This week's episode of POI finally answered the age old (well, 1.5 seasons old anyway) question: how do you protect a person who doesn't want protection?
They've skirted the issue thus far because everyone the Machine identifies is in such dire straits they've welcomed the assistance of Messrs Reese and Finch, sometimes with tears of relief streaming down their faces. But what about someone who doesn't care if he lives or dies? Someone so ambivalent about his future he shrugs off any attempts to keep him safe? And then what if that person had unlimited wealth?
I agree; sounds like a real pain in the ass.
The Number of the Week is self-made billionaire genius named Logan Pierce (Jimmi Simpson) whose immense wealth comes courtesy of the massively popular social media site he created called "Friendczar," which sounds like a dating site for ex-Spetznaz members. Simpson looks a lot like a less angsty Thom Yorke.
There's no lack of suspects: Justin Ogilvie is his partner and money guy. Jeremy Campbell is Pierce's lawyer. Sinlair Melbourne is chairman of the Freindczar board. None of them appreciate Pierce's eccentricities and all of them have vaguely sinister names. Well, except maybe Campbell, so it's probably him.
Det. Carter (Taraji P. Henson) has some time to kill now that the FBI has pulled up stakes, so she'sl snooping around the missing/presumed (actually confirmed by us) dead Det. Davidson. Fusco (Kevin Chapman) maybe kind of sort of tries to come clean, but Carter's having none of it. "I'm still a cop." I'm not sure of the point of their plot line this episode: Carter will unsympathetically nail Fusco if he's involved? Even if he can prove he was under duress?
Mr. Reese's (Jim Caviezel) best chance to connect with Pierce is at a charity auction. Pierce is, as Mr. Finch says, "A one percenter who finds other one percenters tedious." This statement in itself is tedious. Here we also meet husband and wife Ben and Cynthia Kamen, whose own social media site was ruined by Friendczar. This doesn't prevent Cynthia. Kamen from boning Pierce, however. I believe this gives Ben something we call "motive," but I'm no Big City Detective.
What the, flashbacks? It's 2001. September 11, 2001, in fact. and Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) and Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen) watch the coverage of the attacks while the latter laments this rotten world. They "started IFT to change the world," he says. And now they can. In comic book parlance, that would be the beginning of the Machine's origin story. The next flashback leapfrogs to 2009, past the creating and selling of the Machine, and Ingram still wants to use it for the greater good. Finch demurs, leaving Ingram to go solo trying to protect the first ever NOTW, a woman dealing with an abusive partner. When last we see Ingram, he's holding a gun and presumably about to take matters into his own hands. Was attempting to do Reese's job what got him killed?
Back in 2013, the list of potential enemies grows, thanks to Friendczar's aggressive patent infringement lawsuits. Enter Emily Morton, who sold her dating site "Alchementary" to Pierce, who then buried it. Pierce doesn't help by being a flake (bailing on depos to go get a Coney Island hot dog, for example. But someone wants him dead for sure, as evidenced by persons unknown hacking into his car's brakes. Someone with computer skills who designed complex algorithms for their now in limbo dating site, perhaps? Seems a bit on the nose.
It soon becomes obvious that Pierce won't be an easy project, so rather than follow discreetly, Reese proposes they "hang out," as it were. Good thing, too. Not only does he discover the Friendczar board has ousted Pierce as CEO, but he saves him from poisoning courtesy of emergency intubation (I hope that vodka he used to sterilize the tube was at least 120 proof). Pierce is sanguine about his near death, insisting the only thing that never gets old is "human interaction." Excuse me while I get all weepy.
Reese leaves Pierce to sleep it off, and he and Finch discuss moving him to a safer location -- but wait! -- Pierce somehow easily followed the ex-Green Beret and would like Finch to answer some questions. Specifically, how come the two of them have no digital footprint? He does agree about moving to safety though, and so they do, to St. Petersburg. Reese is less than impressed. In the meantime, what's wrong with Bear? Who's a sad doggie?
The prints on the decanter that poisoned Pierce belong to Campbell, Pierce's lawyer. And who should join them in St. Pete? Campbell, Pierce's lawyer. Reese takes him down and declares their obligation fulfilled. Huh, that was quick. Oh never mind, the Machine spits out the new Number of the Week, which is actually an old Number of the Week. Namely Pierce.
How did Morton get to Russia? Wait, how the hell did Reese get a gun to Russia? Aha, the big plan was to for Pierce to jump ship to her site and cannibalize Friendczar. That leaves Ogilvie as the man with the most on the line, and he has his hired goons (hired goons?) nab Pierce with the aim of throwing him in the Neva. He then drives off, like a Batman villain, before the job is done, leaving Reese to dispatch the bad guys.
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Ogilvie gets arrested, Pierce jumps ship with Morton (and Kamen? So much for the "screwing his wife" subplot) and gives Reese a watch ... with a GPS. Finch is wary, and the Machine has found a new threat.
Everyone needed a breather after the whole FBI/Kara Stanton imbroglio, but "One Percent" was still pretty weak. Pierce has potential as a future ally(?), now that he's sussed what Reese and Finch are up to. Then again, they already have Leon, so maybe this was just a complete waste of time.
Well, not a complete waste. At least Bear made a friend.
Next week: Reese and Finch are doing their best Eloise, and Zoe Morgan's back. Oh, happy day.