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Person of Interest “Beta” 

Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS
Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS

It’s been a good while since Person of Interest visited the Finch and Grace star-crossed lovers storyline. But, devout fans have never forgotten, and in fact, it has become one of the most talked about arcs in the series. The POI fandom got their wish in last night’s episode, with Carrie Preston reprising her role as Finch’s former fiancée, Grace Hendricks, but we didn’t get the ending that the Finch/Grace shippers were hoping for. And, on top of the very emotional ending, Samaritan officially completes its first beta test and Greer (John Nolan) is successful in obtaining the final piece of the puzzle that he needs in order to fully exploit Samaritan’s power and capabilities.

The last episode “Death Benefit” ended with Shaw (Sarah Shahi) being shot and Finch (Michael Emerson) completely disappearing after realizing that the Machine had evolved to the point where it’s now sending him on missions to kill people. Samaritan also officially came online for a 24-hour beta test, and just like Root (Amy Acker) had predicted, its first order of business was putting targets on its potential enemies, Reese (Jim Caviezel), Shaw, and Root. So, the first twenty or so minutes of the episode are spent watching Reese and company tip-toe around Manhattan, desperately trying to dodge every camera, communicate without the use of cell phones, and drive cars with no built-in GPS systems. Root finally shows up and with her communication link to the Machine, pretty much saves Reese and Shaw’s asses by providing them with perfect directions on how stay clear of Samaritan’s prying eyes.

In the meantime, Greer had promised Senator Garrison at least one suspected terrorist in return for the NSA feeds, which he is able to find within the first few moments of Samaritan coming online. The other 23.5 hours he has left are spent working on what he is actually interested in, which is locating Harold Finch. Greer obviously had underestimated Finch’s skill at remaining anonymous because Samaritan hits a brick wall and Finch is nowhere to be found. Score a touchdown for Finch and his Machine. But, Greer has a back-up plan and that is if he can’t get Finch, perhaps the second-best thing is someone close to him. And, we know who that turns out to be.

Photo Credit: CBS
Photo Credit: CBS

For those who remember Grace Hendricks in prior episodes, you may recall her being soft-spoken and not very assertive at all. Even though Samaritan is supposed to be the “character” “Beta” is about, the central character in the episode turns out to be Grace, and Carrie Preston does an exceptional job. Grace may just be an illustrator for a local magazine, but she’s no schmuck. After Reese and Shaw rescue her from Decima’s thugs and is taken to the police station, she quickly figures out that Reese’s Detective Stills cover is a bunch of bull. She even gets a funny line or two by exclaiming “I don’t even know if this is a real police station!”

But the scenes where Preston really shines come after she is finally captured by Decima and interrogated by Greer. She doesn’t freak out like the weak Grace Hendricks that we thought she was. Instead, she stands up to her captor, and she quickly knocks the guy off the pedestal that he placed himself on. Greer fancies himself God-like, like Michelangelo lying on his back while painting the Sistine Chapel . Grace Is not impressed in the least bit and quickly fires back pointing out to Greer that Michelangelo painted standing up, not lying down, and basically shooting down the egotistical picture of himself as being above her and everyone else. High five, Grace! But, Greer isn’t fazed and barely cracks a smile. He continues on and finally is able to get what he came for, which is her relationship to Harold Finch. Armed with that information, it was now time for Greer to make his next move.

Photo Credit: CBS
Photo Credit: CBS

“Beta” was primarily focused on the character development of Grace, but we also got a fair share for Greer. Greer’s primary and sole directive was to locate Harold Finch, and every move he made was calculated and directed towards that goal. Even Greer’s interactions with Grace were staged so that when he finally came face to face with Finch, they would get off on the right foot. Greer takes care not to reveal to Grace that her long-lost love is still alive. He doesn’t even tell her who Finch really is and how the man she wholeheartedly trusted lied to her in so many ways. And, when he takes Grace to hand her off in exchange for Finch, he blindfolds her so that Finch’s identity wouldn’t be revealed. Some may have thought that with how thoughtful Greer was towards Grace and Finch, he may not really be such a bad guy after all. I don’t buy it for a minute, and in fact, I believe all of these scenes reveal the total opposite. Greer is a sociopath, and he cares about only one thing and that is himself. He played Grace, he played Finch, and in the end, he even played his techie, Virgil, by directing him to kill himself without even blinking. Greer wants what he wants, and he doesn’t care who he hurts in order to get it.

In the end, Greer wins the battle, Finch is taken, and Grace is set free. So, while the episode had a happy ending in that Grace wasn’t harmed, you can’t help but feel bummed out. Grace is safe, but now, she is off to start a new job in Italy, one that Finch no doubt orchestrated. We all should remember Nathan Ingram’s son, Will, and how Finch did the exact same thing for him in the episode “Wolf and Cub”. He created a new job for Will in the Sudan, which he accepted, and we haven’t heard from him since then. In a very similar fashion, I see this episode as the end of the Grace Hendricks storyline, which for me is very said, and I couldn’t help but get emotional at the end (who *didn’t* get emotional when Grace stumbled on the bridge and Finch caught her! Sniff). While Grace was in NYC, Finch still was able to watch her and see her almost every day, if only at a distance.  Now, she’s going to be on the other side of the world, which drills home the grim reality of the high price Finch has paid for agreeing to develop the Machine.

Photo Credit: CBS
Photo Credit: CBS

All in all, I thought this was a fantastic episode and one heavy on character development, which we have not had in a while. It also clearly set the stage for the season finale, which if you think about it is a little reminiscent in how season two ended. The season two finale focused on Root and how she wanted to use the Machine to become god-like. Season three is ending in a very similar fashion, but now it’s Greer who is vying to become that God figure. But, Greer’s plan is contingent on Samaritan being a superior system vs. Finch’s Machine. Of course, we know that Finch and his Machine will be victorious but it’s going to be a hell of a ride getting there.

Person of Interest airs on Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.

Most memorable quotes and random thoughts

  • Just remember, what our machine sees, Samaritan sees. Two Gods playing with the same deck of cards – Root on Samaritan vs. the Machine
  • Is that all, Cocoa Puffs? – Fusco to Root
  • How is Detective Stills one of the good guys when he’s not even Detective Stills? — Grace
  • How tragic. Please tell me about Harold. – Greer to Grace
  • There’s one more thing. I’d like you to avoid violence if at all possible. But, if they harm Grace, in any way, kill them all – Finch to Reese
  • All I know is you loved him. And, he loved you back. – Reese to Grace
  • Chin up kids, we’re not out of the game yet. Trust me. – Root to Reese & Shaw
  • So, do we really buy Root stealing 7 of Decima’s servers will actually stop them? After all, can’t they just buy more servers?
  • Am I crazy, or do I sense a possible love interest between Fusco and Root? Yeah, yeah, he says he thinks she’s crazier than a bed bug, but he also acknowledges that she’s a good person. I know it’s likely a pipedream, but I do like Fusco and hope that he ends up with someone.


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  1. MByerly

    Root and Fusco, no way.

    I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but in the title sequence/the story so far, the scene where Finch looks up at the camera when he’s discovered that the Machine wants his team to kill people, the Machine’s information on screen says something about it deleting its digital footprint before Samaritan goes online, and Finch literally vanishes from the image.

    Is the Machine hiding Harold from Samaritan, and, if that’s the case, why isn’t it protecting its human soldiers, Reece, Shaw, and Root?

    The servers were built specifically for Samaritan, probably with those new super chips, so losing them will hurt. I imagine Root intends to set them up for the Machine, as well, so the technology edge won’t be Samaritan’s.

    1. Mary Powers

      Thank you for your response!

      Aw, darn! It was my own wishful thinking for Fusco + Root. My favorite character is Fusco and I so want him to find someone 🙂

      I’m not sure why the Machine isn’t protecting Finch’s team, but I think it may be protecting Finch because it sees Finch almost like a father. Remember the episode when Finch is nearly run over by a car but the Machine distracts Finch long enough to prevent the car from hitting him? I see it as something very similar. The big question now is what will the Machine do now that Greer has Finch.

      Again, thank you for your response!

  2. Philip Ngai

    With regard to a love interest between Fusco and Root, do you recall the scene in “Allegiance” when Fusco bought a drink for Shaw to celebrate Persian New Year’s?

    On the other hand, Root also seems fond of Shaw.

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