Person of Interest: Point of Origin
November 19, 2014 9:12 AM - Season 4, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Reese takes temporary assignment as a tactical instructor at the police academy to keep eyes on the NOTW. Samaritan agent Martine uses a blurred security camera picture and human intelligence to start pulling threads on the whereabouts of a Team Machine member.

Interesting episode - I liked the focus on relationships. They are both a strength and a weakness in this episode: Dominic and Martine use relationships as weaknesses to exploit; Reese and Silva, however, form a strong bond and new relationship - one in which Reese risks a lot of exposure, but out of compassion and trust.

An episode with a welcome (to me, at least) focus on Reese, who has been in the background for a while. Good to see him form a strong bond with the NOTW, as well as an enduring friendship with Fusco - and perhaps a stint as a tactical instructor will remind him to pay attention in the field. And the interplay with the psychologist was interesting...

Secret/hidden identities come out in this episode: Shaw learns that Mini is Dominic, but is in turn exposed when Martine uses her eyes to see what Samaritan can't. (And it is interesting to me that Samaritan, even with a partial photograph of Shaw could not see her - something about Root's hack must over-ride Samaritan every time it sees a member of the Machine gang, no matter how suspicious). So human intelligence and human ability to work with relationships and behaviour comes to the fore - an interesting note after last week, when the government team just took numbers and wasn't encouraged to think.

Stray thoughts:

-an abandoned school with a beautifully maintained and full pool?

-Bear knows Scuba!

-Instead of doing the full bore stare down with Shaw, wouldn't Martine be better off sitting back and observing for a bit? Who else might Shaw lead you to?

-If Martine does grab Shaw and start in on interrogation, will that turn into another sexy, flirty thing?
posted by nubs (7 comments total)
Oh shit!
posted by homunculus at 12:57 PM on November 19, 2014

Just finished watching it.

I don't know -- this episode had some nice beats, but there was a lot that was clumsy. It's like it was a very promising outline in the writer's room that was realized poorly. For example, that was a very excessive exposition dump between Dominic and his henchman in the car while awaiting the mole. Then they play up how difficult it will be to get into the school but show a couple of fast-forward surveillance camera bits that were minimal and comical and suddenly they're in the room with the head guy. The exit was ... well, it was something from a cartoon. Dominic's little speech about a circle and his inspiring math teacher was supposed to be deep and portentous, but ended up just being superficial and not very dramatically effective. And so on.

Similarly, the developing relationship between the therapist and the IA cop should be quite compelling -- each serve to involve and reveal aspects of Reese's character that the audience wants to see. The therapist, effectively, working to show the audience more of Reese's inner-life and history and, also, to provide someone that just maybe Reese might eventually be able to open up to, a little. And we have a paternal/mentor thing going on with the IA cop, which also opens up some possibilities for other interactions and relationships for Reese within the police department. This all expands Reese's characterization in ways that, frankly, are overdue. (But understandably so, seeing as Reese is intended to be a kind of cipher and that's part of his appeal.) So these character moments should have been very welcome and compelling, but to me they seemed very thin and forced.

I'm very much disliking how the actor is portraying Martine. It's a caricature and not a characterization. Shaw and Reese both border on that, too, as well as Root. But all three of those actors find ways to flesh out and complicate their portrayals. This may partly be the writers' fault, as they seem uncertain whether Martine is Root's or Shaw's counterpart and I don't think wedging both ideas into one person is working. A Root who became less human and warm instead of more, or a Shaw that is a chilly cold-killer instead of a fiery-hot killer -- either of those are interesting. And, sure, I can see how it makes sense to combine less human and cold with a cold and superior killer, but I think it's the smug, superior part of this that's not working. Which, on its own, also makes sense. She's supposed to be highly competent, like Reese and Shaw (maybe more competent than both of them?), but repulsively superior and smug about it. I don't know -- I feel like the actor has these three scenery-chewing stereotypes to choose from (robotic killing villain, cold-hearted killing villain, smugly superior villain) and so the result is just all-the-time cartoon villain.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:15 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dominic's little speech about a circle and his inspiring math teacher was supposed to be deep and portentous, but ended up just being superficial and not very dramatically effective.

When the Trinitario leader said to Dominic, "Who died and made you leader?" I thought to myself "Several people, actually."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:11 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think she is meant to be the Barbie to Reese's pre-crisis Ken - a shell driven by orders, everything else buttoned up and compartmentalized away.
posted by viggorlijah at 9:13 PM on November 19, 2014

I just thought she was a bad actress. Even her partner last week, the one who backed off Shaw, was more compelling.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:40 AM on November 23, 2014

She isn't a bad actress, I liked her work on Mad Men.
posted by Pendragon at 10:15 AM on November 23, 2014

Bear being Scuba-trained was awesome.

Shaw's cover is so blown, but at least she won't have to sell Estee Lauder anymore.
posted by orange swan at 8:17 PM on September 30, 2015

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