Person of Interest 4×06 Pretenders – Video Recap & Review
“Pretenders” – Reese, Shaw and Fusco must protect a unassuming office worker who stumbles into a dangerous conspiracy while moonlighting as fake detective. Meanwhile, Finch travels to Hong Kong as part of his academic cover identity, on PERSON OF INTEREST.
Pretenders began with an unknown member of the NYPD investigating the scene of an apparent suicide, Abel Mindler. (Remember the name) The Machine catches an audio feed about a dead driver and a missing truck then switches to a video feed of The Lyric Diner. Inside Detective Riley aka John Reese (Jim Caviezel) is fighting with a large man who grabs a sawed-off and fires off a harmless round into the ceiling. Reese disarms the shooter, advises the number to not sleep with the landlord’s wife next time, and tosses the shotgun to a surprised Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman). Reese expects just a little thanks from his partner for the ‘we’ just stopped an attempted homicide. (John just needs some recognition once in a while.) It has been ages since we have seen the team save a number who was just that, a number. No ties to Samaritan or the Brotherhood. The Machine isn’t screening numbers. It was good to see our AI is still sending truly irrelevant numbers to Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) and crew; POIs that just need saving, even some idiot that chose to graze in another man’s pasture. Finch calls in to see how John is doing and after hearing this irrelevant was saved sends Reese a picture text of their newest number, Walter Dang (Eric Jensen).
Shaw poses as a temp at the insurance company where Walter works. The number is one of those unassuming people no one notices. Shaw clones Dang’s phone and finds out he hasn’t had a call or text in days, yet this clumsy bumbling nobody is in danger. (I was totally prepared for a POI this week that when he was saved, I would be relieved to be done with him. I was wrong.) Walter gives his condolences to a coworker, Elena Mindler, whose brother committed suicide. The sister can’t believe her brother killed himself and didn’t even leave her a note. Walter responds, “I’m working on that.” Working on what? While Shaw looks on, Walter takes the sim card out of a broken cell phone and puts it into a burner. Before Shaw can examine what data was on the burner when she cloned it, Walter grabs a ‘movie detective’s hat’ and leaves the office. Shaw goes to follow him, but Finch tells her that John can follow Dang, that she is needed elsewhere.
Finch’s cover ID, Professor Whistler, has been called away to a conference in Hong Kong. Shaw takes over the com, Finch takes a sixteen hour flight and John follows Dang. (All this happened without the team missing a beat. I was puzzled at Reese’s nonchalance that Finch was leaving—alone—then John said nothing when Shaw took over Harold’s computers. My head canon—Reese knew beforehand of Finch’s plans.) Reese follows Walter to an old hotel turned apartment building. This is the place where Elena’s brother, Abel, supposedly jumped from the fire escape. Reese and Shaw discuss why Dang is there. John notices Walter has an illegal concealed weapon. Is he somehow involved and was Abel’s death a suicide? Shaw looks over the police reports Fusco sent, everything points to suicide except a witness said she heard arguing before Abel jumped. The witness’s account of the events was deemed unreliable, nevertheless that still raised the team’s suspicions. The sim card Walter switched came from Abel’s phone. Walter may not have been involved in the death of Mindler, but he knows something.
Reese asked but Shaw wasn’t successful in getting anything off Abel’s sim card as to why Walter would have it. There was nothing on it indicating the men even knew each other but there were plenty of phone calls between Abel and a man called Banks Van Hess about an important delivery. Reese has followed Walter to a port authority office of an airport whereupon John learns Walter’s alter ego is Detective Jack Forge. It just so happens the other pretend detective wants to question Mr. Van Hess who is a supervisor there. Reese ends up knocking out Detective Forge and carrying him out to safety when Walter stumbles upon two masked men murdering Van Hess. (We hear Banks telling one of the masked intruders right before the gunman shot him that he didn’t know where it was.)
Reese, as Detective Riley, pretends he and the fake detective are working on the same case, convincing Walter to accompany him back to the station. Detective Forge gives up what he knows about the case via the victim Abel’s cell phone. A somewhat confused Fusco figures out Forge is an impostor. (Evidence tags do not just fall off, Detective Forge.) While John convinces Lionel to play along because the fake detective is in over his head and is going to get himself killed, Walter walks out of the police station. Meanwhile Shaw has an aww moment with Bear and Finch because Bear won’t eat before she asks Harold how to get more out of a damaged sim card. Finch tells her to look into the cloud. (It freaks me out to know that some of my phone conversations may be forever out there in cyberspace long after I am gone from this mortal core.)
When we see Walter again he’s back at work, his real job at the insurance office. He starts getting phone calls that have him fleeing his office. (I don’t know but I think I would stay put in a crowded office, call the real police, at least the one that saved my butt once, and let it go.) Shaw is fighting death by boredom surfing through Abel’s cloud when she hears an upset Abel talking to Van Hess about what he was hauling, which were big guns that fired big rounds. She calls Reese, fills him in and hurries to help. More masked men try to kidnap Walter as one of them throws a bag over his head. We can’t see either, but hear a disturbance and when we all can see again; it is Reese’s face we first view. Reese still has a shootout with some other men, one with that huge gun. Shaw has arrived, shoots big gun guy from her sniper-hide; they save Walter (a first time). Of course he has questions, like, who John Riley really is. He knows John is no cop.
Shaw and Fusco meet up with Detective Riley who has Walter and said big gun. Walter thinks John is some kind of super hero and it only confirms it in his mind when the others drive up ala the super hero’s sidekicks. They discus said gun, its effectiveness against Kevlar or bullet proof limos. Shaw heads back to The Haven, Detective Fusco takes the gun and Detective Riley takes Walter. John hides Walter in a room at the station that just so happens to have police scanners. Dang relates a story about how he would listen to the scanners at night, about hearing about the Man in The Suit, a vigilante hero even though he annoyed the police by evading them. It dawns on Walter that John is his superhero, TMITS.
While Walter is supposedly safe, Reese talks with Shaw; she couldn’t trace any calls from Abel to Walter. Shaw did find another deleted text between Abel and Van Hess. The big gun was a prototype and Van Hess smuggled in 20 crates containing 100 more of them. Fusco is ambushed by two fake cops when he tries to turn the gun into evidence. Meanwhile someone from the FBI comes to get Walter but it is only Marconi (Scarface) trying to abduct Walter for Elias.
Elias and John meet up. Elias is trying to find that shipment of guns, not to benefit his organization, but to keep the guns out of his city. There is someone called The Armorer who is also trying to find the missing truck that Abel had abandoned once he found out what was inside. Elias only tried to take Walter Dang because he has the sim card that came from Abel’s damaged phone. Fusco is taking Walter to a safe-house and waiting on Detective Riley when John calls him to tell him everyone is after Walter for the sim card. It has the GPS coordinates in it to the location of that truck. The Armorer’s people manage to take Walter this time and John is winged in the arm.
Shaw is able to send Reese and Fusco the GPS coordinates from her clone of the sim card. They arrive just in time to keep Walter from being shot by The Armorer although seriously out-manned. Scarface shows up with a super gun of his own and The Armorer along with his men are dispatched but not without a bit of heroics by Walter Dang. He pushes John out of the way, gets shot on the arm himself, before Fusco shoots the gunman. Walter apologizes for letting John down by being the cause of him getting shot. John just pats Walter’s face, tells him he did good, and puts Walter’s glasses back on. Elias tries to get the name of The Armorer’s boss by promising to save the man’s life. Scarface shoots him though when the answer is a no. Elias is not concerned that happened, he knows who the boss is.
Along the river at night we see Elias meet up with Dominic. It was Dominic who was behind creating The Armorer. Elias tells the gang leader he doesn’t have Dominic’s guns, they were destroyed by the NYPD. Dominic tells Elias to keep out of his business and for the old crime boss to go back into hiding. Elias warns The Brotherhood’s leader that like the river he was merely resting, he is back now and warned Dominic to stay out of his business.
John walks into Walter Dang’s office with him and thanks Walter in front of everyone for helping the NYPD. Everyone is impressed including the woman Walter has a crush on, Abel’s sister. Walter tells Detective Riley his secret is safe with him. Dang finishes his story about The Man in The Suit. He created his Jack Forge personae to do what he could because The Man in The Suit had went away. Someone one needed to step in and Dang thought “Why not me? But me kinda sucks.” …. “But I was wrong wasn’t I? He never really went away.” Remember that recognition I mentioned? It may have been a bone headed move but Walter tried to be a hero, because he thought his had went away, only not really. I think even though John has been thanked by many numbers many times, he still needs to feel like he is making a difference. The Man in The Suit had made a difference in Walter Dang’s life long before he met his hero.
We see that Finch wasn’t in Honk Kong just because his college boss sent Professor Whistler there. Finch was the biggest pretender of all. His romantic interest in the woman, Beth, the supposed mugging and Harold’s chivalrous attempt to to get their bags back, all a ruse. Beth is meeting with Samaritan representatives in a month, supposed investors in her company. The mugger was in reality a computer hack. What did Harold have the guy install in Beth’s laptop? (I hate just hitting on this briefly. I may write a review just to talk about Finch in Honk Kong.)
Pretenders turned out to be full of surprises for me. I have to be honest here, I did not expect it to be the awesome episode it turned out to be. I thought the number was going to be some bumbling idiot whose lark at playing detective would ultimately endanger the team’s lives and the number’s own; when all was said and done, I would be thinking, ‘Thank goodness, that’s the last we’ll see of him.’ Oh how wrong I was. Detective Jack Forge might have been an inept fake but he was no where near a bumbling idiot. He thought his hero, The Man in the Suit, had disappeared and as poorly prepared as the number was do anything about the rising crime in the city since, it didn’t stop him from trying. A friend’s brother died by an apparent suicide, but the wannabe detective found out it wasn’t. Through kidnappings, attempted kidnappings and other mishaps they stopped the man known as The Armorer from selling guns, guns that could penetrate body armor or bulletproof limos.
And Elias is ‘back’. The genteel crime boss has come out of hiding. There were some tense moments between Reese and Elias over the crime boss’s methods of stopping The Armorer from acquiring those guns. Scarface saves the day though when Reese and Fusco get caught up in a shootout where they are out manned. And that bumbling fake detective ended up a hero by risking his life for John’s. The Armorer was just a front-man, an identity created as a cover to hide the real person behind the gun smuggling. The front-man got himself killed instead of giving up any names.
Hazards Of The Job
The Man Behind It All
Bruised But Not Out
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