There's nothing like getting all your friends together for a good old-fashioned home game of "Whodunnit?," a murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. The way I know the game to be played, everyone is under the same roof and a murder is staged, usually with someone flashing the lights on and off for dramatic effect. No one is allowed to leave, someone knows that they're the murderer but pretends they aren't, and everyone else plays a game of cat and mouse, rifling through clues until someone figures out who is simply pretending to be the butler. Then everyone has a laugh and a slice of cheesecake.
Person of Interest played that game last night in "Proteus," locking up a bevy of suspects in a sheriff's office near New York City during a wicked Nor'easter, and Reese and Finch had to find out which of these people were who they said they were, and which one was an identity-stealing serial killer. Except this was no game, this was for real, and there was definitely no cheesecake!
To be honest, you could call this script either a throwback to the classic days of television or just hackneyed filler, and you'd be right in both cases. In one sense, I expected Angela Lansbury to pop out of the woodwork and scream, "You're the murderer!" at someone. In another, I was checking my cable guide to make sure I was actually watching Person of Interest, because this was far from the show's standard operating procedure, and not necessarily in a good way like last week's perspective twisting "Relevance" was.
After three days of silence and a few dog-friendly movie matinees (love Bear as Finch's "handicapable" assistant), The Machine spat out six social security numbers in rapid succession, all but one of which belonged to a person who had gone missing or was digitally invisible. It wasn't long before Reese and Finch connected the dots and realized that they were dealing with a killer who murdered then took the identities of his victims until he got bored, then he killed again and repeated the process instead of doing Sudoku like the rest of us do to cure boredom. Early on in the episode, Reese teamed up with an FBI agent named Fahey who was also on the trail of the killer, and clues led them to a rental property on a sleepy vacation town called Owen Island. But when they got to the island, things were so stormy and wet that no one without gills was allowed to leave. The remaining inhabitants and visitors of Owen Island were forced to convene at the Sheriff's Office (plus Finch flew in on a plane posing as a storm chaser LOLx2 to join the fun), and thus the game of Murder Mystery began.
– "Proteus" also dealt with Cal Beecher and Carter's relationship some more, moving the needle back towards "innocent" when it comes to Cal as he came in and saved the day by shooting Fahey. It wasn't particularly graceful and consisted mostly of Carter giving Beecher the cold shoulder after being warned of the continuing Internal Affairs investigation against him. The problem with this story is it's not really letting us think for ourselves, it's just telling us to be weary of him without much evidence at all. It's been part of a few episodes now, but all we're really doing is taking wild guesses as to whether he's a good guy or bad guy because we don't know squat.