Before I get into the review of this episode, I’ll give you some info from the realm of Person of Interest. First off, CBS has decided to shore up some of their tough spots earlier rather than later. With that in mind, PoI is now in its new Tuesday night timeslot permanently. So schedule your repeat viewings accordingly.
Second, in about two hours (as of the typing of this before I send it to Alice) I’ll be sitting in on a live streaming event on Spreecast with Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman. I’ve submitted some questions, as have many others. I’ll bring you the wrap of that in the next few days.
Third, PoI begins shooting on Wednesday, July 10th, so keep an eye out for photos and spoilers. We already have the title of the first episode, “Liberty.” Whatever that means, I do not know. (Liberty is leave for military personnel, it could be that the Machine is at liberty, it could mean that Elias is liberated…oh, the potential.)
Fourth, PoI is at Comic Con again this year. Alice will be attending and hopefully will have some insights from whatever panels she is able to attend. She did pretty well last year for us, cross fingers!
Fifth, I’m giving a shout out to a couple of ‘go-to’ sites that I hit up for PoI info. One is http://relevanttosomeone.tumblr.com/ and another is http:///jimcaviezelfan.tumblr.com/. Both keep up to date with the latest. The Jim Caviezel Fan is pretty much exclusive to all things Jim Caviezel. This fan apparently lives in or near NYC for there are many, many behind the scenes shots from actual episode shoots. Also, Relevant to Someone – along with being a PoI fan — is an Arrow fan; thus there is often quite a bit of Arrow on there. Lots of fan made things, gifs and shout outs and other fun stuff. So check them out, if you wish, to scroll through some photos, some vids, and some just plain fun moments as they comment on the characters, the direction of the show and whatnot. It’s always positive.
There you have it, a mini roundup of PoI before the first of this summer’s Retro Reviews. I figured it was a good time to break this out, since the next couple of weeks will be full of Spreecast, the opening days of shooting of Season 3 and Comic Con news. Come late July or early August I’ll break out my review of Cura te Ipsum and then move on to Number Crunch and two others. Before we know it, September 24th will have arrived. (but I’m still enjoying my summer weather, even as it is hot and humid here in the northeast – more humid, in comparison to the southwest.)
Retro Review: Pilot
Pilots are hard to watch. There’s so much information that needs to be dispensed that they tend to be very talky. Also, there’s so much foundation that needs to be laid that they tend to cover a lot of ground but all in a very surface manner. In short, PoI’s Pilot episode was hard to watch…the first time. It’s gotten a lot easier since then, and a lot more enjoyable. It helps that I’ve seen the extended, unaired version as well as both the original and the extended version with their respective commentaries. Oh, that Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman would do more commentaries, theirs are excellent!
Having read the script as well, as watched both versions of the episode, I can appreciate the choices that were made to shorten the airing. Doesn’t make me wish any less that CBS had green lit the first episode for a 90 minute timeslot; would have been so much better. Still, I do like that the scene between Carter and Reese in the precinct was edited the way it was. Having Reese barely speak was excellent: made him more menacing. Something that was missed, however, was him allowing Carter to take his fingerprints. He would have known that was going to ‘bring him back to life’ in a way that wasn’t good. What the editing from the script to the final episode failed to show was how truly close to suicide Reese was. In all likelihood the reason he allowed her to take his fingerprints was because he fully intended to complete his plans for suicide and it wouldn’t matter anyway. However, due to editing choices, it just makes him look sloppy.
What doesn’t make him look sloppy is the little bit that did stay in despite the editing. When Anton boards the subway and confronts the guy with the gun, he mentions – within earshot of Reese – that he’s got a line on some weapons the following week. Later on at the library when Reese decides he needs more than a cell phone in the future, he mentions that his buddy Anton has a line on some weapons, slightly used, steep discount. As drunk and suicidal as John Reese may have been, he still managed to glean some necessary intel and file it away for the appropriate time.
There were many nuances with Finch that were deleted due to editing, but, rather than detracting, they made the journey throughout the first season so much more enjoyable as it moved along at a much slower, more wary pace; far more appropriate. I like that Finch didn’t present Reese with an apartment until Many Happy Returns; so much more poignant (yeah, I still tear up over that episode) as well as appropriate for the slow dance of trust, even friendship, that was built over the first season.
There are breadcrumbs galore dropped in this first episode that can still be played out over many seasons to come. Reese’s police file, redacted of course, showed an active history in the NYC area. There are a number of wonderful flashbacks that can be pursued, and likely will be over time. Also, we learned just enough about the Machine to make us hungry for more, very hungry, and that reveal continues well after the end of the second season.
What the Pilot episode did do very well, after laying all that foundational exposition, was give us the broad outlines for these characters, and it did it all through small moments of dialogue:
Reese: “I don’t particularly like killing people, but I’m very good at it.”
Finch: “I don’t like firearms very much.” Reese: “Neither do I, but if someone has to have them, I’d rather it was me.”
The entire exchange with Fusco and Reese in the car on the way to Oyster Bay set that relationship firmly in place. It’s modified a bit over 45 episodes, both men having willingly saved the other from certain death, but theirs remains a tentative relationship with some trust and some friendship between them. Still, it is clear that Reese continues to pull the ‘strings’ to Fusco’s marionette.
The cat and mouse with Carter that begins in the Pilot episode, thankfully, was ended in episode 10, with Carter choosing to let Reese go. This chase was supposed to continue the entire first season, culminating in the Season 1 finale. This is one time when a network suggestion (sometimes referred to as interference by we fans – at least this one!) works. The chase wasn’t that good; the partnership is much better.
The Pilot is a good episode that gets better with each viewing. The mood of the show was set here; it hasn’t changed much. There are moments of humor, blasts of action/violence, irreverence for the law and yet a yearning for something more predictable.
So, as you continue to endure the 2013 hiatus, pull out your dvds, or download the episode from iTunes for 2.99 per. The Pilot is worth the watch. Pay close attention when Michael Emerson is doing his exposition (he has a lot of it here) for it is all material that the writers/creators clearly made a note of. They have yet to deviate from what they’ve started here.
Until the next review (Cura Te Ipsum), thanks for reading.