Person of Interest: The Devil's Share

“Have you lost someone?”

You know that feeling after you’ve been crying where you just feel drained and numb and you can still feel the dried tears on your face? That’s sort of what this episode felt like.

It was the darkest episode yet, and I feel like, for the most part, it was the episode we needed. Every character reacted and grieved in their own way. It was true to form that most of their ‘own ways’ incorporated violence.

I found Finch’s grief the most affecting. Root revealed last week that he’d lost partners before, but something tells me it wasn’t always like this. He walked around in a daze for a good part of the episode. He went through the motions, but with a look of utter shock and horror on his face. I cried when he picked up the phone to get Simmons’ number. He looked so empty, like he was wondering if it was even worth it anymore. And all of this was communicated without a word of dialogue. Michael Emerson, ladies and gentlemen.

Kevin Chapman’s performance also blew me away. I do not understand why they don’t give him more to do. Fusco is, all too often, comic relief. This man is an extraordinarily gifted actor, as this episode and last week’s episode definitively prove. Why is he consistently sidelined? Fusco’s speech about Carter to Simmons left me sobbing. Like Finch, Fusco knew Carter wouldn’t want Simmons taken out in a blaze of vengeful glory. Since I started reviewing the show, I’ve talked about Carter’s role as the moral compass of the group. It looks like it’s a job she’ll keep doing, even after death. I love that. It makes such a nice coda for her arc.

Reese was the most predictable of the bunch. As a follower on Twitter said last week, Reese went full on Dark Willow on Simmons. This wasn’t our Reese. This wasn’t pre-Finch Reese. This wasn’t even CIA Reese. This was new. This was terrifying. I’m curious to see where they take Reese now. He obviously won’t be back to the Man in the Suit we’ve come to know and love.

It’s interesting to compare Reese’s reaction to Carter’s death to his reaction to Jessica’s death. I think it’s fair to say that he blames himself for the deaths of both women, but Jessica’s death seemed to haunt him whereas Carter’s death possessed him. In season one, it was revealed that Reese had hauled off Jessica’s killer husband to a Mexican prison. He didn’t kill him, but I truly believe he would’ve killed Simmons if Finch hadn’t stopped him. Why the difference? I’m not comfortable saying he cared about Carter more than Jessica. Maybe it was just one bridge too far? Did Simmons being a cop have something to do with it? Was it because Reese didn’t think Peter would kill again and he knew Simmons would? Am I examining this too closely? Are you tired of me asking questions now?

The flashback scenes were the best flashbacks Person of Interest has ever done and that’s a damn high bar. I loved that we never saw the other person in the conversation. It reminded me a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Conversations with Dead People.” Everyone is talking to someone different and the conversations aren’t obviously related, but they each reveal something important about a main character. In this case, we learn how each deals with loss. Again, Finch’s scene was the most moving to me. We see him at the worst time of his life. He’s lost Ingram. He’s lost Grace. He’s dealing with a serious injury. A whole bunch of people have died in a terrorist attack and he feels like it’s completely his fault. Very apropos to what’s going on.

Finch blames himself. Fusco puts up a tough exterior to cover the fact that he’s deeply affected. Shaw initially tries to hide the fact that she isn’t affected, but comes to realize that her lack of emotion allows her to get things done that might not otherwise be possible. Finally, Reese walks a line between Fusco and Shaw. He shuts down the emotional part of himself in order to get done what needs to be done. All of these flashback reactions are mirrored in the current time line, but not in a hit-you-over-the-head-type way. Very neat.

The episode was perfect, right up until the end. My heart sunk when I saw Elias in that hospital room. I’m expecting some disagreement here, but, personally, I hated that Elias killed Simmons. It did finally wrap up the storyline that wouldn’t die and it managed to do so without making one of our own a cold blooded murderer, but it felt too neat. More importantly, it nullified Fusco’s heroism and sacrifice in bringing Simmons in like Carter would’ve wanted. I’m truly disappointed with this ending.

Bits and Pieces:

The song that played in the beginning is Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” performed by Johnny Cash. Perfect song choice. Perfect sequence.

Taraji P. Henson’s name is gone from the credits, which made me as sad as anything.

Fusco referred to Reese as “tall, dark, and deranged.”

Did Root with two guns remind anyone else of a certain rogue demon hunter?


Fusco and Simmons’ fight was way too bloody for me.

Quotes:

Finch: “Does survivor’s guilt pass when everything that has happened actually is, in fact, your fault?”

Fusco: “You mean both your stray dogs are off the leash?”

Fusco: “You know, if you’d told me about the carpooling arrangements, I would’ve driven separately.”

Fusco: “You sure the big guy’s here?”
(giant explosion)
Shaw: “Pretty sure.”

Shaw: “Okay, that was kinda hot.”
No comment. Okay, brief comment: I’ve decided to call the Shaw/Root pairing “Shoot.” Carry on.

Fusco: “Carter saved my life. She saved me from myself, because she believed in me.”

I would’ve given it a four, but I have to take off some for the end
three and a half out of four way too graphic fist fights
---
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Powerful, astonishing, on the edge of my seat from the start until the end. I could go on and on.

Josie Kafka said...

And all of this was communicated without a word of dialogue. Michael Emerson, ladies and gentlemen.

Idea for a Season Seven episode: just music, Michael Emerson, and mime.

Was it because Reese didn’t think Peter would kill again and he knew Simmons would? Am I examining this too closely? Are you tired of me asking questions now?

Good question, no, and absolutely not. These are good questions.

It was the darkest episode yet...

Literally. I watched it this afternoon with the sun streaming through the curtains, and there were some scenes that I just couldn't see. (If I were less involved in the show, I would have waited to finish it. But I couldn't wait!) There are some TV shows that a person could watch with their eyes closed. This isn't one of them.

I’m expecting some disagreement here, but, personally, I hated that Elias killed Simmons.

I agree with the whole "clean hands" idea, but earlier in the episode when Shaw said "There's only one person that can help us now" I thought she meant Elias. (And I wondered how she knew about him.) So I already had it in the back of my mind that Joss's Secret Evil Friend was possibly having a reaction of some kind to her death. That made his appearance less surprising to me. It was kinda expected.

sunbunny said...

Josie - "there were some scenes that I just couldn't see." I have the exact same problem! Then you add in JC's mumbling which I swear is just getting worse...frustrating.

Josie Kafka said...

I recommend closed captioning. It feels really weird at first, but once you get used to it, it's awesome.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Okay, I agree with you on everything except the ending. I though Elias showing up was perfect, not because it was neat. Shaw, Finch, Reese, and Fusco all have blood on their hands and none of them would've been worse for Simmon's death. That was sort of the point I think, that each of them had to react in their own way. Elias had a relationship with Carter too, and it totally fit that he was the one that put Simmons down. It didn't nullify Fusco's actions, because Fusco made the right choice. What happened to Simmons was in the hands of other people.

But that's just my two-cents. :)

Those first few minutes were so powerful. Very rarely have I ended up getting upset over a prologue. It didn't make me sob like a five year old like the opening of UP but it was definitely effective.

Anyway, great episode, great review. I'm officially back into this show. Last year I kind of got tired of the procedural side of things. I swear its getting better with every episode lately.

tucsonbarbara said...

Great review. I agree with everything you wrote, except for the ending. I thought it was the perfect conclusion.

"Shoot" is good, but I think I'll call them "Raw." :-)

migmit said...

I agree with the last two commenters. The ending was perfect. Carter got what she wanted - Simmons got arrested. The fact that he was killed after the arrest is irrelevant. And it's good that he was killed. He wasn't anything but a problem, which is now, thankfully, fixed.

Vero said...

I agree with the last three comments (!), I thought the ending was fitting and perfect.

Seriously, I've always liked PoI, but these last three episodes have pretty much been masterpieces, even if very sad. GREAT television!

sunbunny said...

I'm so glad everyone (besides me) liked the ending! I like Josie's point about the relationship between Carter and Elias and the thought that he should have his piece of revenge with everyone else, but it still just isn't sitting right with me. :/

Nick said...

I do agree that the ending is convenient in the sense that it saves our heroes the trouble of dirtying their hands - but it *also* has the bonus of being a logical ending, because I didn't think Elias would just sit around as HR fell and do nothing to avenge Carter. And now here's to hoping he gets back in the game in a big way. He's been playing a minor role for a while now - imagine if he found out about the Machine, for instance. Just what would he do? He may just be running a local city gang, but Elias comes off as the type with bigger ambitions.

And again, PoI uses misdirection really masterfully. Of course, we all knew Reese would be the most obvious candidate for Simmons' killer, which meant he wouldn't be the one to do it - and next in line would've been Fusco, and I was mildly surprised when he didn't. And that speech he gave, brilliant - finally he gets something weighty to do! Dare I say it, but on the strength of the past few episodes I think Kevin Chapman deserves a nomination for his acting.

So much to like here. That opening scene. Michael Emerson doing so much with the relative little that they've given Finch. Jim Caviezel, with the way he somehow speaks in the same register and volume, yet manages to convey wildly different feelings. Root and her double gun-toting badassery - and Shaw admitting it was kind of hot. The flashbacks.

It wasn't as tense as last week's episode, but it was as great as you'd want it to be - the emotional aftermath of Carter's death was done perfectly. And now that it's over, if there's just one thing I'd criticise about the HR storyline (other than it lagging a lot in the middle) it's that Quinn was more a plot device than a character - someone who existed just to be 'the mysterious head of HR'. He's almost a MacGuffin, the way Team Machine had to get ahold of him and deliver him to the right place in order to 'win'. Other than him talking about the city being his, or power, or loyalty, there wasn't really much we learnt about him or why he started HR, or anything.

Great review as always!

Anonymous said...

It has never been revealed what Reese did with Peter Arndt in Many Happy Returns. After watching this episode I firmly believe that Reese killed Arndt.

Anonymous said...

Actually, its pretty much clear that reese killed jessica's husband, the one he hauled off to mexican prison was the us marshall that was abusing his wife.

Mark Greig said...

The opening montage set to 'Hurt' was just sublime. Probably the best sequence the show has ever produced.

sunbunny said...

Anons 2 and 3 - In "Many Happy Returns," Reese does take Marshal Jennings across the border to a Mexican prison. Finch asks the warden if there are any more mysterious undocumented Americans there and he cryptically responds "one or two." It's never explicitly stated, but I always assumed that Peter was one of these guys. Also possibly the serial rapist from "Cura Te Ipsum."

Anonymous said...

Many people have assumed Reese took Peter to Mexico but assumptions are not facts. Nolan and Plageman said in an interview it was up to each viewer to decide for themselves.

Baby M said...

Reese killed Peter--just based on the volume of blood in the crime scene photos. The ambiguity is whether Andrew Benton ended up in a bathtub full of acid or not.

Freeman said...

Man, after sitting around doing not much of anything, they've been giving Fusco all the good stuff. My favorite scene in this episode besides the opener was Fusco's psych evaluation scene. The matter of fact way he told the story was fantastic. Really, all the flashback scenes were fantastic. They were very strong reminders of what ice-cold operators we got in Finch's crew. I love how you could practically see Reese shut down his emotions once he revealed his purpose.

I think it was rather fitting that Elias also threw his hat into the revenge ring. It also reminded us that he's also a dangerous threat that's just been sorta milling around on the sidelines. But with HR out of the picture, he's probably gonna be making many waves.

You'll notice I haven't complained about Root yet, shocking I know. Yes, the team-up finally happened, and it looks like this kind of thing will be recurring. Seems even more likely once those Vigilance fellows start cropping up more and more. Amy Acker got to grin her way through the episode and stare at things. I honestly was excited when she took the two pistols though, because I thought they were going to do some Equilibrium stuff up in this piece. But no, Root let me down and just proceeded to pretty much shoot completely straight and some how pop the mobsters in the kneecaps. Disappointing.

At least Reese got to go all Batman: Year One on those cops though. That was nice.

ChrisB said...

An extraordinary hour of television. The most affecting, at least for me, was Fusco. His speech to Simmons was a thing of beauty and, like you, I sobbed through it.

The opening montage and the Johnny Cash song could not have been better. I watched it twice, astonished at how much story conveyed -- all without a word.

Michael said...

Love the show, loved the episode. Hate Root. Seriously, as a twenty-something computer super-hacker sociopath the character was annoying enough. But now she's also a gun-wielding Tarantinoesque hit man whose weapons expertise seems to rival that of the super-secret agent government assassins like John and Shaw. Really? I keep hoping someone will get annoyed with her and shoot her in the head, but no, she's an ally (of sorts) now. Worse, there is little doubt the character is here to stay with, presumably, a larger role.

sunbunny said...

Have to say, guys, I'm surprised at all the Root hate! (not surprised in a grr, you're wrong! way, just surprised in a huh, really? way).

Is she that annoying? I'll freely admit I much prefer her interacting with Shaw or Reese than with Finch, but she never *annoys* me. Is my adoration of the actress she is portrayed by coloring my perception of the character? I'll have to look at that in the next episode, which is, sadly, still 2 weeks away :(

Billie Doux said...

Amy Acker is an asset to any show. I do not find her annoying at all and in fact, adding her to the cast made me certain that I would be watching another season.

Michael said...

I don't find the actress annoying. I find the *character* that the writers have given her to be annoying---unbelievable and inconsistent. I mean, when she busted out two big guns and kneecapped with extreme expertise all the bad guys, guns a-blazing, I rolled my eyes. When Shaw murmured "that was kinda hot," I groaned out loud, knowing we'd get more of such nonsense.

Baz said...

Me and my wife have been catching up with PoI, and just got to this one... Wow! Best episode of TV I've seen in years - the last two episodes make me think of the Alias episode Phase 1 in a game changing / OMG kind of way...
I'm another one who likes the ending :)
Oh and Fusco was my favourite part of the story - wonderful acting!

Patrick said...

As I've been browsing back through Season 3 episodes, I noticed that I never threw in my two cents about this one, and after watching it again, I feel I have to comment on just what an incredible hour of television this was. I loved how we saw each of the characters expressing grief over the loss of Carter in their own way, but the standouts were definitely Reese and Fusco. In his partnership with Carter, he'd truly begun to feel like the person he was supposed to be again. Reese & Finch gave him the chance to help people, sure. But they were something outside his world, they weren't "normal" by any definition. Carter made him feel like himself, the best version of himself. Kevin Chapman was awesome in these past couple of episodes, and especially in the fight with Simmons. Reese on the other hand is just lost. You can see it in his eyes this whole episode. He's given up on restraint when it comes to the villains standing in his way(I don't think he's so torn up that he'd be letting truly innocent people die, though. I just can't see Reese being that far gone). The ONLY thing that stops him is the knowledge that he'd be going against everything Carter worked so hard for, justice instead of vengeance. But you could tell in this episode, even after he's physically healed, he won't be able to just go back to working the numbers fed to him by The Machine. He's been broken. His spirit, his faith, what have you. Without getting too spoilery for anyone who hasn't watched further yet, I'm glad they took the time they did with Reese after this, even if his actual scenes weren't my favorites.

Put me in the camp that enjoyed the end with Elias, for much the same reason. As much as Team Machine were her friends, Elias had a relationship with Carter too, and in his own way he would also be mourning her loss. And Simmons had to die, it was time for the saga of HR to come to an end. Quinn didn't need to die. His power wasn't in his ability to cause direct harm, it was in his ability to corrupt and influence others. He lost that power for good. But as long as Simmons was alive, he'd be a threat.

But the highlight of this episode was definitely that prologue, holy cow. That was a MASTERPIECE. The song choice was absolutely perfect, and the whole sequence was gut-wrenching. Something really stood out for me this time around that I'm not sure I even noticed when I first watched the episode. During the prologue, listen for both times Johnny Cash is singing the line "What have I become?" The first is when Finch is looking around in the cemetery realizing Shaw's vanished. The look on his face combined with that lyric is amazing. The second time its sung is when Simmons gets up to leave after buying the fake passport. Seriously, whoever mapped out the alignment of the scenes in that prologue with the music deserves a freaking Emmy.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I was the one who made the Dark Willow comment to sunbunny. I mean, c'mon. Instead of Willow, Tara and Jonathan you've got Reese, Carter and Simmons, the end of the previous episode was TOTALLY "Seeing Red" :)