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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.


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/24/2016

Season 5 : Episode 8

Next Episode

AIRS ON 5/30/2016

Season 5 : Episode 9

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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!
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Does anyone know how did finch know reese was CIA from the beggining?
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Maybe because his ex wife was a number before?
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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.
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I was weird seeing Reese as a perpetrator and it was good to see Root again even if it was for a few seconds.
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Dude, you fucked up the poll.
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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!
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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?
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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...
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I guess he said Jessica's number came up a lot, probably he investigated a bit!
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I think that's the main reason, anyway. There could be more information to come.. :)
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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.
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i have that same question!!!!!!!!!!!!
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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...
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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?
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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.
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yeah... saw it when I re-watched the episode :)
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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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Plotpoint: So Finch managed to "tweak" the bit of code on the laptop to create the virus that let The Machine go off grid and finally free itself?
Pretty quick and efficient work there! :D

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I was squeeing and cooing through half the episode, getting to see all our little heroes "back in the day".
Did anyone else feel like you were watching supercute baby pictures of someone you've known forever? :D
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Wow. A lot of you are being mean toward Mr. Dillinger. Yeah, he really wanted to pull off a real life James Bond, where he gets the girl and always stronger than the bad guys. On the other hand he did the same thing as Reese. He wanted to know where does Finch gets his numbers. The only difference is when he realized that this thing is way bigger, than saving some damsel in distress he got his panties in a twist and opted out. He was not the boyscout type sure, but he was not a bad guy either. He could have sold out Finch for a lot more than a partial code of the machine. Or just killed him to make sure he won't stand in his way.
And the other thing that nobody asked: just what number is he up on Harold's helper list? He is the last one before Reese, but how many were there before him? I remember Root saying that he tried out a few. And I wonder if we will see any more of them...

And the episode itself... It was too much like fan-fiction for me. Too many things were fit in one episode just to check out some question boxes. It seemed rather lazy for me. Especially the Reese disobeying orders part. Pulling like something that off would have meant suicide for him at that time.
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Crap, I don’t remember any of the references to season 1. Ordos mission? Anyone cares to explain?
And what’s Decima Technologies again?
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The Ordos mission is the mission to China where Kara Stanton and Reese were BOTH given orders to eliminate their partner - and then the place was blown sky high on top of that...

Decima Technologies is still somewhat obscure - they're ANOTHER player in the game, not to be confused (we think) with Vigilance. Decima are the ones who hired Kara Stanton to upload the virus (from the stolen laptop) to The Machine, and the ones who tried to take control of it when it called it's new "Admin(s)".
They appeared to be working with the Chinese, but are actually AFAWK independent.
Also, the nabbed the Samaritan drives that may contain a rival "Machine".
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As for the opening credits thingy: Once Upon A Time clearly takes the cake, c'mon son!
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Though some have mentioned Fringe, if I remember correctly, they changed their opening sequence every season while OUAT has many times adapted the opening sequence to that week's story, indeed...
But it was cool also that POI thought of doing it for that specific episode which was full flashback!
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Seems you never noticed the part of POI opening where they show a snapshot scene of the episode's "number". With a big red circle around his/her face...
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where is it that ive looked 100 times and i dont see it?
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Right after Finch says: "If your number's up, we'll find you." The circle is new from this season though.
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Of course i have noticed, but that's just a scene from the show. Which is still pretty damn cool but OUAT takes it further, and thus the cake!
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Your soooo darn right !!!! - I had never noticed that !!!
Right after Finch says: "If your number's up, we'll find you."
Super Cool !!!
You probbaly have also noticed (I have for a while) that the Machine identifies Root (Amy Acker - I'm a Hacker) as "Analog Interface" in the opening sequences? Cool too!
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Yup, I did. And Finch is tagged as "Unknown" from the beginning, which may come out in some way in the story at some point.
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oh hell yeah!
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One of the series best episodes. Love it.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Dillinger was such a pr*ck, it was awesome. I'm calling him the 'not Reese'. He talked way too much and was far too full of himself.

I listened to the credits and thought that's not who it goes. Brilliant.

I like how you summed up their relationship Tim. If you weren't willing to give Finch the talk I would have. Throw in the fact that Dillinger brought another man to Finch's house and it's a classic case of abuse.

I didn't think I could love Reese more and then he went and saved Casey.
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Dillinger was Bizzaro Reese
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I had gotten the impression in Season 1 that Finch had only recently set up shop in that old library. Here it's shown he was operating there since 2010.

Anyone?
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Nathan is the one who started operating the 'irrelevant-business' out of the old library. After his death, Finch continues to use the location. Nathan dies September 2010 so there are a few month where we don't know whats going on at the homebase :)
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That's right. Thanks for setting me straight.
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Lol, "Millions of ladies" is probably stretching it a bid. This doesn't seem like the kind of show generally targeted towards a female audience.
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I know of lots of women who love this show, myself included. We appreciate great acting and writing as well as smart good looking guys. I thought Kara was an idiot for saying that.
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Yes indeed/
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Millions of ladies is more than likely NOT stretching it a bit. The show is targeted at an audience that enjoys a good plot; regardless of gender. Having intelligent, attractive men to look at doesn't hurt.
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The show is targeted at an audience that enjoys a good plot; regardless of gender.

nailed it :D
y would anyone think that women only prefer 'romance' in their fiction (and would go for what? romantic comedies and soapoperas?) is beyond me.
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I'll admit, while watching this episode, I was wondering why they felt they needed to dedicate a whole episode to this flashback. I mean, it was a good, fun episode, and I liked how they fleshed out the back-stories for both Finch and Reese (though obviously more so for Finch), but it seemed odd that they spent the whole hour on it. But obviously that changed at the end of the episode when they connected it with Root's storyline (yay for getting more Root screen time, even if it was only for about a minute).

So I thought it was a solid episode overall, despite seeming like an odd choice until the end. And it will probably be even better while rewatching the season, once we see what Root/The Machine has in store for Daniel Casey.
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And Greenfield! It's like the Machine uses Root as her go-to hacker recruiter and it is recruiting talented people that are connected to it somehow (greenfield worked for vigilance, obviously a threat to the machine and Casey knows the machine's early flaws and could likely help).
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So, I'm rewatching the ep (and enjoying it immensely) and I have to admire Finch's fortitude. He stumbles out of a wheel chair in obvious pain and just a couple of hours later he's digging a grave. That must have hurt.
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The moment when Dillinger showed that he didn't give a flying fig about Finch, when Finch was so obviously loyal to him, totally broke my heart. "Reese would never say thaaaaaat!"
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Excellent episode!!!! In my opinion, one of the best of the series! I love the way they tied Shaw into Reese and Finch's history. I thought Dillinger was a very interesting character, and would not have minded seeing him as a irritant to Reese and Finch in a future episode.

But, overall, the way that old and new characters, and old situations that regular fans of POI are aware of, were incorporated into this story was done flawlessly. (Applause and whistles)

And, as a huge fan of Root, I'm always thrilled when she makes an appearance and does her "Root" thing.

My rating: 10!
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Paths were meant to cross... It was an excellent idea and very well presented to get to know a little bit of our mysterious Mr.Finch!
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This was such a missed Carter Opportunity, she should have had a little cameo, something innocuous her just arresting a pep or something
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Actually I'm kind of glad they didn't. It's too early. I'm also glad they didn't shoehorn everybody in the flashback. The ones that where there made total sense and didn't feel forced. And having said that: I miss Carter, too. I'd love to see her in a flashback at a later point in time, maybe next season.
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Thought the episode started a little slow, but the final third was outstanding!! Wished it never end.
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I'm reading a lot of speculation about how Harold knew this early that John and Kara were CIA. I am hoping this question will be answered by another flashback episode in which we find out that their lives had intersected previous to this 2010 incident!
This ep left me with the impression that Harold witnessing John saving Casey might have been the first time Harold considered John a potential future asset. We saw Jessica phone John just before he got sent to Ordos, but maybe that wasn't the first time she had dialed that number in recent years. If Harold, in hoping to save her, was tracking her phone calls, he could have become aware of John's connection to Jessica by noting frequent calls that were not completed (assuming that Jessica would hang up before John answered, because John would have gone to her sooner if he'd known about her problem sooner).
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I actually loved Dillinger. Shame he had to go that way.
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Loved the episode and how well it tied everyone together. A little perplexed by why people are surprised that Finch knew Reese was CIA though. Even without the Jessica connection I get the impression that Finch knows how to do a 'bit of research'. He had to have found Mr. Dillinger somewhere other than the want ads. I suspect Finch had a list of possible candidates and narrowed it down to the most skilled in field work. Reese would of been on that list, but already employed. Approaching him would simply have raised all sorts of questions that he wouldn't want a CIA operative asking. Finch would not use him at that point, but that doesn't mean he would forget him. Watching him spare Casey would simply of shot him to the top of Finch's wish-list (although he may already of been there) if Reese ever left the CIA.
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I agree that Finch likely came across Reese during research, but I don't feel Reese was on a candidate list -- more of a list of dangerous characters.

I think he was shocked that Reese disobeyed orders, showing mercy, which caused him to see Reese in a new, more favorable light -- esp given how his current muscle was too mercenary for Finch's taste.

ALTHOUGH... in an early episode, that felt to me not long after Reese's ex was killed, Finch and he met at the hostpital. Finch in his wheel chair, looked at him wistfully and said something like, "I'm sorry for your loss." Or, maybe just, I'm sorry.

Where do you suppose THAT scene fits in the timeline relating to this episode's events? Before or after? Seems to me it must be AFTER because wasn't it Reese's Ex's death that pushed him over the edge? AND, I think Reese became a vagrant AFTER the China Laptop mission, right? How much of her death was Finch's fault?
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That scene in the hospital would have taken place after the events in this episode. John and Kara were heading to Africa at this point, and John received the call from Jessica while they were there. They were then sent to Ordos to retrieve the laptop and Jessica was killed while they were there. This episode took place in late 2010, and I believe John showed up at the hospital in Feb 2011 (I just rewatched that ep the other day, that's how I know that :)
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I just had a thought - what if Reese was on Finch's "watch list", so to say, because of the missions he and Stanton did in the US? This wasn't their first rodeo. OR, what would completely blow my mind: the Machine was matchmaking again, same as she did with Grace - this time in order to make it possible for admin to work on the irrelevants... what we see in RAM is the first time Finch got any inkling as to why the Machine was nudging him in the direction of a CIA hitman...

The events of the episode you're referencing happen chronologically after "RAM". We don't know why Finch was at the hospital, but Reese was there to ask after Jessica, who was already dead. This happened after the mission to Ordos, which in turn happened after the mission to Morocco that happened directly after the events in "RAM".

Jessica's death wasn't Finch's fault. At all. It also wasn't Reese's fault. Her husband killed her. If anyone is to blame, it's the CIA, for sending Reese and Stanton on a suicide mission for coming to close and not retreiving the laptop in NY...
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Tim, I hope you haven't forgotten how awesome Fringe's opening credits were.
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Really good episode liked they way given backstory to finch righthand man and a lot better structured then last week. I liked the fight scene between reese and Dillinger showed that reese was the best choice for the machine , Dillinger was just in for a party he did'nt care enough. I always like it when us shows get brits to do the baddie roles more interesting.
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Though I am sure that it is purely coincidental, I nonetheless find it quite cool that Root is played by an actress named Amy Acker... !!!
(I'm a Hacker, with a foreign accent)
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I'm glad they presented this the way they did. They could have filled in these details along the way, going all the way back to season 1, but by saving them up, and dishing them out in a flashback episode, it was sort of like watching "Back To The Future", and seeing the same series of events over again from a different perspective. The fact that they were able to tie up so many loose ends in one episode was pretty cool too, although including so many key events and players in one show seemed a bit like checking items off of a shopping list. Still very enjoyable to watch, and it may serve as a springboard to launch the next story arc.
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To clear something up that has been discussed a lot in the comments below:

The order of the Reese / Jessica events.

  1. In S02E22 John finds Jessica's photo in a safe in the library. The date on the photo is 12/07/10 - December 7th.

    I know its a bit out of focus, but there isn't a better shot of the pic.
    2. The end of this episode, when the laptop falls into chinese hands, takes place on December 19th. Take a look at 41:35
    So if we allow a couple of days for the events of RAM to transpire, that still leaves enough time for Finch to research Jessica's background and therefore stumble upon Reese. Her number came up (for the first time??) on Dec. 7th but he did not yet have a way to help her, so he put the photo in the safe.
    Oh, does that suggest that the time we see Dillinger at the start of the episode is maybe the first time Dillinger goes into action with Finch?
    So, as far as the timeline is concerned, everything seems to be in order. Or did I miss any events?
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Well, the timeline seems to be in order.... but: I'm pretty sure Jessica and Reese broke up about 9 years prior to the events of this episode. They never lived together, as far as we could see, they were together for about 6 months, maybe a bit longer if they continued long distance for a bit after 9/11. Harold has amazing hacker skills, but it would have been really hard to find out about a guy that was together with one of the numbers that many years ago, especially if there wasn't anything official about their relationship. His military file was probably classified to kingdom come the moment he started working for the CIA, he got a different name etc. I could belive that Harold dug up the dirt on the weirdly honorable CIA agent AFTER the events of this ep, but before? Hmmm.... I'm still not convinced.
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Well, I checked again. According to the POI-Wiki the first time Jessica's number popps up is in 2007. We get to see that in S01E02 at 32:00


Back then, nobody worked on the irrelevant list as far as we know. But in S01E21 we learn that her number popped up repeatedly. So that tells us that between 2007 and her death her number would have shown up at least once more.
Nathan dies on September 27, 2010. That is when Finch starts looking at the irrelevants, and Nathan stops. So, either Nathan looked into her because he got her number or Finch does. Since Finch is the better hacker I would suspect that he was the one who got the number and looked into her and Reese. Hacking the CIA is (I wouldn't know) difficult so I'm going with that option. So that would give him two month at most and about a week at least to get the info.

Well, I guess that tells us nothing really new, except that he could have had Nathan's research to fall back on, he could have had 2 month to do the research himself or he is a really smart cookie and works fast and did it in maybe a week.

Anywas, it is concievable that he had the info bevore the events of RAM.
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Answering here because it's not possible below.

I don't really disagree with you either :-) Love the screencaps, btw.

I thougt that this is what the episode was about: that was the moment where Finch saw the potential in Reese to become his partner. Because he didn't kill an innocent person just to fulfill orders.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Finch then looked into John's past and found the connection with Jessica - but afterwards. I think there's still something more to this, too.
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Thx.

The only vaguely concievable idea I came up with is that John's own number came up sometime bevore the events of RAM. Anything is speculation beyond this point, but maybe it came up because he was tasked to kill Daniel Casey. Since he wouldn't have been a legitimate relevant target the machine would have tried to protect him, like it did bevore - remember the guy on the plane?

Anyways, thats what I'm going with for now - at least in my phantasy :D
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Good catch, but my main point still stands: Jessica was with Peter. Peter was the threat to her. She hadn't seen Reese in a while. They only stumbled over each other at the airport, then parted ways for years. She didn't call him until the mission in Morocco, which happened after the events of RAM. With only Jessica's SSN to work from there is basically NO WAY he would have made the connection to Reese. There was nothing connecting them for YEARS. I don't know how long e.g. credit card companies keep their data, but I doubt it's for 9 years - because that's the only way to connect Reese and Jessica via data trail back in 2001, unless you talk to friends/family and she kept the relationship secret from her family... and Reese wasn't CIA then. Also I doubt that Finch would be looking at past boyfriends that far back when it would have been relatively easy to find out that her husband was abusing her...

So is it impossible that Nathan or Finch dug up stuff on Reese before this ep? Well no... just highly improbable.

Which is why I'm so curious how Finch recognized him as CIA on sight. Either there is something that we don't know yet or it's a bit of a plothole - not a large one, because as you said, it's not completely inconceivable, I just find it a bit far-fetched. But TPTB usually don't make this kind of mistake on POI, so I hope there is an explanation at some point.
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Finch is in the hospital, in a wheelchair, after Reese walks out after visiting his dead ex-girlfriend. He is unshaven, unkempt and travels from there to her house to deal with the husband. Finch sees him in the lobby as Reese is walking out and definitely gives him a look. Why Finch is there is never explained, and I am not sure of the timeline or episode.
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I do see your argument. And it's not that I really disagree with you, I was just really wondering about the whole issue myself, thats why I looked into it as much as I did.

I think there is more to this story than we know right now. Because when John bumps into Finch in the hospital back in 2011, Finch has the three (John, Jessica, Peter) connected in his file. By then he might have been looking into Reese as a potential partner.
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oh, great catch! I was wondering how Finch knew Reese was CIA, but he already had Jessica, Peter and John's SSN from the machine by that time.
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Great episode. This was one of those episodes where I was smiling all the way through because of how familiar characters were introduced to fill in plotlines from the past. It was really cool because it wasn't shoehorned in and all made sense.

I really like how you have to pay attention to the opening credits because you never know when they are going to slip you a curveball. It great that EVERY episode of POI has slightly different opening credits to showcase the weeks number.
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Now I want to know where Finch picked up Dillinger(James Bond wannabe club?). It was awesome to see Finch observe Reese helping the hacker which is undoubtedly the reason why he picked him.
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Actually, Neil Jackson (Dillinger) in Quantum of Solace as the guy Bond beat up at the hotel.
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There were a number of references, "I got this knife from Black Water", Reese calling him a 'merc' and 'private military' it's pretty clear he was a 'security contractor', or mercenary.
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I was mostly wondering how Finch hired him. Did he hire him as a bodyguard and then tell him to go on missions and save other people? Is there a black market for mercenaries?
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Err... yes... there kind of is a black market for mercs... that's the whole point of them, they are only loyal to their pay packet.
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Beautiful episode,just beautiful!
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Finch's sardonic smile after Casey's comment about Tucson was priceless. As a fellow Iowan with Finch, and Michael Emerson, I can assure you we grew up DREAMING of living in Tucson.
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They only interrupt the opening sequence when it's going to be a great episode. It dragged a little in the beginning and Dillinger was completely over-written, but it was a great episode and I really, REALLY want more of it.
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"Dillinger was completely over-written"

I SO agree.
I had to take a deep breath, ignore this fact and enjoy the awesomeness of the episode.
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Amazing! All the interlocked stories. Reese and Kara were really a good team. The guy with the accent and his associates will definitely be pain in the ass. Also it seems ultimately C word was behind China bombing. And this goes without saying, POI has the best flashbacks of all-time. Also for some reason i liked the old opening sequence better so it was good to start with that.

Mr. Dillinger! Get Mr. Casey off the streets! Immediately.

I believe the word you're looking for is "rad."

Boss is gonna need proof of death. Couple of molars should do it. Care to do the honors?

Root keeps referring to Machine as she :)

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Yeah, a couple of molars is not really proof of death (as we learned). That flaw is also very obvious - and you don't even need a dentist to get that proof.

Better go with a part of the brain. Or the whole head - that is really hard to fake, too :D
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molars are easier to carry thru airport security - HA.
they also carry good DNA, and they are less bloody when yanked out of a dead person's mouth. I'd pay on that proof.
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Well yes, but you can't really be sure someone is dead if you have his molars. You can live without them fairly well - but you can not live without your head... See what I mean?


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still don't like the idea of carrying a head around - too messy. How about a photo of the deceased with their molars missing?
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Great episode. I love flashback episodes especially well done ones even if many of things happened here we knew, a few details were left to the imaginiation but that it didn't disappoint due to execution.

I loved the bits when Dillinger was arrogant enough to think he could fool two CIA agents because of his ego yet he was a good fit for a character that someone could have served his position that Finch would hire him, he didn't look like a true mercenary (after all, he never killed Finch or tried to sell him out somehow) and the scene when Finch saw Reese spare Casey and Stanton crazy moments. Cleaning up a murder scene for her is like a "another day at work" but at the same time she has that kind of "I love my job"-attitude and even if she's a psychopath and considering her missions came from the machine she did a lot of good. It was nice to see Decima this early in the game too, that Greer fellow has been in the spy/information game for a long time and I hope we get a flashback episode of his personal life later in the show.

Also, such a great ending with Root there. It's a pity she isn't a regular, I would much rather follow her adventure than see Reese and Finch save random strangers that won't be in the next episode.
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I loved this episode. I love it when we get to see how all the individual stories intersect at one point or another. This time we got to see where it all started.

Can someone tell me how Finch knew Reese was CIA on sight? Because Jessica's number came up long after they broke up and at the time Finch wasn't really interested in dealing with the irrelevant list. He saw Reese at the hospital when he tried to find out what happened to Jessica, but that was after Ordos...
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Check out my comment further up. That should clear things up a bit.
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Glad I'm not the only one who caught this. I don't think we know yet.
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At this point, Reese and Kara would have been sent to China to retrieve the laptop. Reese received the call from Jessica right before they left. 2 months later is when Reese went to the hospital looking for her (and where Harold saw him). Since Harold said that some numbers kept coming up again and again (in Many Happy Returns), we can guess that Jessica's number was one of them and that Harold learned about John during one of those times because of his relationship with her. He would have been familiar with John by the time this happened. It's so cool how they're able to align with the timeline so well on this show.
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No, that's what happens directly after this. John gets the call from his ex right before China. The CIA promise him leave after his mission is over. The CIA tries to kill John, he escapes. John tries to track the ex down and bumps into Fitch in the hospital.
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Sorry, I meant that that's where this ep leaves off. At this point, the laptop is in China. Stanton & Reese are headed to Africa (Kara mentions it at the end of this ep). While they are there, John gets the call from Jessica, then he has to go to China. But Harold had mentioned how certain numbers came up many times, and he realized that they were potential victims of those they were living with. The implication was that Jessica was one of those numbers that had come up multiple times (both before and after Harold became involved in the irrelevant list), and that during one of those previous times Harold would have become familiar with John while investigating Jessica (even though they were no longer together at that time, Harold would have still found out about him - I'm guessing that because John was with the CIA at the time, Harold would have seen him as the potential threat against Jessica). When Harold saw John at the hospital, he had a file showing the information he had on Jessica, and John's picture was in it.

- When Harold saw the kind of person John was in this episode, that was probably when Harold wanted to recruit him. Jessica had already been dead two months prior to Harold seeing him in the hospital, so my guess is that the reason Harold was there was to try and track down John.

- I imagine that there's a lot of Harold's/John's backstories that we don't know yet :)
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Thanks for reminding me. I'm not quite convinced, but I'm willing to accept that we either don't know all the details yet or that Harold "stumbled" over Reese's file while investigating one of the multiple times Jessica's number came up.
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It never really hit home so much before how sketchy Harold is for hiring killers and turning a blind eye, at his convenient distance. Let's face it, who in the world would've even remotely considered trusting and taking on Shaw et al. in his position?
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THANK YOU for the return of the POI we love. CBS reran Dead Reckoning Sunday and it made me SO homesick! I can't say anything about this episode that hasn't already been said. Simply great.
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Having read through all the comments here, I've come to the conclusion I watched a different episode. First time I've ever been bored watching POI. Only saved by Root at the end giving us some point to the whole thing.
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We need a Shaw - Reese vs. Kara and the Decima goons shootout. Root should call the shots. Yeah POI give us that episode, by now I think that you can spin anything into awesomeness and that already sound awesome. A shoot-off's always awesome.
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Ahem... Kara is dead.
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The billion dollar exchange:
Reese: "It can't hurt to ask him a few questions"
Stanton: "It can't hurt us, anyway."

The most corny brilliant writing I have EVER heard.
I am still laughing.
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I liked the episode. I just think we got it too late. Feels like it would have made more sense a year ago. Of course then we wouldn't have gotten that cool final scene with root.

I didn't like any of the last five or so episodes, but now I feel that we're back on track again.
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I loved this one. Also I love how dang clever this show gets. I am with you , as soon as I saw those opening credits and the date 2010, I knew this would be a good one.
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Damn I hated this episode. And I mean hate. This episode did two things. One it showed just how good this show is. I mean this show is fantastic, down to the freaking credits it is fantastic. But the part that was bad is that this show is too good. The show runners know what they are doing, they have this all planned out, they are not throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks. They have a plan. A beginning a middle and an end. And that is why I hated this episode. This episode reminded me that within 3 maybe four seasons this show will end. Nolan and company have this all planned out, they know what they are doing, they know their audience. They have this all wrapped up in a delicious package. But there will be an ending. And this episode reminded me of that knowledge hurts just a little bit. Hated it.

Obviously I didn't hate the episode. This episode was spectacular. I love how all of these people have been swimming around each other for years. It is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the show. It is like 6 degrees of spyseperation. And all based around Finch, or whatever his name actually is. It just is great to see a show go about things intelligently, how they plot out everything and link everything and it is just spectacular, this episode solidifies at least to me why this is the best show on TV. Yes, Yes I know that True Detective is stupendous, but this is equally so and it is fun at the same time.

This also showed how in over his head Finch was in the beginning, if this was even the beginning. Finch made a giant mistake in choosing Dillinger. Dillinger was not a warrior like Reese is. He is a mercenary, probably the epitome of the term and some of the people that tend to take those types of jobs. In another life I worked with dozens of guys like Dillinger, all they care about is the money. All their loyalty exists in the money, which means if someone is to pay them more, they will take that, if they see an opportunity to make more they will take that too. And with that, you can never really trust them. Finch was out of his depth when he chose Dillinger, not knowing what he was buying. Oh and if anyone is wondering why he didn't choose to kill Finch or Casey, it was because no one was paying him to do so.

Reese in contrast is a warrior. He has a code and he knew that the CIA wasn't telling them the whole thing. It was nice to see that he recognized it. He is conflicted by it. He knows of the threats out there, and boy are there plenty. Set a guy like Reese at them and he will smile at the opportunity and relish the combat.

Stanton, was likely just a convenient sociopath. Stanton is what Shaw would be but Shaw wasn't quite there. I really hope that Stanton isn't dead, I don't think she is. People like Shaw, Reese and Stanton are hard to kill and they are survivors. I would love to see Stanton vs Shaw, or even Stanton vs Root.

Speaking of Root. The machine is putting teams together. I think it is done with the CIA and the government and it is going to start doing things itself. I think it is attempting to do what Finch and Reese can do. Now it might be setting up for a war whenever Decima or Control gets a hold of one of the other Machines it is going to need multiple teams because Control and Decima have their teams already set up. They are just waiting on the intel that the Machine can give them and exploit it. And with that, we know what the end game is. My guess, and what I think the best result of all this would be is that Finch and more importantly Root has the Machine. Control gets a Machine and Decima gets a machine and they do battle for world supremacy. And we get to sit back and watch the awesomeness.

But this show is going to end. This isn't a ten season show. And with that I hate it.
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Beautifully put. Love and hate for the same reasons.
Every good story needs an ending. I hope you're right.
As for the ending. The Machine either becomes Skynet or it deletes itself.
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I love it for the same reason you hate it - LOST wandered around like a stoner in the woods for three extra seasons, HEROES went two seasons beyond their capability. If PoI knows it's set mythology storyline, and takes us there to the known ending, I am as happy as can be. The Nolan Bruvs will come up with something else.
I love it when a plan comes together.
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POI and TD is a weird comparison - yes they are both absolutley awsome - but that is where the comparisons already end.

Also, as things stand right now, I'm not so sure about Control getting a machine for itself. There has been no indication of that as of now.

And: Oh how I do hope we get ten seasons of POI awsomeness! :D
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