“Pretenders” – Person of Interest Review (Season 4, Episode 6)

29 10 2014

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Tonight’s Person of Interest featured Gordon and Batman…sort of. There have been multiple comparisons before between Batman and Reese,  and this episode’s POI would have loved to be Commissioner Gordon. His glasses, mustache, hair and trench coat were much too close to be coincidental (not to mention the whole “You guys are like superheroes!” line). However, the comparisons may stop there because this guy was only pretending to be a detective, had no combat skills, and actually deduced the real identity of The Man in the Suit (sorry, Gordon, but how could you not guess Bruce Wayne?). He is on a hunt for the killer of a co-worker’s brother, which leads him into hot water with an increasing number of bad people who end up being tied to The Brotherhood- and Elias.

Yep, Elias wants everyone to know he’s back, and he finally meets Dominic to let him know how things work in his New York City. Dominic, who apparently hasn’t watched Season 1, replied with his own threats, and it doesn’t take a Machine to figure out the mess this is going to create. I really like how the writers are setting up a large-scale gang war between Elias and The Brotherhood. A huge part of the earlier POI seasons was the threat of the criminal underworld in the city, but that’s been overshadowed by the whole AI battle lately. Of course I’ve enjoyed the whole Samaritan and Control story arc, but you’ve got to love the complicated character of Elias. He’s undeniably the best villain in Person of Interest‘s rogues gallery (back in Season 2 you could argue Root, but that’s out the window now). Is he still a threat? Yes, I believe tonight proved that he still could be, and he loves his snipers. Here’s hoping he’ll be around for a while longer though, since Enrico Colantoni is always a treat to watch. This episode showed how the show can balance both worlds and their conflicts without skipping a beat.

Finally, we had Finch go to Hong Kong for a business trip for his cover job. Besides adding some dialogue about ethics and AI’s, until the last few minutes this seemed like a completely random event to show, and the seemingly random scientist who argued with Finch didn’t help either. What really threw me off was how flirty he seemed at first- what would Grace say?! However, once the twist was revealed that Finch actually paid the man who stole her laptop and bag it all made sense. I definitely thought she was bad with all the screen time they gave her, but I didn’t expect Finch to already be two steps ahead. Did he finally talk to The Machine after last week’s ending? It could explain how he knew about Samaritan’s attempts to spread worldwide. Either way, between Grace and his moments with the Samaritan woman this week and Root last week, Finch has become a player, huh?

 

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It’s about to get like Chicago…

 

Points of Interest:

1. No sign of Root tonight, but after her huge role last week she deserved a break.

2. How butt-kickin’ awesome was it to have Scarface fight alongside Reese and Fusco?!

3.  So many twists in the last few minutes, it’s highly possible I forgot to mention one. But that’s what I love about this show- just when you think the episode’s over, ALL the plot twists!

4. Lots of humor this week, from Shaw calling Reese a baby to the fake detective’s ridiculous fanboy dialogue. “How do you do that with your voice?”

5. The OK first half of the hour is the only reason this one’s getting four Bears and not five. Even if he did eat his breakfast.

 

Final Score:

POI four bear





“Prophets” – Person of Interest Review (Season 4, Episode 05)

22 10 2014

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Tonight showed why Person of Interest is arguably the best network show out there. We got some giant character payoff moments, an escalating cold war, and a climatic fight that surely satisfied all the fans out there. First off, Jason Ritter guest-starred on “Prophets,” and he kicked it as a campaign manager who wasn’t sure who or what was targeting him and the rigged election. His character could have easily come across as an unlikable know-it-all, but instead I found it easy to sympathize with him as he struggled and ultimately failed to get the truth out into the public. How about Samaritan moving all the pieces around in the government? Creepy little AI.

On the serialized side, it was really Root and Finch’s episode. The whole scene with them talking about The Machine while hacking/researching together was satisfying. While I was pretty sure Root wouldn’t get knocked off that quickly without warning, Root’s death wish conversation later with Finch successfully upped the tension going into that awesome fight with Martine. Apparently Martine is a Terminator, by the way. I’m hoping they’ll give her more acting opportunities, but at least she has the combat down.

Reese was a little more in the background compared to other episodes, but boy did he make those scenes count. It does make sense that a cop with that much shooting history would be assigned a therapist though. I really enjoyed how we got some deep perspective into what drives Reese and Root to do what they do (in separate scenes).

Finally, we get some flashbacks! We got to see Nathan and Finch trying to instill some morality into The Machine (all 43 AI’s of it), which appropriately fit the episode. It was also a little startling, seeing an early version of The Machine trying to kill or lie to Finch. Not a bad commentary on AI in general. Will Finch embrace his “conscience of The Machine” role?  He better, because Samaritan and Greer aren’t messing around.

 

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Fears loud noises, bananas.

 

Points of Interest:

1. Kind of over all this “shipping” encouragement with Root/Shaw, mmkay? We get it.

2. The whole cyborg women duel on two levels? That was pretty awesome.

3.  More Nathan flashbacks! Always fun to watch Brett Cullen.

4. The season has effectively shown how a machine like Samaritan could effectively recruit its own henchman in a few episodes now. It’s a cool concept, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some of them (especially Claire) reappear later.

5. Could we be heading to another midseason death shocker? They certainly were laying the ominousness thick towards the end…my money would be on Shaw or Root if that were to happen.

 

Final Score:

POI four half bear





“Brotherhood” – Person of Interest Review (Season 4, Episode 4)

21 10 2014

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Leave it to Person of Interest to throw in a jarring twist at the last possible moment. The real Dominic revealing himself, while brutally point-blanking the crooked DEA lady instantly bumped the episode’s score for me. What added to the impact was just how hopeful and straightforward the hour was looking to be, and then we’re given a new villain who just may undo all that good. Will this hour’s teen return in future episodes as a Brotherhood foot soldier, or will they even tell us his ultimate choice? Either way, I give kudos to the writers for sobering us up a little at the end.

Besides the Dominic setup, “Brotherhood” was a fairly standard, but enjoyable, episode. I was a little frustrated that Reese of all people didn’t at least suspect the DEA mole, especially after no backup arrived. Perhaps that was the show’s way of distracting us from the real twist at the end. I am glad, however, that they picked the gang back up from this season’s premiere. It’ll be interesting how threatening a street gang will be, given the current rogue’s gallery of Samaritan, Control and possibly Elias.

Speaking of Elias, Enrico Colantoni continues to deliver all the right notes. His parts with Finch in the subway were perfect because they revealed a little bit of friction and ended with an ambivalent tone. Will Elias discover what’s going on with Samaritan? What if he finds out Finch created a different Machine before? I’d really like to see him reemerge as a top threat. As fun as it has been to see him and Team Machine cooperate out of mutual benefit, we’ve already seen one recurring villain go to the light side (Root), and maybe some characters more interesting as antagonists. If Elias learns how to stay a step ahead of the surveillance entities, it could help complete his rise to dominance.

 

Jim Caviezel Reese

Points of Interest:

1. I’m still hoping we’ll see that trouble student POI from the “Nautilus” episode. It’d be cool to see her surface as Samaritan’s version of Root.

2. Speaking of a rogue’s gallery, what happened to that unseen “Voice Villain” from last season who threatened Harold at the end of the 911 call center episode? If they’re going to not continue villains, I wish they wouldn’t leave it open-ended in the first place.

3.  Is everyone still enjoying all the extra Fusco/Reese team-up moments? For some reason I just love this buddy cop development.

4. No Root tonight, and that’s okay with me. Again, I feel like she’s best used sparingly for a stronger effect.

5. The fact that this was my least favorite episode of the season so far shows how strong Season 4 has been thus far. Cheers!

 

Final Score:

POI four bear





“Wingman” – Person of Interest Review (Season 4, Episode 3)

20 10 2014

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(First of all, sorry for these delayed reviews, as I’ve literally been out of the country. Secondly, I was planning on doing a combined review of this episode and the next, but after finishing the first hour, I decided it completely deserved its own review. So as of this writing, I have not yet seen “Brotherhood.”)

“Wingman” is basically Person of Interest‘s gift to Fusco fans who think he’s sometimes underused. He’s a great character- going from dirty cop henchman to comic relief to a goofy yet endearing three-dimensional member of the team. Kevin Chapman also happens to be a hilarious guy (just check out any behind-the-scenes content), so it’s only fair to give him an episode where he takes the spotlight.

This hour showed that POI‘s fourth season still knows its roots. “Wingman” is largely a standalone episode, following their classic number of the week formula. Fusco taking on a dating coach? Count me in. His interactions with Andre were awesome (“What’s wrong with a track suit?”).  Also, Reese and Fusco finally get their buddy-cop episode. However, on top of the solid, character-driven hour were some overall developments- mainly introducing a new police captain (Monique Gabriela Curnen). Nolan fans my know her as Detective Ramirez from The Dark Knight, and while that’s cool enough, her character Captain Moreno seems like a welcome addition. Will she stay on the side or become a bigger player?

Finally, I have to mention Mr. Egret. All I can say is I hope they bring back that alter identity for Finch back at some point, since Michael Emerson rocked that role. Also, it helped Team Machine obtain some serious loot.

Kevin Chapman POI

Ladies…

 

Points of Interest:

1. “Those shoes make you look like a cop.” – Andre

2. Did anyone pick up on Fusco mentioning his girlfriend Rhonda from season 2? That was a nice nod for a character that basically disappeared. I found some info on why she was canned, on IGN here. Anyway, nice Easter egg.

3. “I have only two modes, calm and furious.”

4. What ARE they going to use the rocket on?

5. Overall, this was a solid hour, not a filler.

 

Final Score:

POI four half bear





“The Equalizer” – 2014 Movie Review

3 10 2014

Denzel in Rain

Imagine if Denzel Washington decided to star in a combination of Taken and Home Alone, threw in elements of his more butt-kickin’ films, and then made sure it earned a hard R rating. The suave, yet mangled body of justice that would be this creation is The Equalizer.

 

Csokas Teddy

Teddy and his cannon fodder crew.

Marton Csokas as the villain “Teddy” (or Nicolai) is despicable. I’m never completely sold on Chloë Grace Moretz, but her sympathetic portrayal of a troubled (maybe underage?) girl stuck in a prostitution ring did draw me in more than I expected. Since her character is essentially the catalyst to Robert’s return to vindictive violence, it’s a good thing this role displayed some of her better work.

Teri

Inadvertently the cause of so many deaths…

Nothing ground-breaking here, but if you’re a Denzel fan, you’ll enjoy the film.

Robert Teddy marton

Robert deciding on the most creative way to kill this fool.





“Nautilus” – Person of Interest Review (Season 4, Episode 2)

1 10 2014

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Just when you think the writers can’t keep a show fresh in its fourth season, they give us an episode like “Nautilus.” With the premiere out of the way, I expected more of a standalone number story, and at first it appeared to be the case. The POI was a college student who’s caught up in some shadowy game that’s played through cracking codes, hacking, and going to special locations. This provided a satisfying side of mystery to the hour, and that would have been enough, but then the bomb dropped that Samaritan was the game maker?! Not only that, it was using the “game” to take out a potential rival AI, while recruiting the winner as a new asset. So that’s when Team Machine got there just in time and kept her from making the wrong decision. Or, not this time. Twist number 2: this week’s person of interest ended up becoming an ally of Samaritan. Will we see her again? Will she be an antagonist, or is this just showing how vast Samaritan’s methods are?

I actually enjoyed this more than the premiere because I wasn’t expecting it to tie in to the larger story, and it also reinforced that  Samaritan will be a threat for more than just the opening episodes. For the story, that’s a great thing. All the developments- the new intro, permanent covers, limitations on resources, and overall dystopian tone- have added a lot to this season already. Not to mention the kickin’ new base of operations revealed this episode- I loved the library but the station is legit.  Next up- start a revolution. So far, so good for Season Four.

Shaw, enjoying not selling perfume.

Shaw, enjoying not selling perfume.

Points of Interest:

1. Fusco and Reese becoming work partners was a great idea. Their interactions with the code-cracking and assigning more work were some of the funniest moments.

2. It appears that Root has the most vocational freedom out of the team, but honestly I’m not sure what her assignment actually is.

3. I appreciated how the bulk of the hour followed Reese and Finch. Shaw and the rest still had their moments, but it was good to see them working solely together for a good bit again. They’re still the backbone of the show.

4. It really does look like we’re building up to an eventual Machine vs. Samaritan throw-down, but that sounds more like finale material.

5.  The nautilus game may have been deadly and morally questionable, but it was pretty cool, no? Not that I would have even cleared stage 1…

 

Final Score:

POI four half bear