Fall TV 2014RecapReviewTV

‘Person of Interest’ Season Premiere Review: Shall We Play a Game?

Joe Carter ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode "Panopticon." Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode “Panopticon.” Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

This week Person of Interest starts, as it always does, with a new number. The new number is a young college student named Claire who is involved in an intense code breaking “game” around New York City in hopes of winning whatever prize lies at the end. Harold (Michael Emerson) is the main focus of the episode as he chases Claire around the city interacting with each major character as he goes along. While trying to protect Claire, Harold seeks out the game-master which leads to Shaw (Sarah Shahi) batting around a barista and demanding a “Tall latte. And you better not give me decaf.” Seeing her toss him around was enough to relieve pent-up Starbucks anger.

Things take a more serious tone for the group when Harold uncovers that the “game” seemed to appear out of thin air and was actually designed by the nasty artificial intelligence, Samaritan. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Samaritan is looking for fresh soldiers and Harold quickly tries to find a way to warn Claire without directly telling her what Samaritan is since people who know the truth drop like an underfed parrot. Harold eventually catches up to Claire on the top of 30 Rock, sadly with no Liz Lemon cameo, and urges her to reconsider her decision to finish the game.

Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode "Panopticon." Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode “Panopticon.” Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

The episode was thrilling from a fast paced action/puzzle solving perspective, but the character of Claire was lackluster at best and had a poorly executed “dead parents” motive driving her dedication for winning the game. It didn’t make much sense and felt like a desperate attempt to add some depth. The focus on Harold was nice considering the episode usually revolves around John’s (Jim Caviezel) actions to save the new number. It also made sense from a plot standpoint as Harold is the only one on the team who still has doubts about helping people again. However, he comes closer to his former perspective of helping the “irrelevant” by the end of the episode.

As always, the Harold and Root (Amy Acker) interactions are priceless. A voice yells from the trunk of Root’s car and she yells back in her trademark style, “Larry, I told you. Stay calm and you get back seat privileges.” Even though Root is on team good guy, she still has that sass about her which helped to maintain interest in an otherwise ho-hum episode.

Michael Emerson and Amy Acker in the Person of Interest episode "Panopticon." Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Michael Emerson and Amy Acker in the Person of Interest episode “Panopticon.” Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

A good chunk of the episode seemed to continue setting up future plot points that the pilot had established. (Spoilers! Ahh!) For example, the audience got to see more of the new “Batcave” complete with computers and lighting, now making a gradual shift from the familiar library which was destroyed at the end of season three. Claire also made her choice to finish out the game and is now an honorary member of Samaritan’s lollipop guild of wicked assassins. Samaritan merely used Claire to stop the rise of another artificial intelligence, but saves her from death at the very end promising it will protect her. It can be expected that she will appear in future episodes now that she is one of Samaritan’s “assets.”

On the subject of Claire joining the side of team Samaritan, the show seems to be moving towards the idea of creating an evil version of the beloved group of “irrelevant” helpers. John Greer (John Nolan), leader of Decima, seems to be Harold’s counterpart, the “evil blonde lady” using the alias Meg would most likely be either John or Shaw’s counterpart, and now Claire, a tech genius with sly street skills, promises to be Root’s doppelganger. It should be exciting to see how these two teams collide in future episodes as they vie for dominance in the information age.

The actual plotline of this episode was rather boring and shallow, but the new additions to the plot arch were enough to make it well worth the time.

Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10pm on CBS.

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