Tuesday, October 21, 2014

REVIEW: 'Person of Interest' - Harold Calls Root a Friend Before She Goes to Protect the Latest Number from Samaritan in 'Prophets'

CBS' Person of Interest - Episode 4.05 "Prophets"

Finch is suspicious when a gifted political pollster's number comes up at the same time that his typically ironclad predictions go wrong, and believes that the two events are linked. Meanwhile, Reese is sidelined by a direct order from Captain Moreno.

Who would have thought that one day Harold would turn to Root and say that they are friends? She killed people just in order to talk to him the first time they met, remember? That feels like such a long time ago. And yet, Root's growth since then has been extremely compelling and rewarding. She has become such an asset to both the Machine and the show. She's this wild card who has the luxury of coming and going as she pleases. Harold, John and Shaw are all trapped in the same identities. And yet, Root continues to walk in and out of their lives frequently with new personas. That carries its own weight as well. She is aware of the world for what it truly is and also has to become someone completely new every other day. The Machine gave her a meaning in life. With Samaritan now operating, it is much more difficult for the Machine to talk to Root. And that scares her so much. She is willing to risk everything for this cause. There's no telling what Samaritan will become without any kind of guidance. The entire team is on the run trying to protect people without also getting caught and eliminated from the equation altogether. That is extremely apparent in "Prophets."

Simon Lee is a phenomenal political pollster who has helmed ten campaigns to success. He spirals after the numbers for his latest effort - in the New York gubernatorial campaign - come out wrong. His entire world is the numbers. He is able to predict the outcomes with extreme efficiency. He is only wrong this time because Samaritan intervened in order to get a man in office that Greer and company can easily manipulate and control. And yet, Simon needs an explanation for how all of this happened. That yearning for the truth is what makes him a threat. He is targeted by Samaritan and its asset Martine. The team is forced to act in order to save his life. But that means they are also faced with the greatest threat to their own detection.

The team is forced to work extra hard in order to avoid being seen by Samaritan. If they get caught talking with Simon, Samaritan will label them as threats as well and their undercover identities will be completely meaningless. When there is war, there must also be loss. This team is a highly effective unit but they are also the underdogs in this situation. They are the ones forced into hidding to plot their next move over time while still trying to help people. Harold programmed the Machine with aspects of humanity. I didn't think we needed to see anymore of its creation process via flashbacks. And yet, it is powerful knowing just how crafty and smart this intelligence can become. The Machine is manageable and a major asset to the team because of the restrictions Harold implanted on it. Samaritan has no such hindrances. It can do whatever it pleases and that is completely terrifying. Seeing how quickly the Machine can try to escape and outwit Harold only makes one more worried for how powerful Samaritan is becoming. It's been online longer than any of those Day 1s of the Machine's past. We honestly don't know what Samaritan is capable of doing.

So in order to save Simon's life, a sacrifice must be made. Martine has tracked him down and the only way to save him is for Root to engage the enemy. She forces Samaritan to make a choice - to weigh the odds of who is a bigger threat to its operating system. Martine chases her while Shaw and John are able to extract Simon from the situation. It's an incredibly grand moment. Root is giving herself up in order to protect the mission. But at what cost? Simon escapes all the events of this hour - only to then be completely discredited by Harold. Samaritan and Greer are now aware that the Machine still has assets working against them. Even though they still can't see our heroes, they are aware of their presence. This is no longer a Cold War. And that is incredibly exciting for the prospects of the rest of this season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Prophets" was written by Lucas O'Connor and directed by Kenneth Fink.
  • John is also forced to attend therapy after all the shootings he is involved in as a detective. That has bound to happen. And yet, he must protect his cover at all costs - especially now since Samaritan knows the Machine has assets. He is reluctant to the idea but this setting could actually be very beneficial for him as he continues to work through all of his emotions about the good he and the team are trying to do.
  • Root has a message for Shaw in case she should die in the big climatic moment. So, the subtext is finally becoming text. Not quite sure how I feel about that.
  • It was pretty awesome seeing Root and Martine shooting through the floor. Pretty much that entire shootout was wonderful.