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.
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?”
two and a half out of four monologues
sunbunny, person of interest and Bear the Dog fangirl
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