Person of Interest keeps rennovating its formula
‘Person of Interest’ continues to renovate its formula by admitting that John CAN’T tail everyone, adding more fan service shots and incorporating more cinemagic.
In our New York Comic Con interview, Jonah Nolan stated that he wanted to continue to develop the Person of Interest formula to keep himself and his staff invested. Visually and textually, he did so in this week’s episode, “High Road.” I loved the opening flashback’s blue overlay matching Finch’s all blue laptop screen, Ingram’s all blue suit, and the homeless-looking prodigy’s all blue jeans. I especially enjoyed the red haired contrast of the supposed person of interest victim, Finch’s future love, juxtaposed with the red hair of the safe cracker’s wife. The blue motif continued in the contemporary day with Harold’s blue repair man suit, Zoe’s blue shirt, the victim’s wife’s pale blue shirt, Reese’s blue car, the wife’s blue bowl, the baddies’ blue pick-up, and the safe cracker’s blue plaid shirt. Through the contrast of blue and black, Nolan, the costume director, and/or art designer aligned the color blue with the suburbs and black with the city where Reese returned to his usual dark clothes while riding in Carter’s black Chevy. I enjoyed the covert color palette, because it showed the coalescence of writing with directing with costuming and art direction. Occasionally, those threads run parallel in TV/theater/film, but in this episode they all interwove. I especially liked the flashbacks’ blue overtones which reminded me of the early IBM blue screen monitors and the old school blue screen of death. What better color to use during Finch’s Machine training?
I especially liked how the color combinations changed between the seasons. Last season, the characters appeared more alive in their flashbacks than in present day. But, this season, the transition from the faded out blue to the warm browns of the library, made Finch and Reese appear more alive now than before. And they are. Last season, Reese lived in an eternal dream state of broken love while Finch remained isolated from everyone, including himself. Now they have each other, a close social community and an insane fan-girl. Not bad for two men who started their journey with a death wish.
The show also continues to innovate through the mini-scene transitions. I loved the orange and black 1980s pixelated bar graph which replicated a digitized Manhattan. I love that the orange text on a black background reminded me of old school 1980s PCs.
I have to point out the clever wordplay where the writers keep packing in-jokes into each throwaway line. In the opening, Reese jokingly references a “reclusive billionaire” while Finch discussed “Fort Wayne” immediately after. Yes, Reese and Finch are Bruce Wayne and Batman separated into two distinct people. How can you not read the script each week as an actor and squee at the script’s meta-references? How, can you not squee as a graphic designer for the show? I love that the producers keep packing tiny visual artifacts in between the dialogue. For some shows people don’t notice, but, the POI fans DO notice, which is awesome.
I must compliment the show on its continuing humor incorporation from the doughnut incident with the dog’s ”boundaries” to Reese’s gun-cock at the doorbell. Separate from the doughnut’s special glaze, I love that their morning doughnut selection is a covert ritual. It’s rarely called out, but it’s always there, indicating their continuing character growth. Clearly, the characters and writers feel comfortable enough with the formula that they allow Reese to mock the potentially boring week’s victim. And, I like that the week’s victim had an even stronger sense of justice than Finch or Reese.
I especially enjoyed this week because the writers had enough balls to point out the fly in the ointment. My biggest issue with Person of Interest surrounded Reese’s crowd merge ability. Admittedly, in Manhattan you can barely see the person ahead of you. But, in other places that isn’t the case. I couldn’t understand why no one ever turned around to notice the hot, 6’2″ foot man with the intense, smoldering eyes and the well tailored suit following them everywhere. I’m grateful that the writers finally admitted it.
Another innovation this season includes the tongue in cheek covert acknowledgement of Zeese-CaReese fan camps. Although Nolan brings back actors/characters he likes, I wonder about the large amount of fan service going on this season. First, Reese pops up in Carter’s room MULTIPLE times. Next, Reese and Carter fly across the country to share a room. Now, this week, Zoe and Reese share a house as a pretend couple. Don’t get me started on Reese talking to Carter while Zoe’s in the room, WHILE referencing THEIR cross-country trip. Reese is the pimp daddy to end all pimp daddies. I’m still surprised that Reese didn’t pull Carter for this job, unless he thought the neighborhood required homogeneity (or that he needed to spread out the overnight jobs equally amongst his lady friends). And, DON’t get me started on the multiple double entendres this week. I wish I asked Nolan more about the overt fan-oriented moments.