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Person of Interest "Proteus" Review: The Forecast Calls for MURDER

Person of Interest S02E17: "Proteus"

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.

Immediately we were introduced to a couple handfuls of suspects as everyone on the island went to the same place: the cutesy local shopkeeper, the local bar owner who sampled his own goods plenty, a hotelier who didn't even like the island but was building a hotel there anyway, a grumpy fisherman who acted suspicious as all Hell all the time, a couple of oversharing newlyweds, and a shady drifter. Fists were full of ham to set this whole thing up, and as soon as the premise was well established I prayed to Batman that the show would trick us somehow and not make FBI agent Fahey, the obvious choice, the killer. But he was.

See, Fahey was actually Alex Declan, a former roommate of the first of the six numbers killed. He worked his way across the country assuming identities of his victims, and by the time he got to New York, the actual Fahey tried to catch him so Alex killed him and took his identity. And he was having so much fun with it that he got a little carried away with it. Hmmm... okay. "Proteus" placed a few weak decoys in there in the fisherman and the drifter, but eventually Finch caught him after using some semi-seismic gear to read heartbeats and I don't know guys, this wasn't exactly Person of Interest at its best. Reese didn't even put Alex/Fahey down, he was too busy trying to stop the fisherman from smuggling marijuana and exposing the drifter as an AWOL Marine. If you're going to give us a rather rote story, at least give us the satisfaction of Reese putting a few rounds in the killers' legs.

That wasn't the interesting part of "Proteus," though. What did salvage the episode were details on The Machine, which had been acting up lately. It went quiet for three days, it gave multiple numbers at once, it gave numbers of people out of state, and it gave numbers of dead people. The Machine doesn't do that! Well, a healthy Machine doesn't do that, and Finch suspected that the virus that Kara Stanton uploaded to the Department of Defense could have worked its way into The Machine. Add to that all the glitching the Machine has been doing as of late and it's a big cause for concern. Reese argued that The Machine was smart enough to send them the six numbers of the killer's victims as a new way to keep the world safer, and indeed, we've seen The Machine get a lot smarter since its infant days of calling Finch "Admin." But Finch was more concerned with the three days of silence, and pessimistically dismisses Reese's forecast that the literal storm is just passing because the metaphorical storm is just beginning. Spooky!


NOTES OF INTEREST

"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.

– Though the episode mostly played it straight, there were some great lines from Reese. "Unbelievable, we're hunting a killer, instead we get amateur drug night in the sticks?" After annoying the local deputy who asks him if he needs anything else: "Yeah, how's your coffee?" After Finch asked Reese if last night was the first time he'd been shot at with a spear gun: "I wish I could say yes."

– Another Harold Finch alias: Harold Gull. Or has he used that one before?

– I thought the weirdest glitch The Machine did was zooming out of Owen Island and then zooming straight back into it late in the episode. Machine, you so crazy!

Comments (90)
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The machine glitches were a self-referential thing. See, the Machine is real. It spat out numbers for several years, including the irrelevant ones to two guys on the sly (or something like that - the true story is never quite the same), and was then retired, but allowed to be left on. The people presiding over it were surprised when, on the first day of its retirement, it wrote a screenplay, a fictionalised account of its own exploits. They changed some details that otherwise would have meant they would have had to kill everyone who watched the show and brought in Nolan and Abrams to as consultants. It was actually The Machine that suggested Michael Emerson for the part of Harold, based on a recommendation from a friend and fellow number-generating computer, the one that inspired the one that produced "the numbers" every 108 minutes in The Swan station in Lost. Anyway, The Machine has experienced glitches recently, which is why the latest episode wasn't very good.
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I agree, not as amazing as last week, but still interesting. Reese being unavailable to shoot FauxFahey in the legs seemed to me to be a very deliberate choice, giving Finch, Carter and Beecher a chance to be the heroes. I suspect the intent of the episode was to make it jarring, unusual, a tempo shift, to illustrate that Not Everything is Alright, but layering on the Whodunnit was in that case a little silly. Incidentally, while I would also like to have more info upon which to judge Beecher, I felt like his last-minute rescue was intended to be some evidence for the "good but just in narcotics" argument.

Am I the only person who wanted Finch's alias (after falling from the sky in a storm) to be Henry Gale again?? It's almost like I've forgotten Ben Linus.
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Is it me or the machine is getting smarter? the info it provided was much more helpful and it provided it for that specific reason but this might be the first time it provided 6 numbers for 6 already dead people. It realized that with a serial killer such as this one (someone like Finch that leaves no digital footprint or evidence) it didn't have enough info to predict its next move and simply went to damage control, mainly to get the team to stop him before he kills again. Usually, the numbers are the intended victims or the perpetrator and they are always living people (like with the presumed dead girl in the second or third episode of the show... they had the number so it meant she had to be alive), so to me this looks like a new thought process from the machine because this time the numbers were CLUES not people needing to be saved or stopped (it didn't do what it was taught to do, it found a different way... that, in my book, is evolution).

I was one of the people that enjoyed the show. But then again I don't watch for the mystery, I watch for the story and for it's entertainment value. Liked the case of the week, it was disturbing (especially the part when he started imitating Finch) and very clever (the killer sold the image of the paper pusher FBI agent, who hasn't been on the field for a long time when he met Reese, so well that it had me doubt myself and my ability to spot a killer in a show for a moment). Actually the killer was brilliantly constructed as a character (down to his motivations and his delusion of being able to stop once he found a life he liked) and that, alongside with the machine's weird behavior and the glimpse we had of Finch's true self made the episode more than ok for me. Lol..almost forgot Reese's one liners that never disappoint.

What bothers me is that there was no interaction between Carter and Reese ever since the bomb vest scene (and not only that, but they don't even talk/ask about each other) and I can't figure out why. It has to be intended (Reese is the guy who found ways of being in touch with Carter even when she was chasing him, in the beginning of the show) but I don't know if it might be a plot line (avoiding each other) or the writers and producers are simply trying to pull them apart (to give the Carter/Reese shippers time to cool down) in which case interacting normally with each other just as before would have done the trick better (and i wouldn't have noticed anything... and it wouldn't have bugged me by now)

I missed Fusco and hope he comes back next episode. Also, i don't get where they are going with the Beecher storyline but hope it ends fast (they started it ok, but since then the chemistry between Carter and him disappeared... the writers are capable of doing this so much more better but, for some obscure reason, they are not)


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This is potentially a very clever episode in hiding (so to speak). I mean, the machine is out of sync of sorts and this episode was, well, not normal POI. Once Finch finds out what's up I predict a return to badassery again. Oh, and Reese's total lack of suprise at the harpoon inches from his head was awesome.
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Good review. I think I liked the episode more then you but I understand that it is hard to follow up from such a epic/awesome previous episode.

This episode didn't ignore previous episodes and Finch/Reese conversation about the machine acting strange and commenting on Stanton's virus was great in that it tied the episodes together.

Also this episode provided insight into Finch--his conversation with the killer and the reveal that he is also disguised (doesn't need glasses, etc...) was great. The entire conversation at the end between Finch and the killer was fantastic.

The fake FBI guy as the killer was obvious but he had a white box so it threw me off. Now I know that the virus is causing the machine to act strange and the past two episodes had white boxes (should indicate innocents or non-threatening people) about the "bad guys".

now to catch up on reading the comments...
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I don't think Finch doesn't need glasses. The guy took them from Finch to symbolise that he was going to assume Finches identity. In reality he needs the glasses to see because he isn't sure it's Carter who has come to save him until he puts his glasses back on
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that was just one example....another was the posture
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Finch didn't have any trouble seeing the killer, and he wasn't afraid of him at all.Only after he knew Carter was behind the killer he started pretending that he's afraid of him and that he can't see without his glasses.
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Also the killer didn't have any trouble seeing with Finch's glasses. With glasses that look so thick, anyone with normal vision would have a hard time seeing (he would have at least squinted till his eyes would have got a little used to the glasses).
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If you'll recall, Declan removed some contact lenses from his eyes. They changed the color of his eyes and could also have been perscription. Thus Harold's perscription could have been close enough that he wouldn't have to squint.
Harold's glasses definately have a near-sighted perscription in them as you can tell the way that the area behind the lenses seems smaller than his actual head.
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Great review as always Tim you captured my thoughts on this episode. The writers are trying a variety of stories throughout S2 but Proteus didn't measure up to POI standards worth its slow pace and cliche mystery, the only saving grace is the twists towards the end of the episode.

PS: looking forward to your amazing Revolution recaps
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It's nice that they're trying to test the waters of what kind of episodes they can throw at us... but give us something familiar in between so we know the good ol' PoI is still the same at its core.
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Oh yeah, I forgot to say, Harold can fly a plane, does his awesomeness know no bounds?
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Through the eyes of a few tornadoes no less. That was a weird scene that barely drew a mention on the show.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It neatly illustrated how the Machine is starting to be affected by Stanton's virus. Not giving a number for days then it gives out 6 numbers when usually it would have whittled that down to just the killers number. It is definitely on the 'fritz' as Reese put it. I can't wait to see what implications this will have for our dynamic duo. Plus I loved how fearless Finch was when he stood up to the killer. First Root now a serial killer. Fearless badass Harold strikes again!
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I for one definitely enjoyed this episode, even though it was filler. There was no "hackneying" to this episode at all! I never saw the FBI guy as the killer. I thought POI kept it well hidden. The conversation between the killer and Finch was simply great television.

As for Beecher, his motives still remain a mystery, which to me is a very good thing. I see no reason why his true motivations need to be revealed now. It's called patience, people!!! You know this thing with Carter and Beecher will go somewhere.
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Seriously...... you never saw the FBI guy as the killer?? As the poster below says, I thought it was obvious the moment we saw him. And I'm pretty sure POI were making it obvious, going for the 'we know but they don't' approach. The only thing was, I think they actually should have shown us it was him, rather than the obvious but not stated way. Because of this, like Tim said, I was really hoping for a twist that didn't come.
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It was NEVER obvious!!! After the fact, people ALWAYS say "yeah, I knew it was him all along", when they didn't see a damn thing.
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Actually I thought he was obvious but then thought he was to obvious. He also had a white box so I started to question my belief that he was the killer.

Basically he was to obvious so I started to over think it and then got misled by the machine's white box glitch.
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I loved the set up, the storm, a closed group of suspects. A stylish, classic crime story scenario. It could have been great.
The problem: it was way too obvious who the bad guy is, from the minute he met Reese :(
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I think this was the worst episode so far. I hate these procedural episodes where they don't deal squat with interesting characters or the plot other than John or Finch. Frankly, this show would have been a lot more interesting if they had killed the damn cop arc.
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@El-isa, thanks for that bluescreen info. Had never noticed that before. Whether POI cast are just putting random stuff in there or it means anything...... I guess we will find out (at this stage it looks pretty random and taken from existing texts rather than something made specifically as a clue).
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It's interesting to note that the bluescreen information seems to be a mix of DOD files (interrogation techniques, project trinity) and famous novel exerpts (from Finch's library maybe?)

So maybe it's not so random after all ^^
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I'm not even sure what you are talking about and your explanation further down about how you deciphered it is beyond me. I wouldn't have a clue, but it all sounds very interesting. I'm sure its not random. Guys like Abrams and Nolan put a lot of thought into creating shows that involve and engage and I'm sure its all for a reason... not necessarily integral to anything but adding an extra layer... hmm
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Considering what a bad storm it was supposed to be it didn't stop Finch arriving in small plane and Carter and friend arriving in the nick of time. Also this storm consisted of only slightly heavy rain and no wind apparently. Very odd storm.
When Cal speeded up to 80, for whatever reason, it seemed extremly easy to stop considering how wet the road should have been. I know it sounds picky but its just sloppy. If the storm is a large part of the plot then at least be consistent. You can't say its really dangerous to drive out there and then make it seem exactly the oppposite. Oh yeah and when Reese is fighting the fisherman apart from some howling wind sound effect there seems to be no evidence of a storm at all. Bizarre.
Also not much of a whodunnit as it seemed extremely obvious to me that it had to be the FBI guy. I also mostly dislike large ensemble guest casts. Always seem so contrived
I was not a fan of this episode apparently.
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4th (and last) bluescreen - From The Project Trinity Report (1945-1946) by Carl Maag and Steve Rohrer for the U. S. Defense Nuclear Agency, Department of Defense:

"In order to prevent eye damage, Dr. Bainbridge ordered the distribution of welder's filter glass. Because it was not known exactly how the flash might affect eyesight, it was suggested that direct viewing of the fireball not be attempted even with this protection. The recommended procedure was to face away from ground zero and watch the hills or sky until the fireball illuminated the area. Then, after the initial flash had passed, one could turn around and view the fireball through the filter glass. Despite these well-publicized instructions, two participants did not take precautions. They were temporarily blinded by the intense flash but experienced no permanent vision impairment.

People as far away as Santa Fe and El Paso saw the brilliant light of the detonation. Windows rattled in the areas immediately surrounding the test site, waking sleeping ranchers and townspeople. To dispel any rumors that might compromise the security of Project TRINITY, the Government announced that an Army munitions dump had exploded. However, immediately after the destruction of Hiroshima, the Government revealed to the public what had actually occurred in the New Mexico desert.

Immediately after the shot, Medical Group personnel began the radiological monitoring activities described in section 3.1.2. At 0815, when most of the monitoring activities were completed, preparations began for entrance into the ground zero area. To regulate entry into the area, a "Going-in Board" was established, consisting of Dr. Bainbridge, the Chief of the Medical Group, and a special scientific consultant. Its purpose was to determine whether a party had a valid reason for entering the ground zero area. The board functioned for three days.

Military police at Guard Post 4 and at three roadblocks set up along Broadway controlled entry into the area. Guard Posts 3, 5, 6, and 7 were within 3,000 meters of ground zero and thus remained unmanned. At the south shelter, the Medical Group set up a "going-in" station where personnel were required to stop to put on protective clothing (coveralls, booties, caps, and cotton gloves) and pick up monitoring equipment before entering the ground zero area. Since it was not known how much radioactive material might be suspended in the air, all personnel entering the ground zero area"
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3rd bluescreen - Some interrogation techniques:

a. Nudity. The HDV's clothes are taken and he remains nude until the interrogators provide clothes to him.

b. Sleep Deprivation. The HVD is placed in the vertical shackling position to begin sleep deprivation. Other shackling procedures may be used during interrogations. The detainee is diapered for sanitary purposes, although the diaper is not used at all times.

c. Dietary manipulation. The HVD is fed Ensure Plus or other food at regular intervals. The HVD receives a target of 1500 calories per day per OMS guidelines.

3) Corrective Techniques. Techniques that require physical interaction between the interrogator and the detainee are used principally to correct, startle, or to achieve another enabling objective with the detainee. These techniques--the insult slap, abdominal slap, facial hold, and attention grasp--are not used simultaneously but are often used interchangeably during an individual interrogation session. These techniques are generally used while the detainee is subjected to the conditioning techniques outlined above (nudity, sleep deprivation, and dietary manipulation).

a. Insult Slap. The insult slap often is the first physical technique used with an HVD once an interrogation begins.

4) Coercive Techniques. Certain interrogation techniques place the detainee in more physical and psychological stress and, therefore, are considered more effective tools in persuading a resistant HVD to participate with CIA interrogators. These techniques--walling, water dousing, stress positions, wall standing, and cramped confinement--are typically not used in combination, although some combined us is possible. For example, an HVD in stress positions or wall standing can be water doused at the same time. Other combinations of these techniques may be used while the detainee is being subjected to the conditioning techniques discussed above (nudity, sleep deprivation, and dietary manipulation). Examples of coercive techniques include:

a. Walling. Walling is one of the most effective interrogation techniques because it wears down the HVD physically, heightens uncertainty in the detainee about what the interrogator may do to him, and creates a sense of dread when the HVD knows he is about to be walled again. [REDACTED] interrogator be walled one time (one impact with the wall) to make a point or twenty or thirty times consecutively when the interrogator requires a more significant response to a question. During an interrogation session that is designed to be intense, an HVD will be walled multiple times in the session. Because of the physical dynamics of walling, it is impractical, to use it simultaneously with other corrective or coercive techniques.

b. Water Dousing. The frequency and duration of water dousing applications are based on water temperature and other safety considerations as established by OMS guidelines. It is an effective interrogation technique and may be used frequently within those guidelines. The physical dynamics of water dousing are such that it can be used in combination with other corrective and coercive techniques. As noted above, an HVD in stress positions or wall standing can be water doused. Likewise, it is possible to use the insult slap or abdominal slap with an HVD during water dousing.

c. Stress Positions. The frequencv and duration of use of the stress positions are based on the interrogator's assessment of their continued effectiveness during interrogation. These techniques are usually self-limiting in that temporary muscle fatigue usually leads to the HVD

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2nd bluescreen - An excerpt from "The Waste Land" from T.S. Eliot:


What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu,
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?
"You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
They called me the hyacinth girl."
-Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Öd' und leer das Meer.

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Yeah this episode was kinda lazy but the visuals in some of the scenes were really good and after a week without POI I take what I can get ^^

Btw I started deciphering those blue screen glitches from the machine and there was some pretty cool stuff in there. There were 4 bluescreens in this episode:

1st bluescreen:
"But this last theory, plausible as it was, could not stand against inquiries made in both worlds. That a private gentleman should have such a machine at his command was not likely. Where, when, and how was it built? and how could its construction have been kept secret? Certainly a Government might possess such a destructive machine. And in these disastrous times, when the ingenuity of man has multiplied the power of weapons of war, it was posible that, without the knowledge of others, a State might try to work such a formidable engine.
But the idea of a war machine fell before the declaration of Governments. As public interest was in question, and transatlantic communications suffered, their veracity could not be
doubted. But how admit that the construction of this submarine boat had escaped the public eye? For a private gentleman to keep the secret under sucf circumstances would be very
difficult, and for a State whose every act is persistently watched by powerful rivals, certainly impossible...."

The text is an excerpt from "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne.

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how did you decipher it?
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Basically I OCRed the screenshots of the bluescreens and fed the HEX code to an ASCII translator. Before translating I had to replace the greek symbols with letters from A to F. Figuring out which symbol corresponds to which letter took some time though ^^

After that I just googled a couple of lines from the text to find out what the source was.
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As you said, not the usual awesome storyline but still plenty of one-liners. My first thought about the Machine acting weird was that somehow Root was making a move on the Machine.
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a Meh! episode but creepiness factor was high..I knew Finch was not going to be killed but that chameleon character was creepy!!..especially when he was repeating what Finch said. I got a sense that the episode was a set-up for something, (more than the machine being wonky) but couldn't put a finger into it..
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I Agee this was a let down but because this is poi I still liked it. I kind of guessed it was cagey from the get go but for the wrong reason. I almost feel like it was a appease CBS episode because we are gonna get weird. Especially if we will be focusing on the weird organization Kara worked for more than the Root and our government issue or the reemergence of hr for the rest of the season, I do hope we see more of Quinn. It might just be me but I think he might be affiliated with it even if in just a bizarro version of John.
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It was an interesting episode in one aspect. Finch's conversation with the killer. Which should have reminded us that we do not know a lot about Finch. Finch stated it very plainly to Fahey/ killer. Fahey was an amateur and Finch is a master. We learned that he erased all records of who he really is. All we have is Finch, whom he is not. And we have his name of who is was in College, again not his real name. So who is he? What are his real intentions and why did he erase his life initially. And at what point in time are we going going to know that.

Now we know he had the idea and made the machine. However he said he trusted the wrong people. Which makes me wonder if he really did. The man has contingencies on top of contingencies, aliases on top of aliases. Do we really think he didn't anticipate the governments misuse of the machine? He was already on his 2nd alias at that point.

We also know that after Nathan's death at some point he sent the Chinese that Laptop that Stanton and Reese went after. To what end? To make some sort of mutually assured destruction kind of thing between the two remaining superpowers. Both able to use the machine. And what does the group that Stanton was working for know about him. Because they had his name, and what is there intention with the virus.

Now granted the episode tried something new and different. And it was still great. But I think the questions brought up by the episode was essential to the overall mythology of the story.
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I agree - Finch's backstory is actually the most interesting part of the show by far.
I mean - getting a new identity during/after work on the Machine, I get that.
But getting a new identity before going to college? That's pretty early to start worrying about/ending up in such situations.
And the work, the backstories and deep covers he's got casually strewn all over the place (like Reese's "dayjob" during the whole "Man in the suit"-debacle a few episodes back) are truly a work of art; how deep is his earliest cover? How well did he erase himself?

There is a lot of similarities between him and Root, actually, who also "disappeared" at a very early age...
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Am I alone in thinking this episode was lacking? It felt out of place, plus I could see the "FBI Agent is the killer" reveal coming a mile away.

Episode plots do tend to get a little flimsy as they reach the finale, was I naive in thinking POI would be any different?
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So-so episode. I've rewatched it and it doesn't get better.

1) I missed Fusco.
2) Why would a storm chaser (weather) need seismographic (earthquake) equipment?
3) The deputy said that she had a nor'easter touching down. Nor'easters don't touch down. Tornadoes touch down, hurricanes make landfall, and nor'easters ride along the coast and cause problems. But, as with most people who are very familiar with a subject, I nitpick.
4) I missed Fusco. If Carter is now OK with crossing the line, do they really need Fusco? I hope so, because I missed him. (Did I say that already?)
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I agree with you in some points Tim, but I like the episode, more of the machine plot of course and the delevopment of Carter and Beecher relationship. For me the best part is the excellent dialogue between Fahey/Declan and Finch, great acting for both and the all thing about the machine give the six numbers of six dead people was a clever move to find the real killer, so this episode have great moments and weak moments, so make him a just good episode.

Plus: Reese was less badass in this episode (you can't be a badass always right?), but Carter and Beecher saving Finch at the end was great for me.
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This episode was all about role play and identity to the point that the show itself put on a mask. The focus was not the storm or the impostor, but the Machine. Is it still to be trusted or has it become like Proteus, shifting its shape? And in keeping with the metaphor of the myth, will Finch be able to hang on? I was disappointed that the reviewer missed so much detail.
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And Finch by the way is the POI original Proteus. He has plunged himself so deeply into his current role that he erased the digital footprint of his real identity (unlike Reese, who seemed relatively easy for Carter to dig up). I am looking forward to seeing this episode again.
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Anybody else think the guy who played Fahey/Declan looks like Guy Pearce? Throughout the episode, I kept noticing the resemblance and told myself how cool it would be if they were able to get Guy Pearce to play this role on POI considering the bad guy changes his identity. That'd be an awesome Count of Monte Cristo reunion and homage.

Actually, considering the Count of Monte Cristo joke they made in season one, I'm going to take the leap and think that the casting director and makeup department purposely made the character look a little like Pearce in this episode. I don't care if I'm wrong, hehe.
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I think the point was missed, this is a regular episode of Point of Interest, weekly visits of Reese shooting people int he kneecaps would get boring each week; so like last week we get treated to a different angle to how a case a told on the show. Alot of things were tackled including Carter's love interest story moving forward now that he is aware the FBI told her something about him; the whole chameleon theme turned out to be more about Finch than the actual killer. The point of the show was to reveal the depths at which Finch has gone too to make himself look weak and hide his identity. He doesn't need his glasses to see clearly as proved by the serial killer but he quickly reached for the glasses so Carter would not know he was faking not being able to see without glasses. My guess is he's like Kevin Spacey in the Usual Suspects and on the series finale he will probably start walking normal. I must say however the whole episode I kept saying to myself the killer is the FBI agent, because it's always the least likely suspect, just like in, The Usual Suspects. No complaints; this show continues to be entertaining and did not waste my hour.
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I think the reviewer left out a couple of very important notes. First an probably least important would be the superb one on one with Declan and Finch. The actor portraying the killer did an excellent job selling the chameleon schtick when he repeated Finch's line multiple times trying to get it right. That scene really lead into the most important thing the reviewer missed and that was when Declan removed Finches glasses. I may have been imagining it but when Declan was calling out Finch about being an impostor himself Finch decidedly stopped squinting, stood up straight, and, if only briefly, gave us a possible real look into exactly how Harold changes his mannerisms and maybe isn't at all like the Finch we see week to week. My big key to this is when Carter saves him and then it takes a few more minutes before Harold moves back into the Finch role by hunching down, squinting, and putting the glasses back on.

Overall, I like how the writers, now comfortable with what PoI really is, are willing to take leaps with these fun "filler" episodes and still manage to throw a few plot moving, or at the very least, character developing insights. I thought it was a terrific episode when viewing it with that in mind.
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I also liked the indication that Finch has been 'playing a character'. I wouldn't know when he started -- he acted the same back in the days with Ingram from what we saw from flashbacks -- but I do like the idea. Although I didn't notice the difference in posture that you state, I did notice and like when Declan took his glasses, Finch seemingly didn't have any vision problems and his eyes were wide open.. then when Carter showed up, he had to squint and quickly reached for his glasses, acting like he couldn't see her.
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I agree with Crushon Cavielzel, I too am short sighted and can see very clearly close up but if I look into the distance I will automatically begin to squint. This is precisley how Finch behaved when speaking to Fahey and then when Carter came onto the scene. Even though Fahey's vision would have been blurred by wearing Finch's glasses, don't forget he was beginning his serial killer 'mind shift' to take over Finch's idenity so maybe a bit of blurry vision was the least thing on his warped mind.
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As a nearsighted person myself, I didn't think it strange that Finch could see without squinting after Declan/Fahey removed his glasses. Nearsighted people don't have a problem viewing things at close range. What *did* strike me as telling was that Declan gave no indication that he was wearing prescription lenses when he put on Finch's glasses. Either Finch has very little or no visual impairment or else Declan's vision is almost the same.
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It may be that his prescription is weak enough for someone with regular sight to see through. Or they may have been bifocals/progressive lenses with no correction for distance.

When people get past a certain age almost everyone needs reading correction to see close even if they don't need correction for distance. Some people wear progressive lenses/bifocals all the time and the distance part of the lens just does no correction.
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You can tell they are subscription glasses by the distortion in the cheek line of the person who is wearing them-- present with both Finch and Declan.
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I do not think their is any prescription in the glasses at all.
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They need to get a hose with more pressure if they want to simulate a storm.
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(Ah crap I went to click on reply and I clicked on flag. Oops. Sorry.) Hah! I was thinking the same thing. Didn't seem like much of a storm. More like medium to heavy rain...
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I'm kind of mixed on this episode. On one hand, I love that the writers allow themselves to do this kind of story, once again mixing things up so that things won't get stale. And for the most part, I thought it was pretty well done overall. I think that the atmosphere was especially great, and contributed a lot to the story of being trapped with a serial killer. On the other hand, it sure as hell didn't help the story that the identity of the killer was so obvious that it took away a lot of the suspense. I did love the part where it showed the killer sneaking up behind Finch, and then Finch telling him off, saying that he did it because he enjoyed it. Also, great Lost reference by having him say that the killer would "never get off this island." Overall, definitely not one of the greatest POI episodes, but still an enjoyable story overall. Also, I'm glad to see some progress on the machine's virus story, even if it was only at the beginning and end of the episode.
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Winning quote: " Just bleed if I'm right"
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Totally. Reese's lines were delightful.
Good things in this episode (IMO):
-Finch and Reese at the cinema (with Bear!). Reese watching a Japanese film (with too many subtitles, hehe)
-The mystery surrounding Finch seems to have no end.
-Beecher and Carter's development (a bit of a boring construction, but still efficient, I'm interested in seeing where it all leads us to). Still, I would have liked to see her a bit torn deciding who to believe, wanting a bit harder to trust Cal. In spite of that, she seemed suspicious of him most of the time.
-The actor playing the FBI guy. Brilliant performance.
I never watched Lost, but I would've loved that line from Finch if i was a fan ;)
-Weird machine behaviour. The plot thickens!!
-The end: Finch can feel a real storm is approaching!
Bad things about this episode:
Fusco missing. There wasn't plot-space for him in the episode, but I always!! miss him.
Plus: I don't mind if John isn't kneecapping people all the time, Jeez, give the man a break!
Also, I wonder how much of the story was inspired by hurricane Sandy? Weren't some of the scenes filmed during the storm? Or not, perhaps that is a bit too early in the season.
Maybe not my favourite episode, all in all, I'm sure it builds up to the mythology and also, it ads glimpses as to where the story is leading us for the finale.
Now please, give us a few weeks in a row, without hiatus. Please?
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Oh, and I forgot to mention: how scary was the scene with the lights of the storm revealing Fahey behind Finch!? Nice! ;)
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Compared to the masterpiece that was the previous episode, this seemed a bit of a let down. But only compared to that. In its own right it was entertaining. A few flaws (for me)...... Harold going down to a basement alone......... Reese getting so easily overpowered by a fisherman.......... the scooby-do style almost-got-killed-but-saved-in-time moment (again) for Harold (I'm not a fan of this because its lost tension because we know he won't be killed off). The Carter / Cal storyline was potentially interesting..... but I agree with Tim - it's less interesting for us because we know nothing.

Still, POI is such a good show, this is about as good an episode as could be expected considering the run of great stories and characters we've had.
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did anyone else notice "Gotham" written on the entrace of building behind cinema in the beginning? also "18 E 12"???? Easter eggs??? Plus glitches might be deciphered, don't you think people?
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noticed but don't know the meaning....
I'm not sure how to interpret the "Gotham" and the "18 E 12"...interested in theories of the meaning(s)

Regarding other information that was/is given to us by the machine (and not by the show--i.e., numbers/colors/shapes as opposed to seeing Gotham on the building), I'm not sure what to trust since the machine has the virus (can't trust the color of the boxes).
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Why is no one talking about the 1520 hours countdown that would certainly align it with season finale? I mean if there is anything wrong with the machine, at the very least harold will get a chance to rectify it in the finale. Or, may be root will take that opportunity to corrupt it for the next whole season. It was such an important moment and still there was no mention of it in the review. I have to say, "Tim, you are slipping mate."
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He did. Two or three episodes ago.
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"If you're going to give us a rather rote story, at least give us the satisfaction of Reese putting a few rounds in the killers' legs."

I'm totally with you here. Also, Reese is being quite whiny and I miss his badass attitude, bruises, wounds, dangerous weapons in the middle of the street. I agree when they say he can't always be the hero, but it's been a while since the last time he saved the day. It's his job and I expect him to be more present than our detectives or other occasional saviours.
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I liked the episode even though murderer was obvious, but he was still played with the appropriate amount of crazy in his eyes for a serial killer who burns his victims and steals their identities. Which is a lot. The dude was terrifying.
I like your point about the Carter-Beecher stoyline. That we can't make up our minds about it but rather have to believe whatever someone tells us to.
I think in such a vast universe POI created for itself it doesn't always have to be our "hero" who puts the bad guy away. Also, it's nice to remind us that Carter is a very capable cop and she means business.
I am worried about the mashine. Poor thing is possibly ill and Root closing in on it, doesn't exactly help either.
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"That we can't make up our minds about it but rather have to believe whatever someone tells us to"
I don't see they are telling us much, are they? Just IA suspicions, so far. I don't really care if I can't make up my mind. You get to learn about things gradually in life, don't you? I like that we get to know as little about Beecher as Carter does. Maybe the idea is to let the audience believe their instincts?
Still, he needs to do a lot of good and pour a lot of charm to erase my memories of Gordon.
I agree about the actor playing the serial killer and also about other people taking action, Reese cannot be all over the place shooting and kicking, all the bloody time. Poor baby, let him breath! He's been through such a rough patch, hasn't he ;) I bet he'll soon be back to his best self!!
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The actor playing the villain was brilliant. I was surprised in the final confrontation how good he was.
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I liked the episode. Yeah, the bad guy was more than likely going to be Faux-Fahey, but it was still an interesting plot. Granted, I do wish they would've added more twists and turns to shake things up. "Was it faux-Fahey?" "No! Psych! It was the dad from The Wonder Years in an Alex Declan mask!" Or something.
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I'd say I'm in the same boat as you. The only thing I didn't like about the episode was that Fahey/Declan was the killer, because yeah, it was the obvious choice. More twists and misdirections could've made the revelation more interesting, or just had a different killer altogether. Other than that, though, I did find myself enjoying the episode.
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I thought they might have been trying to do something like that since a couple of the men on the island looked a bit similar.
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"In one sense, I expected Angela Lansbury to pop out of the woodwork and scream, "You're the murderer!" at someone."

lol Now, I'm picturing Craig Ferguson from his Murder She Wrote skit popping up and yelling, "Has there been a MURDER?!"
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Now I'm picturing Craig talking about Paul McCartney, asking for a photo of him, and seeing Angela Lansbury.
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Now, I am, too. ;)
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Not a good episode IMO and the killer was so obvious from the moment he appeared on screen
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Yeah the killer was very obvisous from the start. I also missed some twists and turns, and was hoping from the start the FBI dude wasnt the killer.. But I still liked the episode..
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heh, the set up was a classic and i liked the way they did it :D my fav scene though is the identity stealer telling Finch he's just like him and Finch calling him an amateur :D
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"my fav scene though is the identity stealer telling Finch he's just like him and Finch calling him an amateur :D"
so true!!
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This episode lack as much originality as it could. It was as if the writers said, "What else can we add to this that's already been done a million times, even in parodies?" and added that crap to the script. I can't believe this is what we get after waiting two weeks! This "Clue-board game, it was Prof. Plum who kill Col. Mustard" generic plot lacked the clean sophistication that's normally synonymous with every POI episode. With so few eps. left, I hope they have something better left up their sleeves. It's only season two.
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Writers must really love "serial murderer during disasters" combo. Bad guys can save their lady's lives too, so still undecided on Cal.
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Beecher redeemed himself at the end, but I was more than gratified when Carter got her weapon ready in the car. Beecher's "I won't let you" attitude when Carter told him she had to go to Owen's Island was overbearing and arrogant. Taking her keys? Really?? At that moment I wanted Carter to shoot him in the kneecap.
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I had been wondering how the machine would function during Blackout situations. all the staticy and Bue screens of death showed that the machine does need something....Electricity... to function properly. Not just for itself but for it's "eyes and ears"

The reveal that the "FBI agent" was the killer was brilliant, or would have been in a show that doesn't have the reputation that POI has, since he was introduced in the story as the FBI agent Fahey through his call from Carter.

Reese's look when he returned from the docks and found Harold in custody was priceless. He's learning not to underestimate his Employer/Friend.
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I don't think the Machine is in New York, or even on the East Coast. It was loaded onto a train and moved (Bad Code). You are right about the ears and eyes.
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if the episode started by killing character one by one .. it would be more like agatha christie's mystery novel and there were none ..

because of the relatable weather and theme .. " stranded in an island with a stormy weather "
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yea, i was kinda getting an agatha christie vibe the whole episode, and that was prolly done on purpose by the writers
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ah, but if this was agatha christie, the killer would not have been so easy to spot!
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Ha! I was also expecting something like 'Ten Little Indians' :)
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It might have not been a "classic" PoI episode, but I really loved the whole spooky atmosphere, the "whodunnit" plot, and, most importantly, Finch! OMG this wasn't Harold, this was 100% Benjamin Linus...
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I LOVED this episode. LOVED LOVED...

1. Bear, John and Harold all going to the movies was so cute and funny.
2. I also liked how at the end of the show they said that for the next little while the machine and the stories may not be acting the way we expected, you have to give props to a show that is willing to say that the premiss behind the show might change. Especially considering it is only half way through the second season.
3. I liked that John was not the one two take down the bad guy, it reminds us that is show is not just about John but about Harold, Carter, Fusco, Bear etc.
4. I loved the information we found out about Harold in this episode. Although it does make us realize just how little we now about him
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A really weak filler epsiode. There wasn't enough going on to hold the interest and these standalones are boring and predictable. The little nuggets about the machine were nowhere near enough.
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