of his co-workers.
  • Take That!: Elias gives a somewhat surprising one:
    "Personally, I don't care much for the illegal gun trade, but someone has to keep it under control. Otherwise, the city turns into Chicago. Chicago's a mess, John. It's like a damn Tarantino movie out there."
  • Third-Person Person: Walter in his "Jack Forge" persona.
  • This Means War!: Although not said outright (at least not yet), the battle lines are drawn between Elias and Dominic.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Walter, when pretending to be "Jack Forge"—though he is smart enough to figure out that Reese is The Man in the Suit.
  • Trojan Horse: Beth's laptop, seeing as how it is already making Samaritan focus on her.
  • Turn in Your Badge: At the end, Walter throws his fake badge in the trash bin, no longer feeling the need to be Detective Forge.
  • UnfortunateName: the Port Authority supervisor. Lampshaded by Reese.
    Shaw: ...some guy named, uh, Banks Van Hess did text Abel a lot.
    Reese: About what a stupid name "Banks" is?
  • Urban Legend: Walter has heard of the mysterious "Man in the Suit".
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Walter gets an Oh, Crap! moment when the villains call 'Detective Forge' on the stolen phone... then when he hangs up in panic, call 'Walter' on his workplace phone a moment later.
  • Wall of Weapons: Elias somehow manages to top even Reese when he has the latter meet him in an (apparently legitimate) armory on Madison Avenue.
  • Weapon Across the Shoulder: Reese walking off with the BFG.
  • Who Are You?: "Because you sure as hell aren't a cop!" - Walter.
  • Working the Same Case: Invoked by 'Detective Riley' to get information from 'Detective Forge'
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Reese's reaction on seeing Walter masquerading as Jack Forge for the first time.
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