Person of Interest delivers a dark, weird, soon-to-be-cult-favorite episode

Last night's Person of Interest has already become a fan favorite, and when you watch it you'll see why. It has all the ingredients of a cult episode: Intense actorly scenes where two characters (Carter and Reese) reveal their inner souls, a goofy subplot with Fusco rescuing a supermodel, and Finch in a SWAT outfit making plans to bust Reese out of the clink. Plus, the Machine gets more involved with Finch than ever.

Spoilers ahead!

OK, first the serious stuff. The Fed who has been tracking "the man in the suit" has Reese and three other suspects in USA-PATRIOT-style lockup, with no phone calls and indefinite detention. (Note: Even though it seems unrealistic, this is in fact something that government agents can really do to people if they are suspected terrorists.) Carter, with her background in interrogation, is assigned to grill all the guys until the true man in the suit stands up. She breaks them down bit by bit, and each of the three guys eventually reveals that he's an evil mercenary assigned to do something evil at the bank that blew up.

And then there's the amazing dance of reveal-don't-reveal she plays with Reese. His cover identity is fairly airtight, and is also close enough to his real identity that when he starts talking about his past as a soldier we know he's telling pretty much the truth. We find out about how sad he was when he had to kill people, as Finch races to fill in every piece of background detail that Reese makes up. Carter has to pretend to really be interrogating Reese, Reese has to pretend to be another guy, and Finch is freaking out in Carter's earbud (which is actually the Fed's earbud that Finch has hacked into).

In between interrogations, Reese meets up with Elias in the prison exercise yard. Elias is all smiles and gives him some protection while he's in jail — after all, he'd still like to hire Reese, and besides Finch is his favorite chess partner. Great to see Elias, however briefly.

The interrogations make for a pretty tense/great series of scenes, and we can see Carter and Reese gaining more respect for each other as the dance goes on. Meanwhile, we also get a bunch of flashbacks to Reese and Stanton's last CIA job in China, where they were both ordered to kill each other. This prepares us for Stanton's eventual return at the end of the episode.

But first! Zaniness with Finch and Fusco! So every time we have an arc episode, Person of Interest reminds us that the numbers march on. Finch is busy with his job filling the internet with lies about Reese's background (apparently the only background checks that the Feds can do are Google searches — or maybe Bing searches?). So he hands off the number of the week to Fusco, and Fusco agrees to take the job after he sees that he'll be protecting a gorgeous supermodel from the mob.

So in between the tense interrogations, we get these little snippets of what's happening to Fusco. He's rescuing Supermodel from machine gun fire! She's falling in love with him! She kisses him goodbye! Meanwhile, Fusco looks completely floored by the whole thing, and it's incredibly amusing to imagine him having this crazy adventure while everybody else is being super serious and thinking deep thoughts about their PTSD from the CIA.

Finally, Fusco's lady friend is safe and Carter's machinations get Reese out of prison. And then — why????? — Carter and Reese do the stupidest thing ever and go for a walk together. Which of course the Fed sees them doing, because he's like the only smart, non-corrupt government agent on the entire show. So he captures them and is taking them back to prison when Finch starts getting calls from every payphone he passes on the street. It's the Machine, who has figured out that the Fed is in danger and wants to warn Finch with the Fed's social security number. This is one of the very few times that the Machine has just come forward and intervened in an ongoing event like this — no doubt it's partly because Reese is directly involved. Anyway, Finch figures out the number, and quickly calls the Fed on his cell phone to warn him — but it's too late.

A truck plows into the Fed's car, wrecking everybody inside it. And guess whose perfectly-shod feet show up next to the upsidown car windows as the Fed and Reese are coming back to consciousness? It's Stanton! She shoots the Fed, and then injects Reese with sleepy juice. We don't see what happens to Carter.

Things are about to get seriously freaky. I can't wait.