Person of Interest “Terra Incognita” Review (4×20)

15 Apr


“You can change.”

At this point in the season, we expect to see an episode that advances the overarching plot, that puts the wheels into motion for the final arc of the season. This show, however, understands that its characters are just as important as the plot, that John Reese’s psyche is just as interesting a topic to explore as the Brotherhood or Samaritan or Elias. Sure, his storyline has faltered a bit in recent weeks, but it’s clear now what the writers were going for with Iris and with Reese’s therapy sessions. It’s all coming together now, and “Terra Incognita” is a wonderful hour of television for his character development.

The episode does feature a case-of-the-week scenario with Chase Patterson, and although it isn’t the most interesting plot, its thematic tie-ins to the Reese-Carter drama is clear. The idea of change is a central discussion point for Reese and Carter in the car, and the way the episode fuses together its various storylines and timelines is very impressive. It’s a visually striking episode–I mean, just look at that screencap above–and it’s a wonderful way to convey the state of Reese’s psyche and his relationship with Carter.

The main point of disagreement between the two characters involves whether or not you can change; Carter believes you can, whereas Reese states that “no one changes. You’re here because this has been where you’ve always headed.” He goes on to say that “there is no ‘after’ for people like us. We don’t do fairytales.” It’s certainly a mindset that’s helped him with his job, but at the same time, the show takes care to emphasize just how important others are, just how important it is to take note of your situation and realize that people care about you. You need to realize that change is something that can happen.

The episode sets up–in simplest terms, because it’s certainly more complicated than this–Carter as the optimist and Reese as the pessimist, and we see that idea play out through their discussion of the Jessica picture. Carter states that the people who had picture “were all fighting for something”, whereas Reese responds by saying that they “were all dying for something”. It’s an idea that’s informed the rest of the show’s events at every turn, from Carter’s death to Shaw’s “death” to the very act of fighting against Samaritan.

Late in the episode, we get one of the most beautifully written, heartbreaking, and wonderfully acted scenes this show has ever produced. Reese realizes that he never shared with Carter what he thought he shared, that his self-imposed isolation has profoundly affected him. “I want to see you happy and hopeful and in love,” Carter tells him. “There are people who care about you and love you. You just got to let them in.” Reese has been closed off for so long, and it’s devastating to watch him realize how that affected his relationship with Carter. Jim Caviezel, once considered by many to be the weak acting link in the show, delivers quite possibly his best work here. It’s an Emmy-worthy performance, and it’s a haunting, affecting, and masterful way to close off the episode. When the hallucinations fade and the cold, harsh winter returns, what will always remain are Carter’s words, her friendship, her love.

“Which friend do you want me to be?” she asks.

The one you’ve always been, Carter. We miss you.


-So great to see Taraji P. Henson back. I’m glad she’s been finding success on “Empire”, but I wish more people knew about what she’s done as Carter.

-I’ll admit: I was skeptical of this episode at first. It won me over by the end, though.

-Root in a wedding dress. I love how this kind of stuff has been a running bit.

-I’ll see you again in two weeks for the final two episodes of the season. I’ll be able to get the reviews up the night of, consideringย Justifiedย just finished its (fantastic) final run.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

4 Responses to “Person of Interest “Terra Incognita” Review (4×20)”

  1. Hepburn3 April 15, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    I loved it! I cried because I was so moved by the performances of Taraji and Jim, they work so wonderfully well together, and for me this episode shows the connection that Joss and John had, and I think it also shuts down the naysayers who think that when John kissed Joss in that episode when they were hiding from HR that it came out of no where. Reece loved Carter as she did him and they had a deep connection. I am happy though that she told him basically that he is loved and deserves love because he does. So Dr. Iris does have a purpose after all. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I never thought that Jim C was the weakest acting link in the show, he does what is needed as Reece, Reece is a/was a machine who takes orders, he is not without feeling but he is guarded, much like Shaw, Fusco, Root and even Harold, the only people on team Machine who ever showed how they felt/feel are and were Bear and Carter. The others are all learning because of all of the hurt that they have gone through.
    This only thing about this wonderful episode that made me sad was it showed me just how much I miss Taraji as Carter and how she was and is mos def the heart of the team Machine. I do wish that she was not killed off, but alas.
    I loved Root in a wedding dress, that would have been an episode that I would have loved to see, because how long was she working this relationship to bring it to a marriage ceremony? That would have been good comedy I think. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I loved the quiet and stillness of this episode, I loved that it showcased just how much Carter and Reece meant/mean to each other.
    I loved how it also showed that Reece is human and can almost be brought down, because in truth sometimes I think he is the Terminator. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am so stoked for the next two final episodes of the season. I love Team Machine, it may sound weird but they are like tv family to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am already excited by what will happen for next season!

    By the way PB, who do you think it was that drove up to save Reece in the end?


    p.s. I did read your review of the Justified finale, I love that show! I have not watched this last season yet as I get the show in dvd form from my local library and then binge watch it. So I am still awaiting to watch season 5, but I loved your review even without seeing it,and you did not spoil it for me as I will enjoy watching it immensely! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Laters PB and good luck ( not really) to your Black Hawks! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Sadly my extremely lame Leafs are not in the Stanley Cup play offs… QUELLE SUPRISE!! So instead I am rooting for the Habs because I love Carey Prince and P.K. Subban, everyday I wish they were both Leafs! ๐Ÿ™‚
    In closing GO HABS!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hepburn3 April 15, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Correction: Carey Price! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • polarbears16 April 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

      Fantastic thoughts, once again! Yeah, I didn’t ever think Caviezel was the weak acting link, as he played the character well. As for who drove up at the end…hmmm, it should be Shaw! Haha that would be cool.

      Thanks, I like the Habs but the Senators are just hard not to like right now with what they’ve done (eliminated the Bruins, essentially)! I’m rooting for the underdog. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I definitely would not be disappointed if the Habs came out of the East.

  2. Mel April 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

    Best episode of the year. Made me cry.

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