Person of Interest: Witness

"John, we have limited information. We knew when we began this that we might make mistakes."

I’d like to start by apologizing for such a delay in this reviews and the next three or four. It's almost a retro review. I have no excuse other than my relatively new job demanding more time and energy than I expected. I reaffirm I’ll review this show at least until the Season Finale. After all, this was a great episode.

Starting with the twist, casting Enrico Colantoni as our apparent Big Bad was a great decision for at least two reasons: first, he’s a great actor; second, after seeing him playing one of the good guys so often (Sheriff Mars being my favorite), I was completely fooled until the very last second. I really believed he was just a great teacher who happened to witness a hit. He pulled a successful Keyser Söze.

He's the kind of villain I like. Despite being a murderous gangster on a roaring rampage of revenge, Elias sounded genuine when he thanked Reese for saving his life. He also seemed to genuinely care for Will, and, as a consequence, his students. He’s not all bad after all. He just happens to have a heck of a grudge.

An eternal perfectionist, Reese put the blame on himself. Granted, he saved the guy who’s going to engage in a war in the middle of one of the most populated cities in the world, but how could he have known. He’s so often steps ahead of his enemies that he can’t forgive himself when he isn’t. It must be hard to be Reese.

On the character interaction front (my favorite in the series), Finch and Lionel have finally had a one-on-one, completing the circle, now that our four leads have interacted. In three quick dialogues, Finch went from bossy to cross to apologetic. I hope this means the boys will trust Lionel a little more. The guy is dying for redemption.

Only Carter is being blindsided now. She wants to catch Reese, it looks like she's not going to let go of it so soon, what with the whole vigilante thing. It's unlikely Finch will be able to dig up some dirt on her to manipulate her. Whatever will they do?

Here's hoping we see more of Elias soon.

Bits and pieces

— Jim Caviezel is really loosing up. Maybe he’s getting more comfortable in the role, maybe it’s because now Reese has a purpose he’s not so heavy with guilt, maybe both. He laughed more than once during the hour.

— Short appearance of Enver Gjokaj, who was one of the best actors in Dollhouse. If you haven’t seen that show yet, you can’t tell by this episode, but this guy can act.

— Carter also lost someone she loved. It’s a big club in PoI.

— Finch and Lionel have talked, and now all our leads have interacted.

— It was a beautiful shot of Lady Liberty over the sunrise. I hope I see that one day.

— Charlie and his student discuss "The Count of Monte Cristo." Guess who's already played Edmond.

Quotes

Reese: "You know, teaching can be a dangerous profession."
Finch: "Yes, I imagine espionage was a much safer choice, Mr. Reese."
I've been threatened by a student once. It was not beautiful.

Reese: "Did you always want to be a teacher?"
Charlie/ Elias: "No, it was sort of a career shift."
Once the episode is over, this line has much more significance.

Reese: "It's a bad move to insult your hostage taker, Laszlo. Keep your mouth shut, or I'll shut it permanently."
He’s not kidding, Laszlo.

Elias: "I wish you luck, John. If you stay out of my way, I'll stay out of yours."
Reese: "What if I don't?"
Elias: "Then we'll meet again under less pleasant circumstances."
Elias, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful enmity.

Reese: "And how many of those numbers will come up because we saved one man's life?"
It’s a valid question, especially if you’re worried about the greater good, but also care for individual plights.

Great episode, but not the series' full potential yet. Three and a half forgotten boiling kettles.

5 comments:

Suzanne said...

Good luck with your new job!

Great review. I agree that the casting was great. Iloved him on VM and even on Galaxy Quest so I never saw this coming until the last second. This was a great episode and made me see room for a lot of potential growth in the series.

Yes, Enver G. awesome but they didn't give him the material here for it to show. I hope we see more of him with good material.

Frannie1970 said...

I chuckled when I saw the book title - LOVED Caviezel in the movie, "The Count of Monte Cristo". I like when the writers put little blasts from different pasts into their work.

I'm enjoying these shows, and like the premise that the Social Security numbers mean the person is involved in a crime somehow, but the guys need to figure out if they are the victim or the perpetrator.

ChrisB said...

I was completely taken in by Charlie, so the twist was fantastic. I loved that the criminals all knew who he was, but none of our team did.

I also really liked the moral dilemma at the end. What will be the consequences of saving Charlie's life? A good question with no easy answer.

celticmarc said...

And this is a retro comment after a retro watching to a retro review...And another vintage spoiler, yes, we will see more Elias. Good; building up a new mythology.

I was happily stunned by the twist of event and also happy to see "Victor" again.

And I've just "discovered" that Kevin Chapman also played in Lost....And mister Colantoni was great in Galaxy Quest (I really love imbd.com).

Another very good episode. Do not regret getting the DVD set (never watched it before I bought it, which is rarely my style).

Iceman said...

Person of Interest knows how to do claustrophobic episodes. It's very skilled at trapping its characters in a dangerous place and wringing every ounce of tension out of the scenario. "Witness" is the first real example of it, but it certainly isn't the last. That's only a part of what makes "Witness" one of the best episodes in the series. It also contains a very successful and well executed twist. It plays fair with the audience, as it's not impossible to guess, but it masks it well enough for it to land. Capped off by a gripping ending set to "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone", "Witness" is Person of Interest's first real foray into serialized storytelling, and it's a major success.