For those of you who might enjoy reading my POI reviews, I apologize…between my internship and participating in NaNoWriMo (which I finished early!), I haven’t had time to spare, but I have been watching. I won’t be able to do individual reviews of the episodes themselves, but I will do a review of the season so far.
And WOW, what a season it’s been.
First off, let’s tackle the thing everyone who follows the show has been talking about. Just let me start with this…I didn’t think the show had the balls. I honestly believed that, if they killed any of the main cast, it would be Fusco, despite it being the obvious cop out from the weekly previews. Of all the characters, his arc seemed to be the most complete.
So imagine my surprise when Simmons’ goon put the gun to Fusco’s head, and we cut to a commercial. That was my first indication that something was up (no, not ‘the kiss’, as many people have said sent off warning bells, though in retrospect, yeah…it was pretty obvious).
And let’s talk about that kiss for a second. It seemed extremely out of place. For me, the chemistry between Reese and Carter always felt more like a ‘bromance’ (just, you know, a bromance between two attractive, heterosexual members of the opposite sex), so the sudden display of romance Reese exhibited toward Carter felt REALLY weird. Other, more socially apt people than myself have suggested to me that it wasn’t really a ‘romantic’ kiss, just more of a ‘goodbye’ thing between two friends in a life or death situation, which I suppose is possible. Still felt weird.
So, Carter brings down HR, and everyone is still alive, and clapping each other on the back, but we’ve still got five minutes left in the episode. Oh no.
Reese and Carter meet each other on a city street, in front of a dark alley (obviously completely unaware that they’re in a TV show with a loose end running around in the form of Simmons.) Finch walks up, the phone starts ringing…and the unthinkable happens.
Simmons appears, yells something about promises, and guns down both Reese and Carter. He only wounds Reese, but clips Carter in the chest, and she dies in Reese’s arms.
I’m not exactly a stranger to shows that like to kill off main characters. Lost, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Berserk…I’ve seen them all. You could almost say I’ve become numb to the idea, that I’ve come to expect it. But this caught me off guard, and it was extremely effective and well done. It’s just a shame that we now have one less strong, female minority character on a successful TV show. (Sleepy Hollow/Walking Dead, be careful with who you choose when it comes time to renew contracts/knock off your characters…)
All that said, R.I.P. Detective Carter, you were AWESOME. And good luck to Taraji P. Henson in her career.
NOW…onto the other stuff.
Shaw has finally gotten some much needed developement. We already knew she was a sociopath, but now we know she’s a sociopath with some sense of morality. Her turn as the Ripley/Sarah Conner/ Leon-esque protector of a young child was a fun ride, especially the bit where we discovered the little girl had rigged up every phone in her building to a tape recorder like some sort of contemporary Harriet the Spy. I’m declaring her a prime candidate for the kid friendly spin-off, POI High. Make it happen, Fox. We also learned in last night’s episode that Shaw was a med student in one of its flashbacks, which made me do a double take.
Speaking of last nights flashbacks, holy crap was that effective. Flashbacks have become somewhat ubiquitous, particularly in shows with J.J. Abrams name attached to them, but it’s been a long while since I felt they were used this effectively. Fusco’s in particular, which led us to believe that he would have zero hesitation in gunning down Simmons (which he didn’t, because Carter forgave him his sins…I guess we can’t make Jim Caviezel as Ninja-Jesus jokes anymore. Psh, who am I kidding…of course we can!)
Root has been giving some good moments as well. Her breakout of the asylum, followed by her team up episode with Shaw, were both highlights of the season. The focus on these two characters has already raised some feathers among the show’s fan base, and I’m sure that many viewers will be pissed that Root seems to be ‘replacing’ Carter. Personally, I’m all in, especially with the shows promising new conspiracy boiling up.
Root has made several allusions that ‘something big is coming’, and that the Machine has been grooming her to confront it. I think it’s pretty obvious that this new big bad is going to be the Anonymous-like group Vigilance, which stands in direct opposition of what the Machine stands for. I’m a bit leery at the show presenting people who are worried about government surveillance and the erosion of personal privacy as ‘the bad guys’, but neither do I want to see a show where being a luddite is presented as the only other alternative. Technology plays an inextricable part in our lives, and it should be interesting where the show goes with these themes.
All in all, it’s been a great season. The show now has the potential to be great, or fall on its face. If it does the latter, than at least we have two and a half season’s worth of solid contemporary science fiction to look back on.