Person of Interest Review: Use Your Head

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How does the Machine determine which numbers to generate? Are Reese and Finch not able to multitask and take on more than one number?

I know that Person of Interest technically falls under the procedural category, so each episode should only involve one case. But does it have to? I recognize the risk in trying to put too much information into one hour and not leaving the case in question unfinished, but could it hurt to try?

Finch in Trouble?

For the first half of "Mission Creep," I have to admit, I was rather bored.

The Machine sent Reese to follow an ex military man turned robber who was filled with guilt and attempting to cope with life after returning from Afghanistan. It's not that I don't believe that plenty of servicemen return home and face difficulties or even resort to extreme measures to help out the ones they love. It's just that I've seen this plot used many times on television shows, especially the mercenary-for-hire angle.

So, the entire time Reese was stalking Joey Durbin, I was watching with a preparedness that everything would turn out okay in the end. Reese would kick butt and Finch would stare awkwardly with his bug eyes. No big deal. Although, I still don't understand why Reese likes to get so close to his targets. Wouldn't it be better to watch or listen from a distance?

Additionally, Detective Carter's character remained one dimensional. What makes her tick? Why is she obsessed with finding Reese? Carter is getting tiresome because she doesn't really have anything to do but happen to come across a police connection for Reese. Was her military background created from the start or because the particular case required that expertise?

I know nothing about Carter, other than that her screen time interrupts Reese and Finch doing their jobs. I just hope the show finds a way to flesh out her character. I want to have to believe that there is a possibility that Carter can take Reese down. I want to know what drives her. I want her to be a real person.

Once the second half rolled around, I was sucked right back into the show, however. Maybe it was the full suit and ski mask robberies (why hasn't a show been made about bank robbers yet?) or maybe it was the added tension of Reese falling into a trap. There was an anticipation that hung over the characters as they picked up that package containing evidence photos and a murder weapon. That, and the chance for Reese to use his special skills and take everyone out.

That's why I even enjoyed Reese headbutting the arrogant banker. It was classic Reese: funny and cool in that dangerous, don't mess with me, kind of way. Now that is how to use your head. I'm just surprised he held back as long as he did.

However, what truly captured my interest here was the departure from the procedural and the attempt to expand the storyline beyond the one episode. Who was Sam Latimer working for? Who is Elias? What do the photos and knife mean, especially concerning Reese and Finch?

I've got a strong feeling that the information will have an impact later on down the line. At least I hope. It would be disappointing if they meant nothing. I'm really looking forward to further exploration the larger story involving the Machine and its list of numbers. That's what has me wanting to watch.

Granted, the flashback sequence did give us a brief look at Reese's emotions and difficulty in asking Jessica to wait for him. It was a heartfelt final scene, especially since Reese has remained rather cold these last episodes.

That final "please" had me. It was a moment where he was vulnerable, filled with love, and struggling with loss. Seeing him utter those last words was a great step in revealing his backstory, but also showing one reason why he has become so closed off and hardened.

Does he now believe that we are all alone with no one to save us? Is he even capable of loving again?

The scene also worked fantastically in tying the case together as it reminded Reese of his lost chance to be with the one he loved. It was great that he told Durbin to ask his girlfriend to go with him. It was something that Reese had failed to do, despite the fact that he truly did love Jessica. It may have been a small glimpse into the past world of John Reese, but those are the types of moments that make his character more than a killing machine and this show more than just a drama with a case of the week.

So, while this week's episode didn't break any new ground, it did end with a satisfying closing. Yes, Person of Interest. I will continue to wait for you.


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


The pilot indicated that Jessica (Reese's old gf who we see here) was killed and Finch told him that there's nothing he could've done about it. So these flashbacks are a little unclear. It's as if she's still around, although with someone else, no? At least, I think that's what viewers are thinking based on comments... what do you think?


The last scene in this episode GOT ME. First off, I love the character of Reese and to see how hard it was for him to ask Jessica-- but that he did ask her was just heart breaking. Especially since he teared up a little bit. Seeing a tough man crumble always gets me. BUT, I don't know if anyone noticed.....Jessica WAS one of the "irrelevant" people on the Machine in the flash backs during episode 2, Ghosts. When Finch and his partner were arguing about what to do with the information, right as Finch said "We are saving just one person, we are saying a country" (something like that), Jessica's picture was on the screen as Finch turned it off. Wonder how long it will be until Reese finds out about that...not that he could have done anything at the time, I suppose.


and i want lionel back...


I thinks its going to turn out to be a must watch soon enough. I think ppl should give reese his due. i mean he's sarcastic and alone and also tough. u dont expect him to be like psych or castle or mentalist where random crap talk gets ur thru the shows even though i like all o them. but he needs to do what he needs to and eventually let the show take its turn in makin him the one to watch out for cos this is slowly becoming a show like the 60's batman theme with carter havin her hands on the walkie and so does reese. anyone remember the bright red phone in gordons offices. aand i think sthis show is not sure y others keep dissin it... its gonna take its time and i think v should let it. ppl made a mistake not trusting the chicago code and now its gone and it was brilliant. dont let them get this off. :P


Oh, and while I agree that the cop chasing Reese is a bit silly at this point, I don't want them to spend any time fleshing out her character now while we still don't really know the leads. But she has to be in it now so that later when she DOES become important she doesn't feel contrived. I am taking it as a annoying but necessary bit of storyline that will pay off in the end. We'll see if I was right.


The flashback was a nice contrast with the storyline of the week, which ended with an ex-army reuiniting with his love and truly opening up to her in a way that Reese wasn't able to. Maybe that resolution and him being a 'savior' for people will change his mind about his own salvation.


Yeah, I agree with the review.


i falling more and more in love with this show every ep. mostly thanks to amazing directorial work and Jim Caviezel.
plus even if they wanted to take on two cases at a time, how can Reese be on two people at once? how can he follow two people 24/7? Finch would have to recruit another guy and i don't want that, i want Reese to stay on screen the whole time!


This show is my favorite new show of the decade!!!! Finally something new, creative and challenging to watch where you really can't figure out the ending before it happens. The cast is great with the emphasis on Cavezil's character Reese. He is the coolest character to come along in quite awhile. I never had an hour go by so quickly. Can't wait until thursday:-)


still loving this show just to see Reese and Finch play with each other. Not sure I agree with bank robbery/gun threatening for a noble cause as justifiable (even of it is by gorgeous actors). Liked the "bad guys get theirs" premise the show promised in the first episode. The cop character is flat out irritating, pls recast or rewrite or just get rid of her. I love Thursday programming.

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Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Finch, if you're going to work all night, you should try getting some exercise.


Finch: Don't you knock?
Reese: Not if I can help it.

Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 3 Music

  Song Artist
Massive attack live with me Live With Me Massive Attack iTunes
Song I've Been Thinking About You Blues Version