“Panopticon”- Person of Interest Review- (Season 4, Episode1)

24 09 2014

POI banner

After a long summer’s worth of waiting, the numbers have finally come back. Person of Interest returned tonight with their Season 4 premiere, and all I can say is it’s nice to have this Tuesday night void filled again. However, this episode started out by reminding us that things have changed, with the agents of Samaritan prowling around with their newly gained authority. Even the transitions between scenes has been updated from The Machine’s point of view to Samaritan’s. Team Machine is back, but they’ve been assigned new lives in order to blend in. Some are appropriate- Harold as a professor and John as a cop- but Shaw as a perfume salesperson is played more for its absurd comic value. Fusco is still a detective, and that made me realize that I sometimes forget that he doesn’t know about The Machine, so of course he doesn’t have to hide. Could I throw a theory out there that maybe this season he’ll finally find out the truth about their source of knowledge?

The indication is that possibly a few months have passed since the events of the season 3 finale (does Samaritan’s interface have a date section? I didn’t notice one). So basically, tonight’s new number, an Egyptian store owner, is the first one since The Machine lost to Samaritan. As far as numbers go, it was another interesting story, but this blog has always been more about the serialized events of the show. And the serialized game was strong indeed tonight. It looks like this show has changed for the long haul once again.

My two favorite new developments was (A) Reese becoming Fusco’s new partner, and (B) Elias’ potential new role. First of all, it’s fair to say we’ll be seeing more of Fusco, which is always a good thing for his character. And I totally predicted Elias would have a bigger role this season due to his ability to work under the radar. The only question now is if he can be trusted for a whole season (probably not). Whichever path, it’s a treat to see Enrico Colantoni enjoying his role so much. All in all, this was a solid premiere that shows fresh potential for POI‘s fourth season.


Chess does not suit Bear.


Points of Interest:

1.  “Hello, John.” Haha YES.

2. How about Reese taking Carter’s old desk? That moment had so many emotions.

3. Why didn’t Bear get a new identity? That’d be so awesome, just to see his picture change each time.

4. Did anyone catch the throwback moment to the show’s pilot? “You can’t hold a gun like that.” Also, the mask and grenade launcher.

5. This is already a memorable season. Here’s to keeping up the pace!


Final Score:

POI four bear


The Maze Runner- Review

23 09 2014


Disclaimer: I have not read The Maze Runner series. I vaguely remember seeing them at Barnes And Noble. At least I won’t be all like, “The book was soooo much better.”Also, spoilers.

Anyway, back on track to this week’s review of The Maze Runner. First of all, it wins our “Most Descriptive Title” award, as 100% of the movie occurs inside or within sight of the titular maze of doom. I liked that. It helped maintain the tone of the film all the way through by keeping the feeling of entrapment and mystery ever-present. The pacing was also well-done. In the first act, things go quite slowly, but this allows the initial shock of being put in that situation, with its own foreign culture, to really sink in. I remember thinking just how little ground had been covered, but then things really started to pick up and never slowed down (more on that later). In short, the story was engaging, and I didn’t get that feeling that there were a lot of things left out, like with some other books-turned-movies (I’m looking at you, first Hunger Games).



When that one girl comes into math class.

THAT SAID, I felt sort of lost (hah!) at the ending, which seemed overly twisty for its own good. The villainous group’s scheme seems on the surface to be dumbly extravagant at best. Surely there could have been a more cost-effective way to measure stress on children? The world couldn’t be that dire if random companies can still have the manpower and financing to build gigantic, mechanized concrete mazes in the middle of the desert. Also, it didn’t appear that any of the subjects were even immune to the virus at all, and wasn’t that the whole point of what made them special? Ben sure wasn’t special (too soon?). Virus? Sure. Sun burning the world? Well, Al Gore warned us. But watching boys build their own culture in a multimillion facility in what must have taken at least a decade to put together, all to figure out how to save the world from a virus? Huh. I suppose it’s rationalized later in the books, but for now it’s hard to ignore. Not that this is any fault of the movie, only the source material. Before any book-readers post below, let me say again that I’m sure it makes perfect sense later.


Still makes more sense then the ending!


Finally, let’s end on a high note and talk about characters/acting. I feel like the movie successfully helped me distinguish between all the important people, which is sort of noteworthy when everyone’s a bro in a maze, except for the one girl. On that note, I hope that Kaya Scodelario’s character Teresa gets some more time in the spotlight in the sequels, as she proved herself quite deserving of the role. Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Ki Hong Lee (Minho), and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt) were also convincing.  Gally (Will Poulter) and Chuck (Blake Cooper) could have worked better for me, but they felt the most one-dimensional out of the characters. I blame the filmmakers for that though, and yes they were still memorable, even if their ends were telegraphed from the first few scenes.

All in all, I’d call this a more memorable entry into the young adult novel movies (sorry, Divergent). I’m glad to hear the sequel has been announced for next year. In the meantime, I’ve got some reading to do.

Kaya Scodel Dylan Obrien

Hiding in the corn- worst idea ever.

How Can Person of Interest’s Season 4 Succeed?

17 09 2014

Banner POI Reese Shaw Root Finch Season Four

In one week, Person of Interest returns with its fourth season, but fans will know this time things are not the same. One of the biggest villains in the show’s rogues gallery, Decima, successfully convinced the government to adopt a new machine in last season’s finale. Since this Machine (called Samaritan) is a bit more hateful than Finch’s creation, the entire USA has become a sort of Orwellian nightmare of hyper-surveillance. Team Machine only survived because of some brand-new identities that Samaritan has been hard-coded to overlook (thanks to Root, because who else?). They’ve (sorta) officially disbanded the team and quit taking numbers, but of course that won’t last too long since CBS doesn’t want to end its show just yet. That said, Season 3 got a lot of things right, and a few things not-so-right (just look at some particularly vocal commentators on Facebook). So, like any fan with a blog, I decided to throw my wish list out there for Season 4, with the end goal being enough ratings for Season 5…


Keep balancing the serialized with the procedural

Jonathan Nolan has stated numerous times that The X-Files was one of the inspirations for the show’s structure. That is, there’s a crazy, evolving mythology with a main story (or stories) that connect the episodes, but also every hour there is a smaller case of the week. That’s awesome to me, because some shows burn through story so fast the latter seasons really go off the deep end or just starts repeating themes. Mixing the serialized and procedural storytelling helps even it out, and most shows haven’t been able to pull it off like POI has. Some fans have voiced concerns over too much extra big-picture story arcs and recurring characters, but honestly I think Season 3 balanced things nicely. Keep it there. And, keep putting some love into the weekly stories.

Finch and Reese time

One of the main reasons Person of Interest originally took off was how well Finch (Michael Emerson) and Reese (Jim Caviezel) work together as leads. Lately, they just haven’t had that much quality time together. Their characters naturally play off each other, so why not a mission where they aren’t split up, like in the old days?

Ease off  a bit on Root 

Yeah, I get that Root is a favorite of the writers, and some fans. Heck, does any guy not have a little crush on Amy Acker? However, since becoming Cyborg Root and in constant contact with The Machine, she’s become way too much of a crutch for the show to get out of rough situations. Basically, she’s way overpowered and stifles any sense of danger. Have her do her own thing- “Root Cause” was a great episode. But she doesn’t have to take center stage every other scene. I’d say out of all of the members of Team Machine, she overwhelms the scene/dialogue/fight the most. It’s not the Root show (see above).

Team Machine relational twists and turns? Please no.

Okay, let me start by saying I thought the kiss between Reese and Carter (Taraji Henson) was a little out of left field, but I didn’t let that spoil my day. That said, a lot of people hated that non-scripted addition (thanks Jim Caviezel) because they thought it was out of character, and it weirded out the team dynamic right at the end of her run. Everyone knows the audience generally loses interest after the will they/won’t they couple finally gets together (see The Office). I don’t want to see any more random pairings with other team members, please (including Root and Shaw). These are characters who are supposed to be borderline psychotic (Root), already in love (Finch), or just incapable of emotion (Shaw). We really don’t want to see another moment that changes what the show has already established. If anything, maybe a Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy flirty pal relationship could work between them, but gosh how long did the show take to continually show how incapable of emotion Shaw is?

Elias’ Return

This is self-explanatory. Elias was the first Big Bad, and he’s been rebuilding his empire in the background. He’d be great as a friend-enemy of Team Machine, depending if he still feels he owes them something. If an uneasy ally, he could help them stay undetected from Decima.


What do you think? Am I off base here, or would this be a dream come true for you? Either way, you can bet I’ll be watching the premiere next Tuesday…