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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 (421 Votes)

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

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@Alex watch the trailer it explains y

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Great episode...definitely left you wanting more... and was it just me, or did it seem that Carter recognized Finch at the end of the episode when he was helping Reese...she looked at him and said "it's you".

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Have to replace my remote control because I broke the Volume Button and the 30-second Replay Button from trying to hear Reese on this show! LOL It gets rediculous at times. More Bridget Regan, PLEASE!
Bring those blue eyes back to stare at Reese and the camera.
You know he was distracted, just enough to make him actually smile.
He's got to go back for his haircut, doesn't he? Fantastic show and really excellent episode for what it accomplished in the show's evolution and dynamics. Storyline...not so much. But, the amount of detail that was squeezed into this ep that will propel the show from here was fantastic and superbly written. Oh, and to reiterate a comment from previous episode:
Yes, it is frustrating to watch and know that with all his skills Finch would have the the ability to make a camera doll that actually faces the right/inconspicuous way!!! C'mon!

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HA... great Sean. Love reading your reviews, you are right "quippy" yourself. I am also glad to see more on Det. Carter. Thought last week's episode, while slow on the flashbacks, contained great info to build on this character. While our "hero" is super kick-*!$.. I also wish for less whispering. I know he can smile, every now-n-agin', so how bout it? He certainly displayed some interesting grins while saving the beautiful fixer a few shows back. So, is Det. Carter going to end up helping them, or going back to trying to put them in jail? Interesting angle. Interesting show, they do keep mixing it up. I'd personally like to see another dark, city show like the pilot episode... it did have great city shots after dark w/ good musical background. This show is growing on me every episode... while sometimes predictable... like I really did think that he'd probably get shot my his former mates and be rescued by Finch and that carter would somehow let them get away this time, still the facial expressions and unanswered questions at the end were great. Easily a winner for CBS if we can keep out of the realm of being too "procedural". Thanks for your interesting viewpoints. Look forward to reading your reviews.

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Good link to previous episode. Hopefully Carter is starting to learn that misplaced trust on her part gets people killed. Re CIA, those guys spun Reese's history to suit their purposes; we already saw in the episode in which his female 'handler' was introduced, her dubious morality and likely role in hardening him to become who he became. Would not be surprised, IF he actually did kill her and IF the CIA guys were not lying, if it was because she took out his former girlfriend (she did warn him about contact) or because she crossed over some other moral line. He has gone to great lengths not to kill gratuitously, has let a few live that for the public good might better have been taken out. Really great show.

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Carter has begun to understand who the good guys really are, she just learned a lesson. Everything isn't black or white sometimes the shades of gray can't be dismissed.

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Love, Love this show - Hope it never ends. The characters of Reese and Finch are mesmerizing. @Karen - I can't believe that you thought any of the episodes were boring. And Sean McKenna - The sisters not only wanted the money to save the house but to also pay for their mother's hospital bills.

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This has become my must-see show each week. The intensity and unpredictability of the story is compelling, the acting is dynamic and the touches of dark humor and honestly won emotion are so rewarding. I feel as though I am watching a classic in the making as each week unfolds. Reese, Finch, Carter, and Fusco are all, in their different ways, walking a shaky line which cannot easily divide right from wrong. The grayness of the morality of this show is terrific. Can't wait for more episodes next year.

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Best show on TV when I am slumming on the lame
Networks Tue - Thur..... when HBO-Showtime-Starz
Tv shows reruns in prime time.
Keep Wendy around as a love interest, she is
HOT !!!

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This show: it doesn't get any better than this one, except SOA.