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September 4, 2015

'Persons Unknown' - 'Static' Recap

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 8th 2010 2:00PM
Persons Unknown(S01E09) OK, I've been wanting to say something the past week or two and I've been putting it off. I wanted to wait until the eighth or ninth episode to say something, and since this is episode nine, here goes:

'Persons Unknown' is one of best shows of the year.

I know, I know, send me nasty comments below if you must. But I think that it's massively entertaining and really something different. I also think that it's a good lesson in how to do a limited, 13 episode series. It has a big plot and big ideas but it's actually a tightly written and produced show. I really like it.

The title of tonight's episode was wrong though.

The title of this episode could have been "Don't Touch Joe!" since everyone who touched him got strangled and beaten up. Including our friend the night manager, who knows more about the town than he has said before. I always thought that he was trapped in the town too. Maybe not to the extent that the rest of the group was, but I didn't think he was part of The Program, with a secret room and computers and a way to talk to HQ. He's one of the people who shouldn't have touched Joe. I thought Joe killed him when he tossed him around the bar, smashing his head with bottles and then throwing him through the window like it was a wild west town (which I guess it is, in a way).

Janet almost got hers too. She must really trust Joe to go after him alone and touch him yet again after almost getting strangled and stabbed with the world's biggest knife. But love and trust won out in the end as Janet protected him against the rest of the group when he got his memory back (at least I assume he did, for the most part). Moira was really hard in this episode, like she could take over as leader of the group.

I'm not sure Janet should try to have a life with Joe though. Who knows what the hell could happen in his head in the future?

So this show has really opened up now. We know the leader of this program -- a character I really love, by the way, especially since she got pissed that her tea was cold -- and we've seen some of the other people behind the plot. We don't know exactly what's going on and why, though maybe Mark and Kat can get to the bottom of it. But wait, so they've shown up at the town. So what? What the heck are they going to do? Go into the town and become trapped too? It's not like they have communications with a rescue team or they're trained in rescue or have super powers. They don't even have a car.

I did like how the priest got them out of the other town, though it seemed a bit rushed that the three of them would figure out that this is a big plot to kidnap people and Joe is involved and all that. The priest had some particularly clunky dialogue to explain things but I'll let that slide since it's episode 9 of only 13.

One of the things that kinda impresses me about the show is that even though it is only 13 episodes long, it has managed to give us plenty of twists without it seeming like the twists are forced or ridiculous. Having Liam replace the injured night manager should make the last few episodes rather interesting. I wonder if the powers that be will decide to shut down the project and kill everyone instead of finishing this particular experiment? So many things seem to be going wrong. I wonder if they know Mark and Kat are close by?

More thoughts:

• Moira seemed particularly hard and no-nonsense in this episode, like she could become the leader of the group if she wanted to. Though Janet whacking Erika in the nose to protect Joe might give her second thoughts.

• Why did Mr. Jerky say that they should screw up the good thing they have going, especially after what he went through last week?

• Joe with the shaved head looks a lot like another actor but I can't think who it is. Any help?

• Speaking of Joe, did pre-shock Joe like Chinese food?

• The show is interrupted next week. The next new episode airs on August 21.

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Sorry to break up the mutual admiration society here, but the show would've been great as a 6-ep mini-series. As it is now, it's WAY too drawn out, too clever for itself and hence, it's on life-support in the tv graveyard of Saturday night. Look, I liked its premise but got easily bored with its trickle of clues. I'll tune in for the finale because even by then I won't have missed anything substantial, just a bunch of mis-cues and plot mis-direction - taken from the "LOST" Playbook - that have tied up your time all these many weeks.

August 10 2010 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm loving this show, I was miffed when they moved it to Saturday's. I tell everyone to watch this show, great plot, great mystery behind it all. Even now we're finally seeing "the back room" we still have no idea what's going on. Still trying to figure it all out. Love it.

August 09 2010 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like this show, took seeing the second episode to hook me but I definitely like it and will probably miss it when we hit ep 13. The Joe/Janet connection really makes it work though the mystery about the "program" keep it interesting. I wonder why they aren't airing en ep this week? And why did NBC move it to Saturdays??

August 09 2010 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not sure whether I'm comfortable calling it one of the best shows of the year, but Persons certainly provides as much opportunity as any show on television for an examination of ideas and ideologies inherent to our collective identity. For that alone, it's worth watching.
- matthew

August 09 2010 at 4:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am with you. The show is amazing!! Every character have their charm. But Joe and Janet are the best, Charlie too. I hate Erika.

All should give a shot to this serie!!

August 09 2010 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hmmm... maybe I should give it another shot. I could not get through the first episode. I went in really trying to like it, but throughout the entire thing I just kept thinking, "This is stupid..." So, I gave up. I probably shouldn't have done that as some of the best shows of all time have horrible pilots.

August 08 2010 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i'm with you Bob; i think this is a really good show. too bad they are really putting it in the closet with the showtime and whatnot. also, did Mark and Kat show up at THE town? i'm wondering, if they do this all the time, if maybe they have multiple locations... although, since it's episode 10, maybe it is THE town.

August 08 2010 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joe (even with hair) reminds me of Hugh Dillon from the band Headstones and the tv shows Durham County and Flashpoint

August 08 2010 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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