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?
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.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.