“Allegiance” – Person of Interest Review (Episode 18, Season 3)

26 03 2014

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Once Person of Interest gets on the track to the finale, you should expect every episode to tie in somehow and raise the stakes. This was certainly true for “Allegiance,” which followed Maria Martinez, a government contractor who has something to do with missing cooling generators. Because I know how the writers like to guide us towards the finale, my very first thought when I saw “Cooling Generators Missing” was Decima and their construction of Samaritan. Turns out my hunch was right, but the appeal of this episode was by no means tied to that twist.

It’s not like Decima came in unexpectedly either- our favorite cute psychopath/new good girl Root (Amy Acker) was stalking Greer (John Nolan, yes Christopher’s uncle) from the beginning of the episode till the end. When she finally teamed up with Bear (best duo ever!) and cornered him, he made an interesting case for her to join him. Root seemed to contemplate the offer, which seemed a little odd since Decima Tech’s whole goal is to control or shut down The Machine. This scene sort of echoed last week’s encounter between Vigilance and Shaw, when Collier asked Shaw if she wanted to join their cause (that didn’t turn out too well for them). Are the writers just trying to pair the heroes up with their own nemeses, or are is there a chance somebody’s allegiances could actually change?

Anyway, I found the number of the week’s story to be interesting but a little overly complicated. With just 45-50 minutes of run time, it can be hard to pack so many twists and characters into an episode without feeling too busy. Normally POI handles this quite capably, but this time it was all a little much, and I’m still not sure what the French Legionnaire were really doing in the mix. That said, the later scene between Fusco (Kevin Chapman)and Shaw (Sarah Shahi)at the restaurant was almost touching as we saw a rare sweet moment from Fusco. Also, the fight scene where Reese (Jim Caviezel) goes all Batman and jumps out a window? Awesome sauce.

 

fireman jim caviezel chapman

The fire drill takes a dark turn.

 

Points of Interest:

1. Speaking of the land on a car moment, this is why Batman has a cape for gliding.

2. Best exchange- “Stop blowing the fire horn, Fusco.” “I’ve wanted to drive one of these since I was a kid.”

3. For you sharp eyed people, yes, Maria Martinez was one of the names in last episode’s list of targets, if Samaritan were to go online. Her probability of death was around 80%. Case solved, I guess.

4. Part of me is hoping Samaritan gets turned on, just so we can see two AI’s go at it. I’m not even sure what that would look like…

5. I’m pretty sure the UN’s security is a little tighter than letting someone fire two smoke grenades through a window. But hey, it’s Shaw.

 

Final Score:

POI three half bear

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“/” – Person of Interest Review (Episode 17, Season 3)

19 03 2014

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“/” has also been labeled “Root Path” on other sources, but honestly they could have just called it “Root Episode” or even “Root Becomes a Cyborg” if they were feeling cute. Person of Interest definitely enjoys mixing up the formula unexpectedly (such as last week’s episode that occurred all in the past), and this week started with an example of just what Root (Amy Acker) has been up to these past few weeks. She’s become quite efficient with her link to The Machine, as each mission seems completely random or coincidental in its plan, but is obviously being controlled by the artificial intelligence behemoth. But when her mission sparks an Irrelevant number, Finch (Michael Emerson) and crew have to decide how to handle her, or if that’s even possible anymore. She decides to stay solo, until both Decima and Vigilance crash the party. It turns out that janitor whose number came up is a pretty important guy, and Greer (John Nolan) and his Decima Tech have figured out a nifty way to cut The Machine’s link to Root. What’s a reformed(?) psycho hacker killer to do? Short answer- learn how to play nice with Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch, and maybe also get a surgical implant that will permanently keep her in tune with The Machine. Yep, Root’s sort of a cyborg now.

There were some great story developments and character moments in this episode. Unfortunately Decima Tech stole the key piece of hardware for their Samaritan AI, which if completed would place all of the main characters in immediate peril (do I smell a season finale?). Just as game-changing, however, was Root and Finch’s  little heart-to-heart in the Finch Cave. I suppose the main question is if she was manipulating him or if she really does feel deep regret for past actions. I’m pretty sure her protectiveness of Finch isn’t a show at the very least. He ultimately suggested they collaborate a bit more, which is probably a good idea, with her being so omniscient now and everything. Is there really a choice at this point? Anyway, if it keeps Amy Acker around longer, I’m on board.

I can’t wait to see where they go from here. Root’s now almost unstoppable, so the writers obviously have to keep her away from NYC for some of the time, or else Finch and Reese’s job just got super simple. She has the closest thing to superpowers that this show will have (even with Batman Reese), so they would have to curb her abilities somehow if she ever becomes a full-fledged member of the team.

Amy Acker / Root Path POI

Computer Class 101.

Points of Interest:

1. Fusco’s nicknames for different people are always a highlight. “Coco Puffs” for Root is probably one of my favorites.

2. I love how Person of Interest‘s show runners alter the opening when it suits the episode, from rewinding in last week’s flashback episode to Root taking over narration this week. Not every show adds these extra touches, and it’s pretty classy.

3. There were a lot of funny quotes this hour, with one standout being Reese’s “I think she likes you, Finch.” Also, Shaw’s little adventure with Vigilance proved humorous somehow as well.

4.   Seriously, this show has one of the best rogue’s galleries on TV. You never know which complex villain will resurface, whether a faction baddie like Vigilance and Decima Tech or a grayer villain like Elias or Root. Or is Root even a villain anymore?

5. What do you think- can we trust the new-ish Root? Comment away!

Final Score:

POI four half bear





“RAM” – Person of Interest Review (Episode 16, Season 3)

5 03 2014

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“RAM” was a juicy piece of red meat for fans who have followed POI since the beginning. Flashbacks, cameos, and intriguing revelations all played out in an hour that reminded me why I enjoy this show so much. “RAM” (Random Access Memory) was an appropriate title, since the entire episode (minus the last couple of minutes) was set in 2010.  What happened in 2010? It’s more like what DIDN’T happen in 2010. We got to see almost everyone (sorry NYPD) in their earlier stages- Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Kara (Annie Parisse!) are still hunting down targets for the CIA, Control is pulling all the strings, and Finch (Michael Emerson) has a different man in a suit working for him. Oh, and the POI is a hacker that managed to get in the back door of The Machine. So yeah, all crazy good stuff.

It really seemed like the more interesting character was not the POI but Mr. Dillinger, the pre-Reese, if you will. He was definitely the jerk version of Reese, but it was fun seeing how different his methods were, and how they usually worked. However, he clearly did not fit the hero mold, taking kill shots instead of kneecaps and using manipulation to achieve his personal goals. I thought he might turn into a sort of recurring character or even villain, until he double-crossed Finch and ended up getting shot by a Northern Lights operative named…Shaw.

There were several big moments for the whole POI mythology here. One was the answer as to why part of The Machine’s code was sold to the Chinese, and why Reese and Kara were burned by their handlers. The second was when Finch chose Reese to be his next assistant. Finally, Root (Amy Acker) made her return appearance at the very end, and confirmed a rumor going around that The Machine is assembling some sort of secondary team. Apparently the hacker from 2010 is to go to Columbia to join the hacker Jason Greenfield, who was rescued by Root in an earlier episode. Why is The Machine gathering computer guys? Stay tuned!

 

Kara Stanton Caviezel

How about we go to Arby’s for once?

Points of Interest:

1. The only thing that could have made this episode better would have been a Carter appearance. I know that she wouldn’t have fit in with the plot (at least at that point in history), but wouldn’t it have been cool to see her show up briefly at one of the crime scenes?

2. I admit I barely noticed Shaw was absent until about 10 minutes left, right before she showed up and demolished everything and everyone. Dang, good thing she didn’t see Harold, or she would have cancelled Person of Interest before it began.

3. I love how Bear got an under-the-table reference with Dillinger’s suggestion that Harold get a dog. Finch’s silent reaction was priceless.

4. Things are finally picking up steam again, and CBS decides to just rerun next week?! For shame!

5. Kara was darkly funny the whole hour. I’m glad she didn’t have time to use Mr. Piggy the hammer.

Final Score:

POI four half bear





Non-Stop Review

4 03 2014

Liam Neeson

Joining the ranks of movies that dampen the public’s love of flying, Non-Stop reminds us that, even in a plane, Liam Neeson can still thrash people while maintaining his charming Irish accent. It’s an action/suspense movie that has managed to give Liam yet another week in the top box office position (the first being his role as Bad Cop in The Lego Movie). So does this flight take off or does it leave us all feeling like we just ate Delta Airline’s idea of a meal?

Bad Cop Liam Neeson Bill

Bad Cop in a Plane!

Federal air marshall Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) gets contacted over text by a mysterious person, who threatens to kill one passenger every 20 minutes unless 150 million dollars are transferred to a specific bank account (yes, we see stop watches continually throughout the movie). From that setup, it’s off  to a pleasantly well-done game of cat and mouse with a strong whodunnit feel. The majority of movie plays off the question, how would you find a silent killer in a crowded plane? Could it be  that passenger, the pilots, the crew, or that little girl with her teddy bear? And is Julianne Moore‘s character Jen Summers helping or thwarting his efforts?

Bill Marks Nancy

Discussing in-flight meals.

My only complaint about the movie would be the final 15-20 minutes. We finally realize what’s going one, but then the movie goes to crazy town and never quite leaves. Of course, I’m giving it a small pass since this is partly an action movie, but after the relatively quiet tension of the rest of the movie, it just feels a little too bombastic. That said, my favorite Liam Neeson moment was in the finale, where he straight-up Liam Neesons someone in the coolest way possible. My theater applauded, and Liam’s name became a verb for epic take-downs. It is interesting how Liam Neeson almost seems to have his own genre at this point, but that’s not a bad thing.

Professor Trelawney

Julianne does her best Professor Trelawney impersonation.

I would place this as the finale of Liam Neeson’s unofficial action trilogy- Taken, Unknown, and now Non-Stop (Taken 2 never happened). While it does dial back on Liam Neeson-ing thugs, the suspense was enough to keep me focused the whole movie.  If either of those earlier movies brought you joy, than now is the time to buy your ticket, post-haste!

Liam Neeson sign

This billboard is Liam Neesoning this building.