The season’s penultimate episode was split into three disparate parts: Greer’s conversations with Finch, Reese, Shaw, and Root teaming up to do the Machine’s bidding, and Collier’s backstory.
Ultimately, the episode was essentially a lot of set up for the finale. It was uneven set up at that. Team Machine’s exploits seemed to be fairly standard PoI (although I liked their scenes better the second time through), while Greer and Finch’s time together really weighed the episode down in my opinion. The flashbacks to Collier’s past were extraordinarily well done and managed to eclipse everything else that happened this week. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Root, Shaw, and Reese
What I really liked about the Team Machine portion of this episode was the number of different dynamics we got to see. Reese, Shaw and Root. Reese and Shaw. Shaw and Root. Root and Reese. The Machine is mixing up its players like it hasn’t before. It ended up being quite fun; everyone interacts so differently. My favorite pairing is definitely Reese and Shaw. They bicker like siblings (I’m driving! No, I’m driving!) and it makes an adorable counterpoint to the violence that always ensues whenever they’re together. Root and Shaw also make a great duo. Root’s flirting is getting less and less subtle.
My favorite non-flashback scene this week was Reese and Shaw’s confrontation with Hersh. You’ll remember Hersh as Control’s henchman, the one who Reese, Shaw, and Root have all had opportunities to kill but haven’t. The trio arguing over who had the right to be mad at whom was hilarious. They’re in the middle of a legitimate crisis, but Reese’s still like “You tried to kill me” while Shaw is like “Uh, he did kill me!” and Hersh was all “But I got drugged!” Their childish pettiness was a treat in a really dark episode. (Dark episode. See what I did there?) Of course, they end up putting their past differences aside and saddling up together to save Control from Vigilance. I hope this team up means Hersh will be around more often in the future. I like him, and the team is always in the market for allies.
Finch and Greer
Despite getting a bit of a spotlight this week, Greer remains an unbelievably bland villain. All he does in every episode is be British and vaguely sinister. It’s tired. Plus, not to be a total ageist, but it’s hard to be threatened by a man who looks to be in constant peril of breaking a hip. The constant referencing of his childhood in World War II didn’t make him seem any younger.
I hate to say it, but the scenes between Greer and Finch fell completely flat for me. The reminded me, unflatteringly, of Root’s first appearances. Lots of talking. Not much magic. I feel a little obligated to like every scene Finch gets to be dramatic and monologue-y in, but Michael Emerson just didn’t do it for me this week.
In the end, this was Collier’s episode to shine and boy did he ever. Leslie Odom, Jr. stole the freaking show. Collier gets what he has been missing: a backstory. His motivations as given thus far (government overreach = bad) have been believable but not extremely compelling. Collier just jumped ranks to become my favorite Person of Interest villain ever.
His backstory is unbelievably tragic but at the same time rather ordinary. His brother was arrested, presumably because of some not entirely legal government surveillance. His brother killed himself because his life was stifled by the accusation and the presumption of guilt. It happens and it shouldn’t. Hanging with a guy who knows another guy who may be involved in illegal activities is not nor should it be cause for arrest. But in post 9/11 America, sometimes anything goes. The ‘he’s my sponsor bit’ could’ve been overly saccharine and maybe it was, but I welled up all the same. Jesse was just getting his life together. Nearly two years sober, just regained partial custody of his son and he lost it all.
Collier wanted to be a prosecutor. That says so much about his character. Law school is extremely expensive and the easiest way to recoup the costs is to go into a more lucrative field, but Peter’s dream is forgo the über wealthy life in favor of working for a cause he believes in. He believes in justice. More tellingly, he believes in government justice. Yet, within mere weeks, he turns his back on the government. His scene with the woman from the government was riveting, one of the best Person of Interest has ever done. His anger radiated out off the screen. Leslie Odom, Jr. definitely gets a gold acting star from me this week.
Bits and Pieces
Hersh’s first name is George. I find that hilarious and I’m not sure why.
Greer is former MI6, the British version of the CIA.
There were several mentions of the president this week. In the first season, a news report showed the president of PoI-verse to be one Barack Obama. I wonder if the show will stick with that or if they’ll end up creating a fictional president.
I’m assuming Fusco was absent this week because he’s been off dogsitting Bear. Or, more likely, Bear is humansitting Fusco.
I’m not sure if the title of the episode is a reference to the Abraham Lincoln speech or the Bible verse that the speech takes it title from. What is the metaphoric house here? Is it America and is the division between those who accept the status quo and those who believe government surveillance is an unconstitutional overreach? Is it referring to the fact that the team was literally divided this week?
Collier’s dream to be a prosecutor will be realized next week when he literally, if not legally, will be prosecuting Finch. Get excited, people.
Reese: “This is really what the Machine asked us to do? Drink really bad coffee with unemployed college graduates?”
As an unemployed college graduate, may I say HEY!
Shaw: “They’re ready to get in bed with Decima and go all 1984 on us. I mean, more than usual.”
Finch: “Having built something significantly smarter than myself, how could I possibly anticipate its evolution?”
Shaw: “Control just went in for the full court press on total world domination. Can I kill her NOW?”
Government Guy: “Sometimes the people we love the most make the worst decisions.”
Root: “Use your words.”
Shaw: “Ma’am. Long time, no gunfire.”
Control: “Why are you protecting us?”
Shaw: “Cause it’s part of the...plan. Or the greater good...or something like that. Look, honestly, I don’t know.”
Aziz: “Even though your brother killed himself, he saved someone else.”
average of three and a half out of four AA chips
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl
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