Person of Interest: Foe

“I never had a tomorrow.”

God, this episode could have sucked. The plot was basically a mishmash of old Alias episodes. The twists weren’t very twisty and the surprises were utterly unsurprising. Of course Kohl’s wife was alive, of course there was a kid, of course the gun wasn’t loaded, of course he had a death wish. Been there, seen that.

The thing is, this episode didn’t suck. Thanks in no small part to the brilliant Alan Dale, this rehashed mess ended up being sort of amazing. The scene where he and Reese discuss their pasts was especially good. I usually don’t notice music in TV shows, but the score here was just beautiful. This show really gets quite deep at times, talking about the difference between killer and murderer, soldier and criminal, patriot and monster. What is moral? What is right?

Our crime fighting team is really starting to pull together. Reese and Finch are getting closer and more comfortable with each other, and Fusco is becoming less hostile. As he said in the pilot, he is a cop, deep down, and he realizes that while what Reese and Finch are doing may be technically illegal, they’re all on the same side.

Carter is, as usual, five steps behind. Every episode it’s the same with her. “Man in a suit? Oh it’s my guy.” Then she arrives at the crime scene five minutes after Reese has left while he watches her from a safe distance. Why cast an Oscar nominee if you’re not going to give them anything to do? At least in the first few episodes, Reese had some contact with her. Now she just follows Fusco blindly along as he leads her down the wrong path. Sure, she still occasionally raises an eyebrow at Fusco’s somehow always correct tips, but c’mon girl, grow a brain cell!

We got to meet “Stanton” (how much you wanna bet that’s not her real name?), Reese’s C.I.A. partner. Annie Parisse does a good job with her, which is hard for me to admit, as she always drove me crazy in Law and Order. It’s new for us to see Reese at all vulnerable in his professional life. In our brief glimpses of his life before, we see that Stanton was clearly the boss in their partnership. She was the senior, the teacher, the pants-wearer, the one who named Reese and gave him his arguably foggy sense of morality.

What’s more, this episode featured the first time we’ve ever seen any one person be able to do so much as slow Reese down. Sure he got shot in the shoulder in “Judgment,” but that was four against one. Charles Widmore, er, Ulrich Kohl, was able to take him down with minimal exertion.

While I definitely don’t agree in the real world, I love what this show does with the concept of government. Their intentions are good, their methods questionable, their results almost always poor. They lose Kohl, can’t keep the German spy they catch (or rather, the spy that is caught for them by Reese), and fail to protect the people they gave asylum to. Way to go, government! They are so unreliable, it adds a sense of urgency and importance to what Reese and Finch do. They’re it, there is no backup plan.

Bits and Pieces:

Every time Reese says the word “revenge,” I flash back to The Count of Monte Cristo. There were several parallels in this episode, though I’m not sure they were intentional. A man locked up by the government in a prison that doesn’t officially exist escapes and swears vengeance on those that put him there. Of course, Edmond Dantes was an innocent victim and Kohl was an assassin, but you, know, details details.

They kept mentioning how old Kohl was, which pissed me off. It’s not like he was tottering around with a walker throwing prunes at people.

Quotes:

Finch: “I’m a sucker for surveillance.”
Understatement alert!

Carter: “Nice bruises. He say anything yet? Like who kicked his ass sideways?”

Carter: “You can’t send a killer to catch a killer.”
Uh, sure you can.

Finch: “Mr. Reese, I’m highly uncomfortable being here.”
Reese: “I’m highly uncomfortable having you here.”
Yes! Best lines of the show.

Finch: “What if you miss?”
Reese: “I wouldn’t know. Never have.”
Jesus is such a badass.

Reese: “That’s a Welrod, isn’t it? Only 73 decibels when fired. But it won’t stop me before I get to you. And I lose my patience when I get shot.”
This totally reminded me of Angel. But then again, Reese really is a non-vampiric version of Angel, isn’t he?

Kohl: “Twenty-four years they kept me buried in that hellhole. I thought about nothing but today.”
Reese: “What about tomorrow?”

Three out of four Welrods.
---
sunbunny

9 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Congratulations on posting your first review for the site, Sunbunny! And it's a terrific review. You brought that episode back for me. They kept mentioning how old Kohl was, which pissed me off. It’s not like he was tottering around with a walker throwing prunes at people. Laugh out loud. :)

J.D. Balthazar said...

Good review, I wish I remembered the episode a little better. I do remember being impressed with Alan Dale as usual. Welcome to the team!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see this being reviewed again. I actually didn't watch POI when it was on, but a friend convinced me to watch it. I am now tearing through the DVD's and loving it.

This may not be the best episode of the series, but you are right, they handled the normal cliches very well. I also liked seeing what Reese could have become if he hadn't run into Finch.

Josie Kafka said...

Welcome to the site, Sunbunny!

I watched this episode again over the summer and had exactly the same reaction.

Patrick said...

Hooray for the return of PoI reviews! This was definitely my favorite new show of last season(with Grimm a close 2nd). Though this episode is a bit of an oddity for me. Objectively speaking, it's a very solid episode, especially the wonderful performance of Alan Dale. But any time I go back and re-watch episodes of this show, I often skip over this one. Maybe I'll give it another spin tonight, see if I enjoy it more now.

Very well-written review, Sunbunny! I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on more episodes.

sunbunny said...

Thank you guys! I'm glad to be here. :)

ChrisB said...

Not my favorite episode, but a solid one. I must admit that Stanton, and the flashbacks, did nothing for me. I felt them out of place in this particular episode.

Great review, as always.

celticmarc said...

Ah ! Alan Dale !

Mister Widmore from Lost. This actor has such...a strong presence on the screen; love him. No exception here.

sunbunny !!! MORE vintage spoiling (sorry, but I'm holding to a winner here) : we'll see more of Miss Parisse !!

LMAO at the prunes paragraph (glad that it can go both ways) (and I wasn't the only one enjoying this either; good !)!

Best lines of the show : ditto. A big LOL...

One a more (?) serious note : I should watch that famous JC movie....

Iceman said...

"Foe" starts off pretty softly-and by that I mean pretty weakly. However, a brilliant performance by Alan Dale and a great parallel between Reese and Kohl means that it steadily improves. Kohl is a great character for a number of reasons, the primary one being that he provides a great, twisted mirror through which to view Reese. Both Reese and Kohl have done things they regret for their country-Reese for the USA, and Kohl for the GDR. Unlike Reese, Kohl was never fortunate enough to meet a reclusive billionaire who also happens to have a guilty conscience. He's the logical extension of what a man like Reese could become unchecked and left to his own devices (minus Jessica). Oh, and he also impresses Reese (and the audience) with his extensive knowledge of anatomy.

3 out of 4.