Person of Interest 2.17 Review, “Proteus”

rating: 3

With the recent string of excellent myth arc episodes that featured many of the show€™s villains and more twists than a Christopher Nolan movie, Person of Interest has finally hit its mid-season lull, the point in the season where the writers start to churn out standalone episodes before ramping things up again in the few episodes leading up to the finale. My only evidence for this is the structure of season 1, which season 2 hasn€™t really followed in its own right, so I could be completely wrong. However, €œProteus€ was a completely standalone episode, as well as the show€™s best impression of a €œWhodunnit?€ mystery complete with a singular setting, a raging thunderstorm, and several red herrings. Even with standalone episodes, Person of Interest can usually excel in some department, whether its character development, dialogue, or action choreography. Unfortunately, the entire episode did not seem to boast any of these qualities. The episode felt mostly flat and pedestrian throughout most of its running time. The episode felt out of place, and didn€™t have the traditional Person of Interest persona. It was mainly due to the seaside setting, which is strange because other episodes where Reese leaves New York, such as €œBad Code€ or €œThe High Road€ did not have the same foreign feeling that this episode had. A part of this can be attributed to the episodes before it, being so high in quality that €œProteus€ pales in comparison. However, even if an episode like €œMasquerade€ or €œOne Percent€ were aired the week before this, €œProteus€ would still stand out in a bad way. POI2430-promos_thumb_640x360 The episode starts with a storm ravaging New York City, disabling many of the Machine€™s cameras. We catch up with Finch, Reese and Bear enjoying a stormy day in the movie theaters because the machine hasn€™t produced a number in days. This concerns both of them because they suspect that the Machine is starting to feel the effects of whatever Kara Stanton uploaded to it a few episodes back. As if on cue, a payphone rings and the machine gives then not one, not two, but six numbers. Our dynamic duo finds out that the six numbers come from all around the country, forming a path from the West Coast and ending with the sixth number in New York. With some further investigation, they find that the sixth number, Jack Rollins, has been missing, and this leads Reese to Rollins€™ home in Owen Island. There Reese meets up with an FBI agent also investigating the case. Back in New York, Finch looks around Rollins€™ other residence, and makes the grisly discovery of Rollin€™s burned teeth in the cinder. It is then revealed that Rollins was murdered by a serial killer, and afterwards he takes his victims€™ identity until he finds a new one. He has just killed Rollins and Finch suspects the killer is in Owen Island looking for a way out before the storm gets bad. Back on the island, Reese and FBI agent Fahey get trapped at the local police station by the worsening storm. Trapped with them are a police deputy, a shady hotel contractor, a drug smuggling fisherman, an AWOL marine, a honeymooning couple that seem happy all the time, an alcoholic restaurant owner, and a young shopkeeper. Finch joins in the fray later own when he flies€.that€™s right, flies to Owen Island. The rest of the episode unfolds like an Agatha Christie novel, with our heroes trying to figure out who the killer is among them and even a murder occurring when the lights were turned off. 02022332114326421769 Some false alarms and clever lie detector tests later, the killer is revealed as (pause for dramatic effect) FBI agent Fahey! Yeah, I called that from the beginning too. Person of Interest really missed an opportunity to craft a twist filled story with all the potential suspects. The set up was there, but the way Fahey was portrayed it seemed almost a foregone conclusion that he was the killer. When Reese was busy tangling with the drug smuggling fisherman (who we were lead to believe was the killer at the time) Finch figured out who the real culprit was and confronted Fahey. He had the intention of stealing Finch€™s identity and going on with his leeching lifestyle, but before he can kill Finch, Carter and Beecher come in and save the day. Yay! The Carter and Beecher subplot of the episode provided nothing new, except for widening the rift between them but then closing it back a little by the end of the episode. In essence, we are right back where we started with these two, with Carter not knowing whether to trust Beecher or not. The whole confrontation did not seem that necessary, but it might be setting something up for future episodes. We still don€™t know whether Beecher is a bad guy or not, and exactly the extent of his involvement. Proteus was a standalone episode that went for an ambitious inversion of the usual formula through its set up and environment, but failed to completely deliver. It had its good moments, with great character interactions between Reese and Finch, some excellent moments of suspense, and the establishment of the machine going on the fritz that will no doubt play a big role in future episodes. The predictability of the plot, the flatness of the Carter Beecher subplot, the lack of cheesy action comedy that usually populate the standalone POI episodes and the non-traditional feel of this whole episode prevented it from achieving high status in terms of quality. It was entertaining enough on its own, but for Person of Interest standards, it could have done better.
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Patrick G. Emralino hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.