Person of Interest: Last Call

“You see, I’ve just taken this boy hostage. And unless you follow my instructions precisely, little Aaron is going to die.”

This was a good episode. It might have been a great episode, but - I can’t believe I’m saying this - they did it again.

Once more, the writers link up the two cases our team is working on this week. This is really getting to be an unforgivable pattern. Having to deal with the “victim or perpetrator” almost always turning out to be a victim is bad enough, but this is just lazy.

I respect the writers’ desire to keep Fusco involved in the show even when he can’t be directly helping Reese, Finch, and Shaw, but there’s nothing that says he can only be onscreen when what he’s doing is related to them and their missions. I’d be fine with some character building stuff with Fusco that contributes no substantive plot. We don’t have to watch them solve a case from beginning to end in, what, ten minutes total screen time. It would suffice to see him teaching some interrogation techniques or something like that. Whatever they do they need to retire the “wow that thing Fusco is working on turns out to be related to our thing what a coincidence” trope. Stat.

Disregarding that, the episode was solid. I find myself really enjoying the episodes where Finch takes the lead in the field, possibly more so than the ones where Reese is the point guy. Jim Caviezel is a very fine actor, but... Michael Emerson. Michael Emerson.

The show did a masterful job making an episode about a woman on a phone seem tense and dramatic. There was remarkably little action onscreen this week, yet never once did I feel bored. All credit to this week’s guest star Melissa Sagemiller whose portrayal of the 911 operator felt real despite her hackneyed back story (once a child died in her care, so she dedicates her career to helping people at the call center, where she is the best employee and the one everyone else turns to yet is still haunted by her past mistake).

Taking down the call center was a great addition to up the stakes - there were unseen and unnamed people suffering because of the actions of a handful of people. Well, one person really, who, in true Person of Interest fashion, has been released into the netherworld of mysterious PoI baddies who might be back. At some point. Eventually. Possibly?

And then, I have to say, all this tracing back to a basic ‘whoops I killed my mistress’ murder was a little mundane. There were bombs and a kidnapping and a scary gang with cross jewelry and a parking garage exploded. Because one guy killed his mistress. I was expecting something more...grandiose perhaps.

Bits and Pieces

Fusco as cop guru is sort of adorable. It makes me happy someone is finally recognizing his awesomeness.

Once again, a large volume of the action takes place offscreen. This time, I’m thinking the decision was budgetary.

I really liked the visual of the baddies shooting at an empty suit. So symbolic of the mission and Reese’s role in it.

Speaking of Reese, I really liked him trying to calm Aaron down while disarming the bomb. Reese has the combination of combat-y knowhow and people skills that no one else on the show has (except Carter, RIP).

The moment Sandra stepped into the water, she completely invalidated Finch’s threat of electrocution. Not that I’m nitpicking.


Guy: “Don’t be ridiculous! Squirrels can’t drive!”

Reese: “I don’t know, Finch. Maybe we should get Fusco to question those squirrels.”
Shaw: “Reese is right. It could be a whole rodent carjacking ring.”

Reese: “At a desk, surrounded by monitors, helping people in danger? All you’re missing is the dog.”

Fusco: “That’s not a haystack, that’s a whole damn farm.”

Woman: “This is how he gets whenever the Knicks lose, and I’ve had it.”

Finch: “I understand that you won’t give up on Aaron. I won’t give up on you.”

Reese: “I was kinda hoping you’d take the hard way.”

Shaw: “Hey. There is no ‘dead’ in ‘team.’”

Fusco: “We ain’t a team.”
For now... I’m guessing we haven’t seen the last of floppy haired rookie.

three out of four spy cam headsets
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


Freeman said...

Yeah the coincidence of Fusco's case being linked was probably the most awkward out of all of the "linked cases" scenarios. At least the other ones were more "yeah I could see that." The dots didn't seem like they connected all that well. Well at least Finch has a proper rival again now that Root is all a superpowered frenemy. Probably gonna see an interesting battle of wits between the two "ghosts" later on. Though arguably the other guy has a slight advantage because he caught a glance of Finch and Finch knows nothing about him.

Any time Reese and Shaw are on screen together it feels like the screen will explode into an array of monochromatic awesome. I love the efficient and precise duo and they balance each other out well. This is probably the closest we'll get to a good live action rendition of Batman and Robin (or Batgirl, whatever).

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the issue with the water and the electricity. I half expected the guy to just grab her and take her hostage.

It was nice seeing Fusco get his day in the sun.

sunbunny said...

Freeman - EXACTLY. Taking Sandra hostage was the obvious choice. I judge bad guy for not taking that route, I really do.

Patrick said...

I enjoyed this one quite a bit, primarily for two reasons. One, this episode had one of the more sympathetic and likable "numbers" we've had on the show. It reminded me of last year's "Critical", with the surgeon whose wife was being threatened to make her kill a CEO on the operating table. The other reason is it felt like the whole team was working together(well, everyone except Bear). Even though Fusco was brought into the case from the other side, so to speak. I get what you're saying sunbunny, about them using the trope of the cop & the vigilantes realizing they're working the same case, but I don't think it actually happens as often as you suggest. We had quite a few like that in the home stretch of the HR storyline, but overall I don't think it's happened ALL that often. I'm just happy that the fractures in the team are for the most part healed.

Michael Emerson as Finch is awesome when he's threatening someone, mostly because of the way he speaks so deliberately. There's just something poweful behind it. You could tell he felt a genuine connection with Sandra. Not a crush or anything, just a kinship. I wouldn't mind seeing Sandra show up in a future episode. Team Machine has helped several people who are in jobs or positions where they could conceivably provide assistance on a case. I'd love to see them call on the young female lawyer they helped in "Legacy", for example. And of course Leon, he's always fun. :)

ChrisB said...

I'm with Freeman. I love watching Reese and Shaw work together and out badass the other. This episode had some great moments between the two of them.

I missed the whole thing of Sandra being in the water. I was enjoying threatening Finch too much. That persona always makes me smile.

migmit said...

I've noticed the electrocution thing, but decided that it's at least believable — Sandra seemed to be tough person, and it's possible that the killer wasn't good at hand-to-hand combat.

But there is another problem. Fusco mentioned a boy being kidnapped. In front of a rookie. He would have to explain how did he come to knowledge about that, and he can't mention The Machine.

unrestricted88 said...

Nice review! I agree with a lot of what you said. Particularly the part about enjoying episodes with Finch in the lead more than the Reese ones. A large part of that is Michael Emerson as you said (he really is just very watchable and compelling) but also, I think, the construction of their individual characters. There's depth to Finch that Reese just doesn't have.

Not that he's a boring character or that he's shallow. I enjoy him a lot but his character notes do get repetitive. Case in point the whole Carter debacle.

I found out-for-revenge Reese terribly dull and a turn off. And then angsty and depressed Reese was just a rehash of Jessica. Which, btw, I felt was a disservice to Carter's character. For whole episodes there, it was more about Reese's manpain than about Carter's death and tragedy and heroism.

On the other hand, I enjoyed almost every bit of Finch we got during that arc. Especially his parts with Arthur. Saul Rubinek and Michael Emerson were great together. And there's just so much more to explore about Finch.

Anyway, I thought the episode was pretty good. The return to mytharc should be coming up soon and I do enjoy Finch's almost Ben Linus-like ability to manipulate events (albeit in a much nicer non-psychotic way) so that's something I'm looking forward to.