Warning: Spoiler Alert
Are we stuck with a predestined future, failing to alter our fate even if we change our ways? That question’s been posed for over a hundred years, the subject of Charles Dickens’ classic story “A Christmas Carol,” as Ebenezer Scrooge, evolved into a kind and generous man after getting visited by three spirits, on a Christmas Eve, long ago. The latest episode of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” examined that subject, as John Reese realized with a little help, that he needs to let people into his life. However, Reese unlike Scrooge was very familiar with the spirit that visited him.
Once again, the show-runners of Person Of Interest, bend the envelope of the format, this time keeping the viewers on their toes, determining, fact from fiction. It’s a cold open, already unusual for the show, known for their opening and the ominous words “We are being watched.” The screen’s black but we hear the sound of banging, screaming and sirens, then we see Reese sitting behind the wheel of a car, while Harold Finch sits in the back and complains about Bear. Finch’s upset that the dog’s digested two rare books of his, Reese offers to buy him a new one, but Harold says John doesn’t get a large enough salary.
The passenger door opens and Detective Joss Carter enters the car, with coffee. We know it’s a flashback as Carter got killed in the middle of the previous season. They’re staking out a number a guy named Benny Belasco, whose on bad terms with HR. Reese and Finch are unsure if he’ll get knocked off by a corrupt cop, or Belasco will shoot a member of the NYPD. Harold asks if they’ve got this handled, as he needs to walk and feed Bear.
He leaves and Carter remarks she’s not used to arriving so early, Reese asks what she means. She responds she’s in homicide, usually the people she deals with are dead. She then shakes her head as she looks at Belasco, saying he’s totally unaware he’s in danger. Reese replies, he should realize it, stealing from crooked-cops, Carter says she’s seen a lot of dead bodies, not one of them looked like they knew it was coming.
Back in the present, Reese comes back to reality when Fusco calls him Wonder Boy and tells him two members of the Brotherhood are dead, one of Carl Elias’ men’s still alive. Reese wonders why “The Machine,” didn’t pick it up and Harold says it may have been a crime of opportunity, meaning all at the same place, same time by coincidence. Finch explains “The Machine” doesn’t predict those kinds of crimes.
He tells Reese that a new number’s come up, nothing to do with Elias or The Brotherhood, the number’s named Chase Patterson. He’s 25-years-old, comes from a Park Avenue Family that got murdered back in 2008, his mother, father and two sisters got killed, he claimed he was out that night. It’s a cold case as Patterson left the United States for France, shortly after the murders. This is his first time back in the States since.
Reese says he’ll take the number, so Finch, Fusco and Root have to keep Elias and the Brotherhood from starting a gang war. Root shows up, soon after wearing a wedding dress and veil, Finch confused wishes her congratulations. She tells him to save it, this was a plan to find out “The Machine’s” location, that went South. Finch asks how would she feel about stopping a gang war, she enthusiastically comes on board.
John in his guise of Detective Reilly, requests the Patterson file from the desk sergeant, he’s given a box from the evidence room, as the Detective handling the case got murdered. That detective was Joss Carter and the box contains all of her personal belongings. John looks through the box, finds an envelope with To John written on it, it’s a picture of Reese and his former fiancée Jessica, from happier times.
We head back to March 8, 2008, the day the Patterson’s got killed. Carter’s a rookie detective, her partner’s Raymond Tierney, who was heavily involved in HR. He tells her they got a big one, a Park Avenue home invasion, leading to a quadruple homicide. Tierney’s pretty confident that Chase, a kid with drug problems killed his sisters and parents.
They head to the building, Tierney says they have to play this one by the book and let him do the talking. Joss stands and watches as her partner interviews the household staff, he’s told there was friction between Chase and his parents. He’s ready to arrest Patterson, but Carter asks if he killed them and stole their stuff for drug money, why didn’t he take a Jade figurine, he could have gotten 20 grand for. Tierney tells her to ask him herself, we find ourselves in an interrogation room with Chase and Joss.
In the present Detective Reilly’s duplicated her movements, checking out the now vacant penthouse and bringing Chase in for questioning. He asks Patterson where he was the night of the murders, he says he already gave his statement to the woman detective, Carter.
Patterson told Carter, he’d been in the family’s cabin in the Catskills relapsing. He’d been clean for six months, before he lost his fight. He then told Carter that the last time he relapsed, his mother found him in his room unresponsive, she held his hand until he regained consciousness in the hospital. He went to rehab and his mother was at every meeting. He told her she was treating him like a child, she said he was one, her child. He said he planned on begging his mother for forgiveness for his latest back slide, but when he got home she was gone, they all were. Carter believes him.
Back in the present John asks who killed his family, Patterson says either charge me or let me go, he’s released as Reese has no evidence to hold him. Back in 2008, Tierney asks Carter why she thinks Chase’s innocent, she says she looked in his eyes. She says he’s damaged but didn’t slit his mother’s throat, Tierney’s cellphone rings, when he hangs up he says the murderers DNA showed the killer was a family member. Joss says she’s heading to the Catskills to check out the cabin.
She heads to the cabin, hears somebody inside, but they escape without her seeing them. Her phone rings and it’s Tierney, she says she thinks Chase just left the cabin, Tierney tells her Patterson left the country from JFK two hours before heading to Paris. The case’s closed and they’re onto a new one.
Reese heads to the cabin, he sees two baggies of weed and some pill bottles on the coffee table, he hears something, pulls his gun then realizes it’s Chase. Patterson says somebody else put the drugs on the table, they’re not his, a shot rings out and Reese is shot in his abdomen, the wound’s bad, he falls to the floor in a heap. Turns out that the Patterson’s doorman’s Patterson’s father’s illegitimate son and he killed the family.
He tells Chase that Patterson senior, dated his mother in high school, got her pregnant and dumped her. Years later he found Patterson, and the man gave him money to stay away. He got fed up with the “new family,” and killed them out of anger, he planned to kill Chase, but he left for France too quickly.
He aims at Chase’s head and tells him to take some of the pills in the bottle, after he swallows them, the doorman says he’s got eight hours to live. Reese tries to reach for his service revolver, inches from his hand, but the doorman kicks it away. He says seven years earlier Carter scared him away, but he’s ready to kill a cop at this juncture. He drags Reese through the snow, then goes to get a shovel, when he returns John’s sitting there holding his backup weapon, aimed at the doorman.
We’re back at the stakeout, Joss tries to get John to open up about why he ended things with Jessica. He tries avoiding the question, but finally says he didn’t think he’d come home alive and she deserved better. He wanted her to be happy, although her marriage lead to her death. Joss says you can tell your friends and your police psychiatrist that, but I’m not buying it. How does Joss Carter know that John will see a police psychiatrist, when she died before he saw her. We find out that John’s dying from blood loss and hypothermia, Joss is just a hallucination.
John’s actually in the Catskills, he killed the doorman but he’s sitting in his car with a broken window and without the keys. Carter’s image pushes him to crawl to the doorman’s corpse, grab the keys and crawl back to the car. However the engine’s frozen and the motor won’t start.
He tells Carter that Finch, Root or Fusco will soon arrive, she reminds him he never told them where he was going. His keeping people out has led to this situation, with his life hanging in the balance. He tells her he misses her and she says if you miss me, then I left an impression on you which is good.
She then insists that he tell her why he left Jessica, he responds on his first tour of duty, he cleaned up after a firefight between US Rangers and the Taliban, all were killed. He noticed each of the men had pictures in their wallets of loved ones, he felt if he didn’t have a picture he could focus fully in his job. She tells him that’s what lead him to dying all alone.
He starts to fall asleep, but Carter tells him to wake up if he sleeps he dies. He thinks he sees headlights on the road, but it’s just the moon. He tells her she’s right about him not letting others in, but says that wasn’t the reason he didn’t share this with the team. It made him feel close to her again and he wanted to keep that to himself.
She tells him that there are people who want to love him, but he needs to tear down his protective wall and allow them in. He tells her she’s right and asks if she’ll stay with him. She takes his hand and says of course. John starts to fall asleep again, but we start hearing music and his eyes open, there’s a car coming to save him, he says I did it Carter, but he looks to see he’s alone.