“I know in the CIA they encouraged a certain moral ambiguity but I like to think we’re aiming for a higher standard.” (Flesh and Blood) In this week’s installment it’s Reese advocating for the higher standard as Finch struggles with Root’s suggestion that some people are simply ‘bad code,’ while Carter walks a fine line of loyalty to Reese and her own moral compass.
Jonathan Nolan said he likes to keep the dynamics between the four characters fluid; this week allowed for some fluidity to creep in. Like many things on PoI, it is subtle. In the end we see Finch recanting the idea that Riley was ‘bad code’ as he states that such a term is meant for machines, not people; a nice return to his statement to Root that her view was flawed, for John is testament to that. It’s also a nice return to Finch being willing and able to return to the field to lend a hand. Not only does he break into Annie’s apartment, he goes face to face with Elias as well as arrives with the car to deliver Annie to safety.
As for Carter, it will be interesting to see how this develops with her loyalty to Szymanski and her loyalty to Reese. Carter is not likely to forget that it’s her work with Reese that placed Szymanski in harm’s way. However, she is also not likely to forget that Reese saved her life as well as Taylor’s. It will not be easy for her to keep her moral compass pointing in the right direction while also providing assistance to Finch and Reese, the Machine simply spits out numbers, sometimes they are easily the victims, Leila, Andrea Gutierrez, but other times it’s a bit more convoluted.
I appreciate the writers adding a slight qualifier when Riley suggests that Reese has a detective in his pocket; not in his pocket, rather on his back. Carter is not only the heart of the show, she is the conscience. She is Reese’s conscience at times, something I don’t think he minds. After witnessing the moral compass that Stanton and Snow carry, it’s little wonder John sought out someone like Carter. No doubt Carter’s rigidity is something he’s willing to work with…or around depending on the circumstances. Carter: “Don’t tell me that’s who you’re protecting.” Reese: “Okay. But I still need your help.”
As for Fusco, well, he had very little to do tonight. It’s a shame when Fusco gets short-changed for Kevin Chapman is a true gem. However, he makes his mark by faithfully keeping watch at Massey’s bar and turning up some important information regarding the million dollar bounty. And, we get a new nickname for John: Mr. Tall Dark and Fearsome!
What about an episode that doesn’t move forward any of the overarching governmental conspiracies or reveal any more clues on Finch and Ingram? Not to worry with a show like PoI that has placed so many secondary characters into its landscape…enter Elias. Two short scenes but so much communicated.
I love that Finch was ready, willing and more than capable to meet with Elias. Not only was he the one who suggested the move but he wasn’t the least bit swayed when Elias indicated that all things come with a price. The ending scene between the two men playing chess was a masterpiece…no dialogue necessary when you have such fine actors. Wonder what Elias will learn about Finch as well as Finch about Elias as they play their games of chess. Wonder if Finch will use his chess-playing visits as leverage should John be in danger again and in the need of assistance that only Elias can provide? There are endless possibilities.
This show consistently casts excellent actors for not only the recurring roles but the roles of the weekly person of interest; enter Jonathan Tucker. I enjoyed him in Criminal Minds as well as White Collar; not quite the Irish mob enforcer in those but certainly charismatic. Never saw The Black Donnellys but I imagine he was excellent. His eyes are dark and dangerous and extremely expressive. He more than capably held his own in his scenes with Jim Caviezel, two men who know how to act with their facial features and their eyes. The respect between Riley and Reese was evident; imagine allowing the man who you had recently shot in the chest take you at gunpoint into the very place where you know you are likely to die.
Once again Reese identifies with the person that the Machine has selected. He recognizes a killer as well as a man who is seeking to find a way out, a way to change. Riley knows he is damaged and bad company but he’s found a woman he loves and for that he’ll leave the only life he’s ever known. If you haven’t seen it in a while, rewatch the Pilot for this was John circa 2001. He tells Jessica that he’s trained his whole life for something that’s never going to happen; time to leave and settle down with the best thing that’s happened to him. Things didn’t end well for Riley and Annie any more than they ended for John and Jessica. John did the best he could for Riley, he avenged his death…professional courtesy.
We’ll have to wait until Season 3 (a safe bet) to see if PoI has a penchant for ambiguous endings to the fourth episode of the season. Love how Jim Caviezel carries Reese, that knowing malevolent smile as he meets up with the man who ended Riley’s life. The man offers Reese the money but Reese shuts him down simply saying: “I’m not here for the money.” I give it a toss up; eight pounds of lye heated to 300 some degrees or a Mexican prison. It could go either way.
That’s really one of PoI’s fine arts, it leaves you wondering, imagining as well as longing for more.
Thanks for reading!