Appearances are everything, appearances can be deceiving, don’t judge something solely by its appearance: all of these themes were in play in this week’s episode of Person of Interest. Nothing was as it appeared, starting with the simple: Reese sees umbrellas as useful, if they can be a tactical weapon, and dry ice doubles as smokescreen bombs. From there we move on to the more necessary ‘appearances’: Fusco tipping off Bouchard to Lin’s location so she can ‘appear’ nervous and allow him to steal the details of her next heist; Reese appears to break in and get caught but in reality is setting the ruse so that Shaw and Lin can do the actual theft, which wasn’t a theft at all – more a temporary relocation of the Bible, all done because 3D fingerprints appear to be real, and body temperature scanners can be manipulated so that it ‘appears’ as if no one is in the secure area, Fusco appears to be a detective in the right place at the right time – and he is, for Team Machine.
All of this centers around one of the show’s main ideas: The team intervenes in a person’s life in a moment in time, all while knowing little to nothing about what brought the person to that very moment in time. Here the consequences are potentially devastating as the team appears to stop a theft only to realize the stakes are so much higher, which causes the team to change their plans and become partners to the heist, even to the point of revealing themselves to the Interpol agent allowing him a chance to understand Lin’s motivation.
This week’s episode – about as purely standalone as one can get, was a fun, light-hearted caper that didn’t take itself too seriously, which means we viewers shouldn’t take it too seriously either – until the final moments as the team gathers to debrief and share a drink, which becomes a toast to their fallen team member *sniff*. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Person of Interest does heavy, serious, light-hearted, and extremely farcical (in the best sense) better than just about any show out there. This week’s fell into the latter category, much like Season 1’s Baby Blue, and it was the best antidote to the mid-winter blues, complete with the fire in the fireplace at the end. I was warm and fuzzy.
I’ve read the reviews on this episode that call it ‘derivative’ or imply that it was a lazy and/or beneath Person of Interest’s standards. I can see where they’re coming from what with all we had with Endgame through 4C – six episodes highly serialized that included the conclusion of HR’s story, the death of our beloved Joss Carter, introducing us to the idea of a second Machine (and maybe more), setting Root free and having the Machine directly impact John Reese’s movements, however, on the other side of the coin: sometimes it is a great idea to simply let the characters be characters, true to their core.
Reese was all Reese here: strategist, bully killer, and devoted/grieving friend; Finch was pure geek, first at the museum and then with his shiny new 3D printer; Shaw was a fighter and brought her usual brand of sarcasm throughout the episode; and Fusco was Mr. Everything, from purveyor of architectural plans to saving Reese and Shaw when the authorities descended to finding the upside in everything – even lightening up the heavy mood at the end as the team toasted the memory of Carter: “Maybe the Crown Jewels.” Life does go on. Fusco, along with every other member of that team, knows sorrow, pain, and loss, but he has also ‘gone on’ afterwards.
Provenance was fun, silly, escapist fun. In a season of 23 episodes, many of which are highly serialized and others which have very high stakes, one or two episodes of pure escapist fun make the heavy go down easier. I kicked back and enjoyed myself – and I will do so again over the next week while waiting for February 18th to roll around.
Notes of Interest:
Love the small moments sprinkled throughout: Shaw welcoming Reese back, Reese and Finch having a ‘scene about a tie’ – knowing that just such a scene was cut from last season’s Booked Solid.
Shrimp puffs strike again! Last time that happened was ‘Masquerade’ – also directed by Jeffrey Hunt.
Jeffrey Hunt’s eye always impresses. Love how he filmed the long shot of Lin walking on the sidewalk to her home and Reese and Bear out of focus behind her and then coming into focus – similar shots like that were in last season’s Trojan Horse – also directed by Jeffrey Hunt. He has an eye for capturing the lights and scenery at night to their best possible effect. He did it here too, especially with the flickering firelight at the end and the glint off the cut glassware.
Shaw, so rarely one-upped, got just that as Lin slipped her bonds and showed a knife. Now, Shaw, how did you, of all people, miss that?
And finally, Fusco is invited into the safe house. He makes his arrival memorable as he remarks about the décor and that he ‘knows people too’ and then at the end he is there to enjoy a drink and a toast.
It’s a different ending – the first time we’ve seen the team actually congratulate themselves on their work. It marks the beginning of a new chapter, while not forgetting for a moment the pages before. “Provenance,” it’s not ‘The Devil’s Share” or “Prisoner’s Dilemma” or “Many Happy Returns,” but it’s a lot of fun, provided you plan on simply enjoying the show as much as it is enjoying itself.
As always, thanks for reading. Elle2