Person of Interest: The Perfect Mark

“This guy’s good.”

A jaw-dropping last few minutes can’t make up for a mediocre hour every single week.

The person of interest story wasn’t weak, but it also wasn’t one of their strongest. After last week’s episode, I was expecting better than one of their standard stories. I wish the show would get more creative with their pois, but they’ve never been especially innovative in that regard. Maybe I’ve just seen too many crime procedurals (I watched an unhealthy number of Law and Order reruns in high school), but everything seemed so familiar. And it wasn’t just because of this week’s Lost connections. At least this time, I didn’t see the twist at the end coming (shame on me, it was painfully obvious in retrospect).

The story also had a few holes: I still don’t get why HR felt it strictly necessary to murder the guy they were going to murder’s therapist. What’s more, they sent in a fairly professional seeming hit squad to take care of Price while they let Laskey, a rookie, be the one to kill their main target with no supervision. That doesn’t seem quite right.

Elias has popped back up in his role as Exposition Man. I’m still unclear on where he’s being held (if he is indeed being held) and the conditions of his release. He certainly didn’t seem to be suffering. From one line of Laskey’s (“who do you always meet in there?”), we can assume that Elias is fairly stationary and that Carter’s been to see him more than that one time we saw in the premiere, which, it should be noted, was before she was partnered with Laskey. As unthreatening as I find him, I miss Elias. I hope he comes back soon in a more substantive role.

For the third week in a row, Carter’s quest to bring down HR aligns nicely with Team Machine and their weekly person of interest. Which brings me to a conclusion: either the Machine has targeted HR and is specifically seeking out people it thinks will be their victims, or the writers of Person of Interest have become supremely lazy. I’m really hoping it’s the former, but I’m a little worried. I hope they either quit the pattern or address it very soon.

There was a lot of sudden movement in the HR storyline this week, which felt uneven. We’d been making steady, if slow, progress so far this season, but the writers have apparently (hopefully) decided to ramp up the pace. Carter now knows who the big boss is. Did she already have her suspicions? Not a lot gets by Carter. If she’d trusted Quinn, wouldn’t she have let him help her on Cal’s murder? Now that she knows, I’m guessing he’s not long for the world.

Laskey was never going to survive the season, but I am surprised he was offed so soon. I thought he’d stick around at least until the mid-season finale. Laskey’s whole thing about joining HR being about loyalty was just... It felt like a quick cop-out (pun!) to make Laskey seem sympathetic at the last moment. It also made him seen stupid beyond belief. Oh, and Terney is also dead. Boo freaking hoo, right?

The ‘next week on’ preview seemed extremely spoilery. I’m hoping they’re being intentionally misleading to drive up viewership. Anyway, this is a non-spoiler site, so I’d really appreciate it if we kept discussion of those previews out of the comments section. Please and thank you! :) Oh, and, if you missed that preview, I would advise you not to go looking for it online. Like I said, extremely spoilery.

Bits and Pieces:

Of course Harold “Wren” picked out the bird picture as the one he best relates to.

There were a few brief mentions of Finch’s childhood. I’m really curious about his far back backstory. We know nothing about him before September 11, 2001 except that he was already friends with Ingram and already rich. I want to know why he’s always been so secretive and how he made his gazillions.

I was strongly reminded of Benjamin Linus and Lost when Root was taunting him about the Machine not talking to him, only to her.

Price’s con on the guy in the park also reminded me of Lost; is that the same con Sawyer used? I haven’t seen that show in oh so long...

Does it seem weird the HR goons sent to kill Price had their badges on them? If I was a dirty cop off to commit a murder, I think I might leave my identification at home.

That baseball is famous and one of a kind and the entire corrupt legion of the NYPD is on the watch for it. Why am I thinking it won’t be the easiest thing to fence?

Terney marking Quinn with the blood on his hands was an obvious but effective device.


Finch: “I didn’t even have a pet as a child.”
Bear: (double take)

Finch: “As before, Ms. Groves, Mr. Reese is upstairs with an unhealthy number of firearms.”

Shaw: “I am so gonna shoot this punk.”

Terney: “That’s your guy. His name is Sven. He’s an antique dealer down in the Village. We call him ‘the Swede.’”
No one ever accused HR of being creative.

Fusco: “Why is it every time you call me these days, I know to bring a firearm?”

Fusco: “Hey, dragon tattoo!”

Fusco: “I’m going for kind of a hollow point special motif.”
There’s been criminally little Fusco this season.

two and a half out of four (what else?) baseballs
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


Mark Greig said...

Agree with you completely. This was a rather mundane episode. I just hope they are now leading to end of the HR storyline. this arc has run its course and needs to wrapped up ASAP.

Josie Kafka said...

Great review, Sunbunny! I agree that PoI needs to amp-up the mid-episode stakes a bit. And your observation about HR cases is spot-on. Maybe Reese has already shot the kneecaps of every other New Yorker who plans murders?

This wasn't the episode I'd hoped for, either. I wanted more of Harold being psychoanalyzed, even if he did make it all up. But I loved that he chose "Scout" as his favorite pet name; a nod to another Mr. Finch, Atticus?

We know Finch was the guy who hacked DARPAnet and that doing so may be linked to him being wanted for something like "mayhem." But I agree that we need more backstory than that!

The Swede's name was Vanger and Fusco called him "Dragon Tattoo." Fun nod to the book.

You've got me so excited about the previews for next week, which my DVR keeps cutting off. I'm going to hunt them out now...

Freeman said...

More Ken Cosgrove is always a plus in my book, but yeah this episode dropped some cheese on us occasionally. The biggest one for me being the con girlfriend. It was one of those head tilt moments where I wasn't quite sure how to react. And you'd think the kid they were using as the middle man would maybe catch on and be like "hey, maybe this autographed covered baseball these people have me buying and deceiving each other about is worth a bit more than 120 bucks." I mean come on, it ain't like those two were exactly intimidating.

Unlike everyone else here it seems, I actually like the HR subplot so I've been enjoying these last few episodes. It certainly seems like HR is on its way out. With that large loss of cash and Quinn being outed, I could see this hitting the home stretch concerning HR.

I could see some advantages to having a badge on me if I were to commit a murder. If I get made beforehand I could just flash the badge and be on my merry way. I could also use the badge to get into more restricted areas or get access to restricted items. They were probably better off just knocking on the door with their badges out and then just plugging him through the door or whatever.

I liked Reese and Carter's little fist bump in the car. And it was nice having Fusco back in the swing of things.

Nick said...

Like Freeman, I've also been generally positive about the HR storyline, although I think they let it fragment too much last season - but I'm glad they seem to be accelerating that particular plotline now.

As for Team Machine and HR crossing so often, well, yeah it doesn't take a lot of hard work from the writers to link the two but I don't think of it as a bad thing - I'd rather they do that then have boring standalone stories again. Plus with HR being in the game of murder and money-laundering, I'm actually surprised they *haven't* run into them more often throughout the past season. This one was just so-so. We've seen more interesting POIs - but the twist with the girlfriend was a little ridiculous, and I *totally* agree that no real kid wouldn't wise up to the fact that the ball's probably worth a lot more than he's getting for it.

Pity they killed off Laskey so soon, he was just starting to become a sympathetic character. If they'd taken the time to flesh out his change of heart it may have been more of a sad thing, but as it is it didn't hit home much. Kinda cathartic to see Carter take out Terney though, considering how he screwed her over last season and effectively got her demoted from detective to regular officer.

Anyway nice review and I really appreciate the 'no spoilers' policy! Not I'm not sure if I want to watch next week's promo or not haha.

migmit said...

So, The Machine, which is kind of a child for Finch, is considered by Root as kind of a mother. So, that makes Root Finches greatdaughter, right? I mean, kind of. Squared.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Root considers the machine a mother to both her and Harold. It almost deifies the machine, making Harold's creation of it analogous to the Virgin Mary's immaculate conception of Jesus.

ChrisB said...

I always like it when the conman gets conned, so I enjoyed the girlfriend twist. Although, the bit at the beginning with both conmen shooting each other was a direct "homage" to The Sting. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

The final scene did feel very end of something to me. I agree with Nick that Laskey's death would have been much more emotional if he had stuck around a bit longer. I've wondered if Carter knew about Quinn. No doubt about it now.