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'Person of Interest' fan recap: The return of Det. Carter (sort of)

Season 4 | Episode 20 | “Terra Incognita” | Aired Apr 14, 2015

It has been more than a year since Person of Interest shocked fans with the death of Detective Joss Carter. This week’s episode manages to bring the character back, both in spirit and in physical form (thanks to flashbacks), meaning we also have an opportunity to see the wonderful Taraji P. Henson back on the show.

Eschewing the traditional opening credits, this POI literally starts with (the sound of) a bang (which pays off brilliantly at the end) as Reese and Finch, seated in a car, look to be on another stakeout involving a number. But wait. They are soon joined by Carter herself; it is soon revealed that this is merely a memory of Reese’s, recollecting a moment between him and his fallen comrade.

As Fusco brings him back to reality, Reese is at a crime scene involving two dead Brotherhood members, with Elias’ fingerprints all over. As he relays his concern about the Machine having not spewed the numbers of the dead, Finch tells him of a new, unrelated number belonging to Chase Patterson (Zachary Booth), the prime suspect in the slaying of his family in 2008. Having fled the country at the time, he has returned home and fallen into the Machine’s radar.

With Reese on the main case, Finch puts a just-arrived Root on the Brotherhood case to see if there are any kinks that need to be worked out with the Machine. Sidebar: Seeing Root walk in wearing a wedding dress and sneakers is the best non-sequitur side gag of the entire season.

When Reese arrives at the precinct to gather evidence from the original case, he finds out that—surprise, surprise—Carter was the detective assigned to it. While going through Carter’s things, where the case file was last left, Reese comes across a photo of him with his old flame, Jessica.

In a neat plot device, Reese’s reopening of the cold case is intercut with the original investigation involving Carter, a rookie, and her then-partner. Back at the crime scene, Reese immediately faces resistance from the penthouse staff, while Carter finds holes in the early theory that Chase was the one who killed his family.

Chase, a former addict, reiterates to Reese the alibi he gave Carter years ago: that he was in the Catskills relapsing when his parents were being killed. He arrived at the penthouse the following morning to ask for his mother’s forgiveness. Reese asks Chase point-blank to tell him who did it if it wasn’t him, but Chase asks to be released if he isn’t being charged.

When the DNA at the crime scene arrived, it proved to be a familial match, prompting Carter to go back to the cabin to corroborate Chase’s story. Reese ends up following Chase to the same cabin, where he finds drug paraphernalia (much like Carter did) before running into Chase himself, who states that the drugs were planted and are not his. Before the conversation can continue, Reese is shot and drops to the ground.

The culprit turns out to be Chase’s half-brother, Gil (Patch Darragh). Upset at the fact that their father got Gil’s mother pregnant and forgot about them, he ended up killing the family he never had and pinned it on Chase. As Reese inches toward his weapon, Gil forces Chase to swallow the drugs in the cabin in an attempt to make it look like suicide. Unfortunately, Gil notices Reese’s moves and kicks the weapon away.

Dragging his body out to the snow, Gil walks away and gives Reese enough time reach for his ankle weapon. A flashback with Carter segues into present day, with Carter warning Reese that he is dying. We learn that Reese managed to shoot Gil and climb into his car, but he is losing blood quickly and left the car keys behind. “Carter” chides Reese for playing the lone-wolf card—his refusal to communicate with the team might be his downfall.

Using Carter’s wisdom as his fuel, Reese manages to slide out of the car and get the keys before making his way back. Continuing his dialogue with “Carter,” Reese realizes that due to the cold, the car won’t start—and that he is in the early stages of hypothermia.

As Finch desperately tries to find Reese’s location, Reese continues his conversation with “Carter,” finally reaching a point where he states that he never shut Carter out, that he was more open with her than anyone else. When Carter shoots him down, Reese recollects the stakeout where he did just that. “Carter” states that they never talked about anything of substance. Bringing up the photo, Reese realizes that Carter never had a chance to give it to him personally.

He admits that he didn’t tell anyone about the case because he wanted to be closer to Carter, leading “Carter” to state that the reason she kept the photo was that it showed a different side of Reese: “happy, hopeful, in love.” Reese, breaking down, listens as “Carter” tells him that he has people in his life who love him. Asking her to stay with him, he closes his eyes. When he opens them, he sees headlights heading in his direction. But “Carter” is gone.

In a season that gave us the unforgettable “If-Then-Else,” “Terra Incognita” (Latin for “unexplored territory”) does just that—getting inside The Man in the Suit and finding out that the tough exterior covers up an interior of pain and hurt, not to mention longing. This episode also rectifies one of the series’ more head-scratching moments—namely, Reese professing his love for Carter after she is fatally shot, something that came out of left field, to say the least.

Using the stakeout flashbacks as the base, we get a better sense of how Reese and Carter really were kindred spirits. In a neat spin, we get the reveal that the flashbacks are in fact events the way Reese remembers them—as opposed to the way they actually happened. The chemistry between Caviezel and Henson, fresh off her run as Cookie on Empire, is first-rate in these moments, not to mention in the emotional finale, where Carter essentially saves Reese from himself (or, rather, Reese uses the memory of Carter to save himself).

This all results in an episode that brought back a fan-favorite character in grand fashion while adding weight to one who, until now, may have seemed one-note.

Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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