Person of Interest S03E21: "Beta"

Many mythology episodes of Person of Interest are as dense as a Christmas fruitcake in July, but that wasn't the case with "Beta," a busy objective episode that was also slow from a top-down perspective. The objective in question? To put Finch in Decima's hands. The move itself was huge for the overall story, but the process of getting there was merely fine. I know, I know, I'm a bad fan. But the fact of the matter is, there have been better Person of Interested episodes than "Beta."

With Finch AWOL from the team (watching Reese and Shaw attempt to do the Machine's bidding without Finch just wasn't the same), Greer had exactly 24 hours to accomplish two tasks: 1.) Show Senator Garrison that Samaritan can scoop up bad guys who threaten freedom. 2.) On a more personal level, bag Finch and take out any auxiliary mandates that might get in the way. Greer went straight for the heart after a Samaritan search revealed Grace (guest-star Carrie Preston) as an associate of Finch's. The Machine made a call to Reese and let him know that Grace was the new number, and the Race for Grace was on.

There were a few of "changes of possession" with Grace as Reese got to her first and took her to a police station to achieve temporary protective custody, and a bomb diversion from Root allowed them to take Grace out of Samaritan's all-seeing eye. But during their flight, a car crash spun them out and Greer's men nabbed their target. That's when Finch was located (he was moping on Grace's doorstep), and Finch agreed to an exchange with Decima: himself for Grace's safety. Like I said, busy, but also slow in terms of moving the story forward, as the point of finding and losing Grace was to get Finch into Decima's clutches.

One thing "Beta" did better was showcase Grace (and Preston) in a few fantastic tea-party scenes with Greer, full of heavy talk about painting the Sistine Chapel and serving God. The girl was realistically tough, not some wise-cracking ballbuster out of a comic book, and she showed believable internal strength as she sparred with Greer.

Likewise, Greer's whole interaction with Grace revealed more of that character than we've ever seen. Though he's a mean son of a bitch, he's got an air of dignity and respect (except for when he's asking his lackeys to shoot themselves). Greer's choice to not tell Grace the truth—that Finch wasn't dead, but had faked his death and abandoned her for her own safety—was effective for two reasons. First, it showed that Greer is not a total monster. And second, it set him up as an odd sort of mirror image of Finch. Oh, and it also poked at the wounds of Grace's naiveté with regard to the truth about Finch. When Grace snarled at Greer and accused him of being a liar if he thought Finch wasn't dead, because there was no way Finch could be alive but not in her arms, a lump jumped down my throat. Preston sold that conviction very well, and knowing she was wrong was taxing on the ticker. Ouch.

The wonderful mystery of Greer thickened even more during the exchange of Finch and Grace. Did he blindfold Grace to spare her feelings? Or did he do it to win Finch's favor for whatever nefarious plans he has moving forward? Those questions aren't easily answered, which is exactly right for our dealings with Greer. This man who materialized out of the shadows and disappeared into the subway crowds is now a character with dimension. I love the way Person of Interest has brought Greer into the fold.

"Beta" wasn't a total loss for the team, though. In the second-to-last scene of the episode, Root proved she was up to her own tricks when she unveiled a truck full of Decima's servers. State-of-the-art servers that were intended to help Samaritan speed up from a crawl to a run, to use Root's words. With extra hardware on her side, I'm guessing Root will be able to juice up the Machine for an epic finale showdown between these two mechanical monoliths. The question is: Where will Finch be watching the fight? 



NOTES OF INTEREST

– I gotta say, Samaritan's UI looks pretty nifty. 

– Why did Reese's last line to Grace, "All I know for sure is you loved him, and he loved you back," hit so hard? Something about the way Jim Caviezel delivered those words just worked so well.   

– Blindfolded Grace bumping into Finch was one of those great so-close-yet-so-far moments that this show does well. Sad! 

– Hey, Grace got a job and a house in Italy (and a free ride to the airport!) out of this whole ordeal, so I guess it was worth it! 

– There were a couple great lines from Reese in this otherwise humorless episode. As he stopped an operative from injecting Grace with knockout juice: "A little early for the flu shot." And while busting down Decima's door: "Somebody call tech support?" Too good. 

– Also earning some laughs was Root's Grace's winking commentary on the police station that was infiltrated three times in the span of about a minute by three different people pretending to be others, while ZERO cops were around: "What is going on? I barely believe this is a police station." (Thanks for the correction, everyone.)

– There was a lot of bad coffee in this episode!

– Shaw and Reese took a cab and rode in the trunk together. I like to imagine it went exactly like this fantastic scene from Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight.


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/21/2016

Season 5 : Episode 13

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"Did he blindfold Grace to spare her feelings? Or did he do it to win Finch's favor for whatever nefarious plans he has moving forward? Those questions aren't easily answered, which is exactly right for our dealings with Greer."

Tim, I remember that Greer replied to Finch (at the end of the episode when Finch thanked him for blindfolding Grace) that he didn't want to start on the wrong foot (or something like that). It seems pretty obvious to me that Greer is a very smart SOB who knows that he has to gain points to get whatever he needs from Finch and he also knows that he will never get anything from Finch through torture or death, obviously.
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Loved the episode, but why didn't Root just destroy the rest of the Samaritan servers? It should at least buy some time until the new ones were produced and delivered.
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It's great watching Michael Emerson (Finch) and his real life wife, Carrie Preston (Grace), acting together on this show. Always a treat!
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Liked Root's line about Samaritan being a child and learning. Also who is looking after Bear?
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Bear is probably being looked after by his Publicist now that he will have his own TV show on CBS - replacing 60 Minutes, yet! woof
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I loved the UI for Samaritan as well, it looks more futuristic and techy than the machine, but the machine is old school.

Ever since the episode where we found out how Finch "died," I have wanted the show to bring Finch and Grace together again. I knew it wouldn't be him showing up on her doorstep to explain everything, but something is better than nothing. This encounter between them served two ends, it got Finch and Grace (et. al.) together and it got Finch to Greer.

I am definitely wondering how this season will end, will there be a showdown between Samaritan and the Machine? Where will all the main characters end up? What about Vigilance, how do they factor in?
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all i can say is... can't wait for reese and shaw go commando in rescuing finch... the episode was not great per se... but it was enough... laying ground work for a definitely and expected mind blowing season finale...
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The Best show on tv!! Intelligently written, amazing, brilliant cast and crew! They should be notated for an Emmy this year! Michael Emerson is phenomenal!! Jim Caviezel is an amazing actor too! They should both be nominated for an Emmy!
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It was an episode inspiring and intriguing full of passion, emotions, intensity and complexity. Both Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel outdo theirselves, brilliant acting, which exceeds all expectations. POI is definately one of 2014 winners. &3
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For a while there I thought that we would get to watch "Assault on Precinct X", POI style. Ah, well.

A good episode, but not a great one. For some reason it just didn't have that kind of emotional impact on me as some of the "heavier" POI offerings tend to do. All in all, Tim summed up my feelings pretty well.

Grace was likeable, once again. And not a whole lot beyond that. But at least it allowed us to get a better glimpse of Greer, who is certainly a clever opponent. Still, I was rather disappointed by how easily The Team lost Finch's flame.
While it gave Finch a reason to step back into the limelight, and set him up for being a hostage in another interesting environment, it somehow didn't keep me at the edge of my seat. There was a good touching moment when he and Grace bumped onto one another, with her not knowing, and there was a rather unexpected "kill them all if they harm her" coming from Finch. I guess I would've liked it better if he didn't appear all ready to give up.

I remain hopeful that Person of Interest will deliver with its final two episodes of the season. They haven't let me down yet.


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For me the most surreal moment was when Harold told both Reese and Shaw: "There's one more thing, i'd like you to avoid violence if its at all possible, but if they harm Grace in any way, kill them all." i most certainly would have turned my head like Reese did! Wouldn't you?
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I thought that was the best line. It didn't surprise me one bit. I always knew Finch had that core of steel to him. And the way Emerson delivers it? My goosies have goosies.
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I didn't like CBS editing that scene for the promo to show Reese smirking. That was inappropriate.

Reese's actual expression was appropriate.
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What an unbelievably great episode! Even the parts where it seamed a show could do without (e.g. the interogation of Grace by Greere), I just enjoyed every second of it!
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Yes, this was a somewhat dark and slow episode by POI standards, but with good reason. The team was split up, demoralized, and on the run for most of it, trying to find a way to regroup, and get back in the game. It was the grimmest episode since they lost Carter. It was also more of a Character episode than a Plot or Action episode. You don't follow up the events of Death Benefit without a bit of emotional fallout, as the characters come to grips with their own personal values, and how they might need to compromise them before the coming war ends. I think Grace, Reese, and Finch all got to stretch a bit as characters in this episode, and so did Greer.

The thing that intrigued me most though happened before the show really started, when the Machine indicated in the opening sequence that as a Priority Action, Protection Protocol 7 had been engaged, and it was Consolidating Operations, and Protecting Assets. Makes you wonder what the plan is, hmm?

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I thought the beginning was highly imaginative.

The constellation of surveillance videos, like a galaxy of stars, was stunning.

Also, the contrast between the two systems was interesting. For example, a POI is signified by a square (Machine) or a circle (Decima). There were other differences, but that's the most obvious one, I think.
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Amazing episode as always, POI always leaves the best for last & this season is no exception. Only issue is the lack of Finch for the majority of the episode.
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I loved the tension and emotions of this episode, I think everyone played a great part, especially Grace.

And in all honesty, I doubt Finch disappeared for a week and spent that time twiddling his thumbs. I'm willing to bet he spent that week working out some plan/contingency prior to giving himself up.

In other news, I think the MVP of this episode was the cab driver who had Reese and Shaw in the trunk. Drive 2 people in a trunk to a deserted building in the middle of the night and "You've forgotten us already, right?" - "Yeah, yeah" and just drive away like it's a regular Wednesday fare. NY cabbies - they're unflinching in their jobs.
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Excellent episode! Don't want POI to end its season so soon! I wonder if the guys that Root saved are going to come back and help the team against Samaritan/Decima...that would be interesting!
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yes they will be back next episode
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I really liked this episode as tim said above it did show that Greer is more of two dimensional character and I am looking forward to Finch and him sparring mentally . Also I wondered when Root was going to help out reese and shaw but the reveal at the end was worth it. How many more episodes are there to go, hope there is no holiday break. I agree about the police station after the HRT scandal you thought they would tighten up security. Missed bear in this one hoping he track down finch.
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Two more until the season ends : / no breaks though
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I don't want all the bad guys on this show turning good or "not so bad." That will spoil the show. I personally think Root as an antagonist was better for the show than having her sort of omnipresent and making things work out for Finch and Co. I sure hope somehow Greer stays dastardly. I don't like the idea that he has a good side, which I don't believe he has anyway. He didn't tell Grace about Harold being alive because he keeps all things related to Harold and Samaritan close to the vest--he isn't going to tell her anything. And he blindfolded her as part of the deal with Harold--it wasn't out of kindness.
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Another perfect episode. One could literally feel the simmering tension below the surface of the episode, ready to explode - which I am sure is gonna happen in the final two episodes.
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What was Tim watching? This was a great episode. Timed perfectly.

I really enjoyed the serious side of the Decima plight. Finally something more than Decima just being 10 steps ahead of Finch + co for no obvious reason.

Bringing Grace into it was great for longer term fans. Getting to know Greer as the anti-Finch / altFinch.... was an interesting way to round off the character.

I thought Finch and Greers short exchange at the end of the episode was awesome. There is no doubt, regardless of the goody / baddy element, these two would have mutual respect for each other on some level.

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Another great episode!
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I am not sure why the machine gave Grace number. She was not in mortal peril. I guess the machine was protecting Finch, probably skipping its "first directive"
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i actually thought this was a season finale. just not the hyped up kind..
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What if Grace's new job has her working close to Henry Peck, the POI former intelligence analyst Finch set up with a new identity and plane tickets out of the country?
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Observation: Fusco isn't on Samaritan's list of threats to its survival.

I wonder how much Kelloggs is charging every time Fusco refers to Root as Coco Puffs.

After Samaritan located Grace, Finch probably regretted not going along with killing Congressman McCourt. Hence his asking Reese and Shaw to obliterate Decima if any harm befell Grace.
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Just realized that Finch and his fiance is the same relationship as Agent Coulson and his Cellist on Agents of SHIELD and that they both involve Amy Acker. :) Though I do think that POI has done it better.
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I would say there is not even a comparison from a quality point of view on those two shows. Especially after the poorly done Ward turn. POI is faaar better.
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I agree with Tim. I was entertained, but was not on the edge of my seat, as I expected to be in the final eps of the season. I thought maybe it was just me, but I was underwhelmed.
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Looking forward to the conversation between Greer and Finch!
I always liked challenges, and Greer is a great one, since he kind of rescued Reese's old partner!
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grace has to be very naive to believe harold is dead after this
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no mention for shaw little action in inconvenience store?
if Finch goes AWOL, where is Bear?

– Blindfolded Grace bumping into Finch was one of those great so-close-yet-so-far moments that this show does well. Sad! &-- it really heart-stabbing, gut-wrenching scene

– Why did Reese's last line to Grace, "All I know for sure is you loved him, and he loved you back," hit so hard? Something about the way Jim Caviezel delivered those words just worked so well. &-- i hope Reese used present tense instead of past tense. just to give hints for Grace
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Well i didn't like interface of samaritan that we've seen thoroughout the episode instead of the machine's. It's tacky. Season finale looks to be a classic POI finale. Everything mixed up and one of the team(Finch) is in danger. It was expressive and a great episode.

Root stealing the servers as expected, was great. She's been quite helpful.

-Keep yourself alive, Harold. I'll be coming for you.
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Greer has so much class. Since his introduction last season I've enjoyed every minute of his screen time. Excellent episode again and just I've speculated he wanted to meet with Harold as opposed to killing him. That should provide for an intriguing conversation between the two older heads. Oh and Samaritan's UI is simply beautiful.
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The best part for me was when she asked Resse if he knew Harold. Awesomely acted and written. I cant help having a heavy sense of dread, I understand now what Root meant by 2 gods fighting. I love this series.
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to avoid the machine why not wear a ski mask and just dump all electronics I want them to incorporate the relevant numbers more and move outside of new york
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I do not want it to go back to the person of interest weekly I think that old britsh guy has a plan to change the series up
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My favorite part of the whole thing was when finch said if they do anything to grace to kill them all i was like damn finch calm down lol
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That was awsome. I've been a bit concerned about POI, since they've been in a bit of a slump, but I'm pleased to see that they can still give us a great episode like this.
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WHERE IS BEAR? I DEMAND TO KNOW. I need at least a weekly scene of him!
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Greer has one of those voices that just makes every line work. Very good casting.
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Pure Talent runs in the family!
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Greer is played by John Nolan, Jonah Nolan's uncle.
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Bear to the rescue !! Please... Great episode, all in all...
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i might have to respectfully disagree with you Tim. I think this was a phenomenal episode for so very many reasons. Granted I had some issues with it. But overall it left us with a very interesting question.

What is Decima. I think what felt off of this episode is that we still are, even as viewers, largely ignorant of Decima. We know they have resources. We know they are smart, we know they want a machine of their own. We know their true employees are fiercely loyal and we know that they want to replace the "old gods". Here is what we think. We think they are evil, though really we have no idea if they are or not. They have all indications of being an evil organization. But the way that Greer dealt with things this episode, that might not entirely be the case.

Now the current "old gods" aren't necessarily good people. We see this epitomized in Control. Control was supposed to be a good guy, the people above her were supposed to be good guys, but they weren't. This is why Finch set up the Machine the way that he did. Because he didn't want the government to do what Decima just did. Now Decima says that it wants to replace them, but we still don't know what they want to replace them with. The easiest answer is they want to take the top spot and reap the rewards that the current "old gods" have reaped for say the last 50 years of the MIC. And we know that if Control got a hold of Grace that like how they treated Root they wouldn't have been as congenial as Greer was. They would have told her that Finch deceived her, they would have shown pictures, and they likely when she didn't break would have tortured her. They wouldn't have blindfolded her for Finch the way that Greer did. So that leaves us with a big WTF. If Greer is supposed to be evil and a bad guy then why did he go about how he treated them in this situation. It brings up a great question or what is evil, who is evil and what are the end intentions of everyone involved.

I personally like that. And this is a theme that we have seen before. We knew that HR was evil, they were out for personal gain that was it and they were willing to do anything to get it. We thought Elias was evil, but really he wasn't that evil, he was a man who respected people of worth and didn't to those that weren't. And we saw that in how he allied up with the group and helped to decimate HR. There are a lot of similarities between Greer and Elias in the way that they treat those that oppose them. However, the different being that Greer wants Shaw and Reese dead. I can honestly say that after this episode, though I am leaning towards evil for Decima. I am not sure that is the whole story behind them. What I would like and what I think is needed perhaps next season is a Decima centered episode, so that we can see how they came about and what their intentions truly are. There are so many aspects of them and their people that are interesting. Most notably the committing suicide by now two of their people. The IT guy was the second of their men that killed themselves so that they wouldn't betray their organization. To inspire something like that in a person, to override their natural instincts of survival is interesting. That takes either a tremendous sense of loyalty or a tremendous sense of fear to be able to do something like that. And again I am left not knowing which that is. Decima and the way they are presented by the show is an unbelievably well thought out adversary for the group. And I like it.

Now lets get into the meat of the thing and some of the stuff that I didn't like. First, Shaw and Reese should not have to be coached in how to avoid the prying eyes of the cameras. They are trained in how to notice and avoid them. I don't have nearly as much training as they should have and I know exactly how many cameras are from my flat to virtually any place I intend to go in the city I currently reside in. Now granted that I don't live in NYC, but the UK and the current city I live in is camera happy. They shouldn't have needed Root to do that. Plus they took no action to avoid them all together. They used tricks. If you know that ground travel is out of the question then you have two choices. Under the ground, and by that I mean the sewage system not the subway because those are just as camera heavy. Or the Sky. I know it doesn't seem feasible. But Reeses training would have likely included helicopter training, same with Root being as smart as she is. I would have taken to the air, rather than playing hide and go seek with the cameras of NYC.

Another thing that kind of bugged me was Finch yet again hold up the group, this time he imprinted on Reese. Reese kind of seemed a bit meek this episode in regard to losing his buddy and in regard to continuing what Finch has ordered. Being a good soldier is great and all. But dammit he needs to step up and do what he is capable of doing. But the real thing that bothered me was the utter hypocrisy of Finch. "If something happens to Grace, kill everybody". Are you kidding me?! What about Carter, what about the people that are going to die because of Samaritan? How about them Finch? That was unbelievably selfish of Finch. Something that I didn't think him capable of. And I am not sure if I like it. I think it was unbelievably disrespectful of Carter, Reese and Shaw in what they do for him and what he limits them to do. I know everyone has their breaking point in regard to nicety, but that time has come and passed. Grace should not be his only breaking point. This whole we are doing it my way or I am taking my ball and going home aspect of Finch is kind of annoying. i am not sure what I would have said if I had been Reese, but their would have been some expletives directed toward Finch and descriptions of what he could do with his machine.

The rest of the episode was as great as always. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Oh and also one other thing, Root taking the servers for what I presume is to give the Machine an upgrade is one thing. But if I saw that boat with a bunch of gear for Samaritan, that boat would be a smoldering pile of metal.

Again,great episode.
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With the next episode having been aired and providing answers to some of the questions you sought, I'll try to focus on a few of the unresolved issues you pointed out.

It's one thing to simply hide in the city--just ask Elias. It's quite another to avoid the cameras while also continue carrying out The Contingency, which means remaining within earshot of pay phones that IIRC exist only at street level or in public locations. Plus, I'm not sure their spec ops training accounted for a sentient AI capable of cracking smart phones, Wi-Fi-enabled devices, and Furbies. I thought their reliance on Root was reasonable in this case. And Reese was still able to tell the Machine to do his bidding in return. (BTW, I hope they finally move past receiving SSNs through pay phones. I contend that the resulting inefficiency has cost the team quite a few POIs, including Donnelly and the IT girl from before the high school prom mission, maybe even Carter.)

If Reese considers Finch's declaration hypocrisy, he may feel the least qualified to call him out on it after conducting a couple of his own Roaring Rampages of Revenge. At any rate, the human element is needed: no one ever said it had to be always believable.

The Machine might have calculated that "a smoldering pile of metal" won't stop Decima from ordering replacements for Samaritan's hardware, but instead prompt the group to use slower but more clandestine means of shipping and handling. Stealth and subversion sound more like its style.
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I've been thinking all along that the Producers likely are basing POI on Colossus: The Forbin Project, which starred Eric Braeden. The parallels are striking. I haven't seen the movie in years, and I have no interest in the rumored remake.

No sequels were made, even though there were two other books in the series.

I think I like POI better!
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I like what you said about Decima.
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More than two Decima-people killed themselves:
  • That guy that jumped out of the window.
  • This weeks IT-guy
  • The guy that ran / owned the tech-company that sold routers and stuff to the US government and used them to pass on data to the chinese and Decima.
  • There was also Trent Court. Although he doesn't really count as a Decima-guy since he was forced.
  • There was another guy that bit down on a cyanide (or some other poison) capsule - or was he Vigilance?

I think they had Finch say that to drive home the point that if Decima harms Grace and does not adhere to the agreement, all bets concerning Decima are off and he no longer feels bound by their agreement.
I also would have expected Root to either sink or burn that ship.

p.s. you know all (!!!) kameras on your way to work and such? not just public but also private ones? Admit it, you are a spy in real life :P

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The cyanide guy I think was Vigilance. But I believe you are right about the other guys.

But still Finch is kind of a hypocrite about it. I think he would have said that regardless of whether they had an agreement or not. He loves Grace and as we all have people in our lives that if someone did something to them, all sense of rules, justice and decorum would go out the window. She is that person for him. But he needs to realize that if Samaritan becomes effective that she is going to be affected in some form. He still is playing by his rules and I think he needs to adjust.

No, not a spy. I just worked in Close Protection which had a lot of training in counter surveillance and it is hard to turn that off. Plus I am just near hyper observant. It actually can be problematic when I accidentally mention weight fluctuations and other things to the women that I date.
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Yes it is hypocritical on that issue. But to be honest, I wouldn't expect Reese to follow that order - I think he knows Finch better than that. Reese would go after the head (Greer) and try to get Finch back, but I really doubt he (and Shaw) would kill everyone associated with Decima.

Noticing all those cameras would probably make me even more paranoid. That would be really annoying :D
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I don't know, I think Shaw is really chomping at the bit to take it to that next level. I would love it if she chimed in more with that and have the angel and the devil so to speak sitting on Reese's shoulders. But I do wonder how Reese is going to handle this. We have already seen him track down Harold once when Root took him. I have to wonder what he is going to do in order to get him back this time.

It can be annoying. But I notice do other things that are near a compulsion at this point that is way annoying. My friends and buddies to get a kick out of it some times.
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Plot holes I don't understand:
- Why isn't the government just cuts off the machine access to the NSA feeds? They had no problem doing it to Samaritan.
- Shouldn't Samaritan have easily discovered the location of the library?
- And most important: Who takes care of bear now that Finch has disappeared/kidnapped?
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- The Machine was given unlimited access to the NSA feeds during its development--prior to that, Finch had programmed it to hack any cell, camera, or other device. Since the Machine upgrades itself and last year even relocated itself, they cannot block its access. In the aftermath of PRISM, access to feeds requires Congressional committee approval, which has limited Samaritan's parameters.
- The library is completely off-grid. None of the team went there after Samaritan went live. In terms of prior feeds, Samaritan didn't know what Finch looked like and could not trace him there, and Reese, Shaw, and Root all are experienced enough with covert ops to have used the dummy scaffolding to slip in unnoticed. Besides, Greer would assume that Finch would have abandoned his old base of operations, and so would have no interest in the library even if Samaritan discovered it somehow.
- I have a feeling that something that Jonah and Greg alluded to in an interview late last year will play out shortly. With only two eps to go, Bear is bound to turn up in less than two hours of TV time.
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Why does the government need decima and fitch's machine neutralized terror threats the same way samaritan does and how did samaritian find grace
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Samaritan found a video of Harold's funeral. (The scene with Grace, a priest and a grave happened in 2010). It must have also found earlier videos showing that the Harold who died in 2010 looked exactly like Finch.
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But there are NO records of Finch to compare it to, anywhere. Decima looked for "Harold Finch" before -- Greer told Stanton they only had the name and nothing else. Samaritan searched and found NOTHING on Harold Finch. So they have zip to match the funeral footage to -- even if they knew what the hell they were looking for. Plus the Machine was busily hiding every trace of Dadmin. So -- I call BS on their finding Grace so fast. This person doesn't exist. Okay, then find the person standing next to him. WTF??? And also, what happened to that picture of Nathan that popped up in "Death Benefit" when Greer asked about Harold Finch the first time?
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tnetennba that's a good point, we actually know from real life that the NSA doesn't store that much data (that's kind of impossible), so there's no way that Samaritan would have access to the funeral video.
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They have met Finch, haven't they? It seems reasonable that their machine would be able to find a recent picture of him, if they just tell it where and when they saw him. It could then search old video files for that face.

The funeral video is a much bigger problem. It requires that the NSA has stored just about every video in existence for at least four years. How else would Samaritan have access to the funeral video? It's not like she had the file on her laptop. It was pulled off some surveillance camera four years ago.
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The machine hasn't been given access to most of what it sees. It hacks into stuff. So if anything was a plot hole, it was the claim that Samaritan had access to the same information as The Machine. Samaritan can't watch people trough their smart TVs for example, but The Machine can.
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You can't cut the feeds to the Machine. It has been what nearly 10 years since the Machine went active, February 2005 if memory serves. All of their surveillance tech since then has been built around the Machine whether they knew that was what they were doing or not. The Machine is integrated in everything since then. The Machine has evolved since and has adapted, I doubt that they could even cut it off if they wanted to. Remember they had no administrative access to the machine because that is the way Finch set it up. The Machine is its own thing as we saw when it moved itself.

Not necessarily, we know there is dead zones in NYC that may very well be a dead zone. I am not sure I didn't get a good look at Root's map.

Dog sitter?
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According to him Bear is staying at Shaw's place and raiding her pantry.
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Oh, ok, you said "pantry"--I misread that at first. :D
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Oh come on, wouldn't we all love a chance to get into shaw's "pantry"?
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I know it was mentioned in a previous episode, Finch's library is completely off the grid and has several generators setup around the building. Also, when Root was locked up there, the Machine could only communicate to her with high pitched frequencies.
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One thing I don't like is the good guys always being one step late, even with a fully functioning and evolved machine on their side.
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ok, for real this time: WHERE IS BEAR!
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According to his twitter feed (@beardehond), he's hanging out at Shaw's place eating her steak stash. He's a happy puppy. He even took a selfie of him eating it.:)
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Put Bear on screen and nobody gets hurt
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Couple of things:
-Anybody noticed Fusco is a lieutenant now? Yes, he became "the man" after arresting Simmons but I don't think it was mentioned he got promoted so far
-Where is Bear?
-OK, I can accept The Machine, Samaritan, shady organisations like Decima but having so many working payphones is really stretching it
-When making a list of things you need always add "peeler knife" to it. The list becomes much better with it
-I still stand by my theory that our heroes and Vigilance will team up. I kept thinking they'll do it "any moment now" but alas.....
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Ditto on the pay phones. However, the Machine bought up all the pay phones in New York. So maybe it is protecting their existence.
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There was an episode that highlighted both Fusco's new job and his new and improved status at the station.
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Yes, I know. I just don't think it was mentioned he is a lieutenant now.
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I think it was mentioned that he had been promoted, and I assume that they mentioned the new title as well, but I don't remember the details. I don't even remember what episode it was.
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It was "The Last Call". It's quite possible I issed his new rank, I just noticed it in this ep.
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I wonder how sci/fi this show will progress to be, as in, what will the ultimate evolution of either machines come to be.
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I keep imagining EDI and Legion from Mass Effect.
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"What is going on? I barely believe this is a police station."
This made me laugh so hard.
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The bridge scene showcased both Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel's acting prowess. The heartbreak on Finch's face was devastating, and the barely-controlled emotion in Reese's barely-perceptible jaw clench was the perfect complement to the moment.

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That look on Shaw's face when they took Finch away.. Those eyes! Like an abandoned puppy.. got a lump in my throat there.. Also, for a very smart and strong woman she sure as hell is stupid when it comes to Harold. Or she's in denial. I think maybe she's blocking herself from realizing the truth that way to not feel the hurt.
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Finch is perhaps the closest to a father figure that Shaw had since her real father died. Her work with Harold has opened up her well of emotions to the point where she can't "turn down the volume" like she was able to before.
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