Person of Interest
Original Air Date: Jan 12, 2012
Len – Two Cents Reviewer
The first POI episode of 2012 quickly answers the questions left behind from the midseason finale, where Reese took a bullet from a CIA sniper, Finch broke every traffic law in the book to come to his aid, and Carter let the two go free – probably against her better judgment.
After Finch convinces a coroner to stitch up Reese (it’s pretty easy to sway a guy when you can provide a sack full of cash and rattle off details about his life), the two make for a safe house set up in an upscale apartment building, where this week’s person of interest works – wait for it – as a building super. But with Reese on crutches assuming the role of a slightly more ass-kicking Jimmy Stewart from Rear Window, Finch is going to have to do most of the legwork this week. Fortunately for him, this week is conducive to a role reversal – it’s less about the mystery and more about advancing the plot forward. Click on the jump to read the rest of this week’s recap and then provide your TwoCents in the comments at the end!
While Finch and Reese are forced to set up a mini-surveillance station in their temporary apartment/recovery room, the CIA is sticking to Carter like glue. Reese’s escape left them with egg on their face, but they should be more embarrassed that they’ve disguised their surveillance van as a bread truck and kept it parked it on a residential street. They think she knows more than she’s letting on, but the truth is Carter isn’t sure WHAT she knows. However, it looks like she’s going to get quite the education in this two-episode run.
This week’s person of interest is Ernest Trask (played by David Zayas, better known as Enrique Morales from Oz and Sgt. Batista from Dexter). But the question is whether Trask is the perpetrator or the victim of one of the 241 tenants in his building. One thing is certain – he’s taken quite an interest in a tenant named Lily Thornton, a young up-and-coming chef.
Finch gets an early run-in with Trask after snooping through his office and failing to make it out unnoticed. After Trask radios his security guy to stop him, Finch gets to feel what it’s like to walk in Reese’s shoes. Fortunately, Reese turns out to be pretty adept at Finch’s role – he guides Harold through an escape route and helps him convince the security guy to look the other way – thanks to some quickly uploaded video evidence of him stealing from the tenants.
Ultimately though, Finch and Reese learn that Trask is trying to protect Lily Thornton from Rick Morris, a restaurateur and all-around creepy stalker guy. There’s really nothing wrong with him, other than the fact that he set up a hidden camera in Lily’s apartment, can break in anytime he wants, and is deluded that the two of them are romantically linked.
A busted wheel doesn’t deter Reese in the end. When it looks like Morris is going to end Lily, Reese sends Finch in ahead of him to use the one self-defense move Reese taught him – the thumb poke to the eye. Finch delivers an eye gouge worthy of Ric Flair and disorients Morris just enough for Reese to tussle with him. Even on crutches (and even hobbling on one leg!), Reese is too much for the guy and throws him through the window one-two-three? stories to the ground.
In the middle of all this, Finch finds time to lead Detective Carter on a chase that will help her finally understand what he does. After she ducks the CIA agents tailing her, she meets Finch at a swanky bar. He explains to her that he and Reese know when bad things are going to happen to people. But like any good Billy Mays infomercial, he decides to show her. One of the bar patrons is another person of interest. Reese tells her the guy’s backstory and suggests she follow him. At the end of the night, she prevents him from killing the banker who foreclosed on his house. I tell you what, the folks in that bar must have been there for a meeting of the International Society of Hardasses, because NOT A SINGLE PERSON looks too surprised or concerned that a lady wearing a man’s coat just disarmed a man and prevented a murder. Sheesh! Just because you’re extras doesn’t mean you can take the day off! If you want an example, just check out the press conference scene in The Dark Knight! Those extras could effing bring it!
Oooh, but the best part of this week’s episode is the flashbacks to 2005 and the origins of The Machine. Finch and his business partner, whose name we learn to be Nathan Ingram, seem to be working as contractors for the government to build the massive surveillance system. In a parallel to this week’s Finch/Carter conversation, they attempt to prove to the government that the system works by providing – what else – a social security number provided by The Machine. After tracking the suspect, the CIA learns he was trying to illegally sell uranium to foreign interests. But how does The Machine know? We’re fortunate enough to get a demo, and let’s just say that this thing can recognize the slimmest of patterns.
Finch and Ingram don’t plan to sell the technology outright – they plan to give the government access for the price of a dollar. But when Finch learns that the government has been trying to back door their way into the system, he realizes that there are very few people he can trust. And The Machine, which is able to sense disaster before it strikes, targets Ingram as a possible threat to its security.
This episode is why Person of Interest is so great and why it’s set up for mass appeal – folks who want to learn the engaging mythology of The Machine are going to be in this for the long haul, folks who aren’t concerned with that will still stay to see what happens with the characters week to week, and if you just like the procedural part, you still get to be entertained by the tracking of the weekly person of interest.
My biggest question now, though, is how the relationship between Finch and Ingram broke down. Finch is still walking fine in these flashbacks – we can assume that whatever happened between the two of them ultimately resulted in Finch’s injury. Is Ingram dead? That statue of “our founder” or whatever-it-was from a few episodes back sure looked like him, but is he really dead as the nameplate implied?
CBS teases that next week, Carter learns more about The Machine and, in doing so, starts to drive a wedge between Reese and Finch. Can’t wait!