Everything starts off like any other episode until the opening theme starts backward and the tape winds backwards--that's right we're going to be dealing with a story from the past this week. When some shows do the flashback to before the beginning stunt it can feel contrived and like an hour of filler. But "RAM" didn't just include past glimpses of known characters it also filled in some very critical blanks reaching all the way back to season one. In 2010, POI Daniel Casey is on the run after getting his hands on some lines of code from a project that could change the face of the world. It's up to Harold Finch and Mr. Dillinger to save him from the various threats trying to eliminate him.
Whoa, wait a minute now who is this Mr. Dillinger guy? It turns out that Finch had a Reese 1.0 before he ever recruited John and his beard of misery into the fold. Dillinger is the anti-Reese, an obnoxious blond lothario formerly of Blackwater who's as likely to take down the bad guy as sleep with the damsel in distress afterward. A total cad and I don't think anyone could blame Harold for having no interest in opening up to this hired gun. One of the fun things about these sorts of flashback episodes is that it gives us a chance to view an actor's previous version of a character again. Finch has become a far warmer and open character than he was when the show began. Of course, now he has a partner by his side he can really trust.
Back then Reese was still a company man working alongside Kara Stanton (Annie Parisse really owned the episode in my opinion and kudos to the POI team for bringing her back for this). The Casey job was one of the last before he and Kara's fateful trip to China that put him straight onto the path to Finch. Unbeknownst to Reese, Harold was given a chance to scout out his future partner from afar when John chose to believe Daniel Casey wasn't truly an enemy of the state--just a scared kid drawn into something that's left various bodies in its wake. Reese's dangerous habit of thinking for himself was a nice indicator of the kind of person he was underneath all the CIA protocol crammed into his head. After seeing how Dillinger would go on to try and betray Finch it's just a shame that John wasn't the one to put several bullets into him instead of Shaw in a quick cameo. Wow how things have changed for Samantha given her former girl to watch status in the agency.
As entertaining and illuminating as the hour of flashbacks was, the best scene might well be at the end when back in present day we see Daniel Casey alive and well still hiding out in a cabin. He's going about his day when a visitor arrives and brings him right back into the fight. Ideas of fate and destiny have fueled a great deal of this season's stories with the Machine taking a more active role in everybody's lives. It's hard to argue that every last choice made has led to this point with Root bringing Casey into battle despite his protests. 'She' is gearing up for something huge and if Root is recruiting cyber soldiers (Casey was given access to Northern Lights back in 2010) then it stands to reason this season of Person of Interest will contain the most important chapter yet in the life of the Machine and the people she's brought together.
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