As much as we love this show, last night's episode showed some tired ideas after starting out with an intriguing twist on its usual Number of the Week. And while it's good to see Lionel Fusco occasionally finding his inner goodness, the resolution of his subplot was a jump-the-shark moment that mostly made us really irritated.
So to begin with, the Number of the Week arrives and, as Finch puts it, "has one of the smallest digital footprints I've ever seen." We then get to find out that Finch was the one who actually invented social networking.
As it turns out, the number belongs to someone named Jordan Hester (funny thing, last night's Community also dealt with a first name that could go to either gender; they picked Kim) and with Finch (increasingly in the field now and not just at his computer) and Reese running down leads, each ends up at a very different kind of place.
Reese finds Jordan, a guy, working as a bar back, while Finch ends up in the kind of swanky apartment that someone working in a bar could never afford. Plus, while he's still skulking about the apartment, Jordan comes in and she's a she. (The trapped Finch is bailed out of his predicament by Reese, who calls in a fire alarm to the female Jordan Hester's building.)
This is the good part. Usually they get a number from the machine and then have to figure out whether the person is victim or predator. This adds on another layer -- which one is the real Jordan. "This isn't one person living a double life," Finch says. "It's two people living one," Reese responds.
Finch digs deep into a credit check on Jordan and uncovers another high-end apartment recently rented. Reese heads over and gets in by helping an elderly rich lady with her bags and finds an Ecstasy lab, ta-dah! So now they know Jordan, whichever one is Jordan, is bad.
They need help unraveling this one, but Carter is still pissed at Reese and isn't taking his calls. Plus she's dealing with Special Agent Donnelly with the FBI, who wants her help running down Reese. So now the FBI as well as the CIA is after Reese.
So they dial up Lionel, who wants to know if he's supposed to be the good Lionel or the bad one ingratiating himself with other baddies on the police force. They've uncovered someone else who claims his identity was stolen and is now in prison for it. Lionel goes to see him, and promises him if he cooperates he'll do everything he can to get him out and back with his daughter, whose second birthday he just missed.
Okay, so at this point they're leaning heavily toward the guy being the bad Jordan because he works in a bar and he seems to be working with the drug cooks who are making up the Ecstasy. But here's where Tired Point 1 comes in. It's way too early in the show for this to be the right person, so anyone with half a brain knows he's not it.
Meanwhile the female version, who operates a very vague business of securing antiques for others, engages Finch in conversation in a bookstore (while Reese warns him by earbud that she's probably spotted his tail) and, after warning her she should be in fear for her life, ends up in her apartment.
Reese crashes the party at the Ecstasy lab, throws a few punches and finds out it is his Jordan who's the real one and that, tired of having his identity stolen, Jordan decided to try to find out who was stealing his name. The nitrate acid that Jordan has brought to the lab won't help make Ecstasy -- it's so he can set off an explosion and destroy the lab.
Which gets up to Tired Point 2. Jordan Fem is supposed to be in fear for her life, but she hangs around her apartment and offers Finch a drink. Which he drinks! C'mon, that's like what we all know is going to happen when someone in a horror movie goes down into the basement. And Finch is supposed to be a genius. The drink is laced with E, and the only thing delightful about this is that we get to see Finch boasting that he hacked the Pentagon and bopping to a microwave Jordan has set to explode until Reese gets Lionel over there and the cop leads him out.
Carter gets taken to a secret FBI room where Donnelly tells her they believe her "man in the suit" is working for crime syndicate boss Elias.
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Jordan Fem, real name Mary the receptionist at the unfairly imprisoned man's accounting office, is arrested in due course, the real Jordan thanks Reese for restoring his life to him and Fusco comes through on his promise about getting the guy out of prison. C'mon. Even in TV land they must know that a guy sentenced to prison and serving his term is not immediately released on a cop's say-so. The whole matter has to go back through the court system. It never happens that fast.
Maybe it's because we expect so much from this show that we were a bit disappointed. But there were still some standout lines from last night and here's our favorite, delivered by Carter:
Other police officer to Carter: "You ever work an identity theft case?" Carter: "Every arrest I ever made. They all say I got the wrong guy."
Next week: Expect to see more of Elias and the FBI closing in on Reese.