S01E03: Call me a sucker for bank robberies and broken hearts, but tonight’s episode of Person of Interest is a step up from the last two weeks. And this conclusion is based entirely on two separate lines in the episode—one spoken by Finch, one by Reese.
Tonight’s episode picks up the “Here’s this week’s case” theme less than two minutes in. Finch awakens in his apartment to see Reese standing over him, feeling guilty about blowing his cover at the company last week—or at least claiming to. We quickly move from any particle of continuity into the weekly mission: the machine has singled out Joey Durban (James Carpinello) a former soldier working as a doorman and involved in a long-term relationship.
"If Joey’s bad choices mean he’s about to walk into a bullet, we have to find out who is firing it." - Finch
Reese tails Joey for a while, noticing nothing of interest until the latter participates in a (successful, and nonviolent) bank robbery with a few other men. After the robbery, Reese follows Joey to a rendezvous with a young woman, to whom he sees him give an envelope of money. Finch and Reese surmise that Joey is likely cheating on his girlfriend with this woman.
Through some high-level surveillance work and information gathering (there is nothing these two men cannot see/find out), Finch and Reese figure out that the other men with whom Joey robbed the bank also served with him in the war.
One is a cabdriver—Finch plants some illegal weaponry in the man’s trunk and has him arrested. Reese goes “undercover” as a soldier looking for work and speaks with the head of the crime syndicate (syndiquette, really) who gets Joey & co. their heist jobs—for the benefit of the finder’s fee. Through some trickery, Reese convinces the man, Sam Latimer (Ruben Santiago) to link him up with Joey and the team. Of course, they don’t give him a warm welcome. They throw a bag over Reese’s head, drive him out to a back alley and point a gun in his face. Reese can tell that Joey does not intend to kill him—he’s not a murderer. This cements the idea that Joey must be the victim (as the machine chose him, so he’s either a potential murderer or a potential murderee). Reese also manages to convince the soldiers to let their guard down about him, at least to some degree.
Reese decides to get close to Joey to better solve the case. He “bumps into him” at a bar, and the two discuss war. Joey goes off on a speech, questioning the purpose of the war and berating the big businesses that profit while men like him come back to squalor. This instigates a couple of blue collar jackasses, provoking them to put down soldiers in general. Reese responds by knocking one out, and Joey does the same to the other. The scene…well, I guess it helped to characterize Joey, a little. And it brought Reese and Joey a lot closer. But it seemed more intent on illustrating just how big a jackass the writers think every banker and big business employee is.
Anyway, Reese begins following another member of the heist team: Straub (Keith Nobbs) who approaches Latimer for a job opportunity and seems to be considering killing his partners so that he could get a larger sum of money per job to pay his gambling debts/mother’s rent money.
"You can't cure someone of guilt." - Reese
Another heist takes place—of a casino, this time—and Reese is on board. He wears his direct-to-Finch headset, so he knows exactly when the cops are coming (and leading the cops is, of course Detective Carter, who caught a “glimpse” of Reese on the security camera in the bank robbed earlier). The gang escapes, but Straub is livid that they were unable to get the money.
Finch and Reese find out (through investigation and conversation, respectively) that the woman Joey is supporting is not a lover, but the lover an old soldier friend for whose death Joey feels responsible. The two had a daughter together, and Joey is dedicated to putting her through college.
Although Reese admires Joey for this, he tells him that he must be more present with his girlfriend. Here, Reese is channeling his own inner turmoil. We get a few flashbacks through the episode of Reese bumping into his ex, Jessica, who he finds out is engaged. But we’ll get to that.
"I waited six years for him to come home and it's like he's still over there." - Joey's girlfriend
Before the last heist, Reese pays a visit to Joey’s girlfriend, telling her just how much her boyfriend loves her, but also telling her that “there are other fish in the sea” if it doesn’t work out. Kind of a mixed message; I'm not too sure what he’s trying to drive home there.
The group, Reese included, pulls one more heist. Finch manages to find out and inform Reese of the fact that Latimer is setting them all up and plans to kill all of them. Latimer does manage to kill Straub, but flees the scene when Carter and co show up.
Reese gives Joey his share of the heist money and convinces him to leave town with his girlfriend, which he does.
"The truth is, it was easier for you to be alone." - Jessica
This channels the final flashback: Reese’s ex telling him that if he put himself out there and asked her to wait for him, that she would. She can’t take how protective of his feelings he is, and she needs him to be more open. He can’t bring himself to ask her, so she leaves. But once she’s gone, he mutters, “Wait for me. Please,” teary eyed. Sure, it’s not exactly never-been-done, but it’s powerful enough to make Reese’s character all the more valuable. That, by the way, is one of the two lines that made this episode an improvement.
The other comes from Finch after Reese heads to Latimer’s apartment to take him out — finding that someone else already has. When Reese investigates this, he comes up with the name “Elias,” which Finch claims he knows nothing about, but he’ll “look into it.” This means one thing: a continuous arc. Continuity! A larger story! THAT is what this series needs, beyond episodic mysteries. This is promising.
It hasn't just been a weighty year in politics -- culminating with President Barack Obama's inauguration. It was also an issue-heavy year in snowy Park City.
At the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival, the issue-focused subject matter -- global and national -- spanned the gamut: from assassination-fearing, aspiring pop singers (Afghan Star) … to fastidious fashionistas on deadline (September Issue) ... to laid-off female factory workers in revolt (Louise-Michel) … to Chris Rock taking-on the politics of smooth vs. kinky hair (Good Hair).
And the big triple winner: Push, a story of survival, literacy and hope by Lee Daniels co-starring Mo'Nique, accomplished its own story-making feat with a captivating leading young lady (Gabourey Sidibe).
Out of the 118 features, 7 prestigious awards were won by a small group of buzz films we profiled in our "Sundance Preview Guide." Narrative winners: Push (Grand Jury Prize; Audience Award; Special Jury Prize for Acting for Mo'Nique) and Paper Heart (Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award); Documentary winners: Afghan Star (World Cinema Audience Award); Good Hair (Special Jury Prize: U.S.); Big River Man (World Cinema Cinematography Award).
Not to mention the stars who created their own paparazzi avalanche -- some even splitting their time in D.C. -- on and off the slopes. This year's attendees included Spread's Ashton Kutcher canoodling with Demi; Twilight princess Kristen Stewart pushing Adventureland; Push's partying Mariah Carey and hubby Nick Cannon; Reporter producer Ben Affleck schmoozing at MySpace cafe; 50 Cent giving Phillip Morris' Jim Carrey a birthday shout out; Amy Poehler hangin' with Spring Breakdown co-star Parker Posey; Paper Heart's Michael Cera looking very Michael Cera; Kevin Bacon promoting Taking Chance, La Mission's Benjamin Brat adding to the hunk count; pink-hatted Emma Roberts on double-duty for Lymelife and The Winning Season, and Mr. Redford, himself -- and so on, and so on.
So on to the winners:
The Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary was presented to We Live in Public, directed by Ondi Timoner. The film portrays the story of the Internet's revolutionary impact on human interaction as told through the eyes of maverick web pioneer, Josh Harris, and his transgressive art project that shocked New York.
The Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, directed by Lee Daniels and written by Damien Paul. The film tells the redemptive story of Precious Jones, a young girl in Harlem struggling to overcome tremendous obstacles and discover her own voice.
The World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Rough Aunties, directed by Kim Longinotto. Fearless, feisty and unwavering, the 'Rough Aunties' protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa. United Kingdom
The World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to The Maid (La Nana), directed by Sebastian Silva. When her mistress brings on another servant to help with the chores, a bitter and introverted maid wreaks havoc on the household. Chile
The Audience Award presented by Honda: U.S. Documentary was presented to The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos. The horrors of a secret cove nestled off a small, coastal village in Japan are revealed by a group of activists.
The Audience Award presented by Honda: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, directed by Lee Daniels and written by Damien Paul. The film tells the redemptive story of Precious Jones, a young girl in Harlem struggling to overcome tremendous obstacles and discover her own voice.
The World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary was presented to Afghan Star, directed by Havana Marking. After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. Marking's film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. Afghanistan/United Kingdom
The World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to An Education, directed by Lone Scherfig from a screenplay by Nick Hornby. In the early 60s, a sharp 16-year-old with sights set on Oxford meets a handsome older man whose sophistication enraptures and sidetracks both her and her parents. United Kingdom
The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to El General and director Natalia Almada. As great-granddaughter of President Plutarco Eliás Calles, one of Mexico's most controversial revolutionary figures, the filmmaker paints an intimate portrait of Mexico.
The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Sin Nombre, written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Filmmaker Fukunaga's first-hand experiences with Mexican immigrants seeking the promise of the U.S. form the basis of this epic Spanish-language dramatic thriller.
The World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary was presented to Afghan Star, directed by Havana Marking. After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. Marking's film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. Afghanistan/United Kingdom
The World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic was presented to Five Minutes of Heaven, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel from a screenplay by Guy Hibbert. Two men from the same town but from different sides of the Irish political divide discover that the past is never dead. United Kingdom/Ireland
The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award was presented to Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi for Paper Heart. Even though performer Charlyne Yi doesn't believe in love, she bravely embarks on a quest to discover its true nature - a journey that takes on surprising urgency when she meets unlikely fellow traveler, actor Michael Cera.
The World Cinema Screenwriting Award was presented to Five Minutes of Heaven, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel from a screenplay by Guy Hibbert. Two men from the same town but from different sides of the Irish political divide discover that the past is never dead. United Kingdom/Ireland
The U.S. Documentary Editing Award was presented to Sergio. Directed by Greg Barker and edited by Karen Schmeer, the film examines the role of the United Nations and the international community through the life and experiences of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The World Cinema Documentary Editing Award was presented to Burma VJ. Directed by Anders Østergaard and edited by Janus Billeskov Jansen and Thomas Papapetros. The film takes place in September 2007 as Burmese journalists risk life imprisonment to report from inside their sealed-off country. Denmark
The Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary was presented to The September Issue. With unprecedented access, director R.J. Cutler, cinematographer Bob Richman and their crew shot for nine months to capture editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and her team preparing the 2007 Vogue September issue, widely accepted as the "fashion bible" for the year's trends.
The Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented to Sin Nombre, written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Cinematographer: Adriano Goldman. Filmmaker Fukunaga's first-hand experiences with Mexican immigrants seeking the promise of the U.S. form the basis of this epic Spanish-language dramatic thriller.
The World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary was presented to Big River Man, John Maringouin's documentary about at an overweight, wine-swilling Slovenian world-record-holding endurance swimmer who resolves to brave the mighty Amazon in nothing but a Speedo. U.S.A./United Kingdom
The World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic was presented to An Education, directed by Lone Scherfig from a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Cinematographer: John De Borman. In the early 1960s, a sharp 16-year-old girl with sights set on Oxford meets a handsome older man whose sophistication enraptures and sidetracks both her and her parents. United Kingdom
A World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Originality was presented to Louise-Michel, directed by Benoit Delépine and Gustave de Kervern, about a group of disgruntled female French factory workers who, after the factory abruptly closes, pool their paltry compensation money to hire a hit man to knock off the corrupt executive behind the closure. France
A World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to Tibet in Song directed by Ngawang Choephel. Through the story of Tibetan music, this film depicts the determined efforts of Tibetan people, both in Tibet and in exile, to preserve their unique cultural identity. Choephel served six years of an 18-year prison sentence for filming in Tibet. Tibet
A World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Acting was presented to Catalina Saavedra for her portrayal of a bitter and introverted maid in The Maid (La Nana). Chile
A Special Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary was presented to Good Hair, directed by Jeff Stilson, in which comedian Chris Rock travels the world to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles.
A Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Independence was presented to Humpday, Lynn Shelton's farcical comedy about straight male bonding gone a little too far.
A Special Jury Prize for Acting was presented to Mo'Nique for her portrayal of a mentally ill mother who both emotionally and physically imprisons her daughter in Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire.
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