Person of Interest Review: Revenge, Best Served Cold War

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After last episode's reveal that there is now a big bad lurking somewhere within New York City, plotting something devious and probably dangerous, it was nice that "Foe" turned back towards the open-and-closed style procedural case.

Not only does this form allow viewers who haven't had a chance to check out the show jump right in, it also maintains a consistent style in revolving around Reese and Finch stopping/saving the person of interest. I'm sure as the season progresses, the larger mythology will drop in from time to time and hopefully manage a balance between the bigger picture and the smaller, just as important cases.

This episode continued the show's regular use of the twists and turns but it did shy away from the guess work revolving around the person of interest. It was made clear right away that Wallace Nagel, who was really a former member of the German Stasi Secret Police named Auric Kohl, was the perpetrator.

Assessing a Target

Kohl was out on a revenge trip for the death of his wife against his own team of spies for defecting and betraying him. Did they really think that the past wouldn't come back to bite them? Did he really think his wife was dead? On this show?

For once, it was nice to see Reese a step behind. He's always running along the lines of perfection during his work that being evaded and bested for a better part of the episode made him recognizably human and less of a an invincible superhero. And as much as I want Reese to come out the victor, Kohl easily taking down Reese was kind of refreshing. Of course, Reese has been trained for torture so no amount of needle work was going to really do any damage to our hero, but I think even Reese was surprised he didn't maintain an upper hand.

Alan Dale did a terrific job as Kohl, providing that menacing air about him and a desperation for revenge. Although the former Charles Widmore of Lost fame didn't really get a reunion with Michael Emerson, he did provide another character worth watching. It's too bad he ended up with a bullet in his chest because he was a great opponent as well as a reflection of Reese's past self.

Reese's flashbacks illustrated a certain reluctance to the idea of killing because a "source" said its the right thing to do. How do you know it is the right thing? Do you have to trust it on faith alone? As much as Reese was a little taken aback by it, apparently he settled himself right in and did exactly what he was instructed: ask for questions. Which, interestingly enough, he hasn't really done regarding the Machine yet. Is it because he feels it gives him something to do other than stand on a corner and forget to shave?

The whole idea of the killing for your country concept is strongly reminiscent of The Bourne Ultimatum plot. Even the whole "naming" of the assassin felt pulled from the film.

From now on, you are... Mr. Reese. Why that name? Is there any significance? Is his favorite candy Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?

Maybe that's not the important part, despite it being an interesting tidbit. What is more significant was why he is still using an alias. Is it that hard to let go of the past?

At least Reese still managed to get a few moments in the present to be the bad ass enforcer.

First, there was the one punch knockout of the German Intelligence officer. Maybe Reese should start moonlighting as a boxer. What a fist!

Then, there was probably the best moment of the episode involving Reese and his high caliber rifle. Talk about bringing out the big guns to make a statement. Reese managed to get all the gritty one liners about never missing (obviously) and feeling more uncomfortable that Finch was there. Can Reese get any cooler?

Once again, another decent episode that although really didn't offer anything new to the show - but remained consistent in its storytelling, premise and characters.


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (145 Votes)

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


Good actors, great action, some suspense as to what happens next. Lot of fan interest. Perfect recipit to get cancelled. Do you know if it will be back next season?


If Finch quit his day job who pays his apartment rent?


I still don't understand the machine. Apparently, the machine would diagnose suspicious behavior and deliver a social security number to the protagonist duo, but if Kohl wasn't in the country until they found him, how did the machine spit out his number? Granted, they didn't show how much time Kohl was in the country before the number was delivered, but with all the suspicious behavior going around New York, the machine decided on Kohl who was there for less than a day? And why is it always in New York? I thought this machine recorded footage around the whole nation. It's silly that it only delivers New York-based social security numbers. Whatever really... This show is obviously not supposed to be for intelligent people, which indicates why each episode has a different plot instead of following the grand scheme of things. The ratings are plundering, so it might be cancelled anyway.


This was he absolute worst episode of the 8 episodes- no depth of characters or plot twists or turns as in the other episodes.


I absolutely love this much so that I endure "Rules of Engagement" now instead of swirching channels for the half hour between "The Big Bang Theory" and the start of "Person of Interest". I agree with your review 95%! It was clear in the beginning that the main characters would not be on a first name basis any time soon. As a 'Bourne-ite', I have not once thought of the movie when watching this show. What was brought to the forefront this week, at least to me, is exactly why is Carter a recurring character? I am beginning to think those before me who questioned the necessity of her character were correct in their thinking she is not needed. Are they ever going to find persons of interest in other cities? Hmm...


@Tyler The machine only spits out social security numbers, it's the only thing the two protagonists can get their hands on, so they don't know who the people are until they look them up, don't know whether they're the victim or the perperator, and thus can't really know if one number has something to do with the other.


I agree with the review. The BND guy successfully snuck up on Reese and Reese was a step behind for most of the ep, that was refreshing. It's good that Reese isn't a complete sociopath.


im so fascinated by this show. I think the building of the relationship between Reese and Finch full of promise for redemption for both of them. There is so much more to reveal. I really like the stories and action. So glad there wasn't much of the his police pursuer, she distracts from the each and every episode. Keep bringing more background. Love this show.


Why didn't the machine spit out the numbers of the people Kohl was killing lol?


I probably would watch this show more if it weren't opposite Bones which is much better and I never miss. This premise is not bad but not being written well, little suspense and the top 2 characters not terribly interesting.

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Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

He say anything yet, like who kicked his ass sideways?


Reese: How did you know I would shoot?
Kohl: You are a solider like me.