Entertainment Magazine

Review #3784: Person of Interest 2.4: “Triggerman”

Posted on the 02 November 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Edmund B.

Written by Erik Mountain
Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

Early last season, Reese went undercover with an ex-military burglary ring in “Mission Creep,” an episode that used his empathy for his fellow soldiers to crack Reese’s cold facade. It also introduced the then-shadowy figure of Elias. “Triggerman” serves a similar function for season two, only now it pulls back the curtain on possible friction between Reese and Finch. It also re-introduces Elias, who makes a intriguing proposal that may cost Finch far more than he intended.

Review #3784: Person of Interest 2.4: “Triggerman”

This episode’s number belongs to Riley Cavanaugh, an enforcer and hitman for George Massey, a low-level Irish gangster. It’s been awhile since they’ve had a number whose status is ambiguous between victim or perp. The shift from Riley targeting to protecting his secret lover, Annie, brings up all sorts of memories for Reese. Finch rescued him from a similar life, and one that devolved after he decided to give up the woman he loved. He is determined to give Riley the shot he passed on.

The fly in the ointment is Finch, who is much more stubborn about Riley’s capacity for change. He keeps insisting Riley’s crimes absolve them from acting on his behalf. This is puzzling, especially given Finch’s rehab of Reese, until his frustration causes him to mutter that Riley’s “bad code”. Finch shares far more of Root’s outlook than he’s willing to admit.

That susceptibility could prove costly down the road, especially with the access to his thinking Finch has granted to Elias. When we first met Elias in “Witness”, I compared the action to moves on a chessboard. I wonder what insights into his opponent Elias is going to gain from their actual games of chess. Of course, Finch could learn something about him, but Elias is the shrewder manipulator, and most likely to benefit.

Interestingly, the Machine would appear to be on Reese’s side of this debate. If guarding Annie was all that was needed, her number would have come up. Instead, Reese is brought in to protect her protector, giving Riley the cover he needs to complete his journey. In the end, just as John did, Riley realizes he has to let her go to ensure her safety. But he never gets to that moment of catharsis without the Machine’s intervention.

While the implications of the case are intriguing, the procedural side is pretty workman-like. Detective Szymanski, having survived his shooting last season, works his organized crime beat with Carter. His return may herald a potential obstacle, or, more likely, ally, down the road when Elias makes his big move. Fusco puts in time at Massey’s bar, being the breed of generous barfly I wish I’d run into during my recent visit to New York.

Once again, a standard case-of-the-week yields intriguing background on our main players. There is a tug-of-war starting between notions of nature vs. nurture. Having experienced it personally, Reese is becoming more committed to the redemptive potential of what they do. Finch is toying with the notion that people are fixed, immutable points. His attempts to walk it back at the end of the episode are not completely convincing, and may be sowing the seeds of internal conflict to come.

Acting: 2/2
Writing: 2/2
Directing: 2/2
Style: 2/4

Total Score: 8/10

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