I like when shows deviate from their norm. It’s rare a show does it in its second season, and so dramatically, but “Relevance” succeeds, and proves again that PoI is fearless. While I missed Reese and Finch, Shaw and Cole’s interactions made up for it; they were a mixture of Reese and Finch as well as Reese and Stanton and even Finch and Ingram. The action scenes were well-crafted as well as well-timed. Jonathan Nolan directed this episode and his skill with this format was evident.
When I first read that Sarah Shahi was cast as this cross between Catwoman and Jason Bourne, I thought perhaps PoI had made its first massive misstep in casting. Only ever exposed to Ms. Shahi in Fairly Legal, which did not impress, I said uh oh and settled in for the worst. However, Ms. Shahi impressed greatly; I look forward to her return.
In the past PoI has introduced such characters as Elias and Root more subtly, Elias was a slow progression before the character even appeared on screen. The latter appeared once in the shadows and then revealed herself dramatically in Firewall and was the impetus behind the first two episodes of Season 2. Shaw, however, erupts onto the scenes and stands PoI on its head. We see things from the perspective of the weekly person of interest while Reese and Finch only appear when they are in direct contact with Shaw.
It was a brave move and is indicative of a show that is consistently keeping itself fresh. Nolan and/or Plageman once said, in essence, that PoI, while having serialized content, isn’t going to go the way of the soap opera dramas that litter the television landscape; the kind of show that only moves the plot forward through lies, betrayal and sex. Rather, PoI is going to move the story forward by crafting the overall mytharc and then allowing the case of the week to interact with and organically move the narrative forward. It must feel natural, it must feel seamless. “Relevance” achieved both.
Since the Pilot we’ve know that the Machine was built to stop so-called relevant crimes, acts of terrorism, acts that would affect massive amounts of lives, but we’ve never seen its work outside of allusions by Stanton and Reese in flashbacks. Reese and Finch work the other side of the Machine’s algorithm, the irrelevant side. It sets up an interesting dialogue, one that I’ll not be undertaking other than to suggest here, large acts of terrorism start with one person and an idea. In the ripples of life, who really knows what saving the life of an irrelevant really means. Reese and Finch saved Elias but look what that has wrought, things both good and bad.
“Relevance” offers a brief glimpse of a larger cautionary tale, one in which the government makes itself the be all and end all of reason and wisdom. The Office of Special Counsel had Aquino killed because he knew things about the Machine and had to be eliminated. Cole had questions his conscience wouldn’t allow to rest; end result, Cole is terminated. How is what the government is doing any different from Reese and Finch? Both work outside the rule of law to achieve an end, one for the greater good; one for the good of the individual. Who are the real vigilantes here?
“Relevance” succeeds because we know the process. Get the number, dig up information, follow, intervene when necessary and fade away. When Shaw hits NYC and is tailing her number, we encounter Reese doing the same; information gathering/follow phase. Reese is likely being fed ‘a story’ on Shaw while Cole is filling Shaw in on their person. When Shaw and Cole are inside the apartment, we hear the sounds of gunfire out on the street, which Shaw reacts to by going to the window, and we see evidence of Finch’s interventions as he types an urgent message to Cole letting him know it’s a trap. After Shaw escapes, we see the evidence of Reese’s assistance; men on the ground clutching their kneecaps…take that!
Root, ever the opportunist, inserts herself into the action in an attempt to get information on the Machine. Having figured out that there are two avenues to approach the Machine, Finch/Reese and the Office of Special Counsel, and having so far come up empty with team Finch/Reese, she’s opted to follow the government trail. It gets her closer but by no means to her destination. Root is determined though and now that she’s actively engaged, we’ll be seeing her more and more as the season progresses, much like Elias in Season 1.
Leon, like Zoe, is a delight; just enough to keep me wanting more. Seeing him interact with Fusco and Carter makes me wonder how much they all know about each other. The interaction of Reese, Finch and Leon was just plain fun: “I so don’t get paid enough for this crap.” “We don’t pay you anything, Leon.”
The Relevant and the Irrelevant crossed paths this week in Person of Interest and it was fun to watch. It also sets Shaw up to return, if not this season, Season 3.
- Did they smear the camera lens with bacon grease so Boker (Bear) would lick it so energetically
- Call Finch’s phone number, 917-285-7362, you’ll hear: “Hello, you’ve reached Harold Wren at Universal Heritage Insurance. I’m currently out of the office. I’m sorry I’m not available.” (then the recording tells you that the user’s mailbox can’t accept more messages)
- Jonathan Nolan live tweeted during the show, go to @personinterest and read the tweets
- @BearDeHond has a behind the scenes vimeo rehearsing the ‘kissing’ scene” Once again, his tweets are adorable
- Jeffrey Hunt returns (Number Crunch, Masquerade and Bury the Lede) and is currently directly Episode 19 and then 21…follow him at Huntvision on Twitter, he regularly posts photos and little tidbits…if you’re of the mind, help him get verified. He’s been pleading for that checkmark!
As always, thanks for reading. Next up a repeat: Triggerman; then two back to back before basketball. Springtime on CBS is tough, but, with seven episodes remaining in this season (darn it, only 23 eps) we still have some twists and turns ahead of us.