Person of Interest “Panopticon” Review (4×01)

23 Sep

105131_WB_0066bc“It’s not just about the numbers, Harold. It’s about survival.”

Oh, how I’ve missed you, Person of Interest. The end of season three brought with it a shift in the status quo, a shakeup that not only forced our beloved characters to obtain new identities, but also scattered them throughout the city and prevented them from moving forward as a team. As we open the fourth season, they’re all in stifling positions, trapped by the need to survive but still hungry to save lives, and “Panopticon” illustrates a group of people who truly only function when they’re working with each other.

What the premiere constantly asks is the following: What is survival, really? The first time we hear the sentence “it’s about survival”, Finch is attempting to convince Reese to lay low because if he doesn’t, he could very well be placing himself in the crosshairs. The problem is that Reese has been in the crosshairs his whole life, and his desire to fight and rescue and kick ass is an innate aspect of his being. By merely avoiding a bullet to the heart, he’s still alive, but there’s a difference between being alive and truly living. Thus, when he repeats Finch’s sentence at the end of the episode, he’s referring to the element of survival that has kept and will keep them all going. He’s not referring to simple life; he’s referring to the idea of purpose, the idea that if you have something to fight for, you will survive even if it places you at risk.

So, Finch eventually decides to stop his Professor Whistler charade–in a fitting tie in to the pilot, given Finch gave Reese purpose there–and go back to doing what he does best, because what he does best gives him purpose. And oftentimes, purpose doesn’t necessarily abide by whatever “rules” society may set; in this case, the new order that’s been implemented by Samaritan can keep our central team down temporarily, but as long as they have something to fight for, they’ll always return to fight. They’ll set their own rules by breaking the current ones, as exemplified when Reese states that he’ll “find someone who doesn’t play by the rules”. He, of course, is referring to Elias.

In addition, Shaw, at the end of the episode, predictably leaves her perfume retail job–spinoff, anyone?–the case of the week is solved, and there might even be a new library. The show’s still hitting similar beats, but it’s still endlessly entertaining, and there’s a nice connection between the Ali Hasan story and the underlying themes of the episode when Hasan tells his son that they’re “the store men.” The people are the ones who can move, which explains why Finch, Shaw, and Root can, and they don’t let the circumstances–the store, if you will–dictate who they are. According to Root, “all of this matters.” All of them matter. They won’t be controlled or silenced. They all have a purpose.



-Oh, how I missed seeing Reese use grenade launchers and throw people out of windows.

-On the more subtle side of things, I love the moment in which Reese puts his things down on Carter’s desk, then looks to Fusco to acknowledge the loss they both still feel.

– “He’s not the victim. He’s the perpetrator.” I feel like I’ve heard that a million times on this show.

-Destroyed library reference. *Sob* I still miss you, library.

-Jeremy Bentham–>Panopticon–>Lost?

-By the way, Panopticon refers to a building in which everything can be viewed from a single point. This, of course, is representative of the society they live in now; Samaritan views all.

-Oh, hi, Abu Nazir and Marlo Stanfield.

– “Six, if you count the dog.” Bear counts as two people, so it’s seven. Also, for that guy who says that they have a “no pet policy”: damn it, Bear is an action hero, not a pet.

-After seeing a lot of Keith Mars recently, it’s strange watching Enrico Colantoni as Elias again. However, that doesn’t make him any less compelling or the performance less fantastic, and I’m happy about what it looks like will be an expanded role for him this year.

-Sorry, college girl, but Finch–or Professor Whistler–is too good for you.

-So, does Finch find the Machine at the end? A new library? A Bear clone? By the way, the ending song is Jetta’s “I’d love to change the world” (original by Ten Years Later).

-Last season, I covered most of the episodes, and this year, I’ll attempt to do the same; it’s such a fun and engaging show to review, and I look forward to it. Consider this regularly covered here.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

4 Responses to “Person of Interest “Panopticon” Review (4×01)”

  1. Hepburn3 September 23, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    I am so happy that PoI is back and gave us an intriguing start! I missed this show so much because it is so compelling and I care about Harold, John, Shaw, Root, Fussco and Bear! They are my super heroes (especially sine the New 52 of DC has let me down on a massive scale, but that is a tale of disgust that I shant get into)! I loved that the machine gave the new IDs and that they now have their purpose back, they have a Batcave/library again, they have a hidden network for communication, they have each other.
    I am happy that you will be reviewing this show regularly!
    And yes I too loved that Fussco and John reflected on Joss, it was a moment of real feeling with no tackiness!
    Huzzah The PoI gang is back! Samaritan is gonna get it! 😉

    • polarbears16 September 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

      Thanks! It’s great to have you around again; we seem to like the same shows, which is awesome.

      Yeah, a lesser show would’ve made a big deal about the desk, but POI trusts its audience.

  2. Lorraine Wrede September 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    I would go back to college just to take a class from Harold and Bear!

  3. #peggyatthemovies September 25, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    I loved this show the first 2 seasons.. Kevin Chapman being a client & friend made me like it more..last season just totally jumped the shark for me after Taraji being killed off and just couldn’t get into it..I’m trying the first eps of this season as we speak..I’m hoping it’s back to being good. 🙂

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