Entertainment Magazine

Review #3290: Person of Interest 1.14: “Wolf and Cub”

Posted on the 14 February 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Edmund B.

After updating ’70s paranoia, “Person of Interest” continues its stealth film history course. This time, they take on Japanese samurai movies with “Wolf and Cub.” The title is the first clue: “Lone Wolf and Cub” is an influential and much-adapted samurai manga. But, in case that isn’t enough, when Reese arrives at the deserted apartment of the teenager the Machine has served up, a poster of Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” is prominently placed in the background. Once Reese tracks down Darren, and prevents him from shooting one of the thugs who killed his brother, the classic interplay of sensei and student can begin.

Review #3290: Person of Interest 1.14: “Wolf and Cub”

While the story is a familiar one, a kid from the projects with potential gets caught in the spiral of retribution and criminality, it allows the writers to highlight Reese’s compassionate, even playful side. He clearly enjoys taking Darren under his wing, and having the opportunity to share his craft (and show off a bit, too.) Darren shows his genre chops, calling Reese ‘Ronin’, the leaderless samurai (and another adapted comic, this time from Frank Miller.)

The gang members hang out at the local comic shop, which ramps up the subtext even further. There is talk of heroes with no superpowers dispensing justice, which continues the coy, comparative dance between Reese and the Caped Crusader. It even provides Reese with a teaching moment or two, as he strives to show Darren that, while he has killed, it’s not the only solution. He makes creative use of a blowtorch, as a non-violent torture device. He also goes to his ‘Plan B’ bag, with the ‘B’ standing for beanbag rounds, to take down the comic store owner who turns out to be the Kingpin.

The integration of Carter into the team feels complete now, although I wonder how much longer they can keep her and Fusco in the dark about each other. Reese’s dismissive reassurances to Fusco are starting to sound like a broken record that might just jump the groove. The corrupt element of the force pops up again, providing selective protection to the kingpin. With Carter and Fusco on board, there is a better us-vs-them dynamic on the police side of the ledger. Even if the ‘Us’ side don’t realize they’re on the same team, yet.

While Reese is taking in Darren, Finch is doing his best to put off Will, his late partner, Nate’s, son. Will has found a reference to the Machine, along with the champagne cork we saw popped in “Super”. Also, he has tracked down Alicia Corwin, the Washington liaison introduced in that episode. That yields a few more clues for the viewers, if not for Will, as she maintains the cover-up of the Machine.

Moving to the West Virginia town with no cell-phone or internet service makes sense, given what she knows about the Machine. More intriguing is her befuddlement, then outright panic, at the mention of Dad’s best friend, “Harold”. We know Finch preferred to stay behind-the-scenes. He was waved off as inconsequential tech support when they crossed paths in 2005. Alicia’s reaction hints at more sinister goings-on since then. It is also clear that Finch’s interest in Will was more about protecting the secret, than any genuine feelings he had, another telling reveal.

As we’ve come to expect, the case itself comes to a predictable, and satisfying, close. Darren is back on track. Fusco shows some surprising, if painful, bravery, earning Darren’s respect along the way. And then, as we’ve come to expect more recently, the worm turns at the end. Reese’s digging into Finch’s past has finally caught the eye of the Machine. We know Reese will be a much more formidable quarry than Nate. However, if asked to choose between him and the Machine, which side Finch will fall on is an open question.

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

Total: 8/10

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