Thursday, October 23, 2014

Person of Interest: sometimes it's better not to know

in this fifth episode of Person of Interest, Shaw learns some valuable people skills, Reese remembers Carter while undergoing therapy and Root has some alone time with Finch.

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the episode opens with Reese and Fusco chasing a man up the rooftop who has been caught embezzling money and committed murder to cover it up.  as it is election day, Reese offers the guy a choice between jumping from the rooftop and trying to kill a cop, in which case, one option allows him to leave insurance for his family.  as the perpetrator chooses to shoot Reese instead, Reese quickly turns around and shoots him in the knee cap, thereby causing the captain to give Reese/Det. Riley desk duty until he finishes undergoing therapy.  or as Reese puts it, "Every time I do something good around here, the Department rewards me with carpal tunnel and paper cuts"

the new number is pollster Simon Lee, played by Jason Ritter.  based on the numbers he ran, the incumbent, Governor Murray, will win over challenger Michelle Perez, 52% to 48%.  when Murray loses to Perez, 52-48, he declares that the election was rigged, which was in fact, the doing of Samaritan, as pointed out by Root.

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photo courtesy of

Finch and Root try to find some dirt on Perez that will force her to step down as governor.  this allows Finch to have some one on one time with Root to ask her how long it has been since the Machine had spoken to her.  the communication between Root and the Machine has been limited since Samaritan went online, since it would put all of them in danger.

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my favorite sequence has got to be the standoff shootout between Root and Martine.  we see a wide shot of them shooting each other, Root from the top, Martine from below, while the song Young Men Dead by The Black Angels was playing.  

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this episode also provides flashbacks on when Harold and Nathan were putting together the system.  Harold explains that the system would have unlimited capability, power, and if not governed carefully, it would one day, govern us.  a concept that Samaritan aims to achieve, as it believes that is humanity that must be carefully governed.

while this was an action-packed episode and it never failed to make my heart jump on every scene, it did give me goosebumps and tears.  when Root and Finch were arguing about how Root should not allow the Machine's whims to define her but she perseveres that her life has a purpose, it made me appreciate how her her character has come around. from being a person obsessed with the Machine to one whose ideals of a better world through it, Root has won us over.  not to mention, she has become an important ally of the team and a real friend to Shaw.

and let me just say that i don't agree with other people who hate on both Shaw and Root's characters because Carter died.  i love all of their characters on the show.  we need strong women on tv who do not rely on other men's affirmation or protection to survive.  they did not kill off Carter just so they could squeeze in Root and Shaw.

which brings me to the other scene that made me bawl my eyes out:  on Reese's first session at therapy, the shrink could immediately tell that he was lying and that he was trying to manipulate her.  he was, after all, once an international spy (of course, the doctor doesn't know that), very cunning and smart, indeed.  when he comes back for a second session, Dr. Campbell tells him that he doesn't have to save everyone, Reese becomes serious, melancholic even, when he starts talking about Carter, how she was a great detective who never lost sight of good and evil and how sadly, he couldn't save her.  he feels the need to save everyone because this world is full of bad people.  it won't stop him from trying to save everyone because in her memory, he feels it is his duty to.

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and the end of the day, while the number is saved, in Finch's words, he has been lobotomized and the truth hidden from him.  frankly, the while the number is brilliant, he needed a dose of humble pie.  people make mistakes.  the alternative was to let him die, which is not the purpose of the team.  Root survives and is given yet another identity by the Machine.  she reminds Harold that the Machine needs his guidance because he is the difference between the Machine and Samaritan.

it is about time for the creator and the machine to talk.