Summary: The next POI is a woman named Kelli. Shaw and Reese investigate into her and discover she is a criminal being chased by an agent named Bouchard. Shaw stops her next crime but realizes that she is being used by another man, Cyril, who is threatening her by keeping her daughter. After this, the group has a change of heart and helps Kelli steal a valuable item. However, they don't give it to Cyril and instead get him arrested. Kelli is arrested to but Finch informs Bouchard of her situation. Bouchard lets her go.
The Good: The episode had its moments. The heist was fun to watch and there were some really neat moments of planning, like the distractions made to Bouchard and the 3D printing of the required fingerprints. It was decently fun TV.
The ending scene was a great moment of humanity for the crew (see: Best Moment). I would love to see more moments like this based on emotion since they are much easier to connect to than the random drama scenes that preceded this.
The Bad: Once again, the return to the POI formula results in an episode that's almost impossible to care about. The episode was a chore to get through more times than not with a generic story. Kelli wasn't at all interesting and was the same tired case of a seeming bad guy actually being a good guy controlled by a bigger bad. This show has had so many cases of villains kidnapping kids. It's honestly hard to remember any hostages that weren't kids, or to remember any kids that were introduced and not used as cheap ways to build emotion. The show relies too heavily on this.
There was literally nothing new here. Where the last episode had some creative moments to make things feel fresh, this was as simple and unoriginal as possible. It was a bland thriller with very few moments that made me feel anything. Neither Kelli, nor anyone from the main crew did anything character-related to draw me in. This was the most lethargic episode of the season, with almost nothing for me to talk about.
The ending was too cute for me. Kelli got off too easily and of course we needed to have the feel-good reunion scene. It was all too easy and the fact that the writers chose to play it safe with the ending somehow made this episode even duller.
The Unknown: Nothing really.
Best Moment: The final scene was the only scene that got me to care. Everyone was together in one scene (a rarity this season), and they got to share a drink in a surprisingly human moment. The little tribute to Carter was another lovely moment, showing the heart that these guys (and girl) have. A lovely scene.
Character of the Episode: Fusco probably. Nobody really stood out.
Conclusion: This was a very bland episode with nothing particularly good until the final scene. I'm sure this is just a fluke as the show builds to the season's conclusion, but I would have preferred something more original.
Summary: Reese is booking a flight to leave but he gets placed on a different flight. The Machine contacts him with a new number, a person on the plane. He contacts Finch for help and makes contact with the POI, Owen. Owen is being escorted on the plane by marshals who lose consciousness. A man then tries to kill Owen but Reese stops him. Finch discerns that Owen is a relevant number and sends Shaw to get more information. Shaw contacts Hersh to get the information. Owen is revealed to be the head of a drug marketing system that has made a lot of money off of it, giving a cut to the ISA. He is being targeted because he wants to go public. Reese continues to save his life on the plane and sets him up to start a new life after. Finch visits him and Reese decides to go back.
The Good: This was a fun episode that felt original and different. Essentially it was the same old POI story, but it had a few fresh elements that made it stand out. I thought the concept was nice and original. The plane setting was a refreshing change and made this feel like (at times) "Non-Stop" in a TV show. The opening sequence set up the plane in a fun way. There were a fair amount of characters introduced that could all have become villains, adding to the suspense. The way they were introduced was also quite fun. Reese getting annoyed by everyone on the flight was pretty funny and started the episode in the right way.
The inclusion of a relevant number was a terrific way to get me to care about this POI. By having him be relevant, Owen became much more interesting as a result and I was excited to learn why he was being targeted by the ISA and what he was actually doing. It was an engaging mystery that was pretty fun to uncover. Furthermore, I loved the Machine's role in the episode. The fact that the Machine was actively working to keep Reese in contact was really interesting.
There were a few really fun confrontations throughout the episode. Shaw's scenes with both Foster and Hersh were really strong, continuing to follow-up nicely on her time working for Control. Reese's scenes with Owen were all pretty well-written to build mystery and also get some decent comedy in there.
The best part of the episode was the story of Reese rediscovering his passion for helping people. Even though Owen was a pain in his ass, he was still grateful for what Reese did, and it seems like that made a difference in Reese's views; it's still worth saving people. Add in Holly who genuinely appreciated how he helped out, and it's clear that Reese can still save many lives. It's this realization for him that allows him to make the decision to come back. His subtle reveal to Finch was a lovely moment, and Finch's joyful reaction was really nice (see: Best Moment).
The Bad: The story had some dull moments. Indigo 6A didn't really add much to the story, and neither did the Carlos twist. These two characters were sort of just there, not really adding anything to the story outside of some generic action scenes. I didn't like the climax of the episode either. Sometimes larger stakes, like the lives of so many civilians on the plane being in danger, detract from the episode since it was obvious that the plane wouldn't crash. Plus, it's mighty convenient that Finch just has a plane interface somewhere in the library.
I thought that Reese's return to Finch was missing a key moment of realization. The story was so subtle that it actually missed the emotional beats I was expecting. It would have been more poignant had there been some more moments in the episode where Jim Caviezel got to play Reese's emotional state to make the final moment seem more earned and powerful.
There were a few sloppy moments. The show needs to stop having the POI escape suddenly as a dramatic cut to commercials. It's so repetitive. Also, the marshals were so incompetent it was ridiculous. Who the hell trusted those guys?
The Unknown: Why was Hersh asking about Shaw's happiness working under Finch? It was an interesting bit of dialogue. Could that suggest that Hersh is entertaining a switch to working under Finch?
Best Moment: The most emotional part of the episode was certainly the end. Reese and Finch had a nice meeting with Finch being hopeful that Reese would come back. Reese being Reese, subtly hints at a return which Finch picks up on and Michael Emerson plays with such joy and happiness. It was a sweet moment that played off of the bond these two have developed. A lovely moment.
Character of the Episode: Reese.
Conclusion: This was a strong episode. For the most part it was the usual story, but there were a few creative ideas and emotional scenes that helped this stand out.
Summary: In flashbacks, Finch hacks into Arpanet. In the present, Root saves Finch, Shaw and Arthur but she gets captured by Hersh and Control. Control tortures her to get admin access to the Machine but Root turns the tables with the Machine's help. She passes a message to Control from the Machine and leaves. Arthur reveals that his memory wasn't that bad and he was faking it to prevent Control from getting information from him. Arthur goes to a bank where he kept the back-up for Samaritan. Vigilance arrive shortly after, wanting to get Samaritan for themselves. Hersh arrives outside as well. Finch convinces Arthur to destroy Samaritan. The group escapes the bank. Root calls Finch and reveals that the drives Arthur destroyed were fakes. The real drives had been stolen before by Decima Technologies.
The Good: I enjoyed the pacing of the main story. We open up with a fantastic sequence that paid off of the previous cliffhanger in a great way. All of the pressing questions I had about Samaritan from the last episode were answered in a quick, efficient way without feeling overwhelming. Then we were treated to a nice action scene when Root arrived. It was a great way to start the episode.
Root's storyline was a joy to watch. Control was intimidating and I was left wondering if Root's imprisonment was intentional by the Machine, or if it had somehow abandoned her. Control's words continued to build this conflict up and I became invested in finding an answer. I thought the scenes had a nice amount of tension to them. Root's torture gave her story a sense of consequence, without over-indulging into the violence which has detracted from torture in other shows (Game of Thrones). The way Root turned things around on Control in the end was very satisfying, and it was absolutely fascinating hearing Root directly convey the will of the Machine to Control (see: The Unknown).
The Samaritan storyline was very well done. I enjoyed the way the plot was set up around the bank. Finch and Shaw were separated as the dual threats of Vigilance and Hersh closed in on them. It became tough to see a way out for the both of them and I was excited to see if they would make it out with Samaritan. Collier had great presence and he felt like more of a threat than usual. His conversation with Hersh was well written and extremely interesting, and suggests that Collier may be a more important threat than he has ever been (see: The Unknown).
Finch and Arthur's conversations were the best parts of this episode. Making Arthur more conversable in this episode paid off big time and it allowed me to actually buy into him and Finch as old friends. It helps that Saul Rubinek and Michael Emerson are both fantastic actors that add that extra degree of realism to their work. I bought into both characters' and I enjoyed their interactions. The best scene between them was the conversation in the vault when Finch was telling Arthur to destroy Samaritan. Arthur killing his creation was a fascinating moment for him and it brought into focus whether it's right to simply destroy an AI or not. Better yet was how the Machine actually rewarded him at the end of the episode (see: Best Moment). Watching him relive his past memories with his wife was genuinely emotional. After all the time we spent with Arthur, I ended up caring about him. I've always wanted "Person of Interest" to have a POI case that carried over multiple episodes to give it more emotional resonance. It's not surprising that Arthur has to be one of the best POIs we have had so far when he was given multiple episodes for his story.
The ending reveal was another outstanding plot twist. With the climax of the HR storyline, Vigilance's introduction and the reveal of Control, I had completely forgotten about Decima. The fact that they just acquired Samaritan was a big shock, and I'm excited to see what they plan to do with it (see: The Unknown).
The backstory on Finch was a really excellent story. It nicely tied into "2PiR" with Finch hacking into Arpanet on a homemade computer. The story with Finch's father was genuinely heartbreaking and was a nice way to deepen our understanding of Finch while also suggesting a reason why he may have chosen to make the Machine.
The Bad: The reveal that Arthur was faking it didn't feel entirely satisfying. If he had taken such good measures to be secretive from Control, why would he tell everything to Vigilance so quickly? It doesn't really add up.
Reese's story was pretty much a dud unfortunately. It broke the pacing of the last episode, but I forgave it because it seemed to be setting up for something bigger. There wasn't much pay-off here and I found myself a little dulled out by his story. I was anxiously awaiting a return to the main plot whenever he and Fusco arrived on screen. It really hurt the episode's pacing by jamming it to a halt at a few points. The actual substance wasn't very good either. It's so tough to buy into Reese's new philosophy and there isn't a very credible reason for him to believe this, especially after working for the Machine for so long and saving so many lives. It would have been nice to see Reese's doubt in the Machine growing throughout the season rather than having him slowly develop a little bit of darkness if this is where his character was heading. Fusco and Reese arriving to save Shaw and Finch was very unsatisfying. How did they know where to go? How did they acquire the SWAT uniforms? It's too much of a deus ex machina.
There was one bit of dialogue I really disliked. Shaw comes up with a great plan for Finch to escape without engaging the enemy. Yet Finch calls this plan reckless. What? No. A reckless plan would be for Shaw to fight through the enemy to get to Finch. This was smart and much safer, so why is it reckless? It seems that the writers wanted Shaw to come up with something reckless to fit her character and couldn't come up with anything. So to make up for it, they just had Finch call a good plan reckless to try to prove a point. It didn't work at all.
The Unknown: Why did the Machine let Root be captured? Presumably Root could have been saved from Hersh, but the Machine didn't want that to happen. Did the Machine want to pass that message on to Control? Or could it be something else? Did Root just leave Control like that? What happened to Control? What will she do next?
How does Collier know about Samaritan? Who are his sources that apparently know this? I'm hoping it isn't just a plot hole. What does Collier want with Samaritan?
What does Decima want with Samaritan? They wanted to kill the Machine last season, so why have they obtained Samaritan? Do they want Samaritan to overtake the Machine? Why? What would change if this happens?
Where is Reese going now? Back to Colorado?
Will Arthur come back later? He was a pretty important character, so I think it's possible he may come back later. Then again, he is dying so he may not return. We haven't seen Leon at all this season and Zoe has hardly appeared. Will we see more of them later in the season?
Best Moment: Arthur getting to enjoy some memories with his wife was genuinely touching. Fascinatingly, it seemed like the Machine provided Arthur with this moment as a thank you for him destroying his own creation. This is so fascinating because it implies that the Machine does have feelings and can express things like gratitude. I would love to see more on this.
Character of the Episode: Arthur. Possibly my favourite POI character yet.
Conclusion: This was another great and exciting episode. While the story was even better than in "Lethe", the flaws were more apparent, making this about equal to that episode. Either way, this two-part story was a big success and I look forward to seeing more.
Summary: Flashbacks show Finch’s childhood. In the present, Reese has vanished without a trace. Fusco goes to look for him, finding him in Colorado. Finch is no longer accepting numbers from the Machine. Root gives him the next number instead. Finch recognizes the next POI, Arthur who is a man dying of a brain tumor. Shaw poses as a doctor to get information on him and discovers he has a secret service guard and that he is unable to control what he says. They discover Vigilance is after him so they hide him away with his wife. Finch learns that Arthur created Samaritan, another Machine and that is what Vigilance is after. Arthur's wife is revealed to be Control who wants information from Arthur. She threatens to kill Finch and Arthur with the person who tells her what she wants being allowed to leave.
The Good: This was a really strong return for the show. It felt different and nicely continued to build off of Carter's death. Most other shows would have its characters move on quickly after a major character death. But this show is proving its quality by allowing Carter's death to significantly affect the characters and plot, making it feel like the pivotal event it should be. Things like Reese vanishing and Finch being hesitant to get more numbers are awesome little stories.
The episode did a terrific job of building mystery too. Arthur's vague responses, the fact that Finch clearly knows who he is, and the involvement of the secret service and Vigilance only served to make me more invested and intrigued as the episode went on. I was hungry for information and I desperately wanted more, which is a sign that the mystery worked spectacularly.
The suspense was awesome too. This episode feels like a complete package for drama with many different ways of keeping my interest. There was loads of tension created by Shaw posing as a doctor (which was a great pay-off to the doctor reveal from last episode) and investigating in some really dangerous business. The interrogation scene with Easton was excellent, and the escape from Vigilance and the hideaway was equally enjoyable.
After these early scenes packed with mystery and action, we got a lengthy expositional scene where we learned about Samaritan, the second Machine. The reveal was a genuine surprise, and while I'm not fully aware of what this reveal could mean for the series as a whole yet, I'm eagerly waiting to see where it leads. Samaritan has been treated with major importance so far, so I'm sure that this will lead to something big.
The Samaritan reveal wasn't the best reveal of the episode. Instead, the twist that Diane was actually Control who had infiltrated Arthur's inner circle was superb. Unlike the Samaritan twist, the implications of this were evident immediately as the government people immediately flooded in, desperate to get their hands on some valuable information. This reveal stunned me, and provided a really dramatic cliffhanger which makes me eager to watch the next episode. Furthermore, there is also the interesting dynamic of Shaw speaking with her boss which I'm excited to see more of.
The brief scenes with Fusco and Reese were excellent. Fusco continues to show his more aggressive side, which I'm all for, while Reese is getting a pleasingly in-depth storyline coming off of Carter's murder. Great stuff. I'm also liking that Reese's reaction to Carter's death is very similar to what happened when Jessica died. Perhaps we will have to see Reese learning to dig himself out of his own hole, instead of having Finch intervene to save him this time around.
The flashbacks were interesting too. They deepened our understanding of Finch and even confirmed that Harold is his real name. I like that this episode delved a bit more into Finch's past not only in the flashbacks, but also with Arthur, as he and Finch got some nice scenes to reflect on the past.
The Bad: Unfortunately, Samaritan comes off as a Macguffin until I know more about it. While I'm sure this won't be a long-term problem for the show, it does make the big reveal fail to be as memorable as it could have otherwise been since I'm unclear on how this affects both the story and the characters.
The Unknown: Is Samaritan still active? Why? Who rebuilt it? Or was it never destroyed to begin with? What are the drives that Control mentioned? Why does she want Samaritan? Does she no longer trust the Machine now that it has gone rogue?
Best Moment: The Control reveal was dramatic.
Character of the Episode: Shaw.
Conclusion: This was a great hour of drama. It sets up future storylines neatly with exciting, fast-paced drama which made this feel like more than just a set-up episode.
Summary: Reese and Shaw have gone rogue to hunt down Simmons who has escaped. Finch gets in contact with Shaw and they work together to bring Reese back, who is still hurting from his injuries. They track down Quinn because Reese is heading there to get Simmons' exit strategy. Finch is forced to release Root to help them out. Reese gets the information from Quinn. Finch stops him from killing Quinn and leaves the information on a piece of paper. Reese is taken to a hospital. Root goes back to imprisonment. Fusco picks up the paper and confronts Simmons. They fight and Fusco wins, arresting him. In the hospital, Elias visits Simmons and lets Scarface kill him.
The Good: What was most striking about this episode was the tone. From the first moment, this episode latched onto a dark, somber tone with the slow-paced, soundless opening scene showcasing Reese and Shaw going hunting for Simmons to avenge Carter. This scene stands out because it's rare to see this show get experimental with its cinematography, and it tried something new here with a resounding success. There was also a terrific usage of Johnny Cash, using "Hurt" to set the tone of the scene.
The rest of the episode more than lived up to the expectations. This was a fittingly serious episode, even Root wasn't as bubbly as she usually is. The main story of needing to find Reese before he gets himself killed was very engaging and it led to an enjoyable story centered around the odd, but enjoyable team of Finch, Shaw, Fusco and Root. Reese had a fantastic role as well. Since season 1, the show hasn't focused on Reese's more badass aspects very much, instead choosing to focus more on parodying the action hero and giving him a fun sense of dry humour. Here Reese is darker than he has ever been, going on a crazy revenge quest to kill Simmons and avenge Carter. It was awesome to see Reese mow people down viciously as he slowly bleeds out, determined to avenge his fallen friend (or lover, but I like it better my way).
Watching Reese hunt down Quinn was engaging and Jim Caviezel gave his best performance yet with Quinn in a terrific scene. Quinn was pretty good here, being unwilling to betray Simmons for showing loyalty. It was pretty despicable, and it visually ticked off Reese who gave a fantastic monologue saying how he will kill Quinn. It's an out of character moment for Reese to give this monologue, but that's the point. Reese is here for petty revenge, and he fully plans to enjoy killing Quinn. Finch's timely arrival is great and he makes a compelling case to Reese. But what I love most is that Reese still tries to kill Quinn before he passes out in a final desperate act of vengeance. It was a dark change for his character and I really hope that the show sticks with it. It had been slowly growing in the last 10 episodes, and I really hope that Carter's death can spark a long-term character change for Reese.
The flashbacks were really good too. The dull colour filter was nice, sticking with the tone of the episode while also providing good moments for the central characters as they speak with some form of a therapist. Finch's grieving started off the episode in the right way and also tied nicely into his grief over Ingram and why he decided to do this job anyways. Shaw's was very interesting (see: The Unknown), while Reese's fit perfectly with his character and even tied in with his dark character turn. It was Fusco who got the bets flashback though, reminding us of how much of a thug he used to be. I thought that "In Extremis" didn't portray the past Fusco effectively, but this was much more appropriate. Fusco coldly hunted down a revenge kill in the past and had no regrets. That sounds more like the man we were introduced to back in the pilot.
The flashback perfectly set up Fusco's story in this episode. I was so glad that Fusco was allowed to be the one to finally take down Simmons since their rivalry is much more personal that Reese and Simmons. The fist fight between Fusco and Simmons was tremendous. Sure, it was a bit hokey, but I bought into it because Fusco has certainly been wanting to beat the crap out of Simmons for quite some time now. Plus, the flashback nicely set up Fusco's determination to give out justice to bad people. The best part was certainly Fusco's final speech which was one of the finest moments of the show (see: Best Moment).
The ending of the episode was as close to perfect as you can get. Elias killing Simmons coldly in the night was a wonderful use of his character, giving somebody some well deserved vengeance over Simmons without compromising the character of any of the main cast.
The Bad: It doesn't make any sense that Shaw and Finch would get to Quinn before everyone else. They had to choose whether or not to get Root involved which likely took some time, and after that they also had to get to Quinn's location, giving Reese and the Russians plenty of time to get there.
I really wish that more was done with Elias this season. The final scene made me really wish that we had gotten to see more of his relationship with Carter, which could have made his murder of Simmons and even better moment.
The Unknown: So Shaw was a doctor and I'm not sure if I like it. Shaw doesn't strike me as the kind of person that would go through med school and everything. Though it does explain how she can give herself medical treatment so easily. I wonder if this reveal will actually go somewhere.
Why is Root still with Finch? Does she have a purpose? Is it the Machine's will or her own? What will it lead to?
Best Moment: After beating Simmons down, Kevin Chapman gives his best performance on the show so far. Fusco passionately goes off on Simmons on how Carter saved his life, expertly conveying how much Simmons killing her really hit Fusco. It's a fantastic moment for Fusco who finally gets a big moment to prove how much he has changed over the course of the series. The final line when Fusco decides to arrest Simmons instead of stooping down to his level was terrific.
Character of the Episode: Fusco.
Conclusion: This was one of the show's finest hours which concluded the first half of season 3 in epic and emotional fashion. This half season has been a huge success for the show. The original POI-style episodes were pretty lame, but the more serialized episodes were pretty fantastic and there were a lot of them in this half season. The show is adapting, and has improved in leaps and bounds as a result.
Summary: HR puts out a hit on Reese to get him killed. Reese and Carter traverse the city secretly with Quinn while Finch sends Shaw and Fusco to find them. Reese and Carter end up holed up in a morgue. Fusco gets captured by HR and is tortured to reveal where Carter's evidence is. HR try to kill his son Lee, but Shaw intervenes and saves Lee. Fusco escapes and kills his captor. Reese and Carter kiss. Reese uses himself as a decoy so Carter can leave. Finch helps out too. Reese is arrested by good cops and Carter makes it to the feds and turns Quinn in. Carter goes to free Reese and they leave together but suddenly Simmons arrives and shoots Reese and Carter, killing Carter.
The Good: I'll address the big point first. After last episode and the conflict seemingly being resolved in this episode, I thought the episode would end peacefully. Carter's sudden death came right out of nowhere and totally stunned me, ending the episode in a big emotional way, and making me absolutely loathe Simmons, a character who I already disliked. It was an excellent cliffhanger and an unexpected death that closed out Carter's story in a tragic way. I especially like the way the death scene was executed. Reese's tears mixed with Finch's shellshocked face as the phone rings in the background was chilling, and helped make this death scene so memorable and affecting. It will go down as one of the show's best scenes so far.
The rest of the episode had some lovely moments too. I loved the callbacks to the pilot episode with Reese and Carter's final conversation as well as the subway scene. I also thought that the commercial break cutting between Reese getting confronted on the subway and him disposing of the knocked out bodies was an excellent transition.
The action was enjoyable for the most part. The episode had lots of momentum with the desperate attempt to get Quinn to the feds and Shaw's attempt to save Fusco. The storylines were told and developed nicely as the episode went on. I really liked Shaw choosing to save Fusco's child and earning some respect from him as a result. It was a nice little background story that developed their story really like. I could watch Finch as the awkward action hero for days on end; his scene tasing the guard was hilarious. There was great tension created by Quinn, and I enjoyed his little acts to help himself, like breaking Reese's phone and leaving a handprint on the ambulance.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Finch and Root scenes were spectacular. Finch was left with a tough decision to make, and that created some great suspense. Root was also nice and persuasive, making me believe that Finch may let her go. It's telling of his character that Finch doesn't give in to her offer, instead choosing to go help Reese himself, and it also led to some good drama.
The Bad: Having Reese and Carter fall in love was really bad. The story wasn't built up properly at all and it happened just out of nowhere. This really annoys me because it ruined what I love about their relationship to begin with, plus I just can't buy into them as a couple. Furthermore, the entire development seems pointless since Carter dies at the end. It seems like a weak attempt to make us sympathize more with Reese when Carter dies. Yet this is insulting, because it shows that the writers assume that we won't feel bad for Reese losing Carter unless they are in love.
The Fusco storyline doesn't work that well. The torture bits are pretty tense, but the resolution wasn't very satisfying. Introducing this new guy to torture him felt like a weak way to give him some revenge on HR. It really should have been Simmons that was beaten by Fusco since Fusco's story with him has been ongoing for so long. I thought Lee's involvement was poor. The show only gives screen time to Lee and Taylor when they can be used for leverage which I think is a really poor way to utilize characters. We hadn't seen Lee for so long that I actually forgot he existed, so when he appeared, I knew that he would be leveraged against Fusco. It's a bad habit of the show. Had it not been for the Fusco/Shaw developments, this side story would have been a total waste.
HR were disappointing as villains, and I thought that Quinn was defeated far too easily. One of the reasons I love "Prisoner's Dilemma" so much is because of how intelligent and threatening Donnelly was. Reese was in a real pickle, and I think the most satisfying thing was how he was actually unable to fully escape because of how capable Donnelly was. In this episode, Reese and Carter are in a similar pickle with the capable HR literally surrounding them and infiltrating the building. Yet they become so incapable so fast despite all of their power. It seems like they all enter the main building and none of them attempt to blockade the federal building that Carter was trying to get to. Somehow Reese and Carter aren't located in the morgue (all they had to do was locate the one room with the light on, come on), and somehow all the cops are distracted on Reese and Finch (even though we only see one cop after Reese). It's not clear how Carter evaded all of them, and it makes them all look especially incompetent.
The Unknown: Is HR actually put away now or will they still kick around? We know that Simmons is still around, but does he have anyone else? What happens to Quinn? Is he really taken down?
Best Moment: Carter's death was one of the show's best moments.
Character of the Episode: Carter. I'll miss her.
Conclusion: This episode was tense and had some awesome moments, particularly the ending. But the episode indulged in many of the worst drama tropes, making it more of a mixed bag of an episode than I was expecting. Sure, it was an exciting episode, but I was expecting better.
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: 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.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.