Person of Interest: Reasonable Doubt

“We’re your judge and jury.”

Person of Interest relied almost exclusively on their weekly person of interest story in this episode. Luckily, it was a good one.

It was still reasonably predictable. I had blonde friend pegged as trouble from the beginning and the ‘presumed dead’ thing always ends with the person being alive. Still, at least the story was well executed this time. I loved Vanessa jumping off the building into the garbage truck and meeting up with the scary murderer who greeted her with a hug.

The monster twist at the end actual took me by surprise. I mean, I was, of course, expecting a monster twist, but after Reese gave Vanessa the gun, all I was sure of was that she was off to murder her husband. That she’d been in on the plan from the start and been double crossed by hubby dearest was an extra. Plus, this episode gets points for a smart, powerful, female badass person of interest. I loved her ability to outsmart the police. Even more, I love that it had some basis: as a former prosecutor, she would understand exactly how the NYPD worked and how to best circumvent them.

Some of the twists did feel a little time killery, particularly the idea that Vanessa might be being framed by a cop her husband once made look bad in court. The mobster angle was thrown in to give the Watkins motive for the whole thing, but that red herring also felt a little superfluous. Still, this episode was a fabulous return to form for one of my favorite shows.

The end was absolutely chilling. I was shocked. Way darker than typical Person of Interest fare. Team Machine (or Reese, at least) was definitely in ambiguous moral territory leaving the second gun and setting the boat adrift. It completely made the episode. There was a huge gap in tone between the playful opening and the dark, twisted conclusion. Is this a meta reference to the lighter way the season began? Are we to expect a darker conclusion? Even if I’m reading too much into this (which is probable, to be honest), the episode’s ending speaks well for the direction of this season.

I do have one question about the ending: did the show really earn it? Vanessa lied to Reese so he felt her death (and her icky husband’s) was appropriate? That seems a little harsh of him. It would have been more in character for Reese to hand over the Watkins to the police. Is Shaw rubbing off on him? Or was he just that annoyed that he allowed himself to be tricked? What do you guys think?

So Laskey, it is revealed, is working for HR. I’ll give you a moment to recover from your shock. What do you mean you weren’t shocked? I had Laskey down as a plant but I wasn’t sure whose man he was. HR was the most obvious route. Of course the organization would want to keep a close eye on Carter following Beecher’s death and her framing. Laskey told Terney that Carter trusted him. Was he overselling his relationship to impress Terney or is he just a bad judge of character? Carter definitely doesn’t trust him.

And now for my weekly Shaw gushing session: I love that Shaw really has a different skill set than John. She doesn’t blend in. She can’t insinuate herself into people’s lives the way he can. Wine gets her into the book club, not her ability to pretend that she belongs. She reminds me of BtVS’s Anya in a way. Instead of trying to manipulate Nicole into confessing her affair, she boldly confronts her at gunpoint. Finesse is not really in Shaw’s vocabulary. I’m loving her character. Sarah Shahi does such a great job with her. Did you catch the way she was sitting at the book club? Too perfect.

Bits and Pieces:

The opening with Bear was funny, but please, Person of Interest, don’t play with my emotions like that. I’ve had to take a vomiting and lethargic puppy to the vet too often to not get upset at that setup.

I keep forgetting Laskey’s name. In my notes, he is “Rookie Boy.”

There was another reference to a possible Carter/Reese love connection.

Bird alias of the week: “Mr. Swan.”

Little moment: Bear went right to Reese when he walked in, leaving Shaw, who had been petting him. Shaw shot Reese an extremely jealous look.

Shaw and Fusco have mostly been on errand duty so far this season, but Person of Interest’s always been good at balancing its costars screentime over the course of the season, so worry not.

The social networking page Finch looked at was FriendCzar, the website created by the person of interest in “One Percent.”

This is at least the third time in four episodes we’ve seen Finch use that particular safe house.

It was mind-blowingly stupid of Reese to give Vanessa a loaded gun. Did anyone see that and think, oh well, everything will be fine? No.

The name of the boat was “Justice.” I love me some dark irony.


Shaw: “I have a secret weapon.”
Actually, she has a few...

Shaw: “Speaking of forbidden love, did you frame Vanessa for Jeremy’s murder because you were sleeping with him?”

Vanessa: “NYPD is full of dirty cops.”
Carter: “You don’t have to tell me.”

Carter: “You can object.”
Vanessa: “Fine, I object.”
Finch: “Overruled.”

Fusco: “Even for you, stabbing a senior would be a new low.”
Shaw: “You don’t know that.”
Funny bit, but something tells me Shaw wouldn’t be quite so stupid as to stab a man in full view of that many witnesses.

Carter: “Tell me you didn’t want to tear his face off.”
That’s exactly what she did to the photo.

three and a half out of four loaded guns
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


rebecca_s921 said...

The chilling ending gave me pause. In last episode, Root stated that the Machine doesn't like it when she took lives. I wonder if this is setting up a confrontation of the Machine's value and Reese and Shaw's increasing harshness in dealing out "justice." I guess only time will tell. Thanks for a great review!

Josie Kafka said...

I do have one question about the ending...Or was he just that annoyed that he allowed himself to be tricked? What do you guys think?

Interesting question. I think that Team Machine operates on the same logic that Finch put forth in "Nothing to Hide." There, Finch hated the data broker because he profited financially from other people's information and didn't respect their privacy, even though Finch had previously claimed to have "invented" social media, clearly doesn't respect privacy much, and constantly intrudes into people's lives.

Finch, in other words, doesn't think others are responsible enough to do what he and his team do.

In this episode, Reese allowed the relationship to take its course and provided the means (a second gun) for the couple to kill each other. That's what the angry policeman ultimately wanted: Vanessa dead. So Reese took the opportunity for vigilanteism out of the policeman's hands.

I'm not trying to say that Team Machine are bad people. But they are sometimes a bit hypocritical, which just makes them human.

Now on to the most important question: why did Michael Emerson pronounce Nabokov's name incorrectly. Michael Emerson, you are smarter than that!

sunbunny said...

I didn't catch the Nabokov mispronunciation!

Josie, I think it turned out that the vengeful cop had nothing to do with Vanessa's framing. It was all her husband. They faked his death together, but he framed her for his murder so he could steal all their money and run away with her best friend. Right? Or did I miss something...

You're right. Finch can be such a hypocrite. In an earlier episode, he ridiculed Shaw for questioning whether their poi was worth saving when both he and Reese have wondered the same things about previous pois in the past. I think it's his massive intelligence. He mistakenly feels that because he's smarter than everyone else, he's better than them too. But we love him anyway, don't we? :)

Josie Kafka said...

Ah, I was unclear: the vindictive cop wasn't in on the frame-up, but he was more than happy to get his vengeance on once he suspected Vanessa of killing her husband.

Finch definitely thinks he's smarter than everyone, which he is. But he seems to assume smarts+good intentions = righteousness, which isn't always the case.

And of course I love him anyway! He's no more hypocritical than I am.

By the way, I ran across an interview with Michael Emerson that mentioned PoI had shot material for a flashback to his childhood, but didn't have time to use it last season. I'm still holding out hope we'll get some of that material this season!

I noticed the Nabokov thing because every time I say Na-BO-kov, someone corrects me and I'm forced to cite my sources for that pronunciation.* Even Wikipedia gives the pronunciation as NA-bo-kov in their phonetic description (although the audio link has it as Na-BO-kov).

*Brian Boyd, Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years (Princeton University Press, 1993).

Freeman said...

Really twisty episode, pretty cool. The ending had smacks of the episode with the rapist guy that Reese had a sit-down with. Though I can't get behind her jumping onto that truck from so high up and not at least having a limp. I reckon it's possible, but it was a moment that put an incredulous smirk on my face.

I suppose Reese's actions were a bit of him being angry at being deceived and him being angry that they were robbing a charity for their own selfish desires. I'd need to see more instances of this dark grey area to see if it's becoming a "thing", so to speak, based on Shaw's influence. They both were scum in their own special way and Reese wasn't having none of that.

On the note of Finch always wondering whether or not to let a number die. I always thought of it as a sorta rhetorical question than an actual suggestion. I can't think of any instances where Finch actually followed through. Shaw, on the other hand, we know was completely serious when she said it.

Reese and Shaw's burgeoning rivalry for Bear's affections is hilarious.

migmit said...

> Bear went right to Reese when he walked in, leaving Shaw, who had been petting him. Shaw shot Reese an extremely jealous look.

Yes, and the next moment Finch gave Bear a command and Bear immediately left both Shaw and Reese. Looks like Finch won this round.

Being Russian, I can assure you, it's certainly NabOkov, not NAbokov.

Nick said...

The ending made the episode. I still wasn't sold on the rest of it - they played the 'is she the victim or the perpetrator?' game a bit too much - but the ending showed us that these team of people who've taken it upon themselves to 'save' people are themselves flawed humans susceptible to questionable decisions. Of course, it isn't the first time we've had the time approach a moral grey area (other than using a machine that sees everything and their various spying methods, of course) but Reese went so far this time.

I wonder if the Machine will have anything to say about what Reese did.

ChrisB said...

Funny how today we are discussing the worst episodes of our favorite shows as this is my least favorite of the entire series so far.

The plot is taken directly from a 1999 movie called Double Jeopardy that wasn't all that good to begin with. The twist at the end is different, but 85% of the plot is identical.

Add that to Finch mispronouncing Nabokov (I nearly threw something at my television screen) and I was irritated.

The end was an interesting take, but I felt it was a step too far. All of our characters have taken such strides and have made such efforts to become more likable; I found the decision that Reese made to be too cold and too calculating. Or, maybe I was so irritated by that time that anything would have bugged me.

Josie Kafka said...

Add that to Finch mispronouncing Nabokov (I nearly threw something at my television screen) and I was irritated.

Chris, my friend, my comrade!