Person of Interest S03E11: "Lethe"

Geez, Person of Interest. Learn to take a break! The scheduling gods were not kind to the show, with a random single December episode scheduled three weeks after its epic three-episode "Endgame" arc and three weeks before the next new episode all the way in 2014. That's a year away for extremely literal people!

So of course I approached "Lethe" thinking Reese would solve the murder of some naval shipman wandering through town during Fleet Week or Finch would defend another Internet billionaire who found trouble by knowing too much. Something one off, something not too important, something that would just get 2013 over with so 2014 could start with another sweet arc.

Nope!

"Lethe" used this lonely episode all by itself (It's the only December episode of the show, which doesn't return until January 7) to open up the next chapter of Person of Interest as fast as it shut the one on HR, instead of getting an early start on its Kwanzaa shopping. And only if you paid attention to casting announcements would you have a clue that "Lethe" was something more than just a throwaway to kill time between breaks.

Saul Rubinek and Camryn Manheim–who were previously announced as guest stars for a handful of episodes–served as our people of interest this week, Rubinek as Arthur Claypool, a former top dog computer geek for the NSA whose brain was rotting from a tumor, and Manheim as his wife, who desperately wanted Art to recognize her. Or so we thought. The whole first half of "Lethe" played out as a somewhat interesting standalone story about the emotional difficulty couples go through when one is suffering from brain deterioration, and it took advantage of our emotions to set up the big twist at the end.  She wasn't his wife. She wasn't even his date to the NSA Sadie Hawkins Dance. She was an impostor! And not just any impostor! She was CONTROL, the mystery lady who made a brief yet unidentifiable appearance in the Season 2 finale and is the boss of Terminator Hersh and former employer of Samantha Shaw. Can we take a second to recognize how perfect the casting of Manheim as Control is?

She's still on the hunt for The Machine, and hanging around the week's number, Art, got her close enough to Finch to put her back on the scent of The Machine (ignore the fact that the super-powerful head of a top secret department was out on a field assignment by herself). But neither her identity or her proximity to Finch was the key to "Lethe." No, the wham-bam-slam-jam-a-doodle was the reveal of another machine called Samaritan, which was assembled (but possibly not completed) by Art to do the exact same thing as Finch's bag o' bolts. Thought to be discontinued by the government by anyone below Super Duper Top Secret Level Security (Art included), Control let us know that was B.S. and that Samaritan is most likely out there somewhere identifying baddies before they could drop chemical weapons on metropolises or greenlight a second season of Dads.

Guys, I don't know about you but the idea of a second machine out there turned my brain into a puddle. The soap-opera twist of a long-lost twin is garbage when applied to real people, but here it's a thing of beauty. Obviously it expands Person of Interest's universe on a technical level, but assuming it's out there and it works, it diminishes the power held by The Machine's co-admins Finch and Root, a power previously thought to be untouchable. It takes this powerful piece of unique technology and xeroxes it, spreading out opportunity for anyone willing to do whatever it takes to find it and master it.

And say it is used for evil, we're looking at a war of the machines. Could this be what The Machine has been preparing for? Is this what Root has been ominously warning us about? Does The Machine want Root and Finch to team up because it will need all the help it can get against Samaritan and the no-gooders that eventually gain control of it? DUH, YES. This has obviously been in the works for some time now, and it's even better than I could have imagined. A second machine! Imagine if Watson had a duplicate and they played Jeopardy! against each other, except instead of answering in the form of a question they were omniscient and omnipotent sentient AIs speeding through the global information grid trying to kill each other. It's like Real Steal, but with the world as its battlefield and no Hugh Jackman. Procedural, my ass. This is a serialized drama about the birth of Skynet. I'm excited.

But one part of "Lethe" was beyond weird and a bit on the emo side of things. Reese, still shook up from Carter's death, was out in Colorado drinking well whiskey and feeling sorry for himself. Fusco had eyes on him, and the two had a pretty boring talk about being a man or something. Honestly, it wasn't really interesting and was very out of character for the show. As much as I love Reese and understand that somewhere beneath the metal exterior is a teeny-tiny heart with actual emotions, I really don't need to see him being sad and drinking to forget. Reese should be in the mix shooting people in the legs, not sitting by himself at seedy bars as the broken weirdo. Fusco and Reese got in a fight together to work out some personal issues though, and if I'm Fusco, I'm rethinking that decision and counting my blessings that I still have an intact esophagus. They got picked up by the cops before Reese could deliver a Bolivian Toehold or whatever nasty trick he has, but that should be an easy situation to get out of unless Colorado cops are real dicks. 

Much of the importance of "Lethe" comes from its revelations and surprise timing than anything else, but both were more than good enough to deliver a very satisfying episode. Those old Season 2 days of densely packing episodes with confusion by juggling disconnected storylines are starting to really pay off now as Person of Interest already has a head start on momentum when they touch on them again. Just when we thought we could catch a breath with the conclusion of the HR storyline, Control steps right in take it away again. 



NOTES OF INTEREST

– I'm still trying to figure out the flashbacks to Finch as a young 'un. They seemed to point towards his potential empathy towards Art's situation by showing us Finch's dad as a man suffering from memory loss, but by the end revealed the motivation for Finch to get involved with artificial intelligence. It was a decent, but somewhat unnecessary, tangent. 

– Vigilance returned! But only to serve as a momentary obstacle for Finch. They'll play an interesting part as the wild card in the second half of Season 3. 

– How many naval shipmen, Internet billionaires, and Russian supermodels lost their lives while Finch ignored The Machine's phone calls?

– No Bear!


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/21/2016

Season 5 : Episode 13

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I have only scanned the comments here, but has no one considered that the Machine talking to Root, and the machine giving numbers to Harold may not be the same machine? Harold's machine showed us at the end that it considered Samaritan to be deactivated but changed this to Unknown. Root said the machine has been preparing her for a big fight. Did the machine talking to her know about Harolds machine? Also, I find it odd that Harold went to such lengths to make sure no one could interfere with the machine (only building in a back door at the last minute) but Root can have free 2 way conversations with the machine. I think she has unwittingly been working with Samaritan, and Samaritan is aware of Harold's machine.
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Exactly. Bear was there.
The most interesting thing, for me, was that Samaritan learns and develop, just what Finch wanted to prevent when he killed his machine everyday. We will probably see that this decision was correct someday, but I still hope Samaritan is not really evil (she will probably be out of control, wanting to kill everyone for being a slightly thread), I called the woman being not Art wife, but I never imagined she was Control. That was pretty interesting!
Also, Lionel is a good friend.
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"No Bear" isn't exactly right. We saw he was out walking Harold in the beginning of the episode...
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Finch and Fusco being out of town while the other half of the team get caught means that they can conspire to rescue them, probably with the help of Root. Now there's an unlikely team if you go back a few weeks!
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Just realised this is not an original idea on this comments page. Sorry!
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First thing: A great Episode!
Query: False Gods: Pseudepigrapha in the Modern Age is this a proper book or as the name suggests: a psedo?
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Sorry my english. I'm a little bit surprised because many seem to think that Fusco doesn't know how to fight. Fusco vs Reese was a good fight on many levels. POI has several storyarc. One of them is the characters lines. The brawl between Fusco and Reese was not only a significant Reese's character, but also to Fusco.

I have written the following text in another forum. Fuscos' character development has been an interesting. Fusco spoke boldly before but did not dare to rise against anyone. I think the turning point was when he strangled HR member after Shaw had saved his son. Because his son he had to take solution into his own hands. After that, he was standing on his own feet against Simmons which he should have done much earlier. Fusco certainly knew that Simmons is a good fighter. Fusco is unlikely to challenged Simmons if Fusco would not have trust his own fighting skills.

This time, he did not give up not even in front of the Reese even Reese made the usual threats his own way. First Fusco tried to talk to Reese, but Reese hardly react to Fusco. Second, Reese barely glanced at the Fusco. I have noticed that Reese seldom glances at towards Fusco. Fusco is like air to him. When Reese gave the impression that Fusco to be pointless and irrelevant, Fusco had enough. Was the final remaining manly way to talk about feelings, brawl. Fusco knew Reese to be a great fighter, but Fusco had ready to try even if would lose.

Reese looked really surprised when Fusco had hit him. Reese didn't seem to believe that Fusco actually dares to challenge him to a fight. Reese hit really hard and looked angry, but Fusco didn't give up. He's Lionel, lionheart. It will be interesting to see how their relationship will develop.

In fact, fight reminded Fusco vs Simmons fight. Reese and Simmons had both height and reach benefit on their side. When Fusco got close to Simmons, Simmons lost. When Fusco got close to Reese, even Reese was in little trouble. Fusco hit a few good shot and big bodyslam. Fusco is a short, burly and strong. A typical tricky opponent if get glose. Fusco is good fighter but Reese, of course, is a better fighter,excellent.

I fully understand Reese drinking. He behaved as it was in the past behaved. Reese is only human, his life has been three big events all seemed pointless to do good, father, Jessica and Carter.



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So, control was getting it's "numbers" from Finch's machine or the Samaritan?
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The brawl between Reese and Fusco was amusing. Plus Camryn Manheim was good!!!!
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I just heard a podcast about PoI ep 11 and one question came out that is very interesting:
Are there in reality any phone boots left in New York? if there are, how many?
Could anyone post a photo?
Have a good Xmass everyone :)
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The idea of a second machine sounds stupid and feels like lazy writing, but since this episode was so perfect for many other reasons, I didn't care.
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Nonsense. A second machine is the next logical step towards the singularity. The fact of the matter is: once the lid has been taken off on a technology there is no going back. Proliferation of that technology is inevitable.
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i dont think the machine was aware of Samaritan cause at the end of the episode when it was searching for it the status of samaritan was deactivated. After hearing the conversatation it changes the status to unknown. Sı it cannot be preparing anyone for this.
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Great Review! Thanks for keeping the pieces of the puzzle together. Person of Interest just keeps getting better and better. You can tell that the writers and showrunners really do have a plan in place. Each episode gets more and more riveting. Loved the notes at the end of the review ... so true! How could they leave out our favorite four-legged team member, Bear?! Would it have hurt them to show him in the background?

Wasn't so keen on Reese's part of the story line, but it does kind of make sense in terms of grief (we saw the denial and anger, and now the mourning). He's also a disillusioned soldier who lost a partner that was close to his equal. It gave us a chance to learn about his history. In a way, seeing both Reese's and Finch's history is getting back to the show's roots by digging delving into who they were and what was important, what helped shape them. Serious character development in the way of backflashes and meeting someone from at least Finch's past. If that is the plan, I hope more is revealed.

Heck, I didn't even know there was a December show, until I began to read this preview. Stopped. Dashed over to the show's webpage and watched. I'm glad I did. Can't wait 'til next year's new ep!
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I just looooove intelligent television that isn't pretentious and boring. This show is sexy, smart and makes me feel equally smart.
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Samaritan vs the machine!!! I reckon a dodgy groups will get their hands on Samiraitan or it'll merge with Finch's.
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I can't say I'm not disappointed that Atticus Shaffer didn't play young Harold, but I'm sure they had their reasons. I'm usually not very good at these things, but I distrusted the wife early on. I liked seeing Shaw fill in the gap while Reece was off trying to get over Carter's death. And I think the only reason Fusco took on Reece was because he (Reece) was drunk.
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Just realized something today, and how clever Jonathan Nolan is. I believe our Harold's real last name is not Finch. In the latest episode, we learned that he named his projects after birds in honor of his father. Remember the bombing that killed his friend that we saw in last season's finale. He would need an alias to protect him from those that did that deed. What better last name than a bird. Ingenious !
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Yes, all of his aliases have been bird names (Wren, Gull, etc.). In this episode, it was nice to see where that originated.
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Funny you mentioned Wren. I thought he was using that last name in honor of the famous architect. LOL. Now we saw the last episode we know better.
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Program: PRISM
Status: Active, Decoy

Gotta love that show.
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Terrible review, sounds like it's written by a fanboy rather than a critic.

Sorry, the fact that there's another machine is not "a thing of beauty", it's bad writing. Google "Stewie Griffin Contact Rant/Plothole" <

The episode sucked, the writers managed to ruin the only good thing going for this show - The machine.

Again 95% of the episode featured Shaw, 5% everyone else.

Time to divide the screen-time EQUALLY. I've been skipping every Shaw centric episode so far. Enough is enough.
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Except for Reese's Colorado getaway and Harold's back-story Lethe was a clever new major storyline wrapped in the nesting egg of a Rubinek's Claypool person of the week. We now know "Control" seeks to marry two AI machines for what we must believe is some nefarious world altering purpose. We also now have a face for who it is who heads up Control.

As for Reese, I guess we're suppose to see a more human side that wrestles with things lost and isn't just a one man "hall of justice"? It definitely seemed "dropped in", more so with Fusco's strange appearance to reel Reese back culminating in a very strange fight resulting in their arrests. No harm so it would seem, just strange at this moment. On the other hand, Harold's young life flashback was colorful and foretold his gift of being a compassionate genius, one that only accepts technology as a force for good . The fact he was formerly associated with Claypool in the AI game made him cognizant his, and the machine's, fate may well be somehow connected to Claypool's work after they parted ways. Harold's character has always been compelling and is swiftly ramped-up by his need to save a dying friend. His decision to not answer the machine's frantic calls put his fears in perspective. Finch knows something quite ominous is afoot and he doesn't like his position of weakness. It's clear he needs to regain being the machine's administrator and he is finally ready to let Root in for that ride.

The brilliance of the episode was saved for the huge ending where so much was spelled out for what POI may (?) be when it returns in January. A real cliffhanger as Control is revealed as Claypool's imposter wife. Reese has a big job awaiting him when he gets out of jail and this viewer is pumped for where POI telegraphs it may be going.
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Given Root's dim view of humanity, I wonder what her take would be on Vigilance's campaign to restore information privacy. She doesn't think highly of people, while the group is acting out of respect for people though in its own way.

Finch must never trust or forgive Root. Don't forget, she threatened Grace Hendricks.

It'd be fun to see Root and Control come face to face, and end their respective storylines by taking each other out.
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Punch to the gut again this week, but in that, 'oh crap' kinda way instead of the bawling your eyes out kinda way. I actually really liked having the blips of Reese and Fusco. It's going to be their bonding moment. Reese will come out of it respecting Fusco a little more, which will allow Lionel to play the bigger role needed of him now that Carter's gone (because let's face it, John takes him SO MUCH for granted).
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I think Fusco picked a fight with Reese to get the cops called. Just my little theory. And Finch's back story was very relevant to the plot for the episode and building back story. I loved this ep through and through! Good call by someone upthread about "Finch," I don't think anything in this show is wasted. It all has relevance. My favorite show right now!
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Good call. That makes total sense.
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Bear was in the episode; Finch walked him as he passed by a bank of ringing payphones.
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Did anyone notice at the ending confrontation, with the Machine watching, that Hersh was a gold box alongside Finch and Shaw. But not blue like Shaw was previously when she worked for Control?

That is getting me extremely confused. Where does Hershs' loyalty lie then?
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I think the Machine knew that Hersh will become an asset. Remember when Root tried to kill him but the the Machine stop her.
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Blue means no knowledge of the Machine but working for The Goverment on the Relevant list.
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It's my understanding that a yellow box indicates knowledge of the machine's existence, red means a threat, white means not a threat/no knowledge of the machine, etc. From what I've read, it has nothing to do with alliances.
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Apparently there are also sub-categories. In the last scene, Harold, Shaw and Hersh are yellow, Claypool is white, the thugs are white with red dots and Control is all red...
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That's a good attention to detail! It has completely escaped my notice.

As for Hersh, it's really hard to say. Remember the fight between him and Reese in "Booked Solid" (S02E15)? At the end of it John spared him, leaving him with a knife wound, a chance to get to the hospital, and the following words: "I wonder if your employers would've shown you that kind of mercy".
I always thought that this might get Hersh thinking, eventually; after all, he has been little more than a loyal soldier blindly following his orders (even trying to compare himself to Reese, as he assumed John was just doing the same). But then Hersh was still seen working for the other side after that confrontation with John: looking for the location of The Machine and coming after Root in the hospital. Yet who knows, perhaps he has secretly been up to something in the meantime?

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That would help explain how Harold & Co. would get out of this pickle.
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I hate when they pull a show off the air for an extended period of time, it's bullshit!!! Love this show, can't wait to have it back!!!!!!!
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Thought this might be of interest

DARPA Tried to Build Skynet in the 1980s


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So about 10 years after the British actually built Skynet
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I doubt that a communications satellite will ever try to kill John Connor
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I, on the other hand, think that the scheduling gods behind POI knew exactly what they were doing, and I certainly wouldn't have it any other way. Instead of going away for over a month after the now-famous three-parter, the show graced us with an "extra" December episode. Which obviously had to end on a cliffhanger... But still, I'm very grateful for this. Waiting until January 7 has become both harder and easier at the same time.

It looks like Nolan and Berlanti (or whoever picks the titles for POI's episodes) are quite fond of Latin/Greek names. But they also do make them rather fitting.

After all, that's what Reese was after - oblivion. Once again. We found him in a somewhat similar spot at the very start of the series, after he'd lost someone very dear to him and blamed himself for not being able to prevent it. The same happened now with Carter, and John has gone off looking for forgetfulness... and drinks.
I suppose I'm not particularly taken with Reese leaving everyone to their own devices and "moping" elsewhere on his own. In a way we've already been there, at the very beginning, and I wish he didn't lose the heart and the entire purpose that he'd found with Finch upon one defeat - even such painful as the death of Joss.
At least he has Fusco to keep him company there... Who came a long way himself - which was largely, as he pointed out, initiated by John's doing. I hope he can talk some sense into our knee shooter. So far it was a good speech and an entertaining brawl. But c'mon, you guys are needed back home!

Finch being resentful towards The Machine must have at least two reasons behind it: one is being angry with it for not warning them about impending danger to Carter and Reese well in advance, and the other obviously has to do with Root. His favored child no longer seems to favor him the most; the sting of jealousy is inevitable. But I still didn't expect him to go as far as to ignore all the calls.
It's a good thing then that Root came to the rescue! I really hope she gets to leave her voluntary prison soon - she's earned as much for now. A rescue mission organized by herself and Bear would be amazing indeed.

I suppose that the episode's title might have indicated both the conditions of Harold's father and that of his friend Arthur, this week's Person of Interest. Both guest stars turned in terrific performances (and the MIT song shall be forever remembered!).
I thought myself quite clever when I saw the reveal about Arthur's "wife" coming within the first minutes. But then it turned out I wasn't as clever as I thought, because I had her pegged as a member of Vigilance who was planted as a backup in case something went wrong or somebody interferred. Yet her real identity... now that was quite a shocker (I don't suppose Hirsh will just have a change of heart and shoots her?). So she's been the one (of those) who have been pulling the strings. And as cold and unscrupolous as the higher-up government folks come on this show.

Personally I was also quite fond of the flashbacks to Finch's childhood and teen years (it's the first time we went that far into the past, I believe). Especially the adolescent Howard was a good pick of an actor. It all showed us his talent for building and taking apart things, demonstrated his father's condition (who did seem like a good dad), and highlighted his credo, repeated twice as a child and as a teen: "If they don't want you to get inside, they ought to build it better".

Bring on 2014!

P.S. There was Bear in this episode, Mr. Reviewer. At the start, walking with Finch, while all the street phones were ringing. Getting old and sloppy, Tim - that's not the first time. Some shows ought to be savored, deserving of careful watching - not "fast-forwarded" through. And POI rewards attention to detail.

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I loved this:
Shaw: "Talking Is overrated... I mean, it must've been hard on you."

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I could see the wife was an impostor from the moment they checked to escape and include her in the escape plans. But of course I couldn't predict she was that important. Overall, a good episode as usual.
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checked = decided
Damned texting fail!
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I will use free time during the holidays (:-D) to find out more about the meaning of Lethe: oblivion (Arthur) and the fact that the word is contained in the title of the next episode Aletheia, meaning unforgetfulness, undisclosure... I just love the nerdiness of these guys and how they must be enjoying themselves planning this show. And looking forward to the second part of the season, of course!
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Not sure if I'm more surprised by the unexpected twist in the story or the fact that Tim liked it so much.

It was great TV. But I thought poor but the ultra high POI standards.

The Reese thing was far too stereotypical and kind of showed a lack of change for the character.

Harold's flashbacks seem to be justifying why he built the machine. I don't think we needed that.

The other machine, CONTROL, and no-one had a clue about any of it. In fact, it was the machines number that put Harold in danger.

Still, knowing POI it will do something awesome with all this and I'll feel silly.
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O and @Tim, 'I really don't need to see him being sad and drinking to forget. Reese should be in the mix shooting people in the legs'. We sometimes need to see people being down to appreciate them being up again even more. and Reese only is human and he is allowed to have feelings. It won't take episodes to get him back to his former self, it's not [ fill in any soap].
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Team Rootbear to the rescue!
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I do hope Bear gets a part in it!
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Always gr8 to have CManhein appear as a role. Here's she's badass, a nice departure from her usual politically correct nice laddie. I surprised myself but Shaw is growing on me. Kinda like her softer side. Guess we need to cross 2014 b4 we can see someone's asses being kicked again. Happy holidays everyone at POI! Stay sober-especially u John! :)
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POI still is the show where the filler moments are at least as interesting as the acting parts. Those moments where we see the boxes or when we see the prediction of the machine are awesome. As they are predictions they even give us more to think about then the actual happenings in the episode. Love it.
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No love for the over-the-top MIT duet between Emerson and Rubinek, Tim? You usually cherish those "only POI could pull this off" moments--and especially since your "other woman" (when you're not stalking Ms. Archer) Ms. Shahi perfectly deadpanned the obvious line that followed the singing.

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I was shocked they still remembered MIT's song. I only sang my school song twice in my academic career: at a friend's graduation and again at my graduation.
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I will cheer and then laugh myself silly if Leon ends up factoring into rescuing Finch, Shaw and Arthur--especially if he is teamed with Bear and Root.

Could happen! And enormously fun to consider. Remember that he's the only other living person who knows about the library, and Root is apparently locked in. (Although no one ever said that Finch had replaced her ankle monitor--in fact, Finch had implied its absence at the end of last ep.)

Not extremely likely for Leon to swoop in, but I'm calling it now in case it does happen. :)

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I agree that the reese-fusco storyline was a little weak but i presume its just a plot to tie those two characters up so that root and bear have to save finch and shaw....which i cannot wait for. Bear-Root! What a team! I think i might be a 'shipper
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I'm surprised that there was nothing in the review about Rubinek's excellent acting!
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Why don't you add positive notes yourself?
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OMG!!! This episode was great specially the other machine, the government did play them by asking more than one to build another one, now john need to work too hard to get them out of this problem, it will not be an easy operation, I can't wait to see what will happen next episode..... Great eposide
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Is it not possible that Root is admin for 1 machine and Finch is admin for the other??
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No, Root is not Admin at the moment, though she was for 24 hours earlier.

The Machine thought about her becoming Auxillary_Admin, but pretty low probabilities if I remember correctly, though still higher than her becoming married and having children.
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In was thinking about the same option, but chances that both machines got in the arena at the moment the one we knew was getting online again at the end of last season are pretty slim. So my guess is: no.
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What a great episode. The final twist was just AMAZING. Person of Interest is probably the best show on broadcast TV.
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I agree with everything except the "probably" part :)
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What made me really sad:

"The first 'Person of Interest' to air following the shocking 'Endgame' trilogy dropped down to a 2.0 (in the 18-49 demo), nearly matching 'POI's previous series low."

And that despite it beeing an awsome episode?!? Thats just sad. :(
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What is also sad is how flawed these ratings measurements actually are. Plus, live viewing metrics don't really distinguish between awesome and non-awesome episodes - you usually don't know what to expect when heading in.
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The dvr+7 numbers for the last episode (Devil's Share) showed POI coming up from a 2.0 to a 3.2, and I have no doubt that it will be that way for this episode too. People are still watching.
I think more people like to record 10 oclock shows than watch them live. Not me though :). This time of year doesn't help though
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As there is no reason why fans would stay away as the previous episodes were awesome, there must be another, outside reason why there were less viewers. Me, from being outside the US, cannot see them, but reading the comments below there might have been reasons. Although I do not believe that POI viewers would also be interested in The Voice. On the other hand, their better halves might be and they might be the decisive voices at home who gets to watch what (as was in my home before the divorce :-)).
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Makes sense, I didn't even know that there was gonna be a new episode this week until 20 minutes in....
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yeah I don't know why they threw one ep in for December. I didn't know there was a new one until I saw the review here and then scrambled to go watch it on CBS's *koff* wonderful player *koff* I don't understand the scheduling, I hope they're not playing fast and loose because they're gonna boot it. This is one of the smartest shows on network TV right now.
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It was a randomly-placed episode, a few weeks after an episode that very easily could have been the mid-season finale, so it's easy to understand why some people wouldn't even know there was a new episode on this week. Plus it was placed against the finale of The Voice, which is (for whatever reason) a very popular series. I loved the fact that we didn't have to wait until 2014 for a new episode, but I did expect it to take a hit in the ratings. Hopefully it will have much stronger ratings when it returns in January.
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Like you, I went into this episode with somewhat lowered expectations. Of course it would be good, if not great, since this is Person of Interest. But at the same time, we were just coming off of a very strong set of episode, and in all likelihood, it would at least be a step down from that. On top of that, it was a randomly scheduled episode, somewhat close to Christmas, most likely a stand-alone episode that was meant to be a bridge between two main storylines.

But what we got was indeed a great one, albeit not quite on the same level as the previous episodes. I really liked the story of Arthur (I wonder if that name's an intentional reference to Saul Rubinek's character on Warehouse 13), and the twist of the machine. This obviously changes a lot, and really opens up a lot of possibilities for the future, and I can't wait to see how they handle it in the latter half of the season.
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I took that as a nod to Artie Nielsen as well!
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A very chilling moment for me was when Control said the missing machine "belongs to ME" (or words to that effect).

Finch resisting The Machine's calls to work-- was this his way of expressing the same feelings John had, that trying to save people was pointless?

Root's analog interface with The Machine is pretty detailed. She told Finch that The Machine continued its far more limited way of communicating with him out of respect for Finch's wishes. Finch originally wanted only the number because he theorized that any additional communication between himself and The Machine would enable the Control people to find him and kill him.

Now despite all his precautions, he is completely in Control's power. When (if!) he survives this, he may consider a more detailed kind of communication with The Machine such as Root has, since protecting his anonymity is now moot.
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I don't think there is another functional machine out there. Control was asking about drives. So the code would seem to exist, but not necessarily an actual machine.
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Ah, but hook those drives up to a processor and a power source, and PRESTO! Samaritan lives.
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Well, not exactly. Art said his project was shut down bevore he could complete his task. That would mean he had some way to go until it became operational.
But IF the drives are connected to a network somehow, the Machine should be able to access those and at least evaluate the potential for conflict.
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it might be possible that in the next episode Finch and Shaw are saved but control manages to get away with Arthur and then forces him to complete Samaritan
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Uh, he also said he just needed a week more at the time. It doesn't sound like there was much left to do.
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Great episode. They just jumped right into the next story arc without needing a breather.

I love the concept of a second machine. I'm excited to see how both would try to direct their human pieces around to outmaneuver each other.

Love Shaw this episode. I laughed out loud when instead of checking for a pulse, she just kicked the guy on the floor. A bit ominous that the machine has her chance of death at 84.98%, though I'm sure she'll make it out okay.

Fusco challenging Reese to fight was ballsy, even if John WAS drunk. "Let's go!" he said. "and I wasn't talking about leaving."

How DID Root communicate with the machine in her cage? What other surprises does she have in store for us?
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I can think of a dozen ways the Machine could communicate with Root if it wanted too. She's in a building with electricity, causing the lights to dim slightly in a rapid fashion using Morse code is just the most basic.

From there it gets more and more complex.
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Root herself explains: the phone in the cage has been communicating in Morse code, at a pitch so high that only young ears can detect it.
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Or she stole a phone while out of the cage saving Reese. Why does noone ever remember Occam's razor.
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Because her room is a Faraday cage. Even if she stole a phone, she wouldn't be able to use it.
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Ok, point taken.
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This show is not perfect. It can be over sentimental, sometimes simplistic, and every now and then can strain credibility. (which I think can be the fault of being a procedural at it's roots)

But man do I love it. I mean I really, really love it. Every flashback of Finch's life makes me love him even more. That a man that so often displays nothing deeper than across between a blank to curious stare, can convey all of the pain and guilt and burden of his intelligence and empathy, is a testament to Michael Emerson's acting.

I still miss Carter though :(
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What do you mean, "no Bear"? Finch was walking him in the opening scene of the show, during which he was ignoring The Machine's calls.
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Yeah, but it wasn't a talking(barking) part. Woof!
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One might consider he meant that we didn't get enough Bear. I would agree with that.
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I would agree with "Not Enough Bear". But then again, let's face it, Bear needs his own spin-off;

"Dogs of Interest" is about Bear roaming around New York, saving puppies and perhaps even a few kittens from abuse, neglect and the occasional hit and run.
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I would really love that. Maybe he can rescue some dog owners also as his strength is in containing people.

As far as I know there has only been one detective show that had a dog as the main character: 'Commissaris Rex', an Austrian show and after ten seasons the dog moved to Rome and the series became 'Commissario Rex'.

And now for the shameless plug: read our (Syrinx2 and mine) series on European detective series that we have in the International tv community. Join it!
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Reese/Fuscoe needed to be out of the picture to set up a team up with Root to save Finch/Shaw. Shaking up character relationships is always good practice for good drama.
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Tim, if Reese needs a moment, let´s just give him a moment. Everyone needs a break sometimes.
As for The Machine vs Samaritan, I agree it could be possible. Maybe Samaritan is the one communicating with Ruth?
And when the cavalry comes to rescue Shaw and Finch, it probably be Ruth.
I did enjoyed seen Fusco braving himself against the man in the suit.
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Hate to be that person but, her name's Root.

Also, Reese & Fuscoe being away = plot contrivance so they're free to help her & Shaw rescue Finch maybe (coz Shaw doesn't need rescuing, ever)
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Shaw was rescued by Reese and Finch when almost killed. Then she left them both by the side of the road, took their car and phones and left without saying much ;)
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That last part kinda speaks 4 itself. Shaw didn't need rescuing, it wasn't appreciated at all :)

Edit: Maybe I shud've used "want" instead of "need"?
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You can't, but I repost & remove the older 1, it's less confusing than adding on a new post. Like this one here.
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Edit? How'd you do that? :D
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Hi, We all need rescue once in a while ;)
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