“It’s just you and me again, Mr. Reese.”
“Guilty” is a very fun throwback to season one of Person of Interest, and it’s an episode complete with everything we knew and loved about the show at that time: Reese and Finch teaming up, an entertaining guest star, and some nifty tie-ins to the overarching story. Getting an episode like that here serves as a bit of a break from the Samaritan storyline, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on the character development; sure, the story isn’t nearly as compelling as what we’ve had recently and there are some flaws in execution, but it’s still an entertaining episode throughout.
What “Guilty” seems to deal with thematically is the idea of being close to someone, of possibly loving someone and letting your guard down for that person. It’s a fitting idea to explore this season, considering the show has consistently hit the “human connection” angle regarding people like Root and Shaw, and this episode turns its focus toward Reese. Through the sessions between Reese and Dr. Iris Campbell, we begin to see the undercurrent of fear in the former’s mindset regarding losing people he cares about. He deems it an “occupational hazard” and goes on about how “sometimes, habits are there to protect you from life and the way things go, from the fact that every time you get close to someone…” He doesn’t need to end the sentence for us to know what he’s talking about: people like Carter and Shaw and Root, all of whom have recently left in one way or another.
It’s in this manner that the episode still feels like a season four episode, even as it’s hitting all the season one beats. His character development here moves forward with recent events very much at the forefront of his memory, and we see that he’s starting to realize how alone he is in this universe. It doesn’t matter how closed off he is–like after Carter’s death–there’s still going to be a chance that he’ll lose someone, and it’s important for him to begin to make connections once again. Thus, Finch’s “That’s why I hired you, Mr. Reese” is slightly re-contextualized now, and it’ll be interesting to see how this dynamic evolves over the remainder of the season.
One final element to this storyline is the relationship between Reese and Fusco, one that isn’t as close as Fusco wants it to be. Reese is shutting him out because that’s simply a way he deals with loss, but Fusco has enough of it at the end of the episode. “Stop shutting me out,” he asserts. “You don’t get to choose who or what I die for. I made my choice a long time ago.” Essentially, what Reese has to realize here is that Fusco is dealing with some of the same losses that he’s dealing with and that he wants to be included, and it seems like Reese does realize this as his sessions with Iris continue. That gives him the push he needs to include Fusco at the end, and it’s nice to see the two begin to patch up whatever small rift may have developed. It’s also nice to see, in general, Reese beginning to face loss head on rather than avoid it, rather than avoid getting close. As Iris says near the end: “Loss is inevitable. So is love. It’s a basic human need.” And so it goes with Reese.
-Always nice to see Blair Brown. Anyone from Fringe is fine by me.
-Also always nice to see Paige Turco’s Zoe. I didn’t really write about the case much in my main review, but much of the entertainment factor stems from the chemistry between her and Reese. Finch and Emma also have a good dynamic throughout.
-I’m not sure I see a romantic relationship with Reese and Iris in the future, although it seems to be what’s being set up. Like Zoe says, he just isn’t built that way.
– “Your number’s up.”
-I loved Finch trying to get out of jury duty by playing the crazy card…even if everything he was saying was correct.
-I miss Root.
Photo credit: Person of Interest, CBS