It’s the character moments that make a show truly rewarding, and PoI rewards new and regular viewers alike.
I believe even the newest viewer can readily see the humor in Michael Emerson’s portrayal of fussy, paranoid, intelligent and flirtatious Finch; "Bury the Lede" gave each of those character traits moments in which to shine. From exasperation as Bear chomps the squeaky toy, to giddiness as he ‘flirts’ with Maxine via text to horror at finding himself hiding in Reese’s armory.
I enjoy the writers putting what I call echoes in their dialogue. In "Legacy" Finch called Carter’s willingness to secure a sealed file a “step in the right direction.” Later in the episode Carter mentioned to Reese there were a lot of prying eyes around her. Reese replied that she was getting paranoid and said that was “a step in the right direction.” Last night we have Simmons telling Fusco that there wasn’t anybody who “had his back,” shortly thereafter, in a direct reference to Fusco and interactions with Simmons, Reese told him that he “had his back.” I do believe there will be a payoff there in the future. I wished Fusco would have let Reese in on his troubles but realistically these characters are still learning how to work with each other. For all the good things he has done, Fusco knows there is a reckoning for all the bad in his past.
Reese playing Christian to Finch’s Cyrano is awkward – but adorable. He quickly corrects course first by partially removing Finch from the three-way date (love that Finch was ‘dating’ Maxine as he listened in with his own repast, wine, cheese, apple and pear) and then turns the conversation to Maxine and her work. She opens right up. We get to laugh as he rapidly pulls out his glasses and pops them on…instant disguise!
Maxine’s work is a microcosm of Finch’s and Reese’s. Maxine gets partial information that she checks out loosely, ties together inferences and makes a move. We’ve seen Finch and Reese do that before, releasing Elias and Root among others. Maxine is playing with stakes a bit lower than Finch and Reese, so she’s learned her lesson and is likely to be more careful in the future. However, Finch and Reese will likely encounter situations and make errors again in the future by the very nature that the information they receive is tied to imminent danger.
I like that PoI finds new ways to not only state exactly what it is… “There’s a rumor about a man in a suit…always seems to be in the right place…” while at the same time unwinding its mythology and moving the pieces forward. In a city of eight million people it’s not surprising that there are many things going on that frequently tie back into each other. Little by little Season 2 is placing the pieces onto the chessboard and moving them forward.
The mythology and secondary characters slowly move forward as well as the characterizations of the main four. Last season we saw Jim Caviezel’s portrayal over 23 episodes of Reese at his lowest to finding a reason to live and people to trust again. This season we have not gone backwards but continue to move forward. He has reached out to Carter in a vulnerable move to have her go to Texas with him to look for Finch; he has told Fusco that he has his back, an invitation to Fusco to trust him, and now we also see that he has embraced the gift that Finch offered, not only the apartment but the push back into life and into living. Anyone surprised that Reese had the fixings for pancakes in his apartment? Not I, he has come back to life, still damaged but moving steadily forward.
The show manages to balance high action with quiet moments of calm and/or humor. We go from the energy and drama of the shootout outside the bar and settle back with Finch in relief only to pop up in outright laughter as he springs up exclaiming… “Oh, I’ve got your dog.” And then we see the delightful Michael Emerson ushering Bear into Reese’s apartment and then his horror as he finds himself hiding in Reese’s armory. So judgmental, Finch; after all look at how many books you have.
In the five episodes thus far we have already had movement with Root and a deepening of the governmental conspiracy, HR has been partially slowed down but is regrouping, Stanton and Snow have made appearances as have Donnelly, so we know the CIA and FBI stories are percolating along, Elias has offered his assistance and proven that he is still in control even while incarcerated and we have even seen the Machine in its infancy and watched it learn. That’s five episodes out of 22 or 24 for Season 2, the board is set into place, the players are assembled and the season is off to a great start.
Notes in conclusion
Love the second look at Reese’s apartment, complete with some changes; the partition/closet to the kitchen is new as is the couch. I like that the show has grounded the characters a bit, the Library, Carter’s place, Reese’s place, the precinct and even Fusco at hockey with his son.
Zoe Morgan makes two small appearances but crucial and fun in each one. The writers seem smart enough not to overuse something or someone when it works; one of the reasons why Bear works. He is comic relief as well as support/protection; just enough to remind you he’s there, not enough to make you wish he wasn’t.
Fusco’s reaction to Reese at the precinct was priceless; Kevin Chapman nails the nonverbals as do the others.
Thanks for reading.
Note: Two more episodes before PoI takes a three-week break. November 22nd
we get a repeat of Baby Blue and a repeat the next week. Hopefully we’ll get three episodes in December.