Person of Interest: Control-Alt-Delete

“Where is Shaw?”

It wasn’t a bad episode, but after one of the high points of the entire series, I was destined to be underwhelmed.

Looking at the PoI-verse through the eyes of the relevant side of Northern Lights (or whatever it’s called now that Samaritan has replaced the Machine) has worked before. The difference is that “Relevance” didn’t pick up right after a cliffhanger. I spent the first half of this episode extremely frustrated that we were focusing on Control instead of our team and their grief and panic for Shaw. They’ve just experienced a serious trauma, but let’s watch this woman shout at people for thirty minutes instead.

That isn’t to say what’s going on with Control isn’t interesting – it is – it just belonged in another episode. Samaritan has completely taken over Northern Lights. It controls who the government kills and why it thinks it’s killing them. I knew as soon as the “terrorists” weren’t prepared to fight back against the ISA that they had been targeted by Samaritan for some reason. The fact that Control couldn’t see the hard drive was also a big hint, but I have to say, doesn’t it seem like Samaritan could’ve come up with a better cover story for that? It’s an all-powerful supercomputer. Couldn’t it have just put together a fake hard drive with terroristy looking stuff on it? It had already faked everything else and that would be much less likely to raise eyebrows than simply refusing to give Control access.

Where they took Control was interesting as well. Or rather, where they didn’t take her. Optimist that I am, I was totally expecting her to realize that Samaritan was totally evil and become an unlikely ally of Team Machine. What can I say? I like unlikely allies. But she didn’t. She’s a very intelligent woman and I’m sure she knows there’s something very wrong going on (hence her going to the Stock Exchange at the end of the episode). But she won’t admit it to herself, steadfastly refusing to believe that she’d been tricked. It’s an interesting and totally in character development. Said was killed by Control’s hubris. It’s all very Shakespearean. Except for the parts about supercomputers.

I expected the episode to pick up when a mysterious man in a suit carrying a rocket launcher (who could that possibly be?) showed up and it did, to an extent. Then it sort of sunk back. There was just too much talking, too much explaining. Stuff we should’ve been shown was said by Finch and Reese and Root. The team stole the security footage from the Stock Exchange basement but found nothing and so decided to kidnap Control and see if she knew where Shaw was. Failing that, they could lure Samaritan’s operatives into the open so they could hack their phones which would undoubtably have Shaw’s location. That’s a bit of a roundabout plan, if you ask me. And I much rather would have seen it than have it delivered in monologue form, although the hints we got of what was going on through news reports were amusing. The episode ended with Root and Reese off on a quest for a refrigerated truck that may or may not contain their possibly alive friend. I just found the whole thing underwhelming and anti-climactic. They billed this episode and the two preceding it as their big “winter event” only to leave things unsettled here. It was just…annoying.

Elsewhere, Samaritan sent its mini me on a quest to see the president. It’s decided the best way to do this is by creeping out the president’s chief of staff and financial blackmail. Interesting choice. Will we see the president? In season one, news footage showed that Barack Obama was in charge of the PoI-verse. Something tells me they’ve recast.

We also got some hurried backstory on Control (again, delivered in a monologue) that I really couldn’t care less about.

Bits and Pieces

Control took over the saga sell.

Finch called Root “Root,” which he almost never does.

SPOV showed Samaritan assets in the White House, the Pentagon, and the Capitol.

The show gets a continuity star for making Said a Nautilus winner.

Quotes

Finch: “You foolish woman. You don’t understand. You’re not in control of anything.”

Fusco: “And another thing, the Red Wings suck.”
Finch: “You realize he’s not from Detroit?”
Fusco: “It still had to be said.”

Said: “I’m an American. My dad works for Ford. My sister’s a cheerleader.”

Said: “I’m not the bad guy here.”
Control: “And I’m sure Tariq, Massoud, and Asman were just harmless extremists who conned their way into the United States on student visas.”
Said: “No, they were my friends. Maybe they picked us because that’s exactly what you’d expect.”
A stunningly dismal and sadly accurate statement about the world we live in.

Said: “Can you consider for a second the possibility you’ve been lied to?”
Control: “No.”

two and a half out of four monologues

sunbunny, person of interest and Bear the Dog fangirl

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

-My takeaway from Control's confrontation with Said was that she believed him, but was acting under the assumption that Samaritan was watching/listening (She thought she was safe in the park, but was mistaken, and learned from that mistake), and managed to get some information in the process. I'm not 100% sure on this, though.

She's has more Waller in her than Arrow's Waller, atleast.

-Root was looking pretty scary doing nothing but looking through that fence.

-I wonder why Samaritan's agents don't use [Google Glass equivalents], it would certainly enhance their effectiveness if Samaritan were able to feed tactical information directly onto their field of view.

migmit said...

I liked it. No, I loved it. More than the previous one.

I do like Control. Camryn Manheim is a terrific actress. With that much menace she should become a cartoonish villain — but she didn't. In fact, she is more like Reese counterpart: willing to hurt a lot of people in the name of greater good. I can see her becoming a reluctant ally, but it's not something you do in one episode.

Finch called Control "foolish". I believe he's wrong. She is quite smart. She knows that Samaritan is a threat; she just hasn't figured a way to fight it. And joining the team of vigilantes on the spot is definitely not her option — especially since she doesn't have their protection.

I like that we were spared watching Root falling apart and weeping over Sameen, or Reese trying to cope with both physical and psychological trauma. Instead, when we see them, they are composed, determined, and kicking ass.

And Bear. This episode has Bear!

M said...

I expected Control to say, 'Yes' and then shoot him even so. Since she checked out Harold's story, I'm hoping she's figuring things out. I don't want her to join the team, but I do want her as an ally. Along with Elias.

Anonymous said...

She couldn't take the risk, Samaritan could have been listening in (as far as she knows).

Billie Doux said...

As much as I like Camryn Manheim, I also found the first half hour frustrating. But I got that they're setting up something massive.

Amy Acker is wonderful. Have I mentioned that lately? What I took away from this one was the fury and grief on her face. I thought for a moment that Harold wouldn't be able to talk her down.

Michael said...

I'm in the minority here, I know. Amy Acker does little for me. I hate the character Root. I find my enjoyment of any episode in inverse proportion to her appearing on screen. I root (pun!) every week for her to suffer a dramatic death, yet I know in my heart she'll be the last one standing. As a result, I like POI less and less.

sunbunny said...

Michael - you're definitely not alone. A lot of people seem not to like her. For my part, I can't separate Root from Amy Acker which explains my love for her.

M said...

I also think the whole 3-part winter event thing was a mistake in marketing and/or titling. The first two eps are tied together more than this last one. If the previews for next ep are accurate, this ep and the following are more of a single unit than the last two and this one. I wonder if it this came from the show creators themselves or from marketing/other network people.