This was fun but I’m not sure I like that it was fun.
When Carter died, we didn’t just get an episode worth’s of grieving, there was a damn arc. When Shaw disappeared, her presence was really felt. Maybe it’s because Root was never really as constant a member of the team as the other two. There have been plenty of episodes without Root and, but for the top of the episode, this might have just been another one of them.
Yes, Shaw is grieving in her own way and Finch had to come to terms with the Machine’s choice of voice but I felt like Root deserved more. I understand as we come to the end of the series, time isn’t something we have a lot of but even if they’d just moderated the zany tone of this episode I would have felt better about it.
As for the Machine’s newest assets…I mean, it was totally out of left field or right field or whatever the expression is. How did they find out about the Machine? We saw Harper be recruited by Thornhill but not discover its true identity. And the Machine couldn’t have told them as its voice is an extremely recent addition. Whatever. I don’t really care. It was awesome.
It almost reminded me of “Relevance,” the way we watched numbers get saved from their perspective, not their saviors. Of course, it was not as clear here what was happening. I didn’t put it together until Harper showed up and I never would have guessed they were fully cognizant of their boss’s identity. And how sweet is it that the Machine’s JV was a mirror image of the varsity squad? An eccentric billionaire with tech expertise, a former soldier who needed a mission, and a (formerly?) amoral sassy con woman. All they need is a Fusco and a Bear.
Their mission was to protect Original Flavor Team Machine from the various threats they encountered as they protected “Relevant-One,” aka the president, who Samaritan has decided counts as an irrelevant number now. In season one, a memorable scene showed news footage of actual, real-life President Barack Obama but apparently President Obama was defeated in 2012 by a generic looking older white man. Which…why? I mean I can guess why they didn’t call “Relevant-One” Obama but why not at least have him bear a passing resemblance? Genuine question. The early seasons of the show were partially driven by verisimilitude. The world of Finch, Reese, and the Machine could easily by ours. But now that it’s moved into more of a sci-fi direction with two dueling AIs, it is not really something that could be happening in our world behind the scenes. Are they seeking to further separate the PoI-verse from our world? If so, why?
Harold and the Machine’s conversations had the same charisma as his early conversations with Root: that is, very little. It’s weird having Root’s voice playing someone else. Writing this review, I kept referring to the Machine as “Root.” When Amy Acker switched from playing Fred Burkle to Illyria on Angel, she turned blue. Her voice changed, she spoke differently. The Machine itself says it’s indistinguishable from Root, which, in one way, is fitting. But the continued presence of Amy Acker on the show does make Root’s death feel less real and less sad.
Bits and Pieces
In case you missed it: Logan Pierce was the person of interest from season two’s “One Percent,” Joey Durban was in the series’ third episode “Mission Creep” and Harper was introduced last season in “Blunt” and has appeared occasionally since.
Synecdoche is defined as “a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa.” The thing most striking about the title, to me, is that “all hands on deck” is the example of this particular figure of speech I always remember and this week it was certainly an “all hands on deck” situation.
Machine: “What is love if not being seen?”
Reese: “Even considered joining [the Secret Service] back in the day.”
Fusco: “Oh yeah, what stopped you?”
Reese: “They work around the clock, no choice in who they protect, and the threats never stop coming.”
Fusco: “Oh, you really dodged a bullet there.”
Shaw: “If Samaritan wants to take down the entire world, I’m sure as hell not going to make it easy for it. That’s what Root would have wanted.”
The Machine: “Aw, Harry, you sure know how to make a girl feel special.”
Pierce: “Damn things don’t stop coming. Right, John?”
three out of four JV squads
sunbunny, person of interest, and Bear the Dog fangirl
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