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Person of Interest S03E09: "The Crossing"

Pardon my language, but how the fuck am I supposed to review that? I mean, how do I do it justice? Seriously, I bow down before this show. What an episode! 

Joss Carter is dead. And even though we were all expecting a major character to die in "The Crossing," it was still a total shock. She died in the very last seconds of the episode, in Reese's arms, after Simmons got her right in the chest. She died after getting re-promoted to detective. She died after taking down 98 percent of HR and a bunch of street scrum in the process. A hero did indeed fall.

I'm too in awe of the moon-sized balls on Person of Interest to be sad about anything, though. My emotions after watching "The Crossing" go like this, in order:

  • Amazed
  • Impressed
  • Shocked
  • Sad

Sad all the way down in fourth place! I mean sure, I love Joss and Taraji, especially this season. But when you look at how much better Person of Interest is from her death, it's immeasurable. Ironically, it's through death that the show has so much vitality. Person of Interest was always a little different and wily from the rest of network television, but now It's entirely unpredictable. And because we gobble up shows like french fries we think we're accustomed to the way television works. It's mold-breaking episodes like "The Crossing" that keep me excited about television and the new style of storytelling that several shows are adopting. But events like this are usually reserved for cable. Killing a major character in the middle of the season just doesn't happen on network television, and this never happens on CBS without it being part of an actor's contract dispute or an actor ready to move on to bigger and better things. This is why we all watch Person of Interest.

That said, halfway through the episode I totally called Joss dying! But if I'm being honest, throughout "The Crossing" I also legitimately thought every single main character was going to die so I couldn't be wrong, I just couldn't be entirely right. I actually thought to myself, "Well if Finch dies, they could use Root as their connection to The Machine. I mean all he does is tap on the keyboard. But hey! Reese could die too, and then Finch could pick up another cronie like Root hinted at." These thoughts actually went through my mind! But that's part of the mastery of the episode. Even though I knew the writers were intentionally showering us with misdirections, I gladly fell for each and every one of them. That was all part of the fun.

And admit it, even though one of our favorites kicked it, this episode was fun. You loved looking through your fingers and feeling your heart pounding at the relentless pace of the episode as Reese, Carter, and Fusco ran into obstacle after obstacle. You loved knowing that someone was going to die but not knowing who it was. You loved that double-edged feeling of relief and fear when Fusco, who was the most likely target of the Grim Reaper and the subject of doom in promotional material for "The Crossing," broke his thumb and then his bonds to escape death, only to leave you wondering, "OH GOD IF IT'S NOT HIM THEN WHO IS IT?" I had an uneasy feeling for the entire hour and loved every turn and tightening in my tummy. As well as Person of Interest serves character, and I love every single character in this show, it serves its audience even more. It looks out for our interests more than anything else. Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman are making the show they think we want to see, and that's awfully kind of them. It's their ability to see the series from our side of the screen that makes it so great. They're doing this for us. We should all chip in for a gift basket of scented oils and bath soaps. 

Some of you will be mad that Person of Interest killed off Carter, and that's okay. In fact, having those feelings shows that you are a healthy human being and you don't need to go to the doctor. If you weren't slightly upset about her death, then you need to go to the emotion store and say, "I'll have one of everything!" I just hope you see that Carter's death is GREAT for the long run of this show. And it looks like it will pay off immediately, too. Remember, this is only part two of a three-episode arc. Did you see the promo for next week? Holy macaroni, take a look!

YES! YES! YES! When have we ever seen Reese look like that? Something tells me he'll be aiming slightly higher than the leg when he goes shooting up the remaining pieces of HR in "The Devil's Share."

Just as shocking as Carter's death was her kiss with Reese. Several of you have already said this and I agree with you: It was a strong indicator that she wasn't going to make it. Reese can't have no girlfriend! That was like the kiss of death for Carter. But I didn't see it as a romantic kiss, I saw it more as a "Thanks babe, here's your prize!" kiss for being the one to set him on the right path. It was almost like a kiss from God or from Jesus, a blessing to the one who saved him. It was a remarkably sweet gesture, without feeling like it meant much more than that. Imagine if Carter lived and they pursued a romantic relationship! No thanks! Maybe it's good Carter's dead, because I would not be able to watch a single episode of Reese making Carter an omelet in the morning. 

I did have one problem with the episode, though. Of course I had a problem, otherwise I wouldn't be picky me. It was with the actual murder of Carter. Simmons just popped out of the shadows and said, "Time's up, I told you I'd end you!" Then he fired off a few shots that caught John, and ultimately fatally struck Carter. That was a bit cheap horror movie style, wasn't it? The old "Everything is going to be okay!" and then KABLAMMO "Oh no it's isn't!" It didn't feel like the most graceful way to send off Carter. That's it. That's the only negative thing I have to say about the episode. 

I don't think "The Crossing" was the best episode of Person of Interest, but it belongs up in that top shelf that make this one of the best network television shows out there and more proof that it's willing to buck the trends of its more traditional neighbors on CBS. I'll probably feel the sadness of Joss' loss with her presence noticeable missing from upcoming episodes, but for now, I'm going to ride the high of a show that continues to amaze, impress, and shock me.


– I don't want to explicitly say that Carter was the right person to kill off in this episode, but I totally understand it. She had become so linked to HR that once that case was wrapped up, she'd have to be completely reset. Plus, there was some redundancy between her and Fusco, with both of them being cops. And it pains me to say it, but the promotions of Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi probably didn't help Carter's chances, either. 

– Fusco to Shaw: "You know the dog is the only one who likes you, right?" Their mini-arc of friendship was fantastic. Shaw telling Fusco that she had to make a choice to save him or his son was heartbreaking. Our little robot is really starting to show some emotion. 

– So how many guys did Finch go through before Reese, as Root implied? Finch seemed shaken by that comment. Is there truth to that? Should that change how we feel about Finch, or is that just part of his business? He's got Reese now, and that's what counts. Maybe some of Finch's old partners are out there somewhere, and maybe they have a sour relationship that will come back to haunt Finch. I'd be okay with that. 

– I REALLY thought that Finch was going to be forced to release Root in order to have her talk to the Machine to find Reese. But he didn't let her go. That showed a lot of character on his part. And it showed how important he feels it is to keep her locked up. 

– Simmons has really elevated himself up to tier-one bad-guy status in the last few episodes. He's always been around as the link to HR higher ups, but in the last episode and this episode, he was downright nasty. His little fortune cookie monologue to Fusco was chilling. I will savor every scream of pain that dribbles out of his mouth as Reese tears him to shreds. 

– Fusco was a bulldog in that chair. I haven't seen anyone hold up that well under torture since Constable Bob in last season of Justified.

– Did we know that Reese was going to kill himself or was that new information?

– What kind of woman takes a microwaved pizza pocket out of a guy's hand and replaces it with a live grenade?! That may be the meanest thing Shaw has ever done. I don't know what the point of that scene was with regard to the overall story, but it will still entertaining. 

– This interview with Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman at Entertainment Weekly is worth a read.

– I know that the writers and producers of Person of Interest sometimes read reviews online, and if they should happen to come across my humble ramblings, I just want to let them know that they made the right choice. It wasn't an easy choice, but it was the right one. Keep it up, guys and gals. Just leave Bear alone.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/5/2015

Season 4 : Episode 22

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