Entertainment Magazine

Review #3070: Person of Interest 1.4: “Cure Te Ipsum”

Posted on the 18 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Edmund B.

After a stumble in the previous episode, “Person of Interest” returned to its upward trend with “Cure Te Ipsum”. The episode title is the Latin phrase from the Vulgate Bible, commonly translated as “Physician, heal thyself”. Knowing that does give the viewer a leg up on the action to come, but the specifics of the story were easy enough to follow, or even anticipate, without it. What distinguished the episode was the way it used the case to delve further into the characters, and some thorny philosophical questions besides.

Review #3070: Person of Interest 1.4: “Cure Te Ipsum”

The show opens with Finch using his disability, and need for a prescription refill, to initiate the surveillance on this episode’s number, Dr. Megan Tillman. It’s good to see both members of the team sharing the work, especially where Finch is obviously better suited to the situation. There’s been a nice progression from the second episode, where an inappropriate division of labor almost got their charge killed, as Finch and Reese work the kinks out of their partnership.

The hard-working, personable doctor turns out to have a double life, trawling up-scale singles bars after working her double shifts. She has attracted the attention of an investment banker, Andrew William Benton. Benton’s past record, and possession of the date rape drug, soon identify him as a long-time, oft-accused, but never prosecuted sexual predator. The team assumes the good doctor is his next target, a conclusion belied by her utter indifference to companionship. This was not a case of turning tricks, or otherwise feeding a sex addiction. I found it endearingly naïve when the team discovered, to their surprise, that she was stalking him. With Reese such a straight-ahead thinker, and Finch a sheltered IT geek, it makes sense that they would miss some of the clues along the way.

While I hope the team does become more discerning, this was all just the set-up for an exploration of revenge vs. rehabilitation. Dr. Tillman’s sister was one of Benton’s victims while at university, and later committed suicide. She has meticulously plotted out Benton’s murder, and the team scrambles to turn her best-laid plans awry. It was refreshing to hear them acknowledge she’d planned it well enough to not get caught. A welcome change from the usual trope of an amateur, however intelligent, always forgetting something. The doctor thinks revenge is the way to heal herself. The team knows they must stop her before she kills part of herself.

Reese, as the resident expert on what killing does to your soul, takes the lead here. His conversation with the doctor at her support group was more affecting and revealing of his internal damage than anything in the prior Reese-centered episode. This episode did more to shift my opinion of Jim Caviezel’s talents than any to date, especially in the climax, which we’ll come to shortly.

First, however, the team’s plans are complicated by Reese’s continued dealings with his corrupt cop plaything, Detective Fusco. There has been more than a veneer of condescension in Reese’s attitude here. The cavalier way he dismisses Fusco’s problems with the drug cartel, then muscles in on them in his ill-conceived attempt to frame Benton was shocking. It also reinforced his naiveté, not considering that a man with Benton’s connections would have little trouble slipping out of a trumped-up drug charge. I hope they’re building Reese up for a fall from this mountain of reckless bravado. I certainly think his attempt to short-circuit Detective Carter’s investigations by placing Fusco at her side may not turn out as he expects.
Reese finally gets back to the mission, after slipping out of the cartel’s clutches. His now trademark super-soldiering in his escape was nicely tempered by some mind games. It’s realistic that he could gain a momentary physical advantage, not that he could maintain it without planting seeds of doubt in his captors’ heads. He catches up with Dr. Tillman, now with a drugged Benton in tow, and throws some real surprises our way.

First, he directly approaches her in a Long Island diner. Then, he completely breaks cover, to try and persuade her of the folly of what she’s attempting. After another heartfelt exchange, which amply expands on their previous conversation, he convinces her to let him take Benton for “a talk”.

What results is the finest scene in the show so far. Reese and Benton face off across a kitchen table, in the house the doctor had prepared for his death. All they exchange are words and looks, but Benton is clearly fighting for his life, while Reese is trying to decide if he has any choice but to kill him. The polar opposites of rehabilitation vs. incorrigible character reverberate throughout the scene. It’s riveting stuff, and then they make the bold choice to end it with resolution. Personally, given that Benton has always gotten away with it, I think a gunshot does ring out just after the fade to black. But, for exactly the same reasons, Benton may have convinced Reese to make a choice he will learn to regret. Either way, it adds up to the most compelling episode yet.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 3/4

Final Rating: 9/10

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