Person of Interest – M.I.A. Review
M.I.A. is an episode that leaves me feeling a tad frustrated. Strictly speaking, there is nothing particularly wrong with it, but I can’t shake the sense that Person of Interest is just shuffling its feet and waiting for the opportunity to start building up to its season finale. The reason for this perspective largely comes from the fact that much of the episode follows Reese and Root as they try to follow Shaw’s trail. The problem there is that much of this search process ultimately feels superfluous as far as it relates to the overarching story and the answers that they receive are rather limited. Even though the viewing audience is finally given some answers, after four weeks of waiting M.I.A. ends up feeling less than informative.
Reese and Root track the refrigerated truck from the end of Control-Alt-Delete to the small town of Maple, New York. With only two ways into and out of the town, Maple is an isolated small town that is built around the local manufacturing plant, and, because of the limited access, it is easy for them to confirm that the truck entered the town but did not leave. As the episode progresses, various secrets about the town are uncovered as Reese and Root continue their pursuit, but most of the revelations are pretty easy to anticipate. I’m not going to spoil any of the later reveals, but let’s just say that, from very early on, I suspected that there was a powerful force manipulating the town and using it as a testing ground for human behavior (Hint: I’m not talking about the Brotherhood!). This is an interesting idea, but, given the ongoing search for Shaw, it feels a bit like a distraction. Aside from the fact that the Root and Reese’s purpose in being present is to try and find Shaw, there doesn’t really appear to be any reason that the story of Maple couldn’t be investigated at some other time. Furthermore, it actually feels like the search distracts from some of the intriguing implications that are uncovered in the town. This plot line does eventually offer some answers, to the viewer at least, but at this point I don’t feel particularly engaged by this plot thread.
M.I.A.‘s B-plot offered a bit more substance, as Fusco works on tracking a number. At first glance, the number appears to be a mild-mannered individual, Albert Weiss, who is simply in town to visit family. However, Fusco quickly realizes that he isn’t the only one who is investigating Weiss as Detective Dani Silva, whom we previously saw in Point of Origin, is also tailing him. Silva, who is now part of Gang Division, is investigating Weiss due to his involvement as a witness in two separate missing person cases that are years apart. One of those cases was for a witness of Silva’s and she suspects his potential involvement. It doesn’t take long for Fusco and Silva to realize that Weiss isn’t simply the wallflower that he appears to be, but is in fact a freelance contract killer who specializes in eliminating witnesses of gang killings. If this storyline has one primary flaw, it might be that Person of Interest has made a habit out of presenting the audience with an individual who would appear to definitely be a victim/perpetrator before revealing that they are actually the opposite. It has become a bit predictable, and it doesn’t help that this particular storyline comes off as being slightly condensed so that it can fit comfortably into its role as the B-plot. What helps the plotline succeed is the presence of Fusco. The small moments where he looks over at Reese’s (formerly Carter’s) empty desk or expresses concern for Silva’s safety help hammer home the point that he not only cares, but that he wants to do what he can to keep the people around him safe. Unlike the rest of the cast, this is the first we’ve gotten to see of Fusco since the events at the stock market (not counting his minor news footage cameo in Control-Alt-Delete) and it’s nice to be given the opportunity to see that those events still weigh heavily upon his character.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- I suspect that we may be seeing more of Detective Silva once the Brotherhood returns to the forefront. I suppose I wouldn’t be against her character’s return, but, at the moment, the show hasn’t really defined her well enough as a character to get me all that interested.
- It was interesting to see how Reese reacted to Root’s rather… excessive approach to the investigation. It felt like an odd mirror of his pursuit of Alonso Quinn and one that he didn’t know quite how to react to.
- The preview for the next episode, Guilty, would appear to suggest that we will be returning to a procedural case of the week format for the time being, but then again I’ve learned to take the previews with a grain of salt.
Much like Control-Alt-Delete before it, M.I.A. is a frustrating episode that feels like it is awkwardly trying to apply the brakes just as the show was hitting an interesting pace. It is an episode that is difficult to judge because, while it works well enough on its own, it feels as if it doesn’t quite fit properly with the episodes preceding it.
With its primary plot being devoted to red herrings and dead ends, M.I.A. can't help but feel like a little bit of a let down despite some strong writing.