It's good to see that for a show with a relatively straightforward premise (of course, always reiterated at the start of every episode), Person of Interest manages to find different ways to change things up and add new perspectives.
I always figured the episodes would roll out repetitive "are they a victim or perpetrator" twists, but as much as that question remains a significant angle, it's not the only factor that makes the entertaining show feel fresh and varied.
"Wolf and Cub" dished out the number right away (how does Finch still get the numbers with all his technology out of commission?) but rather than spending time trying to figure out if Darren was going to be killed, or get killed, or by whom, the episode eliminated the quandary of not knowing. Instead, all of the basic information was in front of both the characters and the viewer, but it was getting the chance to see Reese in action and teach his procedure that was the fun part.
It was less about making it in time to save the day and more about giving the boy an opportunity to move forward with his life.
And although Reese was reluctant to help Darren, I could tell that he liked having the kid around. The student and teacher relationship was a rather interesting route, especially with the way that his connections with everyone else seem to lack complete trust. Perhaps it was because Darren was a child, but there was a sense of understanding for both of them. It was less about manipulation than a true attempt at showcasing his brand of justice and instilling direction in the boy.
Granted, Darren still went to try and kill his brother's murderers, but in the end, you could tell that Reese had helped set him on a good path. I still thought it was hilarious when Darren disappeared because I could only imagine Reese thinking, "What the... that's my move!"
Astro, known from The X-Factor, played the troubled Darren, and he certainly held his own in the scenes. I'm pleased that he didn't break out into song or his character wasn't an aspiring rapper because, too often, those types of characters take me out of the show and the moment, almost as if it was forced because he/she happen to have that talent. Instead, it was good to see that I was watching a character who wanted justice and to see good prevail, rather than just an artist who wanted to stamp his image onto another medium.
Technically, Reese mentioned Astro as his sidekick, but I truly see Detective Fusco in that particular role. Reese still holds a certain amount of reign over the reformed cop, but their chemistry working together garners that superhero type feel. He may be a bit of a goof, and getting shot in the butt was humorous, but he's proving to be both loyal and playing for the good guys.
Which I'm becoming unsure about when it concerns Finch. I'm not sure which rattled him more: the mysterious hacker of last episode or Will Ingram's persistence into his father's work.
Either way, his distancing from Reese and paranoia over Will called into question plenty of his motives. I kept getting the bad feeling that Finch might try and have Will killed off if he got too close to the truth, a truth that we don't really know as an audience either.
When Will spoke to Alicia, I had the distinct feeling that she was working for Finch, even with the way she spoke. Yet when Will mentioned her name, the look of fear in her eye and quickness to depart made me more curious about this man who claims he's doing good things. I wonder how dark his past is. Did he kill Nathan Ingram, perhaps?
I'm even unsure what to think when it came to the "if you blinked, you missed it" final moment. Has the Machine been hacked? Is that what the "security breach" warning meant? And why was the course of action only to monitor?
The fact that everyone is playing a bit of cat and mouse makes it hard to distinguish where everyone's loyalties truly lie. And as much as we slowly learn more and more, there's still a wonderful sense that there's still plenty to learn. It's great seeing the characters develop on these procedural style show.
Although I was a bit disappointed that Will appeared and then decided to leave at the end of the episode (why so quickly? I hope he returns.) the rest of the episode continued to prove the show's fun entertaining factor. I mean, who doesn't love that cool rock synth when Reese shoots bean bags or calmly walks up to his enemies after crashing their car?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.