Thursday, April 16, 2015

Person of Interest - Terra Incognita

Taking place completely outside of recent events, "Terra Incognita" is memorable for the return of Taraji P. Henson as Detective Joss Carter for a single episode. As Reese (Jim Caviezel) investigates an old cold case Carter originally handled years before, Henson appears in flashbacks as well as a hallucinatory sequence where the show puts the life of its leading character in serious jeopardy. One of the most interesting ideas "Terra Incognita" deals with is the fact that both the show and Reese have over-romanticised his relationship with Carter since her death. This episode strips down those delusions forcing the former assassin to take a hard look at himself as he slowly dies in the cold alone with no one but a hallucinatory friend for company.

Despite Henson's return and Reese facing some convenient rewriting of history the show's writers finally call themselves on, "Terr Incognita" isn't without its issues. The episode far slower in pace than any episode of the series in recent memory and filled with a number of scenes where nothing actually occurs making it look like the thinly-writ script was stretched beyond its limits to fit its televised timeslot. The other interesting piece of "Terra Incognita" is the fact that we likely won't know if the episode actually pays off for some time (does Carter's ghost actually change Reese's behavior going forward?).

As for the mystery that tenuously holds the flashbacks and current storyline together it's one of the show's weakest with a surprise twist that seems odd Carter never followed up on (considering she had the file for her entire career as a detective). Also, why was the file boxed up with Carter's personal belongings? That seems more than a little convenient to allow the picture (which plays as big a role in the episode as Carter herself) to conveniently fall in Reese's possession. The themes it works with, it's unusual pacing, and Henson's return, make "Terra Incognita" one of the episode on of Person of Interest's most memorable episodes but I wouldn't rank it near the show's best.

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