I’m filling in for Elle2 this week, so this is my first ever Person of Interest review. Before spending time outlining all the reasons why I loved “‘Til Death” (it's the romance stupid) allow me a self indulgent moment to share the story of how I found out about this show and why I'm a big fan now.
At Comic Con in July, while scheduling press rooms and interviews for Revolution, a strange twist happened. Due to scheduling conflicts, the press rooms for Revolution and Person of Interest were combined. We got to talk to the Person of Interest cast and producers first, and then Revolution. I can honestly say, I knew absolutely nothing about this show going into this other than it had really good ratings and became a big hit on Thursdays. That actually ended up being my one question, What did they think of the ratings success of the show? (Answer, they really weren’t aware of it, but Les Moonves came to visit, so they knew they were doing something right).
After meeting Michael Emerson, Jim Caviezel, Tarji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman, Greg Plageman and Jonathan Nolan, how could I not give this show a try? It sounded fascinating and everyone’s enthusiasm for this project was infectious. They really loved their jobs and had a deep respect for each other. It was like a family. I knew vaguely of the concept from poor series descriptions online, but it sounded like season one really evolved over time into something amazing that was not part of the initial concept. Plus a dog was joining the cast. I couldn’t miss that! Ultimately though, I was won over when Jim Caviezel saw my Simpson’s t-shirt and gave us all a dead on impression of Homer Simpson. I owed it a look!
The first episode I saw was the repeat of the season one finale, and I've been tuning in every week since. It only took one viewing. That's rare for me. The last time that happened was with this little show called Supernatural. :)
Knowing all that, I do admit that catching up with season one has not been an easy process. The show isn’t online (as many of you probably know) so all I’ve seen is a couple of episodes from reruns. Season one is definitely on my Christmas list. So remember when reading this review I don’t know the character history, like Finch and his romance with Grace, as well as Elle2. I just remember her name being mentioned in the interviews. So if I miss anything obvious, please fill me in through the comments!
I’ve read a few reviews now that praised this episode for being the best Valentines Day story ever to air in November and I have to agree. The reason though has little to do with sappy love stories. The way these stories were told and woven, with an extraordinary amount of heart, emotion and humor, it was easy to get caught up in it all. I’ve seen way too many shows that try similar veins that don’t connect with the audience and leave me feeling empty. This episode packed a punch that I didn’t see coming, and I was stunned to see myself reaching for the tissues a few times.
It was a surprise to learn while Finch has been out walking Bear, he'd started keeping tabs on Grace again. He hasn’t done that in a while, has he? Or maybe he's been doing that all this time and we didn't know. My heart just broke as he stood at the corner forlorn, watching her leave home with art bag in hand, no doubt off to paint another beautiful landscape. I’m also stunned there are still phone booths in New York City where these guys can answer calls from the machine. Haven’t all those things been ripped out by now?
Anyway, this is the pure genius of Michael Emerson. Just like in Lost, he tells an entire story of deep conflict just by a sad look of longing. He misses her so much and the regret is eating away at him. He’ll never be able to get over losing her. The flashbacks from this week though show none of the regret, just pure, happy times. He’s in love, and through his vast resources he knows exactly how to woo a lady. The flashbacks are a treat because he gets to be himself, the real softie underneath, and Grace is swept away. His story about seeing Italy for real after falling in love from pictures through a viewfinder is so sweet, that triggered tissue alert number one. Grace melted too, but the on screen chemistry between Emerson and Carrie Preston is no accident. They are real life husband and wife (I’m sure I'm the last person to learn that).
Between all this is a case, and it’s a strange one. Two numbers come up, belonging to a husband and wife named Daniel and Sabrina Drake. They are owners of a publishing company and have it all – a lucrative business, a lavish house, transportation via fancy Town Car, all the nicest clothes and accessories, and a crappy marriage. They fight in the back of that limo. They don’t agree on how to run the company. Daniel wants to sell, Sabrina doesn’t. So, they handle it like adults. They put out contracts on one another.
I laugh every time I see Mark Pellegrino on my TV these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan and have met him a few times, but I swear I see him practically every week now and I have to stop for a minute to remember what show I’m watching. I still fondly think of him as Lucifer in Supernatural, but so far this year I’ve seen him in Grimm, Revolution (twice) and now Person of Interest. To see him as a normal rich jackass that wanted to kill his wife, that ended up being more jarring than I thought! It's not his usually supernatural being role.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t good though. He was. So was the woman who played his wife, Francie Swift. Their onscreen sparks (both fighting and making up) fit the episode perfectly. As a married person, I do understand that at some point couples stop talking. Life gets too overwhelming and people grow apart. It wasn’t far fetched to me that the couple could reconcile so easily just by talking to one another. Talking does wonders and couples don’t do enough to that. What was far fetched though is both of them hitting a point where they wanted each other dead and the managed to come back to wine and roses. Homicidal tendencies usually means the relationship is a bit beyond repair. But hey, it was a perfect scenario to see Reese take out a guy with a nail gun, so I’ll look past that.
I do love Reese’s commitment to helping these poor bastards because the machine spat out their names. You think he might be feeling like he owes the machine after it helped him with Finch? Finch was ready to give up, finding such actions unworthy of saving. Reese has a fascinating understanding of people and figured out all these guys needed to do was talk. No problem, all he had to do was save each other from attempts on their lives, kidnap them both and stuff them in the back of the trunk out in the wide open city block. I half expected him to tell an innocent bystander, “You didn’t see anything…” Carter and Fusco standing there stunned, hoping that no one pegged them as accessories to kidnapping was just pure fun. I’m sure they ask themselves on numerous occasions why they do this.
Speaking of Fusco, date scenarios on TV shows usually never work. It’s awkward, much like real life, and the couple more times than not aren’t very interesting. Who ever wrote and casted Fusco’s date though deserves a gold medal. She’s perfect! Okay, there’s that Mary Sue quality, but if anyone deserves a Mary Sue, don’t you think it’s Fusco? He learns how deep he’s into this group the hard way because he can’t even turn off his phone for a date! Finch finds him anyway. The fact that his date wanted to tag along, because she has a thing for pathetic and lonely cops, means he cannot ever let this perfect woman out of his sight again. Also, were they setting up Carter with Gordon from Supernatural? She can do worse.
The only thing that would have made this pairing people perfect (say that five times fast) is if they showed Reese at the end having a warm moment with the dog. At least he brought Bear a tasty treat at the beginning. He still cares.
So, why did I love ‘Til Death? Because I’m a chick and once in a while warm fuzzies are in order. Reese still got to be badass, but Finch stole our hearts with his perfect birthday present for Grace all those years ago. A birthday scavenger hunt? He rented out the Guggenheim and brought in her favorite painting? Awww. The fact that he could reminisce so warmly about that perfect day with no memories of losing her getting in the way gives another fascinating layer of depth to his character. It’s not all heartache and loss. He’s a true romantic. He’s also now staring at a second chance. Will he take it? He must be considering it since he remembered her speech about not being worried over who he was. They're together and that's all that matters. I highly suspect in the future the harsh reality of why they're apart will hit him again. We aren’t sure for now, but until then we have that whirlwind romance to fondly remember with him.
What did you think of 'Til Death? Did the romance win you over? The humor? The nail gun? Or, tell me how you got hooked on this show.