Person of Interest: Q&A

“You’re a one man revolution, Harold.”

Person of Interest’s done better. And it’s done worse.

Anna, the most recent in a line of possible Shaw replacements that we’ll probably never see again, is under threat of death from her employer, a search engine totally unrelated to Google. She’s spotted what no one else has: instead of giving people the most appropriate search results, their new app - brace yourself - tries to manipulate people into buying things. I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself. It was meant to be a shocking invasion of privacy and an abominable manipulation. But really it’s not so far from what companies already do, is it? I found that question incredibly distracting which really took away from my enjoyment of that story line.

And how many tough brunettes are they going to introduce before either picking one or abandoning the idea of replacing Shaw? Are they going to assemble an army of them à la Buffy season 7? Anna was a programmer and an MMA fighter. She seemed too well suited for the team to even be real. Plus we already know her tragic back story. What more can Team Machine ask for?

In the end, Lauren is preparing to sell her company (which is definitely not Google) to Samaritan. Greer wants it because they have figured out how to manipulate people by manipulating search results. Greer has to buy that? Can’t Samaritan do things like that already? It seems well within its abilities. Lauren turning up means that either she knew about the app’s special features from the get go or that she just saw an opportunity and took it. Which one is it? Does it really matter?

Much more enjoyable to me was Finch and Claire’s plot. The second Claire showed up I knew she was going to be a Samaritan plant. But then she started talking. I’ll admit it, I believed her at one point. Finch did too. Claire has been downing the Samaritan Kool Aid by the gallon. It was almost comical, her showing Finch around the school and telling him all the good things Samaritan does, and to just ignore the scary armed security force. We’ve seen a lot of Samaritan’s operatives this season. From the little boy that spoke for Samaritan to the deadly Martine and the councilwoman from Maple. Did Claire go into the world of Samaritan with her eyes wide open like Martine or was she an innocent victim like Leslie? The truth lies somewhere in the middle…or does it? Finch tried to warn her when they first met in “Nautilus.” Can she be blamed for not believing some completely random person? Now that she’s in, there’s no getting out; she’s smart enough to know that. So maybe her deluded fervor that Samaritan is a force for good is her trying to make the best of a bad situation?

Claire’s playful manner with Finch as well as her intellect makes her seem very Root-ish (she even called him Harold). She has put her total faith in Samaritan just like Root has put her total faith in the Machine. Because the show sets us on the side of the Machine, we’re inclined to look on Root’s allegiance as more understandable than Claire’s. But is it really? Aren’t they both a little crazy for trusting in an AI as much as they do? I suppose experience is on Root’s side. The Machine hasn’t let her down yet, with once notable exception. Claire now knows that Greer was perfectly willing to kill her provided it gave their team the slightest advantage. That may serve to change Claire’s mind, but it’s not exactly like she can hand in her notice. As much as I liked Claire and her role in this episode, I don’t want her to stick around. One Root is enough for me. And a non-Amy Acker Root…let’s just say it’s best if Claire gets used sparingly.

Bits and Pieces

Fetch and Retrieve is not Google. Ignore the similar white and rainbow color scheme in the office. Ignore the voice activated app. This is not the tech company you’re looking for.

I loved Finch adjusting the urn so the dent was in the back.

Root was definitely not aiming for kneecaps.


Reese: “We gotta go.”
Anna: “Why? I thought you were a cop?”
Reese: “Yeah, but this is more paperwork than I want to deal with.”

Anna: “Nice body shot. Cross could use some work.”
Fusco: “Stand him up. I’ll go again.”

Finch: “Samaritan was willing to shoot you to get me to believe what it wanted. How far will it go to get these children to believe?”

two out of four dented urns

sunbunny, person of interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


tripper said...

Love that you specified that it's 'Bear the Dog'.

Aw, I'm sorry you weren't crazy about this episode. I was so looking forward to this review since I positively loved this episode! In contrast, last week's episode, which you liked, left me pretty cold and bored. I thought this week was one of the strongest, if not the best, victim/perp-of-the-week, procedural eps we got this season, while keeping the Samaritan storyline just the right distance away. That should've made some of those people who hate the way the shows become less procedural happy. *shrug* I liked Anna's story because she was the first truly sympathetic since ep. 4 with the little kids. Plus, she's scrappy. :)

I definitely noticed the 'kick-ass brunette' trend. But not gonna complain about it because 'kick-ass brunette', although they better not be trying to shove a new brown puppy into my arms. The only character I've warmed to so far for Team Machine is Grice. Also, don't like or trust Reese's therapist--she's in the way of my Finch/Reese bromance. (Although there's something about Reese in therapy sessions, with this doc and with Caroline Turing, that just breaks my heart.)

I kept thinking Baby Root the whole time. (I love anytime Harold's with another fellow geek.) She's just as good at hacking people as Root is, mirroring the time Root kidnapped Harold and played with his concern for others to get him to cooperate. Mostly I was okay with Claire because I was like: 'No Root again this week? Aww, Baby Root then.' But then, in the last few minutes, I was jumping outta my seat and going 'HAHAHA NOPE, SHOOT HER'.

(I feel obliged to tell you that you and certain people here have made me an Amy Acker fan. Just recently watched Much Ado..., which i adored despite my ambivalence for Shakespeare, and Dollhouse on your recs. Pats all around!)

Josie Kafka said...

Tripper, hooray for another Much Ado... fan!

I've fallen behind on PoI, which makes me feel horribly guilty. Sunbunny, you nailed this episode: PoI had done worse, and it's done better.

Like you, I was surprised they expected us to take the search-result plot very seriously. If nothing else, it doesn't make sense for that problem to be solved with violence (on the part of notGoogle). So that was weird.

But I liked the Claire/Harold plot, and I also believed her for a while. And it was great to get Root back, even if only for eight more seconds...

Billie Doux said...

I'm way behind with PoI too, and just saw this one. It left me somewhat cold. What bothered me the most was the writing. Maybe I wasn't in the mood or I was just ready to pick holes in it, but nearly every line felt like I'd heard it before. I believed Claire was being honest with Finch for maybe five minutes and wasn't at all surprised at her turnabout in the end. The search engine company was way too Google, and while the MMA woman was cool, I wasn't interested in seeing more of her.

Worst of all, there was way too little Root and way too little Bear. At least there was some Root and some Bear. But I am missing Shaw, big time.

Patrick said...

I'm currently rewatching Season 4, figuring by the time I'm done I'll be watching Season 5 on a pace to finish when the finale airs. Of all the not-Shaws they introduced, Anna was one of two I wouldn't have minded seeing more of(the other being Kathryn Winnick's character from "Skip" later in the season). And while I harbor a major crush on Katheryn Winnick, she's basically just more muscle for the team, albeit with more sass. Anna would have been a more interesting addition. Her skillset is more versatile, and she's not quite as cynical/jaded as the others. She would've felt less like a direct Shaw replacement. Ah well, c'est la vie.