S1E6: I have made mention in the past about my preference when it comes to Person of Interest episodes for those that focus strongly on the backstory of either Reese or Finch, or ones that play heavily to the more overarching storyline. This week’s episode, “The Fix,” accomplishes both of those tasks, but in a way unlike that which we have seen from the show so far—which is a third plus (it’s always a positive to keep ‘em guessing). And a strictly visceral level, this might be the most basely exciting self-contained storyline to date. All in all, not a bad week for Person of Interest.
”Wanna get out of here?” – Zoe
“Where are we going?” – Reese
“To do something illegal.” – Zoe
The self-contained plot centers around a woman (Paige Turco) not quite unlike John Reese. She has no real profession or education, but she supports herself in a two million dollar apartment. How? She’s a fixer. She does favors for people, off the record, in return for cash. And it looks like we might be seeing more of her than just this week’s episode. But for now, what we know of her is that she is hired to retrieve an incriminating recording for Mr. Lawson, (Tim Guinee), a trusted businessman and public figure who runs a pharmaceutical company owned by one Mr. Keller (Brian Murray), whom we find out later on is just as corrupt as his underlings. Assumed to be a recording of an extramarital affair, the tape that Zoe is hired to retrieve from some conniving Internet writer—the worst kind of people—actually reveals a discussion about the horrible side effects the company’s drug has on its users. The conversation is between Lawson and a woman named Dana Miller (Anna Koonin), who was murdered—but pronounced dead by a brain aneurism—six months prior.
This is where the interesting part of the episode comes in. Miller’s number, much like Zoe’s does at the beginning of this week’s episode, came up on Finch’s machine half a year back. However, this was before Finch had tracked down his leg man. So, when Miller was killed, Finch was tortured. This was not specific to Miller: before Reese came around, Finch had to sit idly by as innocent people were murdered whom he could not save. In this episode, Finch explains wistfully how helpless he felt to just watch the machine spit out numbers, forced to accept the inevitability of the circumstances. Although it’s not as gripping as some more concrete backstory, it is good development. Usually—especially in interactions with Reese—all we see of Finch is sort of a hollow, robotic man who has “decided” on this mission he has accepted for himself and for his partner. But to see Finch actually overcome with emotion, it actually shines a little more sense onto the question of why this guy would be leading his life this way. It never actually seemed right to me. Granted, the few snippets we saw of his past—working with a partner who scorned him for his younger days’ disinterest in the “irrelevant” crimes—gave us some insight about what would be driving his superhero complex. But to see Finch actually gutturally affected by a person’s death, and bent on avenging her death by saving another potential victim of the same murderer, makes it ring true a bit louder.
“That’s what I wanted to be. The person who knows what to say and always has something to trade.” – Zoe
Another interesting facet developed in this episode is the idea of a new recurring character. We haven’t gotten any new recurring characters since the pilot, and it’ll be nice to see someone who isn’t Reese or Finch that also isn’t a cop. As stated above, Zoe is a lot like Reese—they establish that from the very beginning, when a parallel is drawn between them in the casing of Zoe’s apartment. Finch finds it odd that Zoe does not have any personal belongings (“things that she cares about”), but Reese identifies immediately with this, claiming that he is the same way. After saving Zoe (he has been posing as her chauffer to stay close to her) from the clutches of Lawson’s henchmen, he opens up some honesty about his ‘line of work’ with her, and they build a kind of Bonnie and Clyde thing, to some degree.
The duo is eventually apprehended by Keller, Lawson and co. Once Zoe reveals that she has sent the incriminating file to a trusted source, she is given the opportunity to live if she leads the men to said source and gives up the file. The events to follow are straight out of a good deal of spy/kidnapping/crooks-in-love movies: everyone thinks she’s leaving him to die, she secretly slips him a clothespin to undo his handcuffs before leaving, once alone with the buffoon-of-a-henchman, the hero takes him down with his own weapon and comes to the rescue of the heroine right as the bad guys find out that she has been playing them. Nothing out of the ordinary here. But what I do like is the hint that Zoe drops at the end regarding a possible reoccurrence. It’ll be nice for Reese to have a friend. Maybe someone to get between him and his work? Him and Finch? Could be interesting.
The Det. Carson storyline in this episode sort of baffles me. I’m not too certain where it is coming from, or where it is going, but we’re invested in it right from the start. What I do like about it is the third awesome guest appearance in a row on POI: Dan Hedaya, one of the best character actors ever as a good-natured cop helping Carson investigate a homicide. The episode ends with Hedaya’s character killed, indicating that the possible reappearance of Zoe isn’t the only cliffhanger this week.
POI is experimenting, and is doing so with success. We’re learning about the characters even when we aren’t aided by flashbacks. Don’t get me wrong—I love the flashbacks…but less is more. Plus, new developments on the Reese/Finch front and the Carson side of it all means stronger overarching story that will, hopefully soon, start to tie all our loose ends together.