Finished rewatching S2. S2 introduces remaining characters, Shaw, Greer and of course Bear, thus completing main heroes and villains.
HR plot was well done. It's brought forth after being a low burner in S1, seems destroyed only for us to see it's down but not out. I think show gave us real head of it too soon, reveal after he kills those two people would work better.
What show begins to show is how people will get mixed up in business with The Machine, even if they don't know it, and pay the rice for it. Donnelly and Szymanski were just doing their jobs and died because of it. OK, latter didn't get involved into The Machine's business per se, just got mixed in cases that were being solved by it. Donnelly is pretty tragic figure, he was tasked with capturing what was seen as very dangerous criminal with ties to intelligence black ops and organized crime only to realize person he trusted most betrayed him and was in fact aiding Man in the Suit. Same with Beecher, he simply got mixed up with Carter and then paid the price.
There are couple of (small?) inconsistencies with how The Machine works and how people perceive it as working. I've addressed the issue of giving out multiple numbers here
and why this is an issue in Masquerade.
Then in Prisoner Dilemma
Donnelly's number comes up, which is problematic. He wasn't specifically targeted, nor were there long term plans to do it. He was targeted and killed because he was transporting Reese (and Carter but she was of no interest to Stanton). Stanton didn't want to kill him specifically, he was simply in the way, had anybody else be driving the car that person would be in the way and they would die. Then in Proteus
Harold says had The Machine not been acting glitchy due to virus it would have given Fahey's number and they might have saved him. Except no, that wasn't planned either, Declan killed him simply because Fahey came to his place asking questions and he "had" to kill him to prevent being exposed. It was for all purposes crime spurred by moment and Harold states several times The Machine can't detect such crimes. It's of course possible Harold just made a slip of the tongue when complaining about The Machines behaviour.
We also get to learn about Ingram's passing, why Harold dropped off the face of the Earth, why he's staying away from Grace, his injuries and interest in irrelevant numbers. Just connecting the dots we got to see earlier.
I don't know why but for me Till Death
is one of funniest eps in the show. Reese: "Thanks for the help" Fusco: "Sure, I always wanted to be accessory to kidnapping." Carter: "Multiple
kidnappings!" Then Fusco's date shows up and everybody decides they need to be somewhere else. Reese: "Sometimes you need to break a few eggs to save lives." Carter: "I'm pretty sure that's not the saying." Fusco: "I always wear a vest around Mr. Happy."
Nice to see Fusco and Carter working together after they learn both are Team Machine. And while carter wants to know more about it Fusco adopts "the less I know about it the better for everybody" attitude. Can't really blame him.
I think most underappreciated plots are Harold dealing with his PTSD after being kidnapped by Root and warming up to Bear. None is done overnight and it's hard at first only to gain momentum until resolved. Very well done, IMO.
Also season introduces the concept of story stretched over several eps. Even if Shadow Box
and Prisoner Dilemma
are separated by 2πR
they are still one story as in 2πR
FBI are merely waiting for results and are not doing anything about men in the suits. Such storytelling is of course done in S3 with Endgame/The Crossing/Devil's Share
but tighter story.
People might disagree but I think S2 has worst finale of all seasons. I get the implications but compared to drama and tensions of other seasons it simply doesn't compare. While Reese and Shaw driving around the city saving numbers is nice comic relief overall ep lacks edge-of-the-seat suspense even S1 finale had with Reese trapped in a hotel. Compared to later finales it's even less tense. Not bad by itself, it's just that other finales set the bar so high this one simply doesn't measure.