Sunday, September 29, 2013

Person of Interest

Person of Interest
Episode 1: Liberty
By: Carlos Uribe

Person of Interest is a show about a team of vigilantes who try to stop planned violent crimes before they happen.

Spoiler Ahoy!

I think the season premiere of Liberty was interesting. I'm not necessarily talking about the content but the route the writers chose to take. The second season had ended with a lot of narrative momentum as the finale was a culmination to where the second half was going. This season premiere doesn't pick up on a cliff-hanger. It's not mythology heavy at all. What we instead get is an episode that could have easily fit anywhere else during the season. There is a normal weekly number that they have to save and the serialized element is kept to just a few scenes. This does not feel like a season premiere. So why pick a rather normal episode to begin the season with? Did the writers just get lazy? No, I don't think so. I think they went with a normal episode because they wanted to show the new status quo of Person of Interest. Things have changed. I don't just mean narrative-wise. The machine may be free now but the way it interacts with Reese and Finch remains the same. They're still getting the numbers, their still trying to stop crimes before they happen, and their dynamic remains largely the same. What I'm talking about is the promotion of some of the cast members into regular roles. Sarah Sahi (who plays Shaw) and Amy Acker (who plays Root) are now members of the main cast. This premiere was about showing how Person of Interest was going to work with them appearing on a regular basis. It's also about showing us what's happened to Carter and her new goal for the season. Fusco largely stayed where he was although that's liable to change. The point of this premiere was basically to situate the viewer in the new reality.

The first change is Shaw joins the team when they need her. She's like a more trigger-happy Reese. She's more willing to actually kill people and likes her weapons. She has great chemistry with Reese and Finch and doesn't mess up the dynamic between the two. If anything, she's able to actually add to it. As for the second change, Root is basically separated from the action so far. She's stuck in a mental asylum where she's trying to sort out the methodology of her actions. She's stuck in an argument with the machine over whether she should kill her therapist or not. I imagine she wants to while the machine is content to let the man live. After all, this is a machine who clearly values life enough to help the government fight terrorism and our vigilantes save people. It fits Root's character to want to kill someone she sees as an obstacle. Now obviously I'm okay with Root being in the show but I hope the writers are able to integrate her more into the action rather than keeping her separate from it. She's a great character but it's always how she interacts with our main characters that makes her memorable. The final change has to do with Carter. She's keeping Elias hidden and she's been demoted to being a street cop. Fusco is left all alone as a detective. Still, she's investigating HR with the intention of finally bringing them down for good. All of these changes have been good but as I said: I'm hoping Root fits into the series better as the season goes along.

So what was the premiere about? The number that comes up belongs to a sailor who accidentally got caught up in a diamond struggling ring by a Marine Special Forces Unit. The sailor gets in trouble because of his friend. His friend stole some cuban cigars that just happened to have some of the diamonds inside of them. The Marine Special Forces noticed they were missing and they are willing to do anything to get them back. Since our sailor has some of these cuban cigars, the marine special forces basically strap the friend into a bomb in an attempt to trap Reese in a room. By the end, the marine special forces go down, Elias' man gets most of the diamond, and the sailor decides to continue his military career. Reese advises him to turn down the offer from the CIA. The friend also gets in trouble for his theft of the cuban cigars. Overall, it was a pretty typical and even forgettable plot. You can't expect every single procedural episode to have a memorable weekly case but it's disappointing that Person of Interest began a season with such a forgettable one. Here's hoping that the one next week is better.

Overall, there really isn't that much to say about the premiere of Person of Interest. There was a sub-standard weekly case that was utilized to show the new status quo. There is nothing wrong with this and it did start to slowly build the narrative momentum. Carter revealing her board of HR members and Root admitting she's debating killing her therapist to his face were strong enough to make me excited to watch the next episode. Overall, it might not have been a big bang but it was still a solid way for the season to start.

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