Person of Interest: Aletheia

“Isn’t she the best?”

Person of Interest does this sort of thing well. Granted, they do most everything well, but I digress.

I love the episodes where a part of Team Machine is cut off from their typical resources and forced to fend for themselves as the enemy closes in. “Shadow Box” and “The Crossing” come to mind. Of course, both those times it was Reese against enemy forces, not Finch. I love Finch in the field. Season 1 Finch would’ve been rather completely helpless in this situation. Not so with current Finch. Yes, he still relies on backup (aka Shaw and Root) for the heavy violence, but Finch stays free from panic while taking care of his sick friend and defending them both from two, count ‘em two, enemy forces.

I could’ve done without the heartbreaking flashbacks to Finch’s father, but it does explain more about a character whose past has been a big question mark for three seasons. We didn’t get any more information; we knew that Finch was in trouble with the law before MIT (he was already using the alias of Harold Wren back then). Still, seeing his relationship with his father, a man he couldn’t save despite his efforts, does bring his character into sharper relief.

We spent the episode with our heroes sandwiched between the government and Vigilance. Now enter a new (old) baddy: Greer is back. Is it me, or does this feel like an end of season addition? Everything feels like it’s being ramped up despite the fact we just came off of a big arc and we have months to go before May sweeps (is February sweeps even a thing anymore?). I’m honestly hoping one or more of these groups backs off relatively soon. I could use a few light-hearted standalones. I am interested to learn more about Greer. We know what Control wants (the Machine back under her direction). We know Vigilance’s driving worldview (government surveillance = bad). We know next to nothing about Greer. Quick refresher: he works for/with Decima Technologies, a group based in China that tried to use Finch’s fake virus to gain access to the Machine. That’s pretty much all we know about him. I wouldn’t mind learning more about his motivations or his endgame.

I cheered when Reese and Fusco showed up to save the day, but that was immediately dampened by Reese declaring that he was done and taking off (AGAIN). Can we wrap this up now, please? I am officially tired of Reese’s woe is me shtick. He lost someone, true, but he is rather conveniently forgetting the rest of the team lost Carter as well. He was inarguably closer to Carter than Shaw or Finch, but Fusco? They were partners for over a year. That means something. Plus, the way he talked to Fusco made me so angry I almost threw something at my TV. John Reese, you are a grown man and there is a better way to deal with pain than pointlessly lashing out at those close to you.

As promised, I’ve reexamined my feelings about Root. Sorry, guys, I still love her. It’s probably just her badass female-ness combined with her Amy Acker-ittude, but it’s still love. Apologies to those who don’t like her, I know there’s a fair few of you. Feel free to hate on her in the comments. Doesn’t bother me (as long as you’re respectful, of course).

Bits and Pieces

It was fun having an old college friend of Finch’s around. Apparently, he got into plenty of trouble even before Reese came along. The challenge to create a fake identity complex enough to get a bank account is one thing. Stealing a car is quite another.

Apparently Ingram, Finch, and Claypool were best friends in college. Why did Claypool go his separate way?

How precious was Control offering Root help? Root does not need your help, silly woman.

Did you hear the Morse code? It was actually part of the broadcast. I missed it the first time around, but after the second time I can confirm: there is definitely high pitched beeping going on. Catch the transcript here. (Thanks to Mark for the link).


Claypool: “Harold doesn’t need to chase. He’s got a certain gravitational pull with the female population.”
Sorry, is he talking about the same Harold?

Reese: “That was very stupid of you, Lionel. You should know better than to hit me. You’re lucky to be alive.”
And...eye roll.

Root: “You think you’re in charge. And it’s adorable just how wrong you are.”

Fusco: “No one ever said we were gonna win, but it doesn’t mean you stop fighting.”

Finch: “I urge you to consider what Mr. Reese would do.”
Shaw: “Brood?”

Shaw: “I got finesse coming out of my ass, Harold.”
There’s no way this wasn’t a Buffy reference. Right? Right?

three and a half out of four bratty Mr. Reeses
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


Freeman said...

Good epiosde, though I had to suspend my disbelief a bit it some regards. Anyways, the guy playing young Harold surprises me, sometimes he slips in certain ticks that current Harold has, it impresses me. I enjoy the flashbacks, and the dovetailing with the machine actually helping Claypool with the memory album as Finch originally intended for The Machine to was touching. Finch and Claypool debating destroying Samaritan was great. To me a machine's a machine but the way they spoke about it made you feel their sorrow, good stuff.

I think Reese still deserves more time to himself. He was a sorta nihilist still wallowing in the loss of the woman he loved, another woman pulls him out of that and gives him the opportunity to care again, then she dies, more or less because of him. That would mess anybody up, and Reese is a man molded by pain. Plus, he could've really killed Fusco if he was drunk enough. This is a guy that can kill you with a finger-jab haha.

And Root. Did a bullet grazing her shoulder really KNOCK her to the floor for like a full minute. Like I thought she got shot in the leg or something but no. She got a movie graze and flopped to the ground, helpless. Maybe it was part of her plan, I dunno. And I'm still trying to figure out how she took out all those presumably armed guards watching her cage with just a knife. Like, I know this show does the "everyone gets beat up off screen" thing with Shaw and Reese but usually they're just normal surrounded. I honestly have no idea how Root managed what she did.

I don't know why, but I really like Hersch, and I hope he survived the explosion. It was interesting to see that him and Collier already seemed to have an understanding of each other. And of course Shaw managed to be awesome even while just sticking to the shadows. Lucky for her she managed to blow stuff up anyways. Something tells me Greer may be the real problem and the rest of these guys are basically small fry.

Fun fact, I could only hear the morse out of one ear, the ear that Root had the bone taken out of. And when I tilted my head, I couldn't hear the morse at all. Unfortunately I don't know morse code so I couldn't translate it, thanks for the transcript.

Josie Kafka said...

I could only hear the Morse code sometimes. Oh, well. I don't want to hear what the kids are screeching in their high-pitched robotic voices, anyway. So there.

I felt like this was the most religious episode of television I have ever watched. Did anyone else get a sort of new-religion/Old Testament/Moses/revelation/epiphany feel here?



Patrick said...

“No one ever said we were gonna win, but it doesn’t mean you stop fighting.”

It's funny that you brought up Buffy with another quote sunbunny, because this line of Fusco's immediately made me think of Angel. In fact, Reese right now kinda reminds me of Angel when he gets into one of his funks. He needs an Epiphany(see what I did there?) and fast.

I'm still on the fence when it comes to Root. On the one hand, this weird relationship she has with The Machine is just, well....weird. That scene where she seemed to be playing Mouth Of Sauron for it while threatening Control was the biggest hint about the true nature of The Machine, but it still leaves a metric crapload of questions about just how "alive" it is and what its true intentions are. And I'm a little bothered by the fact that none of the other characters seem completely freaked out by this, especially Finch. This thing is one launch code away from being Skynet, for crying out loud.

On the other hand(see, I did remember my original point), Root's still a very compelling character and has only gotten more so since the last few episodes of Season 2. And that is all because of the incredibly talented Amy Acker. From the very beginning she's made Root far more interesting than she would have been with anyone else playing her. That whole interrogation scene between Root & Control was masterfully done. And yes, I recognized the Morse code as soon as it started. I have no idea what the actual message was, but I realized The Machine was talking. :)

Freeman said...

I was gonna point out the religious thing in the previous episode review. I feel like these two episode had a a religious undercurrent in regards to Finch's relationship with the machine. I dunno where you're getting the Moses stuff but I was thinking more in the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost aspect. Root see The Machine as a god, Claypool sees it as a son, and Finch has a sorta connection to it by his father. But Finch, if you want to get deep with it, is the father, is the son, and created the ghost. And they are one. Not to mention the scene where Root had Control dead to rights came off as when a pastor (albeit a very sinister one) converts a nonbeliever to their flock.

Most religious piece of televison? I couldn't say that by a long shot. But I feel like there's definitely a religious thing cropping up. Heck I wouldn't be surprised if Root starts some sorta techno-cult. Or at least some other villain does.

Ren said...

I can't believe you didn't quote Shaw saying "It's Hammer Time"! haha

Josie Kafka said...

Freeman, I was thinking of Claypool and Finch talking about their "children" and the nature of existence, but especially about Root-as-Moses. There's that scene in Exodus when Moses asks permission to see God, and God gives him just a glimpse of His own back. Root seems to get those glimpses of the Machine, more than anyone else. (That's part of the aletheia the title references.) And, of course, we could argue that Moses was God's analog interface. :-)

Above all, the way that the show allowed a variety of perspectives (Root's, Finch's, Claypool's, Control's) that were all grappling with this omnipresent and omniprescient force in a way that moved beyond the personal and into the ontological and the "magical." (And by "magical," of course I mean "science we don't fully understand.")

There's a scene in Lost in which [redacted by the spoiler kitten] asks [redacted by the spoiler kitten] "What about you?" that is a close runner-up for the title of Most Religious, but I can't think of many other shows that deal with the theological puzzles. Which shows are you thinking of that are more religious than this was?

Freeman said...

Ah okay that's what you meant. I reckon Root's got a bit of a messiah complex at least concerning Finch, yeah.

I was thinking of the shows that actually are about the Bible haha! I know, I'm Mr. Literal here. But I guess most of those are more miniseries than shows.

I'd say Lost takes the cake on religious stuff. The main guy's name is Shepard for goodness' sake. And Fringe does some things as well. There were many episodes in Fringe where they outright addressed it. I don't watch the show but I was under the impression that Supernatural touches on religious things pretty often.

Josie Kafka said...

Maybe I should have said "metaphysical." I was really searching for the right word. "Religion" sounds too much like they're re-enacting a mass; "faith" is all wrong (since so many people in the show don't have faith in the Machine).

Then again, all the different groups (sects?) trying to control, not control, take over, discover the Machine is sort of like rival religious sects parsing dogmatic minutiae.

Supernatural deals extensively in myth, including Judeo-Christian myths, but I don't think of it as a religious show since there's no sense of...majesty? The sublime?

Apparently today's one of those days in which I can't think of the right word at all.

Freeman said...

Aha! I had a feeling that's what you meant. I'm having trouble trying to find the right word myself.

In this show it definitely feels more tangible than simply symbolism. It reminds me of outta like Deus Ex or Fallout. If this show decided to get completely wacky, I could see The Machine becoming something like Mr. House from New Vegas. I'd probably start to hate the show from that point but hey. I'm not a big sci-fi guy, so I can't really draw any parallels to any novels or movies. But I'd venture there's some cyberpunk story or whatever that has a similar premise concerning different cults vying for some sorta electric god. Root is the fanatical prophet, Collier is the heretical doomsayer, Control is the empire vying to control all, Finch is the chosen one, and Reese and the gang are the anti-heroes caught in the middle. Oh and of course Greer is the shadowy figure in the background that nobody is noticing until it's too late.

Yeah, I still think Lost and Fringe have the leg up on this show though.

Josie Kafka said...

Here's an excellent interview with Nolan: .

Freeman said...

Interesting read. Though it does make me sorta long for the simpler times of this show. I keep getting nervous that POI is gonna pull a Dead Zone.

Josie Kafka said...

My faith in Nolan rivals Root's faith in the Machine, so I assume Nolan has a five-year plan and an exit strategy.

sunbunny said...

Patrick - Reese has ALWAYS reminded me of Angel. Some of his lines are almost verbatim quotes from Angel. There was one I remember specifically where he says he loses patience when he gets shot. Angel said "I really don't like it when people shoot me" in Expecting. Anyway, clearly you're psychic. This week's episode was DEFINITELY the PoI version of "Epiphany." ABSOLUTELY. AHHH!

ChrisB said...

For the first time, Root did not annoy me to the point of wanting her character to just go away. I loved the way she took control of Control.

Fascinating exchange, Josie and Freeman. I had not really thought of the religious overtones, but after reading your comments, I certainly now believe they are there.