As we begin the end of season push, Person of Interest turns to its reliable standard episode plus five minutes of “DID THEY JUST...” formula.
The Machine ostensibly put a hit out on a US Congressman. Let me repeat that: the Machine put a hit out on a Congressman. “Uncharted territory” is right. The show’s delved into grey morality before (I’m thinking of Reese’s attempt to avenge Carter earlier this season) but never anything like this. I don’t know if I’m alone here, but I’ve come to profoundly trust the Machine. Finch designed it to do good and it has done good exclusively. Now it’s telling Finch, Reese, and Shaw to kill Roger McCourt because of the possibility of his non-violent actions threatening the lives of others.
I love the changes in our characters the dilemma brings out. Finch is still steadfastly anti-violence, going so far as to say if McCourt dies by Reese or Shaw’s hand, he is out. Shaw’s violent tendencies, as she points out herself, have greatly diminished. The woman who spent the beginning of the season whining about having to shoot kneecaps instead of heads ultimately comes to the conclusion that contract killing for an AI is now a bridge too far for her. Reese, on the other hand, has always been less homicidal. Even during his time at the CIA, he went against orders to let innocent people live (“RAM”). But Carter’s death has really affected Reese. He’s left wondering if he can live with the ramifications of his inaction. He’s lost Carter. Can he afford to lose Fusco? Shaw? Finch?
Person of Interest has never been a show that shies away from stopping the building action to have an intense personal discussion on the morality of killing someone to save others’ lives and I love it for that. I really liked the last few minutes when we are left wondering if Reese indeed killed McCourt. I’d like to say it was obvious he would do the right thing, but it wasn’t. I also like that they didn’t make a huge deal out of Shaw getting shot. It’s obvious that the PoI ptbs aren’t going to loose another regular cast member so soon after Carter’s death. It would’ve felt manipulative if they’d made it seem like Shaw was in any real danger.
Samaritan is on line, but in a limited role. Still, it’s a very real threat for its first target: Harold Finch. Finch disappears after staring into a traffic camera. Why? At first I assumed he was having difficulty dealing with the guilt that he created a Machine that could send his team to kill someone, but now I’m wondering if it’s a safety precaution. Finch has to know McCourt’s continued existence means Samaritan is inevitable. Did the Machine warn him about the beta testing somehow? Was that little red light blinking in Morse code while the camera was on Reese and Shaw? Whatever the case, the rest of the season is shaping up to be very, very good.
I realize all I’ve written about is the last third of the episode, and with good reason. The first two thirds were extremely unremarkable. As with many of PoI’s weekly stories, this one requires a little suspension of belief. The squeaky clean six term congressman with a love of taking homeless people out to dinner turns out to be a philandering white collar criminal loyal only to the almighty dollar. Not a stretch for a politician, to be sure, but how did Finch miss all of that?
Bits and Pieces
Root called Reese “Lurch.”
I loved Root and Shaw’s vacation with violence to Miami.
Do all English people pronounce it “vin-YARRRD” or is that a weird John Nolan thing?
Finch bought the beef lobby? Why? Surely there are cheaper ways to obtain a safe house.
I wonder how much McCourt told the authorities about his abductors. Reese and Shaw were really working hard to avoid the police back in New York.
The triptych Greer and Senator Garrison meet in front of is “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch. It’s on display not in New York City but in Madrid and has been since 1939.
Root: “We’re gonna steal a jet.”
Shaw: “That does sound kinda fun.”
Reese: “Send me a postcard.”
Finch: “Dare I hope you packed something other than weaponry?”
Reese: “There’s some trip wire to booby trap the room door and a toothbrush.”
Finch: “Oral hygiene is something, I suppose.”
Reese: “Technically, I also shot at you a few days ago.”
McCourt: “SOMEBODY HELP ME PLEASE!”
Reese: “Look, I’ve never entirely trusted your Machine, but you built it and I trust you.”
Reese: “There are consequences to not acting. Like Simmons and Joss.”
Finch: “Since we started this, things have changed. We’ve changed. But the mission, our purpose, has always been constant: to save lives. If that’s changed somehow, if we’re in a place now where the Machine is asking us to commit murder? That’s a place I can’t go. I’m afraid this is where I get off.”
the episode averages out to three and a half out of four triptychs I studied in school
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl
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