“Dead Reckoning,” the stunning conclusion to the latest ‘continuing’ episodes of Person of Interest.
These latest four episodes covered the spectrum: ‘run of the mill’ PoI (“Shadow Box”), all members of the team working the job ; “2 pi R,” Finch and Fusco doing the legwork while Carter breaks laws to free Reese (who was sidelined) ; “Prisoner’s Dilemma” with its cast of old enemies and new and some of the most intense character moments in the series to date and then that stunning ending that sent us to our collective ‘happy places’ for three weeks; and “Dead Reckoning” that was heavy on the mytharc, but if you looked, you saw the weekly PoI as well.
“Dead Reckoning,” like “Bad Code,” had a PoI. Finch got a new number right at the beginning as he was talking to Carter. Whereas “Bad Code” allowed Root to escape, I’m convinced Stanton is dead. Why, you ask? Notice the ending, the time is rewound and we see the Machine’s perspective as Stanton gets into her car and it explodes. Yeah, Stanton and Snow are goners…but more questions and deeper mysteries are birthed.
We have the setup for one of the major stories for the ending of Season 2, just what did Stanton upload, what does it do, and who is her mysterious ‘benefactor’ and how does he come by his information that Harold Finch sold the laptop to the Chinese? Misdirection? Perhaps. Remember, Snow told us (through Carter) that Reese had killed his partner (“Number Crunch”); it was ten episodes later that we learned the truth.
I do wonder if there is a deeper meaning behind Finch’s comment to Reese: “I’d prefer later as I’m responsible for you being here.” Is that because he recruited John? Is that because he did have something to do with John being sent to Ordos? What does that mean for John, after all, it was that mission that prevented John from coming to Jessica…we all know how that ended. Is there more to Finch’s heartfelt and sorrowful “I’m so sorry” at the end of “Many Happy Returns?” So many questions.
The moral dilemmas explored in this show are fascinating to watch. Agent Donnelly, the upright FBI agent started out trying to bring down a vigilante, rogue CIA agent (well, he was half right) ended up going off the rails himself in his quest for the man in the suit. The actions he took in “Prisoner’s Dilemma” showed his determination, his keen intellect but also his vulnerability…too much focus on one goal led to his downfall, even as he had it in his grasp. Even if he had managed to take Reese and Carter in prosecute the case, he had comprised himself; putting a prisoner in the yard alone with the intention of allowing an attack to occur is the act of a man who has lost his moral compass, despite his good intentions.
I enjoy the moral ambiguity of our four main characters; however, getting to watch the secondary characters that populate this universe have their moment to shine is equally fascinating. Watching Snow’s turn was interesting. At first he was this nasty guy who stalked Carter trying to get to Reese, all to kill him. But in the end, Snow had a bit of redemption to him. Watching that scene at the end at the elevator we see the shift in Snow’s eyes when Reese said the only thing waiting was the black hood…ooh! In that moment Snow’s demeanor changed. That is when he decided where and how he’d make his stand. He’d retire not only himself, but Stanton as well.
With Snow and Stanton out of the way, enter Carter and Fusco. I love that none of the respect between Carter and Reese was lost from "Prisoner’s Dilemma" to here. Since he was dead man walking , it wasn’t a joyous reunion and the emotions between all of them played for real. I love that Reese appealed to Fusco by calling him Lionel…and not the usual droll way of saying that name and dragging it out slightly as if adding some smarm to it…no, this was an appeal of colleague to colleague. Fusco came through as he always has.
As for the Reese and Finch reunion, it worked on all levels. (I’ll totally ignore the improbability of how Finch got up to the roof of the building surrounded by law officials save this brief acknowledgement of it…I truly don’t care about those details – just keep an eye on the timelines, so far so good.) John didn’t give up in “Bad Code,” appearing in Maryland to rescue Finch, why would Finch not appear right where he knew Reese would be.
I was waiting for some technological miracle…in the end it was just a random guess. Harold had a one in three chance and it was pure chance. Trite? Too easy? No. The message: If John was going to die on that rooftop, Finch was going too. See, John, in the end you aren’t alone and somebody is coming to save you.
As for Bear…the balance to all the stress of these last episodes. Seeing John Reese bowled off his feet while Bear smothered him with affection was priceless. And the look of pure joy was rewarding. While John is no doubt a bit battered from his five-day or so ordeal from “Shadow Box” to now, he hasn’t lost all the happiness. Dogs are great at teaching us to enjoy the moment.
The writers once again show their courage; they ended three characters in two episodes and closed down the FBI’s hunt for the man in the suit and removed two dangers from John Reese. Good moves. The FBI hunt had played itself out, hanging it on Snow works for he was a rogue CIA agent operating on American soil. The FBI’s hunt for the man in the suit has added great suspense and backstory (“Many Happy Returns,” “Firewall,” “Prisoner’s Dilemma”), but it needed to end because the noose was tightening.
Let’s not dwell on the stories that ended but instead look to the new ones that opened. Who is Greer (played by John Nolan, according to TVFanatic, Jonathan Nolan’s uncle) and what did he have Stanton upload for him? We have another shadowy government organization moving onto the board.
So many questions, some answers, some movement forward for all characters and their relationships and so many more avenues to explore.
Next week is a return to what appears to be the ‘norm’: Finch and Reese protecting a person of interest. The wonderful Jimmi Simpson (loved him in Breakout Kings
!) With no recurring cast on hand it should be myth-light; fair enough, these last episodes have been and a little breathing is good. Don’t fear though, the episode after though brings several recurring characters on multiple fronts…I won’t spoil it here, FutonCritic has the cast list; you can look for yourselves.
Things I loved:
Reese showing the difference between him and Kara. The flashbacks in “Prisoner’s Dilemma” were meant to show Reese’s descent into the ‘monster’ as he frequently saw himself in Season 1. However, here he showed how far he’s come back from that which Kara tried to make him. He wasn’t going to be her doormat anymore. “When I fight back, you’ll know.”
Snow’s reassessment of John from damaged goods (which he still is) to altruistic do-gooder.
Fusco being given the chance to shine as protector of Carter, both in finding her earring and in dragging her out of the building at Reese’s insistence.
Both Carter and Fusco staying to await Reese’s death. They may have been on the streets, but they didn’t leave him alone…not in spirit at least.
Finch sitting in Times Square so he could hack the DOD in cyber anonymity.
The fact that we have four Thursdays in a row with new episodes of Person of Interest!
As always, thanks for reading!