Person of Interest: Trojan Horse

“We just picked a fight with The People’s Republic of China.”

The writers pretty much dumped every plot thread and recurring baddy they had into this episode. The result was a massive knot, nearly impossible to untie. It remained only marginally engaging and I’m not going to deny I spent a good portion of the episode incredibly confused. And yes, I watched it twice.

For the first time ever, I think the writers tried to cram too much into one episode. It left them little time to establish what needed establishing. A lot of the exposition was delivered via clunky dialogue uncharacteristic of the show. Establishing shots were nanoseconds long. I had to rewind three times to catch the name on Finch’s Rylatech ID (it was Harold Starling). Person of Interest is a show that prides itself on treating its viewers like adults. This episode treated us like Mensa members.

Let’s begin with the portion of the episode that did not make me want to rip my hair out in frustration. The weekly person of interest story was well done, but I couldn’t escape the feeling we’ve been here before. The story seemed like a combination of “Risk” and “The Fix.” I was excited to see Traci Thoms (Cold Case, Rent), but that excitement was considerably dampened when the episode did not coalesce into a chorus of “Take Me or Leave Me” or “Tango: Maureen.”

This episode wanted to provide an ‘everything comes together’ moment, but instead it just felt jumbled. Elias, Quinn, Greer, and Shaw all made appearances this week. Elias and Quinn remain on opposite sides of the field: Elias’s operation and HR are still at odds, as was made obvious by Elias selling out HR to Beecher. Greer is working for/with something called Decima Technologies, which is targeting the Machine and also spying on US interests via Rylatech. Shaw has tentatively signed up with our dynamic duo. She’s curious to know what’s going on and Root seems to be her first point of inquiry. That means we’re getting more Amy Acker before season’s end, right? Please say yes.

The whole thing with Shaw just confused the heck out of me. Reese was stalking her late partner’s family in hopes he would find her. And then she shows up at the library with Cole’s obituary. I think the gist was that Finch had planted the obit to make Cole’s parents feel better and give them a sense of closure. I really wish they’d spent more time on this and made it clearer.

I’m also confused on the Greer/China connection. It’s clear Greer is giving some information to the Chinese, but Finch indicated he was keeping the lion’s share for himself. This has something to do with Reese and Stanton’s mission to China last season, right? The one that was supposed to kill them?

I was also hoping the Szymanski plot would finally resolve itself and it did, to a point. We now have proof positive that Beecher was just a patsy being manipulated by Quinn. Of course, that proof is Beecher’s corpse, which isn’t great. I was going to say I couldn’t believe Quinn would sentence his own godson to death, but then I thought about it for half a second. Of course he would. That man is full-on evil. Beecher had grown on me, but the show hadn’t invested quite enough time in him to make his death really hurt. I felt for poor Carter, though. And the score when she discovers his body was really beautiful; it gave me goosebumps.

Bits and Pieces:

Between Elias’s last appearance on PoI and this one, I watched Veronica Mars. Needless to say, I find Elias less threatening than ever. Apologies to Mr. Colantoni.

They’ve used that location under the bridge before in “Foe,” season 1.

I was extremely relieved when a computer under Finch’s jurisdiction caught fire. I had a laptop catch fire on me once. I’m not even kidding.

My viewing experience of this episode was interrupted as a large spider was crawling towards me across my bed. It was...unpleasant.

Monica leaves with an interview at IFT Technologies, Finch and Ingram’s company. When’s the last time he didn’t hire the weekly person of interest? Get your life put at risk, get a job. In this economy, not a bad deal.


“Identify any potential threats?
“So far, just overwork and the consumption of raw seafood.”
Apparently Finch does not like sushi. Neither do I.

“Martin, I’ve worked for you for ten years.”
“Then you can afford a good lawyer.”

“See, I think you know something you don’t even know you know, which means you’re playing a chess game of your own, detective. You just don’t realize it yet.”

“Who are you?”
“Right now, an easy target.”

“You think I should have a hobby. Now what would that be? Hanging around a derelict library with you, your poorly socialized guard dog, and Bear here?”
Epic line.

“Is this your hobby? Running a halfway house for retired assassins?”
Pretty much.

Finch to Bear after he failed to attack Shaw. Love it.

“Wait, so you’re not an IT guy?”
“Not in any traditional sense.”
You know, that’s exactly what Finch is.

“I shall do everything in my power to determine his identity and render him irrelevant.”
Interesting word choice. Coincidence or does Greer know about the irrelevant list?

I have to go with two out of four unresolved plotlines for this one; hopefully they’re just setting up for a kickass end of season
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


celticmarc said...

A huge smile on my face for...the personal anecdotes within your review, making it ever MORE fun to read.

I understand your frustration with this one and yes, I watched it twice too. (Personally, had to, because since I'm moving out soon, I removed my sound system to the TV, so therefore not listening with my usual earphones but to the TV speakers, not too loud though to disturb the neighbors.) (So I missed a few good lines.)

“Traitor.” Pure gem.

And now I understand the necessity of a cooling fan for any laptop. And I still freak out when I see someone on TV putting a laptop on their bed. Argh. Josie, you've been warned.

Josie Kafka said...

I had to rewind three times to catch the name on Finch’s Rylatech ID (it was Harold Starling).

Me too!

And here's my related rant:

Dear TV Makers,

Some of us don't have big-screen TVs. Some of us don't have fancy TVs with zoom functions. Some of us spilled something on our DVR remotes, so it only works 1/3 of the time, which makes pausing and rewinding an exercise in futility.

Yeah, I'm talking to you, PoI. And to you, Bates Motel with all your shots of phone texts that I can't read at all! That's right, I'm talkin' to you!

Calmer now.

I agree, sunbunny, that this was a really weird episode. It felt like a lot of setup for something, but I'm not sure what. (Aside from, obviously, the upcoming finale.) Especially since we don't get the next episode until April 18th.

Marc, don't worry: I don't laptop in bed.

Nick said...

Woah, looks like I'm the odd one out here this time in liking this episode. Considering how too many of the previous ones were a bit too standalone-y for me, I really liked that this one finally tried to put the bigger story on track (although I agree it was kinda rushed at the latter end of the episode, which is probably why you felt it was crammed).

For some reason I don't find it too hard to follow. Decima probably had something to do with the mission Reese and Stanton was sent to China for, so they got lucky when Stanton survived - and they managed to turn her. They also seem to want to reach/infect the machine for some reason, and are using China as a front for their shenanigans so that the country takes the biggest share of the blame.

Like you I think they just rushed the Shaw parts so they could include her in the episode (likely a set-up for next time). It wasn't confusing for me, but it didn't do much for me either.

And can someone explain to me why CBS keeps spreading out the episodes?? It's fairly annoying to watch one and then expect another the next week, only to be disappointed. And it's already happened several times. Not cool, CBS.

Freeman said...

I'm with Nick. I didn't find this episode hard to follow. I enjoyed the whole twist within a twist dealio. And I especially like how everything's seemingly converging into a giant hootenanny.

I'm also glad Shaw has taken on tracking down Root. Maybe this means we'll be able to see someone really put the beat down on Root since it probably wouldn't be as well received if Jim Caviezel started pistol whipping women. Unlike you guys I actually can't stand Root so the sooner she gets hers the better.

Pour one out for Beecher. Man, Carter can't catch a break in the dating scene. Just become a crazy cat lady Carter, less heartbreak all around.

Anonymous said...

I didn't find this episode confusing, but I have been feeling a little disappointed in the show lately. I think it's because the "superhero" character of the show has kind of disappeared and I'm a sucker for a good superhero show (with the emphasis on the word "good").

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

This episode didn't confuse me, but I did pass the online test to get into Mensa, so I don't know if that's saying anything. Loved the guard dog quote!

sunbunny said...

I didn't know there was an online test! I'll add it to my list of things to do when bored. :)

This episode was just so rushed and they didn't bother to explain things the way they should have. It had the distinct feel of an episode that ran very long and was hacked to pieces in the edit room.

Patrick said...

It didn't even occur to me until I rewatched this episode tonight, but when Shaw says the line about Finch running a "halfway house for retired assassins", you could probably include Bear in that group as well. :)

ChrisB said...

I kind of like where the story is headed. It all seems to be on a massive collusion course, this episode being the prologue to that.

I loved the scene with Bear chasing the security guards into the room and guarding the door. Made me smile.