This was a weird episode of Person of Interest. Coming off of a rather strong week, it felt like the show returned to a holding pattern with this case of the week. There were many great character moments — all hail Root and Harry’s friendship — but it still felt like there was a certain something missing from the episode.
Number of the Week: The Marriage of Phoebe Turner to Will O’Brien
This week’s number takes Finch and Reese to the wedding of horse empire heiress Phoebe Turner to public defender Will O’Brien. In order to infiltrate their wedding, Finch has to pull some strings. First, he places Reese in a position to get invited to the fancy wedding by having him act as “stripper security” at the bachelorette party, where he catches Phoebe’s younger sister Janna’s beer goggled eyes and becomes her date. I’ll admit that there’s nothing I love more than an uncomfortable Reese. Finch, on the other hand, decides to impersonate Will’s alcoholic Scottish uncle from out of town.
With their invitations secured, they make their way to the big estate, which is currently being stalked by protesters who believe Phoebe’s father is mistreating his horses. Once there, they start trying to figure out who might be targeting the wedding. Obviously, it has something to do with the animal cruelty trial the protesters are bringing against the father.
(My issue with this case of the week: The show goes through the trouble of introducing Phoebe’s entire family, but never really does anything with them. All the ultimately superfluous details just distract from the fact that the show isn’t doing that much to flesh out the numbers.)
During the ceremony, Finch and Reese notice two assassin-type guys lurking around, but unfortunately Reese loses them. However, they return during the reception, and thankfully Reese has Root, who showed up, to help him out. While Reese and Root take out the assassins, Finch takes the stage at his “nephew’s” request to sing. All of Team Machine is surprised he can sing. It’s a great moment — however, the entire situation would’ve been funnier if Reese and Root’s fight had been set to the tune Finch was singing, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister, instead of jumping back and forth between Finch’s song and the regular score.
Reese and Root realize that the gunmen aren’t here for Phoebe or Will, but for the family’s photographer Maggie, who they find out is listed on the prosecution’s witness list. She’s been with the family for 15 years and documents their lives, capturing tiny moments when they don’t even realize — like that time Phoebe’s older sister, and not her father, Karen doped up one of their horses.
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Thankfully, Reese arrives in time to save Maggie from being executed by one of the gunmen. Then, Root shows up in time — riding a horse like the flawless queen she is — to save Reese and Maggie from more gunmen. The day and the wedding is saved and continues to go on without a problem.
NEXT: Uh-oh, Fusco is in trouble.
The team returns to the reception and Root asks Finch to dance. As they share this cute moment together, Root admits that she knows Finch has been lying and that the Machine is losing in her simulated battle with Samaritan. Again, she argues that it’s time to arm the Machine with the means to act autonomously and strategize, but Finch says no because he’s too scared about how having that much power will corrupt them. Would they take advantage of it? Maybe. I love how the show always grounds its ASI war in the human aspect. However, the best part of this exchange comes when Root confesses that she insisted on attending the wedding because she is lonely. Amy Acker was the clear MVP of the episode, and her interactions with Finch brought some much-needed heart to the episode.
As the team’s case comes to an end, Finch and Root join Reese at a table as they decide to give these people tonight because tomorrow the world will probably crash. It’s an ominous ending that echoes the ending of the season’s second episode in which the team allowed themselves to enjoy a moment of calm even though they know about this secret war brewing between them.
While Resse, Finch, and Root handle the wedding, Fusco is tasked with checking out Howard Carpenter, a civil planner who is in charge of the city’s underground construction. As he tails him with Bear, Fusco observes Howard meeting with Elias’ buddy Bruce about some work permit to demolish a tunnel in Queens — an order that didn’t originate with any of the five families, even though they have Howard on their payroll. It’s obviously coming from that new player in town (a.k.a. Samaritan) that Elias told Bruce about last week.
Like a dog with bone, Fusco won’t drop the case and decides to check out the tunnel for himself. There, he finds every missing person he’s been investigating dead, including Krupa from last week’s episode and new additions Howard and Bruce. This is where Samaritan has been disposing of all of those people. It’s a haunting revelation. But, there’s little time for Finch or us to process it all because the demolition starts while Fusco is still down there.
Shaw and Greer
This week, Greer continues to torture Shaw. He decides to take her on a field trip to show her that her friends are actually the villains and that Samaritan is the hero. He shows her a bunch of white collar criminals whose actions have led to the deaths of thousands and who the Machine has yet to take steps to stop because she doesn’t recognize their actions as crimes.
Throughout the entire experiment, Shaw maintains resolute that his argument isn’t working on her, even after Greer shows his men taking down a Chechen terrorists trying to provoke war between the U.S. and Russia to start another war. So, his last stop is for her to meet with Gabriel Hayward, a.k.a. Samaritan’s human interface, a.k.a. the creepiest kid on television, who explains that the biggest threat to humanity is itself. Samaritan argues that mankind should trust him to save humanity from destroying itself. That’s when the world starts to blow up around them, and Shaw quickly realizes this isn’t real and she wakes up back in the bed. This was all a simulation. As Greer greets Shaw when she wakes up, we’re left wondering if she’s had a change of heart about whether or not the world needs Samaritan.
What’s interesting about Shaw and Greer’s little chat is how it mirrors Root’s more tender chat with Finch. Both Root and Greer are arguing that the Machine, in its current form, isn’t as effective as it could be. However, their proposed means of fixing this (making humans submit to Samaritan vs. empowering the Machine) are different. This is just the latest in a series of parallels the show has created between these two story lines. It’s interesting how the Machine is continuing to lose against Samaritan while Shaw, who has been winning in each simulation so far (if you call committing suicide 7,000 times winning), seems to slowly be succumbing to Samaritan.
The Even More Irrelevant List:
- “Even I appreciate a fairy-tale ending, Harry. Family politics, overcooked meat, monogamy, what’s not to love?” Root, trying to convince Finch to take her to the wedding.
- “I’m beginning to think no one believes I belong at a wedding,” Root, to Finch and Reese who are surprised to see her there.
- I love that Shaw is still quick-witted as hell even though she’s very sedated.
- The shot of Finch, Reese, and Root sitting at that table together drinking was perfect. There were quite a few very nicely composed shots in tonight’s episode.
- While I didn’t quite like this episode, it was still a good example of the hard work the show put into developing its main cast and how that’s paying off right now.