Seriable’s Robert L. reviews Person Of Interest 1.03 — “Mission Creep”.
It seems that the awful third hour of Terra Nova has its counterbalance.
In a rare occurrence, while watching this episode I took down three pages of notes. This is the best hour of Person of Interest yet.
The number the machine has spit out is of an ex-soldier named Joey — who is currently working as a doorman. Tailing him all day long, Reese decides that he pretty much has the perfect life. After seeing a suspicious text, he follows him into a building where we are surprised with a bank heist that Joey happens to be part of.
It was possibly the coolest teaser I could have imagined for the show. And this story is a much more fun, intricate mystery than, say, last week’s episode.
They’re also still trying to give us half-baked flashbacks in 10 second increments. They don’t have much to offer us in terms of insight on Reese’s character until the very end (more on that later), and I just wish they would commit to showing us more. The reveals within these flashbacks are simply too slow to make them interesting.
Anyway, it turns out that Joey is part of a “gang” of ex-soldiers — headed by a man named Sam Lattimer — who perform robberies, since they’re all somehow in a gazillion dollars worth of debt.
Reese is immediately sympathetic with the bad situation that Joey’s gotten himself into, so he gets a cover story, and goes to Lattimer asking in on getting a job with the gang. Finch in the meantime, needs to create an opening for Reese to fill, so he gets rid of one member by hilariously planting some guns in the trunk of his taxi. The police come and arrest him, yet somehow don’t see Finch walking away.
Detective Carter still has a fetish for finding Reese — she sees a videotape of the bank heist where Reese convinces the security guard not to grab his gun. The conclusion they come to? He must be the gang’s inside man … sigh.
In the meantime, Reese joins the gang, because he really feels for Joey. Almost recklessly so, but he sees part of himself within him.
“Not every ex-soldier meets a reclusive billionaire.”
Reese meets Joey in the bar “spontaneously” and they have a discussion. Joey complains about banks ruining the economy, and two stereotypically dunder-headed bankers harass them. A brief fight ensues and they leave.
I like it when shows address politics, but this seemed like a particularly stupid political “shout-out” just thrown in for kicks and giggles. The message I got out of it? Bankers suck and soldiers don’t get treated right — okay, we get it.
We have another cool heist scene that Reese joins in on, and they have to leave it early, because Detective Carter’s onto them and calls backup almost immediately after they enter the casino. Luckily Finch warns Reese and he’s able to get them out of there before they’re caught.
After all this, Reese finally finds out why Joey is doing all of this. He blames himself for the death of Frank Stephens. So he’s giving the money he gets from these jobs to his wife for the purpose of providing for her daughter’s bright, fatherless future. A good Samaritan … via armed robbery.
With one job left, we quickly learn that Lattimer is a bad guy (Straub being the clever misdirect), and he tries to kill them all off after they retrieve an envelope of evidence. He manages to kill two of them, but Joey and Reese survive.
Reese talks Joey into running away with his girlfriend, and he does, which I suppose adds more poignancy to the flashback of Reese and Jessica. He’s a cynic that believes, in the end, everyone is alone. She begs him to ask her to wait for him, but he says nothing until after she’s walked away. It seems that Reese believes he’s acting selflessly, Jessica believes he’s being selfish and lacking courage. I’m inclined to side with Reese.
Detective Carter manages to contact Reese via walkie-talkie, and they have a fun conversation.
“That’s how this ends. Sooner or later, I lock you up.”
It got me thinking — maybe that’s what they should end the season with: locking up Reese in prison. It’d be fun to open the second season with an escape.
Regardless, they do set up a serial thread that I’m cautiously optimistic about. Lattimore gets killed by the client he gives the evidence envelope to, but the client gets away before Reese can track them down.
Hopefully next week’s episode directly ties to this one. I’m getting a very good vibe from this third hour. Let’s hope for many more! (The ratings are okay, but certainly not what CBS was hoping for.)
My final rating for this episode is: 9/10 Seriable Stars.