Person of Interest – Point of Origin Review
Point of Origin suffers from being an episode whose primary purpose is to establish the basis for things to come. That doesn’t make it a bad episode. In fact, it’s an impressively strong one that offers a few decent character moments for Reese, who has sorta been sidelined quite a bit since the season premiere. Due to the fact that he is currently under investigation by IA because of his overly exuberant trigger finger, Reese has taken up the role of an instructor at the police academy where he can keep an eye on Point of Origin’s number, a cadet who is eventually revealed to be a police officer investigating her fellow cadets in order to locate a mole. If I’ve had one complaint against the show this season it is that there are very few cases that don’t tie back to either the Brotherhood or Samaritan. Fortunately, Point of Origin proves to be stronger than most of the other Brotherhood-centric plotlines so far, such as Pretenders or Brotherhood itself. Still, the mole investigation isn’t really set up to be engrossing, and pretty much anyone can guess who the mole is at a glance. As the name implies, this episode is more concerned with pulling the trigger on various plot elements than actually seeing them play out in full, such as having Reese run into his psychiatrist at the academy on two separate occasions. While I don’t mind seeing her again, her relevance to the episode is questionable as she only really appears in order to remind the audience that she is still around. I suspect that she will probably come up in the next episode, and the show simply wanted to establish that he is still seeing her. That being said there are a number of other elements at play in this episode that feel primarily like setup for the next episode, and Reese’s psychiatrist is arguably the most minor of those plot threads.
Point of Origin also picks up where last week’s episode left off with Samaritan trying to recover security footage of Shaw. With Samaritan unable to recognize its target, Greer calls upon the blond agent played by Cara Buono who was previously seen in both Panopticon and Prophets to try and locate Shaw via her criminal contacts since she was with Tomas in the footage. The agent follows the trail of relationships to Romeo and, with some high velocity negotiation tactics, acquires his phone and attempts to use the dating app to locate Shaw. The episode ends with the agent locating Shaw at her day job and seemingly moving in for the kill. I actually have a few issues with this plotline. They aren’t too significant, but they are distracting. First of all, wouldn’t Greer recognize Shaw from that photo? Sure it has some digital artifacts but he knows what she looks like. I’d think he’d put two and two together. Also, how did the agent know to go to the mall? Did Samaritan tell her to go there? That was a slightly peculiar plot jump that could have used some explanation. It feels as if there might have been some logistical handwaving to try and get Shaw and the agent into that standoff as quickly as possible.
I should talk a bit more about the mole story. The Brotherhood’s purpose in having a mole at the academy is so that they can gain access to certain police files, using the city’s bloated bureaucracy to their advantage by targeting the academy systems as opposed to the police department itself. The info that Dominic steals turns out to be all the information that the NYPD had collected on Elias. This culminates in another big reveal for the end of the episode, namely that Elias is their new number. While this does get me excited for the next episode, it also really makes me want to see Elias sitting and having a drink with Leon Tao as part of some sort of recurring numbers club.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- I didn’t recognize Cara Buono during her previous appearances. I remember her character from Mad Men, but it has been a while.
- Finch really doesn’t get to do much in this episode. He’s largely relegated to the role of tech support, and Root is MIA.
- Finch and Shaw also discover Mini’s true identity as DoMINIc. This doesn’t really come into play much in this episode, but it is probably best to get the characters caught up on that front before the Brotherhood goes into outright war with Elias.
Point of Origin is a decent episode that does it’s job effectively, but isn’t particularly notable on its own since it is primarily set up. It gets all its pieces into place for an exciting episode, and even turns in a serviceable, albeit slightly neglected, mystery of its own. Here is hoping that the next episode effectively capitalizes on the placement of those pieces.
Point of Origin is a great episode that will probably be completely overshadowed by its successor, regardless of that episode's actual quality, simply because Point of Origin is all set up. The pay off comes later.