Person of Interest: Judgment

“You have two questions right now: Who are you and where is my son? Which one do you want to focus on?”

Kidnapping cases on TV are tricky. On the one hand, they’re really easy to relate to, because everybody is afraid of losing the ones they love and it plays on our paranoia, which is something Person of Interest does well; on the other hand, everybody knows they’re not going to kill the kidnappee, especially if it’s a kid, so it may become very predictable. As this one was.

The only twist was that the kidnappers were not after his money, but, frankly, since the man in question was a judge, and one notoriously incorruptible, that was not exactly a shock. I even expected the judge to answer the kidnappers’ call saying “OK, which case do you want me to throw?”

Or maybe I read too many Agatha Christie novels when I was a kid and overthought the plot. When Reese asked the judge if he thought the nanny was in on it, he said “That’s impossible. She loved Sam.” Why did he use the past tense before it was revealed she had been killed? I was sure that was a sign he was somehow behind it; as we learned that they laundered money, I figured he was on the scheme too, and forged the abduction so he could have an excuse in case the DA decided to investigate the suspicious trial. That is, rather than attributing it to bad writing, I took it as a clue. I’m very disappointed to be wrong.

The truly good parts of this episode, as it usually is in this show, were the interactions between the four main characters. In fact, the dialogue keeps getting better, though a little barren of one-liners, as you can see in the very short quote section.

The interactions have been one-on-one so far. Finch talks to Reese, who talks to Fusco, who talks to Carter, who talked to Finch last week. (It’d be a perfect circle if she hadn’t talked to Reese in the pilot). Still, except for Carter and Finch, all these relations are getting tighter. Fusco and Carter are forming a good team at work and recognizing each other as good cops. And Reese can Batman his way away from Fusco all he wants, he’s got good detective skills and means well. Besides, without his intel, Reese wouldn’t have discovered the conspiracy in time.

And the best of all is Reese and Finch finally starting to trust each other. After that chase that led to Finch’s losing his job, he’s been paranoid about Reese’s intentions, as evidenced by the first exchange at the restaurant. Reese, on his turn, has been trying to make amends, if subtly. It was very satisfying seeing Finch imply he lives near there. Even more satisfying was Reese’s gratitude towards Finch. What he needed was a purpose all along. I like them both and I want them to get along.

Bits and pieces

— I haven’t mentioned 9/11 in the past two reviews, but I still think it haunts the show, more or less prominently.

— Finch is still addressing Reese by his last name.

— The final confrontation was a yawn-fest.

— Judge Gates was played by David Constable, fresh off his stint in Breaking Bad. He looks much better with a beard than what he did in BB, less of a goof.

— The child who played the judge’s son was good.

— Elias was mentioned again.

— Leg shot count: 2, though Reese’s aim was off this week.

— Is there a parking lot in New York empty enough to leave a car with a person in the trunk for days?

Quotes

Reese: "It's an innocent question."
Finch: "No question is ever innocent from you. You're trying to determine whether I come here often. Armed with that knowledge, you'll try to figure out where I live."

Finch: "Try the eggs Benedict, Mr. Reese. I've had them many times."

It’s hard to write about something you don’t feel very strongly about. I didn’t hate it or particularly like it, and as soon as it was over, I forgot about it. Three out of four eggs Benedict for the character interaction; one out of four cheeseburgers in the trunk for the story. It averages to two out of four cheeseburgers.

10 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Total agreement, Gus. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. The previous episode with the Latin title had gotten me excited about the possibility that they were going to do some out of the box stuff. And they still might. Just not this week.

Gus Brunetti said...

I don't thimk it's alarming either, Billie. After all, even Buffy had it's forgettable episodes, specially on season 1. Imagine if we had given up on it after "I robot, you Jane"!

JK said...

I'd have given it three out of four, but then I freely admit that I'm still in the honeymoon phase with this show. So maybe two is fairer. Here's hoping the next one better lives up to our high hopes for the series.

Anonymous said...

Hrm. I actually thought that this was the show's best episode so far. :/

Anonymous said...

I did,too. I liked it a lot.

Patrick said...

I would agree that plot-wise this episode was a bit run-of-the-mill, but this episode was more about furthering the character relationships. And in that respect, I think it did very well. Not every episode can be a home run, but it's nice to see that even their weak episodes so far are still base hits.

ChrisB said...

I agree that the case itself was predictable, but I am enjoying the character development more and I thought this episode had a lot of that. I particularly liked Fusco getting involved as soon as he knew that a kid was in trouble. There's a good guy in there.

The looks on Carter's and Fusco's faces when they walked in on the money and the gang made me laugh. Carter seems to be genuinely puzzled by her guy in the suit and what he is doing. It's fun to watch.

celticmarc said...

Crap ! More disagreements ! I was on the edge of my seat. Solid performances by all performers.

Oh my ! A recycled September...

Ren said...

I've just started Person of Interest and I'm liking it more and more. This episode wasn't super fantastic, but it had great guest stars. Gale from Breaking Bad! And September from Fringe...with an Eastern European accent! Trippy.

Iceman said...

"Judgement" represents a significant drop-off considering the previous stellar episode, "Cura Te Ipsum". There aren't any major flaws here, but the case isn't interesting enough to support 45 minutes of television. Everything progresses exactly as expected-it doesn't even contain any of POI's signature twists. As such, it falls pretty flat. It's still watchable, and is by no means awful, but it's simply not very good.

2 out of 4.