Without Reese, Person of Interest rocks it like a tight dress

Person of Interest

‘Person of Interest’ returns with “2 Pi R.” In a kickbutt mid-season premiere, Carter and Finch channel Reese, Fusco channels Finch and the writers channel awesomeness.

 

I can’t believe I spent a good five minutes talking to Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman and they didn’t give away the returning mid-season plot. Damn. They’re good. Fort Knox good. They might tangibly answer your questions, but they don’t give away the vault. Even Carter would have difficulty interrogating them. However, this week, Person of Interest returned to quality business as usual. The writing strength particularly occurred through the producers’ ability to maintain a tightly knit show without Reese. The kickassery continued through each individual character’s growth and the multiple hidden academic Easter eggs. Overall, Person of Interest and “2 PI R” rocked it. Was there any doubt?

Most shows typically weaken in the absence of their lead actor (or his/her sidekick), but Person of Interest didn’t. In fact, it strengthened. When Alex O’Loughlin took his Hawaii Five-0 leave of absence, the show took a hit. While Scott Caan and the supporting cast stepped up, I still felt McGarrett’s absence keenly. But, this week, jailing Reese didn’t slow down the plot. It improved it. In fact, if they dropped Jim Caviezel tomorrow, I’d still continue watching the show.

If Jonah and Greg aren’t reading fanfiction.net, someone on that writing staff is.

The smoothness of the plot, the casual Finch-Fusco chemistry, and the ability of Carter to step outside her moral zone into Reese territory surprised me. The way the characters seamlessly shifted into other areas without seeming like a stretch impressed me. I did a double-take when Carter easily threw herself into Zoe and Reese’s capabilities. If Jonah and Greg aren’t reading fanfiction.net, someone on that writing staff is. Fanfic scenario #6789 typically surrounds Carter rocking a hot dress and seducing or becoming seduced by Reese/an unknown stranger. While I loved seeing Carter’s creepy calculating side, it didn’t gel with last season’s asexual Carter that appeared unaware of her physicality. Where would a single mother buy or have the funds to purchase a dress like that? Let alone those shoes. And, seriously, where’s her kid? And, what did she say when leaving? “I’m sorry, honey, Mom’s got to rescue her friend by stealing the DNA of a hapless bar fly. See you later. Kisses!”

Seriously, Carter knows how to curl her hair and giggle like a fem-bot? Really? CARTER?!!

The uber-confidence Carter rocked knowing she’d pull a hot whale doubly surprised me. Seriously, Carter knows how to curl her hair and giggle like a fem-bot? Really? CARTER?!! While drugging an innocent man, swabbing his DNA, capably breaking into a secure building and expertly swapping bio-samples spoke to her army capabilities, what happened to the moral “don’t cross the line” Carter? Clearly, she’s all in. It was awesome. And the capabilities fit the character. But, FUH-WHAT?! Did the ghosts of Zoe AND Reese inhabit her body?! I expected the core four to go their separate ways. But, instead, this week they grew closer. AMAZING. I still don’t understand why Donnelly trusts Carter implicitly. Sure, she shared the same white-hot passion last year. But, hasn’t he noticed she BARELY contributes to the conversation now?! And, whenever she’s around his investigation ALWAYS goes awry? Didn’t he notice the sizzling glance Carter and Reese shared?! I did! Dude, can Carter and Reese spend even five minutes in the same room without looking like they’re about to tear each other’s clothes off?! NO! And, Donnelly DIDN’T NOTICE?! Really?! I grieve for the observation tactics of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

 *swoon*, Person of Interest writers, I love you.

This episode rocked because it didn’t hinge on action, Reese’s sexy face, or HR corruption. Like all decent Person of Interest scripts, it hinged on writing. I loved the covert parallels written into the plot that served as tiny Easter eggs, including Caleb as a mini-Finch, the Reese swab in the beginning book-ended by Carter swabbing a Reese look-a-like at the end, and Finch’s high school substitute job paralleling Reese’s jail time (doesn’t everyone call high school prison?).

I squealed when Finch wrote Mr. Swift on the board, because Jonathan Swift’s an amazingly witty 18th century poet. I further suspected an 18th century connection when the week’s victim referenced Dead Poet’s Society. Finally, 17621, the kid’s special number?! Well, according to Math.com, “In 1761 Lambert proved that Pi was irrational, that is, that it can’t be written as a ratio of integer numbers.” Seriously, *swoon*, Person of Interest writers, I love you.

Pet peeve aside, Finch’s discussion of Pi as containing practically any existing numeric pattern rocked.

The only weak spot surrounded Finch’s Pi lecture, but even that became cool.I don’t remember my junior high, high school or college math instructors ever lecturing on Pi by itself for so long. And, I minored in Math. Honestly, Pi is infinity. Boom. We’re done. Normally Pi is discussed concerning the circumference of circles or regarding other formulas. But, still introducing Pi (and the circumference of circles) seemed pretty remedial for high school. And, these kids didn’t look 14. But, it’s been awhile, so maybe it isn’t that introductory. Admittedly, as a former academic, one of my biggest pet peeves surrounds when TV instructors give generic, yet awesome lectures that have no root in a tangible lesson plan. In The Mirror Has Two Faces, Barbara Streisand’s character gave an awesome virgin-whore lecture, but she didn’t include any literary references, which wouldn’t happen in a college English class. All the same, pet peeve aside, Finch’s discussion of Pi containing the numeric equivalent of letters and practically any existing numeric pattern rocked.

Jonah Nolan. Will you marry me? 

Person of Interest’s writing, hidden easter eggs, cast cohesion and visuals continue to draw me, especially in the mid-season return. In the fall, they had a mini-Wayne manor joke. This week, they featured numerous nested 18th century jokes (similar to the nested for loops on the scrap of paper). Jonah Nolan. Will you marry me? It’s odd, last season Carter-less episodes felt emotion-less and weak. But, a Reese-less episode felt strong and cohesive. Are the writers learning how to balance plot and cast? Obviously. This week rocked. And, I hope the show continues to rock, rattle and roll for its duration.

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Photo Credit: CBS

17 Comments on “Without Reese, Person of Interest rocks it like a tight dress

  1. An, awesome review on my absolutely favorite TV show. I love this show so much my kids tell me I’m addicted. I told them I’m addicted to Reese. I loved seeing detective Carter in this role, I honestly thought she was going to get caught. I am starting to dislike Donelly. Do you think he’s on to Carter? He can’t be that stupid. How did Finch get the cell phone to Reese in a prison cell. I am not sure how to interpret the way Reese stared at Carter near the end. It gave me the creeps. I thought of Hannibal. But i like your take. I too asked myself if Donelly hadn’t notice how Reese was staring at Carter. He looked really mad to me. I enjoyed Finch and Fusco working together. Fusco seemed to fit comfortably in that role.

    Keep reviewing my favorite show An. Great job

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    • Thanks, Jackie. I definitely loved watching Fusco provide Finch information he didn’t have on high school students rather than vice versa :) I’m thinking Donelly has to be onto Carter. If he isn’t, he soon will! I really wish I could’ve asked a fourth question of the dynamic duo ;)

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  2. I so hate Carter risking so much for John. Now, I know why Taraji kept describing Carter’s affection as love for John. I think she may have went too far; I mean the FBI…I do not think John would want Carter to risk so much, but he doesnt want to be locked up either. Finch said he would have Reese out in 72 hours, but Carter had to nominate herself to save Reese. Why!?!? I know he saved her life and her son’s life, but thats what he does…she doesnt owe him anything–so why is she risking it all, FOR LOVE! I am not convinced there is no wall she wouldnt go through for him and now I need her to realize this for herself, so she can contain it. If Reese wasnt such a train wreck, he would probably distance himself from her–but he hasnt even realized it. Finch always explain why he cant lose Reese; so why Carter cant lose him?

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    • Finch could’ve definitely pulled Reese out, but Carter nominating herself is Greg and Jonah’s way of showing that Carter’s all in. A couple episodes back John gave Carter the option of not knowing what’s going on in his CIA world. Her pulling this elaborate ruse all on her own shows that she’s no longer on the fence.

      Carter risking her life could still incorporate a filial love. For her entire life, she’s toed the line and NONE of her army OR police comrades supported her. However, working with people who work illegally have somehow stood up for her where no one else has.

      Also, keep in mind, Carter has two sides – the ethical side and the moral side. The ethical side is what made her an army interrogator, a lawyer and a cop, because she believes in unpholding the law to protect the innocent. But, her moral side places protecting the innocent above anything else. Last year, she believed you could be good to do good. But this year she’s coming over to John’s perspective – doing bad to do good.

      However, part of me keeps thinking that John and Finch could technically protect these people legally i.e. directly walk up and introduce themselves from the get-go (although Finch couldn’t use outlawed John and he couldn’t really explain how he knows), but they could find a way. But, hey, it’s TV ;)

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  3. An, I was so eager to put in my two cents I forgot to congratulate you on your phone interview with the best writers in the business. The actors they choose from week to week are outstanding. Maybe I can hire Finch to tutor my kids in math. Pseudo, I don’t think Carter had a choice. She was working with Finch. Even if Reese was released the DNA evidence was still there. She had to get rid of it to help her friend.

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    • Jackie,
      NO. I disagree. If you think Carter betraying most of everything she
      believes can be boxed up in a tiny little neat box called
      friendship, we are watching too different shows. I can answer
      her insanity in two ways: she could love John in that desperate way.
      or/and Carter has been so violated in her life that her pursuit for
      justice trumps everything, including her personal responsibilities
      and her own freedom. Well its a third insanity–she is an adrenal
      closet-freak!

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  4. I too don’t get why Donnelly trusts Carter because she has given him absolutely no information since they’ve started working together. He knows that Reese saved Carter’s life so he should not trust her 100%. Maybe he will wise up a bit next week but if he does that would be bad news for Reese and Carter.

    You know, Finch could have provided Carter with her outfit – there was a fanfiction where this occurred – since it wasn’t explicitly stated all of the things Finch provided to Carter.

    I am very surprised that it was mentioned that POI has FOUR wounded and broken people. Carter was a bit of a lone wolf because of her straight-arrow tendencies but the term wounded is a bit of a stretch based on what viewers currently know. Carter has always been referred to as the heart of the team so this new description implies we’ll learn more of Carter’s backstory this season. This bodes well for Taraji Henson’s character. It’s good that Carter is not a one-dimensional character that can be described in a few sentences.

    I liked the episode a lot and especially this week’s person of interest. I can imagine Caleb and/or Leon (Ken Leung’s character) aiding the team whenever Root returns to the show.

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    • I love how Finch is slowly amassing an army of tech geniuses. Maybe the finale will show him combining them altogether to take down the machine.

      I agree with Jonah’s assessment that all four are broken. Carter can still be the heart and as a wounded as John, albeit not to his level of brokenness. Finch ran away from everything he loved. Fusco lost his way. John lost his faith in his organization and sacrificed his feelings for his ex-girlfriend. While Carter has a son and distinguished herself in her job, she’s still alone. Despite her dedication, none of her co-workers confided in or trusted her. They basically used her skills to accomplish what they wanted. That broke her trust in team environments. So, while she’s more normal than her male colleagues, John saw a gap in her she didn’t even know existed.

      That’s why I love this show, each of these characters contains insight into each other and fills a space they weren’t aware of.

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      • Would Finch ever take down his baby (aka the Machine)? I don’t think so. Finch has amply demonstrated the positive things the Machine can do and he probably could have had the Machine self-destruct some time ago. His army of tech geniuses (I like that term) will be helpful in battling rouge NSA & CIA operatives and Root, who don’t have benevolent uses for the Machine.

        I would never disagree with C. Nolan’s assessment of Carter because he is writing the show. :-) But I’m not sure that having Carter move deeper in grey areas to work with the team makes her less broken or damaged. She’s sworn to uphold the law and yet she breaks them regularly now as she works with Finch and Reese. And she’ll have to keep this unofficial work secret from those who care about her. Having Carter make the decision on her own to fully support Reese and Finch makes her character very intriguing, especially knowing that she eventually will have to pay a price for the decision. That eventual price is what I believe Reese was thinking about at the end of the episode.

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  5. Pseudo, don’t be so hard on Carter. She owe’s Reese her very life and she crossed the line a long time ago (as she told Finch) when she allowed Reese to take that wife beater in the trunk of his car. I can’t wait to see how Carter is going to interrogate Reese and keep a straight face. Reese is an expert interrogator himself and am sure has faced interrogations before. I guess both will play the game really well. Just hope Donnelly doesn’t read between the lines. I really believe he suspects Carter. On the next episode Finch is working on Reese’s escape. Love Reese’s line to Carter–”I just want to go home.”

    klj, I agree, I don’t see Carter as wounded. Unless there is a whole lot we don’t know. Not sure why it mattered whose DNA Carter got. Still a puzzle to me. Can’t wait for next week’s episode.

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  6. This episode was so worth the wait! An, you made some great comments. If my high school math teacher had been Mr. Swift, I’d have majored in math.

    I believe Finch purchased the dress and shoes for Carter. The writers obviously knew people would question how she could afford the items. Some of the clothing she wore in Season 1, was a bit “out there” for a detective. Remember the episode Ghosts, where Reese sent the young girl to a park where Carter was waiting for him? She had on leggings and tall boots. Seems her clothes became a bit more toned down after that. Frankly, I think she’s quite aware of her femininity, she just chooses not to put it out there.

    The idea for obtaining someone else’s DNA was obviously Carter’s. Finch looked a bit surprised at the idea. He provided her help, but it was clearly her mission. She rocked it!

    I don’t think Reese is mad at Carter at all. He believes its his fault he is arrested (because he didn’t listen to Finch). He apologized to Finch. Will he owe Carter an apology for what she’s put on the line for him? He definitely will and I believe he’d be the first to tell her how sorry he is. I think he will feel guilt over what she did to help him. He will feel responsible for pushing her, perhaps some place he didn’t want her to be.

    As for Donnelly, he seems so blinded to everything except the man in a suit. I’m wondering if his desire to prove the CIA broke the law by operating domestically is somehow connected to Snow? I think he has a history with someone in the CIA. I can’t wait to learn who and what that is.

    All I know is Thursdays are great days at work for me now, because I know I’ll get to watch POI when I get home.

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    • Hey Tam -

      We’ll see what happens. John might feel guilt. But, Carter’s also throwing herself into the race wholeheartedly. That means she’s an asset for whatever Cara might throw. And, if that happens, he’ll need Carter’s assistance. Thanks for your insight and we’ll see what happens next week!

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  7. I am not saying it should be pursued BUT Carter and Reese are hotter fully dressed as a non-couple than any actual couple on TV

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  8. An have you written a review on Prisoner’s Dilemma. I must admit that that was my all time favorite POI to date. All I can say is I can’t breathe.

    On another note, I just saw a clip on you tube of Jim Caviezel (Reese) singing with the band Chicago. Reese can really sing. i was blown away. This was four months ago.

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  9. Hi guys i found An. If you go to google An Nicholson reviews Prisoner’s Dilemma.

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