Person of Interest is one of my favorite TV shows right now. It’s really raised the bar on just how good a network procedural can be. Unfortunately, it’s also seriously annoyed me with its most recent episode, and when I say annoyed, I mean pissed me right the hell off.
Actually, other shows have annoyed me recently too — I mean, sweet Jesus, Walking Dead, what the boring, boring hell — but I’m going to focus on this one today. (Honestly, I’d planned to write quite a bit about Scandal as well, as both Scandal and Person of Interest have made extremely disappointing choices with their female characters of late, but I’d like to get to bed on the sooner side. Maybe next week, folks. I’m pretty sure my ire is going to continue.)
BIG TIME SPOILERS for Person of Interest’s “The Crossing.” If you have not seen it, please do not read.
So. Let’s talk about the death of Detective Joss Carter.
Now let’s be clear. I’m not mad at PoI just for killing Carter. I am, admittedly, a teeny tiny bit frustrated because I feel like, as a character, Carter’s finally come into her own, and I’m disappointed I don’t get to watch her anymore, especially now that she’s totally awesome. But she did bring down HR almost completely by herself, and that’s pretty badass. Also, PoI has been promoting this three-episode “event” of theirs with the heavy implication that someone important will die, and there’s nothing more lame sauce than doing that and then just killing off some random guest star who nobody cares about and has been in maybe a handful of episodes. Taraji P. Henson has been a main cast member since the pilot, and killing her off is a fairly bold move, which I approve of.
Here’s my problem:
Until this episode, Reese and Carter have never had a romantic relationship. I’m not saying they weren’t important to one another. I’m not saying they haven’t had some nice moments or couldn’t have ended up together eventually, but they so weren’t there yet. The Big Moment in this episode couldn’t have felt more artificial if it tried. Reese is just like, yeah, we’re trapped together, so let me suddenly tell you all about how you kept me from committing suicide and gave my life meaning. And while I’m like, “Wait, wasn’t it really Finch and his Machine who gave your life meaning?” Reese and Carter just proceed straight on to Kissy Face.
It’s bad. It’s really, really bad.
Of course, I could get past that hastiness of Kissy Face if Reese and Carter weren’t solely getting together to throw Carter’s ass firmly in a refrigerator.
Look, not every woman-in-a-refrigerator story is automatically bad. Some of them are actually pretty good because, sure, it’s an overused trope, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work for you, if you do it right. But this . . . this is pretty terrible. Killing off a girlfriend is one thing, but turning someone into a last minute love interest just to immediately bump her off and give your lead hero Rage Face . . . yeah, that is immensely cheap.
It annoys me especially because I’ve been championing Person of Interest as the best show for women on TV right now, and then they do something like this. Of course, it’s not all bad. PoI still has Root and Shaw, who are pretty awesome. (Zoe, too, although she’s not main cast.) And most of the episode is really pretty solid. I especially like the misdirect — John and Fusco are the ones supposedly in danger, but in the end it’s Carter who actually dies. Still, I can’t help but feel that she deserved a lot better, and I wish like hell Person of Interest had realized that. Maybe I’ll feel a little better about all this once I see how the story actually plays out . . . but right now I’m just feeling bitter and frustrated.
My hope? Fusco, not John, is the one who ultimately kills Simmons. That wouldn’t make up for this, not completely, but I think I’d like it a lot better.