Person of Interest: s02 e18 – All In


For once, I would almost say that I was disappointed with the latest episode of Person of Interest: almost, but not quite.

The problem lay largely with myself. Since Relevance, and knowing how the season ends, I assumed the show would be going into its end game to set this up, but in that I was premature. All In was once again, in respect of its Number of the Week, a solus, with all the longer-term aspects taking place elsewhere, beyond the ken of Messrs Finch and Reese.

Once I realised that the issue of Lou Mitchell (Ron McLarty), a retiree on a fixed income who played bacccarat in an Atlantic City casino every day and who had lost over $320,000 over six months, had nothing to do with the wider issues, I found it difficult to be enthused. Yes, the story was nifty, and there was a nice scene when Finch, following Lou around all day, discovered his quarry was much less naive than he’d assumed and had not only made him from the off but confronted him in a bar, played baccarat for questions with far greater skill than he’d ever shown in the casino, and lifted his keys before dropping them in the lobster tank.

No, Lou wasn’t the loser he appeared to be. He was a card sharp from way back who’d fallen foul of the Mafia and been beaten for it, had married the woman who helped in and had forty very committed years together before her death from cancer. But to fund her treatment, Lou had sharked at a casino owned by Darren Makris (Michael Rispoli), and when Makris found out, Lou found himself on the hook, alongwith several other retirees, required to play, and lose, every day.

Why? Makris was in the drug trade and also owned a pharmacy. Lou and the others picked up ‘prescriptions’ daily, money they then lost, in a money-laundering operation. Makris’ drug profits disappear into the casino and come out as its profits.

What makes Lou stand out, and drew the Machine’s attention, was that he was using his skills to skim a bit off the top, a gesture of defiance, I’m not a loser, on the one hand, and with a sentimental purpose in mind on the other. Even when Harold sends Lou out of town, whilst he and John ‘eliminate’ Lou in Makris’ eyes, the cantankerous old bugger comes back.

And this time he’s playing to win, win back everything he’s lost. But with Finch staking him to $2,000,000 and John running interference on Makris, Lou wins over $20,000,000, negating the presence of our old friend, Leon Tau (an ever welcome cameo from Ken Leung, as shallow as ever but also as forensic with a money trail).

Reese saves the day when everyone is captured and forced to go through a Russian Roulette situation that’s actually harmless because Lou palmed the bullet. And with Finch’s help, Lou is set up to buy and preserve the diner in which he eats every day, the one he and his Marilyn practically lived in. A nice, sentimental ending.

It was a decent Number of the Week, and in another frame of mind I would probably have enjoyed it more, but I’m impatient for things to hot up, andthe only place that happened was in the B story, centred on Detective Carter.

Joss is still gathering evidence about the missing Detective Stills, using Detective Terney (Al Sapienza), when Detective Szymanski is hauled in, in handcuffs. Szymanski is due to testify todayagainst the Yogarof brothers, when he’sdirtied up by planted evidence he’s on the take. Carter starts investigating this immediately. Would-be boyfriend Cal Beecher is about but ruins his romantic hopes by admitting he provided the tip on Szymanski.

It’s all a scenario set up by H.R., Officer Simmons and Alonzo Quinn, for a cash deal with the Yogarofs: they will not go to jail. Except that Carter, following the money on the advice of Fusco, finds evidence that Szymanski has been framed. The trial goes ahead, with extra charges as to witness-tampering. Fusco warns Carter aboout making herself a target. Quinn invites the DA and Szymmanski to dinner, impressing on them how invested the Mayor is in securing a conviction. Both of them are determined to press ahead. And Quinn pulls out a gun and kills both, two shots each to the heart.

And another member of H.R. enters, Detective Raymond Terney. The killer got away through the back, leaving two dead and one wounded: Terney shoots Quinn through the right shoulder.

That’s where the heat was, where the long story took place. I sure hope the show turns its face towards the season ending next week…

 

5 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s02 e18 – All In

  1. Well, I guess I have to spoil the surprise for you-yes, the next two are mythology episodes for sure. I quite like ‘All In’. It’s a charming, very fun episode that’s great to watch in isolation when you’re looking for a fun episode of POI to pop in. It’s also the first script by Lucas O’Connor, who will go on to write ‘Aletheia’, ‘Death Benefit’, ‘Prophets’, ‘M.I.A.’, ‘SNAFU’, and ‘6,741’. This was an interesting start, and easily his weakest script-but it’s still fun.

    You are correct though-the numbers are good stories on their own merits, but when you clump too many of them together, they start to lose their appeal. Season 1 got away with it because a)-the novelty factor and b)-it was very focused on character development and world-building. I finished ‘Shadow Box’ a couple days ago, and the past 5 in a row were all number-of-the weeks: solid, well-told, etc.-but still, outside of ‘Til Death’ (for the lolz), none of them were classics.

    1. Watching them one at a time must be pretty damn rough, whereas DS9 works fine with that-perhaps better. DS9’s a very good show, but the limitations of 90s television held it back from its full potential. If it were made today, there are definite areas that could be improved. POI is just addictive though-you *want* to watch more, every time.

      1. It is rough. But I spent over three years on DS9 and I’m determined to do this the hard way. And like I said, could not blog every episode if I watched them in groups. not and have time for the other things I want to write about.

      2. Oh, I’m not saying you *should*-just empathizing with your plight! This is the first time I’ve not plowed through the series-I’m taking it a little slower than usual.

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