This week's Number is a guy named Joey, a veteran of the war in Iraq and a current doorman. JC tails him and finds his life to be totally boring. Then Joey joins up with some friends and robs a bank. Not quite so boring anymore. Since JC's in the bank when it happens, and stops a guard from drawing his gun and getting himself killed, JC's prints end up on the guard's weapon, putting Carter on the trail of the gang of robbers. While she tries to track them down, JC begs his Daddy Warbucks to help him infiltrate the gang. And -- poof! -- he's got a backstory and everything else he needs to convince the ringleader, Latimer, that he's worthy. JC's still all about saving Joey, though, so he won't let Finch turn the gang in quite yet. See, Joey's got a girlfriend, Pia, who waited for him a long time. This makes JC remember -- and flash back to -- his own girl, Jessica. So he's got a soft spot for the guy, and follows him to a bar. Joey ends up sharing that a friend died in the war when he filled in for Joey's patrol, so now Joey has to do this "work" to make sure the guy's daughter can go to college. After he's taken care of this obligation, he swears he'll settle down with Pia.
The problem, as JC's quickly figuring out, is that there are a lot of shady types in the gang with Joey. One guy, Straub, has a gambling problem and sneaks around with Latimer on his own, making threats about killing the others so it can be a true 50-50 split. And Latimer himself is working for a bigger master, who ends up telling Latimer to kill everyone after this latest assignment. The gang is told it's worth $400K, and it's at an NYPD evidence lockup. They break in, steal an envelope from a box labeled, "Elias, M." but Finch shows up (after Straub made JC get rid of his cell phone and earpiece, Finch needed to tell him that Latimer's set them up and plans to kill them all). JC tells the others, and they flee (though Straub doesn't believe JC). Straub gets to the van first, where Latimer's waiting. When Straub gives him the envelope, Latimer thinks him by killing him. In the middle of the street. In broad daylight. Then Latimer jumps out and kills the fourth guy, Teddy. Joey tries to shoot back, but his weapon doesn't work. Luckily, JC's got his own weapon stashed, and he shoots at Latimer, who jumps back in the van and flees. JC convinces Joey to run away. Like, now. And tells him that he should ask his girl to go, too. Tell her it will finally just be the two of them. So Joey leaves. Meanwhile, Carter's made it to the crime scene and finds the radio the gang's been using on one of the dead guys. She radios JC and tells him she's looking for him, and he suggests she stop. She says that's not an option. It's a very cute back and forth. Too bad they can't see each other in person again. They have a lot of chemistry. She does walk right by Finch, though, but thinks nothing of it.
When JC goes to take care of Latimer for killing everyone, Latimer's already dead. What we see and JC doesn't is that Latimer gives the envelope to his boss (whose face we never see), who opens it and looks through it. There are pictures of a grisly murder scene, and a weapon, all evidence, apparently. JC tells Finch the only key to knowing who killed Latimer is the name "Elias." Finch says he'll look into it, and another ongoing mystery begins. That's to go along with the mystery of what happened between JC and Jessica (all we see in this episode is them bumping into each other in an airport in 2006. She waited for him, but is engaged to someone else. But she's still carrying a torch and asks him to tell her to wait. She cries and leaves, then he whispers, "Wait for me. Please.") and who exactly Finch is.
No previouslies. Either this show is so procedural it's not necessary, or Finch's wordy intro makes it moot. Anyway, said wordy intro. "... Victim or perpetrator, if your number's up, we'll find you." (That is, if you live in New York. They're not much for traveling to save people.) First, I have to mention one thing I failed to even notice last week: Some astute forum posters pointed out that during the scene last week where Finch and his business partner bicker about the Machine in 2007, JC's girl Jessica's image flashes on the monitor, which I guess means her number was up, and she would die soon after? Nice continuity. Okay, onto this episode.
Surveillance images (which are getting more tolerable somehow) flash before we open on Finch, asleep on his desk. (About Finch: Because he really is Ben 2.0, I've decided to slightly modify forum poster April May June's name suggestion (Ben + Finch = Binch), and call him Bench. It fits, not just because it's a mashup of his two characters, but also because he's often the guy benched back at the Library while the studly JC gets to shoot, punch, ninja, and otherwise badass his way around New York City saving people. Like now: Bench is asleep when JC slips in and leaves a coffee on his desk. JC, deadly serious, manages some humor this morning. He's brought Bench the classified ads: Since he feels bad for blowing Bench's cover at work, he's been looking for a new job for him: "Dog walker, maybe? Or concert pianist?" Bench is not amused. He snits that he has a job, and so does JC, and the Machine has sent them a new number.
It belongs to Joey Durbin, a soldier in the 107th infantry just back from Afghanistan. He has commendations, including the Purple Heart. A good soldier. Not to put too fine a point on it or anything, but Bench points out that makes him "just like" JC. Hmmm. I wonder if they'll use that to get at JC's backstory this episode? JC says he fought side-by-side with the 107th, most of whom were just kids who enlisted after losing family or friends on 9/11. They grew up fast, or died. Bench says now JC can make sure Joey -- who's a doorman at a building in Midtown -- stays alive. JC says he'll do all the usual things he does when becoming a stalker: phone cloning, follow him, the works. He leaves with a little more humor at Bench's expense: "If you're going to work all night, you should try getting some exercise."