Person of Interest returned in fine form with a pretty straightforward case of the week which brought a lighter feel and plenty of smiles, while in the background a deeper, darker, more sinister story percolated.

For those that write this show off as nothing more than a CBS procedural, it is truly your loss.  Masquerade could be deemed a bit of an inside joke in that this show masquerades as a procedural on a network known for procedurals, but in reality it is about rich characters involved in a deeply layered story, one that is slowly revealed piece by piece; this episode showed that off brilliantly.

The case of the week is fairly simple, girl in danger, wrong place/wrong time and bad boyfriend.  However, the ease of this week’s story by no means reduces this episode to fluff; rather it highlights what it truly great about PoI; its balance between story of the week and overarching mythology.  As this simple case unfolds there are scenes interspersed throughout – with Carter again in the thick of things – moving things forward with the mythology in Season 2.

Carter isn’t about to let Alicia Corwin’s murder go.  Throughout this episode, as she assists Finch and Reese with Sofia, she discovers someone has taken something out of Alicia’s body at the morgue, encounters Mark Snow and tips over a hornet’s nest with regard to the CIA and the whereabouts of Mark Snow.  

Fusco is happy to be back about the basics, doesn’t care to pursue the Corwin murder because whatever level Reese and Finch are playing at, he knows he and Carter aren’t there.  He is happy to ‘come when called’ and frankly makes it clear that he expects to be called.  I enjoyed his caller ID for Finch, Mr. Good News.  Wonder if his ID for John is Mr. Sunshine (Blue Code) or perhaps Wonderboy (Many Happy Returns and Bad Code).

What about Finch and Reese?  I said in my last review that I was very glad they were back working together for the show felt a bit out of sorts with them apart.  Here we are treated to the adorable, odd couple relationship these two men have, and it moves forward yet again.  John is the steadying force for Finch throughout this episode while at the same time being steadied himself by Finch’s return.  (Something Carter tells Finch when he calls her.  It makes an impression on the stoic and reclusive Finch.)  

Reese doesn’t push when Finch tells him he can’t come watch Sofia; simply says he’ll call Fusco and then he reveals just how important Finch is to him by connecting with Sofia in her loss.  Reese:  “I spent some time feeling lost…someone found me, told me I needed a purpose.”  Sofia:  “Sounds like a good friend.”  Reese:  “He is.”  All this is done with Finch listening in on the earpiece. Beautiful.

In the end Finch does go with Reese for that drink and I’m reminded that we’ve seen movement like this in the past:  Finch telling Reese to order the Eggs Benedict, after Reese thanks Finch for giving him a job; then there’s the biggie of Finch giving Reese a business card with one of his aliases on it, Harold Wren.  Here the two men go out for a drink after the case is over, the moving of the friendship to another level.  It’s an acknowledgement by Finch of Reese as a friend.  Harold can’t bring himself to say it, so he shows it instead.  

This is where POI really shines.  It shows us, rather than telling us.  We see Reese’s dangerous and deadly smile as he dangles the now ex-boyfriend off the side of a building; who needs dialogue when Jim Caviezel can say so much more with a look?  Michael Emerson shows Finch warming up to Bear through little dialogue rather using his facial features and his eyes.  It’s Carter’s exasperated look as Reese tells her to wait in the car and then her wry smile as he gets out and cracks his neck warming up for his workout.  These actors breathe life into the characters and the writers are smart enough to let them show the dialogue rather than have it explained to us. 

The final four minutes of the show are POI at its masterful best; so much packed in yet nothing felt rushed:  Sofia’s story is wrapped up; however, a new CIA agent has Carter in her view with regard to Mark Snow.  Kara Stanton’s hand is tipped; she’s interested in who sent her and John on their ‘final’ mission to Ordos — so many possibilities.  The shadowy government group has retrieved a chip from Corwin’s body but there is a problem.  And then the bookend to the episode, Reese and Finch walking the streets of NYC with Bear heading for a beer all while The Black Keys, She’s Long Gone rocks in the background and that fabulous final shot of John Reese with a full on, genuine smile.

Final notes, things I loved:

The new opening sequence;

John’s pickpocket skills and flare for the dramatic;

Fusco asking Sofia is she likes falafel…bwah!

Fusco, when protecting Sofia from the would-be-assassin doesn’t give an inch.  “Look at you.  You think you can outrun me?”  Fusco:  “Let me mull that over for a sec.”  

Carter not only knee-capped a perp, she smashed her car into the SUV…John has been somewhat of an influence on her;

John called Finch Harold throughout the episode and indicated that he is a good friend.  Harold maintained distance though by calling John Mr. Reese.  I’m betting there will be more movement on that this season.

All of Finch’s scenes with Bear, pure gold; 

John’s smiles; I believe Masquerade had more smiles in it than the preceding 25 episodes combined.  Harold is back, John has his purpose and his friend and PoI is squarely back in business.

Thanks for reading!

By the way, if you are a twitter fan, Bear has a twitter account.  He tweets during the episode, in Dutch of course.  Thank goodness for Google translate, he is funny!  Follow at @BearDeHond.

Bear was also at New York Comic Con.  He’s becoming a regular TV star!

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