After weeks of waiting and anticipation – four months’ plus actually, Person of Interest returns with new episodes. As a bonus, they are now available the next day on CBS.com! Hooray! Now if my DVR fails me, or my cable ditches – both rarely happen but still – I have a way to see the full episodes! Yep, I’m happy.
And because all highs must have a low to balance them out, PoI returned with a series low in the 18-49 demo: a 2.3. That equates to a 20% decrease from last season’s premiere. It’s awful! I am crushed. So, my new outlook is thus: I can’t do a thing about it. So I’ll not worry. It’s up to CBS to rethink, or not, their strategy of taking a show that was increasing its audience and ratings share, incrementally to be sure but still, and moving it to a later time slot on a network not known for exactly ‘killing’ the demo ratings at 10:00 p.m. I don’t think this will cause PoI to be canceled after this season. I do not. (Of course, in 40 weeks if that does indeed happen….)
I can hope it’s because people really, really wanted to see Lucky 7 premiere and now, after having seen it, will all flock back to PoI…yeah, that makes me feel better. 😉
Onward to the review: What did I think of “Liberty?” I enjoyed it. Was it a stellar season opener that had me gasping for next week’s episode? Will it be one that I rewind and watch again and again and again looking for all the little clues? No to both. However, I will be rewatching it and I will be looking forward to, and watching, next week’s episode. I’m a fan of PoI.
See, I think successful shows have to reinvent themselves from time to time. PoI is doing that right here and right now. Jonathan Nolan said in an interview after God Mode that they were sort of ‘ending’ a chapter. Season 3 would open a new one. Liberty did just that. Maybe it wasn’t full of amazing twists and turns and shockers but it was vintage PoI: Reese cool and collected as he texts next to a bunch of kidnappers, proclaims himself a hostage negotiator and proceeds to shoot enough kneecaps (I assume) to cause the van to crash; after which he collects his victim and exits the vehicle. Job finished. Next.
Carter and Reese’s partnership is fun as ever with him concerned over her demotion and her snarkily advising him to try to solve problems before they happen, not during the happening. While I feel bad for Carter’s demotion, this is a good move. It gives her a fire in her belly to take down HR that’s more than just: I’m a cop and that’s what I do. No. She’s been wronged by them. This time it’s personal.
Fusco and Shaw partnered up is hilarious! To think he had problems with Reese’s way of doing things. Of course, no sooner does he say no more to working with Shaw then he finds himself working with Reese, who leaves him to diffuse a bomb. Out of the frying pan and into the fryer.
Finch is left to try to school Shaw on the ‘finer’ points of how they work, less carnage, please, and complete his usual exposition along with worrying a bit about what the Machine is up to. It’s foreshadowing of things to come that is meant to be anything but subtle. See, “Liberty” might be a bit staid compared to what we’re used to, but PoI is only warming us up.
“Liberty” is meant to ease us in. Many pieces were placed on the board in this episode: Root and the Machine arguing; Elias and Scarface conspiring, with Carter hiding her involvement in his escape; Carter now investigating HR by herself all while being freed up to be more helpful to Reese; Shaw working with the team, trying to bend to Finch’s wishes of less killing (hey, the guy falling out the window after she winged him in the arm isn’t her fault!) all while making sure she gets to play with all the cool toys; and Reese and Finch showing us that their partnership is as strong as ever, all that is just the beginning. We also know the Machine continues to do its work on the Relevant side of things, even as Decima and the government were absent in this episode. Have no fear, they’ll return.
I’ll be taking the longer view on things this season. Hopefully CBS will too…darn those ratings! Hopefully CBS will look at all their 10:00 p.m. shows and figure out that they just don’t do well there, and hopefully PoI will be second at 10:00 p.m. to only CSI (which remains a monster 14 seasons in). Of course, I really hope that PoI goes back to the 9:00 time slot. Hmm, wonder if they’ll switch PoI and NCIS:LA. Not likely.
Wait. I digressed into fretting about something I wasn’t going to fret about.
Oh, yeah, the longer view. PoI is known for carefully arranging the board, and then, once the pieces are in place, they make their move. Like Reese, they don’t move until they are sure. Each week is a slow, careful buildup to the ultimate payoffs. There are multiple stories in play and many of them got some movement last night. It’s a new chapter in PoI. The Machine is loose. Shaw is on board, sorta. Carter is on her own doing as Fusco did last year: refusing to allow Reese to help her. Elias is rebuilding his empire. Root is locked away fighting with the Machine – I’m betting she’s out sooner rather than later, and there’s more to come.
We’ve got 21 more episodes to enjoy this season (Amanda Segel confirmed on her twitter that they’ve got a 22-episode order). There’s plenty of time for HR and Decima and Root and the Russians and Elias and whatever else to appear. I enjoyed Liberty. It was a solid, fun outing with Reese being Reese, car crashes, kneecaps and bar fights included. There were also some references back to the Pilot: One, Reese saying he was a concerned third party; two, Reese telling Finch that he’s a very private person when Finch admitted he didn’t know how Reese had gotten into the military.
It’s sort of the Pilot episode all over again, with less explanation of the origin of the Machine and more time arranging the pieces and the characters, all while giving us a new number for Reese to connect with. There was great music and the fun of watching Finch indulge in his first boilermaker and Scarface slink in after all the mayhem in the pawn shop and scoop up the uncut diamonds and the money. I cheered. Scarface and Elias are just too much fun as villains! (As an aside, I’ve been catching episodes of Flashpoint on ION television when I’ve had some insomnia recently. What a departure for Enrico Colantoni from Sergeant Greg Parker to Carl Elias!
He’s so much fun to watch as Elias!)
Until next week, thanks for reading. Elle2