Person of Interest: Root Cause

“I know what it’s like to live inside a lie. Live there for so long, it feels like there’s no way out. But there always is.”

Blah. Blah, I say. After a few weeks of really great episodes, this one fell totally flat for me. It did have its moments--particularly the conversation Reese and Powell had on the subway--but overall, this episode was just...blah.

We do have some new information: apparently Finch isn’t the biggest baddest hacker out there. There is a mystery brunette (codename: Root), who may just be better than our Mr. Finch. However, she seems to be using her computer powers for evil, or at least for money, rather than to prevent people from dying.

Unfortunately, Root’s crazy hacking skills mean our boys have to abandon their completely and totally awesome library hideout. It was such a perfect choice for their base of operations. The idea that they were working in this beautiful repository of knowledge shut down by the government due to money constraints was just so poetic. Plus, libraries are just amazing in general.

The scene where Reese and Powell discuss the women they love was far and away the best of the episode. Reese and Jessica just break my heart, they really do. We haven’t seen too much of them thus far, but Jim Caviezel does a great job selling the haunted man who was once deeply in love thing. Apparently, the way he deals with losing the love of his life is to convince himself that he wasn’t worth her love. He told Powell that he was nothing more than a killer, which just broke my heart. Poor Reese.

I really like the way this show co-opts current events and recent history for its own mythology. There hasn’t been an episode yet that failed to mention the financial crisis of 2008. Almost every episode features a character directly affected by the crash. This week it was a man unemployed for eight months, forced into debt, and nearing the end of his financial rope. The show also uses September 11 quite a lot. By using so much actual history, the writers create a world that seems very realistic.

They could have gone the complete sci-fi route with this show. Instead they used events from the real world to make their crazy world seem plausible. A Machine that spies on everyone all the time? It was commissioned by the government after September 11 to stop terrorists. A super sexy mystery man with almost inhuman fighting skills? He’s not a superhero; he’s ex-special forces. Everything on this show might have been unbelievable, but, because they have things so firmly grounded in real life, we believe it.

Bits and Pieces:

I love Harold’s trick with the Pringles can. Didn’t Michael Weston do something similar once in Burn Notice?

I don’t think Reese said “Harold” once this episode. The secrets between the two are beginning to create a distance.

Apparently the writers of this show read this blog and have a time machine. In my last review I complained about the damsel in distress-ness of the female characters, and this week we got two kick-ass alpha females: Zoe and Root.

When Root called him Harold, I literally got the chills.

Quotes:

“There are no bathrooms on a stakeout, Finch.”
And, ew.

“Hungry already, Finch?”
“No. And if I was, it wouldn’t be for something with disodium inosinate.”

“If you’re going to do something wrong, do it right.”
I love Zoe. Does she remind anyone else of Gwen from Angel?

“I could die and the person who I love most in life would think that I’m nothing more than a killer. Do you have any idea what that feels like?”
“Actually, I do. Of course, in my case, it was true.”

Two out of four confetti guns
---
sunbunny

8 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

This is the one in which some undergrad congratulates Finch on scoring Paige Turco in the library study room, right?

I remember that scene, but had to search my brain for the number of the week plot. Take note, writers! More Finch and Reese! And more Zoe!

Patrick said...

This one was actually one of my favorites, for two reasons. One was the return of Zoe, once again played to witty perfection by the beautiful Paige Turco("If you're going to do something wrong, do it right" is easily one of my favorite lines of the whole series so far). She & Jim Caviezel play off each other so well. It's in the eyes, for both of them. Any couple in the real world looked at each other like that, they'd be racing for a hotel room. Though the scenes with Zoe & Harold in the library were a hoot too("How do you know that? Never mind." Emerson NAILED that line).

The other reason of course was Root. Our dynamic duo has run into plenty of opposing muscle, it's about time they went up against someone who was a match for Harold. And I'm with Sunbunny, when Root called him by name, the hairs on my neck stood up. I knew then, without a doubt, we haven't seen the last of Root.

The actual Case of the Week was decent, but not incredibly compelling. It certainly got better in retrospect with the reveal of Root's power at the end. However, this shows that if you have strong characters, and good execution, you don't need a brilliant story every week. Sometimes you just need a story that's "good enough", and you can let your characters do the heavy lifting.

ChrisB said...

I really like your point, sunbunny, about how grounding the show in current events makes it seem more real. I completely agree with you, but I would add the caveat that shooting on the actual streets of New York helps as well. I'm sorry, but NYC just has a look and an energy that I've never seen effectively duplicated.

Was very glad to see the return of Zoe. She and Reese together just make shivers go up my spine -- in a good way.

sunbunny said...

Totally agree ChrisB! Vancouver and Burbank are not NYC, or San Francisco, or Maine, or Washington DC, or any place that is not Vancouver or Burbank. Shows that actually film where they are set get major points in my book.

celticmarc said...

Whoah ! Finch "met" his --almost--Waterloo ! And you're giving this one a 2 ??!! A solid 3.5.

We are unique and different, so therefore, we react differently on 42 minutes on TV. Normal. Blah for you, (another) on the edge of my seat for me ! On the plus side ? Love your reviews sunbunny; good reading !

I did find the bathroom fight scene a bit...too much violent.

Zoe's back : yay ! She is a good helping hand to the team.

Yummy :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disodium_inosinate

celticmarc said...

Yes Josie

Score man !!! And before : ssshhhh !! Wonderful.

Strong comment Patrick.

I want more Zoe indeed, but Root also.

Iceman said...

"Root Cause" is a notable episode for a number of reasons. For one thing, it introduces Root! It's done so well, too. The music ("Root of All Evil" by Ramin Djawadi) is chilling, and the way Root talks to Harold leaves a clear message-this is a dangerous adversary-perhaps the most dangerous so far. For another, it tells a very exciting story despite a POI that is only decent. Scott Powell isn't the best case the series ever did, but that doesn't really matter here. There's chases, assassination attempts, and introspective moments between our heroes (and disodium inosinate). Just an impressive episode overall.

3.5 out of 4.

Iceman said...

There are. I meant there are.