There’s no real surprise, and certainly no shame, in the fact that after last week’s lollapalooza of an episode, Person Of Interest spends most of this week reverting to formula. Everyone deserves a breather, and most everyone gets one, even if this is a show where a breather may constitute a character catching a bad guy with a flying tackle that takes them both through a high window and onto a car in the street below. The most excitement is generated by Root, in scenes that are mostly extraneous to the main plot. In the early scenes, she trails Greer through the subway but loses him; Greer is shown to be able to command surveillance cameras to “go blind” as he passes, which lends weight to my theory that maybe the son of a bitch really is a Time Lord. Later, Root borrows Bear—who has already earned his keep for the week with a fun opening sequence in which he ferrets out where Finch has been hiding the dog treats—to better facilitate her tracking. When she confronts Greer on an empty platform, he notes that the ability to smell is one of the more underrated of the five senses, and one that machines cannot reproduce. No doubt he has people working on that.
The number of the week belongs to Maria Martinez, an engineer and former government contractor. She works for a man named Ken Davis. The full name is repeated enough that the viewer may sense that there will come a scene in which someone will ask, “Who is behind all this wickedness?” and the answer will come back, “Ken Davis,” at which point the audience will be grateful that it’s a name they’ve had hammered into their skulls and not one that was muttered once in passing, which might cause them to go, “Wait, who?” Anyway, Shaw is keeping a close watch on Maria when she takes a phone call. She answers by telling the person on the other line, “Assalam alaikum,” and then talks ominously about how “The package is ready.” “Didn’t see that coming,” says Shaw. I did, but I watch a lot more TV than Shaw does, so I have some experience with being jerked around by a TV show that wants me to suspect that the good guy is up to something bad, so I’ll be that much more sympathetic when the facts get sorted out. “My God,” I’ll be thinking before the last commercial break, “how could I ever have gotten good old Maria so wrong as to think she might be a terrorist?”
Maria is not a terrorist. She’s just a woman in love—with a fellow named Omar, who is himself being detained by the authorities. But he, too, is simply misunderstood. He is, in fact, in danger of being railroaded by the real bad guys, like that pasty-faced piece of shit Ken Davis, who, it turns out, is in cahoots with Greer. The other villains include a smooth talking Greek named Sevon, who’s played by William Abadie. He was the guy fooling around with Mandy Patinkin’s wife on Homeland, so I felt predisposed to distrust him even before he started killing members of the French delegation at the UN and trying to pin the blame on Maria. Called on his shit, he justifies his actions by talking cynical rot about the need for realpolitik. That’s the set-up for the best line in the episode. Fusco charges in and orders him to put his gun away, “or I’m gonna get realpolitiky on your ass!”
That may not be the actual best line of the episode, but whatever the best line is, odds are that Fusco gets to deliver it. He lumbers off with it. One minute, he’s sitting in a car with Shaw and bitching about diplomatic immunity and puzzling, “How many countries you think are in the U.N.? Like 50?” The next, he’s presenting Shaw with a glass of champagne in honor of the Persian New Year. She tells him that she thought he was indifferent to other cultures, and he gets to perform a thrilling little soliloquy about how being a New Yorker means that you never have to leave home to become fluent in other cultures; you’re inundated with them. By the time he takes his leave after saying, “Happy New Year, Sameen,” we’re getting into standing ovation territory.
Elsewhere, Finch introduces himself to a man as “Mr. Kingfisher,” Reese gets to say, “I have an idea, but it’s gonna require a smoke screen and a big-ass truck,” Shaw gets several opportunities to demonstrate her trick of using her huge eyes to perform double-takes without moving the rest of her head, and to the surprise of no one except for Ken Davis, Greer has his men kill Ken Davis. He doesn’t like loose ends, and he was probably getting sick of hearing that name repeated. Greer’s and Root’s big confrontation scene turns out to be a stand-off that doesn’t change yield any fresh information or change the placement of any of the pieces on the board, kind of like this episode itself. But I’m still inclined to grade it leniently, because at least the bad guys don’t kill the dog, which was a real concern of mine. On top of losing Will Gardner, Cyrus’ husband, half the cast of Teen Wolf, and whoever was resting on that barbecue grill on The Walking Dead, that would have been more than I could take.