No one likes a substitute teacher, and Harold (Michael Emerson) had to track down a potential teen, drug lord and hacker while trying to act as a math sub on this week’s episode of Person of Interest. I think we’ve seen this before on 21 Jump Street.
Back to School for Harold
At the episode’s beginning, Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson) is nervous as John Reese (Jim Caviezel) is placed in jail with other new convicts, but John quickly finds a phone in his cell and makes contact with Harold. With John out of commission, Harold limped out into the field, positioning himself as a substitute math teacher at Brooklyn Science. He singled out a seemingly average boy named Caleb for attention and struggled to adjust to the pace of high school life.
Drug Dealer and Hacker High
The principal scolded Harold for his teaching tactics, but another faculty member befriended him with a wink after the dressing down. Harold quickly realized that Caleb actually knew all of the answers to a recent test but chose to nearly fail. The boy later had a tense encounter with the school’s drug dealers, but Harold stepped in before blows were thrown. He watched as Caleb took particular interest in a computer science lecture on hacking and realized he was dealing with a genius coder.
Sly Carter chatted up an attractive guy at a bar and got into his car with him, only to take his DNA after he quickly passed out. Caleb, meanwhile, turned out to be the secret drug dealer at the school, according to Harold’s detective pal. Harold connected with Caleb by giving him some coding tips, but the boy soon found himself facing the gun of local drug lord Lorenzo, who was unhappy with Caleb stealing his business and gave him one day to turn over all of his profits.
Harold later spotted his new teacher buddy trying to sell sophisticated coding in a shady deal. True confession, I did throw my head back at this point and groan, “Oh my God, this is so boring!” But, for you, I hung in there, and struggled through a transit cop’s exposition about how Caleb watched his brother get hit by a train. With this backstory in place, the show had officially lost my interest.
And after the commercials … More scenes of people talking in hushed, urgent tones! Gah! Harold confronted the teacher, who, it turned out, was actually acting as an agent for Caleb, and he had proof that the deal was arranged to benefit Caleb and his mother. Harold tracked Caleb down in the subway. Any normal teenage boy would probably have been put off by Harold’s constant attention, but Caleb seemed to find it totally normal that this odd man would develop obsessive feelings about him. Anyway, Harold realized that Caleb intended to kill himself in the same way his brother had died, and he was able to talk him down. Crisis averted, and a lot of resources spent to prevent a teen suicide. Meh.
And Harold ultimately gave Caleb a note with his phone number encrypted in it, but he didn’t seem to find that creepy, either. Finally, just as it seemed that John would be released from jail, Carter was ordered to interrogate him. Intense glances were exchanged, and I was ready for bed.