Person of Interest: Liberty

“All hands on deck.”

I’ve been saying from season 1 that Person of Interest is just Angel with fewer vampires. Thank you, season 3 premiere, for proving my point.

Contains some very general Alias and Angel spoilers.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to add new characters to an established show.

The Wrong Way ex. Alias. Some of our main characters are leaving and our star is pregnant and won’t be able to do the crazy stunts we require of her for much longer. Let’s dump in several new characters. We’ll explain them later. It’ll be fine.

The Right Way ex. Angel. You know, I’m not sure that our main three characters interacting is enough to really carry this show. You know that recurring character from last season? The one everyone liked? Yeah, him with the backstory and full characterization? Let’s bring him back. I think we need more, though. Let’s introduce another fully realized character throughout the season and give him an excellent reason to leave where he is now and join our main characters next year.

Let’s all be glad Person of Interest went the Angel route. For now, at least, Root is not a member of the group. She’s off in a mental institution, saddled with an apparently unintelligent doctor who fantasizes about having sex with his patients. Lovely. She and the Machine are arguing about whether or not she should kill him. I don’t know guys, I know Root respects the Machine, but I’m thinking pervy doctor isn’t long for this world. The Machine seems to have had a calming influence on Root. Root was much quieter and less manic in this episode, which actually made her scarier.

I really liked how Shaw wasn’t a femme fatale type. Sure, she pulled off that LBD like nobody’s business, but she also ate her steak in a way that would make Fred Flintstone proud. They didn’t do very much with her this week, she was mostly just around for sarcasm. Still, there is clearly a conflict between her, Reese, and Finch on the level of violence appropriate for a job. I’m guessing this will become a bigger issue later in the season. Even before he met Finch, Reese was on the maim-not-kill team.

There seemed to be a lot of focus on cell phones this week. Shaw refuses to carry one when not on a job, while Root is desperate for one so she can continue to communicate with the Machine. This definitely means something, but what? Shaw is reticent to join Team Machine, while Root wants in? That doesn’t seem right. We also got two visuals of cell phones being stepped on, once by Shaw and once by this week’s person of interest, Jack Salazar.

The weekly person of interest case was much more involved than usual. There were more twists and fewer clich├ęs than usual. Still, as always, it was of less concern to me than progress in the show’s mythology and the interactions between the characters I love. I have to ask, though, is it a coincidence that in an episode so focused on our team, the week’s person of interest got in trouble for backing up his friend? What are we saying here? Will one (or more) of Team Machine suffer for their allegiance and trust in their comrades? Carter already has.

Carter is back in uniform after last season’s shooting and determined to find her boyfriend’s murderers. She is also responsible for letting Elias go. Wait, what now? Can we get some clarity on the Carter/Elias situation? She didn’t send him back to prison because he’d be killed there? Why does she care? She’s clearly using him as a source, but is that reason enough to let a murderer go free? And is he free? Is he a prisoner in that basement place or free to roam around the city as long as he keeps a low profile?

While I am very excited on how the season appears to be shaping up, I was a little disappointed in the episode itself. Last season’s opener was amazing, while this came across as a rather standard episode. Perhaps that’s for the best. Maybe the audience needs an episode or so to get acclimated to the updated format and new faces.

Bits and Pieces:

Fusco with the Amish beard. I laughed out loud.

New opening credits, which is appropriate giving the change in the Machine’s status.

Where was Bear? Sad face.

The Machine is giving the cops numbers? Through whom? Did I miss something?

Root is going by the name “Robin.” We learned last season her real name is Sam Groves. Is this a reference to Finch’s many bird aliases?

Root might not get a cell phone in her mental institute, but it’s nice they’re letting her maintain her manicure. Seriously, her nails were perfect.

Root refers to the Machine as “she.”

Root’s doctor referenced news reports on PRISM. I remember thinking when that news broke that the PoI writers must be wildly happy.

Great use of the song “Feeling Good.”

Reese joined the military because he got in trouble with the law and was given a choice: military or jail. Anyone absolutely shocked? No? I thought not.

Quotes:

Reese: “Two for one boilermakers in Hell’s Kitchen.”
Finch: “That sounds horrible.”

Reese: “That’s six bars down, Finch.”
Finch: “Excellent. Only 1,274 to go.”

Shaw: “I’ve been shot. A lot.”

Shaw: “Aw, but it’s a shame to waste a rifle like this on kneecaps.”

Shaw: “Finch gets annoyed when I kill people.”

Shaw: “In the arm through a brick wall in the dark. You’re welcome.”
Guy falls out of window.
Shaw: “Oops.”

Root: “Truth is a vast thing.”

Root: “The truth is God is eleven years old. She was born on New Year’s Day, 2002 in Manhattan.”

three out of four raw diamonds
---
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl

14 comments:

migmit said...

Wild guess: Carter is going to be eventually fired from the police and will somehow replace Reese.

Well. That's what Carrin Murphy did, anyway. First got demoted, then fired, then took the job Harry Dresden couldn't do anymore.

rebecca_s921 said...

I laughed out loud a lot at Shaw's sarcastic remarks. I did wonder how Shaw was able to shoot the Russians upstairs through that tiny window, I don't remember seeing the sniper scope going into infrared vision mode. Is it realistic for a sniper rifle to shoot through a brick wall? It was funny as hell regardless.

I feel a little impatient in the lack of progression in the mythology front. I marathoned season 1 and 2 this summer and fell in love with the show as a result. Watching it weekly with the myth and character progressing slowly is probably going to drive me nuts.

Patrick said...

While this episode certainly lacked the intensity of the Season 2 premiere, the circumstances were different. Season 1 ended on an OMG cliffhanger, whereas Season 2 ended basically with the establishment of a new status quo. It might not have the same flashiness, but I think it was probably good to have an episode that let us get a good look at where the pieces are on the board now. It reminded me of episode 2.03, after Finch had been rescued, a chance to get everyone settled in before turning their world upside-down again. Shaw's proving to be a fun addition to the team. People that thought she might have been added because Jim Caviezel was having trouble handling all the action scenes may have a point, he definitely seems more subdued than he used to be.

Billie Doux said...

Loved Shaw, especially the shot through the brick wall and the steak. Loved the Amish beard on Fusco. Loved that Amy Acker is now in the cast and acting all Hannibal Lector. In fact, while the A plot was okay, not great, although I did personally like the sailor, I'm enjoying the more ensemble feel to the show, and that half of the ensemble is female. Is it more than half if you count the Machine? It feels like the show is on the right track.

Loved your review, sunbunny.

Josie Kafka said...

Root’s doctor referenced news reports on PRISM. I remember thinking when that news broke that the PoI writers must be wildly happy.

Me, too.

I agree that this episode was a bit of a downer: I shouldn't have re-watched "Relevance" so recently, as that sets the bar awfully high. But I do like the ensemble feel.

Carter is superhot in street clothes.

I wonder of Harold mentioning Reese's reason for enlisting was setting up a new flashback topic: childhood. I want to know Harold's (which he mentioned once; it sounded grim) and am curious about Shaw's. I don't really care about Reese's, and can't imagine that it would be relevant. Stanton made him who he is more than any sort of teenage shenanigans.

Patrick said...

Heh. Josie, my first thought when all the NSA surveillance stuff started making the news was "OMG, they actually built The Machine!"

And thank you for mentioning how hot Carter looked in street clothes, I didn't wanna be the one to bring it up. ;)

sunbunny said...

Guys, have you not seen 2 Pi R? (Although it was during the unfortunate bangs period)

http://www.spoilertv.co.uk/images/cache/person-of-interest/Season%202/Promotional%20Episode%20Photos/Episode%202.11%20-%202%20PI%20R/Person%20of%20Interest%20-%20Episode%202.11%20-%202%20PI%20R%20-%20Promotional%20Photos%20%289%29_FULL.jpg

Mark Greig said...

A fun start to the season but it did need more Bear.

Josie Kafka said...

She definitely looked hot in 2piR, Sunbunny. But she was all dressed up there. To me, her street-clothes vibe seemed sexier because it was more natural. :-)

CrazyCris said...

lol! It's fun that you used as examples for how to introduce a new character both of Amy Acker's previous big shows! Did you do that on purpose? Couldn't you have thrown in a Dollhouse reference as well? ;o)

Maybe it's because I've just finished marathoning through Alias... but I think I like Acker better as a baddie than the innocent from Angel (pre-Ilyria).

And Shaw definitely got all the best lines! :p

Nick said...

As alwatys, great review! I was a little disappointed in the episode too. It's understandable that they'd want to catch the audience up I guess, but I really hope the writers kick up the pace on the major story threads rather than space them out and concentrate them in the premiers/finales. Sure, deviating from the 'case of the week' format means it's harder to hook casual audiences who randomly tune in, but I think they should start investing in the fan base they've already developed. Get the HR story done with already! They've got a pretty wide and rich number of subplots running throughout and it'd be great if there was a little crossover or convergence sometimes. But hey, looking forward to next week's nonetheless.

Oh as for the PRISM thing, I think that fans who went to SDCC got a keycard that basically said 'told you so' about the whole PRISM issue. Talk about free publicity!

Freeman said...

Just a quick heads up.

Finch was walking Bear in the beginning of the episode. And the Machine stops terrorist threats through basically any means necessary. In this case it was through an anonymous tip. It wouldn't use the CIA for everything.

Patrick said...

Freeman, who's to say the machine didn't use the CIA? The cops got an anonymous tip according to the papers, but for all we know the Machine gave the CIA the number, and they fed it to the cops on the down-low, with the cops telling the press it was an anonymous tip as a cover story. Plus, do we know it's the CIA that was using the machine before? I vaguely remember the NSA being involved.

Josie, I think the secret to Carter's hotness was something very simple. She literally let her hair down. The loose flowing hair is a very good look for Ms. Henson.

ChrisB said...

Great example of how to add characters to a cast! I liked the fact that this one was bit slower than some others. There has been a bit of a re-set and it was nice to spend some time seeing where everyone is and what they are up to.

Carter's outline of HR in her closet reminded me of Beckett's in her apartment. Please, God, let's not drag this story out that long!