Person Of Interest is back for its third season. Ever since May the buzz for this show increased when it became clear that both characters Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and Root (Amy Acker) would return as regulars. This enlargement of cast along with resolution of the ‘find-the-machine’ storyline considerably increases the scope of the series. PoI creative director Jonathan Nolan certainly seems to take effort in keeping this show on track after it almost got derailed during the first half of season 2.
The first episode of season 3 of entitled ‘Liberty’. I have read some other reviews of the episode and some reviewers complain about the bland ‘person-of-the-week’ plotline while they admire the continuation of the shows mythology plotline. I disagree, both plotline are greatly intertwined which is something we saw first during the previous season. As such this episode feels like it has a great deal of focus to it. In fact you might say it was over far too soon.
The ‘person-of-the-week’ plotline deals with two sailors who have become involved in diamond smuggling after a tour in the Horn of Africa. One of them, Petty Officer Jack Salazar has a conviction for assault so neither Finch nor Reese know who the perpetrator and who the victim. The initial investigation by Reese is perhaps the episodes weak point. It was perhaps not entirely credible to see sailors using a telephone booth in a supermarket to gain access to a speakeasy style sex club that also happens to be frequented by female sailors. Well, luckily for use both the sailors are afterwards quickly kidnapped by members of special forces who did are the original owners of the diamonds. Reese manages to save Salazar but they kidnappers force Salazar to bring the diamonds to a fence after dressing his partner up in explosives. Thanks to Carter (now a uniform police officer) Reese finds out where the handover is to take place. Here enter Sarah Shahi as Shaw with an explosive entry as she expertly uses a sniper rifle to knee-cap the Russian diamond fence and the kidnappers.
Reese manages to safely extract Salazar from the gunfight while Detective Fusco manages to disarm the bomb placed in his sailor buddy. Later on when Reese and Salazar reminisce about the affair Reese warns him that the CIA will approach him to make use of skills, when they do Salazar should refuse them.
Now that was a short recap of the ‘person-of-the-week’ plotline, its good fun but it just isn’t great. However, next to this plotline are several others that will set the tone for the next season so I will recap them separately.
Detective Carter Detective Carter plotline; as you may recall Detective Carter was set up by HR during last season’s finale. After shooting a suspect they made the gun disappear making it look as though she shot him in cold blood. Afterwards she saved the life of Elias hoping he can act as a counterweight to HR and the Russian mafia. Now she asks for a return favor, Elias tells her where she can find the Russian fence that Reese is looking for, but she has told nobody of this deal with Elias. During the closing scene of the episode it is revealed that Carter is trying to uncover who shot her old partner Cal Beecher. I would presume she intends to use Elias as a weapon against HR. No doubt her reasoning that ‘my enemies enemy is my friend’ will get her into trouble.
Root; during the second season of PoI Root sort of acted as a ‘at-arms-length’ villain. She showed up during the spectacular conclusion of the season as she revealed herself to the Special Council in charge of The Machine and almost got her hands on if it wasn’t for The Machine protecting itself by going ‘distributed’. This had a profound affect on her, so much to that by the end of the season she was in a psychiatric ward. That where she still is during the beginning of this season. Throughout the episode she slowly manages to convince her psychiatrist that The Machine aren’t just voices she hears in her head. At the conclusion she casually informs him that she knows he cheated on several exams to become a doctor, regularly visits massage parlors and fanaticizes about having sex with patients. She then informs him she is having a discussion with The Machine about whether she will kill him.
Root somehow seems to have reached a new level on the menace-meter by the end of the episode. Though I hope she won’t turn out to be yet again a villain during this season because that would undo too much of what we have seen during the first two seasons. Samantha Shaw still has a date with Root, which is one showdown I can’t wait to see.
The Machine; both Finch and Root let it slip that The Machine’s objectives have changed since season 2. It may not be far-fetched to think that it could be a new villain. Jonathan Nolan has promised that the show sci-fi theme will be further expanded upon. Well, I can hardly wait.
This season opener was thoroughly enjoyable. The ‘person-of-the-week’ plotline was perhaps not great but it was fun while the other plotlines were expertly interwoven. It was 43 minutes that were over far too soon. With both Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi becoming regulars the show has managed to find a good balance between the sexes, something other shows can use as an example. As Person of Interest is now airing on Tuesday along with a full season Agents of Shield it will be interesting to see just how much they compete for ratings.
One problem that I kind of do foresee is with the shows lead characters Finch and Reese, both already have backstories that are pretty much complete. Thing is, will we see more of that or do we just see them supporting the plotlines of the other characters?
Score; 8.6 / 10.