Summary: Phoebe learns about Chandler and Monica when she sees them having sex. She enlists Rachel and Joey and decides to mess with both of them. Ugly naked guy is moving out so Ross tries to get his apartment.
The Good: What an incredibly creative episode. This episode perfectly encompasses everything I love about this show. The rich characters, funny interactions, realistic plots and hilarious moments all add up to make some outstanding comedy. The titular scenes that bookend this episode are awesome and manage to feel different from each other despite the same thing happening, more or less, in each scene. Phoebe and Ross' reactions to seeing Chandler and Monica are hilarious and are written perfectly to get the most humour out of the scenes. I also love the moment with Ross joining the girly celebrations early in the episode. The main plot is excellent. Watching Chandler/Monica go up against Phoebe/Rachel is very entertaining and is a funny set of mindgames that builds to an exciting conclusion. And then there is poor Joey who is caught in the middle and manages to get a lot of amazing jokes out of his role. The character work in this episode is the best it has been in a long time. Phoebe is back to her original self, Monica's character is wonderfully consistent without being over-the-top like she usually is, Chandler is awkward, but in a charming a way and Joey's simplified thinking makes him look less childish than he has become. The usual overacting isn't even a problem because it is acknowledged by the show and we are never supposed to believe that Chandler or Phoebe actually believe that the other is genuinely interested. The central date scene is a terrific climax. Chandler and Phoebe play their roles perfectly, the dialogue and execution is hilarious, and the climax is a really sweet scene. Ross' B-story is better than what we usually get and it has a few great jokes and an unexpectedly great payoff joke with ugly naked Ross.
The Bad: Nothing I would call bad.
Best Moment: The date scene. It's so awkward in the best way and that leads to so many terrific laughs. The break scenes with Phoebe in the hallway and Chandler in the bathroom are so well written too and only add to the atmosphere of a terrific scene.
Character of the Episode: Phoebe.
Conclusion: Spectacular. This episode is a near perfect piece of comedy. It's fresh, different, impeccably written, and a consistent source for laughs. This is as good as comedy gets.
Summary: The next POI is a man named Logan who owns a billion dollar company. He is also a total slob and is very unpredictable. Reese is forced to reveal himself to protect him since Logan continually puts himself in tedious situations that make it impossible to follow him. Logan is able to deduce who Reese is and is curious to learn more. Eventually it's revealed that Logan's lawyer is trying to kill him so Reese disposes of the lawyer and leaves. Logan's name comes up again and his business partner is trying to kill him since Logan jumped ship to another business. Reese deduces what is happening and saves Logan again.
The Good: Logan is a really fun character. While he really stretches believability (see: The Bad), he is also really fun in a way that POIs usually aren't. Logan is such a cartoon character that he is a total joy to watch. The unpredictable nature of his character and his funny obnoxious personality make the episode more enjoyable to watch. Jimmi Simpson delivers a surprisingly convincing performance, and he continues his track record of impressing me in every show I see him in.
The episode itself isn't particularly important and is a definite cool down after the last few episodes. However, I don't think that's a bad thing. It would be hard to follow up the relentless pace and suspense, so the show was in need of some cooling down to build towards the next big storyline.
The main story was pretty fun too. It stands out because of Logan's intelligence. it was interesting to see a conventional POI story only with the POI being aware of who Reese and Finch are. It added an interesting new dynamic and had its fair share of fun, surprising moments. The watch at the ending was a fun little twist and did a nice job of adding some extra depth to Logan. It certainly sets up a return from him later on.
I enjoyed the flashbacks too. Finally, we get to see more of what happened with Finch and Ingram after the Machine was given to the government. It seems that Ingram was the original Reese and he may have been the one to come up with the idea of saving the other people instead of Finch. Perhaps Finch only continued it to respect Ingram after his death. Either way, it seems that something significant will happen that leads to Ingram's death and I'm excited to see what it is.
The Bad: Logan is so much of a dirtbag that it's hard to believe. I've never seen anyone so vile in the real world, so it's stretching it for Logan to have such an excessive personality.
The Justin twist wasn't very good. The second he was introduced, I figured he would be involved with a twist later on, especially seeing how his relationship with Logan wasn't very good. As far as the show's twists go, this was one of the weakest ones for sure.
The Unknown: Was Ingram the first Reese? What led to his death? Was it government-related or did he die while trying to save lives like Reese does?
Will we see Logan again?
After re-watching some episodes, I couldn't help but notice the boxes that the Machine assigns to people. I noticed that Reese and Finch are yellow. Does that just mean they are servants of the Machine? Does it mean they are aware of its existence? Or something else? I've also noticed that red boxes seem to mean dangers.
Best Moment: The reveal of the nature of the watch gift was a fun moment.
Character of the Episode: Logan.
Conclusion: This was a pretty fun episode and a good way to cool down.
Summary: Flashbacks reveal that Stanton survived the blast and was hospitalized. She is met by a mysterious man who offers her revenge. Carter escapes the scene of Donnelly's death and notices Reese is gone. Fusco gets involved and learns what happened. Finch tries to locate Reese to save him. Reese awakens wearing a bomb vest with Stanton and Snow. Stanton tasks him with obtaining a specific hard drive from a secret laboratory. Reese deduces that Stanton is trying to get a cyber weapon and secretly deletes the drive data to Snow's chagrin. Stanton reveals she actually wanted to upload something to the laboratory instead. She triggers the bomb vests and Snow and Reese are both on borrowed time. Finch arrives and manages to defuse Reese's bomb. Stanton gets a call from the man and receives a name to get revenge. Snow shows up in her car and the bomb blows up, killing both of them. The name is revealed to be Finch.
The Good: It was always going to be hard to follow the prior episode, but this did a damn good job. While the episode isn't as relentlessly intense as "Prisoner's Dilemma", it follows a more basic method of building up to a climax which then delivers as much of a bang (literally) as possible. This ended up being a very smart approach since it ensures that this episode won't be overshadowed by doing a completely different story.
And the story was really great. Stanton was excellent in this episode, and while I was saddened to see her go so soon (see: The Bad), her storyline has successfully set up yet another mysterious background character who will most certainly be showing up again. It's good to know that Stanton was just the beginning of a storyline which is even larger in scale than I initially imagined (see: The Unknown).
Stanton's story was really good too. Her character works really well in opposition to Reese. Stanton is everything Reese isn't. She is a psychopathic monster and perfectly fits with the description of Reese that Donnelly gave in the previous episode. She comes off as pure, cold evil and Annie Parisse plays the role extremely well. I think Stanton works so much better as a villain than Donnelly due to her connections to Reese, her charismatic personality and the background she is given in this episode to give her some motivation. We learn that Stanton is entirely driven by vengeance towards the people that tried to murder her. It gives her some necessary depth and makes her overall goal in the episode more interesting.
I enjoyed the main plot line a lot. Watching Reese and Snow work together to do Stanton's dirty work was fairly enjoyable. There were some fun sequences and I really enjoyed all of the three way conversations between Reese, Stanton and Snow. The tension slowly built up as Reese continued to defy Stanton and I was waiting for the ball to drop by the end of the episode. It all happened at the DoD lab when Reese fully started to go against Stanton after he lost contact with her. The scenes at the DoD were very tense and I liked the action scenes. The brief fight between Snow and Reese was great, as was Stanton's sudden arrival, revealing that she wasn't after a cyber weapon after all. It was an effective twist and raises a lot of great questions (see: The Unknown).
The final stretch of the episode was superb. Stanton armed both Reese and Snow and they both turned into time bombs ready to explode. Reese resigning to his fate was sad, especially as he dismissed Carter and Fusco to head to the roof, where Finch was naturally just there. Then we got a lovely sequence as Finch defused the bomb (I caught that subtle nod to "Goldfinger"). The scene wasn't tense since I was fairly sure that Reese wasn't going to die. Instead it was emotional and was all about the risks Finch was willing to take to ensure Reese doesn't die. We have heard over and over how much Finch means to Reese (he gave me a purpose), but we don't often get these long emotional scenes that show how important Reese is to Finch. This scene effectively conveyed those emotions in a big way.
On the other side of the episode's climax was Snow and Stanton. I thought their deaths were very well written. Snow was given a great final line, and having him kill Stanton as well as himself was a fitting end to his character. I also enjoyed the detail that Snow chose not to kill Reese. It seems that Reese's insistence on not killing anybody changed Snow's opinion of him. Stanton was too dangerous to keep alive, but Reese had become a decent man.
Then, there was that amazing cliffhanger. Honestly, Finch had lost most of the mystery surrounding his character this season. He had become just another member of the crew, and while I still enjoyed him, he wasn't as fascinating to me as he was in season 1. This episode rejuvenated his mystery in a big way. The final reveal that he sold this mysterious laptop and is apparently the target of this mysterious new corporation is really big and I cannot wait to learn more.
As a final point, I liked the first few scenes with Carter and Fusco too. Carter making her escape was suitably tense and I really liked that Fusco got involved with the main story through something as simple as finding Carter's missing earring at a crime scene.
The Bad: Well that's the third time we have seen the same Ordos flashback. I don't think I need to see that flashback ever again.
Having Carter, Fusco and Finch just show up at a building that has a bomb threat was really bad. The cops were blocking people from going up the elevators but apparently nobody was watching the stairs which is dumb. Furthermore, there was a lot of security preventing people from taking the elevator up to the 21st floor. Yet Carter and Fusco can just walk up some random staircase and get all the way up there somehow. And Finch can just teleport to the top of 20 story buildings at will apparently.
It was disappointing to lose Stanton so quickly. There was so much build up for her character, and her role as a villain was too good to be used up so quickly. Even though her story did build up another set of bad guys, I feel like more should have been done with her character. With both Snow and Stanton dead now, it feels like Reese's past has just been brushed under the rug.
The Unknown: Who is the man who has the laptop now? What are his motives? He had Stanton upload something at the laboratory. What was it? Will it affect the Machine? How does he know Finch? Apparently he works for Decima Technologies. What does the corporation do? Is it a British corporation? Does that mean it ties in with Wesley?
What are Finch's ties with Decima? What has he done in the past? What is on the laptop and why did he sell it? Did he program whatever it is that is on the laptop?
Best Moment: Finch defusing Reese was fantastic.
Character of the Episode: Stanton.
Conclusion: This was another great episode. It built up nicely, felt important and had a terrific climax while also opening up several big mysteries for the show to explore. A great hour of television.
Summary: Fusco takes care of the nest POI as Finch and Carter work on getting Reese out. Donnelly is determined and does thorough background checks of all four men. Finch fabricates a backstory for Reese while Carter interrogates him. Reese meets with Elias while in prison and gets in an altercation with Byron. Hersh infiltrates the prison with a goal to kill all four suspects. He kills one. After a tense investigation, Donnelly heavily suspects Reese. He isn't able to find anything and so he uses his altercation with Byron as an attempt to discover evidence. It fails. Carter interrogates another man and is able to pinpoint that he is the man in the suit. Reese is released and meets with Carter. However, Donnelly finds them and arrests both of them. He had suspected Carter to be a mole and it was confirmed when she showed some concern for Reese. Finch gets on the case but the Machine gives him another number: Donnelly. Donnelly's car is crashed and Stanton arrives to kill him. She reunites with Reese.
The Good: Well damn. When "Person of Interest" goes all in, it goes all in. This episode was ridiculously tense and had me completely hooked the entire time. I think this is one of the best tension-based drama episodes I have ever seen, up there with some of the best episodes of "Breaking Bad". It's not often when I feel so mentally exhausted that I find myself pausing just for a few moments to collect my thoughts.
This episode started off in a brilliant way. The recap at the start was done in such a stylish way and it immediately captured the building tension that this episode thrived in. Furthermore, the fact that this episode was given a moment like this to kick it off makes it feel so much more important than all of the other episodes.
Once the episode really gets going is when it shines though. The interrogation scenes between Carter and Reese are incredible. What adds on to these is Donnelly's presence in the background waiting for just one mistake to capitalize on. Every conversation puts me on the edge of my seat and they only get more and more suspenseful as the episode goes on. The climax results in a terrific scene where Carter is taking opposing commands from Donnelly and Finch, unsure of what to do. My mind was racing, thinking of the possibilities of what might happen. And then, just like that, the scene becomes an emotional scene where Reese gets to recount his life and his most tragic decision (see: Best Moment). It takes fantastic directing for the transition to work as well as it does without taking away from the pounding suspense.
Donnelly's character is a standout once again. His persistence and capabilities as an antagonist are what make this episode work so well. Donnelly is so careful to dot his i's and cross his t's that it seems increasingly likely that he may discover something about Reese by outdoing Finch. Donnelly's moves were brilliant and I loved that nothing Finch and Carter did was able to outsmart him. His visit to the office was excellent, his relentless and quick background checks were fantastic, and the little things like him not falling for both the fire alarm and Macavoy's false evidence were splendid details. Plus, they genuinely challenged Finch who had to do some spectacular moves to ensure that Donnelly doesn't get ahead of them, such as contacting Macavoy, forging Reese's background and more. And these excellent developments are all thanks to Donnelly. Everything he does is so pleasingly logical and intelligent that it feels downright refreshing. The best villains are the ones who feel like they are an actual threat to the protagonists.
But calling Donnelly a pure villain doesn't seem right. He is just a man doing his job, and that is made abundantly clear in this episode. In fact, his position on catching Reese does come off as morally correct and the points he makes about Reese are very true. Calling Reese a monster ties in nicely with the flashbacks and builds a little bit of morally grey stature around his character. The ending is really tragic for Donnelly. He did everything right in catching Reese, but his fatal mistake was letting the case become personal to him. By attacking Reese, he got caught up in something much bigger than he probably suspected, and without any backup to help him, he met his end.
The final sequence was astounding as well. After the episode built up so fiercely, I thought that Reese being proven innocent may have been the end of it. With "Eminence Front" playing, I thought that the episode may have a calm ending that ties up loose ends and maybe spent more time on Fusco's story. So when Donnelly returned and arrested both Reese and carter, it completely caught me off guard. I was very pleased by it and it was consistent for the paranoid Donnelly to suspect Carter after everything that went wrong. After that, I knew something had to happen to Donnelly since two of the show's leads obviously weren't going to be jailed forever. But predictable isn't always bad, and the show managed to create drama at the end by accepting this. By having the Machine give Donnelly's number (also, how great was that scene where Finch walked by pay phones which all prominently started ringing), we knew that something was going to happen. The Stanton reveal was fantastic and provides one hell of a cliffhanger. By the look of things, "Person of Interest" is going to keep the momentum going into the next episode and I can't wait to watch what happens next.
There were so many other things I loved about this main storyline. I was pleased that Finch and Reese already had an alias planned in the event that Reese gets captured. Finch's preparations were terrific and I was continually pleased that he considered several things that could happen. I really liked his plan to pin the blame on somebody else before Reese gets ratted out. The presence of Byron was some lovely continuity and the test that Donnelly did at the end was a perfect hail Mary. The chaotic feel of the episode was awesome. So many factors kept coming into play as Hersh and Elias also got involved, and it only added to the sense that something crucial to the story was happening on screen.
I liked Fusco's story too. It worked to put the POI in the background of an episode for once, making this episode feel refreshingly different and special. Additionally, Fusco's story led to some of the funniest jokes that the show has ever done, a very necessary bit of relief in an episode which was so sensationally tense. Every time the episode cut to Fusco, he was in such an overly dramatic and funny situation. I absolutely loved it.
The flashbacks were really good too. It's about time that we got to learn more about Reese and Stanton's dynamic, and it gives us a good idea of what to expect once we catch up with them in the next episode.
The Bad: The final flashback was a bit redundant. We saw majority of it back in "Matsya Nyaya", and I don't think we needed to see it again.
The Unknown: Who is Special Counsel's contact that sent him the information? Why did he feel the need to send Hersh to kill the four men?
Is this the end of the man in the suit investigation? Or will somebody else continue it? Will the FBI be satisfied with Packer as the culprit?
What does Stanton want with Reese? Will she treat him the same way she treated Snow? Or does she have something else in mind? What does she want? What will she do with Carter? Will she dispose of Donnelly's body or will she use it as a message to the FBI? Whatever is happening, I suspect it's going to be pretty big.
Best Moment: A tense interrogation by Carter turns into a heartfelt moment as Reese fabricates a story for John Warren about how he lost his girl. It's a lovely bit of storytelling that of course mirrors how Reese lost Jessica. It's a really touching moment amidst utter chaos and I love it.
Character of the Episode: Donnelly. His presence will be missed, though with Stanton and Root around, I'm sure that the show can fill his shoes nicely.
Conclusion: What a stellar episode. I was expecting something big to happen from this storyline, but I never expected something as downright epic as what we got here. This is far and above the best episode of the show so far. It was remarkably tense, used all of its characters in a very efficient way and provided us with the best writing I have seen in the show. This checked all the boxes and showed me a glimpse of just how good this show can be.
Summary: Reese has been imprisoned and Finch tasks Carter with proving him innocent. Carter is able to replace Reese's DNA which was discovered before with another man's DNA. Finch is forced to take the next POI case for himself. The next POI is a high school student so Finch goes undercover as a substitute teacher. The POI is a boy named Caleb and his brother died in a train accident. Finch initially thinks that somebody else killed his brother but it isn't the case. Finch eventually realizes that Caleb is on the verge of suicide and manages to talk him out of it. Reese is almost released but Donnelly persists and keeps him, ordering Carter to start interrogating the four men in suits.
The Good: I liked this much more than the last episode. Watching Finch tackle a case alone is always fresh and I really enjoyed seeing him saving a life without the need for any big action sequence. The lack of any action makes this episode stand out among other episodes, forcing the plot to take center stage to allow for some exciting drama. I've noticed that the show likes to add an excess of plot to make up for less action and most times it doesn't work. But pleasingly, I thought it worked here for the most part, as most of the plot twists were meaningful and added to the story.
I liked Finch's story in this episode. While I found Caleb to be difficult to care about as a character (see: The Bad), the show found a way around that by making me understand why Finch would care about him. Finch initially thought very little about Caleb, but after learning more about who he is, he grew more attached to Caleb. By the episode's end, it was clear that Finch had cast himself onto Caleb and because of that, he became extremely determined to save his life and to ensure that the world won't lose an individual who could bring about great things in his life. I liked the relationship that developed between Finch and Caleb after their scenes together. The ending nicely sets up for Caleb to return later on as well.
The school scenes worked well too. I was pleasantly surprised by the show's portrayal of a school. It was more accurate than I was expecting and even touched on the common question of "why am I learning this stuff anyways". The follow-up scene where Finch got to show some passion for math was lovely and I liked that Finch's words were able to get the interest of the classroom. It was a realistic look at how students work and I thought the hallway scenes were pleasantly well written too. If only more shows could get the school setting right.
Carter's story was fun too. While I'm not too sure if Carter going to a night club is the most efficient way to get some DNA, it was certainly the most fun story they could have provided. Watching Carter in this different role was surprisingly fun, and I just wish that we had gotten more from her story. I enjoyed watching her set up what should have been a perfect way to prove Reese as innocent. Better yet was the ending as Donnelly was smart enough not to fall for Carter's trick. He persisted, which was completely consistent with his character and he has now set up some excellent drama for the next episode as Carter will now be interrogating Reese. I can't wait to see what happens there.
There were a couple of good references in here that I caught. Sending Mrs. Bentham to Maui was a nice nod to "Lost". And I caught that one frame with the blue meth.
The Bad: The one storyline I didn't like was the drug one. It never got resolution and didn't seem to add to the story at all. Also, I found the reason for why Caleb was dealing drugs to be unsatisfying. He will be getting a truckload of money from the work he's giving to Beckner, so why would he need to get into dangerous business to make a few more bucks? Furthermore, nothing was done about Lorenzo. It seems to me that Caleb is going to get killed by a few baseball bat strikes soon, so Finch better not just leave him.
Caleb's character is pretty difficult to relate to. A hidden genius doesn't really connect to many people, and it didn't quite get me to fully sympathize with him. It feels like a missed opportunity to have a really relatable character.
How did Finch plant a phone in Reese's cell? Donnelly ensured his men to be super careful with the prisoners, so it's hard to believe that they would make this oversight. Also, who did Finch contact to plant that phone? The more I think about it, the less sense it makes.
The Unknown: So the Machine reports suicide cases too? That's interesting and opens up the possibilities for a POI case even more.
Finch talked to Caleb about making a big mistake. Is he referring to the Machine? As far as I remember, I don't recall him ever saying that the Machine was a mistake. So was he referring to something else? What? Does it have something to do with Ingram's death? Or the incident that caused him to have a limp?
Best Moment: I really liked Finch talking Caleb out of suicide. Michael Emerson is a terrific actor and he naturally rose to the occasion here. I bought into the relationship between Finch and Caleb and that made this scene work.
Character of the Episode: Finch.
Conclusion: This was much better than the last episode. Having Finch work alone made this episode feel different from the many others I have seen. Add on some strong and logical progression of the show's overall story arc, and I think this ends up as one of the season's finest hours.
Summary: Donnelly returns and has found a way to track down the man in the suit. He enlists Carter to the FBI to help him out. The next POI is a girl named Abby who is about to do a robbery. However, Finch believes she is innocent so Reese goes to help her. Reese and Finch end up doing a bank robbery alongside them. Reese is in the action and Finch is outside. They get attacked by some men working for Chapple, the guy whose safe was being robbed. Donnelly is able to track down Reese and arrests him and three other guys in suits who were present at the robbery, unsure of which one is the man in the suit he is tracking.
The Good: The Donnelly story is pretty strong. I enjoyed seeing Carter's interactions with him as she is forced to go along with his investigation despite working for Reese. Additionally, Donnelly's presence gives the episode more momentum, which was needed for a midseason finale like this. Donnelly's role in this episode reminded me of Snow back in "Number Crunch" last season. This episode was also structured very similarly to the last one where it's an ordinary episode for a while before having an exciting conclusion. The ending was pretty tense since Reese felt exposed for once due to him being right in Donnelly's grasp. The cliffhanger ending with four people getting arrested is very intriguing and it sets up a fresh story where Reese will seemingly be jailed while Finch will be forced to get him out.
I thought the main storyline started pretty well. The sequence where Finch had to fake being a criminal was pretty fun and I got some good laughs out of it. The ensuing double confrontation with Abby/Reese and Shane/Finch was fairly entertaining and did a solid job of getting us acquainted with Abby and Shane to prepare for the episode's final act.
The Beecher twist with him being a part of HR is a pretty strong twist. It makes HR seem more important by having one of them closely acquainted to Carter and it allows them to be taken more seriously as a threat.
The Bad: Finch was out of character in this episode. I found his insistence that Abby was innocent to be awkward and pretty stupid. The explanation he gives about the Machine not giving her number for a serious situation to be unsatisfying since it hadn't been brought up in over 30 episodes. Furthermore, Finch looks dumb for assuming Abby to be innocent based on trivial information, especially after so many cases in previous episodes have seen an apparently innocent person becoming the perpetrator. Finch looks even worse because Root was like this too and him not considering that Abby could be "bad code" shows that he learned nothing from his time with Root, contrary to what the show had been establishing with Finch's character development in recent episodes.
Once again, the POI story becomes pretty tame after the mystery is dispersed. Without Donnelly, the final act of the episode would have fallen extremely flat. I was finding it tough to care about the gunfight that was happening and I had no reason to believe that Reese was in any danger from these mercenaries. The only threat was Donnelly, and that made every other factor in the climax of the episode, including Abby and Shane, tough to care about. The nature of the Abby storyline didn't help either. The story was needlessly complex and I found it hard to understand exactly what was happening and for what reason. This story really needed an edit to make it more understandable for the general public (like me).
The HR plot hasn't been very interesting so far. Quinn as a bad guy is really lacking since we know next to nothing about him. Every other recurring character is more interesting because we have more of an idea of who they are. We desperately need an episode focused around Quinn so I can start to care about the HR storyline a little more.
This episode didn't really work as a midseason finale. A short action sequence at the end of an episode worked for the midseason finale in season 1 since we hadn't seen anything like those final few minutes before. But after the raw intensity of "Firewall", we know that the show can do much more than what was shown here. It ended up making this episode feel disappointing and almost dull. Hopefully the midseason premiere delivers more than this did.
The Unknown: What is Simmons up to? Is he eavesdropping because he is planning to turn on HR? Or does he want to take control and become the new head of HR?
What will become of Reese now? Will Donnelly be able to identify that he is the man in the suit? How is Finch going to get him out? Will he use Carter? Perhaps Elias? Will somebody else be framed to prove Reese as innocent? Or will they simply do a jailbreak?
What happened with Snow and Stanton? I thought we would be seeing them in this midseason finale but strangely we didn't. Perhaps we will see them again in the season finale. And Root too.
Best Moment: The ending scene. The show has to move in a different direction now which can only be a good thing.
Character of the Episode: Donnelly. His contributions saved this episode.
Conclusion: This episode copied the format from "Number Crunch" to deliver an exciting midseason finale but it didn't accomplish what that episode did. Without Donnelly's storyline, this would have been a total dud.
Summary: Joey wants to look sophisticated for an audition so Rachel helps him by giving him a bag. However, Joey becomes attached to the bag and wants to keep it. Monica gives bad massages and Chandler lies to her, telling her that they are good. Phoebe's grandmother dies and at the funeral she meets her father.
The Good: Phoebe's story is really good here. Having her finally meet her father is a big moment and their final scene together is really strong, both from a comedic perspective and an emotional one. The rest of the episode has some good moments too. While the stories leave a lot to be desired (see: The Bad), the episode is saved by a number of clever jokes (goodbye muscles, unisex, it looks like it's coming right at me). In general, thank god for Joey, as this episode would not have worked at all without him. His presence allowed the writers to cram in all of these strong jokes.
The Bad: Phoebe's story should have been the main storyline, yet it comes off as a side story which is disappointing. I feel like it could have used more time and focus to be better. Joey's bag is a pretty dumb story and his unnatural attachment to it is exactly that: unnatural. It never feels real and doesn't lead to any good jokes regarding the bag. Monica's storyline is really stupid. The idea of her being so terrible at massages is pretty ridiculous and the scene with Chandler at the end feels extremely forced. While the jokes are funny, the scene feels overly dramatic for a nothing of a storyline. Surely the writers could have come up with something better to set up that ending scene.
Best Moment: The unisex joke with Joey and Rachel was fantastic.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: This was a disappointing episode. Phoebe's story was good but the other two stories were a big step down from what we usually get from "Friends". Thankfully, the character interactions are still amazing because without them, this episode would fall flat.
Summary: Fermin is a taxi driver who is trying to get his family to New York. He need $40 thousand to do so. He gets involved with shady business with an Estonian mob so Reese and Finch have to save him. They do so successfully and Fermin is reunited with his family. HR wants to get back in Elias' good graces so Fusco is sent on a mission to kill the only remaining mafia don. But it's a trap and Fusco's partner is killed. Elias wants nothing to do with HR. Simmons is angry and gives Carter an anonymous tip about what happened to Davidson.
The Good: Thankfully, the stories this season have been much more creative than the last season. A taxi driver is a creative new POI and it allows for there to be unlimited potential for mystery considering how many people the driver could be involved with. This allowed the first half of the episode to have a fun element of mystery to it.
The Bad: Most of this episode was pretty uninspired though. After we find out everything surrounding Fermin, the episode loses all intrigue and ends up being generic and completely uninteresting. I found it hard to care about the story towards the end of the episode and there wasn't anything presented to get me back into it. I also have to add on that having an associate of the POI die has become the norm for this show and is completely predictable now. The moment that Reese and Fermin went to see Aziz, I knew he would be dead when they arrived.
One thing that happened in this episode is that it dawned on me why most of these episodes fail to be anywhere near special. I've realized that for most "Person of Interest" episodes, I enjoy the build-up more than I enjoy the pay-off. This episode is a perfect example of this. I was much more engaged in the episode when Fermin was a total blank slate and we had to discover what he was involved in. It was interesting to learn more about him and I was always intrigued to find out where the threat comes from. However, once the mystery is clear, I know that all the climax of the episode entails is an action setpiece which is much weaker than the mystery which propels the first half of these episodes. This episode was weaker than usual because the climactic action scene was quite poor. It underwhelmed and I didn't realize we had seen the climax until after it was over.
One of the episode's worst aspects was Fermin himself. The actor playing him did a pretty poor job and did a bad job of getting me to sympathize with him. The performance was flat and not emotive, making him one of the weakest POIs so far.
Another issue was the pacing of this episode. It felt ridiculously inconsistent and that took me out of the experience. The beginning of the episode was very slow, and after the episode it feels pointless. The Estonian mob wasn't introduced until the halfway mark of the episode, so nearly everything before that feels needless. As a result of a slow and meandering beginning, the middle of the episode was totally rushed and the climax fell flat. I think the problem with the unsatisfying final two acts of the story came from the pacing issues of the episode.
The HR storyline was underwhelming too. The biggest problem was how repetitive it felt. We have seen Fusco trying and failing to escape HR before, so to see him do it again was pretty redundant. His overall story only inched forward from this episode and it didn't even do so in a satisfying manner. The big cliffhanger really didn't feel like a big deal. The show is trying to drive a wedge between Fusco and Carter by making us think that Carter will condemn Fusco for killing Davidson. But this drama is totally meaningless because we know that Reese was there when Fusco killed Davidson and could easily explain the situation away.
The Unknown: Apparently the Carter and Beecher date has become a storyline. I initially thought it would be a one-off thing to help with the theme of the last episode, but it seems to be an ongoing storyline. I wonder what the pay-off would be because I expect it won't be as simple as just giving Carter a boyfriend.
Best Moment: The taxi ride with Fermin and Finch was a pretty good scene.
Character of the Episode: Finch.
Conclusion: This was the worst episode in a while. Almost nothing about this worked and this was a pretty big disappointment from the mostly consistent season 2.
Summary: Flashbacks show Finch's relationship with Grace. In the present, the next POIs are a married couple. Reese soon discovers that both of them are trying to kill each other. After intervening and getting the two to talk to each other, they make good but they have both assigned hit men against each other. With the help of Carter and Fusco, who had to be pulled away from a date, the hit men are disposed of.
The Good: I really liked the theme of love which was explored throughout the episode. The central story was between two characters whose marriages fell apart, and that was contrasted by the new love between Fusco and his date Rhonda as well as the flashbacks showing the relationship between Finch and Grace. This central focus gave the episode more of a connected feeling and made this story feel more important than it otherwise would have been.
Each individual story worked. The story of Daniel and Sabrina was pretty well done. It was nice to get a proper character story showing how these two reorganized their life and rediscovered their happiness. While the story was certainly flawed (see: The Bad), it was deeper than what we usually got. It was nicely acted, fit the episode's theme and provided a decent backdrop to set up the action scene in the episode's climax. Plus, the show got to bring in yet another "Lost" actor with Mark Pellegrino. The idea of a couple that are trying to murder each other is pretty creative and gave this episode something unique to help set it apart from everything else. Furthermore, the reason for their relationship falling apart made sense and everything that happened to get them back together was pleasingly logical, if rushed.
The flashbacks were good too. They were more emotional than I was expecting since we got to see exactly what Finch has lost by doing the job he does. It certainly helps that Finch and Grace have wonderful chemistry which perfectly showed how happy Finch was before. This contrasts nicely with present day Finch who has become fairly bitter after his time with Root, as he wonders if it won't be better to let the couple kill each other instead.
Fusco's date was a nice source of humour. I especially liked the kidnapping scene which allowed for a couple of laughs.
The Bad: Unfortunately the kidnapping scene was absolutely ridiculous. Did Reese seriously kidnap a woman who was screaming loudly in the middle of New York with nobody noticing? That's just poor writing.
It was always going to be tough to convey the change in the hearts of Sabrina and Daniel in a single episode. As such, their development comes off as unrealistically rushed and simplistic, a consequence of the show's insistence on single episode story arcs.
This episode did practically nothing to advance the overall plot. While it told a fun story, it wasn't as engaging as the show's best episodes.
The Unknown: I don't really have anything to put in here.
Best Moment: Finch and Grace at the end of the episode was a really sweet moment.
Character of the Episode: Finch.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode. I don't have many gripes and I thought this worked well as a complete story.
Summary: Rick walks off into the forest to collect himself and Glenn puts himself in charge. Glenn is angry and wants vengeance. The Governor puts Andrea in charge of Woodbury while he collects himself. He promises not to attack the prison but he leaves with some men on a supply run, which Andrea is suspicious about. Daryl realizes that being with Merle won't be like it was before and he convinces Merle to go back to the prison. The Governor attacks at the prison and a massive gunfight ensues. Axel dies. The Governor breaks down the fences and releases a horde of walkers inside the fences. The Governor leaves with the prison a mess.
The Good: I enjoyed both Woodbury and the prison responding to the open war they are now involved in. Glenn's desire for revenge and open combat made sense and I really liked seeing him cave under the pressure of being the leader now. His relationship with Maggie also got some solid development as they both addressed what happened in Woodbury. The Governor and Andrea's interactions in Woodbury were solid too and I liked the way that the Governor treated Andrea. He let her be in charge but in exchange decided to secretly attack the prison.
Rick's story remains sad and engaging. His decaying mental state after losing Lori is powerful to watch and Andrew Lincoln is very good at conveying Rick's emotions. Rick and Hershel's conversation in the middle of the episode was extremely strong. Hershel is being the voice of reason to Rick, helping him overcome the complex emotions he must be feeling.
Daryl's story was fine. His mini-arc told the good story of him realizing how life with Merle isn't going to be the same as it was before after everything that has changed him. The dialogue between the brothers was strong as usual, and the action sequence was pretty fun.
The climactic battle was even better. The setpiece was very nicely done and it was impressive how many of the characters felt exposed and at risk of death. The Governor's attack was a total surprise and it left me feeling that an important character may be facing some major consequences. While that didn't happen, we still got a very entertaining gunfight that provided a strong climax to the episode.
The Bad: Axel was handled really badly. He finally gets some development here and has some nice interactions with Carol. But then it's all meaningless because he dies. It seems like a waste of a character, and worse yet, now all of the prisoner characters are dead making their storyline almost entirely pointless. The death was surprising, but we need to care about characters before they die so it means something.
Also, the Governor must be one hell of a marksman to make that shot (and without a sniper at that!). It's a shame that after that one shot, every single person failed to shoot accurately. Martinez was the biggest culprit as he missed Rick with so many shots when he was wide open. And then when Rick runs into the open, Martinez just leaves. Why didn't he kill him?
Daryl and Merle's story was extremely generic and it wasn't written particularly well. The whole "daddy lashings" thing felt so forced (how did Merle not know about this before?), and it was a contrived way to get Merle to agree to go back to the prison. Another nitpick, but there is no way in hell that Daryl heard that baby crying from so far away. It was a poor example of sound design.
The Unknown: It appears that the Governor's motive behind the assault was to damage and not kill the prisoners. Perhaps he hopes that the walkers he released in there will kill them all? That would prove to be a good way to explain how the prison group all died. A horde broke the fence and killed them all. But, it seems like Andrea won't buy whatever the Governor tells her. What will that lead to?
Will Rick be back in leadership now? Will he retaliate against the Governor?
Best Moment: The climactic battle was really fun.
Character of the Episode: Glenn.
Conclusion: This ended up being a solid episode. There was good follow-up and a strong climax. Enjoyable television.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.