This week on Person of Interest, Reese cracked that he was late to work because he had yoga class. I'm guessing his idea of yoga is furrowing his brow to some Enya. It was the only really good line in "Flesh and Blood," an episode that abandoned tongue-in-cheek camp for SERIOUSNESS. This episode was more serious than heartburn.
With the season coming to a close in just a few more episodes (by my count, there are four left), all the shadowy organizations we've been following are starting to step out into the light. It still amazes me that a serial drama this complex is airing on CBS. CBS! But here we have Team Reese and Finch, Team Elias, Team HR, Team Snow, Team Non-Dirty Cops (population: maybe one or two), and Team Other Mob Bosses all weaving back and forth into each other, and "Flesh and Blood" did a great job of showing that.
Person of Interest has found good ways to keep the computer-number plot thing going even for strong mythology episodes, and this week NumberTron3000 spat out the socials of five of the city's biggest mob bosses. It didn't take Finch and Reese long to figure out what was going on: Elias wanted them to have a slumber party with the fishes so he could unite all the crime families and run things like they need to be run. And what made this episode work (and also what made it a teensy-tiny bit corny, which is nothing new for this show) was a series of flashbacks to Elias's past. Flashbacks of Elias! Backstory time!
There isn't much better motivation for a kid to want revenge than coming into the world as a result of a dirty mob boss banging some broad. Moretti, Elias's deadbeat mobster dad, took things a step further by killing the mom when Elias was just four years old. That inspired Elias to spend his teenage years trying to get closer to his dad by going dirty and joining his gang. But bastard sons are a bit of a downer, and Moretti had some goons take young Elias to the woods to kill him. Yikes—talk about a set-up for an awkward Father's Day. Now we know why Elias is so determined to get back at Moretti, and how his daddy issues turned him into a ruthless mobster bent on controlling the city. And you know what? I don't blame him. Elias even had a point when he told Reese that things would be better off with Elias in control. Organized crime is going to exist in New York City no matter what, so it may as well be organized organized crime.
The bulk of "Flesh and Blood" involved Carter playing good cop and protecting some slimebag mob bosses while Elias tried to take 'em out. Further complicating matters was the stink of corruption coming off all the cops who should've been helping Carter. And just to make those complicated matters even more complex-icated, Elias kidnapped Carter's son. Meanwhile, Reese and Finch were running around trying to stop Elias, help Carter, save the mob bosses, rescue Carter's son, and get the corrupt cops to turn against their temporary employer Elias. There was a lot going on.
But in the end, guns teamed up with Reese and whenever that happens, bad guys get shot and the closest thing we have to good guys win. Kneecapping a bad guy through a door to an UNKLE song? Yup. Badass. Elias even got caught and thrown in the slammer, but not before he made a phone call and blew up Moretti in a car. Elias's reach is deep, yo! Even in an orange jumpsuit he's in control and calling the shots. I'm guessing he'll be out of prison before some white supremacist con can steal his fruit cocktail.
Things are now both clearer and murkier. We understand the motivations of individual parties a lot better. And though Elias's attempt at killing didn't go exactly according to plan, it was quite successful...and control of the city and allegiances remain in doubt. The strength of "Flesh and Blood" was the story it told, even if there was room for improvement in the execution. Some of the acting and dialogue was iffy, and the amount of plot crammed into one episode led to some fairly direct—and questionable—courses of action. Maybe I just like this show better when Reese is pulling grenades out of a baby's mouth.
Notes... of Interest!
– The episode tried to tease that Fusco might turn on Carter and go back to being a dirty cop, but come on! Did anyone even think he would?
– "Tall guy in a suit. Likes shooting people in the kneecaps." I think I know who he's talking about!
– Did anyone else find it odd that Carter and Reese both had the same plan when trying to save the mob bosses at the start? And that plan was walk up to them and say, "Yo mob boss! Come with me!" Not the most subtle tactic.
– Reese is fairly confident he won't get shot in the face. Loved how he took a bullet in the vest and barely flinched. Tough guy!
– I'm gonna be honest with you: I'm okay with Elias taking over crime in the city. He makes a lot of sense and those other mob bosses are just making a mess.
– Plenty of guns and explosions this week. Not gonna complain about that.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom