Despite losing Carter, Team Machine will soldier on (that’s the show, folks). With Joss out of the way, what will the rest of the season hold for us faithful Person of Interest viewers? To judge from this episode, very good things. (Sorry for the review’s extreme lateness. I’ve been sick.)
Two misdirects this week: one was good, one was amazing. The amazing one was Finch’s reason for avoiding seeing Claypool at the hospital. With the flashbacks this week, it made perfect sense that Finch wouldn’t want to spend time with a person suffering from dementia after seeing his father go through it. I didn’t question it for a second. Then he showed up and Claypool called him by name. I shrieked. The second was less well executed, but it still worked for me. It was obvious “Diane” was a plant, right? I mean, she was just fishy. But I assumed she was working with Collier. I was surprised (not shrieking surprised, but still surprised) when she was revealed to be the mysterious “Ma’am.” I must say, I am a bit disappointed “Ma’am” turned out to be just a random person. I was hoping we had seen her before or maybe that she didn’t really exist. I wanted something juicier than this. I’m sure they’ll take it someplace interesting, but as of this moment, I am a bit underwhelmed.
Although I never considered it before, there being more than one Machine makes perfect sense. Of course the government wouldn’t put all their eggs in Finch’s basket. According to Claypool (a middling source, at best), all surveillance programs were shut down in 2005, the same year the Machine went live. I enjoyed the PRISM shout out. According to Claypool, PRISM was allowed to continue functioning as a smokescreen, the idea being that the populous would be so angry about the program they wouldn’t consider that there was another, much more invasive system in place as well.
Now we must consider an issue that’s become all too common on Person of Interest. The crazy coincidence of the Machine spitting out a number related to not one but two recurring villains (via an old college friend of Finch...). Returning to a theory from a few weeks ago, is the Machine deliberately choosing these cases for the team? If so, which threat was it targeting: Vigilance or Ma’am and her government cohorts?
We’ve been waiting for way back Finch flashbacks since the show started and they didn’t disappoint. What I really wanted out of the sequence, I got almost immediately: bird reference! We still don’t know where and why Finch’s bird obsession began, but the writers get a star for continuity. We also learn where Finch’s drive to build an AI came from. As a kid, he hoped to build a machine sophisticated enough to replace his father’s ailing brain. That’s tragic beyond belief. It appears to be just Finch and his father (although, I swear, Finch once mentioned having brothers). Finch’s upbringing was humble but not overly so, which I think fits very well for him.
From a character standpoint, I understand Reese’s need to get away. The scenes with Reese and Fusco were really good, but they felt a bit shoehorned into the episode. It really interrupted the flow for me. I was so interested in the Finch/Claypool connection, every time we cut back to Colorado I got annoyed. In another episode, I would have been really excited to learn more about Reese’s past, but Finch should’ve stayed front and center this week. The ‘cliffhanger’ ending seemed forced as well. Are we supposed to be worried about Fusco and Reese just because a local PD caught them fighting outside a bar? Won’t this just take Fusco flashing his badge and both assuring the cops that they’re done smacking each other and that neither will be pressing charges?
Also, the whole brawl thing seemed bizarre to me. Fusco and Reese were connecting at the bar and then suddenly they just go outside and start hitting each other in the pouring rain? Is that a guy thing? I did like that Fusco was able to figure out Reese’s connection to the bar all on his own. Maybe, with Carter gone, Fusco will get a chance to be more than a punchline? Maybe the writers will actually let him do something besides get beaten up, run errands, and get beaten up while running errands?
Bits and Pieces:
Finch ignoring the Machine was a nice character beat. Clearly, he’s still not quite ready to jump back into the fray.
Still no new credits sequence. Did this episode run a bit long or are they nixing the concept entirely?
John has no grief beard. Thank God.
Samaritan is a much better name than “The Machine.”
I did not understand the whistle thing, but it scared my dog.
Interesting distinction: Samaritan was designed to learn and remember whereas the Machine was designed to wipe itself every night.
Root: “She has a new number for us.”
Root clearly considers herself a part of the team, despite being confined to a cage at present.
Shaw: “I never made a convincing doctor, even when I was one.”
Fun Size Finch: “If they don’t want you to get inside, they oughta build them better.”
Daddy Finch: “Not everything that’s broken was meant to be fixed.”
Fusco: “You’ve saved lots of people, including me. You saying that was pointless?”
three and a half out of four alternate Machines
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl
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