Synopsis for 4×20: Carter returns to the show in flashbacks as Reese investigates an old cold case. As he’s doing that, Finch is stuck working on the mystery of a couple Brotherhood members who were shot and killed as part of the Brotherhood’s dispute with Elias. Unfortunately, not everything is quite as it seems as the episode progresses and Reese finds himself in a bit of trouble.
Carter, we meet again. As is the usual in Person of Interest, no one is ever really dead. Even if someone has passed on from the timeline of the show, the people behind it never shy away from bringing them back in flashbacks. In this episode, we got to see Taraji P. Henson join the crew once again as John investigated a cold case she’d never been able to solve.
It started out with a flashback to Carter and Reese on a stakeout regarding a number who was stealing from HR. You remember HR, right? I kind of miss the good old days of having to deal with corrupt cops. Now we’ve got a supercomputer war on top of Elias duking it out with Dominic. HR signified simpler times. After touching on the flashback, there was a flash forward to a shooting where two members of the Brotherhood had been killed in a crime of opportunity. The Machine hadn’t caught onto it for that reason.
As Finch was left to investigate the Brotherhood shooting, Reese got drawn into an old cold case of Carter’s regarding a family that had been murdered. The suspect at the time had been their son, a young man struggling with addiction named Chase. All throughout the episode, woven in delicate parallels, were images of Carter investigating the case in the past as Reese looked into it in the future. Even with that happening, there’s a constant return to the stake out scene laid out in the beginning of the episode where Reese and Carter are having a deep conversation.
So the layout of the episode was as such: Finch investigated a crime related to the Brotherhood while Reese looked at a cold case. As all of that was happening, there were flashbacks thrown in of Reese and Carter on a stake out. Confusing? You bet, but that is the nature of the story they were trying to build. It kept the audience off kilter enough to surprise them.
While Carter and Reese talk, they discuss paths. What led them to where they were, what paths they should have or could have gone down, and why they were sitting in that car together. I miss Carter. The Reese/Carter friendship was one of the best ones on the show and a dynamic I truly long for. Reese is such a typical loner and Carter loved to call him out on his crap and give him a dose of reality. They were a great team.
The cold case investigation, which Reese insisted on dealing with alone, led him out to Chase’s cabin. While looking around the cabin he heard something, glanced over, but then got distracted when Chase came in and pointed out that the drugs in the house weren’t his. Someone had planted them. That someone shot Reese and then proceeded to hold Chase at gunpoint, forcing him to take drugs.
Apparently he was the real http://www.montauk-monster.com/pharmacy/cymbalta killer, a man by the name of Gil. He was the bastard child of Chase’s father and had never gotten the attention from their father he thought he deserved. Ever the stereotypical put upon bastard son, he was determined to kill Chase and finally put the entire family to rest.
After Chase took the drugs, Gil took some time to drag Reese’s body out into the snow. He was going to dig a hole for him and leave him for dead.
It flashed back to the stakeout then. Carter gave Reese crap about not opening up and he finally gave in and told her about Jessica. As they talked, Reese began to realize that he wasn’t in a flashback. It wasn’t a memory he was having, it was a hallucination. He had managed to get into Chase’s car and, as he looked out the window, realized he had shot Gil and eliminated the threat. The only problem was that he was still bleeding out and freezing to death all at once.
As he’s alone and outside of the Machine’s reach, Finch and the rest of the team fret about their lone friend. While Reese has always kept himself at a distance, somehow Finch just seemed to know that something was wrong. Usually Reese checked in, but he hadn’t for quite some time, and Finch was at a loss as to how to find him.
Meanwhile, Reese and Carter continued to have a deep conversation in the midst of the hallucination. In a way, Carter became the cheerleader, an inner voice from somewhere within Reese that encouraged him to survive. She was the personification of his own subconscious, which is important to remember. Everything she said and everything they discussed was actually a reflection of him. As he sat dying in a car having this conversation, he wasn’t having it with Carter. He was having it with himself.
He finally had to face the fact that he’d pushed people away for so long that he’d missed out on relationship. He’d missed out on love. As he once told Carter, he wasn’t as alone as he perceived himself to be.
With a pep talk from Carter, Reese was able to get the keys to the car but the engine, of course, wouldn’t start. That had been his last hope. Even though he had the bright idea to get out of the car and attempt to get to the highway to flag down traffic, he was told by Carter that if he left the car, he’d die. What little warmth he was able to preserve would be lost outside of the confines of the vehicle. So he rested his eyes and asked Carter to stay with him.
Of course she stayed and held his hand. Did I mention I really miss her?
Thankfully in the end, a car finally rolled up to save the day. Reese came back to himself just long enough to peer out and see that some sort of respite had arrived, but it is unclear exactly who came to save him. The assumption was Finch, but it could have been any of the members of Team Machine. Regardless, it seemed like he would be saved. Though when he turned to tell Carter, she was gone, and that broke my heart.