Summary: Flashbacks show Carter's relationship with her ex Paul. Carter sets her plan against HR into motion. She cuts off Reese, Fusco and Shaw and starts placing attacks on HR to turn them against Yogorov and the Russians. HR try to kill the Russians, but Carter gives the police a tip and they arrest all the corrupt detectives. Carter saves Yogorov and puts him in lock up, getting him to sign a warrant to incriminate Quinn. She calls a judge to get him to prepare an arrest warrant on Quinn but the judge calls Quinn instead. When Carter arrives, Quinn is there to kill her. However, Carter reveals that the room is being recorded to get evidence on Quinn. Reese arrives and he and Carter capture Quinn. Simmons finds the identity of Reese on a camera and declares that he is going to die.
The Good: "Person of Interest" is so good at these ridiculously paced episodes that serve as big pay-off for long-running stories. These episodes are crazy fun every time and make perfect use of the show's natural quick pace. The show's naturally fast pace has been one of its flaws, as it never allows me to get invested in the repetitive POI episodes. But in episodes with a story that has meaning, consequence and emotion. The pace is what makes these episodes stand out among other action dramas I have watched.
I've been critical of the HR story because of how little depth there is to it, but I'm pleased to say that it came together here really well. Carter's emotional connection to HR made them feel important, and as a proxy also got me to invest in HR since I care about Carter as a character. Watching Carter go full-tilt as she sets HR against the Russians was very entertaining and there were a number of clever tricks she pulled out that were pleasing to watch, including her shooting Quinn's office and the brief, yet satisfying Elias cameo. The show is really good at using its recurring characters at the right times.
The story built up tension so well around Carter. As she continued to do things alone, the tension really built up and I was hit with the sense that she may not make it out of this episode alive. Add on the fact that this was a Carter-centric episode where she gets significant scenes with every character she has a relationship with, and it really feels like Carter's swan song. Perhaps she may still die in the next episode seeing that the story wasn't concluded by the episode's end, but then again, this show loves throwing red herrings so perhaps she will live.
Carter's emotional story worked tremendously well. The flashbacks showed her ex Paul managing to overcome his obsession with dealing with his problems alone. It contrasts nicely with her refusing to get any help for herself in the present which seemed like it may be the fatal flaw that gets her killed. She had become too obsessed in her personal drama, and her trust issues once more got in the way of what she was trying to do. I thought her scenes with Reese and Fusco were terrific. Reese came off as a fantastic friend as he tries to help her, connecting Carter's struggles nicely with his own, and the same goes for Fusco. Carter manages to be entirely relatable as she refuses Reese and Fusco, adding a bit of melancholy to those scenes since we can't be sure if Carter would actually ever see them again.
There were a number of moments which made this episode function well as a piece of drama. The best of which was the ending cliff-hanger. It worked really well, and makes it virtually impossible to not watch the next episode right away. It took quite a bit of restraint for me to write this review before turning on the next episode.
The Bad: There are a few flaws that prevent this from getting the massive score I want to give it. For one, unlike "Prisoner's Dilemma" and "Relevance", this episode wasn't a complete story. It feels like a part one based on that ending, meaning we didn't get the satisfaction of a complete conclusion.
Also, we are completely robbed of the emotional pay-off of Carter finally accepting Reese and co.'s help. The whole episode feels like it's built on Carter's choice of accepting help, so naturally the biggest moment of the episode should be when she finally accepts help. And in a way it is. The climax comes where it's revealed that Carter has accepted Reese's help, so he saves her and captures Quinn. But I have to bring up that it would have been way more satisfying and powerful to see Carter eventually make the decision to call Reese. The show sacrificed a powerful moment to provide an extra plot twist which I think was unnecessary and didn't add much drama at all.
Quinn still isn't a great villain. His capture didn't seem like as big of a moment as it should be. I feel like I should be cheering that Carter finally got him, but I'm not. Had Quinn been developed as more of a character, the climax would have worked a bit better than it actually did. Also, Quinn is stupid for going to get Carter in person. Surely he could have amassed a few HR cops like Simmons to kill her instead. Quinn doesn't seem like a man who would do this work by himself, so this feels like villain stupidity for the sake of the plot. If only Quinn had more of a character, then maybe this would make more sense.
The Unknown: What will HR do to get Quinn back? How are they going to try to kill Reese?
Will Carter die soon? The story seems set up for it.
Reese's comment about the Machine blowing a belt early in the episode made me think a little bit. What is the structure of the Machine? How big is it? What does it look like? How did Finch physically create a device to house such a complex AI?
Best Moment: Plenty of good moments to choose from. I'll go with Reese and Carter's conversation across the camera. Both characters' emotions were clear and there was some good dialogue that nicely touched on their relationship.
Character of the Episode: Carter.
Conclusion: Even though this episode didn't have a complete story, it still provided a fantastic emotional journey for Carter surrounded by some great storytelling and action.
Summary: The next POI is a therapist named Hayden who is discovered to be a con man. He has ripped off HR in an attempt to start a new life with his girlfriend. Reese, Shaw and Finch get involved and try to get him to do the right thing. HR has lost millions from the con so Simmons is pressuring Terney and Laskey to fix things. Hayden has stolen a baseball worth 4.4 million dollars and HR wants it back. They threaten to kill Natalie until Hayden makes the trade. Hayden trades but the ball is revealed to be a fake. Natalie conned Hayden and has taken the real baseball for herself. Terney goes to Laskey to fix things and discovers he is working with Carter. Terney kills Laskey and Carter kills Terney. Before he dies, Terney reveals that Quinn is the head of HR.
The Good: I liked the POI story. Hayden's schemes were fun to uncover, and I thought the story was cleverly constructed. I enjoyed the level of detail put into the money laundering that HR had set up. The auction setting was pretty cool, and I thought that Hayden's con was nicely set up. The final twist with Natalie conning Hayden was also pretty good and served up a fitting conclusion for Hayden's story that also managed to surprise me.
The HR story had some great moments. Laskey dying after finally doing the right thing was pretty tragic at the end, and it's easy to feel for his fate. Watching Terney die was especially satisfying after he killed Laskey, making the moment stand out as an effective climax.
Finch and Root's scenes were really good. The best dialogue of the episode was there and they offered some more fascinating glimpses at the great dynamic between those two.
The Bad: The story here was pretty dull overall. After there have been so many plot-driven episodes, I'm finding it tougher than ever to engage in POI stories. Thankfully Hayden's story tied in with HR, because it would have been a dud otherwise. Unfortunately, the HR storyline is probably the show's weakest long-running story. Quinn is such a boring bad guy, and HR has never been interesting or exciting to watch. They are the most generic villains on the show and the only thing driving their story right now is Carter, who takes the back seat in this episode.
There were some weak moments here. Hayden escaping so easily was annoying. The POI has escaped countless times by now, yet Reese still hasn't learned to keep better watch on them. Hayden's lines about Natalie were really poorly written. This show doesn't have the best dialogue normally, but Hayden's love for Natalie was so forced and cheesy that it stood out a lot, taking me out of the moment.
I didn't like that Terney decided to reveal who the head of HR was. There was no set up to him turning on HR like he did, and I was left confused as to why he chose to help the person who murdered him. Furthermore, the Quinn reveal was meant to be a huge moment but it really didn't work because Quinn is such a nothing of a character. I didn't buy into Carter's shock because I hardly knew about her relationship with Quinn to begin with.
The Unknown: Root predicts that something bad will come. What is it?
Best Moment: The first Finch and Root scene was great.
Character of the Episode: Laskey.
Conclusion: This episode was pretty weak. The HR storyline has never been the show's best, and all of its flaws were on display here. There were some strong moments, but they were brought down by other weaknesses.
Summary: Rick, Carl and Michonne go on a run back to Rick's neighbourhood to find guns. They get to the police station but all the guns are gone. They start looking around and find a man who is surviving there and tries to kill them. They knock him out and Rick realizes it is Morgan. Rick waits for him to wake up while Carl and Michonne go to get a picture of Lori. Carl initially tries to go alone but Michonne offers to help him and they bond. Morgan wakes up and tells Rick what has happened since Rick left. Duane is dead and Morgan has gone crazy. Rick offers to bring Morgan back but Morgan refuses. Rick takes half of Morgan's guns and the group heads back.
The Good: This was easily the best episode the show has done in a while. The main story took the back seat for this episode as we got a character-driven bottle episode which delivered hugely, improving on almost every issue I've had with the show as a whole.
The bookend opening and closing sequences were excellent. The show had really stopped paying attention to the smaller aspects of this world since season 1, so I was delighted to see two patient and lengthy sequences in this episode that did little to nothing to actually forward the story. The world-building bits like the sign for Erin were wonderful and succeeded in immersing me into the setting of a zombie apocalypse once again. The show had focused too much on the drama aspect of the show without enough emphasis on the fantastic world that was created. This episode fixed that. The man with the orange backpack was terrific. It was an outstanding way to show how dark the main characters have become. Having them finally stop only to take his stuff after he died was absolutely perfect, and was a great way to end the episode.
The detail and effort put into this episode was reminiscent of season 1. I already touched upon the world building, and it continued throughout the episode. The set for Rick's neighbourhood was fantastic with lots of detail put into it, making Morgan's camp feel like a real location that nicely conveyed his new crazy personality. The episode also pleasingly had build-up in it. There were several slower scenes that let the impact of the show fully sink in. I would always take scenes of Rick, Michonne and Carl slowly approaching Morgan's camp over the endlessly dull conversations characters have in other episodes. The episode also nails its pacing. The episode is patient at all the right times, with exciting action and powerful character moments coming in at all the right times.
The dual storylines later in the episode were really strong. All of the scenes with Morgan were terrific. Lennie James was even better than he was in "Days Gone Bye", bringing the insanity of Morgan to life in a way that didn't feel forced or unlikely to happen. Morgan's story about what happened since we last saw him was absolutely heartbreaking. The tales of him waiting for a call from Rick really played on our imagination, allowing us to imagine a lonely image of him which aided to the emotions presented in the episode. Worse was how Duane died. It was an absolutely tragic way for Morgan to lose his son and Lennie James acted the scene perfectly, allowing us to understand how the manner of Duane's death led to him losing his mind.
What was better was how the episode paralleled Rick with Morgan. In Morgan, Rick got to see a vision of who he might become if he loses himself. It's an effective way of restoring Rick's humanity and purpose after what has been a really tough season for him. This is a perfect way to get him to start abandoning his grief over Lori's death to really focus on cementing a future for Carl, himself and everyone else at the prison.
Carl and Michonne's side story was surprisingly effective. I had low expectations going in, but it had a surprising amount of emotional resonance. Carl going back to find a picture of Lori felt very real, and was exactly the type of emotional attachment one would feel to a lost loved one. I've usually felt a disconnect with Carl throughout the show, but here he felt real and I could relate with him really well. Chandler Riggs put in a better than usual performance here too which was really refreshing. I thought Michonne had her best episode yet. She got to show some character here in a few scenes and even made me laugh a couple times. Plus she got to act as a human later in the episode as she makes an attempt to relate with Rick by telling him that she also sees dead people. This is so much more development in one episode than she has gotten int he whole show before this.
The Bad: The main concern I have is that the success of this episode doesn't necessarily mean that the show is improving. This episode didn't fix my issues with the season as a whole, rather it avoided them. I get the sense that this episode was a one-off, and when we get back to the main story we will still get the same issues with characterization as before. It's disappointing that an episode this good doesn't really give me hope that the show will get better.
Michonne somehow getting the picture of Lori so quickly was really stupid. Are we really supposed to assume she did so that quickly and stealthily? Some poor editing let that scene down.
Surely Rick wouldn't want Carl to enter Morgan's house on his own. Carl appeared to hardly be paying attention as he walked up the stairs. One step on the wire and he's dead. There's no way that Rick would risk Carl's life like that.
(Partial credits to Ben F. for some of the content in this section)
The Unknown: Will we see Morgan again? Will he ever join up with the prison group?
Did Michonne lose her boyfriend in the apocalypse? What is her story anyways? This episode gave us a really neat clue.
Best Moment: Morgan giving his story of how Duane died. The descriptions were vivid and frightening, while James' performance gave the scene so much weight. It's impossible not to feel for him after that.
Character of the Episode: Morgan.
Conclusion: This was fantastic. "The Walking Dead" took a step back and managed to dish out what I think has to be its best episode since "Days Gone Bye". So much was done correctly here and it made for a complete viewing experience. Even though I'm unsure that this episode signifies a change in the show, it was still damn good.
Summary: Ross gets mad at Chandler for flirting with the pizza delivery girl. Joey invites his grandma over to watch his part in Law & Order. Monica wants her earrings back from Phoebe. Phoebe had lent them to Rachel who lost them so now they have to find them.
The Good: This was a funny episode. Episodes where all six of the friends are together tend to be better than episodes where storylines are split. This was no exception. There are great jokes throughout, the characters are fun and there are a few fantastic lines. Ross and Chandler have amazingly funny lines and the flirting story is pretty great. Ross' interactions with Caitlin are amazingly fun and I enjoyed them. Joey's grandma provided some great moments too, and Joey's fake scene leading into Chandler singing "Space Oddity" was amazing. The Rachel storyline had great moments too. Rachel was fun as she looked for the earring, and I especially loved Monica being understanding with Phoebe and harsh with Rachel. Realistic comedy like that is why I love the show to begin with.
The Bad: Ross thinking he's a flirting machine didn't feel like Ross. The show has really been stretching his character to get more comedy from the show. Phoebe understanding Italian was dumb, as was Joey's grandma speaking English at will somehow.
Best Moment: Ross flirting with Caitlin by talking about gasoline was really funny.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This was a really fun episode with lots of humour. While it doesn't reach upper tier "Friends", it's still a great episode.
Summary: Root has been told by the Machine to recruit Shaw but she doesn't know what for. Root takes Shaw around doing random tasks that the Machine has told her to do. Shaw is resistant but eventually decides to work with her. Root has Shaw arrest her and impersonate a CIA agent. Shaw takes Root to a CIA lockup. Meanwhile, the next POI is a man named Sloan who is investigating the mysterious death of his brother Jeremy. Reese and Finch realize that Collier is the one who is trying to kill Sloan. They realize that Jeremy is actually still alive and in a CIA lockup. Root meets with him and reveals she is there to save him. Shaw drives a transport with both of them inside. Root escapes and frees Jeremy. Meanwhile, Collier has captured Sloan and is now going to kill Jeremy. He attacks the truck but Reese stops him. Collier escapes. Root helps Jeremy escape and start a new life. Shaw knocks Root out and she is now imprisoned in Finch's library. Laskey is scarred by HR and begins to open up more to Carter who continues to use him.
The Good: This was an extremely fun and chaotic episode which served as an excellent part 2 to the last episode. This episode, like the last, had several storylines starting the episode and they ended up converging in a really satisfying way which amplified the pacing and provided a thrilling climax.
The Root and Shaw story was certainly my favourite of the episode. Their dynamic was really fun as Root was playful while Shaw was cold and vengeful. I also really enjoyed Root's random bursts of knowledge which would lead to a satisfying pay off later. Her random acts and cryptic clues early in the episode (impact, the package, cutting the sewer grates) were a ton of fun and the reveal of what was actually happening was really fun. The team up reminded me of the episode "Dead Reckoning" which featured a similar hero/villain team-up with a mysterious motive which isn't revealed until the end.
Some bits of the story provided some awesome moments. Shaw and Root against the man in the apartment was a ton of fun and it perfectly encapsulated the personalities of both characters. Shaw immediately fights the man while Root casually eats an apple on the table, only stepping in to win with a strategic taser.
The POI story started off pretty flat, but when it became apparent that the story tied in with both Collier and Root, it became a whole lot better. It got me a little more invested and even got me to care a little more about Sloan and Jeremy. The scenes with Collier were a highlight in the episode. He remains a mysterious and scary villain, and the reveal of Vigilance was really cool, making Collier seem like even more of a threat. I'm excited for the inevitable moment when Vigilance learns about the Machine, the ultimate disruptor of privacy. That would put Collier and Reese's group at odds in a big way.
The tie-in in the middle of the episode was great. When Jeremy was brought right next to Root, it was an immensely satisfying moment that made a lot of things clear. Root cryptically telling him what to do was enjoyable and I thought that their conversation was extremely well written. What I really appreciated was that this scene actually explained in more detail why Collier targeted Kruger. It was a surprising piece of continuity.
Carter and Laskey's scenes were also quite strong. We get a better understanding of how HR is recruiting these new cops and why they are seemingly never-ending. They have been infiltrating NYPD with corrupt Russians who work for Yogorov. The story nicely built to Laskey with this reveal and the show also did well to make me sympathize with Laskey after he is forced to bury a friend.
Another "Lost" casting with Nick being the same actor who plays Essam.
The Bad: The pacing is so fast early one, it's ridiculous. It's just intense scene after intense scene, with no chance to breath. While it's a fun experience, some of the story doesn't quite stick like it should. Sloan and Jeremy are also a total afterthought for most of the episode and their storyline kind of gets lost in the shuffle.
The climax wasn't done very well. The action was messy, the music took me out of the moment and I thought it didn't quite live up to what I was expecting after all of the hype earlier in the episode.
The Unknown: When will Vigilance discover the Machine? How? Will they look into Reese now since they have encountered him twice? What is Collier's goal? He mentions another revolution, so is that his long-term plan?
Does Jason have a role to play still? Surely the Machine saved him for a reason.
What happens now with Root imprisoned in the library? Is she actually isolated from the Machine? Is this the Machine's will? Why would the Machine want Root imprisoned? To get her to work with Finch? Or is Finch working against the Machine like Root was suggesting?
Best Moment: I'll go with the fight scene in the apartment. The way both Root and Shaw were handled was superb.
Character of the Episode: Root.
Conclusion: This was an excellent episode that was just as great as the last one. While it didn't have as much of an emotional edge to it, it was an exciting hour of drama and had me completely invested the entire time. A great example of an episode built on drama.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Shaw was just as cold as a child as she is now. In the present Shaw is assigned the next POI, a little girl named Gen who is also a spy. Shaw starts to bond with her but remains emotionally distant. Shaw discerns that Gen left bugs in her apartment to monitor for illegal drugs but has gotten involved into something much bigger. Gen is kidnapped and Shaw is knocked out. Shaw awakens and is determined to get her back. Carter meanwhile is investigating HR. Reese's investigation surrounding Gen connects with Carter and they realize they are tracking the same case. HR has captured Gen. Reese fights Simmons to get her back but discovers Gen has been moved. Laskey diverts Carter but Carter reveals that she knows he is HR. Carter threatens him and gets him to work for her. Shaw finds her and kills everyone hiding her. Shaw lets her go and they briefly bond. Later, Root captures Shaw while she sleeps.
The Good: It was great to get another Shaw episode. I feel like Shaw has been slightly tweaked as a character since season 2, so it was necessary to get an episode to showcase more or less what we should expect from her going forward. This episode worked because it showcased the deeper elements of Shaw's character which we haven't seen much of this season. It also had some great callbacks to "Relevance" with Shaw taking blood from Yogorov and going back to being a brutal killing machine in the climactic scene.
The flashback scenes did an excellent job of fleshing Shaw out a little more while also explaining why she is so cold and detached. Tracing the issue back to her childhood makes sense and makes it seem like more of a personality disorder than an actual character trait for her. It's a nice take on her character that feels original.
I liked the connection she built with Gen. We have seen all of the other main characters develop connections with the POI, so now it's Shaw's turn. I thought this one worked much better than all of the others because of how Gen feels almost exactly like Shaw as a child. Shaw projects herself onto the little girl and slowly develops a bond with her. Furthermore, it's more satisfying seeing Shaw create a bond with somebody considering her antisocial persona. The ending hug scene is very well done and ended up being a touching moment.
Carter's side story is a lot of fun. Seeing her investigate HR so thoroughly is engaging, and with Laskey lurking around her, it felt like the story was going somewhere meaningful in the episode. The tie-in to the POI story was a fantastic moment and combined momentum in both storylines. I love the idea of combining storylines a lot since it can ensure that I'm engaged in both storylines in an episode instead of only one. It's one of the reasons that I find episodes like "God Mode" so enjoyable, since all of the storylines are interconnected and end up being equally fascinating to me.
The bar scene near the end of the episode was awesome. It seemed set up for something bad to happen to Carter, but pleasingly Carter turned things around. It makes perfect sense that carter would be careful enough to figure out that Laskey is HR, and the badass way she handles him is incredible to watch. We have seen in previous episodes that Carter is determined to shut down HR. Here we get to see how far she is willing to go as she coldly murders an HR affiliate and threatens to frame Laskey for it unless she serves her. Looking at the fear in Laskey's eyes, it's a cold moment for a protagonist to go through.
Carter's dark turn nicely parallels Reese's newfound darkness. Seeing him leave a man with nitroglycerin on his hand was very cold and nicely continues his development. While Reese was in the background for the most part, this moment still managed to continue his development nicely.
The ending was stellar. I can't wait to find out what Root wants from Shaw.
There were some funny moments throughout the episode. Finch finding sex on one of the tapes was hilarious, but better yet was Finch's "enough" when asked by Shaw how much he knows about chemistry. It was the perfect line delivery from Michael Emerson that made me laugh out loud.
The Bad: The nitroglycerin stunt that Reese pulled was pretty dumb. The cook had valuable information, and surely Reese would use less insane method before to see if the man started talking. The scene reminded me of Locke's ridiculous grenade stunt from "Lost", though it wasn't as bad as that.
After Finch tries so hard to be pacifist with Shaw, it feels strange for him t excitedly blow up a lab. Furthermore, Finch earlier brought up that he doesn't want to scare Gen with Shaw murdering people. Yet he says nothing while Shaw massacres everyone in the lab. I guess it's meant to be growth for him, but it feels so sudden and isn't written very well.
Finch desperately needs a story in this season since he has been nothing more than just the boss in recent episodes. The same goes for Fusco who isn't even present in this episode.
The episode felt too tropic for my liking. The fight between Reese and Simmons was such a generic action fight. It's hard to buy Simmons and Reese fighting on par with each other, plus Reese comically putting the gun away for a fist fight felt pretty dumb. Gen is pretty ridiculous too. I've seen the trope of badass kid beyond her years so many times and it has never really impressed me or felt realistic. Lastly, slapping on the tough woman with a soft heart thing was pretty annoying even though it wasn't played up too much. I thought Gen's low volume metaphor was too on the nose for me and the story would have probably been better off without it.
The Unknown: What does Root want from Shaw? Has the Machine sent her to get Shaw? Why? What does the Machine want?
What does Carter plan to do with Laskey? Will Laskey be her key to HR?
Best Moment: I really liked Carter getting Laskey to her side. It also nicely paralleled the way that Fusco was recruited into HR in season 1, making it feel more like sweet justice.
Character of the Episode: Shaw.
Conclusion: After a lot of episodes that didn't offer me very much to talk about, this felt like a lovely change of pace. The storytelling here was damn good and the story was gripping from start to finish. Shaw is still captivating, and naturally an episode centered around her is the best of the season so far.
Summary: The next POI is a woman named Vanessa whose husband recently died. She is suspected for killing him. Reese and Finch are unsure of if she is innocent or guilty. Vanessa escapes confinement and continually does some mysterious actions. Eventually Reese catches her and they quiz her. They discover that her husband, Jeremy is still alive and framed her. Determining her to be innocent, they let her go. However, she goes to kill Jeremy for revenge. Reese goes to stop her, but determines that they are both bad people. Reese lets them both kill each other.
The Good: This episode has fun moments. The opening scene was fairly pointless, but it was decent comedy and was a clever use of Bear. Shaw had some really fun scenes as well. I enjoyed the brief book club bit, and Shaw debating whether or not to murder the slow banker was pretty funny.
The main story was built nicely on mystery. I wasn't ever sure about Vanessa's intentions until the episode's ending, allowing the interesting mystery to carry the entire episode's drama. There were many intriguing aspects to it, in particular the brick of cocaine, Jeremy's status and the intrigue on whether or not Vanessa is lying.
The ending of the episode was really strong. It was surprising to see Reese do something so dark when he simply allowed Jeremy and Vanessa to kill each other. It was a surprising turn for his character to make, and I think it's safe to say that his time with Shaw has influenced this change. Seeing Reese develop a darker side makes him more interesting, and I hope this leads into a larger storyline for his character.
The Bad: The story didn't do much to grip me. After getting used to the more serialized storylines last season, it's tough to adjust to an episode with almost nothing for the overarching story. All we got was confirmation that Laskey is HR, which I was already suspecting so it didn't do much for me. While the story was fine, it didn't get the assistance of a serialized story to become anything more than average.
There were parts of the episode which made me groan. The dumb trial scene was a really stupid joke and only served to break my immersion due to how unrealistic it was. They just had to ask Vanessa some questions, there was no need for the objection stuff. This show's dialogue has never been the best, but it was especially noticeable in this episode. Vanessa telling Carter "I didn't kill my husband" didn't feel like a real moment and she only said that to continue the mystery in dramatic fashion.
I feel like Shaw's character is being sabotaged for comedy. While her scenes are fun, they solely focus on the angry aspect of Shaw's character. It's fine to focus on specific elements of a character as long as the character's other traits get some time as well. Unfortunately for Shaw, she seems to have been horribly simplified in these early episodes and I really hope that she can reclaim the depth that initially got me invested in her back in "Relevance".
The Unknown: Is there a darker side to Reese that has been unlocked by Shaw?
Best Moment: Reese deciding that Vanessa and Jeremy aren't worth his time was a shocking moment. How many times have we seen Reese in a similar situation? Many times, with the last one being as soon as two episodes ago. Every time he has tried his best to prevent any casualties, even with bad people like Kruger. It was surprising to see him leave two people to die, even going as far as to give a man a gun so he can kill his wife.
Character of the Episode: Reese.
Conclusion: This was the most procedural episode in a while which makes it a weaker episode than what I'm used to. However, the story was told well which prevents this from being that bad.
Summary: The next POI is a man named Ian and the group learns that he is a stalker that dates many women and likely kills them. Carter is sent in on a date with him and they eventually realize that he is being targeted by a man named Wellington. Ian married Wellington's daughter and got her pregnant and Wellington wasn't pleased so he sent Ian away. After his daughter died, Wellington wants to kill Ian. Reese figures out that Ian has a kid and tells him. Ian makes contact and Reese's group provide him with proof of paternity. Meanwhile, Hersh locates Root and goes to kill her. Root is prepared though and shoots him but doesn't kill him. Root escapes the hospital.
The Good: I can see the purpose of these slower early episodes. Shaw is new to the crew so we need to see her go on a few missions with the main cast to build up a new group dynamic and to help us get more attached to her. It has worked so far and I'm buying into her as a useful asset to the group. This episode sees her introduced to Carter and Zoe which is important to touch on.
Root continues to be my favourite part of these opening episodes. It's entertaining seeing her explain her plan to a normal guy in Carmichael. The scenes don't necessarily offer too much of emotional substance, but they are carried by Amy Acker's fantastic acting and natural charisma. It's fun watching her express her excitement for the ensuing chaos to Carmichael, and the actual action sequence when Hersh comes after her is pretty great. The Machine assists Root to defeat Hersh in an entertaining way, but more intriguingly the Machine allows Hersh to live (see: The Unknown).
The main story has some fine moments. There is some emotion, which shows the episode has its heart in the right place.
The Bad: Unfortunately, the POI story is completely average and provides nothing of particular substance. Carter's attachment to Ian is pretty meaningless and leads nowhere. It's a far cry from prior episodes where Finch and Reese grow attached to a POI. Furthermore, the villain is completely underwhelming. Wellington is hardly even a character and he provides absolutely no drama or tension to the episode. The set-up early on doesn't do much to make me interested in Ian's story, and the actor doesn't do a particularly good job either.
The biggest problem with the main story is the lack of resolution. We get no closure for Ian and we don't know if he actually gets his son back or not. Furthermore, the Wellington conflict is never actually solved and that makes the end of this story feel like a total disappointment.
The Unknown: Why does the Machine want Hersh to live? Does Hersh have a role to play still?
Best Moment: Root revealing what is going to happen to Carmichael was ominous and creepy.
Character of the Episode: Root.
Conclusion: Without the Root story, this is a dud of an episode. Season 3 is off to a rocky start so far.
Summary: Rachel realizes her coworkers are making all of their decisions without her because she doesn't smoke so she starts smoking to get involved. Phoebe wants to throw a surprise party for Rachel but Monica takes full control of setting up the party. Ben gets an audition for a commercial and Joey tags along hoping to get an audition for himself.
The Good: The storylines were pretty fun all around and they led to a few great laughs. While inconsistent, there were good laughs throughout the episode and every character gets a chance to shine. Phoebe is fun as she gets back at Monica, Monica and Chandler are fun again as a couple, Rachel is good as she desperately tries to get involved, and both Ross and Joey get some great jokes.
The Bad: The problem is the consistency. While there are good jokes, there are a few that just aren't very funny or memorable at all. Also, the storylines aren't the best. Joey comes off poorly at times in his story with Ross. The noodle soup joke is extremely unrealistic and not really funny at all. Outside of Rachel being full of energy, there isn't much humour to her story. The cups and ice story doesn't really have a great pay-off joke so it doesn't work as well as it could have.
Best Moment: Chandler excusing himself from Joey and Ross' argument was great.
Character of the Episode: Phoebe.
Conclusion: This was a decent episode, but there really isn't much special here, and there are a few dull stretches with little humour.
Summary: The next POI is a business owner named Kruger. Reese and Shaw investigate him and they discover that somebody is trying to humiliate him and ruin his life. They find several people who were responsible, all of which who were wronged by him in the past. They were given a package on how they can ruin his life by some mysterious other person. Reese and Shaw discover this person is a custodian, Sommers. Kruger is lured out of safety by the prospect of saving a business deal he was trying to make with a man named Collier. Sommers tries to kill him but Reese stops him. Collier reveals himself as the real perpetrator, shoots Reese and kills Kruger.
The Good: This was solid stuff. The main story was decent enough and had some good twists from the usual format to make it stand out a bit more. Having Kruger be a total asshole was very unique and it made me hate him and not really care about Reese and Shaw saving his life. I was instead hooked into the episode by the prospect of seeing this character get what he deserved and it was pretty satisfying to see his life fall apart. The final twist was great because I didn't see it coming at all. I thought the Sommers reveal was the main twist, so when Collier went full evil and murdered Kruger, I was caught completely off guard. It was a great moment and sets up yet another big villain for the show.
Shaw continues to be a whole ton of fun. The fact that she doesn't conform to Reese and Finch's morals adds an extra amount of both levity and tension to the episode. She is good for laughs and also has me on the edge of my seat because it's always more likely for things to go wrong when Shaw is around.
I really like that Carter is still grieving Beecher. I've seen so many characters simply cease to think about other dead characters in following episodes, and thankfully this isn't the case here. Beecher is treated as an important part of this HR storyline and that adds to the story. I thought the Laskey story was fine build up and I'm interested to see where it goes.
The Bad: Kruger absolutely should have died in that elevator drop. It fell 40+ stories and crashed on the bottom. He should not have been able to take that landing.
The Unknown: Is Laskey a member of HR? I think it's pretty likely that he was sent to watch over Carter, though it may be another bait and switch like with Beecher.
Best Moment: The Collier reveal was great and it was a genuine surprise.
Character of the Episode: Collier.
Conclusion: This was another average POI story amped up by a great reveal at the end.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.