Person of Interest – Skip Review
It was hard to establish my feelings going into Skip. The promos made it look like a campy, silly romp that was bound to suck, but those are promos. When it comes to Person of Interest, they’re bound to look like crap. But, they also showed that the grifter from Blunt, Harper, would be featured prominently in this episode, and while I wasn’t against the show using her again, it seemed a bit odd that they would be having her show up again so quickly. Furthermore, it didn’t help that I had already forgotten about the existence of Karma (I’m not even joking), and thus it seemed like we had only just met her in the previous episode. This ultimately proves to be less problematic than one may initially expect, due to her being largely being tangential to much of the plot of Skip. That isn’t to say that Harper doesn’t have a purpose or reason for being here. It simply means that Person of Interest was smart enough to keep her at the periphery of the story. Ultimately this episode provided a rather well polished, if slightly meandering, story while continuing to set up aspects of The Machine’s impending counterattack against Samaritan.
The number for this episode belongs to a bounty hunter named Frankie Wells. When the man she is trying to track down, Ray Pratt, ends up escaping due to Reese failing to properly grasp the situation, she deduces that he will try to leave the country and attempts to find him by seeking out locations where Ray may attempt to acquire the counterfeit ID that he needs to escape. Once Reese and Frankie come to an understanding as to what is going on, they find Ray attempting to meet a counterfeiter who goes by the name Athena. Ray escapes with the aid of the counterfeiter, who Reese is surprised to learn is the fake Harper Rose from Blunt. Fortunately, Person of Interest is smart enough to know that Harper running into Reese after only one episode apart would be one hell of a coincidence, so instead they tie it to the Machine’s battle with Samaritan by revealing that Harper was contacted by someone using the Internet handle Thornhill (an alias previously used by the Machine in Zero Day). Her presence in the story serves to both defuse a scenario that could have turned into a firefight as well as to extract information from Ray. This plotline does suffer a bit from occasional plot-dumping and with various factions vying for information it can be slightly easy to lose track of what is going on at certain times. Despite these issues, this plot-thread serves to provide a strong example of how Person of Interest can deliver on well-constructed, complicated stories.
Meanwhile, Finch is concerned when he finds that the programmer he met back in Pretenders, Elizabeth Bridges, has come up as a number. Furthermore, the moment the Machine turned in her number was the moment that Finch sat down to have breakfast with her, meaning that he triggered it somehow. As Root points out, if the threat was Samaritan, then Harold would likely already be dead. The ultimate reveal for the source of the threat against Ms. Bridges isn’t exactly surprising, as it ties into the code that Finch had previously inserted into her computer. Apparently, once it was integrated into Samaritan’s systems the code would relay portions of Samaritan’s source code to Finch, possibly supplying the Machine with an advantage over Samaritan. However, this would allow Samaritan to see through Harold’s Professor Whistler persona. Given this information, the threat is hardly shocking, but it does lead to some intriguing ethical questions regarding valuing human lives differently based on how close you are to them and what they may accomplish. The shows answer to those questions is pretty predictable, but it serves to highlight a difference between two of its characters.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Iris drops John as a patient because she is attracted to him and feels ethically compromised. John ultimately counters this with the strong argument of “screw ethics” and kisses her.
- Still no idea where they are going with the “Root working for Caleb Phipps” plotline. No direct references are made to it during the episode, but perhaps it is linked to Harper’s “recruitment.”
- Ato Essandoh, who plays Ray in this episode, was previously featured as recurring characters on Elementary, Blue Bloods and Believe.
- Frankie is played by Katheryn Winnick who played Lagertha on Vikings and was a recurring character on Bones. The episode teases her as a potential recurring character, but Person of Interest does that quite often, so who knows if we’ll actually see more of here.
While I wouldn’t say that it is directionless, Skip does have the potential to leave viewers feeling a bit lost. If one can keep up with the various elements at play, however, they’ll be entreated to a well constructed game of various cats and mice and even drops a few hints at the larger game being played. Skip isn’t one of the great Person of Interest episodes, but it has some engaging ideas that may be explored further at a later date.
Definitely a step up from its forgettable predecessor, Skip isn't flawless, but it works as a tangle of various forces of personality that only a nigh omnipotent computer consciousness could keep in line.