Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman recently issued the following statement to TVLine:  “We promised our actors and our audience that these characters wouldn’t be static, stuck in an endless loop – that they would have a journey.  And, of course, every journey comes to an end.”

In “The Perfect Mark” a couple of our characters’ journeys ended – and from the looks of things to come, there might be more.
PoI does have a tendency on the redirect, so I’ll not begin my Fusco funeral yet – but I am nervous.  His journey has been quite good, and perhaps, quite complete.

However, that’s all to come in the three-episode event starting next week and leading us into our midseason hiatus – hellatus as it is fondly known in the SPN universe.

Tonight was all about the con: the long con, the short con, the dangers of a con, and knowing your place in a con.  HR and the Russians are all about the long con.  Hayden and his girlfriend, in comparison, conduct short cons, the dangers – well, they abounded aplenty, such as knowing who you’re conning, because if you don’t, you’ll likely never con anyone again, ever.  Then there’s the soda kid, who knew enough to know his place in the con, simply make the purchase as requested and make sure you give the correct ball to the correct buyer.  For his part, he gets 120.00; minus the five it cost him to buy the ball(s), and one soda.  Good customer service.

For us viewers, new and experienced alike, what does The Perfect Mark teach us?  Never underestimate PoI, or, as Reese stated, don’t be misled by what appears to be babysitting (or a procedural) for you never know when it’s all going to explode.  PoI’s constancy is that it believes in the slow and steady build; once the pieces are properly placed, Nolan and Plageman fire their metaphorical guns rapidly shredding stability, and we the viewers are all the better for it.

Dear Laskey, your journey has ended.  It had a beginning, middle, and now the end.  You joined HR because you thought it meant loyalty; that’s how they got Fusco too.  You discovered it was all about greed and murder…and then you were murdered.  You went down fighting though – you went down as a cop. 

Terney, your journey too ended.  You first appeared in Ghosts, and it wasn’t until season 2 that your partnership with HR was revealed.  Your full evilness appeared as you planned to kill Carter but then lucked into having her framed for killing a CI, and you rolled from there; adaptation at its best.  In the end, you found some redemption, not much but it was something as you gave up Alonzo Quinn. 
Simmons will be in full destructive mode going forward.  Nobody will be safe.  Carter will be in his crosshairs, her son, and the Man in the Suit is clearly going to be in Simmons’ crosshairs.  The writer summed up Simmons in this simple statement:  “Call me when there’s bodies and money.”

Sean Hennen penned this episode.  He’s written five total:  Risk, Critical, Proteus, Liberty, and now The Perfect Mark.  In each of the episodes he finds small moments to let the episode breath while at the same time keeping you holding your breath waiting for a bit more, whether it’s Reese and Joan in the abandoned warehouse in Risk, or Reese and Carter at the café at the end of Critical, Reese and Finch at the end of Proteus pondering the storm on the horizon, or Reese and Finch at the end of Liberty tipping back a boilermaker as Finch worries about what’s coming, and then there’s the Perfect Mark, as Root and Finch talk in the library and she tells him that no one can stop what’s coming…

Just what does the Machine see?  Just what is coming?  For those who say they can’t wait…heed some advice Reese gave this past episode:  “Wait for it.”  It’ll be worth the wait.

PoI continues to brew up a strange, and yet tasty, blend of comfort and ease – Reese’s and Carter’s fist bump, Carter and Fusco staging a murder as if it was the norm:  “I’m going for a Hollow-Point Special kind of motif.”  –while at the same time serving up a story with twists and turns at every, well, turn.  Hayden is a grifter, he’s drawn the attention of HR,  who puts a hit out on him, and oops, his girlfriend, you know, the one who is the love of his life, the one who makes him want to be a better person, out-grifts him in the end, to the tune of 4.4 million. 

Jennifer Ferrin was channeling shades of Amy Acker in her performance of Natalie Boal.  There were little moments when the ‘Root’ music could have played almost as compellingly behind Ms. Boal.  She was disarmingly sweet with Hayden, but deliciously evil once the con was complete.  She didn’t even care to ‘hold’ the con.  Rather, she enjoyed letting him know he had been had.  Better run, dear, Simmons is about to meltdown.

I like how Caviezel subtly reminded us of Reese’s past as Hayden talked about Natalie.  It wasn’t overdone, just enough to remind us (well, me) of Jessica.

This episode was a great touch point for the season:  the team is established, they all work nicely together, even Root is behaving herself – she is likely mindful of the fact that John is upstairs with an unhealthy amount of weapons, but still, she’s biding her time politely.  So, now that we’re all cozy and happy, and Elias has served up a delicious red wine, it’s time for everything to explode apart and catapult us into the next great chapter that PoI has planned.

Who’s ready for more Elias?  Who’s ready for Scarface to return?  Who’s ready for Quinn and Simmons to get their comeuppance – and who really thinks it will go that easily?  Who’s ready for three more episodes in a row and then *gulp* hiatus?  (BTW, Futon Critic does show a projected date for the 12/17 episode without an “R” after it, so will we really get 11 episodes in this year leaving us with only 11 in the second half?  I don’t know, but as Reese says:  “Wait for it.”
As always, thanks for reading, Elle2
And, in case you missed it:  Jim Caviezel is up for a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic TV Actor.  So, PoI fans, do your part and vote.  Voting is open until December 5th.

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