Review: Person of Interest 3.21 – “Beta”

The beta test of Samaritan has begun and it is a battle of the All-Seeing Machines.   How will our heroes fare in this brand new world?

 

****SPOILERS BELOW****

 

The heart of this episode is what does an omniscient machine controlled by people (Samaritan) look like compared to a benevolent A.I. (The Machine)? Scary is the answer. While Greer uses Samaritan to track down Finch, Reese and Shaw, the Machine is busy protecting its assets by sending Root to hide them. Root appears to be firmly in the “good guy” category now, which is a bit strange. Meanwhile, Finch has split away from Reese and Shaw since the moral dilemma caused by the Machine sending them to kill a Congressman last week. They still have been getting numbers and saving people without Finch’s direction. The most surprising aspect of this is Shaw choosing to talk down the perpetrator and getting him to surrender his gun. Reese commented he would have just knee-capped the guy. This is huge progress for Shaw who could not even speak to the numbers in the beginning.

Hide and seek is the name of the game as a Finch-less team evades cameras through the heart of Manhattan. That all comes to a halt when The Machine tells them Grace Hendricks (Carrie Preston) is in danger. Root’s reaction to the news was genuine concern so maybe she is learning or it could be Harold is still the only human she cares about.  She understands this move by Decima could destroy him. Those not in the know – Grace is the love of Harold’s life so the stakes are raised.

Grace’s wide-eye innocence in this whole mess makes her more endearing on her own without her link to Harold. However, she is not stupid and figures out the good guys and bad are lying to her. “Is this even a real police station?” was one of the best lines of the night. Another highlight was her interrogation by Greer over a nice cup of tea. Greer, the most civilized of villains, quizzed her about Harold in a round about way since he had no idea how they knew each other. He got far more information by not letting her figure out what the questions were about until the end. Grace has some backbone as well, and stood toe to toe with Greer in a very scary situation. If it’s not obvious, Grace was in danger of stealing the show.

Once Greer has stolen Grace from Team Machine it was just a count down until the dreadful moment when someone would have to tell Finch the news. Reese and Shaw find him on Grace’s front steps looking depressed. He blames himself for everything that has happened to her. He is right and wrong. Every time the hero of a show hides the truth of his/her life from a loved one to protect them, they inevitably end up hurt or killed. The most shocking thing about this scene is when Finch gives the order to trade himself for Grace, but if she is hurt he wants Reese to “kill them all.” This is such a stark contrast to the non-violent Finch from last week. Not sure if this is supposed to show he is a hypocrite or that he is flying on pure emotion instead of intellect. Reese’s shock is very telling.

The whole bridge exchange was wrought with emotions, especially Reese informing Finch to stay alive because he was coming for him. Hang in there Finch.

POI - beta

That moment during the exchange when Grace stumbled and Harold caught her was also a bit gut wrenching. It seems like this may be the last time Harold gets to see Grace in the flesh. She thanked him for his help like she would a stranger, but did she suspect Harold was alive after all of Greer’s questions? She later asks Reese if he knew Harold. He confirms that he did without giving Harold away, but if Grace is half as intelligent as she appears she must have an inkling that he is not dead. Now she is off to Italy, and may be relegated only to flashbacks.

Finch is in the hands of Greer who seems to want a cooperative prisoner. It will be interesting to see this battle of wits. No offer of tea for Finch, Greer? Really? Bad Englishman.

In the middle of all this, Root managed to steal the state of the art servers that were ear marked for Samaritan so it looks like the Machine will get an upgrade. Go team!

Next up we have a “House Divided” which if I remember the quote correctly, “can not stand.” That’s not ominous at all.

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Post Author: Libya El-Amin

Site editor, staff writer, reviewer, interviewer and all around TV watcher. Host of TV Campfire Podcast where we talk about all the TV shows I manage to watch each week. Sometimes the number of shows is staggering which means I have some sort of addiction. I also edit for television in real life.

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