“Person of Interest:” Ghosts Review

By: Jordan Magrath

In the second installment of CBS’s “Person of Interest,” the story becomes a little more interesting, and more question marks start to pop up involving the Mr. Finch’s mysterious machine.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll certainly repeat it here, but as the ambitious child of J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan, “Person of Interest,” deserves the viewers attention for some time, regardless of the glaring problems presently within the show.

Starting with some good, I will say that the newest installment (titled “Ghosts”) pushed to the forefront the show’s true intentions (or at least what I think they are).  The show is entwined in present-day Post-9/11, spy-happy America.  The style (even more than the writing) focuses on showing various voyeuristic shots of New York City, making the show (and the audience) feel like they are watching or possibly being watched.  With the famous Patriot Act came this concept of losing our privacy.  And there’s really no better way to show this then by having your Social Security number being spit out of a machine for some random guy to either save or bring you to justice.

“Ghosts” continued to show the development of both the main characters, although only one of them seems interesting, at this point.

Starting with the uninteresting character, John Reese (Jim Caviezel) finds himself looking for a “ghost,” in Teresa Whitiker, who was believed to have died with the rest of family two years before.  Since dead people shouldn’t show up on the Machine (I still hate this name), Reese must find Teresa, and save her.  The story itself is pretty complex, especially for a show that has about 45 minutes of airtime to play out.

This could be the biggest downfall of the show itself.  The formula of one case per episode could help keep people straight from episode to episode, but I appreciate shows that have a storyline without.  It’s becoming obvious that from episode to episode, there won’t be much crossover, at least when it comes to the Social Security number.  I’d love to seem some connections between the cases, which I think would help ratchet up the narrative a bit.

With all that being said, there is also an obvious storyline that will go from episode-to-episode across the season.  This also will be following the more interesting to watch character, Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson).  Throughout “Ghosts,” it Abrams-ly flips back and forth between present and past (no future yet), showing a little history behind both the character and the device.  Like the idea of being spied on, the machine’s roots are deeply engrained in the post-9/11 culture of both New York City and the United States of America.  It’s fun and most importantly, relevant.  Mr. Finch’s history is also interesting, but mostly because of the mysteriousness of it.  He seems trustworthy on the outside, but his secretive nature and seeming unwillingness to get close in his relationship with Reese makes for a much less generic backstory.  This is the story I want to see pan out more as the episodes continue.

Back to Reese a bit, I wrote briefly last week about the show’s CBS-like feel, and felt this week unfortunately continued that trend.  I think that Caviezel’s lines were too CSI-esque, and I can’t help but cringe at his over dramatically fluffy lines.  He just doesn’t seem like he’s saying the lines genuinely.  The awful score behind his overdone dialogue isn’t helping either.  I’m not sure whose to blame for this, but I’d like to see the score toned down a bit.

Perhaps I’m still being a little rough on the show, but I think I’ve continued to place some praise within.  I do think the season built on itself (which is certainly a plus), and it continued to introduce minor characters (especially in the past) that could contribute to the overall point behind “Person of Interest,” which seems to have slowly been introduced after two pretty good episodes.

I’ll keep watching, that’s for sure.

Rating: B

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