3:10 AM So the last episode just popped into my inbox and I have to admit, I’m hesitating to watch it. Because that’s it, no more Person of Interest after tonight. Fingers crossed that it’s a great exit.
So it’s 9 PM on Tuesday, and I’m setting myself up here, talking about “.exe” as the last episode plays (I won’t see it until about four AM), but I’ve been thinking a lot about this since Sarah posted how unhappy she was with the “.exe” episode. I loved it. And I think it comes down to expectation at the climax.
One of the conceits I’ve been working with here is that Person of Interest is a five-act novel, each season finale acting as a turning point, an event that swings the story in a new direction, raising the stakes, changing character, and escalating the conflict by hurtling the plot forward. If you prefer a classic screenplay structure, then Season One is Act One and the upcoming Season Five is Act Three, leaving the middle three seasons as the arcing middle act with the devastation of Carter’s death hitting at the midpoint/point of no return.
But act/turning point designations don’t have to fall into a rigid pattern. They’re there to make sure that a long-form story keeps reinventing itself, not to make a fill-in-the-blanks framework for story. So I’d argue that there are two crisis points in the Person of Interest novel: this episode which defeats the Gang, and the climax of Season Four, which defeats the Machine, a one-two punch that sets up the desperate final act, which begins next Tuesday (May 3), a shortened stretch of narrative that raises the reader/viewer’s anxiety about the story to a fever pitch before providing catharsis in a final story-changing climax.
Well, I’m worried, anyway. Those PoI writers will kill anybody. Continue reading