Whereas last week’s episode was gutsy, this week’s was mind blowing. This is Person of Interest, where you never know what you’re going to get from one week to the next.
If you read the cast list for this episode, and you’re a fan, you knew that it was going to be big, Elias, Stanton, Hersh, Donnelly, Special Counsel; the recurring cast outnumbered the regular cast.
Packed into some 43 minutes we get Elias as sort of an ally. (He does appreciate having Finch as a chess buddy!) Finch suiting up and racking up a grenade launcher, almost (thankfully almost!) ignoring the Machine (blasphemy!). Bear missing John (and lying on a jacket and shirt of his, oh, Finch you softy, smells help animals with separation). Fusco calling Reese (a/k/a Wonderboy, a/k/a Tall Dark and Fearsome, a/k/a Mr. Sunshine, a/k/a Bane of My Existence) John…not once, but twice! Carter and Reese sharing some intense scenes in which there is a lot of information exchanged and a deepening of that most excellent friendship (and may it never be anything more than a deep, abiding, respectful friendship!) Donnelly going off the rails (even though he was correct in his identification of John as ‘the man in the suit’ and deducing that Carter was the ‘mole’) And finally Kara Stanton making another appearance in ‘real time’ as she provides the final twist and shocking moment in this packed episode as she drives a dump truck into Donnelly’s car, kills Donnelly (likely) and drugs Reese…who is most assuredly taken from the scene to wherever we’ll meet up with them in Dead Reckoning on January 31st (a very long 21 days or 503 hours or 30,180 minutes from the end of Prisoner’s Dilemma, tick, tick, tick.)
Prisoner’s Dilemma was a superb episode of PoI. It is actually part three of a four-part sequence of episodes. While it was not billed as the mid-season finale, that was Shadow Box, it is numerically the mid-season finale (provided Season 2 has 24 episodes.)
Everyone shone in this episode. Elias as we know is patient. Should we be surprised he is so introspective about being locked up? No. He has his own code of honor: children are not to be hurt (I guess Taylor being about 16 (?) doesn’t count as a child – and he only kidnapped and threatened him so…), Harold, his chess buddy, is important to him and he knows John is important to Harold, ergo, John cannot be hurt while Elias can do something to prevent that; and finally John is the man who saved him, even as he has upset much of Elias’ plans since then, still at this point John’s life is one that Elias will spare. How long that lasts…well, obviously the writers don’t want Elias to go away forever yet – too delicious a character – and it’s not time to kill off John, so…
I like how Karolina Kurkova’s story was handled. She played herself, thus finding out information on her wasn’t necessary to us the viewers because she is already a public figure and that’s just part of the premise here. As for the scenes with her and Fusco, they were pure gold. We got to see the progression of their time together from her trying to mace him as a would-be attacker to them working together to flee the Armenians (them again?) to them refusing to leave each other behind in danger to the eventual parting as the danger (whatever it was) was dispatched and life could go back to whatever is normal for them both…for Fusco that means speeding off on another assignment from Finch, this time tying him directly into saving Reese and now Carter. It was the perfect foil for all the tension and suspense going on in the main story of the week, which is often the backstory simmering away in…well, the back.
Finch was on top of everything in this episode. Did Michael Emerson actually share a scene with a person in this episode, nope, don’t think so. Yet he managed to convey with absolute believability every emotion, sorrow that John wasn’t with him as Bear whined, urgency to Fusco to get to Carter’s last known coordinates, frustration with the Machine at calling him when he’d rather be tracking down Carter and Reese, desperation as he was prepared to ‘storm the jail’ to break out Reese and concern as he listened to Reese spin out his backstory. His entire performance consisted of sitting or standing in the library and one moment on the streets listening to a voice on the phone, yet I was mesmerized, as usual!
Carter’s and Reese’s scenes were of the highest caliber. Every moment between these characters was filled to the utmost; each dancing around each other while at the same time giving the other just enough to keep the farce up for Donnelly’s benefit. Reese revealed so much of himself through his cover identity which is, as Finch told Carter, the closest to his real story as possible, yet managed to keep just enough of a mask in place so as not to give away his identity with Donnelly watching like a hawk. In the end Reese’s training proved worthy of Donnelly (a very worthy foe) as he didn’t give it away.
I don’t fault Carter for giving it away either. She had to play both sides of this interrogation perfectly and she did. It was Donnelly showing himself as a cagey agent who finally bested Carter by getting to her emotions. We saw in “Get Carter” that the willful endangerment of someone she is interrogating (and building rapport with) will bring out her emotions and it did here as well. The scene where Carter revealed a bit of herself to Reese was beautiful. It’s as if she knew he needed a little something from her to help him (as well as bought Finch time). That admission by her not only provided cover that she was building rapport, but definitely gave John a bit of strength in this stressful situation. John doesn’t only have himself to protect, the whole team is in danger with his capture so the stakes were extremely high.
I love the moments at the end, when Reese is free (fleetingly so) and he tells Carter thank you for her help and that having her, a friend, as the one to talk to (read be interrogated by) helped him to get through it. Aw, John, you have three friends now (and a dog!)
– John and Carter in the back of Donnelly’s car as he is echoing Kara’s speech to John from years earlier about choosing the life of being a killer; the internal struggle as John listens to Donnelly calling him a cold-blooded murderer and a monster juxtaposed to his listening as Carter calls him a good man…gold!
– Finch’s line: Oh, it sounds so bad when you say it (to Fusco’s comment about breaking John out of Riker’s).
– Bear whining as he misses John, then whining and attentive as he hears John’s voice over the computer feed.
– Finch as he listens to John weave the story of losing Allison (Jessica) and wondering who he’d be if he’d chosen to re-up his time in the military…oh, the agony for we know he did and the real wonder there is who he’d be (and if Jessica would still be alive and with him) if he hadn’t re-upped.
– John’s shocked look as Donnelly catches him and Carter on the bridge…I did not see that coming.
– Kara driving that dump truck T-bone style into Donnelly’s car…so who taught who that move, did John teach Kara or vice versa?
– Harold with the grenade launcher…so last week was foreshadowing as Fusco told Finch he had a machine gun in his car for him…hah!
Wow, just wow Person of Interest…this was an amazing episode.
And to all who read, thanks for reading! Elle2
And super congratulations PoI for getting a 3.4 in the demo last week and getting a 3.3 In the demo this week (against a returning Grey’s Anatomy). This is a show whose rating only increase from the beginning of the season, the moves are small but consistent. Well done!