The first couple of episodes of this season of course set about resolving the cliffhanger from the previous season and also (although the viewer wouldn’t know it at the time) setting up elements that would run through this season.
There are formulas to these sorts of shows. One of them is the slow build over the course of the season (with perhaps a mini-cliffhanger at the half-way point). So what happens (and it’s far from unique to this show) is after the cliffhanger resolution there’s a sort of slump into routine. Watched weekly I don’t think it’s that noticeable but watching two season almost back to back the pacing stands out.
That’s exactly what happens here. In the first half of the season we see a return to the core concept of the show with the background plots gradually creeping in. Half-way we get an interesting change of pace with Reese (Jim Caviezel) imprisoned that gives the other characters a bit more time to shine.
Which is good, because while they have decided to expand Reese’s emotional range all the way from impassive, but slightly annoyed to impassive but maybe happy he really doesn’t have much of a character arc and remains the most boring of the bunch. As a mechanic he’s essential to the show, but he just doesn’t drive storylines in interesting ways.
Carter and Finch (Michael Emerson) are far more emotionally resonant as is Fusco when they let him expand beyond the comedy role he often fills. Reese works best when playing against others. Which is why the inclusion of a new character in the form of Samantha Shaw, an agent who may well be better than Reese really perked up the later episodes of the season.
Finch’s interactions with Root (Amy Acker) do not fare as well. Which is unfortunate because they are part of a major subplot this season. I like both the characters individually, but together they just don’t seem to spark.
One interesting development this season is the idea of the computer as a character. I’m a bit mixed on that one. The original concept while a stretch wasn’t completely out there. But now they are positing a fully functioning artificial intelligence with unlimited knowledge. That seems a little outside the scope of a show like this.
In my review of season one I noted that the show is wrapped in layers of paranoia and that is still very much the case. It revels in them. Everyone has secrets, everyone has allegiances. Some have multiple allegiances. There are conspiracies and shadow organizations everywhere.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. It does make a great background for the show and yet I am oh so tired of the conspiracy theorists and this almost feels like playing to them.
Still Person of Interest is still doing what it sets out to do, which is provide escapist entertainment for an hour each week. The characters (Reese aside) are compelling and interesting. Reese does beat people up in amusing ways on a regular basis so it’s not like he’s all bad. And after two seasons they’be built up a nice line in recurring characters as well to deepen the universe they play in.