Person of Interest: Ghosts

In this episode we were treated to a lot of mythology, which is a bold move to be made so early in the series. We’ve barely known these characters, and we’re already delving into Finch’s past. And it was good.

It seems that most of my speculations on the pilot have been disproved. Through flashbacks, we learned that Finch was not injured on 9/11. In fact, he hinted in the pilot that he’d lost someone he cared about as a consequence of the attacks, but it is not so. When we see him working on the Machine, he not only seems emotionally detached but also states that he’s earning a lot of money with it. We’re inclined to think that the turning point was not the attack on the WTC, as he said.

We’re led to believe that the important person Finch lost was the man who took credit and made public appearances as the technological genius. He’s revealed to be dead, and, as someone pointed out before in the comments, now it’s a safer bet that he will die because of the “ignored crimes” list.

A trip to the past was essential to our case of the week as well. It was much more compelling than the pilot in that aspect, because we had a sympathetic character to root for in the girl, and a lot less back and forth when it comes to who was behind the assassination. It also allowed us to see another side to Finch.

And that’s at the core of why this series has potential. It appears that the Person of Interest producers are attempting a balancing act between overall arc and cases of the week, probably trying to achieve the success the USA channel has been having with their series. I’m okay with that, as long as the cases offer more than just a distraction from the ongoing storylines. The cases are exciting when they reveal (to us or themselves) or change something about our characters. A good example of this is Fringe, where they’ve accomplished that balance and present engaging stories seamlessly incorporated to the main characters’ trajectories.

That’s what we had this week: Finch was invested in saving the girl, even putting himself in harm’s way, and showed some resourcefulness in the field despite his handicap. The fact that her family’s assassination may have been ignored by the Machine also triggered his memories and reflections about the past. That’s good television.

Bits and pieces

— I didn’t even mention Homicide Detective Carter when I reviewed the pilot because I didn’t realize she’d be a recurring character. Reese said he trusts her. Bit of a leap of faith, coming from him, isn’t it?

— Speaking of trust, the cat and mouse dynamic between Reese and Finch was one of the highlights of the episode. Both are control freaks, but Finch has the upper hand so far. It must drive Reese nuts.

— Reese’s hairstyle is very similar to Jack’s in later seasons of Lost. When seen in profile, they’re almost indistinguishable.

— The opening was really cool, what with Reese’s very candid approach to the man’s affair and the hit his wife had put on him. And more legs shot.

— Finch looked hurt that he had to let go of his facade job and the cute, friendly co-worker. That's sad.

— We also got some explanation to how the Machine can track people: cell phone location data and facial recognition. It also goes through emails, wire-tapped phones, bank transactions and much more. And it’s not like we’re not always being monitored.

— Legs shot: 6

Quotes

Bill: Do you work here? Because if you do, you're fired.
Reese: I'm more like an independent contractor.

Goodwin*ahem* Ingram: This is for services to humanity. I didn't tell them that we laid off half the staff in order to build this Orwellian nightmare.

Lionel: Hey, he don't talk to people who just walk into the joint.
Reese: Lionel, worried about me? I'm touched.

Two and a half empty tombs.

9 comments:

Patrick said...

I thought this was a very strong episode after a promising pilot. We got some interesting backstory about Finch and the "machine", some great banter between Finch and Reese, and a strong case of the week with a sympathetic "client". The girl who played the not-so-dead daughter of the slain family did a very good job, and avoided making her a cliche. I found myself genuinely wanting her to get a happy ending, and was moved when she hugged her aunt at the end. I'm still not sure if the Det. Carter story will end up being worthwhile, but I liked that Reese used her to keep the girl safe, and that the writers didn't wait too long to have her & Reese back in contact.

Billie Doux said...

I liked this one, too. It was a lot easier to relate to than the pilot, I liked the girl that Reese was able to help, and it was nice of them to please Lost fans by introducing Goodwin.

Nice review, Gus.

Sam said...

I looked this show up on the back of the review, having not heard about it before, and quite enjoyed it. Sure, the acting is a little hammy in places, but who cares? Interesting concept and am looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Can I just say I found your website by accident and have now added it to moy favourites - so much better than some of the forums out there!

Billie Doux said...

Thanks so much, Sam, and we're happy to have you here.

Gus Brunetti said...

Sam, get ready. I came to the site years ago looking for LOST reviews and never looked back. I was very influenced by it, too. There were many shows I was reluctant to start watching, like Buffy, Alias and La Femme Nikita; Billie convinced me, I watched them, and though I enjoyed Alias and LFN, Buffy is nowadays one of my favorites.

ChrisB said...

I liked this much better than the pilot. Better story and I like the fact that we didn't have to wait too long to get some backstory.

I find Finch fascinating -- a very rich man hiding in plain sight. What a great concept. I also enjoyed the back and forth between Finch and Reese -- the latter does not appear to be giving up prying any time soon. Another great concept.

celticmarc said...

Oh my.

Quite a brave little girl. Love the series' theme (the music and the intro). Nicely done.

Indeed, smart move to have mythology so soon. And things, and people, are not what they seem.

(Sob ! That article on cracked.com is freakish !)

Patrick said...

I'm rewatching old episodes of this show now that Season 4 has begun, looking back at how they've progressed from the beginning to the New World Order put in place at the end of Season 3, and this episode still stands up as one of my favorites of the series. The bigger, wilder stories from later on in the show's run are good fun, but the simple tale of a broken family in this episode still has an impact. I think a large part of it is the performances from the actresses playing the girl and the aunt. Both of them did a beautiful job, so that by the end when they're reunited it feels like a genuine happy ending.

Iceman said...

The second episode of the series offers up another story very much in line with that of the pilot-there's a boring crime plot, lots of dull plotting, clunky dialogue, and some great action and engrossing flashbacks spread throughout the hour to keep it afloat.

2 out of 4.