In ‘Wingman’, the first of this double-bill, Reese is working as Fusco’s new partner, but still using his normal Machine methods: kneecapping the baddies for teh lulz, that kind of thing. This brings pressure from his new boss, Captain Moreno, who is not unattractive, and from Fusco, who rightly points out that being a cop isn’t just a diversion for him, but a job he needs to keep. And while Reese is trying to clean his act up, there’s a Number: Andre Cooper, a dockworker turned professional, uh, wingman. Someone needs to go undercover as his client, and by consensus it’s poor old Fusco who has to do it. Although Fusco does gets some new clothes, and a few tips on impressing the babes, out of it. The question of whether Andre is perp or victim is a live one, given that his choice of career might, in a certain light, suggest some moral malleability.
Meantime, Finch is suddenly obliged to pose as a legendary underworld figure known as Egret. “Who’s the hottie?” asks one of his contacts. “She’s none of your concern”, snaps Finch, who thanks to Michael Emerson is highly convincing as a borderline psychopathic arms dealer. The hottie is Root, who is behind the whole mysterious mission – it’s a plan by The Machine to give them some walking-around money – and is also, of course, a hottie.
‘Wingman’ is something of a romp, and the reason why Andre is in danger isn’t the most original the show’s ever come up with. But it has a touch of melancholy which elevates it: Fusco, we can reasonably infer, is alone and – insofar as anyone needs a professional wingman, which is moot at best – might actually benefit from a little help on the meeting-the-ladies side of the house. As an episode it hardly cuts to the bone, but it is, of course, thoroughly entertaining.
‘Brotherhood’, on the other hand, is intended to fit into the show’s ever more extensive mythology: complex, morally ambiguous, and with implications for future episodes. The Numbers are children: Malcolm Booker and his younger sister Tracie, fostered in separate homes while their mother does time for possessing an unregistered firearm. The kids stumble across the aftermath of a drug-deal-gone-wrong shootout between an Armenian gang and The Brotherhood, and make off with the cash, meaning that there are bad people after them.
Reese is investigating the shootout with DEA Agent Erica Lennox, and the two of them are also trying to find the Bookers before the gangstas do. Reese, in addition, needs to watch his back, because Link, the consigliere of Brotherhood head man Dominic, has been released, and holds a grudge. Meantime, Shaw is working the case from another angle: she has a Brotherhood footsoldier, injured in the shootout, under lock and key, and she’s trying to extract information from him. And Elias floats in and out, offering Finch a favour here, a piece of information there.
Agent Lennox tells Reese that the Brotherhood has a mole in the DEA passing them intel. Since the only two DEA people we get to hear about are Lennox and her partner Thomson, the only agent she trusts, it isn’t much of a stretch to work out that the mole is likely to be one of the two of them. While I was worrying about that, though, I completely overlooked that another and much bigger mystery is being solved, with clues which – with the benefit of hindsight, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise – were there to be picked up all along. It’s a trick that Person of Interest has pulled off before, and once again the show left me feeling both impressed and foolish. Another great episode, then, with another plot arc established, and a tantalising glimpse of the battle for his soul – attorney, cop, gangster? – which lies in Malcolm’s future.