Oh yes, Person of Interest went there. Last night was the baby episode, a cheap ratings ploy full of cheap jokes to keep the masses happy. But you know what? It totally worked! "Baby Blue" ended up being more than just diaper changes and grenade pacifiers, adding an interesting case and changing the relationship between Reese and an old foe for a well-rounded episode that covered all the bases.
Things got off to an '80s comedy start with the latest social security number belonging to six-month-old baby Laila, so of course Finch kidnapped the kid to keep her out of danger. Jokes were plentiful as Reese and Finch played Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg, making a crib out of books and exchanging awkward dad jokes about Amber Alerts. It was obvious low-hanging fruit, but Person of Interest made a hilarious smoothie out of it. They were legitimately funny. Person of Interest has this weirdly disarming comedic streak, and it's been put to great use in getting us to identify with a weaselly tech genius and a killing mumblebot. I'm being honest when I say that I think POI is CBS's best comedy. This show would be only 47 percent as good if it took itself seriously. The writers clearly know what they want their show to be, and when that happens a series can really take off, just like Person of Interest has.
The case itself was deliciously scandalous. Why did someone abandon Laila at a hospital? Why did the computer spit out her number? Was she evidence of an affair or the heir to an inheritance someone else had eyes on? Or did her number come up because SHE WAS THE MURDERER? We can't just assume babies all land on the victim side of things. As it turned out, she was the love child of a randy CEO who had his receptionist taking some dic...tation, and if word got out about that sort of thing happening at the company, things would go south. And later, in an effective little twist, we discovered it wasn't the CEO or his gay son who put a hit on the little baby and killed her mom, it was the CEO's wife. It's always the wife! Case closed!
But wait, there were still 15 minutes left in the episode! One thing Person of Interest does to me pretty much every week is go on wayyyyy longer than I expect. I'll think that an episode is halfway over before the first Geritol ad aimed at CBS's core audience airs. I'm pretty convinced that each one lasts as long as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That's how dense they are. This is not at all a complaint.
And out of nowhere came a pretty cool Elias storyline as Reese raced against time to find Laila as she was re-kidnapped by Eastern European thugs. (Side note: This show really doesn't like Eastern Europeans, does it?) With little to go on and the trail of the Euros dried up, Reese went last-resort and dialed up Elias, figuring his criminal ass would be able to get some scoop on where the baby exchange to get the kid out of the country would be going down (white babies fetch a huge price in Mexico, and Laila was half, so she could bring a decent payday).
Reese and Elias have a pretty fascinating past. We first learned about Elias in the excellent episode "Witness," when Reese saved his life not knowing he was a super gangster. The two have brushed elbows a few times since then, and Elias has an odd respect for Reese and his vigilante ways even though they're on opposite sides of the righteousness scale. Elias agreed to help Reese find Laila, and for a moment it seemed that Elias wasn't such a bad guy at all. He saw the desperation in Reese's eyes and decided to help a brother out. Besides, no one wants to see a perfectly good white baby go to waste.
But Elias is no idiot, and his willingness to help Reese came with a steaming side order of self-interest. Once Reese tracked down the babe and shot the dudes exchanging her (it was nice to see a couple of Reese's trademark leg shots, but the bullet to the guy's face was sweeeet), Elias and his goons sprang up and threw Reese and Laila into a refrigerated truck, demanding information on the whereabouts of Elias's father Moretti, who was being held in custody by Carter and the Geico spokesman and who Elias wanted dead. It was either give up Moretti or try defrosting a dead baby later on, so Reese pretty much signed Moretti's death warrant.
Reese and Finch played stork and delivered Laila to her grandparents for a happy ending. But not before Reese did more pining for a normal life, asking Finch, "Think we'll ever have kids?" Seriously, these guys are so gay for each other, which is awesome and proves that my Valentine's matching was spot-on. Finch replied, "The trouble with children is you never know how they're going to turn out." BAM! Cut to Elias taking a hood off of an imprisoned Moretti and chillingly saying, "Hello, Dad." Great stuff! We don't know what Elias is going to do to Moretti, but I don't see them participating in the company-sponsored father-son potato-sack race.
"Baby Blue" may divide audiences due to its Two Men and a Baby storyline, but I totally dug it. I honestly can't say this enough: TV shows that know what they are are so much more watchable than ones that don't. And Person of Interest knows it's action camp disguised as a procedural. "Baby Blue" had laughs, murders, serious business, and some emotion, making it an ideal example of the series firing on all cylinders and a heck of a lot better than a story about some whippersnapper on Wall Street.
– Great Reesisms this episode: "I see your time at MIT wasn't wasted." "It's just a tear gas grenade." "Dada or dada?" Carter's reaction to Reese watching the baby was also fantastic. And how about Reese's smirk when the Euros stepped to him in the bar? This guy is all sorts of badass.
– There was also some good redemption for Lionel Fusco as she covered for Carter. I worry that his good behavior is just setting us up for tragedy, though. Yup, I'm calling Detective Fusco getting killed off before the season ends.
– Or maybe not! Carter's declaration that she's through helping Reese and Finch was another big moment in the episode. With Carter not working with them anymore, Fusco now becomes more important. But we don't really believe Carter will stay away for too long, do we? Even though she's in the right, because Reese screwed up her own operation in protecting Moretti and got Geico man shot. Vigilante justice is messy business, and Reese has witnessed firsthand how his actions can mess things up.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom