Monday, February 11, 2013

Person of Interest

Person of Interest
Episode 14: One Percent
By: Carlos Uribe

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

Spoilers Ahoy!

September, 11th 1991 was a big day for this show. It was the day where Reese decided to continue to serve his country which led to his assignment in the CIA. His actions during this period made him a dangerous man as he came dangerously close to losing his soul. He would eventually be betrayed by his government in order to keep the machine's existence safe. He managed to get away and began his journey towards redemption with Finch. That horrific day was also where Finch decided to build the machine in the first place. This episode flashbacks to the actual day as Finch was made aware of the attacks by his partner. An important concept is that Nathan and Finch had started their company to make a difference. This machine they had given away managed to find regular crimes. Information which could be used to protect people. The flashbacks end on the chilling note of Nathan deciding to take matters into his own hands and using the backdoor he programmed in to access the machine. We don't actually see this as it's heavily suggested because he's armed and near a person who is very much in danger. It is becoming more clear that Finch started his quest to save the numbers because he was trying to honor Nathan's footsteps. We might not know what happens on this mission that Nathan undertakes but it probably led to his demise or even Finch's limping. The flashbacks are slowly peeling the layers off Finch very much the same way that the first season was about exposing Reese's basic back-story into the man that he was. The flashbacks this episode were truly what stood out in an otherwise average episode of Person of Interest.

This show is usually only as good as it's weekly case. There are some exceptions to this but the weekly person of interest and the situation they find themselves in can be the difference between an outstanding and a decent episode. In this case, the case was pretty forgettable. There is this CEO of a large social networking site, Logan Pierce whose life is in danger. The first thought is that it might come from one of the two hundred pending lawsuits at the company but this is largely to introduce a red herring. A red herring that actually ends up working with Logan to start up a new website. As it turns out, Logan is not happy with the way that his company is being run. He decides that rather than change course and get rid of the people he doesn't like, he's going to get himself fired and his non-compete clause revoked. He'll be able to start a new social networking site that will be able to take down his old one with relative easy. It's a pretty good plan except for the part about his best friend. This best friend is helping run the company and he's just discovered that his old buddy plans to destroy it with a new site. So what does this best friend decide to do to Logan? Obviously Kill him. Oh, and to complicate matters, there's another threat to Logan. His lawyer also wants to kill him because he's about to lose his only client for when the company goes public. It's basically a business plot that was made a bit more relevant by trying to tie it to social networking. The twists were competently executed but they were largely predictable.

This sounds like an episode you could largely skip? I mean the flashbacks are nice but they don't make this episode essential viewing. You would be wrong if you assumed this. There's one more reason beyond the flashbacks on why a casual viewer is going to want to catch this episode. It happens at the end of the episode. Reese gets a gift from Logan. It's a nice watch that tells time down to the nanosecond. Finch's response is to destroy the watch only to find a gps recording device on it. Finch seems to think it comes from the CEO but the machine's little box hints that the device was planed ON Logan. This basically means that Logan might become a recurring character on the show and it's always important to see an origin story. It might not be a very interesting origin story but at least you'll know who he is when he pops back up again in a future episode. There's a part where he gives a small speech on the importance of having friends that helps to define who he is for those future appearances. That and the flashbacks made this an important episode to watch.

The show did stall in another element. Carter is trying to figure out what happened to that HR cop that Fusco killed. She basically gets somewhere when she discovers another cop had gone missing. I don't really recognize him but the Person of Interest wiki (or Pedia of Interest) identifies him as Detective Skills. He's the cop that Reese killed in the pilot. That's basically where the plot goes this episode. It's true that there's a scene where Fusco tries to confess but Carter stops him because she's a cop first. In other words, there's pretty much no major development in this plot for now. If anything, it feels like the show is stalling for a major episode. Which is fine but if only they could find a way to make the journey there slightly more interesting.

One Percent is a typical Person of Interest episode that became essential simply because of the flashbacks and the suggestion that Logan is going to be a recurring character. The actual weekly case was competent but it was obviously the show being on auto-pilot. The Carter case with the HR cops likewise was largely stalled except for her minor discovery of the cop Reese killed in the pilot. One Percent is a fun episode if you happen to catch it but it's not any more than that. There's nothing wrong with that especially as the show has to find a new direction after closing so many doors in the previous episode.

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