Person of Interest 2.18 Review, “All In”

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rating: 3.5

The latest installment in the Person of Interest saga gave us another standalone episode that had more of that traditional POI feel, a fairly interesting case of the week, and an expertly crafted subplot that advanced one of the show€™s larger arcs. The episode €œAll In€ came at the heels of the previous weeks€™ below quality €œProteus,€ which fell short on delivering on all of the aforementioned. Once again the case took Finch and Reese out of New York and to the East Coast€™s watered down version of Las Vegas: Atlantic City. The episode begins with Reese€™s hilariously entertaining rescue of Leon Tao, marking his third time getting on the machine€™s list. By now, we the viewers, Reese, and even Leon himself knows the drill, as Reese and Bear burst in just as Leon is about to bite the dust. Leon is getting a bit too comfortable with how this thing runs. I have no doubt a situation like this will arise once again and eventually turn into a running gag. Leon is the perfect choice for this. All of the main actors played the right amount of frustration and nonchalance to convey the idea that €œLeon, this is getting old.€ Switching gears to serious town, Finch immediately sends Reese to Atlantic City, where the new number, Lou Mitchell resides. He is a retired watchmaker who lost his wife to terminal illness several years back, and has since hit the casinos. Because Lou is one of the older residents, he is not quite in touch with the technological present. This forces Reese to implement a more traditional form of intelligence gathering, and that is good ol€™ fashioned tailing. From this they gather that Lou has a pretty predictable pattern, even down to losing approximately the same amount of money every time he hits the tables. Soon Finch and Reese uncover a complex money laundering scheme which uses senior citizens to pick up dead drops of money from the local pharmacy because who thinks twice about seeing a bunch of old people picking meds? The so called mules then take the money to the casino and lose just the right amount of money on purpose so it goes back to casino owner Darien Makris, who runs the entire operation. It is quite the ingenious scheme, and the episode did a good job of slowly unraveling the mystery of the casino operation through the singular focus on Lou. However, it became clear why it was Lou€™s number that popped up and not any other of the seniors. He has been skimming money from his drops, something that Darien has taken notice of. Soon enough, Darien sends two of his goons to neutralize Lou, but Reese steps in and saves Lou from sleeping with the fishes. With Darien thinking Lou€™s is dead, Finch puts Lou on a bus out of town. They manage to have a little heart to heart before he leaves though, and we learn that Lou was the best cardsharp in town during his heyday, and used it to fund his wife€™s treatment. This was unfortunately not enough as she succumbed to the sickness. His skills were what put Lou on Darien€™s radar in the first place, and he has been working for him ever since. In the end, the guys all work together to take down Darien Makris. Leon even pitches in to help as the €œdistraction.€ Lou used his exceptional skills in cardsharping to get natural nine after natural nine in a game of baccarat. Finch hacks the system to stake Lou in, Reese stands by to make sure Makris doesn€™t harm Lou, and Leon plays billionaire playboy. It was a great team effort, as Lou manages to win over twenty million dollars. In a last ditch effort to save his investments, Makris captures all four of our intrepid casino schemers and takes them to the back room to fulfill the tradition which proclaims €œthe house always wins.€ He puts them through a harrowing game of Russian Roulette which was staged and directed brilliantly that it was almost disappointing to see Reese easily fight his way out and dispatch all of the surrounding bad guys. The icing on top was Lou getting to punch out Makris. So, Lou was saved, a money laundering operation was taken down, a bunch of senior citizens are no longer bound to play at the casino and now Finch even has someone to fix the two million dollar watch Pierce gave him a few episodes back. Go team. The only sour part was Leon still broken hearted about Candy. I€™m sure he€™ll find another girl out there someday, or more likely more trouble for him to get into. Besides the fairly entertaining case of the week, this episode also delivered one heck of a B storyline, in the form of HR, an arc that has been dormant for awhile. They are still in the process of rebuilding, and to do so they need criminals with a lot of money. Quinn and Simmons conspired to throw the trial of a Russian criminal by implicating one of the testifying cops, Szymanski, a recurring cop character. Carter manages to dismiss the charges of corruption on Szymanski through a technicality and the trial is continued. However, HR bared its fangs and Quinn himself kills Szymanski and the prosecuting lawyer at the end, and even lets himself get shot in the shoulder to sell the story of a perpetrator attacking them all. 2x01_-_POI_Leon This episode was an improvement from last week, delivering a solid case of the week that had all the hallmarks of a traditional POI episode, as well as a sympathetic victim of the week. The inclusion of Leon Tao is always a welcome addition to the show, as the writers have found a way to keep his character around without making it seem tiresome and trite. The ascension of HR was also a strong component, putting their threat level up there right alongside Root and Control. I wouldn€™t be surprised if the next few episodes focus once again on Elias. This is Person of Interest in its comfort zone, providing great entertainment in their classic formula that has not run out of freshness just yet. On a final note, I give major props to the show for continuing another story arc in the most subtle ways. During shots of the city through the Machine€™s cameras, it would occasionally flash into static or the blue screen of death and glitch out for a fraction of a second. This ultimately confirms that whatever Kara Stanton uploaded into the servers, it has begun to take effect.
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Patrick G. Emralino hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.