It is said that the writers’ room of Person of Interest has a list of items that they want Reese to use on people. After Season 2, a few of those items can be crossed off: crossbow and fire extinguisher among them. We’ve also had the joy of watching Reese rappel down the side of a high rise building, wear a bomb vest, break into a bank’s safe deposit vault, try – and fail – to blend in in suburbia, as well as join the world of online dating. Reese was a busy man in Season 2. He even took a vacation – more of a staycation, as it were – in Riker’s, although, I think he should fire his travel agent over that misadventure.
If Season 1 was more the unloading of emotional background of John Reese, then Season 2 showed us John Reese moving on from that baggage to a new place, a happier place. It was not all smooth sailing. While Season 1 was fairly heavy with flashbacks for John, Season 2 only had one episode with flashbacks, the remarkable Prisoner’s Dilemma. There were supposed to be some in Shadow Box which likely were cut due to length. Shame, I think they would have made the story resonate a bit more if they had remained. Not to worry, I’ve filled in the blanks. John’s flashbacks were to have been of his mother making a shadow box of memories regarding her husband. John would remember the time that he learned of his father’s death in combat and how that affected him and caused him to choose the military as his career/life path. (Writers, you can thank me later for filling in the blanks. I’m here to help. 🙂
Season 2 made it clear that John was committed to the work he and Finch do, and he is committed to doing that work with Finch. John refused to leave Finch in the hands of Root – not once but twice – refused an offer of a new life in Brazil, and then, his commitment to the couple in Shadow Box was so complete he was willing to be arrested in order to ensure their safety. Once released, John went right back to work, hotel maids, billionaires, doctors, even covert operatives all were in need of his special skill set.
This new commitment, and acknowledgment of his purpose and now happiness, didn’t come easily. Reese came face to face with enemies of his past, as well as his own mistakes, and he was stoic to the end, refusing to make excuses for the events that had transpired in the past. He was initially willing to accept his imprisonment, and then, when it became clear that others were not, he played an intricate game of cat and mouse to gain his freedom.
When Kara took him prisoner, John rebuffed Carter’s, Fusco’s, and Finch’s assistance, choosing death rather than harming them, or any innocents. At the end of the season, after learning of Finch’s involvement in his being sent to Ordos and ultimately being unable to save Jessica, Reese forgave Finch choosing to accept, rightfully so, the part he, John Reese, played in Jessica being with the abusive Arndt. John Reese has grown a lot in two seasons. He has faced his demons and come out with a new appreciation for life, his place in the world, and those he calls friends.
Lest it be inferred that John Reese has gone soft, keep in mind there were plenty of kneecaps harmed during the course of this season and more than a few vehicles. But, John showed a more playful side, opening up to Carter, the delightful Zoe Morgan, taking in Bear and giving him a home, as well as offering an olive branch to Samantha Shaw, now ex-operative and adrift herself. While John is less inclined to kill and more inclined to call the police, he has not lost his violent/dangerous side; just ask the would-be assassin in Triggerman – well, he’s likely dead, so I don’t think he’ll answer, or the cruel, fund manager in In Extremis – a little polonium with your scotch, sir?
Some old enemies are now gone, Stanton, Snow, and Donnelly among the most memorable. Some new enemies are loose, Decima and Hersh topping the list, and I’m hoping for the mysterious Alistair Wesley to return in Season 3. Julian Sands gave him such an enigmatic presence that I’m eager for more information. Of course there are some new friends/allies that made their mark in Season 2, Zoe and Leon having the most returns, and then there is Shaw – now a regular come Season 3 – and Elias has managed to leave Riker’s. Oh, what adventures will come of that?! And just what will Bear think of Elias…
Carter had quite the time in Season 2. Her moral compass is no longer pointed in the right direction; in fact, it is likely spinning all over. She has misrepresented her department’s intentions by traveling to Texas with Reese, covered up Fusco’s dirty secrets by removing Detective Stills’s body in the middle of the night, and let us not forget that Carter drugged a man for his DNA, broke into a federal laboratory to tamper with evidence and, oh, yes, lied and obstructed justice during an FBI investigation into the Man in the Suit. When last seen, Carter had Elias in her ‘custody’ and was unsure of her next course of action. If she brings him back to Riker’s she exposes herself as the hooded individual who broke up HR’s plan to kill him. She knows she’s better off with Elias running the mob in NYC over the Russians, more rules, and better control. Carter is not the upstanding law officer she was when we met her in the Pilot. I like this new Carter.
It’s interesting – to me anyway – that through 45 episodes, we’ve seen Finch grow more comfortable with guns, Reese grow less comfortable with violence, although still more than willing to exercise it when all else is lost – or he’s paying off a debt (Triggerman, In Extremis), Fusco strive to be a good cop and Carter break rules and laws with abandon. Ah, John Reese has had quite an effect on people!
Will Fusco ever truly ‘fess up to all his past deeds and be clear? Unlikely. But, he’s making steady gains. Fusco managed to destroy evidence of his payoffs early in the seasons (Bury the Lede) and then found an ally in an unlikely person, Carter, in In Extremis when she moved the body of Detective Stills, whom he buried but did not kill, when Internal Affairs had him on the ropes. Still, Fusco is under threat as long as Simmons is around. I adore the actor Robert John Burke and all the smarminess he brings to Simmons, so I’m not eager for the character to disappear. What I am eager for – and may or may not ever see – is the truth of Reese’s actions and Fusco’s actions regarding Stills and Davidson come to light, at least Carter’s light. When the characters glean an understanding of each other through their actions, it leads to some excellent moments (Prisoner’s Dilemma, Many Happy Returns). I do appreciate the small steps that are taken in that direction though. Fusco not only was able to escape some felonies, he managed to find a bit of romance. I for one am hopeful that the delightful Rhonda will make a return in Season 3.
To me the season had an intriguing organization. The first ten episodes had the team working fairly consistently with each other. Then, when Reese was imprisoned, everyone had some hand in assisting his rescue – or at least expressed a great desire to be of assistance (Fusco) – yet, upon Reese’s release, the four team members were never seen again in the same place. There were times that Fusco would assist Reese directly (Booked Solid) and times when Carter and Fusco would assist (Relevance) and there were plenty of phone conversations between Fusco and Finch and Carter and Finch; however, Carter and Reese only directly interacted a few times, one in Zero Day when they spoke in the alley, and another in In Extremis when they spoke over the phone.
To separate the characters so dramatically, after so much interaction in the first part of the season, seems deliberate; perhaps a way to remind how close they all came to being caught by Donnelly and thus a bit more discretion is advisable.
Season 3 is to expand the world of Person of Interest, according to the show’s creators. This can mean many things: wider geographic reach of the Machine, more supporting characters (Zoe, Leon, Shaw, perhaps even Logan Pierce returning?), the addition of Shaw adds its own shadows and mysteries, will we see more press time, a la Maxine Angelis – she could be a friend, Elias is free (possibly) and will have plans of his own, and what of Root with her access to the Machine. The possibilities are endless, not surprising for a city that never sleeps.
We’re over a month post-finale, and about a month pre-Season 3 shooting. The writers’ room is open, the storyboards are filling up. Soon we’ll be hearing rumors and tidbits leaking out, casting calls and possible synopsis. It’s a good time in the world of TV.
Thanks for reading. Elle2