Wow! I bet fans of normal procedurals were FURIOUS at the ambiguous ending of last night's Person of Interest. But if the new CBS series wants to keep this person's interest, it's going to have to keep doing such things as a means of separating itself from more neatly wrapped-up procedurals. So far, so good.
This week the computer box spit out the social security number of a pretty young doctor, played by pretty young Linda Cardellini of ER fame—though you really should know her as Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks. Man, I had a mountain-sized crush on her! Anyway, her character was a doc by day and a clubber by night, and Reese suspected she was being stalked by a handsome sexual predator, a la American Psycho. He was half right; as is becoming typical for Person of Interest, we found out things weren't as they seemed. It turned out she was stalking him because he'd raped her sister in college, which led her sis to commit suicide, and she wanted to dissolve his body with lye in her vacation home near the ocean. Sweet revenge!
And thus the thinking man's question for the episode was born: Is vengeance worth it if it will irreparably change your life for the worse? Here we had a young doctor with a bright future who didn't know what she was getting herself into. If she were to murder that Patrick Bateman-ish dude, she'd feel good for about five minutes before the blood on her hands started haunting her. At least, that was Reese's take.
The meat of the story came with Reese's determination not to let someone else walk the same path he did, which ended with him becoming a smelly bum on the subway. And at the end of the episode it became painfully obvious that he's not happy with his choices and still wonders whether he can change, or whether it's too late. He wants to think it isn't, but sadly, deep down he realizes that it is, no matter how many People of Interest he rescues or puts away. So when Reese asked the serial rapist to help him make a good decision and the show cut to black, we weren't not finding out whether Reese killed him, we were seeing a visual representation of Reese's internal struggle. That cut to black said he's not sure what kind of man he is, and we may never know. Person of Interest is, like, surprisingly deep, man. I really liked that ending, because it got me thinking.
I had expected a little more flashback-story on either Reese or Finch, but instead we saw a lot of Reese internally delving into his own past. There weren't any details, but it was just as effective to see the cracks begin to surface on the facade of our robotic anti-hero. Reese's vulnerability was also revealed in the flashback in last week's episode ("I'll wait for you." Poor guy!). We're slowly getting to know the mysterious Reese, and frankly, I'm on board with this gradual layer-peeling. He may tromp around New York City punching people in the face, but there's a soft center beneath that hardened exterior.
– Still not buying Taraji P. Henson as Detective Carter. But it's a good thing that Lionel is working with her now; that'll help combine these threads.
– "Which do you think I'll regret more, letting you live or letting you die?" YEAH REESE!
– Finch to Reese, regarding the topic of using lye to dissolve a body: "I will refrain from asking how you know that." YEAH FINCH!
– This show could just be Reese walking around New York City causing mayhem, and I'd still watch. It hasn't gotten old yet, even though the action's been dialed down a bit.
What did you think of the fade-to-black ending? What do you think Reese ended up doing? What would YOU have done?
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom