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Person of Interest “RAM” Review (3×16)

5 Mar

RAMNow that’s more like it.

After a few shaky weeks, we’re back in full force to kick off the final arc of the season. “RAM” is the perfect mixture of backstory and teaser, shading in myriad character moments and tying together myriad storylines; this is some truly impressive stuff right here.

This episode takes us back to 2010, giving us an idea of what Finch’s operation was like pre-Reese: he and a Mr. Dillinger were partners, handling numbers just like Reese and Finch do in the present. Yet, the relationship is strained here, as Dillinger’s a mercenary; he’s only going to work with Finch–for Finch–if there isn’t anyone outbidding for his services. He’s a person who takes control, who feels used if he isn’t able to utilize some element of his individual freedom. Finch keeping him in the dark is suffocating for him, and that’s one of the reasons why he leaves (the other is money).

This episode is all about secrets and lies, expectations and the norm. For example, the traitor everyone’s after–Casey–turns out to be one of the best of the bunch, while Dillinger, supposed Knight in Shining Armor for countless citizens, betrays his partner and gets himself killed. In fact, Casey’s a younger version of Finch, and that explains the strength of their bond; these are two people who understand the necessity of secrecy, who understand the feeling of being chased and shunned for going too far with technology.

That’s not the case with Finch and Dillinger, and interestingly, it’s a similar relationship between Kara and Reese, the former willing to use chopsticks to jab wasabi in an open wound to glean information. The episode does a nice job of weaving in a comparison to Shaw here, too, over the concepts of morality and sociopathy and sadism. Kara’s fundamentally a Shaw-like person. Dillinger is fundamentally Reese. Casey is fundamentally Finch. Yet, there are subtle differences that distinguish each person in each comparison.

For example, let’s take Reese. We see that in reality, he’s not the cold-hearted man his job would suggest he is. Throughout the episode, we see him questioning Kara’s tactics and sympathizing with Casey, and this is an evolution that nicely contrasts with Dillinger’s arc. This is something that Finch picks up on, too; Reese seems like someone who’s been broken down way too many times, but is unable to muster up the conviction to go down Dillinger’s route.

This is an origin story, and a sublime one at that, as we learn more about how and why events came together the way they did. For, who survived? Kara didn’t. Dillinger didn’t. However, Reese and Finch and Casey and Shaw did, and their paths are all crossing now. Our knowledge of the eventual endgame adds weight to these flashbacks, serving as a nice bridge back into the present: Root’s back, and things are about to get very real.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Even if the writing had been subpar–it was anything but–I still would’ve been extremely excited to see all these old faces again.

-Root’s back! WOOOO!

-Machine fast forward. Nice. I like what the show does with these credits.

-Really nice work by Neil Jackson as Dillinger here.

-I’m excited. This last arc should be absolutely brilliant.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

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