After two weeks of self-contained episodes, Person of Interest returns in fine form by taking a step, a long step, into its dark, complex, and ever-intriguing past. I loved RAM! From Dillinger as pre-Reese, to Shaw’s appearance as a newly-minted assassin for Control to Root’s fine return as she collects another member of the team that The Machine appears to be building – now numbering three – RAM was a fantastic installment. With every high, however, there is a low. I will address the one problem I had with this episode right now to get it out of the way. This bothered me throughout the episode, and I’ve gnawed it to death in my mind. Once I put it down here, I’ll move on from it permanently. Still, it stings as PoI is a show I hold to extremely high standards and here they fell pretty hard: the timeline.
Timelines are tricky devils. They can trip you up if you aren’t careful. Since PoI has proven itself to be extremely careful, I’m going with the idea that the problem actually occurred in Season 1 – ‘cause they were still figuring things out, you know, and much of what happened in “Many Happy Returns” was to have occurred in the Pilot and thus some on-the-fly adaptations were missed. So, I think here it was a matter of setting things aright in the timeline. Reese and Stanton went to Ordos in May of 2010 and Jessica died about December of 2010 and some two months after that Finch was in a wheelchair when he ‘bumped’ into John at the hospital. So the idea here that Finch is walking again and Reese and Stanton are Ordos bound in December of 2010 is a goof – a really, really big goof and one that I believe the writers and producers decided they had to ride out in order to reset the error from Season 1.
All right, with that bit of nastiness out of the way, let’s get down to the brass tacks: RAM was awesome!
If you’re a newcomer to PoI, you might not get excited about this episode. You might wonder what hiccup caused the opening sequence to rewind and why there is a timeline to begin with and why does Finch start when he sees Reese and Stanton and wonder why someone included a throwaway line about a dog and on and on and on. But for those of us ‘irrelevants’ who watch with bated breath each week, RAM was a gold mine of Easter Egg goodness. When the opening lines began I almost missed the fact that Finch was saying the opening from Season 1… “but I needed a partner…” – almost. All of a sudden I knew we were in for a ride because I knew that opening sequence was going to rewind – and then it did!
Apparently there is a bit of an archetype for saving people and Dillinger fit the role, sort of. He had the quiet menace and the ease with weapons and the casual aplomb to fire behind him and kill the second attacker without looking, however he lacked the humanity, the morality to care about the mission. He really embodies what Shaw was prior to her teaming up with Finch and Reese, as we learned in The Devil’s Share: robotic and doing it because she was good at it but doesn’t have the heart for it. Reese has the heart, and Finch knows it. He may have crossed paths with Reese prior to 2010 (and this episode shows us there are still holes to be filled in) but he recognized the difference between Reese and Dillinger. Dillinger was a mercenary, in it for the money, in it for his own pleasure. Reese is in it as his life’s mission. He’s in it to help people.
We also see how Northern Lights and Control connect and cross, we see the beginning of Shaw, and we learn that Finch really truly understood just how dirty his hands were going to have to get as he buried Dillinger in the woods and this after losing Nathan. Talk about lonely!
Finch learned a lot about how to deal with his new partner for he didn’t hold back from John that there was a machine that he built that gave him numbers. Granted, he didn’t explain how the numbers work, nor did he tell John where the machine was, but he did grant him access to a lot more information than he ever gave Dillinger.
Where we go from here with Root back in the present timeline and Daniel Casey set to return as well as all our other shadowy and shady government entities intent on The Machine and all who interact with it, I have no idea. But I know the remaining seven episodes of Season 3 are going to be quite the ride…even as we have to wait a couple weeks for the next one. That’s just the tradeoff we have to accept with the fall giving us ten episodes straight and the winter/spring having some 20 plus weeks into which to put only 12, or perhaps 13 episodes. These breaks aren’t fun, but they are the reality.
Notes of Interest:
Black tea is close enough proves that Dillinger was willing to get the job mostly done; Reese pays attention to what the person actually wants.
True, both men are/were trained killers, but Reese from the beginning took the kneecap shots, not the head/torso shots.
Dillinger was right about one thing: Finch needed a dog! It was up to Reese to provide that as well.
We finally learned what led up to Reese and Stanton being sent to Ordos and why both were targeted for death.
There was a nice line reminding us of the last time Reese and Stanton were in NYC – November of 2008 that gives hope that perhaps the mystery of who was tied up and hooded in the tub will one day be revealed. Perhaps that is the first time Finch discovered who John Reese was.
Annie Parisse has missed not one beat in her portrayal of Stanton: cold, calculating, and clearly maniacal. What also is excellent is that we see the progression of her and Reese’s partnership. John Reese is not awkward in his role anymore. He is supremely capable of being the assassin his role requires, but he is also no one’s lackey. John continues to question orders, he’s just a bit more subtle, and he outright disobeys orders and shows he has the means to do so and protect his actions as he is the one who gets Casey out of the country.
Looking forward to what comes next!
Until the end of March, thanks for reading. Elle2