“Sotto Voce” – Person of Interest Review (Season 5, Episode 9)

31 05 2016

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Did CBS mix up episodes, and give us the series finale of Person of Interest? The return and downfall of a long-forgotten nemesis, Fusco finding out everything, Shaw returning, Elias being a BA  character again, and the final shot of our group, finally back together again, at the place where Finch and Reese began it all on the pilot episode (the feels!). It would have been the finale of any other network show, but POI doesn’t play by those rules. We still have four episodes left, and I would be shocked if we have that same number of Team Machine people left by the end.

This began like a normal number-of-the-week episode, to my initial disappointment. It’s the last five episodes, and we gotta crank it up past the procedural parts. And that’s when we find out the writers brought back “The Voice,” a villain from waaay back in Season 3. At the time, most people thought he was going to be the newest addition to the show’s rogue gallery, but he never showed up again in any way. I appreciate the writers picking up this hanging thread for a massive payoff hour- everything in the second of the episode was outstanding television. The crazy firefight, tearing the precinct apart. The huge (and clever) reveal of the villain, and the even more unexpected fireball that ended it all, compliments of Elias. It was immensely satisfying.

I appreciated how everyone’s gut instinct this time was Samaritan, since not thinking of that possibility automatically was a small criticism I had on an earlier episode. And then, the show flipped those expectations by not even having Samaritan involved at all. That’s not to say there wasn’t any forward movement with Samaritan- Shaw actually did escape, and is taking out operatives one by one. She’s still understandably confused. There were some nice callbacks to her simulation episode, and I am relieved that (so far)  Root and Shaw’s real reunion has traded over the top nonsense for actual character moments.

Speaking of character moments, I was seriously afraid for both Fusco and Elias this time. We’ve been promised major deaths before everything’s over, and the show runners haven’t been afraid to break hearts before. Instead, we got the best partner moments Reese and Fusco have had, with an all-out war on their own turf, and Reese finally trusting him enough to bring him in on the truth. Elias also was in top form, showing the power he can still weld, only this time working side by side with Finch. All in all, everyone’s stories worked well, bringing everyone back together for final ride.

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The Voice seems to have his own singing contest, too!

Points of Interest:

  • Fusco’s finally in, guys! Only took ’em five seasons to trust the guy, but it was one heck of a payoff.
  • I’d watch a spinoff show, just starring Finch and Elias. Or Elias and Reese. Or Elias and anybody on the show. I’d also watch a Fusco show, in the style of Columbo.
  • Can we appreciate how this show cares enough that we went back to that bridge location from the pilot? It was a mix of nostalgia and a display of how much this show has evolved from that moment.
  • Four episodes left.

Final Score:

POI five bear





“A More Perfect Union”/”QSO”/”Reassortment”- Person of Interest Review (Season 5, Episodes 6,7,8)

26 05 2016

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Three episodes of Person of Interest in 24 hours is a bit much for one tired individual to review separately, so this week I’m giving a Super Combo Special of all three, bundled in one post!

“A More Perfect Union” had Reese, Finch, and Root helping out an unlikable bride and her filthy rich, unlikable family of horse owners. Mostly, this hour played for laughs, with lots of one-liners (that sometimes fell flat), crazy Root moments (which are fun to watch, because Amy Acker), and “stripper police,” which was only funny because of how uncomfortable Reese was the entire time. And dear gosh, Finch’s song. I don’t know whose idea it was to have Finch sing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in an Irish accent awkwardly in front of everyone at a posh wedding, but I want to shake their hand and thank them for possibly the funniest Finch moment.

On the other side of the silliness, Fusco tried to track down the unknown threat with Bruce’s help. Unfortunately, all this added on a very dark note when he found ALL of his missing persons dead in a pile in the basement of a condemned building, and he almost died in the explosions himself. This was very different in tone from the wedding main story, and goes to show how bipolar these writers can be (but that’s not a bad thing). So long, Krupa and Bruce, we hardly knew you. Oh, did we mention that Shaw finally met the creepy (and sort of cheesy) Samaritan kid Gabriel in another simulation. ‘Cuz that happened too. She should have drop kicked him off that tower.

 

Final Score:

POI four bear

Next, “QSO” mostly served as a spotlight episode for Root, showing her continuing attempts to find Shaw, as well as another zany set of new identities including ballerina (“Marry me!”), historical actor, to producer for a conspiracy radio talk show host Max (AKA Scott Adsit from 30 Rock). Once the cutesy identity changing was over, things went south quickly for those involved. Seeing Samaritan fake a suicide call (on air!) to the radio station, using someone Max knew, when the “caller” was actually already murdered, was maybe the creepiest thing we’ve seen Samaritan do. You could feel Max’s terror and desperation when he heard his own “voice” encouraging an innocent to kill themselves on live radio. Chilling stuff to think about. Ultimately, he gave up his safety trying to tell the truth about Samaritan’s code on his show, but sadly this proved to be a pointless attempt as his own secretary killed him on his own show. Oh, and Fusco spent the majority of the time in the hospital recovering, only to (justly) get upset with Finch for not sharing secrets and quit Team Machine. Dark episode, great drama.

It wasn’t all Debbie Downers, though. Max’s face when Reese rescued him was priceless, so shocked that everything he crazily believed in was true. Also, Shaw may have gotten duped into killing a scientist in a fake simulation (a realimation?, but she did manage to hear Root’s message before she killed herself.

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That moment when you wish those theories weren’t actually true.

Final Score:

POI four half bear

 

And last but not least, all virus hell broke loose in a hospital from an infected number in “Reassortment.” For being a potentially devastating virus, and a jerk Samaritan mole destroying the local vaccines, there actually was not that much fallout here. New Samaritan recruit Jeff Blackwell (remember him, painting?) made a welcome appearance, and may have tried to kill people for his own protection, but seems to be having second thoughts. Since he’s been getting so much focus lately, I’m hoping he’ll be part of the way they take on Samaritan later.

Shaw’s side story was more interesting, as she finally breaks out of her prison- for real this time! I appreciated the Total Recall throwback in the final Lambert/Shaw confrontation. He made a valiant effort to convince her she was in another simulation, but unfortunately she decided to open her can of whoop-ass on him, anyway. RIP Lambert, you jerk British Samaritan agent, you.

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Fighting disease, the Dr. Reese way.

Final Score:

POI four bear

Summary:

  • Really only the first episode seemed like a number of the week- the second and third definitely tied more into the big picture. Hopefully they’ll get more and more focused on the endgame, as there are only FIVE EPISODES left, ever.
  • Fusco’s story through these three episodes was great. I really thought Finch or Reese would finally tell him the truth about the AI war, but they didn’t. And he finally got tired of the supposed disrespect and lack of trust (I’m kind of on his side here), and quit Team Machine. He even threw away his police officer bobble head with the camera inside. THE FEELS. That thing’s been around since season 1! Get it out of the trash can, now!! I’m sure he’ll be back (thanks, trailer), but really somebody tell this guy what’s going on- we’re past protecting him with ignorance.
  • Shaw also had a fantastic plot line throughout these three- Samaritan cleverly trying to woo her to their side, her almost giving up but hearing Root’s message, and finally her taking control and escaping. I would like to see how she possible put that sink perfectly back on the wall, though. The South Africa twist caught me by surprise, but that’s obviously not going to keep her away from New York City for long.

 

 

 

 





“ShotSeeker”- Person of Interest Review (Season 5, Episode 6)

20 05 2016

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After last week’s roller coaster Shaw-centric episode, “ShotSeeker” was a return to form for Person of Interest, as we got a number of the week, computer battles, and a twist that was my favorite development so far this season. Spoilers, ye be warned.

First, the number’s profession (using technology to detect gunshots in the city) was highly appropriate for the show. In a way, this was the human version of The Machine. They listened with sensors and microphones throughout the city, looking for crime in ways normal cops on patrol couldn’t. The guy himself probably won’t be in the Hall of Fame for Most Interesting Numbers, but at least he was trying to do the right thing by investigating an obvious error in reporting a (probable) murder.

My main criticism of this hour was how long it took Team Machine to catch on to Samaritan’s presence here. Honestly, there were so any digital red flags that surely Root or Finch might have at least thought of the possibility, considering their whole lives lately have been focused on fighting Samaritan’s influence. Between guessing this twist and the whole simulation twist last week’s, the writers have dropped the “surprise” ball lately. It also doesn’t help that CBS constantly spoils surprises and announces upcoming twists, all through their marketing. So, thanks for that.

BUT. ELIAS IS BACK, HOW ABOUT THAT JUNK?! Not only is he alive, but he’s been hidden by Finch and Reese and Fusco this whole time, making my wildest hopes for my favorite character’s return come true. Elias has been around since like episode 3- he’s the biggest side character this show has got, not to mention the first heavyweight villain they faced.  Enrico Colantoni‘s  character has gone from nemesis, to frenemy, to ally, to dependent, giving Root a run for her money on the development side. Whether he’s offing other crime heads or making pasta, Enrico also nails the presentation of everyone’s favorite mob boss. I expected he might return from the shadows, given the position of his shot, but did not expect Fusco and company to be the ones to cover it up.

Speaking of Fusco, this was definitely a high point for him. His speech to the other officers about finding Reese was soaked in loyalty and emotion, and he nailed it. It’s past time for him to learn what really is going on, but hey, at least Reese finally thanked him! The Fusconator definitely earned that much respect.

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I’ll have the “Man in the Suit” style cut.

Points of Interest:

  • What role will Elias play in the last few episodes? Somehow, he has to contribute to taking down Samaritan I’m assuming, because why else bring him back (besides him being an awesome part of the show?)
  • If Fusco gets killed off, I’ll be depressed. If Fusco meets his end before finding out what he’s been helping do this whole time, I’ll be pissed.
  • Anyone still loving the ominous Finch/Greer opening titles? Some shows don’t contribute this level of effort. Dang, last season.

 

Final Score:

POI four bear

 





“6,741”- Person of Interest Review (Season 5, Episode 4)

17 05 2016

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An alternative title for this episode could have been “Fan Service For All You Shippers,” so hopefully you all are happy with Root and Shaw’s scene. As someone who never watched this show for the relationships (besides the tragic ones), I mostly just waited for the cheesy one-liners and awkwardness to end. Why awkward?

Person Of Interest has always distanced itself from other shows by not getting mucked up in random network sex scenes, so for some it was weird to see (help me if I’m forgetting) the first sex scene between main characters on the show. It screamed fan service, and honestly it fell flat for me.

Now before I offend people who love the couple, let me offend everyone else by saying the episode overall felt like a different show. It was darker (suicide, execution), more violent, erotic (according to Michael Emerson’s Twitter, hah!), and had glaring plot holes/reality jumps. Shaw initiating and being googly eyed about the relationship? All we had was a grudging farewell kiss. Tumbling around hours after getting head surgery in a subway? Yeah, not buying that. Lame lines delivered by the normally fascinating Root? Disappointing. BUT…

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Shaw, please don’t shoot the real us.

…It was all a dream! Honestly, this was a relief more for the above reasons then the death of Shaw, Greer, and maybe Reese. All of a sudden, it made sense. The off-kilter episode was intentionally so- even the intro was missing- to reflect the skewed reality, created by Samaritan. This boosted the past hour for me, but ultimately was not enough to give it flying colors.

Yes, it’s good to see Shaw again. And of course, the action scenes were great, and Root’s face when Shaw shoots herself brought massive feels. However, “it was all a dream” endings lost their punch for me after seeing them for the fourth or fifth time in a show/movie/book, and this was rather telegraphed, unless you think they could continue the next 9 episodes without Reese, Greer or Shaw. The good thing is, if you liked this episode, great, but if you didn’t enjoy this one, pretend it never happened. Because it didn’t, really, not even 6,742 times.

Points of Interest:

  • Where’s the Fusconator?! So much hate.
  • This did interest me into how the actual Shaw reunion will go. Obviously, it will be different, but in what ways?
  • The rest of this final season will probably affect my view of this episode, but for now, I’m tired and grumpy.

 

Final Score:

POI two half bear





“Truth Be Told”- Person of Interest Review (Season 5, Episode 3)

12 05 2016

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The final season of Person of Interest continues with one more look into Reese’s dark CIA days, but this time it’s with a little magic from Keith David, master of the cool voice. His guest role as Terrance Beale, Reese’s old boss’ boss, was menacing but layered, and makes me wish they had offered him the role seasons ago as a recurring character. The ending did leave them on surprisingly cordial terms, so perhaps he might return before the end?

Obviously there was some retconning here- we’ve never heard Beale’s name before, but honestly I didn’t care. Any new stories from Reese’s past are fine with me. I also loved how we got some more Kara Stanton (Annie Parisse) bits. They may have blown up a great character in season 3, but she’s definitely gotten an abundance of mileage out of flashbacks, and honestly it helps add to her mystique- always in the past, deceased in the present.

Technically Root and Shaw’s malware discovery was the only real advance in the war against Samaritan this hour, unless we see David Keith return in some way. I didn’t get a screen shot of of The Machine’s cryptic poem, so I’m not sure what to really make of it. Does it really have to do with wanting Samaritan’s malware code? Will we be seeing it adapt to be more like Samaritan? Will it combine with Samaritan? Will we hopefully never see that awful Samaritan kid again?!

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Reese, doing Reese things.

Main reason I enjoyed this episode? I like Reese. He’s always been a reliable character, played expertly by Jim Caviezel, and he just didn’t get as much love in season 4 with Root and other characters becoming more prominent. So this increased focus on him has been great- the more knee shots, hushed voice, and tortured soul, the better. Obviously Shaw will get her moment, but for the first few episodes, it’s been a nice return to original form.

Points of Interest:

  • Just saying, Root definitely puts more enthusiasm into her cover jobs than Reese does. She’s been a bear, bride,  and delivery person, yet somehow Reese always gets away with a suit.
  • I guess you could call this a lighter episode with the overall story, but I’m fine with a classic number episode with character backstory. This was the foundation that built this POI house.
  • Not to be that guy, but anyone have any guesses on who will actually make it through this season alive? I’m going with Reese, Root, and Fusco. And Bear. Obviously Bear.

 

Final Score:

POI four bear





“SNAFU”- Person of Interest Review (Season 5, Episode 2)

11 05 2016

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Two episodes in two days puts a strain on blogging- I’m writing as a fan, but I’m also not getting paid for this. Anyway, “Truth Be Told”s review will be up tomorrow, but I’d be remiss if we skipped over the gem of “SNAFU.”

This was unquestionably one of the funniest episodes to date, which is saying a lot with Person of Interest. The intro with all the character roles switched was fantastic. Jim Caviezel playing Fusco and Root playing everyone were great, and demand a rewatch later. So many other bits were scattered through the hour. Rooming with Root. Reese and Finch’s fist bump right before they perform a heist. Reese telling a kid to go to school, then to his room. The picnic at the end with Girl Scout Root and Bowler Reese? Perfect. Hopefully we’ll be getting a nice bowling scene with Reese and the Fusconator later.

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It doesn’t really get better than this.

However, “SNAFU” also contained some introspective moments for the series. Are our “heroes” really the good guys? Obviously they are now, but The Machine’s montage highlighted the darkness behind them, and how rules have been bent. It reinforced the show’s theme of redemption- Root, Reese, Fusco, and even Elias (however little) have all gone through transformations into better people.

I love how Finch used the numbers as an reference point for The Machine (I guess this AI didn’t come with a clock app?). POI started as a case-of-the-week type show, and slowly became more serialized, but the writers have made sure that the numbers matter- whether they become recurring characters (Zoey, that Pi guy), or moments like this. It’s satisfying storytelling.

If memory serves, POI enjoys putting us in our happy place, lulling us before pulling the rug out from underneath with some shocking development or twist. Enjoy this past episode, because we might be falling back into the sorrow pit in a couple weeks.

Points of Interest:

  • Will Finch ever reunite with Grace? The increased focus on her is nice, but it’d be tragic if they never end up together- it’s been one of my favorite ongoing story lines.
  • Maybe we should tell Fusco what’s going on, before he kills himself.
  • “I taught The Machine what it meant to be good, by being good.” (puts on ski mask)
  • Guys what are we gonna do when this show is over and there’s no new episodes?

Final Score:

POI four half bear

 





“B.S.O.D”- Person of Interest Review (Season 5, Episode 1)

4 05 2016

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Now that is how you kick off a final season. Endless action, pulsing music, faces from the past and one long chase with Samaritan spooks in suits. Picking up almost right after last year’s finale (how did they get past that last group of operatives?), we got one of the best openings of the show (besides that Johnny Cash one). Reese taking out assassins while protecting their Machine-in-a-Briefcase. Root being BA. Harold donning a crazy hat. All this was happening in a world fully controlled by an AI who can activate assets anywhere, anytime.

I want to highlight how great Root’s subway car scene was, because it was there that we really saw how powerful Samaritan had become. It was downright creepy to see how it could alert and turn security guards and regular citizens against targets, never mind ordinary agents. Then, she pulls a Batman and steals a shotgun from the officer, because of course she does.

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Buckle up!

My favorite part of the show was how it brought back familiar faces in Harold’s flashbacks. How long has it been since we saw Nathan Ingram or Grace? This show always has handled flashbacks well, showing both great character moments and still tying in to the episode’s theme. Here, we got to see just how close The Machine and Harold were at the beginning, before he erased its memories. Of course, we know that eventually it found a way to reboot those memories each day manually (that’s a whole other story in a different season), but just imagine what it could have been without those restrictions. What will it look like this season, with Harold inevitably rebuilding it without those? Obviously, Michael Emerson nailed the emotion here with his conflict and instant regret, as this could have come across as a silly scene without his presence.

We didn’t see Greer, Control (if she’s still alive), or Shaw, but that’s just as well. We needed to see just how serious a threat Samaritan has become, and too many other story lines would have gotten in the way. We did get to see good character moments with Fusco’s inner conflict, and I really enjoyed seeing Reese and Root actually caring about the others safety, since in the past they’ve been less than cordial.

Overall, the show successfully got us back in the war, and set up an exciting new season. I would have liked to see how they got out of that near-hopeless firefight from last season, but I suppose I can deal with it, thanks to everything else that was great in this hour. At this rate, it’s going to be a short, sweet final season.

Points of Interest:

  • How long before Fusco gets in real trouble? It’s about time to at least warn him. They’re past protecting him from the truth.
  • Dang, so Elias is really dead. I was holding out hope, since it didn’t seem to hit any vitals. Gonna miss you, you crazy kingpin. You deserved a bigger sendoff.
  • If this is how they kick off the season, I can’t imagine how they’re gonna end it.
  • Check out POI Writer’s Twitter account- they’ve got awesome real life examples of things in the show, such as the nitrogen in NY, the forgotten subway station, and the Pentagon actually building a supercomputer with game consoles.

Final Score:

POI four bear