Person of Interest s5 ep 9

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Possible spoilers. I’ve done my best.

Person of Interest long ago passed the point at which the casual viewer could drop in and watch an episode. Nonetheless, ‘Sotto Voce’ provides something of a masterclass in weaving together an apparently straightforward Case of the Week and an increasingly complicated backstory. The Number is Terry Easton, a locksmith, who is first seen by Reese breaking into an investment company. Terry’s wife is being held captive, as a result of which he’s doing the bidding of a master criminal known only as The Voice, who we’ve seen – heard? – before. It turns out that The Voice’s plan is to get Terry into Reese and Fusco’s police building, where members of the Templarios gang are being held, so that Terry can use his locksmithing skills to get them out.

In the middle of this, Person of Interest finds yet another way of manipulating its cast in interesting ways: Finch asks Elias for help in tracing The Voice, and Elias – presumably wanting some fresh air – agrees, as long as he can go into the field, which means that we get the two of them working as a partnership. Nor is this merely entertaining: the Case of the Week is resolved by Elias in a way which Finch would undoubtedly not have countenanced, but doesn’t entirely regret.

Meantime, Root has a number of her own: Matthew Stone, a radio engineer. And Shaw is back in NYC, hunting down Samaritan agents one by one. And Fusco has a taxi driver in custody, accused of possessing a firearm which – much to his suspect’s surprise – has been used in an unsolved homicide. The storylines pile up, but it never feels forced or crowded. It’s the sort of episode, in fact, where you kind of know that there’s a twist coming which will connect some of the threads. Even allowing for that, though, I didn’t anticipate the one we got: either the Person of Interest writers and actors are remarkably skilled at misdirection, or I’m unusually gullible, because in all likelihood every other viewer saw this one coming.

By the end, though, Root and Shaw have reconciled, Fusco has been read in to the whole Machine/Samaritan thing, and Team Machine is back together; a haunting final shot (soundtracked by The National’s majestic ‘Fake Empire’) makes a point of highlighting just how vulnerable the five of them are considering the forces arrayed against them. It’s a terrific episode.

The Good Fight s1 ep 4

This week on The Good Fight, Diane and Lucca went to bat for a client trying to recover her long-lost eggs; Mike Kresteva returned to wind everyone right up; and perpetual victim Maia was the subject of a particularly nasty, virulent strain of social media harrassment. All of which added up to a terrific episode, and a wildly entertaining one at that.

As far as the case of the week goes, I don’t know whether they were entirely correct on the law throughout and the shady director of the fertility practice got off way too easily, but overall, the story was intriguingly complicated, sensitively-handled, and leavened with a great deal of humour, as the best ones are; the judge – “Oh God, I HATE this.” Hee! – was a grumpy delight; and the gradual but unmistakable thawing of Barbara’s relationship with Diane genuinely heartening to see.

The Mike Kresteva side of things was slightly trickier to pull off, since he can be very funny, but also very annoying, and a couple of years ago I would have been saying “there’s no way someone in politics can lie so often and so brazenly, and keep getting away with it.” Real life over the past year has taught us I was wildly wrong about that, though, and the writers did keep the Kresteva story just the right side of infuriating, this week, at any rate – his scene in Diane’s office was great fun, even if the Grand Jury business seemed a tad unlikely (for now). Still, it tied in beautifully with Maia’s story and one of the main themes of the week (and of 21st century life) – the abuse of the Internet and social media to create fake news and destroy people with it. Maia’s ex-boyfriend is obviously a reptile, and what he did unconscionable, but it’s notable that, yet again, Maia was entirely dependent on the rest of the cast to fix her problem for her – a problem that she didn’t even know she had, in fact, till, yes, somebody else explained it to her. But no matter. It was an absolute joy seeing Marissa, Jay and Ayesha help her give the ex what was coming to him, and as for the awesome Adrian channelling Will Gardner and stepping in during the confrontation by the lifts – well. I love love love this show now, and that single scene was the highlight of my week.

Hawaii Five-0 s7 ep 16

We start at a nightclub, where a thirtysomething dude’s appalling chat-up lines are getting much more attention than they deserve from a blonde babe in a revealing dress. They adjourn outside to make out, and next morning dude – Jeremy, a Palo Alto software developer – is found murdered, and the blonde is nowhere to be seen. Jeremy was on Oahu to attend a conference on The Method, a technique which is being pushed as a foolproof way of picking up women by its creepy originator Blake Stone.

The investigation is left to Kono, Chin, and Lou this week, because it’s Valentine’s Day and Steve has taken Lynn on a romantic break… to Hawaii. Yes, he’s gone a mile or so down the road and booked a suite at a well-known Honolulu resort hotel. And who should be in the next room? Danny, of course, with Melissa, so that the four of them can hang out. In fairness to the women, it’s courageous of them to attempt to compete with Steve and Danny’s true loves (each other); a task which becomes even more difficult when Danny becomes rather disturbingly fixated on a teenage boy at the resort, who might or might not have stolen his $20 sunglasses.

Meantime, in the Case of the Week, it turns out that Stone has been paying escorts to flirt with his students so that they will think his asinine methods are actually working, which means that the blonde in the revealing dress is now the main suspect in the murder of Jeremy. But is she the culprit? It’s about as traditional an episode of H50 as it’s possible to imagine, and it’s diverting, but no more than that.

This episode was brought to you by: well, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, of course, which gets more screen time than any of the characters.

Scandal s6 ep 9

So… will Huck live? Well yes, of course he will, because Meg, who as we’ve seen is capable of taking someone out with a single bullet, has inexplicably decided instead to give Huck the privilege of an elaborate James Bond-esque death, shooting him but not quite killing him, then stuffing him into the boot of a car and pushing it into a water-filled quarry.

All of which gives Huck the chance to escape. But, my God, the show really makes a meal of it, which gives the viewer time to wonder whether he’d be able to smash his way out of a car, swim to safety, and rescue the body of Jennifer, all while bleeding out from potentially fatal bullet wounds. But he lives, even though he might have “deficits” as a result of the attack. And since Huck already has numerous “deficits”, that isn’t promising either.

If this episode has any merit, I suppose it might come from character development: Olivia slapping Abby for her part in the conspiracy, then forgiving her; Fitz and Olivia hugging it out; Quinn visibly preferring Huck to Charlie. That apart, though, there have for sure been worse episodes of Scandal, but I don’t know if there have been any quite as pointless as this one.

Blindspot s2 ep 16

*SPOILERS*

Time for Blindspot’s pacy, action-packed, completely ludicrous post-hiatus return and we’re hitting the ground running. Or kicking and shooting, if you’re REDACTED, who fights her way out of jeopardy far more easily than I expected, while the morose Jane joints the rest of Team Tat at Kurt’s impromptu works night in.

New BFF Tasha wants to know all the deets about her and “Oliver Kind” (not his real name, obv), but sadface Jane confesses that there are no longer any deets to know: “Oliver Kind” has gone off in high dudgeon over Jane doing a background check on him, and made a big flouncy show of how outraged he is over it, in order to avoid actually answering any questions about his pre-“Oliver Kind” persona at all. Well-played, “Oliver Kind,” well-played. Or at least, better-played than Jane, who neither recognises a classic diversion technique for what it is, nor learns any life lessons from it; rather than keeping her nose out of other people’s business from thereon in, she follows up one “massive invasion of privacy” with another by having a good old snoop around Kurt’s house instead. Badly-played, Jane, badly-played.

But not that badly, I guess, since Kurt is much more kindly (sorry) disposed towards Jane’s more inquisitive tendencies than “Oliver Kind” – instead of a big row, they start a deep and meaningful about the forthcoming cross-country baby, only to be interrupted by Kalinda because Kalinda’s entire function on this show is to GET IN THE EFFING WAY. And to say things like “That’s my inside source phone!” which is the funniest line I’ve heard on any show all week, even if it isn’t meant to be.

While Patterson works on decrypting the “inside source” pen drive, then, and Reade and Zapata drag out his coke habit tedium some more, Kurt, Kalinda and Jane go on the world’s most obvious surveillance mission. Guys, I don’t have much practical experience in this area, I know, but three people dressed in black, sitting on separate park benches, who all suddenly get up at the same time, with the same facial expressions, and converge on the same floor of a nearby hospital – yeah, I’m pretty sure you’ve been made by everyone on the planet, never mind the “inside source.” But no matter; Jane gets to have a load of fun diving down a laundry chute(!) and kicking the “inside source’s” ass, so we’re all good.

And when I say “all good,” I mean even for the “inside source,” since, despite being a felon and a terrorist about a zillion times over, he gets an even cushier deal than Roman’s new one – this week, Tearful McFurious acquires some comfy new furniture in his Tat HQ home from home,as opposed to, y’know, a transfer to super-max – and, after a brief, bloody and largely pointless exchange of info, gets to ride off into the sunset (well, the elevator) with not much more than a shrug. Dudes. He sat RIGHT THERE and said he knew all of Shepherd’s safe houses and routes and whatnot. And none of you thought to ASK HIM TO WRITE THEM DOWN BEFORE HE LEFT? FFS.

Not that things get any less amateur from thereon in. Because Patterson is the only person in the building who has a clue this week, she works out who the mole(ar) is and a plan which should have gone great guns, were it not for everyone on the team standing watching gormlessly while Sandstorm went, er, great guns themselves. “What the hell just happened?” asks Reade, which is a question I don’t want to answer in any detail since what the hell just happened is so ridiculous and hilarious it has to be seen to believed, but I’d love to see how Team Tat explain it in their FBI Performance Appraisal Reviews. Back to Quantico, the lot of you. Except Patterson, who really can’t prevent what happens to her and has, frankly, been through enough.

As has poor Jane, I suppose. No sooner has the mission gone south, and Shephard temporarily run out of ways to keep tabs on Team Tat, than, well, what do you know? “Oliver Kind” is over his outrage and reaching back out both to and for Jane, who should know by now that her making out with any guy at all will always lead to some form of apocalypse. Snog Kurt, get kidnapped and tortured by Tom Carter. Get busy with Oscar, have your life and friendships completely destroyed. And smooch it up with “Oliver Kind?” Oh, girlfriend. Good luck next week, you’re going to need it.

24: Legacy s1 ep 9

So, who is this Naseri dude? Well, while Carter and his team were looking for Ibrahim bin Khalid, Naseri pretended to be an interpreter, used that as cover to get access to an intelligence asset, and killed him. Oh, and beheaded his children. No-one seems inclined to draw a line under that incident and move on, so Operation Find Naseri is launched, and a phone call he made shortly before the air strike at the end of the last episode is traced to a nearby house.

Naseri’s call was to a CTU security operative, Stephen Grant, from his girlfriend Jennifer’s home, showing her tied up and wearing a bomb vest. The idea is that Grant will co-operate with Naseri’s plan to spring Jihadi, Jr., and Grant, of course, goes along with it. Which means that CTU is, once again, infiltrated by terrorists. It’s been a while. Meantime Carter makes his way to Jennifer’s place, and defuses the bomb in the usual way – cut the short wire, look for the trigger (or whatever, I wasn’t taking notes) – but by the time that news is passed onto Grant, it’s too late: Naseri has Jr.

And – bonus ball – Naseri has someone else as well. Because at the same time as this is all going on, Senator John has also dropped into the CTU building, in order to try and put his marriage back together after the whole your-former-boyfriend-tortured-my-daddy business. But he gets caught up in the crossfire and abducted by Naseri. I’d guess that the Senator will now be used as leverage to get Rebecca to do something she shouldn’t. And if that, in turn, is used as a device to keep Tony Almeida involved then I’m all in favour, because post-torture he’s left the scene, and a fair amount of the show’s excitement has walked out of the door along with him; leaving a gap that Nicole’s continuing but inexplicable attraction to bad-boy-drug-dealing ex Isaac just isn’t going to fill.

Public Service Announcement 14 of 2017: Mr. Robot; Orange Is The New Black

A quick PSA from the frontlines of the streaming/broadcast interface. In the UK Mr. Robot is shown first on Amazon Prime, with TV broadcast coming along later. So, a few months after premiering on Amazon, season 2 starts tonight on Universal Channel at 9pm. I watched the first season, but I’m not sure it had quite enough about it to make me sign up for another go.

Wholeheartedly recommended, though, is the genuinely stellar first season of Orange Is The New Black, a Netflix original which finally makes it to linear broadcast tonight on Sony at 9pm.