Why Person Of Interest Should Be Next On Your Netflix List

16 08 2017

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As anyone who’s followed my page for a while knows, my classic bread-and-butter content focused on movie reviews (which I still do) and Person of Interest episode reviews (which are still up). The show may be officially completed, but I wrote one last POI article for creators.co here. Check it out, fellow TV fans.





“Terra Incognita” – Person of Interest Review (Season 4, Episode 20)

15 04 2015

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Detective Carter returned to POI tonight to deliver a stellar episode and make all of us fans have a good ugly cry. Seriously, was anyone prepared for those scenes of isolation and regret? “Terra Incognita” has been heavily advertised as being Taraji P. Henson‘s return, and while this might look like a ploy to boost ratings after her recent success on Empire, it’s clear that the writers had a very specific reason to bring Carter back. Her flashbacks made sense, because Reese as “Detective Riley” is trying to solve a case she worked on, but never solved.

As Reese progressed through the case, the scenes shifted seamlessly between his investigation and Carter’s, years before. The effect was well done and gave cohesion between the two timelines. In the end, the perpetrator’s reveal wasn’t much of a payoff, arriving at maybe the midpoint of the episode. Instead, Reese slowly bleeding out and/or freezing to death became the focus. And that’s where things went from good to mind-blowing, as Reese’s ongoing memory of him and Carter on a long-ago stakeout started to meld with the present.

One of this season’s many themes has been John Reese and his intentional isolation from those around him. Sure, he’s worked with them and shared one-liners, but as Carter says during one of many great moments, there’s friends you talk about the weather with, and friends you share life and feelings with. That’s not the exact quote, but my eyes were a little dusty at the time. Yes, John reveals to past/phantom Carter, his isolation came from the loss of someone he loved, but he ultimately reveals that his unwillingness to connect came before Jessica’s death, back to a battlefield where neither side made it out. Jim Caviezel and Taraji were on fire during that scene, and reminded us just how much the show lost when Henson left.

The last few minutes of her and Reese in the car, as he realizes he never opened up to her, and would never be able to, hit hard. He’d only be able to imagine what it would have been like, had he let her in during that stakeout. And then he almost died because he hadn’t opened up to anyone else. Dang, POI. Are we going to see a new side of Reese now, or are all these foreshadowing moments leading up to a very not asked for departure?

Who was in the car at the end coming to Reese? We’re to assume it’s Finch, Fusco or Root (maybe all of them, road-tripping). I doubt it’s Samaritan agents- there’s no reason they would be following “Detective Riley.” Maybe we’ll never know which member exactly saved John. That’s okay, because it wasn’t the point. The last line, “we made it,” then realizing that no, she didn’t, and he never had that conversation with her, hit hard. This is the Person of Interest that we stick around for. Now go share your feelings with someone.

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“And that’s how I got involved with a hip-hop empire!”

Points of Interest:

1. Fusco can’t catch a break. Bring delicious hot dogs for your stakeout friends; get nothing but hate. Root, on the other hand, can be a runaway bride with a giant burrito, and everyone loves her.

2. We need more near-death experiences, just so we can have more dead characters reappear.

3. I really hope this isn’t the last we see of new Carter material. It’s still a shame that the show lost her. Maybe they’ll have something whenever the show nears its final few episodes.

4. So. Many. Feels. Seriously, I couldn’t ask for a better range of emotions from any show than I got from this hour. Period.

5. Nolan called this episode “the calm before the storm” in an interview. After a week’s break (ugh) we’re going to most likely get a crazy two-part season finale, and if it’s like any of the others, some characters won’t make it through.

Final Score:

POI five bear





“Search & Destroy” – Person of Interest Review (Season 4, Episode 19)

8 04 2015

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“A CEO’s Worst Day Ever” would have been an appropriate title for this week’s Person of Interest. Seriously, imagine what the president of Sony went through with losing millions on a cancelled movie release and security breach, and then add a few more layers of suck. At least they didn’t lose (SPOILERS) their marriage, house, and ultimately life. Yep, “Search & Destroy” turned out to be a prophetic name for this hour, as Samaritan hunted Khan (Aasif Mandvi), a CEO of a security company for asking the wrong questions. First though, the AI systematically ruins his life in front of the whole world through leaks and hacking. Don’t worry though, Team Machine is on the job- no wait he ran off at the end and got himself killed by Greer. Finch and Reese haven’t caught a break lately, have they?

A lot of pieces were set in motion over the hour. Martine reappeared for the first time after (not really) taking out Shaw. Old Man Greer decides now’s as good a time as any to sick his crazy chick on the Machine’s crazier chick (more on that below), and Zoe Morgan (!) returned to the team after getting hired for damage control on Khan’s company. Not to repeat myself too much from earlier reviews, but gosh it’s fun to watch her and Reese interact inside their odd relationship. Their quick exchange about his new obsession with red-headed therapists was entertaining yet darkly foreboding. “You know these things end, John.” Are we being set up for another betrayal/death/both? Even Batman Reese can only take so much drama.

Easily my favorite part of the episode was what I’d like to call the family dinner scene. Finch, Root, Reese making awkward conversation while eating Chinese takeout with an unconscious POI was gold, not to mention their bored facial expressions to his terrified panic. It was a fun scene in a mostly serious hour.

The Root vs. Martine fight was an unexpected treat even if it didn’t come close to the coolness of their hotel lobby shootout. It was a little convenient for them both to be out of bullets, but it gave them a chance to fight without their AI’s aiming for them. The choreography worked well, yet I feel as if they could have gone a bit grittier and darker since it was a more intimate fight. I mean, Root was totally choking Martine to death. There should have been more emotion there.

All around, this was a solid Person of Interest episode that focused on an interesting number while advancing the Samaritan plot towards the finale. Samaritan actually on the path to discover The Machine’s location effectively raised the stakes, and don’t forget about the bio-chips storyline being picked up again. Will we see all Samaritan operatives linked up to the AI like robots? Will Shaw return a season (or two if you believe interviews) later as a completely brainwashed Samaritan asset?

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Just don’t hit any bumps, or it’ll go all ruh-roh.

Points of Interest:

1. “I didn’t know this was Zoe Morgan bad.” – I like how they already knew about her.

2. “Shotgun.” – A terrible pun that somehow sounded BA.

3. Favorite quote- “Wanna blow his mind and tell him there’s two AI’s?!” – Root

4. I think it’s safe to say the Dominic vs. Elias war will transfer over to season 5. That’s probably a good thing, since there’s a good bit of ground to cover still with Samaritan if we’re going to get any sort of resolution.

5. How about that preview? What the crap is going on with Carter’s supposedly resolved murder case? Who is Reese meeting? Would Taraji P. Henson appear as Carter in a flashback, or is this the season’s biggest twist yet?

Final Score:

POI four bear





How Can Person of Interest’s Season 4 Succeed?

17 09 2014

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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…

 

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“Last Call” – Person of Interest Review (Episode 15, Season 3)

26 02 2014

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Welcome back, POI! The Olympics were great and all, but I was seriously needing my kneecap-shooting fix from TV, and figure skating just wasn’t doing it for me. I think we fans can agree that there have been far too many Person of Interest reruns this year, especially since it should be in full swing. Luckily, the programming lords have smiled down on us again and generously offered us a new number. This time, it’s a 911 operator, which already sounds better than the the generic Ms. Gymnastics-Master-Thief from the last new episode. Unlike “Provenance,” “Last Call” managed to keep my interest thanks to a premise and pacing that made this feel more like a thriller movie than an hour of television. The plot was still somewhat theatrical, but it still seemed more grounded in reality thanks to less glossing over plot holes by the writers. It was suspenseful watching a tech master criminal (let’s call him Evil Finch since we have no name) pulling all the strings to control the operator, and then disappearing into thin air. With all the technological tricks he used, there’s a chance he was never in New York City at all. To be honest I was surprised that they introduced a new recurring villain so soon, unless of course he’s just there to take Root’s old spot (hacker nemesis for Finch).

Apparently Fusco (Kevin Chapman) is getting a new partner, and although they were featured in a sizable side story, I’m still not really sure what I think of him or what kind of character he’ll be. Right now he just seems kind of bland, but hey it’s just his first time! Anyway, Fusco has to have someone to talk to in the station, now that Carter is gone from that setting. Speaking of missing girl power, where has Root (Amy Acker) been these last three episodes? Here’s hoping we’ll see her crazy face next time!

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Points of Interest

1. Nice trap by Finch in the generator room. If it was Shaw, I think she would have dropped the wire in the water anyway.

2. It was weird getting introduced to Fusco’s new partner and not having to worry if he was with HR or not, wasn’t it?

3. How cold do you have to be to strap a time bomb to a kid, and then just walk away like you just preset the oven? Geez. Also, why blow him up? Aren’t there other less expensive ways that don’t depend on a timer?

4. Overall, I was relieved that this episode was up to par, although I am still curious as to what the writers are going to do with the main story arcs.

Final Score:

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“Provenance” Person of Interest Review (Episode 14, Season 3)

5 02 2014

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If Reese is Person of Interest‘s  Batman, than we just met Catwoman. The show returns to the number-of-the-week formula with “Provenance,’ with this POI being China’s version of the master burglar- all the way down to the flashy back flips and tight black clothing. She seems to have a thing for art pieces that have deep historical and cultural significance, but as it turns out, she and her daughter are actually the ones under threat. This leads to a heist-style episode reminiscent of the Ocean’s movies- except with the POI crew teamed up with Catwoman. So, this was obviously a slam-dunk  episode with that setup, right? (Sighs) No.

As with any television show, there are numerous directors and writers working on different episodes out of necessity. Usually this isn’t an issue (especially with this show), but then there are the days that it stands out like a sore thumb. I wanted to like this episode, but gosh some parts were so sloppily written. It’s like the writer just couldn’t be bothered to go more in-depth. Why were there random poles on the ceiling in the super-secure room that appeared to serve no physical purpose other than an easy entrance for, I don’t know, an ex-gymnast? (the show writer just winks). Once she got into the cage, how did she get out in mere seconds, while holding a giant Bible? It must have been awesome, but too bad they couldn’t show how. But, my main beef came when Reese shows up on the other side of the world easily rescuing Catwoman’s daughter from her handlers. If it was that easy, why the heck could they not have just done that at the beginning, and saved a ton of time and effort?

I don’t think these basic points are nit-picking. Normally this is an intelligent show with sharp writing, so parts like these are pretty hard to swallow. Has the fantastic last 5 episodes spoiled me? Maybe, but of course they all can’t be like the “Endgame” trilogy of episodes or even the great two-parter with Samaritan. Usually these procedural episodes are fun to watch, but I was hoping for a little more effort, especially since they haven’t been airing new ones lately (no new episode next week either).

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Sarah Shahi “updating her arsenal”

Points of Interest:

1. All critiques aside, there were still a lot of humorous moment that I enjoyed, mainly with Shaw (see above) or Fusco and his descent into heist jobs.

2. This was the second episode in a row to have a break from Root’s side plot. Anyone wondering what that crazy gal’s up to?

3. Will Catwoman become a recurring character like Leon ( Ken Leung )from Season 2? I guess we’ll see.

4. It’s safe to say that even a weaker Person of Interest episode is still better than most of those other shows out there (no bias here!)

5. It’s good to have Jim Caviezel back on the team, isn’t it? Also, very nice gesture towards Carter at the end. We miss you, Taraji!

Final Score:

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“The Devil’s Share”- Person of Interest Review (Episode 10)

27 11 2013

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This week Person of Interest came back with a vengeance, as it dealt with the fallout from (SPOILER ALERT) Detective Carter’s (Taraji P. Henson) death last episode. Each of the four remaining team members (I’m not counting Root as one yet) starred in their own flashback segments, showing their different ways to deal with grief. I enjoyed the Fusco (Kevin Chapman) and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) moments the most, since they really dug into what makes each character tick (not to mention Shaw being a doctor, what?). And then we saw how each member planned to avenge Carter- or more specifically what they planned to do with (ex) Officer Simmons (Robert John Burke). (Hint: half of them wanted him to have a very violent end).

“The Devil’s Share” was not a typical POI episode in any sense, but then, this has been a standout story arc- we had several important characters die, including the first death out of the original four. HR, who has been a main antagonist since the pilot episode, has once and for all been toppled, and this had been building up for the entire season at the very least. So maybe a typical “number” episode would have felt out of place, even inappropriate given the enormity of the previous events.

Fusco and Reese (Jim Caviezel) stole the episode with their very different expressions of loss and choices that ultimately paid tribute to her character and what she accomplished. I do admit I always thought it would be Reese who took down Simmons in a fight, but honestly Fusco had just as much right after all the torture Simmons had put him through. A close second place goes to Root (Amy Acker) and her gleeful moments connected to The Machine. What is her deal? Whose side is she on? It should be interesting to see where her relationship with both The Machine and the numbers crew goes, but we’ll have to wait till next year to find out. All in all, this hour (and story arc) proved that Person of Interest can stand on equal footing with other serialized television when it chooses to go that route.

Someone wasn’t careful with that bowl of tomato soup.

Points of Interest

1. Root and Fusco in the back seat was hilarious, as was the multi-knee shootout. At least Bear likes her now, right?

2. Speaking of Root, there’s no way she’s going to be that handy each episode. They can’t have an omniscient guide every mission.

3. Reese had quite the Batman moment in the safe house, didn’t he? Hiding in the dark and blinding them like a boss.

4. It’s going to be weird the next few Carter-less episodes. She’s definitely going to leave a void, at least for a while.

5. Elias’ moment at the end perfectly summed up why I love his character- his comment about him liking Carter was humorous, but then he dived into a chilling monologue about why people like her had to be decent, while he (and Simmons) didn’t have to be. “I’m just going to watch” was a great line.

Final Score:

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