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September 5, 2015

'Persons Unknown' - 'And Then There Was One' Recap

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 29th 2010 1:30PM
Persons Unknown(Season 1, Episode 12) "Then what is the point of staying calm?" - Janet, after Joe told her to stay calm, they were coming to get them

OK, there were a few things in this next-to-last episode that I just didn't buy, and I'm not talking about Ulrich's head exploding.

Many plot developments just didn't ring true and seemed a bit rushed. Ulrich saying he was going to go ahead with the experiment but then trying to help the group escape. Blackham getting beaten up near the vault and everyone immediately assuming he was killed even though the security video only showed him getting beaten up.

Charlie crazy upset that the gang didn't "give Blackham a chance" even though he has been as hard on him as anyone (better the past week or two, but still). Joe not mentioning the body bags earlier?

And Mark and Kat finding The Mansfield Institute in Iowa so quickly, and then starting to scream right in the hallways of the place, giving away who they are? These "heroes" need to be a little smarter.

But I will give the show credit for not getting too tedious and mystical with this episode. This was all about revving up to the finale and things actually happened. Death and action and answers. This was an Agatha Christie-ish episode (right down to the episode title), with the group starting to die one by one under mysterious -- or not so mysterious -- circumstances. As I said above I didn't really get why they thought Blackham was dead but I liked how Charlie was killed off, with a sudden collapse after arguing with Erika/Teresa.

Figures that Blackham and Charlie would be the first to die, eh?

But still, back to how some of the people starting to turn on each other seemed rather quick and convenient. Moira didn't just want to get out of the town, she goes batsh** crazy and not only kills Erika/Teresa in a rather vicious manner but actually kills the man who she grew to love (you could see that coming when she got down off the ledge rather quickly). Then she tries to kill Janet and probably would have gone on to kill everyone else if Janet didn't get her with the fire extinguisher.

It was obvious that Joe and Janet would be the last two alive in the town. That was probably predictable weeks ago, if you were a fan who thought some of these people would eventually die. But that end-of-the-episode twist was FANTASTIC. You knew that the booze was poisoned, but I didn't expect Joe to turn on Janet.

Psych! If you've read this far down you know that all of the above is complete BS. It was all staged! Kudos, 'Persons Unknown,' kudos. Even people who have watched a lot of television in their lives were surprised by that, I bet. Sure, we all thought, way back in the recesses of our minds, that some sort of plan might be a possibility, but the way that it played out was very well done.

I loved how they explained it to the audience, in a way that reminded me of the scene between Tom Cruise and Jon Voight in 'Mission: Impossible' where Ethan Hunt figures out how Phelps did it all. Not telling us, showing us, by having the same death scenes play out from another angle. Hey, I didn't think that Graham could possibly die from such a short fall.

Bring on the finale!

More thoughts:

• They probably shouldn't have strangled the driver though, eh? Especially since he was, you know, driving. It would suck if everyone on the van died after such a clever escape.

• I guess it's too much to hope that Ulrich's exploding head was staged too? Yeah, I didn't think so.

• I miss rotary phones.

[Follow Bob on Twitter.]

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My DVR only grabbed the finale, so I missed all this great suspense when I watched the first minute of the finale... Boooooo.

August 30 2010 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i, too, was shocked by the malice with which Joe "killed" Janet. but then, i thought, what if he didn't kill Janet. he couldn't have. maybe it was staged... and then i saw that the whole thing was staged! great episode! although the Iowa thing in the B-storyline bothered me a bit.

August 30 2010 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anybody remember the preview after the show previous to this epsiode? There was some guy supposedly the president of the US saying "how long have these existed?" However in this episode that does not appear nor in the ending episode. What happened?

August 29 2010 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I couldn't agree more... Joe's delivery when he "poisoned" Janet was so believable I was pissed that he killed her... But when she revealed the plan, my jaw dropped, it was one of the cleverest things I've seen and way out of left field for me. Onto the finale... (which also had an incredible ending)

August 29 2010 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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