Person of Interest: Pretenders

“Forge. Jack Forge.”

Borrowing a bit from its past, Person of Interest shows us what happens when Reese meets a fan of The Man in the Suit.

This episode could’ve been great. Instead it was only middling, at least from my perspective. On rewatch, I decided that it was a problem of pacing. The first quarter of the episode was painfully dry without even the relief of some Finch/Bear cuteness. It was just a lot of exposition and a lot of explanation of things that could’ve been shown instead of stated. The episode did pick up when Walter and John met, but by the time it did, I was already bored.

Walter and his fedora-ed alter ego were a hoot. The way he fanboyed over Reese “How do you do that with your voice?!” was adorable. And I loved him fulfilling his superhero fantasy and taking a bullet for The Man in the Suit. He was really a highlight in an otherwise daze-inducing episode. The way he threw away his fake badge and finally approached his crush put a nice finishing touch on his character. It wasn’t a super sweet, look he got everything he wanted ending; it was a believable conclusion to his adventure with Reese and we leave him knowing that, at the very least, his life is the better for his involvement with Team Machine. It’s a tone I wish the show would strike more often. It was happy but it still felt earned.

As much as I’d love to see Walter again, that scene really did have a final sort of feel. And, unlike past persons of interest turned allies he doesn’t have a particular useful skill that could come in handy to help the team out. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they’ll need a guy who can blend in for surveillance or something in the future. I’d love to see him meet Finch.

Speaking of, Finch’s adventures were another part of the episode that really didn’t work for me. Finch and Beth’s hyper intelligent meet cute was not as cute as I think was intended. Maybe the character would have clicked more for me if she had been talking about something I had the slightest understanding of. And if Person of Interest thought they were being sneaky by having that interaction be a setup masterminded by Finch, they weren’t. Harold Finch is not a man who easily converses with random people. He avoids strangers as much as possible, almost to a worrying point. He has good reason to as merely knowing of his existence puts people in danger. Which is why his actually seeking out interaction with Beth seemed so bizarre.

So we’ve done the good and the bad, now onto the part I really can’t make up my mind about: Elias and Dominic. Dominic, it turns out, was behind the shipment of guns that cost Abel Mindler and Banks Van Hess their lives. Of course he was. There are only about five major criminals in the entire PoI-verse. Everything is connected to one or more of them. As a plot “twist,” it is seriously tired.

The scene seems to set up Elias to be a major part of the season which should be a good thing, but if this turns into a season long power struggle between Elias and Dominic I can see myself getting bored. Or maybe Person of Interest will manage to pull it off. In any case, the juxtaposition of Elias as the old school mobster who puts the organized in organized crime and Dominic as the gun happy gang leader has some troubling racial implications.

Bits and Pieces

The title referred to Walter, who was pretending to be Jack Forge, and the Armorer, who was pretending to be in charge of the gun smuggling operation. Using an alternate definition of pretender, it could be seen as referring to Dominic, a supposed pretender to Elias’s supposed crown.

Did Detective Jack Forge remind anyone else of Burt Macklin, FBI?

Elias claims to have given the shipment of guns over to Reese for destruction, but kept the prototype. Does Reese know he still has it? Did he let him keep it in exchange for helping him out with the Armorer?


Shaw: “That sound is my soul dying, Harold.”
Finch: “Walter Dang appreciates your metaphysical sacrifice.”

Shaw: “Oh, but some guy named, uh, Banks Van Hess did text Abel a lot.”
Reese: “About what a stupid name Banks is?”

Fusco: “This super gun is super heavy.”

Elias: “Chicago’s a mess, John. It’s like a damn Tarantino movie out there.”

Reese: “Ow.”
Shaw: “Baby.”

Walter: “Am I going to die?”
Fusco: “You got shot in the arm, not the head.”

two out of four super heavy super guns

sunbunny, who thinks there should have been more Bear


Billie Doux said...

It might not have been a four star episode, but Walter turned out to be one of my favorite PoI's ever. I loved him fanboying Reese very much. If he'd been a loser, it wouldn't have been as much fun, but other than constantly getting in over his head, Walter really did have detective skills.

I also loved Harold on the phone with Bear.

sunbunny said...

I've tried the phone thing with my dog and it does not work. At least with Beau. :)

Billie Doux said...

It's never worked with my cats, either, but it was still very cute. Cuteness counts.

Patrick said...

Plus, they've established Bear as being just slightly more than the average dog while not feeling unnatural, so that you totally buy the idea of Finch talking to him over the phone.

I thought this one was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. Some of the "surprises" weren't very surprising at all. Of COURSE it was the Brotherhood bringing in the heavy weaponry. Though I would disagree with the characterization of Dominic as "gun-happy". Ambitious, yes. Ruthless, yes. But the guns the means, not the end. I'm not sure what the grand plan is for this looming conflict between Elias & Dominic, though I've got to think it will tie back to the other characters somehow. Or maybe it's just a way for the writers to put Elias back in play as the top dog on the streets of NYC. The relationship between Elias & Team Machine reminds me a lot of the relationship in the Dresden Files books between Harry Dresden and "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone. Marcone is THE top crime boss in Chicago, and in many ways he's sort of the "acceptable evil", because he puts the organized in organized crime. Collateral damage is minimized, kids are off-limits, etc. Even if he could be taken out, what would take his place would be far worse, because it would be so much more chaotic, and without the same kind of limits(I guess that's what The Brotherhood represents). At some point, Harry knows he & Marcone will come to blows, but until then Harry's got far worse problems to worry about.

Baby M said...

The phone thing does work, to an extent, with our dog Cookie. The Future Daughter In law did a semester in China this past spring. The first time she Skype-called my son, the moment Cookie heard her voice coming from the computer, she came running in and looked around, and seemed to recognize her on the screen.

She's done the same thing with my other son, who's living in a college dorm in Indiana and Skypes us from time to time.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, they seem to be portraying Dominic as a tech savvy, erudite, tactical genius rather than just a gunhappy thug.

Having the gang called "The Brotherhood" was a questionable decision, though.

Onanymous said...

Dominic seems to be very good at playing to people's expectations in order to get them to underestimate him. Perhaps the name of his gang is just another instance of this?