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Person of Interest 2×11 2piR Recap and Review

Written by Alexander Tucker   // 01/04/2013

Person of Interest 2×11 2piR Recap and Review

Person of InterestPerson of Interest 2×11 2piR Synopsis:  While working undercover as a high-school substitute teacher, Finch protects a teen genius who reminds him of himself. Elsewhere, Carter takes on a dangerous assignment for the FBI.

Person of Interest 2×11 Guest stars: John Sharian as Warden Hutchins; James Colby as Murphy; Susan Blackwell as Principal Lawton; Luke Kleintank as Caleb; Mary McCann as Lori Hassan; Iniko Johnson as Lorenzo; Malika Samuel as Lily; Luke Kirby as Beckner; Brendan Griffin as Macavoy; Brennan Brown as Special Agent Donnelly

Person of Interest episode 2×11, “2piR,” opens with Reese being incarcerated in Rikers Prison. They take his fingerprints. Swab his cheek for DNA. Give him an orange jump suit. Put him in a cell.  But they didn’t search him very well, because he’s hiding a cell phone in his sock.  A cell phone that Finch calls him on to let him know that Carter is working on getting him out.

This episode is Finch-centric and gives some insight into his interesting background and philosophy of life.

As Finch assures Reese that they’re working on his release, he enters a high school class room and chalks his cover name, “Mr. Swift.” This is a classroom where Caleb, genius computer programmer, pretends he’s dumb. Their regular teacher’s assignment was to come up with an equation to sum 1 to 100. “Mr. Swift” tells about Gauss’ equation and starts to write it on the board when the bell rings.  The equation is (100(100 + 1) / 2), which comes out to 5050. Finch notices one student, Caleb, has written something on a piece of paper that he crumples up and tosses in the waste basket. After the students leave, Finch uncrumples the paper and sees the equation he had only partially written on the board. Now he knows who Caleb is.

Finch follows Caleb and sees him talking to a couple of drug dealers, who are students, and breaks up a fight when the dealers start pushing Caleb. When Caleb and the dealers leave, Finch picks up a piece of paper on which is hand written computer code. Based on the snippet of code Finch realizes that Caleb is programming something that is ground breaking.

Finch calls on Fusco for help and discovers that Caleb lives with his Mother and his brother, Ryan, was apparently killed when possible drug dealers pushed him on the train tracks. Finch thinks that Caleb is planning on killing the drug dealers who killed his brother.  Fusco goes to Caleb’s apartment and plants a webcam bug so they can spy on Caleb and his Mom. Turns out his Mom has had a drinking problem since Ryan’s death.

In the next class, “Mr. Swift” draws a circle on the board with a bunch of numbers beside it. He explains that it’s “pi” and that it’s made up of numbers that go on forever without ever repeating. Contained within this is “every single other number: your birthday, the combination to your locker, your social security number, etc. And if you convert the numbers into letters, you would have every word that ever existed in every possible combination. The first syllable you spoke as a baby, the name of your latest crush, your entire life story from beginning to end. Everything we ever say or do. All of the world’s infinite possibilities rest within this one simple circle.” The circle of “pi”; the circle of life. What a beautiful explanation of the eternity of existence.

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Finch meets Mr. Beckner, the computer science teacher, another class that Caleb is enrolled in. Beckner tells about a notorious computer hacker that got away. When the government was trying keep a handle on the new Internet, this hacker got into the system and exposed all its secrets, ensuring that the Internet would become an open forum, and this hacker made his mark without ever being busted. Whoever that person was is still out there!!!

Finch monitors Beckner’s class and sees that Caleb is using his in-class computer to enter the code that he hand writes on paper, since he doesn’t have a computer of his own.  Finch also discovers that Caleb plays the dumb card in everything.  He only answered half of his SAT questions so that he would get a low score.  He messes up in math tests and computer tests, too. He wants to hide the fact that he’s a genius. While monitoring Beckner’s classroom, after all the students are gone, Finch sees that Beckner is copying Caleb’s program to a thumb drive. Turns out Beckner knows Caleb is a computer genius and has plans for Caleb’s ground breaking program which would revolutionize the Internet with a new compression algorithm.

Finch stops Caleb in the school hallway and tells him that if he wants to implement multi-threading he’d do better by using atomic variables. Caleb looks at his code and realizes that “Mr. Swift” is correct.  “Yes, that’s why I suggested it,” Finch tells him.

Fusco questions Detective Murphy, the officer who was called when Caleb’s brother was killed.  He wants to know why Murphy filed a report that said it was an accident instead of a murder by drug dealers. Murphy says that the only two people at the scene was Caleb and his brother. Two bored kids, drinking, waiting for a train to go home. They dared each other to see how many times they could cross the tracks before the train came. Turns out Caleb’s brother lost the dare. “Some things you can’t fix.”

Fusco follows Caleb who goes to meet with rival drug dealers and they want money or else since he’s dealing in their neighborhood. They want every dime he made selling to their customers. So Finch follows Caleb and Fusco follows the drug dealers. When they end up at the same place they realize that Caleb is the mysterious drug king pin. That’s how he gets the money to take care of himself and his Mom.

Finch follows Beckner to a restaurant meeting with Howard, an old friend and venture capitalist, and it looks like Beckner wants to sell him the program. He knew Beckner in college and knows that he was never capable of writing something so extraordidnary. Beckner tells him he peaked after college! After the meeting, Beckner sets up a meeting with Caleb.

Finch discovers Caleb is moving money from various accounts into some type of trust fund.  The meeting with the drug dealers and with Beckner are both set for 8:00. Finch tells Fusco that a person can’t be in two places at once unless they’ve learned how to defy the laws of quantum physics, so Finch goes to the meeting with Beckner while Fusco goes to the meeting with the drug dealers. Caleb doesn’t show in either location, but after Finch confronts Beckner about the selling of the program he finds out that Beckner is doing the selling on Caleb’s behalf and after the deal is done he’ll be an 18-year old multi-millionaire. The name of the program is 17621, which is a reference to when and where Caleb’s brother was killed. Now Finch knows where Caleb is and what he intends to do.

When Finch gets to the subway train station, Caleb is sitting on a bench waiting for the train. But it’s not a train that he’s planning on getting on. This is the “It’s a Wonderful Life” part of the episode where Finch exposes a little bit of himself to this younger version of himself. Finch explains the thing about taking chances is that you make a lot of mistakes and cause a lot of grief. Like Finch, Caleb’s mistakes are a part of who he is now, and you can’t move on. But sometimes mistakes can surprise you. Finch’s biggest mistake brought him to the bench where Caleb is sitting, 17 years, 6 months, and 21 days into Caleb’s life. Exactly the point where Caleb needed help. The age at which Ryan died. The age Caleb chose to end his life. Finch tells him that maybe they’re connected, “Two reckless people.” The world doesn’t have any extra pieces. Like pi, it contains everything. If you remove a single piece you don’t have a circle. The world is better off with both Caleb and Finch in it. If Caleb doesn’t believe him then he hasn’t seen the whole equation. Finch tells him to take it from somebody who thought leaving would make it easier on everybody else, and then learned otherwise. Probably a reference to Grace, the love of his life, as well as Reese, Carter, and Fusco. They sit quietly as the train speeds past them. Finch tells him that he grew up during the cold war, when computer networks were “just a gleam in the eye of the Department of Defense.” Then a kid with a home-made computer turned everything inside out. Since it’s a new era and things could get pretty weird Caleb should keep his code close and pick his friends wisely. Finch gives Caleb a paper with the first 3000 digits of “pi” and tells him his phone number is somewhere in there. He’s smart! He’ll figure it out! Caleb mentions that in all his research on the hacker who got away there was never any mention of a home-made computer. Finch tells him, “I must have heard it somewhere.” Then he walks away.

Meanwhile, Carter has managed to erase all reference of Reese’s fingerprints, and managed to switch his DNA with somebody else’s DNA. Looks like all four men, previously arrested, will be released. As Reese comes out to be released, Donnelly countermands the order and decides that since Carter is the only person he can trust he wants her to personally interrogate each man; starting with Reese. Best laid plans will have to wait. Meanwhile, Reese just wants to go home. All episodes or episode arcs ends with the status quo, so hopefully next week Reese will get his wish!


Cecelia Lawshe can be contacted via Cecelia Lawshe on Facebook


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