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Person of Interest “Proteus” 

Photo Credit:CBS
Photo Credit:CBS

“Proteus” is defined as a sea-god who not only can foretell the future, but who can change its shape.  Basically, it is a mythical shape-shifter.  After the last episode of Person of Interest with the explosive introduction of the fantastic character, Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi), we are back on track with the number-of-the-week storylines – well, sort of.

In the midst of a horrific storm, the Machine throws Finch (Michael Emerson) a curveball and produces 6 numbers at once.  Now, the Machine has produced multiple numbers before, like the 5 Don’s in “Flesh and Blood” and the 4 numbers is “Number Crunch”.  However, this situation seems to be a little different.  All six people appear completely unrelated, span multiple states, and at least 3 of them have been on Missing Persons lists for years.  Both Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch head to the field to work on the case, but before making much progress, they lose contact and end up working solo for a good deal of the episode.

Reese heads to the apartment of the last person on the list, Jack Rollins, but instead of Rollins, Reese finds geeky FBI Agent Alan Fahey, who also had been working the case of some of the missing people that were on Finch and Reese’s list.  Armed with evidence that Rollins had a rental property, Reese and Fahey head off to Owen Island, which turns out to be a big mistake with some of the evidence that Finch later discovers on his own.

Finch arrives later and discovers a gruesome incinerator and several sets of human teeth left in the furnace.  Finch then sees how all of his 6 numbers are connected – they are all victims of not only murder but identity theft where the killer murders his victim, assumes his identity until he gets tired of it, and then starts the entire process over again.  Very creep to say the least. While this is a very interesting plot (and even lives up to the title of the episode “Proteus), this is where the rest of story becomes somewhat predictable.

Once Finch crashes their party on Owen Island as storm chaser, Harold Gull (yes, another lovely bird alias!), Finch informs Reese that Jack Rollins is already dead, and so, the killer has probably already assumed the identity of his next victim, meaning it’s probably someone on the island.   I don’t know about the rest of the viewers, but it seemed obvious to me from the get-go of who the imposter was and that was Agent Fahey.  Fahey is the only character that was built up to any degree in this episode, and it made sense that he would end up being the chameleon.

Making a storyline predictable is really not a good thing in terms of storytelling, but the writers make up for the shortcoming with some other goodies they left us to munch on.  First, we have Detective Cal Beecher (Sterling K. Brown).  He was seen with the leader of HR in an earlier episode, was painted as a bad apple by the FBI, and this all resulted in Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson) giving him the cold shoulder even since then.  But, with Beecher’s big effort in tonight’s episode to assure Carter that he’s clean and then his saving of Carter and Finch’s life, it does make you wonder why the writers are showing us this side of Beecher.  Is Beecher truly as dirty as he is being portrayed, or is there something bigger going on?  Could Beecher be playing HR to try and uncover their operation, or could he simply have cleaned up his act since then?  No matter what, something tells me now there is more to Detective Beecher than we were shown earlier in the season.

Finally, we have the alleged “glitch” in the Machine.  Remember that ugly virus that Stanton (Annie Parisse) implanted on the Department of Defense’s computers before her demise in “Dead Reckoning”?  Yeah, some of you may have forgotten about that, but the writers wanted to make sure that no one did because I suspect it’s going to play the major part of the season finale.  While the Machine is still right this time with the producing of the 6 numbers, Finch notes that there appears to be something wrong because the Machine should have given him the numbers earlier.  Basically, this is indicating that the Machine is slowing down, which is a common occurrence with a computer that has been infected with a virus.  The cornerstone of Finch and Reese’s work is timing.  They have to be given the number early enough to prevent the crime, and if the Machine is running behind, this is a huge problem.

All in all, I thought this was a good episode, probably a strong A- or B+.  While the main storyline was somewhat weak, it had some excellent character development, and it reminded us of the ailing Machine.  While the points made in tonight’s episode may not seem significant now, with only a handful of episodes left until the season finale, be sure to tuck them away as I suspect they will be very important as we head toward the finale.  As Finch said at the very end, “No, Mr. Reese, I’m afraid the storm is just beginning”.  

Person of Interest airs on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.

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