Booked Solid covered a lot of ground, all while almost entirely contained to one location.
First, kudos to all involved in the decision to not credit Amy Acker for this episode; it paid off magnificently. Also, kudos to everyone in the fandom who ‘called it’ that Root was Special Counsel’s secretary. That moment had me absolutely cheering!
This episode was not only contained to a hotel, mostly, it was also contained to a single ‘day in the life’ and what a day it was!
Carter had her hopes dashed both personally and professionally. And none of it had anything to do with working with Reese and Finch.
Fusco showed himself compassionate partner to Carter and loyal asset to Finch and Reese as he ‘came when called’ (even as he bemoaned that it’s always a bar) and earned some bada** stripes all his own as he took down two assailants in true Reese fashion. Loved John’s response when Fusco relayed his successful efforts: “Never doubted you for a moment, now, are you coming?” Yep, you’re just doing your job; no thanks earned there, Lionel…sorry!
Finch is a man of many talents! His ease at multi-tasking was no shock to me. We’ve seen him handle so much more in his ‘day job,’ so I simply smiled as he easily directed patrons to the restrooms, fine dining and sights of New York City all while accessing surveillance cameras and hacking into computers. His simple exit at the end of a successful job was entirely keeping with the character; erase all evidence of his presence and walk away.
John too lived up to all that we know of him. First off, we know he’s paranoid (“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not trying to kill you.”) He’s on alert the moment the episode starts, note as Finch enters the employee’s entrance, John gives one final survey of the street. Once inside John continues to scan his surroundings as he seeks to pinpoint the threat. His efforts pay off as he easily identifies the hit squad casing the hotel.
Second, as Hersh notes sardonically, wherever Reese goes a mess soon follows; that held true here as well. We had hit men tied up in elevators and service areas, a broken up elevator and a very messy kitchen.
Then there is the day in the life of Zoe. I love that she wasn’t at the hotel because John and Harold called her…she was working her own case! Paige Turco’s scenes with Jim Caviezel positively sizzle, whether it’s saying ‘hello’ in an elevator or suggesting another round of poker and whiskey (and likely more) in the penthouse. Clearly the two actors enjoy having their characters interact and they keep it fresh and fun. Zoe is a great match for Reese. I like how the character is used, just enough to enjoy; not so much to annoy.
While I missed Bear greatly, I do appreciate the creative choice to keep this episode tight and focused. (Perhaps Boker was off at a competition) Having the exposition occurring as Finch and Reese walked down the street to their new ‘job’ kept it crisp and moving, akin to Blue Code. Also, being set in almost one locale added to the flow of the action and urgency. We saw this in last season’s excellent Super and Firewall, although to a lesser degree for there was a fair bit of movement to other locales in both those episodes. I never felt claustrophobic by being in one place because the hotel was (and is) quite large and we visited several places that showed us the expansiveness of the setting. While the rooms and likely the kitchen and elevator scenes were probably done on a set, the lobby was an actual hotel lobby that was open for business during the filming.
Mira was a strong character with a tragic back story but a hopeful and forward looking persona. She is likeable and smart and capable and it made her fun to watch as she interacted with Reese. She was no damsel in distress at all, rather she was able to handle lecherous hotel guests as well as would-be assassins to just the right degree with both. The placement of the book on hotel management in her locker was a nice touch to lend credence to her promotion at the end.
I loved the fight sequence between Hersh and Reese. I knew there was more to come when the case of the week wrapped up with about ten minutes on the clock, and there it was; Hersh ambushes Reese. That fight sequence is fantastic, we see John initially bested but determined and in the end he shows mercy to the would-be assassin. Yeah, that will clearly come back to haunt him. I wonder if he was still processing all that occurred with Snow and Stanton and his CIA days. It all comes down to choices.
While I longed for some interaction that called back to the events of recent episodes, I was reminded of something Jonathan Nolan said. In essence, each week Person of Interest explores a specific point in time in an individual’s life. We, the viewers; along with Reese, Finch and Co are ‘dropped’ into this person’s life at a specific time. Much the same with our main four and why this episode didn’t allow for any continuation on the events so recently transpired — although by now it’s been two months.
The writers outdid themselves with the Reese snark:
“I really hope Derek is the threat.”
“I don’t suppose one of those ways will be me walking out of here.” (Hersh shoves him) “Didn’t think so.”
“That would be telling.”
And while this isn’t snark, it’s still fantastic: “You’ll never know!” (and then Reese crushes Hersh’s foot and gains the upper hand in the fight.)
Next week is “Relevance,” directed by Jonathan Nolan himself. After that we’ll have a two-week break until episodes 17 and 18.
As always, thanks for reading!