Person of Interest: The Contingency

“He’s my friend. He saved my life. Understand? I won’t do this without him.”

In a way, this episode was the inverse of "Matsya Nyaya", where we examine Reese’s various relationships. This week it was Finch’s turn. We learn that Carter and Fusco really do like him and care for him and that Reese would do almost anything to get him away from the evil (and awesome) Root. The centerpiece of the episode, however, was Finch’s relationship with the Machine.

Yes, Finch seems to have a relationship with a machine. And not in the way normal people do. Yes, I love my phone, but Siri does not spontaneously protect me from getting hit by cars. Bitch. Is the Machine sentient? Finch talks to it like it is; Root certainly believes it to be, but, then again, she’s sort of insane. Is making a sentient device even possible? Looks like we’re in for a more sci-fi season than last.

For his part, Reese is determined to get Finch back, even after realizing that Finch designed the Machine not to save him. The bond between Reese and Finch has become rock solid. Reese was willing to die (and let a mostly innocent man die) in order to save his friend. It really is sweet to see how far these two have come.

Carter and Fusco are also working hard on Finch’s disappearance. It should be noted that the team functions surprisingly well without Finch. They don’t need him back; they want him back. Fusco also seems particularly worried that, without Finch, Reese will go off the rails. Finch has only been gone one episode, and Reese already almost let a man die, so Fusco’s concerns seem reasonable.

I’m thrilled to see Amy Acker again. Who among us isn’t excited when a Whedonite pops up in one of their shows? I was imagining Root as being someone with the nerdiness of Fred (Angel) and the toughness of Peyton (Alias). I seriously underestimated Acker’s acting talent. Root is brilliant, terrifying, and unhinged. In short, she makes for the scariest fan girl ever. She seems to have been nursing her obsession with “Harry” for a while now. Let’s hope Reese finds them sooner rather than later.

I have to admit, as much as I love Amy Acker, the scenes between her and Finch dragged quite a bit. The writers seem to have bogged her down with too many long, grandiose speeches about human nature. Just because she can pull those off, doesn’t mean you should give her three an episode. I know every scene can’t be people running and shooting at each other, but lighten it up a bit, okay?

Bits and Pieces:

The Machine gives its numbers through library books, using the Dewey Decimal system. Oh my God. That is so cool.

Finch spends time training the Machine like you would train a dog. Funny, I thought programming something as complex as the Machine would require years in front of a computer screen. That, however, wouldn’t make for very compelling television.

Why did the Aryan Brotherhood have an Asian guy working for them in the first place? Aren’t those scumbags supposed to hate everyone who isn’t white, blonde, and covered in swastika tattoos?

Ken Leung (Miles from Lost) guest stars in this ep. Unfortunately, he has no direct contact with Finch, depriving the writers of the classic and overused “You remind me of someone I used to work with” joke.

Reese takes the dog, renaming him “Bear.” Apparently Reese really is a dog person. Does this mean our crew is getting a furry sidekick? Please say yes!

Quotes:

“You’re a murderer and a thief.”
“My mom told me to follow my talents.”
Reminds me of that meme. They told me I could become whatever I wanted, so I became a hacking, murdering, psychopathic genius.

“What are you going to be doing?”
“I’m not sure. Math, I think.”
Is it just me or did Reese not look that happy at the prospect of doing (gasp) math?

“Look you seem, well, crazy, but highly capable.”

“See I don’t have many friends. Just the one, in fact.”
“Hey!”
“Okay, maybe two.”
I guess poor Carter doesn’t count.

“I’m guessing you don’t speak Dutch.”
Ha ha! Reese has bested you giant white men with his knowledge of random European languages! Tune in next week to see how he foils kidnappers with his cunning use of Hungarian!

“I wasn’t losing. I was just resting.”
And we’ll back you up on that, Reese.

Three out of four Amy Ackers

11 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

I really hope Team Machine is getting a canine companion!

I liked this episode, and I love your observation that they don't need Finch--but they want him. I hope Finch realizes that at some point, especially since that realization might put his complicated relationship with the Machine in a clearer light for him.

What I'm most excited about is the way the show seems to be willing to tweak the CBS-procedural rules. I thought everything would be solved in 45 minutes plus commercials, and I'm so glad it wasn't. I can't wait to see JC take on the entire state of Texas next week. In Hungarian, of course.

Random question: was Aryan #1 Anthony Michael Hall?

sunbunny said...

Haha I don't know. I was too busy trying to figure out if the big guy was the same big guy Mal kicked through the engine in Train Job.

I was happy Finch's kidnapping wasn't tied up in a single episode too, although I might get tired of the storyline if it goes on for the entire season or something. Perhaps Reese will rescue him during November sweeps?

Patrick said...

Ho-lee $#@%! What an awesome start to the season! I gotta take this a piece at a time.

The flashbacks, aka When Harry Met The Machine. It never really occurred to me just HOW MUCH the machine would have to be taught about human behavior in order to do its job. The idea of it being an A.I. rather than just the world's biggest data-miner makes more sense. Though I'm not sure how "sentient" I want the machine to be. It could be very cool, certainly. But I don't want this to become "Wargames 2: Homeland Security"(Actually, there already is a Wargames sequel. And yes, it's pretty bad). I want this show to be about people, first and foremost. All that aside, watching the developing relationship, for lack of a better word, between Harold and The Machine(can someone please come up with a better name?) was a lot of fun.

Reese & friends, protecting Leon and trying to find Finch. Boy am I glad they're done with keeping Fusco & Carter in the dark about each other. Wouldn't mind seeing more of them working together though, I mean they ARE partners. I'd also like to see some good conversation scenes between them about what they're doing for Reese & Finch, how they feel about going around the law, that sort of thing. Carter may have come around to the fact that Reese & Finch are trying to do good, though she's still not thrilled with their methods. But Fusco's arc last season was more interesting. As much as he griped about the stuff Reese made him do, it seemed like he became something of a believer in their cause. Maybe because of his experience working outside the law for less than honorable reasons, and as such understands better just how flawed the system is. Plus, I think he sees his work with our heroes as his chance at redemption for his past sins. Go back and watch the scene in Firewall when he reveals to Carter that he's been working with Reese. There's just something in the way he's talking that makes me think he actually WANTS to be a part of their work. I'm very interested in seeing how this group dynamic evolves once they get Finch back and return to more of a "normal" routine for them, helping folks one number at a time.

Finch & Root's Road Trip - This actually was the least interesting part of the episode for me. Which is a shame, because I absolutely adore Amy Acker, and I do think she does a good job with her character. I just felt like we spent a little too much time with these two considering what actually happened. Though I admit, it was kinda cool when we saw who Root was actually after. I'm not sure exactly what she means by setting the machine free. Free for someone like her to use however she wants? Free to act on its own? That's not outside the realm of possibility, she is kinda whackadoodle after all. Even though these scenes dragged on a bit, I'm glad Finch wasn't rescued in this episode. That would have totally undermined the level of threat someone like Root presents. I think Sunbunny's theory that he'll be rescued during sweeps is a distinct possibility, though they might have trouble dragging it out that long.

One last note. The dog. Even though I'm a dog lover, I'm not always a fan of shows bringing in a dog to try and lighten things up. It's too easy for them to become a crutch to get cheap laughs. But giving Reese a military-trained attack dog that responds to Dutch commands? SO. MUCH. WIN. I keep picturing Snake Eyes and his wolf Timber from G.I. Joe. :) Plus, when the dog obeyed Reese's first command, the look on those Aryans' faces was just priceless.

Oh, and thanks Sunbunny. Because of your reference to The Train Job, I've got "Meester Niska" stuck in my head :)

tricksterson said...

I think they missed an opportunity. They should have had Fusco bring up the friend thing later only to have Reese say either "I was talking about Carter" or, even better, "I meant the dog."

Billie Doux said...

Just got to this one (busy week, what can I say) and OMG, I loved it. The Contingency. The Dewey Decimal system as code! Amy Acker, Ken Leung (please bring him back), Reese talking to the Machine and threatening to quit, Carter saving Reese... the dog! Loved the dog. No, I'm not enthused, am I?

Great review, Sunbunny. "Cunning use of Hungarian." LOL.

PlatinumRosebud said...

Thanks for the review, Sunbunny.

I was actually waiting for Zoe to appear. I hope she appears in the next ep. Missed her working with Reese. :)

Patrick said...

I too am eagerly awaiting Zoe's return to the show. She's a great character, and Paige plays her beautifully. Plus, her scenes with Jim Caviezel practically smolder with sexual tension. I hope they can come up with a credible way to increase her role this season, she's a great fit.

celticmarc said...

I always thought that the Dewey system was, is, cool.

Wow, a new chronological history in the Machine story : cool. A new approach to the mythology. Excellent.

You're right sunbunny, it feels more sci-fi now. And eerie. Oh, and we finally meet Bear. Too bad those Neo Nazis never learned Dutch. And yes, another Lost Alumni. TV recycling. Nice.


"We're just bad code."

("I wasn't loosing, I was just resting !" Aw crap ! This one's already in your review !) (yes ! I take notes !) (nine eps and I'm up to date !)

celticmarc said...

Quoting you Billie : "No, I'm not enthused, am I?" Sure sounds like a celtic-lostian enthusiasm !

ChrisB said...

This show is extraordinary. The relationships among the key four, or five if we include The Machine, are fascinating to watch.

Agree that the scenes with Acker got a bit long. And, what did I miss? Why did she hurt that woman in the restaurant? To ensure Finch would help her? What had he done to that point to make her take such drastic action?

Bear! I'm always smiling when a dog is around.

FrancoB said...

The unanswered question of ChrisB may be a good start for a first posting. I am Franco, living in Berlin Germany and a long long time reader of this wonderful site.

Ok, why did Root hurt the blonde woman in the restaurant. She did because it was the mother of the cousin of your best friend's neighbour to the right. Ooops too much soap ;-).

She was the lover of the agent who knew about the machine and who was tortured and later shot by Root. She trapped him with a message from the blonde's mobile phone.

What could i say more. Stuck here in the beginning of season 2 which is broadcasted by one of the most dull free tv stations. For Poi i will begin a new battle with my dvr.