Person of Interest "Bad Code" Review: Paper Trails

Person of Interest S02E02: "Bad Code"

I think it's fair to call last night's episode of Person of Interest "Bad Code" the second part of a two-hour Season 2 opener. Both carried over storylines that were only resolved last night, most noticeably the case of the missing Finch. But the two episodes couldn't have been more different in tone and crime-solving procedure, mostly because "Bad Code" was unlike any other Person of Interest episode I can recall.

In fact, things were so off from the normal routine that I never quite settled into the episode comfortably until the final act. We got this week's POI number last week, WHAT? The case was a decades-old cold case, HUH? Carter played the role of Finch by tagging along with Reese, PUZZLED EXCLAMATION? And on top of that, Reese put down his trusty guns in favor of tracking paper trails, bank account information, and old receipts. He traded his pistols and throat punches and rocket launchers and smoke-grenade-baby-pacifiers for one of those accountant's visors and some reading glasses, showing that he can brain up when he needs to. We'll let it slide this time.

But that's what happens when you chase Root, the sexy, brainy villain that's Finch's foil. It doesn't make for the same excitement as Reese's typical modus operandi, but it does show us that she's a different game than Reese's nemesis Elias. And the backstory on Root was satisfying; her whole philosophy on people (that she painfully blabbers on about at any opportunity... we get it you think you're better than us) is that they suck, and we see why. Her childhood friend was kidnapped and murdered by a sicko that didn't follow the "if there's grass on the mound, play ball" rule, and when she tried to tell someone that she saw her friend get into the car of a dude the night she disappeared, she was told she was a brat and a liar. That's a bit of a turnoff of the human race, especially at a young age. So she found solace in computers, which she understood a lot more than the sorry flesh-and-blood sacks that used them. I really liked her revenge plot on the pedophile. Steal money from a drug dealer, put the pedophile's name on the bank account that stole it, and let that work itself out. And she gets to keep the money after. If a teenaged Root can pull that off, imagine how nefarious she is NOW.

But for all her genius, there's a bit of arrogance and sloppiness that gets in the way of her accomplishing simple tasks. Let's call it Walter White Syndrome. I know that I can get a credit card for my cat with just a few phone calls. With her computer know how, she should be able to get some untraceable funds with a totally fake identification, or she should at least know to use multiple credit cards. Or how about cash? Yeah, cash! And why leave a receipt of the book purchase in the book that she sent to the pedophile's home as a reminder of what he did (and as torture for his wife, who called her a liar)? You can debate whether leaving the knife on the table for Finch to help Denton Weeks escape was intentional, too, but a smarter person would have known to clear the phone screen when Finch tapped out that coded message that Reese would eventually find. She's Finch's biggest fan, a quick look at the numbers he punched in would be a dead giveaway that he wasn't trying to make a call. That's the problem with writing characters who are supposed to be so damn smart and invulnerable; they still live in a world of television where things have to be stupid sometimes, because 44 minutes of air time and all.

Picking of nits out of the way, I do like her as a villain. She's totally insane, like ex-girlfriend psychopath insane. And her tone in this episode was designed to separate her from Finch after making a case that she and him were a lot alike in last week's episode. Her infatuation with Finch is clinical, but the more she presses, the more she repels Finch, who said: "Please kill me now, at least I won't have to listen to you any more." Oddly, it doesn't really faze Root who doesn't care about anyone liking her anyway. She's pretty much a crazy cat lady that's substituted the Internet and keyboards for furry felines. A sad and lonely soul that's entirely unpredictable.

It would be impossible to discuss this episode without talking about the "Mr. Reese Goes to Texas" aspect of "Bad Code." Person of Interest isn't exactly know for its honest depiction of regional-specific groups, and this fell in line. The Texans in the episode were all huntin' and drinkin' types, which made for some good laughs even though the whole idea was entirely ridiculous. If Reese were on the trail of some French dudes, they'd have pencil-thin mustaches, berets on their heads, and a baguette in each hand. This isn't a complaint, it's an appreciation of hilarious stereotyping.

The other story, which I failed to touch on last week because I forgot and I also had no idea what was going on, are the big bads in the government that worked with Alicia Corwin and tried to have Henry Peck assassinated last season. We got a lot more details this week, but this story is still a long way from breaking the surface. Best I can tell, they're hot on the trail of Finch and Root and the Machine via finding Corwin dead to cover up any connection they have with her, and the head guy is one of the few people that knows about the Machine. Honestly, this might be too complicated for me!

Reese making phone calls isn't nearly as interesting as Reese shooting people in the leg, but eventually, Reese did find Finch and the two were reunited, putting us back at square one and making me stoked for the next episode. We knew they couldn't be separated for long, but keeping them apart for two whole episodes helps us stay off balance and clueless about what this show will throw at is. Moving forward, we're back to the Person of Interest of old (two oddballs solving crimes!), but we should be ready for anything.


NOTES

– Carter: "Why is there a crossbow on the bed?" Obviously you've never shared a hotel room with Reese before, Carter. Also loved when Reese pointed the crossbow at the yokels and calmly told the operator on the phone, "I'm still here." That was the laugh of the night.

– Hello Margo Martindale! Not exactly a role that shows off your skills, but it's nice to see you. If you haven't seen her in Season 2 of Justified, go do that now.

– Also nice to see Loudon Wainright III as the sheriff, although I'm not sure why he was cast in that particular role. But seeing him in Person of Interest makes me forever tie his song "Clockwork Chartreuse" to Reese and Finch, two buddies causing havoc all over the city.

– Finch has a new roommate! A roommate with an appetite for expensive books, ha!


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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You CAN NOT win oregon trail that fast, even at a gruelling pace, and rafting all the rivers. It also has a horrible ending for a game that dominated in computer lab i n the early 90s. But i am really)y enjoying the show as whole, Great Christmas present. Who isnt in love with Amy Acker?
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This was a rather unconventional episode of Person of Interest, but thanks to the amazing acting by our regular stars, Amy Acker AND Margo Martindale, I didn't really feel that much was lacking. Their performances made up for the lack of bullets and Reese being a tough guy. Amy Acker is fantastic as Root, and I look forward to her popping up in the series again. That being said, I am SO HAPPY Finch has a new roommate!
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I am very relieved that this looking for Finch thing is finally resolved, I was kinda scared that it will take ages.. that Root bitch has to die asap, she really is extremely annoying:) and I might be reaching to far back but I remember an episode last season where Reese's ex CIA partner caught the extremely annoying Reese hunting CIA guys.. do we or will we ever know what happened next? are those guys dead? what happened to her? are they by any means related to these governmental guys.. man, and they call this a procedural:)
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I really liked this episode but I'm disappointed that Reese didn't catch Root and blow her brains out or something. While she impresses me (like you, I like how she got revenge) I just don't want to see her anymore. I'm tired of villains come back again and again.
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Funny Moment: Reese and Carter getting to their Texas motel room - Carter says "No".
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I like the notion that this was a two-part season premiere, but still feel like the case could have benefited from one more episode. I'm very glad that the boys are back together, though, and that Bear decided $10K Asimov books were the chew toy of choice - kinda like Leyla teething on Finch's tie, but better.

Not sure what to make of Root/Sam/Crazytownbananapants's hair being blonde all of a sudden. It doesn't look like she changed the style, just the color, and her eyebrows are still dark, so she's got a noticeable feature going on. Not very smart.

It feels like this season is going to be Root tracking down those remaining from the Machine 8 - makes me wonder if she'd already gotten information out of Alicia before shooting her in the head. It would have been a waste if she hadn't, but it might be a plothole... or just a crazyhole. Root can totally claim insanity on any of the mistakes she makes.
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Great thoughts, AriSky! Love your catch phrase, the "Machine 8." (Referring to the fact that only 8 people know the machine exists). Who were the 8 - (before Reese, Root and the POI in No Good Deed)? Finch, Nathan Ingram, Alicia Corwin, Weeks, the evil DoD (NSA?) guy in Washington who Weeks reported to - who else? Anybody?
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I liked the episode a lot, but I don't want the whole series to become another serial type show. I'd like to see them visit past characters occasionally, but for that not to be the main focus of the show.



Bear is Great ! Keep the dog in the show every few episodes even if it's just to greet Reese or Finch. Actually I can see Finch reluctantly warming up to him.
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Awesome. I loved the episode. I mean even though it wasn't the traditional POI and Reese wasn't kicking ass the way he usually does, I appreciated the fact that they let us know he's brains and brawn. I mean we knew that already but it was great to see.

-The whole Fusco investigating the stuff with Nathan or that Alicia chick or whatever was lost on me.

- What I wouldn't have given to see Carter and Reese on that plane ride or whatever to Texas. He irritates the heck out of her, and he seems amused by her and it makes for one of the fun little things to the show. I was actually expecting more of those funny little one liners and bantering that those two are known for. She was there but she didn't really serve much of a purpose for being there honestly.

- Even though I figured out that Root was Sam long before the conclusion I still enjoyed it. Also, Root is kind of awesome. I mean sure she's Fatal Attraction meets SWF histrionic nuts...but she plays it so well! Plus, any girl that cheated her way through Oregon Trail is awesome.

-Bear. LOVE Bear. Reese with a baby was hysterical. Reese with a snarky little mini-me tailing him around was amusing. Reese with Bear is just Awesome.
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I didn't think I'd say that but so far, I believe season 2 is even better than season one. It was nice to see Margo Martindale! Such a scene stealer.
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TIM SURETTE - It's obvious that you love Person of Interest as much as over 14 million of us do also every week (Nielsen). Thank you for these great reviews of the show! It helps keep POI on the air - and attract new viewers to this growing POI family!
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Did anyone else notice that Root changed her hair color by the end of this episode? She's now a BLOND. You first see it when she's talking on the cell with Reese and he tells her to stay away from he and Finch, or else. It's dark, she's in the car watching them haul away Weeks' body, but she's clearly now a blond! "Au naturelle or au bottelle?", as was asked of Reese in S1E10, "Number Crunch." Keep 'em safe, Bear!
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By the flashbacks, we can assume that blond IS her color and the brunette one was just a desguise
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That's right! I almost forgot - she was a blond as the little girl in the library. Good call!
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And it looked like she had CUT her hair also......more like she had it in the flashback.
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Was that American Horror Story's "Tate" that played the flashback version of the guy everyone suspected at first? (The guy who was reading a book in the window and checking out the girls at the same time). He was too awesome in AHS to just be an extra here.
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At first glance, I thought it was him too. But when I rewinded it, I didn't think it was him after all. The guy does look a lot like him.
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Am I really the only one who noticed him? Or was I just wrong? I paused the video during a closeup, and it looked *a lot* like Evan Peters in this photo: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1392688896/nm1404239
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He was the guy that John went to see in the bar as an adult that he tossed thru the window.
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That's the character I'm talking about, but the older version was definitely played by a different actor.
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Perfect.

Raw eggs ! ....Don't be afraid alcohol will kill the salamonella!
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That scene cracked me up too! Could not believe Reese had called a meeting at 8AM with Fusco and Carter - and bought drinks all around. Not sure what he bought Fusco aside from it having a raw egg - but that he selected a "Bloody Mary" for Carter, was a riot! And Bear joined the meeting too! Woof! It's these little special scenes that keep us coming back for more and more and more of POI!
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It was unpredictable as always with PoI. twist with Hanna isn't Root was great. Kudos for making Root more complicated than just a psycho with computer skills (although that she is)) but I don't mind Reese searching for evidence. it was good new plot other than "procedurality forever". and Reese did kick some texan ass and it was fun. and I don't particularily think that it was stereotyping. he was in a little town and went to a bar where all these crazy types could be. of course there would be two redneck-y jerks with crossbows. why not?
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Such a great show. So few on regular broadcast television. Would be really nice if these networks could learn from shows like this and Last Resort and start producing more shows with continuing story arcs to allow them greater depth in their storytelling. So sick of them recycling the same old tired themes or prodeural shows that begin and end their story within the same episode. Here is to hoping these shows spur them to create more shows in the future that take some risks and have storytelling or characters with some actual meat to them.
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Potential storyline: Reese and Finch is a pain in the ass for Elias this season. Root and Elias make an alliance to take them down? Would be interesting to see how that turns out!
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Doesn't sound like Root or Elias. Root doesn't want to "take down" anyone. That;s what;s good about POI - there's multiple sides not only the good guys and the bad guys. Now there's Elias, Root, the government guys who are connected to the machine and there's Reese, Finch and Co.
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I want to see Roots characters added to the cast as a regular. It gives an added edge to the right/wrong of "saving" the person of interest. Nice to see Finch back in safe hands and his unwillingness to give up the machine at all costs.
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Awesome episode though am glad to take a rest from Root ,I hate omnipotent bad guys so boring. I wish they will explore the government angle some more, what agency do they work for, I doubt its the CIA or NSA, some ultra secret agency I guess.

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Great episode of POI again. Root is one hell of a baddie. If played right, she could be one of those recurring baddies, cause she's just so cunning and smart, as well as psycho lol!!!



The crossbow scene with Reese had me ROTFL!!! Loved it!! I also love that dog, even though it chewed up a masterpiece of literature. Hahaha!!!
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I never Liked "Walker texas Ranger" but when Reese walked into the Bar in Texas it remind me of that show. LMFAO
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I'm just surprised Tim Surette didn't completely crap all over this show like he does for every other show he reviews. You know that Simpsons episode where Homer becomes a food critic and gives horrible reviews to TV shows just because? That is Tim Surette.
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Ah the poor baby are you fan terrible Revolution. Tim has liked many shows including Person of Interest, Fringe and Sons of Anarchy to name a few. Just because you have terrible taste in television shows and Tim points that out doesn't mean he is a bad reviewer it just means that you have bad taste. My advice stop watching bad shows or stop reading his reviews.
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Hilarious! That's so right though. He overlooks every flaw, no matter how big, in his favorite shows and nitpicks even minor flaws in new genre shows (sometimes there are no inconsistencies, but he'd be busy multitasking and miss the scenes, the nuances and later makes a big deal out of it)
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Am not holding brief for Tim Surette but he doesn't have to overlook flaws in POI because good writing and awesome acting trumps flaws anyday in a show .When the writing is gawd-awful then the flaws are more glaring.
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This was a cool episode; not a favorite, but not particularly bad either. Then again, I don't remember ever watching a bad POI episode.

I was sliiiightly disappointed that Root managed to escape, especially the way she did so. But I do have more than enough belief in Person of Interest that keeping her alive will create some great episodes in the future.
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Is it just me, or was I the only one who totally thought she was talking about Fusco at first when she said "knuckle dragging"? Haha, don't worry guys, that's not a jab at Fusco, I sincerely love him very much.



I've noticed some people complaining about the particular actress cast to play Sam, aka, young ROOT. First of all, very nit-picky guys! Second of all, I think it makes a lot of sense for Sam to have changed her appearance. At some point in her past, she obviously wanted to disappear. So when she did, she chose to base her new look off of the friend she adored who was taken away from her.



And we still got to see Reese beat people up. But using guns in a small town where he sticks out like a sore thumb? Reese is smarter than that!
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I thought Root was a much more formidable enemy than Elias. She's like the female version of the Joker, only a little less crazy. I was pleasantly surprised by the radical change in tone, which will only make this episode more memorable.

I don't know why, but when they said Hannah was Root, I was thinking 'No way. This is tv and that's an obvious misdirection. The blonde girl is Root!' and I was right. But her appearance aside, that was an awesome backstory. Tim, she was already a little genius even before Hannah died. Her death and the nature of people around her turned her against society. The way she took out the guy who murdered her friend was brilliant, especially for one so young.

The crossbow scene was hilarious! The dog destroyed an Asimov first edition novel! I hate it now!
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AN EXPOSITION ON BOXES (and Triangles):

Hey guys, this is my first POI comment, so bear with me as I speculate on whole bunch of stupid issues you've all probably resolved by now. What are these issues about? Why, boxes, of course! Colored Boxes!

We all know The Machine is an old ranch hand (Texan humor) at detecting aggression and violent intention. It knows if a crime is going to be committed purely through the art of studied observation. And it appears to have a color-coded box system differentiating peoples probability of future violent action (and also how those actions relate to The Machine itself, but more on that later). Here's a rundown of what we've seen thus far:

WHITE BOXES: I suppose the benign color of white is meant to indicate the person in question isn't harboring any homicidal thoughts, or dreaming of ways to savagely kill their step-mother. Nor is there currently a high probability of violent action. Though, I think anybody's color can change in the blink of an eye.

WHITE BOXES (with small Red indentations): I haven't really figured out what this means. My best guess is that the person is about to commit a violent action, but this action isn't imminent. Or maybe the violent action is not meant to be fatal. I'm just spit-balling here, guys!

RED BOXES (with small Red indentations): Once again, I'm not entirely sure, but I'd say Red means dead. As in, imminent homicidal intention.

YELLOW BOXES: I'm fairly certain the only time someone is "Yellow Boxed" is when they have knowledge about The Machine itself. Reese and Finch have been Yellow Boxed for as long as I can remember, and Root was the same until she killed Alicia Corwin in the closing scenes of the Season 1 finale. Then her risk level was upgraded (more on that later).

GREEN TRIANGLES: Planes are framed with Green Triangles. Maybe that's just an Air Traffic Control thing. Not much to speculate on there (yet!).

RED BOXES (with large Red indentations): All the various boxes look like square shaped targets to some extent. And they have all have 4 indentations to make them look that way. The machine targets everyone, including vehicles. But if you payed close attention in the beginning of this episode, you would have noticed Root's Red indentations were longer and more pronounced. Essentially, it was like The Machine had her in its cross-hairs with a square shaped scope. We've determined Yellow means that person is aware of The Machine, but in my opinion, The Machine does not consider them to be a threat to itself. But I think the Red Box with the pronounced Red target represents a significant threat to The Machine itself. Like any sentient intelligence, one of its main priorities is survival. And the Machine not only assesses the risks we humans represent to each other, but also all and any risks it perceives to itself.

THERE! I'm done with the color-coded madness! I absolutely love this show and hope to comment more on the actual plot next week. I encourage everybody to write their thoughts on this subject. If you basically agree with my analysis, great! If you think I'm a fucking idiot who has a weird thing for boxes, which indicates some Freudian vagina obsession, well, not so great. But I'd love to get your opinions.

I'll leave you with a final four-part question:

What's with The Machine's timeline extending to 2016? Can it see the future?! Or are we watching the past? Did I just blow your mind?!
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Did you notice that in the episode about the mission to China, both Reese and Stanton were in the big "target" boxes? This has got to mean Potential Threat to The Machine itself.
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You blew all of our minds with your awesomness and we just couldn't bring ourselves to even comment on it. We are not worthy, luv.
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You just blew my mind.

(No one else seems willing to admit it.)
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Thank you! I was really hoping a few more people would have an opinion on my comment. I just might re-post it on the next POI review to elicit SOME response.
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i gave up on decoding the boxes long time ago. It just annoys the hell out of me that Reese has always had a yellow box, even when we first met him on the subway before he knew about the machine, and even back in 2007 (or was it 2005?), at the airport when he met his ex-girlfriend. the only time he didn't have a yellow box was when he was with his partner in China (and then it was red)
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I didn't care for the switcheroo because while I've seen blond kids hair darken as they aged, the smaller girl's hair was too silky-straight to have turned into hair with as much body as Root's hair. Just a casting mistake IMO, but it made the story unbelievable for me.



"The Texans in the episode were all huntin' and drinkin' types...", and were mostly (all?) white. According to City Data website, that's far from Bishop's cultural percentages, having Hispanic outnumbering White 2 to 1. But it was entertaining to see rednecks expecting a city boy to be a wuss, then get their butts kicked by him more than once ^_^
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i thought it was because of Hanna that Root looked like that... after all, Hanna`s death was the reason Root became to exist. I felt it was a perfect depiction of Root`s obsessive nature to try to look like her dead friend. Also it was a nice touch that she called Reese to thank him for finding Hanna. for someone like her that doesn`t give a damn about human beings (except for Finch) Reese must of really rose in her eyes. As Finch said...he proved her wrong.



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@ delta_belle, below, the guy who shows them the motel room is obviously reacting to the interracial thing. You can see it in his body language.
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I'm tempted to rank this as almost the worst episode of the series so far, except that my opinion of "Risk" and "Foe" both rose when I rewatched them. How's Carter supposed to explain to her captain (or the FBI) what she's doing in Texas investigating a 14-year-old missing person case accompanied by the missing Detective Still, whose description would match that of the object of a federal manhunt? And even though Jonathan Nolan didn't write this particular episode, the admittedly surprising reveal of Root was basically the same reveal that was used in The Dark Knight Rises. As with "Risk," it seemed like the writers tried to cram a lot into this episode, but an advantage this episode was that it was a continuation of the previous episode. I was expecting the search for Finch to run at least six episodes, so the resolution in the train station was a pleasant surprise. I thought the laugh of the episode was Root describing Reese as "your knuckle-dragging friend."
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Another issue. Reese steals the Hannah Frey case file, and yet Carter is able to read in the sheriff without any visible complaint.
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Here's an issue I had.



Hannah Frey strongly resembles the Kidnapper, so we take it for granted that they are the same person (the hairstyles accentuate this). Her friend Sam is blonde, unlike either of them, and has a very large nose.



So, okay, maybe Sam got face surgery to make herself look different. But no -- in the phone call at the end, she has the large nose again!



That means the Kidnapper is either (1) wearing some kind of incredible disguise, or (2) is a different person, working with or under the control of Root. Or maybe this is something that we just have to shrug and take for granted.
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Sam changed her hairstyle to be more like her dead friend. She went back to her natural blond at the end because either 1, with Hanna found she didn't need to immortilize her anymore or 2. she just needed a new disguise.
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This was an outstanding ep of POI. It hit all the reasons why this show is great: the characters, the actors who make the characters real, the zillions plot points that support the main one; the action; the humor!

Amy Acker as Root was a low point for me. Yeah, she was psycho alright, but something was just too clean and pretty about her to me to really buy it. I can't really put it into words, but there was a lack of grit or something that would have made her more complete.

So cool they kept the dog without going overboard with it. The bits of doggy humor were great. And here's hoping doggy gets to bite someone out to hurt Finch.

On a softy note, that dog is a beaut with such a cute face, that I want to hug him. (Don't tell my cat I said that!)
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As far as the stereotypes go, the character who most resembled real Texans was Reese himself.
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All shows like this need an army dog-sidekick, Burn Notice is one in particular where it would be awesome, they could even name him 'Veloster' or 'Hyundai'.



I would recommend Walter White getting a dog if it would not inevitably end badly (for the dog)
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I just love this show. The characters are so great and the humor is fantastic. I am happy Finch and Reese are back together and am interested to see how their partnership works out now that Reese knows how to use the Machine. I think my favorite moment might have been when the Reese spoke dutch to the dog again at the end. It is just so ridiculous and funny, and a trick that only he would know.
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I though it was even funnier when Fusco was trying to give him commands via the Dutch tranlation book and he jumped onto the desk instead!
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In the nitpick department, I noticed right away that the people of Bishop never once blinked at Carter who was (1) an African-American; (2) a woman; and (3) an African-American woman traveling with a Caucasian man. Which is totally understandable, because the story was full already. :-) On a side note, wouldn't-happen-in-real-life film moments are easy to enjoy if they're done right. For instance, Fred MacMurray's apartment door in Double Indemnity opening outward into the hall. That bit of dramatic license was necessary for the scene where Barbara Stanwyck stands in the hall hiding behind the open door, while MacMurray's in the doorway trying to get Edward G. Robinson to leave.
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Root telling Finch that she was his best partner and then calling Reese at the end set up a story arc for her to try to eliminate her competition for Finch's attention/affection. She's in serious need of a family/father and Reese is in the way. A little sibling rivalry on an evil genius vs. master assassin level is just what Thursday night needs. Bring it on!



Also, Tim, I've spent a lot of time in rural Texas, and stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. "Why is there a crossbow on the bed?" "Cause that's where crossbows go, honey!"
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I agree. I think she's going to determine where the machine is before going back for Harald a second time but when she does her first goal will be to take out Reese first.
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A little sibling rivalry and Reese? Noooo! A little sibling rivalry is visible when she wants to harm the Machine so she could have their daddy for herself... Just kidding, your idea is quite nice. ;)

M.
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while i see your point on some of the stupid things Root did, that was also the point. She so despises humans, she doesn't think about the small picture or what humans may do when they interact with each other. The bookmark for example, I can recall a few occasions when I picked up a book I bought weeks before and found a receipt inside that I did not even realize was there. Her thanking Reese at the end was also interesting, cause you can tell a part of her never thought anyone would figure it out and in truth she doesn't understand what Finch did for the system at all. She knew he created an AI, but he raised it like a human, just the few flashbacks revealed that. I think she will find, even if she frees it, something i am sure will be the story later this season, it will not stop helping fitch, who is its father.
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Along that line, what if Root becomes convinced that Reese also has access to the Machine? She might cling to that idea, rather than believe that a mere mortal could track her down on his own. Once Reese had a starting point, connecting the dots just took longer.
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the reciept was also on the back of a bookmark which could be a bookstore's cleaver way of keeping their name front and center in their customer's minds. And if Root had bought the book remotely (via the Internet or via phone) she might not have even known it was put in the book. I also agree that she never though there could ever be a person who'd find her via that credit card, she hid the trail through several banks and even refered to Reese as "your knuckle dragging friend" (which made me laugh out loud). She's a true Psyscopath and thier main problem is that they feel they are too smart to get caught by "the stupid people" and that includes law inforcment.
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You raise a very interesting idea about the machine!

It would be very interesting if the machine decided to protect itself and/or Finch from her without Finch or Reese.

I mean what if The Machine were to cause some lethal mechanical failure...like change the signal lights while she is heading to an intersection with a full 18 wheeler to t-bone her....some sort of deadly power surge an electronic device, etc.
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I thought this was one of the best episodes of POI so far. It showed that while the show has a predictable (but certainly enjoyable) formula, it isn't afraid to step out of it. The fact that Reese took over Finch's job this week made perfect sense because Finch has been kidnapped. And it's not that Reese has never used these skills before. If you recall they had to trade places in the past when Reese was injured and he handled things well enough. Plus, from the beginning he has used his brains just as much as his brawn to take bad guys out. He is a master at strategy and reconnaissance as well as combat. For a large part of his life he didn't have Finch and needed these skills to survive in the field.

On a minor note I'd like to point out that Finch's comment, that Root might as well kill him so he wouldn't have to listen to her anymore, did have an affect on her. She responds to this by saying that he's tired and she has blood on her face, implying that he doesn't really meant what he said It is important to her that Finch likes and respects her. It was my impression that she was also a little hurt by that interaction. I think Root does have feelings, they're just a little jumbled up with homicidal tendencies.
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I love the show. It is just a great show. I find myself incapable of not liking any aspect of it.

The reason why Reese had to do the intel work this episode. Is that they had to show Root that he isn't just the muscle to Finch's intelligence. If Root merely looked at him like a thug than she would have been easily dispatched by Reese. You underestimate Reese at your own risk (and usually demise). And Root is too smart and too good of a character for her to make that mistake. So Reese both solving her friends murder and finding her was necessary for this plot line. And give another someone for Root to relate to. She relates to Finch's intelligence, and now she relates to Reese's tendency to set things right.



The Problem of Root, is not making easy mistakes. It is that like everyone else in the cast she is a flawed person. And she is a little conceited. Which is why she didn't check the phone, because she had already thought to disable the phones. So him leaving a message didn't occur to her. Plus at that point I am not sure she knew someone was following them. Because she thought she had all of the bases covered. Plus she is falls into the problem that she is used to dealing with people that are far below her level of intelligence and I think now she finally realizes she needs to up her game. And that though she got one up on them when she snagged Finch. That is't going to happen again. She is very far away from being a crazy lady with a cat. But she is crazy. Or she is at that level of intelligence and personal history where intelligence and crazy share that same blurry line.



As for the Texans. They weren't in Austin, Houston or Dallas. Or their suburbs, If you go by a map Bishop is not far from the Gulf. But the area gave a real east Texas vibe. However, I want Reese now to go up against Frenchmen if only to have your prediction come to fruition. Because seriously, that would be nothing short of hilarious. POI is many things and one of those is that when it is hilarious it is hilarious. And it's depiction of Texans was nothing short of hilarious.

As for other story. It isn't that difficult. The people that now run the machine want to use it for their own means. It is contrast to Root that wants to free it and let it do what it wants (which I think would just be help Reese and Finch out) But they need to keep it secret. For the reason stated and the reason that if the public found out, anyone that knew about the Machine would be in prison very quickly. So in order to keep it secret they have to kill investigations and people. And they are also looking for people connected to making the machine in order to do what they want to do with it. So that is why they are looking for whomever Corwin was meeting. At least that is what I got from it.

I just liked seeing the dog again. And it does have expensive tastes a first edition Asimov could go all the way up to $20,000.



Can't wait for the next episode.
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It's my understanding that there are no people who "run the machine." There are a few in the government who get numbers from it, but it cannot be "run" by them or directed by them in any way. I believe Harold has said many times that it cannot be accessed (except by him, thanks to Nathan's "contingency" program, and now by Reese). On the other hand, there are several bad guys in the government who KNOW about the machine and are trying to 1) find it and get control over it, and 2) eliminate others who know about it so the bad guys' control can be absolute.
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Remember, though, "Root" as a budding persona existed (along with the beginnings of her computer savvy) *before* her friend was abducted. She played and finished Oregon Trail while Hannah was checking out her books, then, as the final scene revealed, signed off on her high score as "ROOT" (in caps). Again, this happened before she saw Hannah get in the car. She was already playing the "innocent cute girl who would never be mistaken for a computer nerd" in her conversation with Hannah--a ruse she continues to use as an adult.



Also, most little girls would have cried or something when the librarian called her a liar--instead, she gets that Joker-esque glare going, suggesting that, yes, this may be a turning point for her, but it's a path that she was already on.



As for the receipt, maybe a mishap, but I think it was more an implied threat to the librarian that she could be hundreds of miles away and still never forgotten that night. After all, even if local law enforcement was remotely astute enough to track it down, whom would the librarian tell? Anything she said would have been self-incriminating. Root's only true misstep was the phone, I agree, but she was probably again thinking that Finch's "knuckle-dragging friend" was still not a threat in the intellect department (she was just assuming that the Machine had done the deducing, which a disconnected phone line would not pose a risk).



Side note: I really doubt this will pan out to be anything but a red herring, but if you do the math, Root (12 at the time of the 4/5/91 abduction of Hannah) would have been conceived between late 1977 to mid 1978--and 1978 was the year that "Harold Wren" first existed (as an MIT student)--we don't know yet the circumstances around Finch's pre-MIT life and identity. Red herring or could it be ...? Either way, I don't think it was an accident that the real "young Root" was that age and living with her single mom.



The best answers are the ones that present more questions, and Nolan excels at those! :)



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I agree with most of your comment except the crying part...only some very little girls would cry if wronged by someone ... most of them, especially at that age, would get angry as hell...
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I know it is TV show and understand it. But what 90s 12yo GIRL choose Root as nickname? Seriously wtf? It was time of dos. Also no girls on internet.
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I was a girl the last time I've checked. And yeah, I was on the internet since the 90s.
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Root is the name of the administrator account on Unix-type systems, which were most certainly in existence in the 90's. The choice of the nickname is genius for the character in terms of what they've done with it (and perhaps where they're going). The only question is how a 12yo would know about that (Linux got started in 1991), since I'd doubt that she'd get access to a Unix system in a small Texas town or have much interest in them.

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I'm a grown woman and I have been on the internet since the 90's.



You don't get out much, do you?
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I'm a girl and I was on the Internet in the '90s.
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I think the reason why Reese wasn't shooting and killing people this episode is because he met his quota for the season, half way through the last episode.
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ROFL... good one but hope not... this season still has many episodes left that need Reese fighting scenes... badlyyy
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