Film and TV

Person of Interest: "Flesh and Blood"

For a network TV show, Person of Interest crams an impressive amount of narrative into a relatively short span of time. I know, we're not talking The Wire levels of nuance here, but with the first season wrapping up, creator Jonathan Nolan has done a more than adequate job fleshing out the backgrounds of his principals while continuing to further the overarching plot involving the show's Big Bad.

After last week's somewhat static episode (we learn the FBI is after Reese, probably because nabbing him before the CIA does would amuse them), it was nice to get the ball rolling again with Elias. With just four episodes remaining, you assume he's going to figure prominently in the season finale.

At least, I would have before last night.

We begin with Det. Carter and her son Taylor sharing a moment as she drops him off for school. Remember the rule in shows like this: We never see family unless something bad is going to happen to them. Anyway, no sooner has he left than she's informed that Elias has drained all four million dollars from his flagged bank account. Something is afoot, unless he was just buying Mega Millions tickets.

Logic would suggest he's going after the heads of New York's Mafia families. Well, that and the fact the Machine spit out all five of their numbers (I'm not *that* good at predicting this crap). After kidnapping his own dad, Elias just(!) needs to take out the Dons and organized crime in NYC is his to control. Reese doesn't see a problem with "trash taking out the trash." Finch argues they should be "reaching for a higher standard." Hippie.

Conveniently, all five men are having their monthly meeting at some place called the Covenant Club. More conveniently, nobody in charge of their security seems bothered by Reese taking their picture. No cameras or cell phones are allowed, which is small potatoes for Finch, who hijacks the emergency com system to eavesdrop. Turns out Moretti's son (Paul Schulze of The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie) wants them to go after Elias, the others -- Zambrano especially -- not so much.

Elias's dad, the elder Moretti, wants to know why his bastard son hasn't killed him yet. It's because he wants Dad to watch him do what he never could (unite the Five Families). When Pop scoffs, Elias as much as says he's going to "make them an offer they can't refuse." He also brings up the fact Dad murdered Mom *again*. Let it go, dude!

And here's Fusco, who the crooked "HR" cops have decided needs to inform them of whatever the FBI finds out about Reese. Now we know some of Elias's $4 million went to Simmons (Robert John Burke -- Rescue Me). Simmons also tells Fusco it's going to get very busy for Homicide in the next few days. I hope that means Det. Munch is going to make an appearance.

Simmons wasn't kidding. Reese decides to approach Don Capparelli, who declines his offer of protection. Hey, you know one thing TV shows don't do all that well? Hide the fact that a car's about to explode. You saw that coming like Sir Lancelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That's one capo kaput. Reese watches the (probable) bomber drive off, teeth set in steely determination.

Whoa, flashback! It's 1981, and a young Carl Elias is confiding to his...aunt(?) about being called a bastard. She tells him to be his own man. That turned out well.

Back in 2012, Carter is playing the same game as Reese, trying to bring in the Dons. She doesn't know Elias's plan, or that HR is in on it (though you'd think at this point she wouldn't trust anybody). She goes to grab Don Vasilay(?), only to have her entire police escort up and vanish while an assassin shoots the don. Reese shows up...well, not in the nick of time, the Don is dead after all. He's still quick with a Schwarzenegger-ian one-liner ("You should return your calls").

Flashback again! Now it's 1991 and Elias is having his first meeting with Dad (a bewigged and be-youngified Mark Margolis...hey, they did the same thing to him in Breaking Bad), who agrees to show him the ropes. That also turned out well.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar