There's a reason that the preview at the end of last week's episode was incomprehensible: Stretched over an hour, this episode was nearly as difficult to understand. But I'll do my best. At the beginning of the episode, JC saves an adulterer whose wife has paid some hitmen to take him out. He does this by killing the two hitmen. I'm not quite sure two deaths to save a cheater is worth the effort, but this is Finch's formula, not mine. But that guy's not the person whose number is coming up this episode. Said person is a fifteen-year-old girl named Theresa. The only catch? She died two years ago, along with her entire family. Finch and JC even visit the family gravesite. They track down Theresa's aunt, who wonders if the cops are still looking for Theresa's body, which was never found. Since their relatives were killed, Theresa and her husband, Derek, have divorced. She says she doesn't know how to reach him, but has an old cell phone number.
JC comes across Theresa a time or two -- and ends up with a pretty severe cut after the first time -- thanks to a boyfriend she's stayed in touch with after "death." She's almost as good at disappearing as JC himself, though, so she keeps slipping away from him. Finally, he saves her life enough times to earn her trust. Finch (who's thankfully outside the office this episode) ends up as her babysitter in a hotel room while JC tries to track down who is coming after her and why. They pinpoint the uncle, Derek, but after spending some time with him JC learns the truth: Theresa's father bought a piece of land that he figured would be worth a lot of money once the government got it cleaned up. His business partner arranged to have the whole family killed, but kept Derek around as the heir the land would go to after it went through probate. Derek says it's the only reason he's alive. JC quickly deduces this is why they're after Theresa: The land is worth a fortune now, and she's the rightful heir. He relays the message to Finch, who's talked Theresa into trusting him by this point. But the bad guy her dad's former business partner's hired to come after her ends up tracking down her aunt, then her uncle. When he taps the aunt's phone, and Theresa calls her and hangs up, he traces the call to the hotel, and shows up to kill her. She and Finch pull a bait and switch and barely escape getting killed about fifty times in a matter of seconds. When they're finally backed into a corner, JC shows up just in the nick of time (he's good at that), and shoots the guy.
Carter's still after JC the entire episode (it seems she has no other police work going on, because she shows up at every crime scene just to see if he's involved – or at least I assume she must since she ends up at all the ones he actually is involved in, and she can't be that good of a guesser). He finally calls her after stopping this week's future crime, and arranges a meet. She shows up with plenty of backup, but he's sent Theresa instead. Theresa tells her that her friends said she could trust her. And, of course, she can; but she's going to have to deal with A LOT of probing questions about JC. This girl's used to running, hiding, and lying, though, so Carter's getting nothing out of her. Her dad's former business partner ends up arrested, too, so all is right with the world.
Unless you want to know Finch's backstory, which JC winds his way toward until Finch pulls even further back. We get a little more insight than JC, which amounts to Finch's own business partner (maybe a family member? We don't get a lot of information to work with), who found out about the irrelevants and wasn't happy. Also, Finch's death supposedly occurred in 2011, according to a statue at the company he founded. Little by little, we'll figure this guy out -- as long as we're willing to sit through the procedural A plot.
Extended intro of surveillance cameras with Finch voiceover fills us in on everything: "You are being watched. The government has a secret system, a Machine, that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it. I designed the Machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything: violent crimes involving ordinary people, people like you. Crimes the government considered irrelevant. They wouldn't act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You'll never find us. But, victim or perpetrator, if your number's up, we'll find you." Okay, so that intro's a little cheesy, but I guess it's necessary for a sort-of (or mostly) procedural, for those audience members that come and go on a given week.
We open with surveillance footage of a guy with flowers arranging to see someone at their place. He gets in an elevator, then JC sneaks in and says he "almost missed it." He grills the guy about whether the flowers are for his wife. He lies that they are, but JC knows better and tells him to come clean about the cheating. The guy gets defensive, until JC saves the guy's life from the two guys in the elevator who the cheater's wife hired to kill him. And by "saves the guy's life," I mean that JC shoots both guys. It doesn't show for certain whether he kills them, and they're groaning a bit as he leaves the cheater with advice to call the police "and a good divorce lawyer." So hopefully he didn't kill the two hitmen just to save one cheater. Two for one is only a good deal if the person you're saving is a child or at least a good person.
Surveillance footage cuts to a guy being offered "triple his usual fee" for a job. Then Finch calls JC, who's across the street, watching Finch walk. He fills him in on his latest salvation, and then tells Finch that he's doing "a little research." Finch is interested in hearing about it later - though I'm guessing JC won't tell him it's Finch he's researching. Finch wants to meet later for a "somewhat unusual" number that's come up, he says, then disappears around a corner. When JC gets there, Finch really has disappeared (along with everyone else on the streets of New York; apparently they found the one street in the city where there's no one milling around), and he tells JC to remember that they meet on Finch's schedule, not JC's.
Carter shows up at the elevator crime scene and, since she's homicide, the detective on scene isn't sure why she's there. She says it's part of an ongoing obsession she has. Actually, she says it's an investigation, but my hunch is she's already way off the books with this JC thing. The detective tells Carter what happened: These two guys tried to kill a rich guy, who says a guy in a suit "intervened."