I’m always pleased when Person of Interest can take a seemingly case of the week story before evolving it into something much more by the end of the hour.
So while Person of Interest Season 4 Episode 5 initially involved a numbers guy connected to a political campaign, the true story revealed itself to be much more dangerous: Samaritan was making moves.
And Samaritan has always been a threat since it went live, but the POI team has managed to follow the Machine’s numbers without getting caught. So to see the objectives of both artificial intelligences ultimately intertwine was an exciting prospect.
Don’t get me wrong, I was ready to watch that standard case of the week that put Shaw at the forefront of protection. Plus, having actor Jason Ritter (shout out to NBC’s Parenthood!) as the number of the week, Simon, is not a bad deal at all.
But it was exciting and tense to watch as the team had to help Simon without ever really coming into contact with him. So often Reese and company wind up chatting it up with their specific number, but this time, they were forced to play a shadow game, especially because Samaritan was watching.
It definitely made for some funny moments like Finch questioning Root about where she got the car that crashed. Even with all the action and serious story, that humor still finds a way to fit in naturally.
As much as I knew the team would save Simon in the end, I did feel bad for him, and it helped Ritter was able to convey those emotions of confusion and being scared. Just imagine you know there’s a conspiracy, bodies are dropping all around you, gun fights, random car crashes and even a mugging, and yet you can’t seem to prove any of it. It’s like you’re going crazy.
Simon’s life may have been saved, but it was interesting to see there was that cost.
Really, the whole concept of dealing with the warring Machines is an intriguing one. To get some great conversations between Finch and Root about trusting in the Machine or the real dangers behind it was engrossing to watch. Root believes the Machine truly cares, and really, it’s as if Root has become someone who cares much more.
She’s definitely continued to transition from an enemy into that ally.
It was also great that the conversations between those two harkened back to the flashbacks of Finch working on the various iterations of the Machine and the numerous times it tried to “escape.” They may have the Machine on their side for now, but clearly, getting to that point wasn’t an easy one. And I like seeing Finch passionately express himself when it comes to dealing with the AI.
At the same time though, the Machine is not unleashed like Samaritan. Greer’s not making the calls, Samaritan is, and that’s scary.
To see Samaritan’s asset use the “God mode” to hunt down Simon or get into a very cool gun fight with Root was also intense. That danger to the POI team is very real, and for a moment I wasn’t sure Root might even make it out alive. She did, luckily, but the POI team has been hit before with a death shocker.
The death of Carter took its toll on the team, especially Reese, and while he was pushed to the back to do the duties of paperwork, he also got to talk about Carter with a therapist.
It’s scenes like that, ones that could be so trivial when compared with the larger story going on, that end up standing out just as much. Hearing Reese talk about not being able to save Carter and his drive to save people because no one else will was a solid moment for his character. It got him to open up and become more than just that badass knee-capping hero.
There really is so much going on in the hour that manages to bring about that suspense, mystery, humor, drama and focus on characters, all while mixing the big stories with the small. It makes me enthusiastically want to know what’s next as the hour finds a way to cap things off at the same time it opens the doors to something more.
And just seeing Samaritan issue out the command to find the Machine is both awesome for viewers but not so lucky for the POI team. That cold war is definitely heating up and it’s only the fifth episode of Person of Interest Season 4!
What did you think? Should Simon have been told the truth? Will someone on the POI team die this season? And watch Person of Interest online to see the action-packed hour again.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.