Person of Interest – Wingman Review
Wingman is a shockingly good episode, given its premise. It may not be quite on the level of Nautilus but, given that it is about a pick-up artist and professional wingman, it comes surprisingly close. It’s a decent episode for Fusco, and offers some interesting character moments for most of the cast. Person of Interest generally isn’t the show that I’d go to, for a light and silly procedural episode, but, all things considered, they did a decent job with it.
The problems with the episode are not plentiful, but they are pretty straightforward. Its plot is cluttered and there are a number of instances where a bit more subtlety would have been appreciated. The A-plot focuses on Fusco as he is tasked with following this week’s number, a former stevedore turned professional wingman. Fusco hasn’t had too much to do these past two week so it’s nice to have an episode centered around him. He gets a few good quips, and while his initial back and forth with the number, Andre, feels a bit irritating, by the end of the episode, it’s reached the point of working well enough. Meanwhile, Reese is trying to get used to working within the confines of the law, or, at least, pretending to do so in a convincing manner. This involves him trying to avoid public shootouts and attempting to maintain a good working relationship with his new captain, played by Monique Curnen who is probably best known for playing Detective Ramirez in The Dark Knight. Their chemistry works well, and watching as Reese gets used to following protocol can be pretty funny. Finally, we have Harold and Root who spend much of the episode following a small scavenger hunt that was set up by the Machine. It’s nice to see Root taking part in the episode and not just showing up to offer advice. This storyline is probably the most neglected, but it is salvaged by some great acting by Michael Emerson as Harold is forced to take on the persona of an enigmatic arms dealer.
As you can probably tell from that brief overview, this episode has a lot of irons in the fire, and while none of the stories are particularly weak, they do have a habit of stepping on each other’s toes, and spilling their drinks on another plot’s dress just as they were getting some chemistry going. Fusco’s plot finds a decent balance of playing it’s plot straight and committing to the cheesiness, though it’s far from perfect. The scene where Fusco actually meets Andre for the first time is one of the more uneven scenes due, in part, to the fact that Andre treats Fusco as if he was Quasimodo, and due to the fact that it was set to the song “Whatta Man.” I can see the marketing now. Buy the Greatest Hits Soundtrack from Person of Interest featuring tracks like Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” Radiohead’s “Exit Music (for a Film),” and Salt-n-Pepa’s “Whatta Man.”
All and all this is a fun little episode, and not really much more. If you’re looking for an episode with subtext and intrigue… this isn’t it. But it gives Fusco a chance to do something, and the rest of the cast get to have a bit of fun as well. It serves as a nice breather, but hopefully next weeks episode will offer something a bit more weighty.
Before I wrap up a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Shaw gets relatively little to do this week, aside from a pretty good fight in a hallway. She does get a few good sarcastic lines in as she tails Fusco.
- Fusco and Reese have a good conversation about the merits of sticking to the rules. In a sense, it’s nothing that the show hasn’t covered before with Fusco’s character, most notably in The Devil’s Share, but it’s nice to occasionally see how important he considers his responsibilities to be.
- The look on Finch’s face when Root suggest that they go on a “scavenger hunt” is perfect, given last week’s events.
- Jim Caviezel has a great deadpan delivery as he tries to explain to people that shooting a perp in the leg because it is hot is completely reasonable.
- At some point in this season, someone in the police department has to recognize Reese as being “the man in the suit.”
- “What will we do with the missile?” “…I’m sure we’ll think of something.” Person of Interest, you know exactly what to say to pull at my heartstrings.
No one is going to argue that Wingman is bound to be a Person of Interest classic, but it still succeeds in being shockingly enjoyable, despite a number of issues. It provides a nice break from the intrigue and layered plotting of the previous two episode, and even overcomes the fact that the it is clearly based around the gimmick of giving Fusco dating advice.
I was torn on the rating for this one. The episode is cluttered and slightly unpolished, but it ultimately succeeds on the merits of its often deadpan humor and strong characters.