Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Person of Interest

Person of Interest
Episode 10: Shadow Box
By: Carlos Uribe

Person of Interest is a drama about preventing planned crimes before they happen.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Shadow Box is an interesting episode in that we don't meet the person of interest until a significant amount of time has passed. This week it's an engineering student with good grades that has completely moved out of her apartment and quit her latest job. She has tried to go off the grid. She's up to no good as she's helping her boyfriend steal explosives and building plans. This is because the two are planning to rob a safety deposit box from a bank. Not just any safety deposit box but one that belongs to a person running the charity where the person of interest had worked at. This is because the person she's robbing was accepting kickbacks from the banks in foreclosing the homes of military veterans. Reese decides to help them rob the bank and get away even though it comes as a huge risk to himself. The weekly case was interesting and engaging but it's what was happening around the weekly case that made this episode good. After all, why care if Reese decides to stick around and help the two unless there's a reason to suspect that he might be caught if he does. The episode is able to use the weekly case to not only build tension but to perfectly connect with the entire FBI plot. The weekly case therefore felt more like it actually had stakes to our hero rather than just the person of interest, which is very rare for this show.

It's all because of the FBI. Agent Donnelly returns this episode and reveals that now that HR has largely been taken down, he's started the hunt on the man in the suit. He believes that this man is really working with the Chinese but he wants to bring Carter on the case. The difference between this time and the other times he's asked for her help is that the case is considered more sensitive. Carter will need to accept a temporary assignment on the FBI in order to help the case. When she does, she learns that the FBI have been able to figure out a way to track Reese based on his use of a cell phone to stay in touch with Finch. The FBI are able to get to the bank being robbed in time to arrest four men in suits. They don't know which of them is the man of the suit which means they have to bring all four in. The big cliff-hanger of the episode is that Reese is one of the four. It'll be interesting how the writers get him out of this situation. The one good thing writing themselves into a corner like this is that it at least shows the FBI to be competent. In a show like this, law enforcement has to constantly be kept at bay from capturing the heroes. If they catch them, then the show is over. The problem is that the more times they fail to catch the heroes, the less competent they become and the less they contribute to the stakes of the characters. Having them capture Reese makes the FBI more formidable than it would be if they had failed once again.

Fusco largely remains separate from the main action again. He's largely involved with the HR story even when he's not aware of it. He decides that he's going to check out Cal Beecher because he's protective of Carter. He follows Cal into a meeting with his godfather, Alonzo Quinn. Alonzo is the real head of HR but Fusco doesn't know this yet. He gets caught spying by Simmons and the two pretty much repeat the same beats over again. Fusco talks about how he's done and Simmons doesn't take him seriously. The reveal that Cal is involved with Quinn not only raises suspicions on whether he's corrupt or whether he's just helping out his godfather with juicy tidbits about the city's crime condition. It does at least lay out the potential that Carter is actually dating someone that is related to one of the antagonists of the show.

Shadow Box is a pretty exciting mid-season finale that is thrilling from beginning to end. That cliff-hanger not only ensures that the FBI remain credible obstacles in future episodes but it really makes you want to tune into the next episode immediately. Sadly, we're going to have to wait until January before we find out what happens.

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