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Person of Interest S03E05: "Mors Praematura"

At first I was like, "Ehh..." and then I was like, "Whoa!" and then I was like, "AHHHHH!!!" Yep, last night was another evening of watching television's sneakiest drama, Person of Interest. I don't know why I let the show surprise me like this so often, but like all of the series' best installments, "Mors Praematura" was full of surprises. Going into each episode, there's no telling what you'll get. While last week's "Razgavor" was character-driven and emotional, this hour was full of intertwining mythology and intellect. I'll even admit that I didn't even like the episode a whole lot until about the halfway point, when everything began to coalesce, but ultimately, "Mors Praematura" ended in a way I never saw coming and with me giving it a standing ovation.

The episode followed a developing Season 3 trend of working the person of interest into the overall mythology of the show in wonderful and unexpected ways. Like Root said, "Things are evolving" for the Machine and therefore the show, and it adds all kinds of that whip-cracking wackiness that motors Person of Interest along. This week's number belonged to Tim Sloane (Kirk Acevado of Fringe, always nice to see him on TV), a guy who swam through the apartments of dead hoarders in search of a next of kin to pass the buck (and cleaning bill) to. He was investigating the mysterious death of his foster brother Jason Greenfield, a hacker who supposedly died of a heroin overdose despite never showing an interest in drugs. But of course that wasn't even close to what happened. It just took a while to figure it out.

What looked like a boring standalone case-of-the-week plodded along with some rather weak clue-hunting, hacker jargon, and computer-cracking code. I'm gonna nitpick here, but one aspect of Person of Interest that doesn't always make for great drama is its reliance on technology, which leads to partially decrypted emails that leave behind the perfect tiny clue, people worming into laptops to look up financial logs, or someone finding some "identifier string that [Finch] was able to match on the Darknet." Ummm, what? Me no talky 1337-speak. It's this universe's equivalent of inexplicable magic, but because Person of Interest is so tied into technology, we're just going to have to deal with it. Go ahead, Wizard Finch, do some keyboard taps to move things along. 

Thankfully these minor gripes were eventually overshadowed by the series' brilliance in bringing it all together, and Finch's mumbo-jumbo about recognizing code put us back on the tail of Collier, the same nerdy menace behind "Nothing to Hide" who we all hoped would return in some form. Collier was after Jason because Jason joined Collier's group Vigilance, but he got spooked by how violent these keyboard jockeys actually were and cut a deal with the feds in exchange for a new life. Jason's death was faked to shake everyone else off his trail, the feds backed out of their deal and took Jason hostage instead, and everything we'd previously believed was blown up. 

Meanwhile, Shaw borrowed Root for an apparently unrelated mission from the Machine, the details of which even Root didn't know. I love seeing Root as a totally-down-for-whatever blind follower of the Machine. She just seemed happy to be involved, and even happier zapping CIA agents at drop sites. With the Machine feeding her relevant bits of information (like the location of secret CIA meet-ups, authentication codes to go undercover, and great places to stash guns and ear pieces) to help her along with her quest, and Shaw providing the muscle and playing the role of chauffeur, the pair of lovely ladies went on a fed-crushing rampage and looked awfully good doing it even if we didn't know exactly what they were up to. Eventually we found out. The Machine's big plan involved sneaking Root into the CIA's temporary interrogation warehouse, where only a shabby fence would separate her from... Jason Greenfield. 

Bringing it all together. 

From there, the episode took off like Bear after a Ketamine junkie and it was nothing short of incredible. The Machine (along with Root and Shaw) was after Jason because he was "necessary," Reese and Finch were after Sloane because he was their number, and the two missions collided when Collier, with a kidnapped Sloane, made an attempt to grab Jason while he was being relocated per the CIA's move-'em-every-72-hours rule, bringing everybody into one messy and totally radical shootout in an intersection. Just look at all the mayhem!





Root was grabbing Jason and shooting at Vigilance members, Sloane was crawling out of the back of a van to find his foster brother, Shaw was kicking out windshields, and Reese was shooting dudes while a thumping big-beat soundtrack provided the atmosphere. This scene was organized chaos, and it was a thrill to watch. When the dust settled, Root sent Jason packing to South America to hide from danger until he was needed, Reese saved Sloane but Collier got away, Shaw got to punch Root in the face now that their mission was done, and Finch took Root captive in his library thanks to an ankle bracelet and a Magneto-like prison. It was remarkable that all this chaos could feel so smooth, but "Mors Praematura" pulled it off. 

BUT GUYS! What we really need to talk about is the Machine. It's still pumping out "relevant" and "irrelevant" numbers, but we're finally getting a look at the third set of numbers that were introduced in the Season 2 finale. It's almost as if the Machine has partitioned itself a third time. What could these numbers be? I'm assuming they have something to do with the Machine's next step in evolution: self-preservation and expansion. It's almost as if the thing is building its own Geek Squad, starting with Root and expanding with elite hacker Jason, to help usher it toward its next step. But where is the Machine headed? What does it want? And how far will it go?

To great places, that's where! It's almost time to be scared of the Machine and its capabilities. The final conversation between Finch and Root brought techno-theology into the discussion, and let me tell you, I'm all for that. This is where the show was always meant to go. Person of Interest is taking this computer box and turning it into God, or at least some higher power, with its omniscience, omnipotence, and followers (Root is so Joan of Arc). "You're going against the Machine's wishes by keeping me here, Harold," Root said. "You're only going to make her angry. Can you imagine what a being that powerful will do when she's angry?" "How can you be certain, Ms. Groves, that the Machine does not wish you to be precisely where you are?" Finch replied. Someone's wrong here, and I'm worried it's Finch. This totally crosses over into the idea of God's word, and how that word interpreted. It's just that in this case, words are 0s and 1s, and only a few people have the mental capacity to recognize when they're being spoken to. 

Open your ears, get on your knees, and join the Church of the Holy Machine.



LINES OF CODE

– That punch must have felt really good for Shaw.

– Did the Machine purposefully assign Sloane's number to Reese and Finch at the same time it sent Root after Jason? Should we be concerned that the Machine may put itself and this third set of numbers ahead of the "relevant" and "irrelevant" numbers? Does tracking this third set of numbers work independently from what the rest of the Machine is doing?

– Finch, after Reese found taser confetti near Shaw's bed: "I suppose it's too much to assume she tased herself." Reese: "Knowing Shaw it's possible, but if I had to guess, I'd say she's in trouble." That's the Reese I love, cracking a joke and stating the obvious in the same sentence!

– Sloane will definitely be back as an aid to Reese and Finch, and Acevado is a perfect fit. Keep bringing in members of the J.J. Abrams family, Person of Interest.

– Fusco: "A thank-you would be nice." Reese [keeps walking by]. Haha, Fusco gets no respect.

– This episode really showed off New York! Lots of great exterior shots around the city. 

– Shaw asking Root about the package they were supposed to deliver to the CIA and Root turning around with a black hood and twisty-tie wrist binds and saying "I am" put a fire in my loins. AND she knows how to bind herself! Rrrrrrawwwrrr! 

– Reese: "Shaw." Shaw: "Reese." Reese: "Gotta save somebody." Shaw: "Know the feeling."

– [UPDATE] I forgot to mention Carter and Laskey! Laskey is one of many Russians working in the police department, strengthening the bond between the Russian mob and the police force. But aside from showing Laskey shaken by the extent of being involved with HR, Carter's storyline was pretty quiet this week.



Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/3/2016

Season 5 : Episode 1

Next Episode

AIRS ON 5/9/2016

Season 5 : Episode 2

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i doubt the new numbers are anything to do with selfish preservation. the machine's main instinct is to save lives no matter what so its mission with Root is probably to find a more efficient way to save more lives rather than just the govt saving relevant lives and Finch and Reese working in NY and also to prevent people from ever exploiting itself.
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9 people didn't like it? booo! Anyway, I'm waay behind on POI but (unlike other shows..) I go through it and catching up so effortlessly. This is proof of this show being Quality. With a capital Q.
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"– Sloane will definitely be back as an aid to Reese and Finch, and Acevado is a perfect fit. Keep bringing in members of the J.J. Abrams family, Person of Interest."

I concur.
Also, this episode was one of the best of the season so far (in my opinion), and the intertwining of the Finch/Reese storyline with the Root/Shaw storyline was entertaining. I LOVED when Reese and Shaw just nonchalantly walked by each other and muttered under their breath about saving people.
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Does anybody have a clue what is the flying thing that is identified with a yellow triangle by the machine (yellow means ally ,Right?) Is it somekind of a drone controlled by the machine or a goverment surveillance airplane?
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"AND she knows how to bind herself!"

Haha. Great comment from Tim!

Nice to see another member of Fringe on TV. Kirk A here and John Noble in Sleepy Hollow. Nice!

Enjoyed this episode a lot! Great TV!

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Alt Charlie!!
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Another breathtaking episode this week - PoI is really on a roll!
A lot of shows tend to stumble when they get too plot heavy and try to get "clever", but this episode was so smoothly woven together than I was just applauding the screen as we reached the crescendo at the end.

Loved the way the separate plots suddenly intersected, and the look on Shaw and Reese's faces when they spotted each other at the intersection? Priceless.

Just a few random thoughts here:
Finch may or may not be going against the Machine's wishes, but he's also the only one who legitimately CAN. It's his teenage child, growing into itself but still not quite adult yet, and while she may yet throw a tantrum at him, there's no denying that she LOVES him and wants to protect him. The respect she/it feels for him is shown in the way that he just gets a number, and figures out the rest for himself, while Root - the "disciple" - has a tendency to go off the rails and needs (at the moment) strict guidelines and a fairly tight leash.

If the Machine is becoming God, then Finch is the father of God, and that's both impressive and scary.

The third category of numbers is self-preservation, and the big threat will probably be the Vigilance-group, who will no doubt to ANYTHING to destroy the Machine if they learn of its existence. They'll probably flag on all three of the lists at different times, if they continue on their path - killing individuals, check - threatening the Machine, check, and if they really start gunning for government surveillance-stuff, they'll soon hit the "relevant" numbers too.

I'm waiting for Carter-and-Elias' plot to either get their own episode, or get involved in the main plot soon.
It's heading for a big showdown between HR and the Russians, with Carter caught squarely in the middle - she's involved with Elias, she has a vendetta against HR, and there's no way this won't blow up in a SPECTACULAR fashion.
Also, I really like the idea of her "turning" Laskey - perhaps it was only a single admission because she's got him by the short-and-curlies and he was so shaken - but perhaps he'll end up like a sort of Fusco Jr., a once-dirty cop trying to do better? It'd be a nice little story if he did, right?

Hmmm, this got awfully long - maybe I should post it as a review...
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Hah! Carrie and Saul got nothing on Carter!
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If I ever feel like a challenge, I'll try to explain Person of Interest to my senile grandmother.
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Why is the machine still sending numbers when it has developed the capability to do much more? It was certainly giving root much more detailed instructions earlier, and it was able to create a company, make lots of money, buy lots of server space somewhere, and get itself relocated there.

Oh, and can someone tell me how to pronounce "Acevedo"?
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I agree that we're going to see the Machine's teenager phase where it starts hating its parents. Poor Finch. Let a girl have fun!
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WE NEED A REASON TO CARE ABOUT ROOT
I finally figured out why the character Root is so darned annoying to me. She's never rattled, never self-doubting. Every other character on the show is aware that he/she is in need of redemption. Every one is living with private sorrows (even bad guys like Lasky and Elias). Even The Machine, we get the sense, worries--look how it fusses over Admin's safety and happiness. (Nathan said The Machine was waiting --anxious?-- for someone to access the Irrelevant list.) But not Root. The only time she ever showed dismay was when she arrived too late to find The Machine, at the end of season two. Writers, please help! Give us SOMETHING we can connect to with this awful woman.
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Nah, she's great the way she is.
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Hated Root last season but dunno why I LOVE her. FREEROOT!
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Well, there was the whole backstory with her only childhood friend being raped and murdered and buried under a new patio, but even then Root was Root, at least to a degree (as she'd named herself before that point). It seems that whatever caused Root (and Shaw, for that matter) to become the person she is predates what we've been given thus far. However, Shaw is the only one of the two to actually allude to some cause or other, given her instant angry shutdown of Root talking about an incident involving Root's father (that was a few years before last week's crash flashback). Root flatly, mockingly denies a "cause" for her to be the way she is. (Although Finch actually found and pushed a button at the end of "God Mode" by calling her Ms. Groves for the umpteenth time, when Root leveled her gun at him and snarled, "My name is ROOT!" right before Shaw shot her in the shoulder.

I think for Root it may be left ambiguous, as series creator Jonathan Nolan tried to point out in his script for The Dark Knight: "Some men [and women] can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

Or, as folks on here like to put it--she's wackadoodle a.k.a. crazytownbananapants. :)
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Correction to the above--I meant "an incident involving Shaw's father." :)
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no one believes so strongly without a damn good reason. And I trust eventually we'll see that, I think the writers have a plan...beyond her childhood friend's murder.
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"no one believes so strongly without a damn good reason."

Have you ever met...uh...people? A lot of them have very strong beliefs about all sorts of things that aren't based on anything rational.

I think root's motivation isn't that hard to understand. She has never liked people much, and there's finally something better around.
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Hello everyone. I've read some comments about the prediction capabilities the machine has developed and about the purpose of the third set of numbers and i'd like to share my views on these topics. Firstly, IMHO, the series begin to show many similarities with Asimov's work, especially when it comes to the machine's AI. Bare with me. In Asimov's work, the robots (AI) function under a restricting set of rules, but in every story there is an event, or a set of circumstances that, without breaking the aforementioned rules, evolve the AI in an unforseen direction. In POI, the macine started with two sets of directives that serve as the rules. The first is stopping premeditated murder (relevant and irrelevant numbers) and the second is self-preservation (or ,if you like, proofing against outside meddling). The first directive could be accomplished without her being a true AI. It required simple monitoring and data crunching. That is season 1. In season 2 we saw the second directive being activated. This required true intelligence, acquired by "learning" (pattern recognition, probability calculation etc.) in order to evade the outside forces. And this brings us to season 3. Now she has the new ability to "think". The application of this new power to the 1st directive is inevitable. What is the best way to stop premeditated murder? Stop the events leading to such action in the first place. How do you accomplice that? By controlling the variables a.k.a. humans. And that is the road leading to world domination by an AI, something that Harold could not even imagine when tapping his keyboard. This also happens to be the underlying theme in Asimov's universe. Brilliant (not me, the premise ;-). That brings me to the precog abilities and the 3rd set of numbers. In Asimov's "The Galactic Empire" series there is an organisation that supposedly can see the future. But this is not the case. They simply calculate possible outcomes or courses of action, and then send agents to nudge the numbers in a direction they want, making an 85% into a 90% and so on. Of course there are failures but in the grand scheme of things and given enough time they inch closer to their goal (we talk about thousands of years in a galaxy with millions of worlds). In a much smaller scale the same is being done by the macine, or more precisely starts to happen. We've seen her calculate moves and probabilities and has recruited Root as her 1st agent. After this ep there is another. In the meantime we have to assume that the machine continues to grow hardware-wise (IDK, new dummy corps with massive hub centers) to add more "IQ" to her AI. So, more power and expanding the agent pool. World domination will happen around season 8 at this rate. For closure, I'd like to make clear that by no means my parallilism of POI to Asimov is derogatory. Quite the oposite. The Galactic Empire series is one of the best things ever written, but its page count is mindblowing. Totally worth it though. Thanks for reading this. You are tanacious if you came this far.
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I will def check out Asimovs work. Thanks.
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The story about the evolving Machine made me thing about a great short story of Frederic Brown:

Dwan Ev ceremoniously soldered the final connection with gold. The eyes of a dozen television cameras watched him and the subether bore throughout the universe a dozen pictures of what he was doing. He straightened and nodded to Dwar Reyn, then moved to a position beside the switch that would complete the contact when he threw it. The switch that would connect, all at once, all of the monster computing machines of all the populated planets in the universe -- ninety-six billion planets -- into the supercircuit that would connect them all into one supercalculator, one cybernetics machine that would combine all the knowledge of all the galaxies. Dwar Reyn spoke briefly to the watching and listening trillions. Then after a moment's silence he said, "Now, Dwar Ev."

Dwar Ev threw the switch. There was a mighty hum, the surge of power from ninety-six billion planets. Lights flashed and quieted along the miles-long panel. Dwar Ev stepped back and drew a deep breath. "The honor of asking the first question is yours, Dwar Reyn." "Thank you," said Dwar Reyn. "It shall be a question which no single cybernetics machine has been able to answer. He turned to face the machine. "Is there a God?"

The mighty voice answered without hesitation, without the clicking of a single relay. "Yes, now there is a God."

Sudden fear flashed on the face of Dwar Ev. He leaped to grab the switch. A bolt of lightning from the cloudless sky struck him down and fused the switch shut.

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We have an interesting problem with POI. We have so many characters that we love that they can't give all of them to us every week. So week keep complaining. But I love this show every week, for me still the best tv has to offer at this point in time.
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Finally they get the show almost right; I'd say it was a good 90 percent; for the first time all of the characters on the show worked together (Fusco is now basically irrelevant) Finally an episode where Reese and Finch are major characters again and not window dressing; Root and Shaw plot smoothly integrated with Reese and Finch; I was excited to see everyone working together; even bear had a moment; the only person who was left out was Carter; instead her story kind of mirrored what was happening in theirs with her partner having to bury a friend and taking a huge leap forward story wise as he will most likely be a real partner to her now. All and all a good show; if they found a way to integrate Carter into the action I would have given it a 100% return to greatness; now crossing fingers for next week for them to keep up the good work.
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Excellent episode and right up there with the best of seasons 1 & 2. The show has evolved to a multi-lead affair, and sometimes it does seem as if many characters are just hanging around, but I'm sure they'll all come together in the end.

As for the machines third set of numbers, I'm sure it's for self-preservation - perhaps proactively protecting itself from something it foresees coming (maybe Vigilance). Or perhaps it's just gone a little psychopathic and schizophrenic with some awry AI which is why there's a "she" now :-)

PS I love the techy mumbo jumbo even if it does stand up to any detailed examination. "Decrypting Tor" indeed ;-)

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Season 4:

The Machine gets tired of spewing out numbers, decides that another approach is in order and renames itself Skynet. Reese and Shaw are revealed to be undercover Terminators, Finch is the future leader of the resistance and Root is the Avatar of the Machine.
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I'm not sure that if I were fighting against government surveillance I would choose the name Vigilance for my group. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." So we have to be ever watchful to guard our liberty; our rights (e.g., privacy). We can be more efficiently vigilant by using computers to monitor and warn of threats. Sound familiar? We are being watched. It seems the Vigilance group has taken its name from the thing they are fighting against, not for.
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I finally had a chance to watch this again and just have some observations on this great episode.

1) In the car after Shaw wakes up, the conversation goes something like: Root "...innocent people will die.... How would you feel about that?" Shaw: "Okay." Was I the only one who thought Shaw was saying she was OK with innocent people dying? After all, this unfeeling former spy is only hanging around for the dog.

2) In Jason's apartment when Sloane is telling Finch about Jason, there is a poster above the couch behind Finch that says, "We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then they shape us." Hmmmm. I'm sure that was no accident.

3) Finch, concerning the video coverage outside Shaw's apartment: "...and they agreed to let you see the footage?" Reese: "After some convincing and a sleeper hold." LOL

4) Finch says Jason is a member of a group trying to send a message about government surveillance and privacy. His tone of voice sounds disdainful. For someone so obsessed with privacy, I would think Finch could at least understand the sentiment if not the approach. Also, somewhere in the episode Vigilance was referred to as a "fringe" group of activists. Was that a wink?

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So now that we know HR is all about the Russians, we're going to get Elias back into the mix, right?

I hope so.
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This episode was almost phenomenal. From Root teaming up with Shaw to Finch trapping her and everything in between was awesome.
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Root took me by surprise. Who'd have had thought she was doing something "good" for once. She maybe right in saying that The Machine now may have plans for co-op efforts with Finch & company and Finch locking up Root may start a backlash. POI is moving forward well and succeeded in revealing more of Root's and Shaw's more vulnerable sides. Carter was cool as usual and I hope she gets back her detective badge or more cos seeing her a just a cop just doesn't seem right. And always great to see Bear! Woof!
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What is this I'm feeling? Am I starting to... *gasp* LIKE SHAW?! :O
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I liked the episode, especially the clear implication that, by tying the Reese/Finch number to Root's quest, our heroes are in danger of becoming as much the machine's pawns as Root is...

...but HOLD ON a minute! Time out!

So the same Lasky who called Carter a bitch that should know her place, the same Lasky who was aware the bartender had a shotgun that he was ready to use on Carter, the same Lasky who continued to defy Carter with his HR fervor until she put him in his place, that same Lasky is "shaken" and SURPRISED that they killed a dude? And will now be Carter's BFF?

Quickest. Villain turnaround. Ever! IN THE HISTORY OF REFORMED CRIMINALS!
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Well they did just casually kill a guy Lasky looked up to for seemingly no good reason, then were callous enough to order him to go bury the guy. I could see him being shaken and could certainly see him flip a switch on HR.
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Not sure about reformed, but he definitely feels no need to protect the people who murdered his grandfather-figure and then made him bury the corpse. These Russian mob kids don't take betrayal well--remember the kid who helped his teacher Mr. Burton (Elias) and Reese because he hated his family's Russian mob connections? Elias even bragged to Yogurov that their kids despise them--apparently Yogurov has short-term memory or didn't get the hint.

I think Laskey still fears Carter, but now hates her less than he hates Simmons, and understands why she wants to bring down HR on a personal level.

But I agree that it's the quickest turnaround for how the audience feels about a villain, as, like Carter, you couldn't help feeling a twinge of sympathy for the kid, even though the rest of you was saying "Told ya so."
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@TomWayne/geoffmaze

I see, understand and to no small degree agree with your points. It still seems overwhelmingly like telling. I can't get past this guy dropping a line about a business owner who was important to him and accept that as a valid form of connecting me enough to a character in order to sell his future change of loyalties.

Never before this episode was the mentor brought up. Just ONE additional scene in an earlier episode that provided a little more context to how much the person means to Lasky, would have been enough. They could have easily rolled it into the scenes of Carter gathering intel on everyone.

The only thing that has emotional weight in this instance is that they did tell him to bury the body. That's a pretty fucking douchey thing to do.
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I call Root "The Concerned Third Party"...........the other part of the triangle of Relevant (gov't) & Irrelevant (Reese & Finch)...........
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This is the only show that can pull of a guy locking his 11 year old daughter's best friend in a cage as a cliffhanger.
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I'm sorry, I'm forgetting what episode you're referring to.
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This last one. Its a play on words. Finch locked Root in a Faraday cage. Root is the machine's "best friend." The Machine is 11 years old and created by Finch and is called she by Root.
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So true. (laughing out loud).
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Was it just me or did it seem like Root was sort of flirting with Shaw? Anyway, great episode! Kirk Acevedo was awesome but seeing him made me miss Fringe.
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I, for one, welcome our new Machine overlord. I would like to remind her that, as a trusted IT professional, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in her underground data processing caves.
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Root and Shaw. I ship them soooo much it physically hurts.
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After almost 24h I realize I'm starting to mourn John Reese, now downgraded to butler who serves tea to the POI of the week in the fancy safehouse. I think it's the third time he did that and I think it's at least the third time he didn't shoot when he ought to.

He's my favourite character and during this amazing episode I couldn't care less about what he was doing, That's scary and quite disturbing.

Please, give John Reese a storyline soon, an interesting flashback, his sanity back, anything.
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If you watch the panel from the NY comic-con at one point they talk about that and if you read between the lines, it becomes obvious that James Caviezel is quiet happy about not having to carry this show on his own as far as action and screentime is concerned.
That tells me they were explicitly looking for a third member of the Reese / Finch team in order to have more shoulders the show could rest on.

So, as a conclusion I think we have to get used to the fact that Reese will have somewhat less screen and action time than we got used to in the first two seasons. - Thats sad, but who better to make up the slack than Acker and Shahi? IMHO.
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I love Acker, she's being great, but I don't agree about Shahi being a worthy supporting actress, anyway that's not the point.

The point is that I would accept less screen time if Reese had stayed the brilliant character he used to be.

He has never been a mere tool, he had great ideas, he plotted with Harold and was a very emotionally intense character. He was smart, fast, very effective, had great memory, super attention to details.

I understand JC is tired and I can sadly accept his needs, but I don't understand why less time must go together with less intelligence or butler chores.
And now he's not a mere tool anymore either, because he let Collier escape without even grazing him.

He was serving tea and he needed help to find the hidden book in the oh-so-unpredictable hiding place.

That's not the great character we know, we can have great with less time, it IS possible and I hope the writer will make it right.
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I agree but not entirely. Reese saving the day by busting them out of the storage unit was Reese being brilliant, even if it was so short one can almost forget it happened. It was Reese thinking for himself and not listening to Finch.

On the other hand, he is losing a lot of screen time and I am starting to miss him a bit, even with Acker and Shahi taking up the screen time.
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And I agree with you, that part was great, was very in character but so very short *sigh*

Plus, Mal is distracting me, he has such a lovely expression in your profile pic <3
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True, he the character acted smarter bevor - the book thing was just plain....stupid. But on not shooting Collier: I think that was a deliberate writers choice. Ok he could have at least try and shoot him after he disengaged from his hostage (forgot the name :))

Also, with less screen time there are fewer possibilities to have great character moments, BUT (and here I agree with you) if Reese (and JC) have less screentime, then the writers and the show have to make better use of it to keep up the standard (and us happy). I hope they will be able to accomplish that.

I guess all those things are still ripples from adding two main characters to the show. But I'm confident they will figure it out.
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I really see the machine BLAM (Binary Lord and Master) working on building up her cyberarmy to go against Vigilance initially and then against Finch and the government when they decide they have to shut it down. The Forbin Project comes to mind as I think about where they could go here.
ALL HAIL BLAM!!!
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It now appears that the machine's first target might be the Demeter Corp which acquired the laptop and the tapes for a 2nd machine. The next episode might be key.
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A smirk and a punch. This is fast becoming the trademark of the series. Reese is still the leader in this.
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His delivery of smirks is what makes it great. As if they are just remarks without any pun intended. But they make me laugh!
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would it be weird of me to say that i think root and shaw kissing would be really hot?
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no
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yes
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well im happy to be weird then, it only got me thinking about it when they were in the car and shaw got in root's face....
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Shaw and Root are a deadly and seductive combo!!
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I always thought that NY was far too local for the machine action. Maybe the machine can run for office LOL and be President of the US, you know, as a first step for world domination!
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They share territory with Elementary (Sherlock Holmes). At least Bones is in Washington DC but all they have is Angela.
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Who hasn't secretly, or this being the Internet not so secretly, wished to have their very own Amy Acker and now Finch has one.
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Relevant or not, HR seems to be escalating back into a force to be feared. Millions of dollars, seeding the force with their own. Something's cooking there as well. HR, Finch&Co. Root, the Machine. I am hoping the entire season will coalesce like this episode.
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Are we going to assume (or am I) that the machine can...see the future? Think about it, or at least I did by the end of the episode, but Reese/Finch get irrelevants, just a number of a normal person. The Gov gets Relevants, or often times terrorists, mob guys, people out to kill and destroy us. But Root seems to be getting pieces of a bigger plan. She's not getting a persons number, to me, but locations, identifying numbers, addresses, code words, etc. The Machine told her to put 'the insurance' under the bench. How did the Machine know that that would be the specific route that Collier's people would take? How did it know that would be the bank underground that Root could hustle Jason into, hand him a flashdrive, and start a new life? That's what i took from this. Is the Machine precognitive in a different way now. Yes, i understand how it mills through information and posits how a person will be in danger, etc. But how can it know the exact route of a car before the driver does? How did it know the car would stop right in front of that statue with the bench there that had the gun for Root to grab? Maybe i missed something...but come on now?
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The machine knows facts. The route of the transport was defined by CIA protocols, not random. The machine hacked CIA as did Vigilance. Vigilance coordinated the attack via darknet, cell phones, emails, whatever. So the machine knew the ambush site. From there it's simple planning. I hope this was helpful.
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Well it is not that you "can see the future", what you can do when you have access to the amount of massive information the Machine supposedly has access to is: recognize and predict patterns, make interesting connections, and eventually: LEARN.
That is the basis of the present AI computing paradigms: You use hybrids of neural nets with genetic algorithms and fuzzy logic to make your "creature" learn. Of course we are still decades (being ultra positive) or maybe centuries (being a bit more realistic) away from creating a real self-aware artificial intelligence.
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The machine doesnt know all numbers and what they mean just that they are relevant. Like the verification code and the left, right, left thing and other hints. It seems to use Shaws capacity to understand what they mean when needed. Seems the machine counts on this. Would it be any other person i guess those hints would be meaningless.
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Lasky, Carter, HR...nice review but you missed a important plot evolving along the other. HR are stocking cash for something big. Lasky told his real name and Carter sees a Connection with the russian mob and HR more clearly.
It will get worse she told him, but what coud be worse than putting your friend into the ground.6feet!
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Is it possible that HR and the Russian mob are financing Vigilance?
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Not really. Vigilance is country wide; HR and the Russians simply want to seize control of New York in order to have their vengeance against HIM
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Relevant and irrelevant categories involve threats against people, the new category are people involved in threats to the machine. I'm guessing the threat the machine is preparing for is Vigilance. They've got the collective knowledge and skill to find out about the machine and they would not be happy about it. It makes sense that the machine would want someone with inside knowledge about Vigilance, who doesn't like them, free to help when needed.

As for the machine's wishes. Since Harold is well aware of the machine's existence, it could speak to him as easily as it could speak to Root. If the machine wanted Root free, all it has to do is ask.
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I thin if the machine didn't want Harold to lock up Root, she would have been free. So i am with Harold on this one. As for the third category of numbers, think the fictitious laws of robotics "
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law"
Bear in mind these are fiction plots, one can still draw a line between the laws and the group of numbers--Relevant, irrelevant and necessary (for self preservation).
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Oh kewl! Asimov's Robotic Commandments! LOL
The thing is, those work when the "robot" is not self-aware. They work at the beginning but then even Asimov conceded that robots would at some point re-program themselves... [Robots & Empire makes things oh so complicated... ]

So when we have an artificial intelligence that has made the leap to become self-aware and has overcome the programming, what happens?

Remember that Finch tried to avoid the Machine from "remembering anything" from one day to another: it was supposed to be "rebooted daily" but the Machine fought that by setting into place a company with human typists whose only purpose was to create a manual backup of the Machine from the previous day! (I found that extremely cruel for an intelligent create to suffer, by the way. Can you imagine losing all your knowledge and experience at the end of the day and having to learn everything again next day? How would you feel?)
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My favourite episode of the season. Shame Fusco gets so little air time these days though.
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FUSCO!!!
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According to the writer there will be ( hold on to your hats) TWO Fusco centered episodes!
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That's excellent news!!
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Why does Shaw always look constipated?
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New York has an alarming lack of public toilets. For the sake of efficiency, Shaw probably regularly takes Imodium.
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because she is emotionally constipated?
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I totally agree with my feeling about this episode (actually this was a lot like last week, you were just enjoying this quiet little episode, by POI standards, where you got to know Shaw a lot better and then ROOT). I was enjoying it (I will admit, I somehow got caught up in watching the last hour of the Voice, so I got to watch this on DVR) and liking Sloane, weirdly thinking that was kind of a cool job, getting kind of curious about why the Machine gave the boys this number, a little weirded out by how he didn't question Finch at all when he dropped his act, then I honestly thought we were just getting a take on a story Elementary did recently. This was even after I saw Leslie Odom, Jr. in the guest credits and knew who he plays (I really try not to look because a few shows I watch where it is clear the character is supposed to be a surprise and then you recognize the actor's name...like you see Eaddy Mays on Teen Wolf, Mrs. Argent is appearing) but I figured just another weird little bump. Then I am like sitting up on my couch going holy crap.

I sort of wonder, Shaw is probably past her Root hatred now, right?

I got a kick out of the line when Jason was concerned about his brother, Root asks if he saw a well dressed man in a suit and then just smirks that he'd be fine.

I wonder who will help Root escape? You have to figure if the Machine needs her, it (she) is either going to reach out to another asset and scare the crap out of the asset or its going to just harass Finch to let her out.
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This episode was fantastic. This was POI at its best.

The two pronged approach was covered well in the episode. Sometimes generals or leaders will put two or more groups out for different aspects of the mission. The machine is playing a very advanced level of chess and we are stuck playing chutes and ladders. The acknowledgment and nod of both Reese and Shaw going after their respective charges at the time in the middle of the gunfight was perfect. That was a perfect scene of television.

The machine I think is enforcing a check and balance system. There are as we know elements in their world that want to control the machine. The machine with Root and with now Jason and perhaps more members of Vigilance are a new subset of it numbers. But these people are going to be essential to keep the Machine doing what it is doing and doing away with those that want to control it. But it is going to have to be done in the manner of Root and Shaw and members of Vigilance and that means killing people. The Machine realizes that Finch, Reese and Carter will not go that route so it needs people that can, like Root does(but to a way lesser degree) see the beauty in what the Machine is and will follow it unquestionably. So it is going to go after hackers who can see this. This also leave a rather huge opening for a spinoff. We all know that CBS is spinoff central. So this makes me wonder if they aren't writing things in that "in case of" they have it all set up.

The last scene with Root and Finch were fantastic. However I think Finch is correct. The Machine could have broken Root out of the Mental Health Clinic at any time it wanted to. It only allowed her to get out when the time was right. The Machine knows that she is a bit unstable and left to her own devices she is going to cause havoc. She causes havoc people may one day find her. People like the CIA and others and they interrogate her and they perhaps find out about the Machine. The Machine had planned everything down to the T except for one thing. It didn't leave Root an escape. Compare that between her breakout of the Clinic and you can possibly interpret that the Machine wants her in the custody of Finch. And also keep in mind the Machine can break her out of Finch's Faraday Cage at any time it wants to. You could kind of see that on the look that Root gave Finch when he posed the question to her. She realized that and was like "oh damn"

Fantastic episode, the gang was all there. Fusco albeit in a small role. Carter a little bigger though I didn't like it as much as the rest. Mostly because her partner is a scumbag and I don't want them trying to make him seem like a nice guy deep down. The is without a doubt for me the best show on TV right now.
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"And also keep in mind the Machine can break her out of Finch's Faraday Cage at any time it wants to."

This makes no sense. Care to elaborate please?

If Root is locked up and has no access to the Machine, how is the Machine is going to break her out of there? Root is the only one who can communicate with "her"...
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Because the Machine knows where she is. There were cameras on the street the machine knows that Finch and Reese have her. There are likely cameras leading to their building. So if the Machine were do deem it prudent it could hire people, ( it moved itself remember) like it did last season on its own to go into the building when Finch Reese and Bear are away and easily break her out.

That at is just off the top of my head. It could do as Root says, get pissed and gridlock the entire country until they release her.

Shut out down the power to NYC cutting the power to her cage and give her the opportunity she needs to escape. Etc
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Hm, okay. I never got the part of how the machine moved itself.

I understood that it was moved by someone, but I don't remember them actually explaining how it happened. < (or where it's located now)
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Excellent comment. Two viewpoints:

Finch sees the machine as a tool at his disposal. He built it.

Root understands that she is a tool at the Machine's disposal.

Those two perspectives may be on a collision course.
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shaw and root in each others face after shaw woke up cuffed to the steering wheel - that was so dead sexy and threatening at the same time; excellent acting by the two ladies - they carried this scene so beautifully.
And the finale of shaw punching root made me stand and cheer - kudos to the Nolan brothers and the writers. and this was just one loop of the story.
I'm gonna go look for a building and open the Phoenix branch of the Church of the Holy Machine.
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Great review, Tim. You absolutely nailed it. When Finch and Ingram first designed the machine, it had a single purpose. But since Finch and Reese have been using it to carry out their mission they have been putting more knowledge back into the system. This knowledge is being processed and the real threats are being exposed. Think about it.

At first we had Finch who recruited Reese. Then came Carter and Fusco. Remember, they were skeptical at first until they joined the team. Since then we've added Root and Shaw. Now it looks like there is a possibility that more members (recurring) will be added to the team. And let's not forget Elias.

It's like the machine is saying, "Why save one person at a time when we can save large groups of individuals by doing the same thing?" Preventing ground swell movements with malevolent intent.

Now that I have had a chance to think about, I think Shaw saw the true power of the machine through her teamwork with Root. One common thread is that everyone has to buy in the the goal for the group to be successful.

I am absolutely giddy about the prospects.

In response to the fire in your loins regarding Root. The same thing happened to me when she innocently sat with her doctor in the hospital before the phone rang. She was rocking that bathrobe. Ay carumba!
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But remember, most of them don't know about the Machine, they just think they're helpinhg other people. That must have some impact.
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What I was just wondering, after rewatching this amazing episode:

Has anyone figured out how far on which branch of the prediction tree from ep01 we have come?

we had the death of Carmichael when Root got out of the loony-bin. (Red, 78%) but otherwise?
We have violence (red 30ish %), but don't we always on POI?

When I look at the Asset-numbers I wonder who that "asset" is. Roots seems to be designated analog-interface now. so maybe we haven't met that asset yet.

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Excellent review Tim and like your theory about the machine and I think she indeed will soon put her preservation front of relevant and irrelevant numbers, this is just the beginning.
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1. Could someone please remove the Amanda84 job offer below?

2. Finally an episode where Shaw wasn't shanking every other character's screen time. (Interesting, last week's episode with the 10-yr-old POI was well received on comment sites, but the viewership number went BACK DOWN 1 MILLION for this week's episode. Things that make you go hmmm.)

3. Further to #2, I've been irked by the lack of time-share that I actually timed the Finch/Reese minutes and the Root/Shaw minutes, and they were only about a minute different. 'Bout time!''

4. Finally, a view of the season-long tapestry that is the success of POI begins to show itself.

5. Kevin Chapman has enough time to run a separate business on the side. Wonder what it'll be?

Someone may be thinking "up to 7 years", but not at this rate. Too bad.
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Agree with you about Shaw. Yeah I've kind of scratched my head about the lovefest for that very wooden character around these boards too. I do feel she was employed a lot better in last nights episode. Hopefully they'll integrate her properly or get rid of her entirely.
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