Leave it to Person of Interest to turn a prison break into an all-out chess match complete with multiple players, power shifts and unexpected last second moves.
While we didn't get to see locked and loaded Finch storming Rikers (can you imagine?), the mental battle to reach Reese's eventual, yet short-lived freedom, was just as intriguing for "Prisoner's Dilemma."
Interestingly enough, the actual prisoner, Reese, was in less of a dilemma than Carter, who was stuck playing both sides while trying to reveal/not reveal which one of the four suspects was the "Man in the Suit," all while preventing everyone else from getting to Reese.
I was unsure how Carter would handle her questioning and if I would find it believable, but she seemed to handle her own. And, sure, she didn't have to pull some Zero Dark Thirty interrogation tactics, but Carter was able to turn one suspect and work her way to pointing the finger at another.
But rather then see her pull out all her crazy tricks, it was far more interesting listening to Carter and Reese touch on some of the personal moments that impacted them.
It certainly made me wonder what was real and wasn't real as Reese revealed information, but as soon as he began talking about his love and the steps he had taken and one's he hadn't, Carter had the chance to see a whole different side.
Similarly, hearing Carter divulge that she had killed someone was an aspect that we haven't seen before. In a way, it connected her to Reese and added an extra layer of trust between them. I really do enjoy when we get to learn more about the characters.
And as an added layer, Reese became caught up with Bear's former neo-Nazi owner from the Person of Interest Season 2 premiere, the newly friendly (but is he actually reformed?) Elias, and the assassin trying to finish Reese off. I'm surprised there weren't more criminals Reese had put away itching to get at him.
I was curious as to when Elias would drop in, but it was a unique twist turning the former enemy into an ally. I still don't trust the spectacled villain, though. He's bound to rear his evil head again.
It was really no surprise when Reese was finally freed and back in his slick suits, but I didn't see it coming when Donnelly confronted both Reese and Carter. I was sure Reese would make a clean getaway. Which really made me wonder what the outcome of Donnelly's discovery would be, especially with regards to the flashbacks of Reese's dilemma about killing people.
Would Reese be forced to kill Donnelly to keep the secret? Or would Donnelly be convinced that Reese was actually a good guy?
But it was the last second turn that threw in a great final shock with Donnelly's number popping up and Reese's former CIA partner Kara taking him out.
I thought she was just out for revenge, so was killing Donnelly necessary to her motives? Either way, she has something up her sleeve and Reese is going to be caught up in her big scheme.
Just when we thought everything was going to be okay for the team.
And while the focus was mainly on Reese, the episode was sure to remind us that the Machine never stops giving Finch numbers, allowing Fusco to take one all by himself. In hilarious fashion, Fusco got caught up saving a supermodel hottie. Starting off with a blinding macing before becoming a hero - wielding duel guns - to getting a kiss and a "call me," definitely gave Fusco the best day out of all of them.
I guess I can see fans of the regular saving the person of interest fare being disappointed, but I love that Person of Interest can keep viewers guessing on what it's going to do. It keeps everything fresh, brings in those past characters and continues to move forward with the larger story. Striking at the heart of Carter and Reese, all while wrapped up in a major battle for the "Man in the Suit," kept the pacing quick and the hour engrossing.
Really, just when you think you have the show pegged, it throws you for a great turn and coming back for more. Hopefully, Fusco can get the supermodel to do the same.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.