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Person of Interest Review: "Number Crunch"

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It's interesting to think that for two men with a lack of trust, the one thing that they put so much faith into rattles out social security numbers on its own accord and with no rhyme or reason as to its top picks.

Sure, The Machine gathers information that can lead it to predicting violent crimes, but what makes it pick one person over another? What makes it spit our four numbers sometimes and only one number other times?

While I hope that either Reese or Finch begin to question their electronic instructor at some point, two ideals remain true to them: Save lives. Stop criminals. That is what keeps them going. That's what keeps Person of Interest going.

"Number Crunch" followed in the familiar vein of machine gives numbers and Reese and Finch save the day, but the episode took another step further. Not only was the main plot filled with mystery as to why four numbers popped up, what their connections were, and what/who would cause the crime, but there was even the continuation of last week's storyline and the reveal of some enigmatic men after Reese.

Bridget Regan on Person of Interest

It was great to see that Person of Interest is eager to try new things instead of simply resting on its most basic premise of predicting the future and providing hero butt-kicking in the process.

Additionally, both plot lines were tantalizing in their ability to keep you wanting more. Each step that was taken, each clue that was uncovered held enough mystery to be captivating, but offered up just enough to satisfy some story knowledge.

Reese was even forced to do a little multi-tasking and require others to help him out. As much as he can punch, kick, and shoot his way with effortless style, sometimes it takes a team effort to get the job done.

Which of course meant that Fusco was given more to do than simply take orders (although he reluctantly does it so well), Finch left his computer station (and risked his own life in the process), and Carter struggled with her dilemma in helping Reese or capturing him (the issue every good cop has with a crime fighting vigilante). Everyone was truly involved.

But even so, not every person was saved. As much as it's unfortunate for those fictional characters, it adds a sense of reality. It keeps Reese from being victorious every time, provides further questioning of the Machine, and maintains the often dark and gritty tone of the show.

Which similarly, continues to revolve around Reese. He is of course the hero of this show on a redemptive path, but he is also a killer. The CIA men bring this point up clearly and even Reese illustrates that dark and dangerous side to viewers. He's willing to fight women and shooting to kill is always an option. It certainly separates him from other Jonathan Nolan fare like in The Dark Knight in which Batman refuses to kill.

And what's more interesting is the revelation that Reese killed his own handler. Why? I'm going to assume it was because she turned evil or nefarious, but it would be even more interesting if it was because Reese became too engrossed in his "killing" job. And who are we to believe these men? After all, they did try and kill Reese.

Which brings up another great point about this episode. The final moments including Reese's standoff and escape from Carter and the CIA felt perfect for the likes of a finale.

I knew there was no way Reese would die of course, and I predicted that Carter would repent herself and help Reese escape, but it didn't ruin the ending for me. If anything, it pushed the show on another step forward.

Carter now knows the faces of the men she's been hunting, but (and you could tell in her face) she seemed rather reluctant to let them go. Perhaps she felt that capturing Reese when he was shot by the CIA would be like cheating and its not to say that if given a second opportunity she would take the chance to bring him in. But it does say something of her conflicted ideals on upholding the law and taking the law into one's own hands.

It was a great way to conclude not only the episode, but the first half of the season.

It will be very interesting to see their relationships continue to unfold and even the question of another conflicting party (police, CIA, mafia, and Carter so far) bringing more drama and confrontation into the mix.

I'm a little disappointed that Jim Caviezel lowered Reese's voice back down again and he seemed to be less quippy. Maybe it was the stress of dealing with four numbers, but if you've got time to sit down and get a haircut, you've got time to raise your voice and smile.

Then again, every female that Reese meets seems to go for the tall dark and mysterious look. He's like a regular silver fox, who can kick the crap out of you if he wants.

I also wished that the foster sisters that Reese did manage to save weren't so boring. There was no real spice to their lives besides the fact that they were using the stolen money to save the house.

I know Person of Interest is far from perfect, but it's moving in a positive direction as it continues to evolve and change for the better. Ultimately, it's an entertaining hour of television that combines a bit of science fiction, super-heroism, action, mystery, procedural, drama, and over arching stories. Let's hope the show can keep it coming.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (422 Votes)

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

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This is by far the best show on television. Reese is essentially Batman without the cape, mask or body armor. The last time I loved a television show this much was "Smallville". Simply the best.

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Great show period! It is always 5 stars for me! The show LIFE was like that to me also. Can't wait for the next episode!

Sp-mckenna

@cynthia - I'm glad you enjoy reading my reviews and are enjoying the show. I'm curious and excited to see where the show heads when it returns in 2012. @Diamondlife - Laughed when you said you broke your remote trying to hear Reese. I do understand the reason for his quiet tone and it definitely reflects aspects of his character, but sometimes you just wish he would speak up a little too. Great to see so many people are enjoying this show as well. Hope it sticks around for a good while and keeps bringing some entertaining, butt kicking hours.

Blu

This episode was spectacular! Probably the best episode of the series thus far! It was a true game changing episode, pivotal in the way it shook up the entire dynamic of all the characters involved. No way in knowing where it's going to go from here but I cannot wait to find out. I also loved that it showcased each and every character well. I can say with certainty now that ALL of the characters have finally reached their stride. No one falling short anymore. Reese and Finch's dynamic is stronger and closer than ever before...they truly are reliant on one another and trust each other at this point. Fusco has finally come off as more than a one dimensional character. He's reluctant but loyal and when he says that he's helping Reese and Finch, I believe him. When he says he has Carter's back and that she can count on him...I actually believe him now. They shook up everything that we've grown accustom to and yet opened the door for soo many possibilities. I forsee Carter and Reese having a mutual trust, respect, and understanding. I can see them working adjacent to take down the big bad Elias. I just loved it. I loved that now that we understand why Carter is the way she is, we are better able to understand her stance on Reese, her conflicting feelings, that internal struggle...and that moment when she realized that maybe she made the wrong choice and chose to help him instead. He didn't appear upset with her or betrayed...their dynamic is more interesting than ever. They've reached even ground now. Finch's genuine concern for Reese and his battle to get to him in time was fantastically done...as was Reese's concern for Finch, telling him his last words and trying to prevent him from coming and getting himself killed. It also opened up the door to what role the CIA plays in all of this, now that there are more people after Reese....It was truly spectacular! Oh and I guess I'm in the minority here but I'm perfectly okay and support Reese/Caveziel's whispering. I get it. I understand it. I kinda relate to it, and I'd be damned if I don't love it.

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Keeping the same characters. Not overloading with others. Take now other shows. This leaves you wondering where it will go next.

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This episode could've stayed with Bridget Reagan ( Wendy ) cutting hair and it would be the best episode. Instead they change the game entirely moving forward. Carter discovering Reese and Finch. Was exactly what this show needed a progression for all the characters. Noah might have build the ARC, but the writers move it. Great entertainment and hands down the best episode thus far.

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Great episode that kept you on your toes from beginning to end. The dynamics between Reese & Finch get deeper and more complicated every week. Fusco & Carter are certainly coming into their own. They will make a Fearsome Foursome! Laughed out loud when the Congressman's aide called Det Fusco, Det Fiasco! LOL! So many sly, quick, one-liners throughout the show. Most delivered dead on by Reese....but they all have their comedic moments to shine. Remember at the beginning of the eppy, Fusco asked Carter what she would do now if she caught him,since he saved her life. She didn't pause & said she'd arrest him. Add on the heavy info the CIA guys told her.....you almost knew what she'd have to do. What's cool about this show is that all four character are having to learn to change their mindset, their view of the world....Reese & Finch are both having to learn to trust and to connect again with LIFE itself. Carter is going to have to quit seeing the world in black & white......all that is bad is not completely bad and all that is good is not completely good. And Fusco has got to learn to be a good cop again. Pairing Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, two such dissimilar actors, was pure genius! LOVE THIS SHOW!

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"its most basic premise of predicting the future and providing hero butt-kicking in the process"
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Why do you think we watch ?........it's all about the butt- kicking....

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thanks @fortyseven...I had forgotten about that...

Fortyseven

Great episode. I agree with the review.
@KrennenC, Carter interviewed Finch for the evidence locker robbery-that's why she recognized him.