Person of Interest "RAM" Review: Filling Out the Wiki

By Tim Surette

Mar 05, 2014

Person of Interest S03E16: "RAM"


When you think about "RAM" and the relevant new information it provided, it essentially comes down to one item, er, person: Daniel Casey, the episode's number of the week and a key component of the Machine's personal army. Casey could've been introduced in a number of different ways—a number in 2014 seemed like the obvious choice—but Person of Interest said, "Screw that noise!" and used the opportunity to flesh out its past by filling in a huge blank with an extended flashback. "RAM" felt like the best-written POI fanfic ever because it was such a service to viewers; it wasn't necessary for us to know so many details to understand the show moving forward, but dang it, it was fun and really helped fill out the Person of Interest wiki.

"RAM" gave us a peek into Finch's pilot program for saving the world, as the episode was set almost entirely in 2010, before Reese and Finch became New York's most powerful power couple. Back then, Finch was partnered up with Mr. Dillinger, and boy howdy was this guy not the proper kneecapping gentleman that John Reese is now. Reese is polished and detached and respectful of life; Dillinger was haughty and obtrusive and regularly aimed a full two feet above the knee. And he saw nothing wrong with reaping the rewards of rescuing an impressionable young damsel in distress a.k.a. he boned a chick he saved. Reese would at least wait until the third date, sheesh. But man oh man was Dillinger (and Finch's efforts to rein him in) entertaining to watch. He was a Grade-A selfish prick and the type of mentally abusive partner that made me want to sit Finch down with a bottle of rosé and tell him, "Girl, he ain't good for you, you need a man who respects this [elaborate hand motion to signify Finch]." And lots of credit goes to "RAM" writers Nic Van Zoebroeck and Michael Sopczynski and their spellcheck-nightmare last names, because they didn't relent on painting Dillinger as an asshole: He was a jerk the entire episode, and Finch's squirms indicated that he knew it, too. 


But "RAM" was about more than Finch's poor choice in men. I'm still in awe of how the episode did this, but it wove so many characters—including several folks who are dead in the present—into a single case, including CIA-era Reese and his ex-partner Kara Stanton. Casey wasn't just some keyboard jockey who walked into the wrong chatroom, he was employed by the government to hack into systems to test their security. And one certain project spooked him. When he began to tell Dillinger (and Finch) about a set-up that was so complex he'd never seen anything like it before, I was all "NO WAY." The Machine! Casey was hired by the government to break into the Machine, and Casey was on the run because he discovered too much! BOOM BANG went my brain. 

After that, the layers peeled off quickly, like the G-string of a stripper who wanted to beat traffic, as "RAM" went about filling in a bunch of blanks in the series' mythology. Decima Technologies was after Casey, Control was after Casey (and had Special Counsel send Reese and Stanton to kill him), and Finch had Casey in his clutches. But Casey wasn't dumb enough to leave his job without collecting some evidence, so he copied a few strands of Machine code to a laptop—the same laptop that became the target of Reese and Stanton's Ordos mission in Season 1. BOOM. BANG. And it wasn't Finch who sold the laptop to the Chinese, as we were led to believe, it was Dillinger after he decided to take a quick payday selling national security secrets instead of working a steady job of chasing numbers. BOOM. BANG. But Dillinger would not live to spend his spoils, because Special Counsel sent in a fresh-and-pretty-faced agent to mop up the mess and take him out. That agent? Samantha Shaw. BOOM. BANG. So awesome!


Or course, as I said above, the purpose of "RAM" was to bring Daniel Casey into the story, and at the end of the episode, time sped up to 2014 to find Casey pulling a Walter White in "Granite State" by hiding out in a tiny cabin in the woods (it's unclear how many times he watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium). And who should come knock-knock-knockin' on Casey's door? Our sexy psycho Root, who told Casey to go to Colombia to look for a man named Greenfield. Greenfield, as you'll recall, was the guy Root collected for the Machine in "Mors Praematura," a man who the Machine targeted in order to prepare for its own fight. And now Casey and his intimate knowledge of the Machine's "backdoor" (tee hee) is the Machine's second recruit. BOOM and BANG, we're going to war, folks.

On a more sentimental level, "RAM"'s greatest contribution to the Person of Interest saga was a better understanding of what makes Reese and Finch so perfect for each other. Dillinger's boorish behavior and Finch's gasps in response said more about Finch and Reese's partnership than it did about Dillnger and Finch's. Dillinger had the physical skills to be Finch's brawn, but Reese and Finch complement one another perfectly thanks to Reese's ability to see the entire picture when he's on a job. The Reese we saw in 2010 was already becoming jaded as a CIA agent. He was questioning orders, and heck, he even very plainly defied them when he chose to let Casey go rather than put a bullet in his brain. Reese and Finch are their own bosses, they don't answer to anyone. And although Person of Interest has always said in its own way, "Government bad!," it seems now more than ever the show is promoting intelligent anarchy and free thinking.


"RAM" and episodes like it are the reason we sit through some installments where Reese saves a sailor boy during fleet week or Finch protects a 911 operator. Person of Interest's mythology is as rich as anything out there, and the scary thing is that as it gets bigger, it gets bigger. "RAM" may not have opened things up too much, but it went back and filled in some holes in a wonderfully creative way. It deserves to be recognized as one of the series' best. 




NOTES OF INTEREST

– We still don't know a whole lot about Mr. Greer, a.k.a. the British man behind Decima Technologies. But he sure does know how to make an entrance! I'm guessing that the upcoming war the Machine is preparing for will pit the Machine against Greer's Decima and whatever it can get out of Samaritan.

– That dude who was captured by Reese and Stanton preferred to jump out a window while taped to a chair over getting more wasabi in his bullet wound. Awesome.

– Those opening credits were from Season 1. "You are being watched. The government has a secret system, a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people, crimes the government considered irrelevant. They wouldn't act, so I decided I would, but I needed a partner—[REWIND NOISE]" Loved that! That's how I knew this episode would be good. Does any show adapt its credits better than Person of Interest? Can you tell when I ask a rhetorical question?

– Dillinger to Finch: "Ever think of getting a dog?"

– Casey: "I grew up in Tucson, you gotta do something to pass the time." Oh dang, slam on Tucson! 

– Stanton to Reese: "I'm not ready to see you in a Speedo." And with that, millions of ladies broke their hands on the television while trying to slap some sense into Stanton.


  • Comments (293)
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  • sinafotrousi Apr 17, 2014

    this episode showed how all the main characters turned to do better in 3,4 years, Harold didn't tell anything to Dillinger and Shaw brutally killed him, Reese was working on the wrong side, and Shaw is more human now!

  • scooby1342 Mar 15, 2014

    Does anyone know how did finch know reese was CIA from the beggining?

  • sinafotrousi Apr 17, 2014

    Maybe because his ex wife was a number before?

  • 377221 Mar 15, 2014

    I was kind of hoping Carter would show up, but then I guess any more continuity porn would have been excessive. You can't have everyone magically showing up just because they happened to be alive at the time.

  • ILoveTVandDDsBB Mar 15, 2014

    I was weird seeing Reese as a perpetrator and it was good to see Root again even if it was for a few seconds.

  • 377221 Mar 13, 2014

    Dude, you fucked up the poll.

  • ShreeyaJayara Mar 10, 2014

    oh my god! MIND BLOWN! I think that this was the BEST episode of S3 - not that there weren't some awesome ones this season... but this was BRILLIANT!

  • LucyBarker Mar 09, 2014

    Someone please explain to me how could Finch recognize Reese as being a CIA agent before he even met him? He even told Dillinger specifically to be careful with him, but why?

  • happyschnapps Apr 07, 2014

    I reckon it was because Reese was on the shortlist for becoming Finch's partner, but probably thought he was too cold and dangerous at the time. After seeing him letting Casey go, he probably thought that he might be the partner he was looking for all along...

  • sinafotrousi Apr 17, 2014

    I guess he said Jessica's number came up a lot, probably he investigated a bit!

  • Oldsle Mar 18, 2014

    I think that's the main reason, anyway. There could be more information to come.. :)

  • Oldsle Mar 18, 2014

    There are more detailed answers below, but basically Harold would have become familiar with John because of Jessica's number coming up multiple times in the past. The events of this ep would have happened shortly before Jessica was killed, but her number came up many times before this because of her husband abusing her.

  • scooby1342 Mar 15, 2014

    i have that same question!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • brontide Mar 14, 2014

    I'd like to know that too! My pet theory is that he recognises Reese because Jessica's SSN keeps popping up - or maybe the Machine keeps tabs on Reese.

  • Swinglabacase Mar 08, 2014

    I was discussing with Hitchhiker that Finch is tagged "Unknown" in the opening sequence, since the beginning.
    It is probably because Finch has programmed the Machine not to link him to anyone or event.

    With Casey, this is the third top hacker who the Machine has recruited... Is it coming for Finch? Is Michael Emerson the next one to "leave" the series?

  • Swinglabacase Mar 10, 2014

    This comment has been removed.

  • Hitchhiker Mar 10, 2014

    The tags shows the status of the characters in the information grid: Fusco - NYPD Active, Shaw - Presumed Dead, Reese - Missing. So his past is unknown even for the machine, which is kind of impossible with the level of acces the machine has. There is some explonation due from the writers. We saw that Harold was forced to flee and leave his father behind because he was wanted for hacking, but then he attended university, where he met Arthur and Ingram and when he was making the machine he was already off the grid.

  • BrandenGrant Mar 10, 2014

    I don't think the machine is coming for Finch. The machine knows who he is, as it makes the pay-phones nearby him ring with the number of the day.

  • Swinglabacase Mar 10, 2014

    This comment has been removed.

  • Hitchhiker Mar 10, 2014

    The machine knows who Finch is, as we have seen it in previous episodes, where in the Machine-Point-of-View he and Reese are tagged as assets. If it had seen him as an enemy, then they would show it - as Nathan was tagged as a "threat" when he made the backdoor. It is probably preparing for the fight with Arthur's AI. Precognition only works, if there is only one who can "see" the future. If ther are two or more than the accurancy will drop significantly as there are more than one who can influence the outcome.

  • Swinglabacase Mar 10, 2014

    That's the thing: does the Machine really know Finch or is he just "the person to send the numbers to"?
    If the tags are relevant to the information grid why does it show Caroline Turing as "analog interface"?
    If it knows who Finch is and the tags are relevant to the Machine's view why doesn't it tag him as "admin"?
    If the Machine knows who Finch is (super hacker) why has it recruited Root and why doesn't it talk to Finch like it does with Root?
    Did the Machine saved the other two top-hackers so they don't fall into the hands of Decima and others or does it want them for it's own use?
    It already has managed a couple of operations on its own...
    Maybe it just wants to free itself from Finch and eventually communicate with its assets directly.

    I'm just speculating here. Anything can happen. I'm afraid the "Carter shock" is not the only one we'll get in this series...

  • Hitchhiker Mar 12, 2014

    In season two's finale, when they found the empty hangar, where the Machine was shipped to, Finch reveals that he programmed the machine to set itself free. And it was not under the control of Harold anymore after he gave it to the government. So it does not need to be freed.

    There is two possibilities that the Machine wants to do with the coders: either use them to fight against Decima's AI or make them revrite its own core program, so it doesn't delete its memories every day. - In the previous season Reese and Finch got the number of the Machine's fake persona that was used to hire workers to save its memory. So it can cummunicate normally if it wants to, but it does not do so probably because the Machine was only programmed to give a chocie, not to decide the outcome (And God gave us free choice). And it only speaks with Root to recruit the people that it needs.

  • Hitchhiker Mar 12, 2014

    When Finch and Nathan gave the Machine to the government they were both tagged as admin, but Harold said that he will close off the system, so no one could temper with it, so that's why there is no admin. And when it had a reboot and switched to debug mode in season two, Root and Reese became a temporary admin too.
    Root said herself that she is only an interface, when she was captured by Control, so it probably was noted in her file.
    When Caroline was held in the library she asked Finch why he doesn't want to speak with the Machine, so it is a choice on Harold's part.

  • johnmckenzie338658 Mar 08, 2014

    This episode was just perfect such a rewarding 40 mins for viewers who have been watching since the beginning. It filled in the blanks and tied together all the different factions/characters flawlessly. Kara Stanton is such an awesome character, really hope they somehow bring her back ( I know she was in the car with Snow but hey one can always hope- the other show the actress is in is terrible !). Really hope the ratings improve , why don't people enjoy great serialized drama anymore!

  • TVDi Mar 08, 2014

    I was looking at the fast-forward near the end of the episode and noticed something odd. Unfortunately I'm not quick enough to catch a screen cap. However, just before they cut to the exterior of Casey's cabin, there is a shot dated Feb 2014 of Greer apparently standing over a woman and it looks like he's holding a gun on her. She looks a lot like Root. Either that or I have a very vivid imagination. I don't believe that scene of Greer is in any of the previous episodes. Hmmmmm.

    Oh, and the scene of Finch digging the grave reminded me of Fusco digging Stills grave in In Extremis. There must be a lot of bodies in that woods. Isn't that young Elias was going to be planted?

  • brontide Mar 14, 2014

    I recognise that frame! It's Greer and the woman who swapped Samaritan's flash drives - he kills her after she delivers the drives to him.

  • Swinglabacase Mar 14, 2014

    yeah... saw it when I re-watched the episode :)

  • Swinglabacase Mar 08, 2014

    Even with frame-by-frame the pictures you refer to are much too blurred to see who it his the British guy is pointing a gun at.

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