Person of Interest Review: Breaking Bad

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What makes us who we are? Is it the people around us? The situations into which we are thrust? The difficult choices we choose to make?

It's certainly a variety of influences that carve out the potential good versus evil fork in the road and, for John Reese, the foreboding and haunting effects of the past seemed eager to push him back down his dark and detached path of old.

Reese has managed to slowly peel away from the glossy eyed days of the pilot, proving his worth and purpose in the world by saving lives. He's become something more and his connection with Finch has turned him into a force for good.

Reese and Finch Chat

Except "Many Happy Returns" gave us the perfect insight into Reese's downfall, the scary potential of an uncontrollable Reese on rampage, and the realization that the past doesn't have to repeat itself.

There was something oddly cool about watching Reese storm around without a care in the world, pushed to his emotional brink, and determined to get the job done by any means necessary. And he normally does, but there was this change in character, this shift towards a steely soldier with nothing to lose and everything to terminate. Who else could enter a federal building and attack multiple law enforcement agents like it's no big deal?

On the other hand, it was something of a scary transformation and especially for Reese's colleagues. It seemed as if no one could stop him. Reese was actually going to return to his hollow days and kill Jennings without remorse.

It's not to say that the abusive husband didn't deserve a little kick ass, but Reese was coming extremely close to crossing a line from mere protecting to blatant execution.

For Reese's lack of emotion and voice, Jim Caviezel really nailed a multitude of nuances for his different feelings. He was stone cold on his Jennings mission, broken and quietly unstable after hearing his wife's death, just enough teary eyed when discussing Jessica with Finch, and briefly cracking a smile when entering his new apartment. Even having the photo of Reese with a wide and happy smile really illustrated just how much the man has changed. And thank goodness it wasn't a poorly photoshopped picture either.

Finally getting to see Reese take that ultimate tumble into the empty nothing we first met at the start of the series was a great way to help bring the show full circle. Not only was the super soldier dealing with the betrayal of the CIA, but finding out that the woman he loved was killed by an abusive husband and he didn't get to her in time was tragic. Just watching him stare at the wedding video in the dark was haunting enough and, even though we never actually saw him kill Jennings, the absence of any action sequence was plenty impactful. I got the dangerous message.

The tone was certainly revolving around a certain darkness, especially with him snapping and going rogue against Jennings. I really believed that he would kill the man and, in many ways, the fact that he didn't is a huge step for him. Sure, the subject brought back painful memories, but Reese managed to push ahead rather than fall back. He did the right thing and still did what was necessary.

And I loved that Carter did a little detective work to discover more about Reese on her own. It was just another example of the show allowing all of the plot lines to find significance while connecting to each other. Each one was just as important for each character and the story as a whole.

Even the small detail of Reese's birthday further pushed his relationship with Finch and the recognition that Finch is trying to do something good. The final flashback of Finch in the wheelchair and his sincere "I'm sorry" made me feel as if that particular situation was the catalyst for Finch wanting to bring Reese in to help him with his cause. These characters continue to develop wonderfully.

There's something truly entertaining about watching a show that feels like it has the potential to be predictable, yet manages to flip concepts on their head or find a nice balance between character and story rather than lay out a simple cookie cutter hour of television. Even the raw emotions and ideals that delve into morality and change while ignoring simple happy endings make Person of Interest continue to stand out.

That's how to do a solid episode. Here's to your birthday, John Reese.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (238 Votes)

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


This episode is probably the best I've ever seen in television. For someone who hasn't seen the first 20 episodes, it probably wouldn't have that same impact, but for those who've followed these characters for so long ... it just really broke my heart. I can't put better words to it.


Love this show it just keeps getting better I hate to see the season finiale cause that means no more til next year I can't wait that long


The series grows and grows. JC and ME are great actors. Its a great show.... I can´t wait for more


Great Review!!!! I so enjoy this show. The writing is just superb!!!


@Mrs alex o'loughlin: John did not kill Jessica's hubsand he just took him to the mexican prison like he did with Jennings! We don't know, and we will probably never know whether the husband was alive in that jail. Note about the apartment: It appears to be overlooking the park where Reese was playing, er, some game, with the blind Chinese guy earlier. The place may have been a gift, but it was also a message: I'm watching you. Even though Finch said he wasn't. Note about assaulting US Marshalls: WTF? He doesn't have enough people chasing him already? This makes it that much more absurd that, in a show that emphasizes the omnipresence of surveillance, the Most Wanted Man in the World can hang out openly in Manhattan and not even be detected much less captured.


@mel: P.S. Loved the humor at the begnning when he was on the bus and the kids asked if he was ok. He was bloodied and said that he was "fired" from his job ... That was wry, but I think he meant it. He appeared to have a gunshot wound. This was just a couple months after his CIA bosses sent him and his partner to die in China. He probably had an encounter with the CIA. So, fired.


Great episode. Great review.


@Mrs alex o'loughlin: It has been officially renewed. Don't worry, I am sure we all have many seasons of POI to look forward to.


Wow! I agree with everyone here, what a wonderful episode.I was so sad for Reese, we all knew Jessica died, but seeing how it happened made it all the more sadder. How do you come back from this? You probably can't and that's why Reese is the way he is now... I love how POI develops the characters by showing us their backstory one piece at a time.


This was a wonderful episode, and marvelous acting by Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. They are truly gifted actors and work together so well. The range of emotions that Caviezel displayed was outstanding and heartbreaking, and it really pulled on my heartstrings.

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Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 21 Quotes

Once we become predictable, we become vulnerable.


Kid: What happened to you?
Reese: I think I quit my job.