Sometimes going backwards on a show to fill in the blanks can be unnecessary, simply a detour on the main course that adds nothing to the main story. And yet, when done right, connecting those dots in the past can be both satisfying and cool.
Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 16 pulled back the fold to really reveal the full layout involving those bits and pieces of information viewers have already gotten over the course of three seasons. And in a way, there was a certain expansion on the origin story for the characters we’ve come to know and their initial connections to the Machine.
It was kind of a surprise to see Finch with another partner, another man in a suit, but Rick Dillinger was no slouch. Actor Neil Jackson did a good job giving him a charming personality and directness that got the job done but was clearly a contrast from the way Reese might handle the same situation.
Which made it such a fun moment to see the “couple” following Daniel Casey was in fact Reese and Kara, both working for the CIA on a killing mission. This wasn’t necessarily the hardcore assassin Reese, but over the course of the hour it was obvious that Reese was changing. Not liking the torture, even saving Casey at the end (all for Finch to see) made it even more understandable why Finch would eventually come to seek him out in Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 1.
What’s more, Decima, the shadowy organization who we eventually learn recruited Kara in Person of Interest Season 2 Episode 13, is revealed to be extremely interested in tracking down Casey.
Why? It all has to do with the infamous Machine, of course. That’s what it brilliantly all comes back to.
Casey had been recruited by the government to try and access the Machine, and using his computer he was able to gain part of a code before getting kicked out and ultimately hunted down to be eliminated. That specific computer ends up being the one Reese and Kara are sent to find in Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 20 when they travel to Ordos.
It’s just in this hour, we got to see Control and even the still alive Special Counsel (the return of Jay O. Sanders!) discuss that particular act. Those two, especially Control, don’t like when people get to close with their knowledge of the Machine.
And as the various forces are fighting for Control, it was kind of a clever twist in the story to see Dillinger betray Finch. He couldn’t handle being in the dark. And it was certainly obvious their relationship was professional as compared with Reese and Finch who are friends as well as colleagues.
So he ended up selling the computer right before getting taken out by Shaw. And what another fantastic reveal for the hour. It’s amazing to see her back on the other side working for Control who eventually puts the hit out on her and her partner in Person of Interest Season 2 Episode 16.
Funny that Finch happened to be near Shaw when she went on her killing spree. At least he was kind enough to bury Dillinger after the betrayal.
I was a bit disappointed we wouldn’t get to see Reese and Dillinger face off in the future, but he certainly was a memorable presence in the short span of time he had.
And really, it is fun seeing things come full circle and how intricately connected all these stories and characters are with that super Machine at the center.
But the hour wouldn’t be complete without one last moment to send the story forward and have you already wishing it was next Tuesday. Crazy Root showed up to retrieve Casey and send him to Columbia. What is she up to?
I’m sure there were even more intricate moments or subtle callbacks I might have missed, but getting to watch all the puzzle pieces fit into place to see that bigger picture was just plain fun. This was an impressive Person of Interest episode that could have wound up wasted time, but it instead gave viewers an exciting and revealing look into the past.
Do you wish Rick Dillinger had lived?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.