Don't give me love, don't give me faith
Wisdom nor pride, give innocence instead
Don't give me love, I've had my share
Beauty nor rest, give me truth instead
- The Crow, The Owl, The Dove - Nightwish
Back when he was a CIA operative, his codename was the Crow because of his deadly precision and his sheer endurance to survive amongst carnage. Reese learned early on that at Langley, life was defined as you vs them. When you were on the other side, there was no one to save you. Conventional rules held no bearing when your goal was survival, so Reese learned to extricate himself away from compassion and humanity - factors which hindered the success of mission parameters.
The cold seeped through his well-worn suit and jacket but he hardened himself against feeling at all. With his cuffed hands, he struggled and pulled against his metal confines. One ... two... three – he tugged hard again and again. The handcuffs cut into his wrists but blood refused to flow. He allowed himself a cry of anguish but it was nothing compared to the desperate lamentations of innocence lost reverberating around him.
He had been hanging by the tethers when in the midst of the chaos came Finch with his owl-like intelligence and sharp eyes. Reese was given a renewed sense of purpose but at a cost. He had to delve back into the shadows of his past and emerged as a bearer of bad omen. Because if he or Finch were to fail, there would be consequences. Carter wasn't too far from the truth when she said, "Whenever you show up, trouble is just around the corner."
When he finally freed himself from that blasted pipe, he immediately wrapped himself around Leila but anybody with sense would have told him that he had little warmth to provide.
Stanton had not been wrong when she said that they were the dark. In some Greek myths, crows' feathers were once white until they were cursed by the fury of Apollo. Those precious few who knew the full extent of Reese's past would know that the seemingly opaque armour was suppressing a mass of shimmering anger. But Joss Carter wasn't one of those people and on her volition, she extended to him an olive branch and let him go at that parking garage. A sense of peace descended upon them.
He cradled Leila closer to his suits; her cries had muted. The continuous blinking from the baby monitor mocked his deal with Elias. In a moment of clarity, he knew. He saw the inscription frequently back when he walked the halls of the CIA building – John 8:32 - Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
We wouldn't harm a child but then, I knew you wouldn't either.
That time when they saved Elias' life, Finch wisely counseled patience. The Machine only generated nine digits. With that limited information, mistakes were only inevitable. But Reese was part of a different echelon who saw the world in shades of good people vs good decisions.
I had to give up the safe house to save the baby. I had no choice. We lost the kid.
John had once envisioned a future with Jessica and 2.5 children, but his line of work then and now had trapped him in a metaphorical prison of darkness until very little of him was left.
But Finch saw what others thought was beyond redemption - Reese would trade away his own salvation if it meant that others had a chance to experience love, to believe in faith, to seek wisdom and to live in a world of peace that good cops like Carter strive for.