Summary: Chandler and Monica are being sloppy in hiding their relationship and Joey has to be embarrassed to keep their relationship secret. Joey gets annoyed. Phoebe goes to a reading class and Rachel tags along but doesn't read any of the books. Ross starts to lose it after somebody at work eats his sandwich and gets a reputation for violence at the museum.
The Good: Ross is fantastic here. His mannerisms as he continues to spiral downwards after everything that happened were very funny and I loved all of his scenes. The sandwich scenes in particular were fantastic and David Schwimmer gave a great performance to bring out the most from the comedy. The Joey story has some pretty funny moments as Joey continually takes the fall for Chandler and Monica's stupidity. The pay off at the end with Monica getting humiliated was pretty funny.
The Bad: I see a lot of people rate this as one of the better episodes of the series but I honestly don't see it. A lot of the stories here were pretty dumb outside of Ross. While Joey's was funny, the acting was way over the top and the characters weren't as well defined as usual. I struggled to buy into the lengths Chandler and Monica went to keep their relationship secret. Surely Monica would rather reveal the truth instead of being viewed as a sex addict by everyone. Also, the Phoebe C-story is really bad. It's never funny and the final joke of Monica being a terrible student was very poor. This was never an aspect of Monica's character and it shows a fundamental disconnect between the characters and writers which has steadily been becoming worse as the seasons have gone on. It's never been a big problem until now. The lame way that this episode presented its characters made this feel like an episode from a completely different show. "Friends" has mostly been realistic comedy and it's always been at its worst when it gets cartoonish like this.
Best Moment: Ross ranting about his sandwich was terrific. This episode was saved by David Schwimmer's performance.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: An episode that made me laugh a lot but had way too many glaring issues. It's a worrying sign to see the show fall to its biggest weaknesses like this. Hopefully this was just a one-off episode and the rest of this season feels more like the "Friends" that I have enjoyed so much in the past few seasons.
Summary: Flashbacks reveal that Finch programmed the Machine as an individual intelligence. Reese tries to get the Machine to locate Finch but it instead continues to provide him with the numbers. Reese's next POI case leads him to Leon a man who is in danger after he stole money from a gang. Reese saves Leon's life while still attempting to locate Root and Finch. Root reveals to Finch that she intends to set the Machine free and threatens him to cooperate by hurting and killing innocents. Fusco is charged with watching Leon but loses him and gets captured. Reese saves them and is able to get himself a military dog. Leon loses his money but his life is saved. Reese discerns that Root is heading to Texas and enlists Carter to go there with him.
The Good: This was a strong start to the season. This episode had constant momentum and felt pleasingly different from everything in season 1.
This episode did a terrific job with Root. Amy Acker has been awesome so far and she feels appropriately mysterious and threatening in her conversations with Finch. I'm really interested in learning her backstory, and the little hints of her past (her mysterious motive to free the Machine, her missing poster) were tantalizingly good. I thought her conversations with Finch were really nicely written and her threats to innocent civilians accomplished to goal of making her a ruthless villain as well as a crafty one. I also really liked how she figured out that the Machine exists. It made a lot of sense and was set up nicely in season 1.
The central story with Reese was great. His motives to find Finch made the usual POI story more interesting since saving the POI felt like more of an afterthought with the primary focus being on Finch. This was used spectacularly as the episode's POI was made more unlikable, allowing for a more complex range of emotions to be used than usual. Plus, Ken Leung was a perfect casting choice for Leon, this despicable yet entertaining character.
What made the overall story so much more fun was the use of humour. The show has embraced its cheesiness and is all the better for it. I absolutely loved the action scenes because of this cheesiness. Titus screamed throwaway "boss" character but not in a bad way. It felt more like a parody and I got some laughs out of his scenes. The best part was certainly the "Looney Tunes" action bit when Reese tamed his dog and attacked the men holding Leon and Fusco captive. The cut to outside the building with the cheesy sound effects, the man flying through the window and Reese walking out unscathed was hilarious and wonderfully self-aware.
We got some more details about the Machine as well which I really approved of. The flashbacks were fantastic and explored the idea of the Machine being an AI rather than a system. I loved the final flashback especially as the Machine showed some free will of its own to attempt to save Finch's life. It was a fascinating moment and seems to suggest that Finch specifically programmed the Machine to not go out of its way to help him, instead opting to help the general public.
There were a few other fun scenes. Reese's threats to a confused Leon were generally fun and I appreciated their interactions. Fusco attempting to save Leon from the gang was a noble moment for him that continued his character development.
The Bad: Wow, did that cop really fall for Leon faking a heart attack? Also how the hell did he let Leon get away? Are cops seriously so stupid? It's a wonder that Elias is still locked up if this is all it took for Leon to escape.
I liked the idea of Root sending texts to her contact (see: The Unknown) on other people's phones. However, the scene was portrayed really awkwardly and I didn't understand what had happened until afterwards. The issue was the fact that the phone seemed to already have a conversation with Root's contact beforehand which confused me.
The dog was extremely convenient. I know this episode committed to cheesiness, but it still doesn't excuse the ridiculous convenience of this dog just happening to be one of the breed that Reese had worked with before.
I wasn't happy with how the gangs were so easily able to find Leon. New York is a big city, it shouldn't be this easy to find people. Also, the gunfights are still a big issue. I find it ridiculous that so many gunfights can happen and no civilians or anyone else seem to react to them, or even notice they are happening.
I wasn't happy with the sudden change in the bond between Reese, Fusco and Carter. They were steadily gaining trust in season 1, but now they are apparently suddenly best friends that bicker all the time. This felt too sudden and I feel like the last bits of the relationship development were skipped over.
While the embracement of the cheesiness is a good thing, it doesn't overcome the lack of emotional connection in every episode. At heart, this show remains an action show which doesn't consistently provide genuine emotional engagement. While I still enjoy it, it doesn't end up hitting the large highs that other shows like "Lost" were able to reach with the added bonus of emotional engagement in every episode.
The Unknown: Did the Machine actually help Reese by the end of the episode or is it some false lead?
What does Root mean that she wants to go to the future? Why has she waited her whole life for this? Why does she want to set the Machine free? What are her motives? What does she expect it to do?
Who was the person Root is in contact with? Is he in Texas? What is Root's past? Why did she apparently run away?
Who is Weeks and the man he is talking to? I'm not particularly interested in a government conspiracy storyline, but maybe this is something more.
Is the dog a permanent addition to the crew? I would be fine with it as long as things don't get too cheesy.
Best Moment: I loved the Looney Tunes moment. It showcased the change that the show has gone through in a very good way.
Character of the Episode: Reese.
Conclusion: This was a very strong premier episode. While this won't land as an all time best episode, I liked it and it serves as a good step forward for the show.
Summary: Merle and Daryl begin to fight but when Rick's group arrives to get Daryl, they both escape in the chaos. Merle isn't allowed back at camp so Daryl decides to go with him. Andrea starts taking leadership over the rioting crowds of Woodbury while The Governor isolates himself. Hershel takes a liking to Tyreese's group and they try to convince Hershel to let them stay. Rick returns and Hershel almost convinces him to let Tyreese's group stay. Rick has a vision of Lori and has a breakdown, telling Tyreese's group to leave and they do.
The Good: Merle and Daryl were the strongest part of the episode. I loved seeing the crew interact with Merle after everything he's done and the fact that they refused to let him stay at the prison made sense. I especially loved that Merle didn't resort to begging but rather continued insulting everyone to keep consistent with his character. Rick getting frustrated and knocking him out was a lovely moment.
I also liked Daryl's decision to abandon the group and go with Merle. It's an interesting new development and I would like to see where the story goes for them. The effect that Daryl's departure had an effect on everyone which I really liked to see. His loss was felt and it has changed the dynamic of the group and has severely weakened them.
I thought the conflict with Tyreese's group was pretty good. It was an effective way to highlight the differences between Rick and Hershel and provided the best moment of the episode at the end (see: Best Moment). Tyreese's group came off as good people, and while I'm not yet invested in them, I want to learn more about these characters. I especially liked the details of their backstory with Jerry who had an emergency bunker and the group of 25 who all died when a herd attacked.
The Bad: The opening rescue didn't work and it made last episode's cliffhanger feel completely pointless since it led nowhere. I thought the rescue failed because it wasn't built up and felt stupid. Do we just assume that nobody kept guard in case they came back to Woodbury? That's pretty dumb. Furthermore, the sudden arrival was nowhere near as satisfying as the intensely built up rescue of Glenn and Maggie.
The rest of the episode suffered greatly from the slow pace. I have found that these longer seasons have resulted in too many slow episodes and that plays against the shows strengths. The quality of the show is a far cry from what it was in season 1 and the weak characterization sticks out like a sore thumb in episodes like these where not much really happens. This slow pace is really grating on me now and I want to see the show move at a quicker pace with more focus on drama since that is what made the show so good to begin with.
This episode had too much talking. The worst part is that the talking didn't really accomplish much. A bunch of characters just discussed minor unimportant things that I'm certain won't be important later. The biggest example of this was Glenn and Maggie's conflict which seems to exist solely to give both characters something to do in this episode. Furthermore, the C-stories in this show consist of characters just talking and grieving and doing very little. This show could use some of the side stories that "Lost" had as those side storylines allowed the characters to accomplish something while giving us a better understanding of them. It would be much more interesting than what we have now.
The Woodbury storyline wasn't great either. I thought the riot was really stupid. Why would everyone just decide to leave Woodbury? Surely they would instead want to just have more guards to ensure safety. But instead they inexplicably want to go outside to their deaths. The riots would have made more sense if they happened after a walker killed one of their citizens to show them that Woodbury may not be any safer than the outside.
Michonne still refuses to speak like a normal human. At least she is consistent in being an unrealistic character.
The Unknown: Are there other walkers inside the walls? Maybe it was more than just the one.
Is Andrea taking over leadership now? What will she do? Is she going to try to bring about a peace with our main group? What will become of the Governor? What does he plan to do? What is his current mental state like?
Where will Tyreese's group go now? Perhaps we will see them arrive at Woodbury.
Best Moment: Rick is on the verge of letting Tyreese's group stay at the prison but suddenly ghost Lori appears to him, reminding him of what happens when he trusts other people. This breaks Rick and caused the most emotional scene of the episode as Rick nearly loses his mind to the PTSD that is affecting him.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: Not the best way to resume the show. The episode wasn't particularly bad, but it was slow and didn't accomplish much at all. I'm not as interested in what comes next as I should be.
Summary: The friends all decide to tell stories of their worst Thanksgivings after eating too much.
The Good: Episodes like these are why I fell in love with "Friends" in the first place. Nothing captures the humour in reality more than 6 friends reminiscing on "good times" on Thanksgiving. The concept behind the episode is terrific. Every time that flashbacks have been used in this show, they have resulted in an excellent episode ("TOW the Prom Video" and "TOW the Flashback"). This one works best because it focuses on some of the worst and most embarrassing moments in these characters' lives which is an easy setpiece for high level comedy. Ross and Chandler's evolving ridiculousness is fantastic, Monica's inability to work with men was amazing, Joey getting a turkey stuck on his head was the episode's highlight (see: Best Moment) and the Gellers once again provided comedy gold. I haven't laughed so hard at a "Friends" episode in quite a while. The stories in the present are really good too. The decision to continue Joey's speech about thongs after the cold-open was magnificent. The scene managed to be unexpected because we've never seen a continuation of a cold-open scene before so it ends up being a delightful, and funny, surprise. The ending of the episode is really strong too. It's a fantastic moment for Monica and Chandler as a couple and the pay-off with Joey getting terrified of the turkey was excellent. Lastly, the thing that makes this episode so good is how nearly every scene has a fantastically written joke, or several. The jokes in this show haven't been written this well and so consistently in a long time.
The Bad: Some moments were a bit clunky. It's not quite clear why Chandler reacted so negatively to Monica's story since it was clearly an accident. Phoebe's flashbacks weren't that funny and felt a little out of place. Of course it feels like several of these things should have been brought up beforehand. We have seen Chandler barefoot before and his pinky toe isn't shortened.
Best Moment: Joey having the turkey stuck on his head was hilarious and his distress was excellent. There was a great joke every 15 seconds and I couldn't stop laughing as the scene went on. Phoebe had some hilarious character moments when interacting with Joey, and both Chandler and Monica are terrific in their brief roles.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: The strongest episode of the season so far. In terms of pure comedy, this is as good as it gets and is one of the show's funniest ever episodes. If it weren't for the character consistency issues this may have been the very best episode of the show so far.
Summary: HR takes a job to murder somebody, a psychiatrist named Turing. Reese contacts her and saves her life but is seen by security cameras. Donnelly goes after him and the FBI trap him in a building. Finch helps Reese escape and plans to take Turing to safety while Reese fights back. Finch is confronted by Alicia who wants him to shut down the Machine. Alicia is killed by Turing who is revealed to be Root and was responsible for everything that happened. Root takes Finch. Fusco and Carter discover they are working for the same person. Together, they hep and save Reese. Afterwards, Fusco anonymously lets the FBI know of HR's corruption. Simmons is taken down. Reese asks the Machine for help saving Finch and he receives a phone call.
The Good: Well this finale came right out of nowhere and completely caught me off guard. This episode felt like "Witness" in a lot of ways (I'll elaborate later), only it was more refined, paced better and had much more emotional impact. The action and character scenes were much stronger than usual and I was left feeling breathless by the end of this.
I'm usually not a fan of show's showing us a glimpse of the future in the opening scenes of episodes, but I didn't mind it here. The opening scene allowed us to see that Reese would be in genuine trouble later in the episode and that made me more invested for the early parts of the episode since I was curious to see what happened.
The way the episode ratcheted up the suspense and tension after the opening scene was incredible. This must have been one of the very best tension-based TV episodes I have ever seen. Reese's investigation of Turing was engaging due to the psychology of Reese's meeting with Turing. Both characters were probing each other and Finch added the extra tension by trying to ensure Reese doesn't reveal something he shouldn't. Reflecting on the episode, that scene would be even more intense while re-watching considering what we discovered about Turing.
That meeting was only the first part, as the chaos exploded afterwards. Reese quickly found himself trapped with HR and the FBI both closing in on him. Reese became quite desperate and had to do some genuinely clever things to get out alive with Turing. I enjoyed seeing him get help from Carter and Finch to ensure that he doesn't make the wrong move. I loved the moment where all of the stories converged. HR had set up the bomb and the FBI were ready to engage Reese in a gunfight. The countdown that they used to build it up had me on the edge of my seat. The pay-off of Finch shutting off communication in the city was unexpected but extremely satisfying as it provided a welcome and creative way for Reese to survive and escape.
As if that wasn't intense enough, we also got to follow the Carter/Fusco storyline. Carter slowly began to clue together that Fusco was involved with something and that led us into a good confrontation in the bathroom. I really enjoyed Fusco trying to defend himself, owning up to past mistakes and saying how he sometimes saves people now. Kevin Chapman performed really well and it was a great catharsis to see Fusco genuinely defending himself as somebody trying to do good after he started the show as a dirty cop.
What I appreciated the most about the drama in the episode is the way it resembled "Witness". That episode had a similar setpiece with Reese being trapped with his POI in a building under assault. Only this episode didn't go as smoothly as Reese planned which allowed it to be a lot better. I was expecting Reese to easily escape once the helicopter was mentioned and I was a little disappointed by that, but I was subsequently impressed when the FBI locked down the helicopter to ensure that escape wouldn't be easy. It was after that moment that the show was able to show us what it had learned throughout its run by getting the drama to hit a whole new level from "Witness".
And like "Witness", this episode stuck the landing with an excellent twist that I probably should have seen coming (it was exactly like the Elias twist). But I didn't see it coming, so the Root reveal worked really well and provided an important ending to the episode. Every confusing aspect of the episode clicked into place with that reveal and it left us on an epic cliffhanger with Root taking Finch.
The Bad: Some aspects of the story weren't fleshed out enough. The downfall of HR was too sudden and out of nowhere. It's a good moment for Fusco, but it probably should have had more focus. The Alicia story ended up being pretty weak. While her character entering the episode gave some more tension, she didn't give us anything particularly useful. Her motives were shallow and I was confused as to why she wants to destroy the Machine. After all, she seemed to acknowledge the real enemy (see: The Unknown) anyways. Why not be afraid of them?
I was glad to finally see Reese get identified by someone. But did they really have to catch him on a random street camera? It really begs the question of why Reese was never noticed in any of the other episodes. Furthermore, why wasn't there somebody from the FBI watching over Reese through the cameras? Instead, only Carter is able to do this and she is able to warn him. It's glaringly stupid.
The shootout scene didn't work for me. While I liked seeing Fusco and Carter showing up to save Reese, I've never found these shootouts where every bullet seems to miss to be any good. It makes the characters seem too invincible and it removes the drama.
The Unknown: Did the Machine get Ingram killed? How? Did it also cause Finch's injury?
Who are the enemies that Alicia referred too? Was it Root? Or was Root's arrival just a coincidence and there is somebody else.
What does Root know about the Machine? Has she known about it for a long time, or only recently? Or did she just find a way to hack into it? What does she want with Finch?
That ending was excellent. Did it just imply that the Machine is sentient? Now that is a big surprise. How will this affect the series? Will the Machine actually help Reese save Finch?
Best Moment: The Root reveal was awesome. There were plenty of epic moments to choose from, but this was the best.
Character of the Episode: Fusco.
Conclusion: This was "Witness" only bigger and better. This episode felt like a season finale and it delivered one of the best tension-based hours of drama I have ever seen. While it still suffered from some of the show's classic problems, it was a big success that makes me want to tune in for season 2.
This season was a bit of a rollercoaster. It's amazing to look back and see my scores for early in the season. The show wasn't satisfying back then and it was flawed beyond belief. The series steadily improved as it went on, but it did so in a surprising way. Rather than correcting the issues I had with the show, I noticed that the show instead chose to work around the issues. A lot of the complaints from the first few episodes still hold up in these later episodes (plot movement is too rapid and sometimes tedious, Jim Caviezel is a bad actor, the show skips over some important details). Rather than fixing these problems, the show found a way to make the show become enjoyable in spite of these issues. Reese's character was used and explored in a way that almost makes Jim Caviezel look good, the rapid plot movement was corrected with an increased amount of emotional connection, and the important details are (usually) addressed with a single line of dialogue rather than being shown. Despite the methods of improvement, it's great to see that the improvement is there at all. 15 episodes ago, I wouldn't have expected myself to continue on with season 2. But after several consistently good episodes, I can't wait for season 2. Despite all of its flaws, "Person of Interest" ended season 1 on a high note.
Summary: Ross is kicked out of his apartment so Chandler and Joey let him stay with them. But Ross' annoying habits really grind on them and they try to get him to leave. Rachel tries to get the mental advantage against Danny. Phoebe gets in a relationship with a health inspector.
The Good: This episode was decently funny with some good stories. Ross is funny with his annoying habits and both Joey and Chandler are great as they react to him. They are both funny as they try to force him out before feeling sorry about what they did. The story is told well and has some really good moments. Rachel's story is really good too. Her overreactions and overanalysis of Danny's actions are hilarious and fit with what we know of her character. Phoebe's story is good for the odd laugh.
The Bad: This episode lacked subtlety which prevented it from being amongst the show's best. A lot of scenes were funny, but they felt unrealistic because of how over-the-top they were. This was especially noticeable in the Ross story. Phoebe's story does feel like filler. I would have preferred a greater focus on the other two storylines instead.
Best Moment: Rachel dismissing Tommy was awesome. Tommy's first line was superb and made me laugh ("Bloomies"), and Rachel's harsh dismissal of him felt both sad and hilarious.
Character of the Episode: Rachel.
Conclusion: There were two excellent stories here with tons of funny moments, but a lack of subtlety and a weak third story damage the episode.
Summary: Flashbacks show Finch preparing the Machine for the transfer to the government. Ingram decides to make a back door into the Machine as a backup. Reese continues following Finch and discovers that he gets the POI numbers from a payphone. The next POI is a man named Peck who is being targeted for asking too many questions about something. Finch eventually realizes that he has uncovered details about the Machine and it is going to get him killed. Reese attempts to save him without revealing himself but it proves to be tougher with government assassins hunting him down. Peck arrests himself for safety and eventually realizes that the Machine is real. Reese gets him out but Peck escapes. Finch meets with Peck and confirms that the Machine exists and in exchange Peck goes off the grid. Reese discovers that Finch had a woman in his life but he had to leave her to protect her.
The Good: This was another really strong episode. While not quite as good as the previous episode, this one told a great story with a combination of plot and character development.
First, we got some really important plot developments. Now we know where Finch gets the numbers, and the answer was not what I was expecting. The idea that a payphone provides the numbers is really interesting and it also provides a good reason for how Finch is able to access the Machine without being detected. I'm interested to learn more about this (see: The Unknown). The flashbacks were also quite good. We got some key information regarding the confidentiality of the Machine, while also getting more information on who Alicia Corwin was. Additionally, there was a nice reveal about the creation of the Machine's back door. It seems set up for the back door to cause some trouble and I'm unsure if this trouble is what led to Ingram's death or if the trouble will be coming in the present day.
The character aspect of the episode was also really good. This episode seems to have concluded the storyline of Reese following Finch. The story ended on a high note as we got the surprise discovery that Finch had a woman in his life who he was forced to leave. Finch's story at the end was pretty tragic and it made his character a little bit more human by giving us a glimpse into the life he had lived outside of the Machine.
The POI story in this episode was good, helped by its connection to the Machine. I liked the idea of Reese having to save Peck without revealing himself since it created a different sort of tension than the usual. Of course it didn't last very long, but it did lead to the funny moment of Reese immediately revealing himself as Finch tells him not to. The action sequences in this episode were some of the strongest in the show. By having other professional assassins challenge Reese, we got some of the best choreographed action sequences in the episode.
There were a few other details I liked. I really loved the idea of Peck getting himself arrested to ensure his own safety. I thought that Fusco dismissing Peck's very correct guesses about the Machine was hilarious.
The ending provided a great cliff-hanger. I'm very interested to see what Alicia does now that she knows that Finch created the Machine.
The Bad: Some bad clichés in this episode. Reese following the guy only for him to vanish when the truck went by was pretty stupid and improbable. Where could he have gone? Also, the running away cliché featured again, though it made more sense this time. Still, it's present in nearly every episode which is laughable. Also, it's really dumb for both Reese and Finch to follow Peck so openly, especially when he is looking around for people following him.
The Unknown: How does Finch get the numbers through a payphone? Was that the contingency plan? Or is this something else? How are the numbers sent through payphones? Is it only that one specific payphone that provides the number? Is it any payphone? Is there a set time that Finch needs to be there?
Did Ingram or Alicia tell somebody about the Machine? If so, who?
What will result from Ingram's contingency plan? I imagine the government could find out which would lead to trouble.
Who is the boss of the assassins? Was it that man at special counsel that Finch mentioned?
What does Alicia plan to do?
Best Moment: Finch's speech at the end about Grace was wonderful and it provided more insight on the show's most mysterious character.
Character of the Episode: Finch.
Conclusion: "Person of Interest" remains consistent. The show has found its groove and it has delivered another very enjoyable episode that provides a lot of suspenseful action mixed with insightful character development.
Summary: The friends grow upset when they discover how much Ross has to sacrifice to be with Emily. Rachel accidentally fogs a man named Danny who lives in their apartment block and tries to apologize. Phoebe receives a fur coat from her mother and is conflicted over what to do with it.
The Good: This was another strong and very funny episode. Ross' story with Emily comes to a sad conclusion, and while I think the emotion is underplayed (see: The Bad), the comedy surrounding it is all brilliant. Joey in particular does an excellent job. The Chandler/Monica story continues to be fresh and it is still one of the show's very best storylines. The opening scene with Joey was, yet again, terrific. Rachel and Danny's story was pretty good too and I got a laugh at how Danny turned things around on Rachel and they both ended up getting pizza. Phoebe's story is fine for the odd laugh and it was a decent idea for a C-story considering her character.
The Bad: Ross' marriage ending should have been one of the sadder moments of the show, but it didn't feel like that. Part of this is because there were too many jokes, but also it's because it never seemed likely that Ross and Emily's marriage would be a success since Emily is only a guest star.
Best Moment: Joey doing the smile-frown thing as Ross' marriage ends was a perfect example of lighthearted fun humour mixed in with dark, messed up humour. It was great.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: This was a fun episode with a lot of laughs. Even with Ross and Emily's divorce failing to deliver, the comedy presented throughout the episode is enough to give it a good score.
Summary: Flashbacks reveal that Jessica was accidentally murdered by her abusive husband Peter. Reese learns this and seemingly kills Peter. In the present, Donnelly involves Carter on his investigation of Reese which leads to Jessica's murder. She eventually learns of Reese's relationship to Jessica. Finch gives Reese a day off since the next POI case is a woman running from an abusive husband. Reese gets involved anyways and lets his emotion take control. Reese captures the husband, Marshall Jennings, and plans to kill him. Carter meets up with him and convinces him not to. Reese ends up putting Jennings in a Mexican prison.
The Good: This was a really strong episode with some great storytelling. It almost felt like "Lost" at times because of the way the flashback story impacted the main narrative by explaining Reese's motivations in the present through a story from the past. The format worked for "Lost", and it worked just as well here, providing the show's best episode yet.
Reese's emotional journey was really strong. His utter disdain for abusive husbands was explained really nicely since abuse was the reason that Jessica died before he could come back to her. Better yet, the show capitalized on Reese's emotions to make him a proper loose cannon. He was burning hot with anger and that anger led to him behaving irrationally throughout the episode and that added a lot of tension. We could never be sure what Reese was going to do or what consequences he would be faced to endure due to his overly emotional state. This unpredictability is very different from what we usually get from this show, and it allowed this episode to really stand out and provide a more emotional experience than what we are used to.
Reese's evolution as the show has gone on has been wonderful to see. He started off as one of my least favourite parts of the show, an overly serious badass that had little to no charisma. But as the show developed a sense of humour, it has used some lovely repetition (lines like "hello Lionel" whenever Reese appears out of nowhere) and smart dialogue to make Reese a more charming character. They even managed to make Jim Caviezel's discount Batman voice fit with the character by structuring some dry humour around him. It has worked superbly well, and coupled with the familiarity effect, it has turned Reese into a character that I enjoy to watch.
Some of the tense sequences were really great. Finch's investigations are still some of the most exciting scenes to watch. I enjoyed watching him patiently track Sarah, and having him get caught by Marshall Jennings was really tense and I was excited to see how he would get out of the situation. I thought Reese's save was really good and I laughed at the idea of Reese just happening to have a police badge on him. Naturally, somebody like Reese would actually have a police badge on hand.
I was really happy to see that the police were notified this time when Reese did something stupid. I also like how it tied into Carter's story and got Donnelly away from her when she was investigating Reese. I like the idea of her learning more about Reese. Taraji P. Henson did a great job of conveying Carter's feelings for Reese. After learning more about his past, she has come to view him as another person and her opinion of him has changed.
Reese with a beard looked remarkably similar to Jack from "Lost" in that one episode. Those who have seen "Lost" should know. I found that to be a neat parallel, especially seeing how both characters were in similar states.
The Bad: I was surprised by how easily Reese was able to get away from the Marshalls. He just assaulted one of them, and they just let him go. Apparently nobody got a look at his face either which is ridiculous. Also, he certainly appeared on some security footage, so he should be a wanted man now.
Sharon started talking about Reese really suddenly to Carter. I understand that she would want somebody to talk to, but I felt that the scene was set up poorly. Sharon's emotional state wasn't clear enough for the scene to work.
The running away cliché featured again when Sarah made her escape.
The Unknown: Very interesting ending. Was Finch aware of Jessica's existence? Did she appear on the Machine? Or was he following Reese? Why? Was he casing for a new partner? Why was he in the hospital anyways? Evidently he had just had the injury which caused his limp.
What will Carter do now that she understands Reese more?
Best Moment: I really enjoyed Reese grimly speaking to Peter moments before he (seemingly) kills him. It was a very powerful scene that nicely displayed Reese's regrets.
Character of the Episode: Reese.
Conclusion: The show's first truly great episode. This episode was a great emotional journey for Reese while finally giving us all of the information we need to truly understand him. Even outside of the emotional subtext of the story, this was still a very enjoyable episode to watch which makes it a big success.
Summary: Ross is faced with telling Rachel that he can't see her anymore but struggles to get it out. Chandler and Monica take a weekend retreat to have some time alone but the weekend goes very badly.
The Good: This was a really strong episode with a number of really funny moments. It's helped by the fact that the episode focuses on just two major storylines which are given a chance to breathe and get the most jokes and emotion. Ross is fun as he is constantly foiled in telling Rachel about their situation. When he eventually does reveal the information, the scenes are solid. The emotion is appropriately conveyed by both of them and it's still kept nice and light. Monica and Chandler's story is pretty strong too. Their argument is pretty funny and both of them find logical things to get more interested in than each other. I liked them making up again as it once again highlighted the great chemistry that Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox have. The bookend scenes involving Joey were terrific and packed loads of laughs. The ending bit where Joey finds out was one of the show's best ever moments and it had me floored in laughter. Phoebe had some funny moments towards the end of the episode though I didn't like how she got there (see: The Bad). I really enjoyed Joey's secret box in Monica's bedroom as it led to several fantastic jokes.
The Bad: Phoebe is a bad friend if she is so excited at the idea of leaving the others behind. Her character has lost her essence ever since she got pregnant and that's a shame. Monica and Chandler look bad since they are fighting in most episodes. While their storyline has been the best this season, I hope we get to see something new happen between them.
Best Moment: Joey finding out was hysterical. A series highlight.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: This episode had some of the best moments of the entire series and that helps it out a lot. Outside of some sloppy writing, this episode was consistently funny with several tremendous moments that made it even better. The strongest episode of the season.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.