Last week, I said I was in the mood for a silly standalone. This episode wasn’t silly, but it was exactly what I needed. Not short on drama but refreshingly light. The ridiculousness of Reese’s predicament was fun, but the consequences were dark enough to keep me enthralled. [Contains spoilers for Angel season two, as denoted by Spoiler Kitten.]
‘Solve a crime on a plane. Do it before it lands.’ It’s been done before. An episode of Bones comes to mind (I’m sure there are other, more cinematically valuable examples that I don’t know of). But this episode did more. I’m not comfortable saying it completely reset Reese’s character, but it did achieve the purpose of finally getting him back in the game by affirming his faith in what he does. (Cue inspirational music). And it did all this with dialogue that finally got its pep back. Huzzah!
Owen Matthews is wanted dead by three different entities: the Eastern European drug cartel, the Colombian drug cartel, and Activity. The Eastern European drug cartel didn’t like Owen cutting in on their business, the Colombians are (rightly) afraid he’s going to sell them out to law enforcement, and Activity wants to avoid embarrassment.
That initially confused me. I had thought Activity got Owen’s number from the Machine and mistakenly assumed he was a terrorist and the Machine, seeing this error, sent Reese in to thwart their well-intentioned efforts. However, Activity didn’t get a number. They were working with Owen (aka The Sphinx) for the same reason the CIA was running drugs in “Blue Code.” Money. Now Owen’s ready to go public and Activity is out to kill Owen. To hear Hersh tell it, murdering the man is an act of good that will protect the country. If Americans were faced with the ugly truths of how government operates, the country would cease to function. Of course, that doesn’t exactly ring true.
One of the biggest and most difficult questions posed by Person of Interest has to do with the very nature of machines (particularly, THE Machine). It’s a recurring theme that Team Machine cares about people more than the PoI-verse government does. Activity is cold and completely goal-oriented. They were fine with killing Owen merely to avoid a scandal. They didn’t go as far as the Colombians, who were perfectly willing to kill over a hundred people to silence one man, but the government clearly lacks the morality of Team Machine and possibly even of the Machine itself. The Machine only seeks to preserve human life because it’s programmed to, but does that matter at this point? Is it what you do that makes you a good person or the reasons you do it?
In season two’s “Reprise,” Angel gave up. There was too much evil at the world. No matter how much he defeated it kept popping back up and he was overcome by the futility of fighting. For Angel, “giving up” meant falling back into bed with Darla with the goal of losing his soul. He didn’t want to feel anymore. It fails, much to Darla’s dismay. At this point (we’re now into “Epiphany”), Angel remembers that Kate had called him the night before in extreme distress at losing her job and on the verge of committing suicide. He races over there, breaks down the door and brings her back to consciousness, inarguably saving her life. The thing that makes this truly poignant however, is their conversation later.
Kate: I think maybe we’re not alone in this.
Kate: Because I never invited you in.
Angel realizes that the Powers that Be (which as close as we get to God in the Buffyverse) saw what was happening and cared enough to let him break the ironclad vampires cannot enter the home of a living human being without permission rule. However much evil there is in the world (hint: a lot), he’s not alone in fighting. There is a greater power that cares. Furthermore, Angel realizes that he was utterly incapable of letting someone die when it was in his power to prevent it. He truly learns what he’s made of. Sound familiar?
I’ve said since I started reviewing the show (way back here) that Reese reminded me of a defanged Angel. Broodiness? Check. Pathological need for atonement? Check. Anger management issues? Undying loyalty? Need to keep others at a distance? Check, check, and check. Both were reluctantly cajoled into joining a fight against evil despite the fact they’d rather spend their days wallowing in self pity. Both Team Machine and Angel Investigations get tips from a mysterious, all seeing force that communicates hints as to what is going on through an intermediary (Finch, Doyle and Cordelia). I’m going to stop here before I get going on the parallels between Carter and Cordelia, Shaw and Gunn, Stanton and Darla, and bore you with even more detail on how this season of Person of Interest is recreating Angel’s character arc from season two in painstaking detail. Amy Acker. Okay, *now* I’m done.
Bits and Pieces
Josie sent me a link to this very interesting piece on the show. (Worth your time, I promise).
I knew it would come to taking the plane down. I’m usually terrible at catching the words and numbers on Machine screen, but I did this time around. Mass Casualty Event predicted at 94.5%. I never thought I would find a MPOV shot so chilling.
One of the most obnoxious things to do on a flight is to get in an argument with the flight attendant over FAA electronics regulations (Alec Baldwin, take note). Yes, those rules are stupid. No, your flight attendant did not come up with them. You will not die without your phone for a few hours. And this is coming from a millennial who often falls asleep with her phone in her hand. Trust me.
Did Carlos the flight attendant/suicide hit man look like a hispanic Nicholas Brendon to anyone else?
Owen called Reese “Mr. Dark and Stormy.”
Department of International Homeland Security. That is all.
In real life, scopolamine is used to treat nausea. In TV and movies it is used as a magic drug that will make whoever you give it to do exactly what you want.
When Hersh asked Shaw if Finch and Reese were treating her okay, was he genuinely concerned for her welfare or is it possible he’s thinking of jumping ship?
Owen could’ve been better cast. I think they were going for a Leon-type character, but Owen was less adept at walking the line between annoying and hilarious than Ken Leung.
Finch tells Reese he wants to visit the De Chirico museum while in Rome, as he is one of Grace’s favorite painters. In “‘Til Death,” it is implied that Finch bought De Chirico’s “The Red Tower” and donated it to the Guggenheim for Grace.
Old Lady: “Used to be, people dressed up to fly. Gentlemen required to wear a jacket and tie. Not that a man needs to wear a suit, but...”
I totally missed the second half of this line the first time around. I was too busy chuckling at how older people say this all the time as if society has gone to hell in a handbasket ever since women stopped wearing pantyhose.
Owen: “Whatever’s going on here, I’m irrelevant.”
Owen: “You seem like an angry guy. Do you want to talk about that? I feel like you wanna talk about that.”
Shaw: “Tall, dark, badass in a suit. Sound familiar?”
Holly: “Where is Owen? How did he disappear?”
Reese: “He didn’t.”
Owen: “That salt and pepper thing’s like catnip to soccer moms.”
It’ s catnip to everyone.
Owen: “Don’t tase me, bro.”
Reese: “Nice shot.”
Reese: “The only relevant number on this plane is a hundred and thirty people.”
Reese: “While I’m in Italy, I thought I’d get fitted for a new suit.”
three and a half extraordinarily expensive new suits
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl
- Next episode
- Person of Interest season 3
- Person of Interest home
- Watch this episode or the entire season now