At SDCC this past summer, Greg Plageman said that this season of Person of Interest was going to focus on the war between the Machine and Samaritan and boy, he was not lying. If you think about it, the number in every other episode has been the result of some scheme created by Samaritan to try to gain the upper hand. This episode was no different and unfortunately, even with all hands on deck, it looks like Samaritan may have prevailed once again.
The case in last night’s episode was kind of funny, because on the surface I don’t think anyone would have guessed that it was tied to Samaritan in any way. Meet Simon Lee (Jason Ritter), a brilliant and gifted political pollster who is virtually never wrong, with ten straight successful campaigns. His latest gig is the re-election campaign of incumbent Governor Murray, with his predicting a big win over newcomer Michelle Perez. However, with the election results slowly trickling in, he immediately sees that something is very wrong with the majority of the votes for Perez and most of the polls now calling an upset win for Perez.
Of course, everyone in the Murray camp is upset and Lee doesn’t see how this could be happening as “he is always right.” Could something be going on, or is Lee so arrogant to believe he couldn’t possibly be wrong? The latter seemed pretty plausible, at least until we learn that thousands of call-in voters got a busy signal and couldn’t get through to place their vote. What’s more the exit poll numbers didn’t seem to jive at all with the actual election results.
With Reese (Jim Caviezel) benched this episode due to being confined to desk duty for a psychiatric evaluation, Root (Amy Acker) and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) are forced to step up to the plate to investigate. What they find is utterly shocking. Lee is convinced the election was rigged and in a desperate act, he pays the commissioner a visit pleading with him to launch an investigation. Big mistake because by doing so, he walks into a trap that was designed for him to be killed in the cross fire of a disgruntled employee dispute. Of course, Root and Shaw are able to save his life but they also realize that after this and with all of the manipulation of the electronic voting data, the culprit behind all of this is Samaritan.
But why? What possible motivation could Samaritan have for taking out an election consultant? Does it have something to do with Michelle Perez, who is the one who won the gubernatorial seat due to Samaritan’s actions? The answer lies with what happens next. In the middle of Perez’s acceptance speech, she keels over dead, so obviously Perez had nothing to do with Samaritan’s plan. However, in the middle of the crowd Root and Shaw spot someone we should recognize. Remember Samaritan’s femme fatale Martine (Cara Buono), whom we met in the premiere? Well, she’s back and obviously, she’s on a mission to clean house now that Samaritan has won and the election had the desired outcome. Simon Lee is making way too much noise about the election being fixed, so he has become a liability that must be dealt with.
Lee makes it out but he’s definitely not out of the woods especially since he’s still insisting there’s a conspiracy and while he continues to do that, he will remain a target. Simon checks himself into a hotel and is smart by paying with cash and thus, remaining anonymous. But he’s also pretty stupid too because he makes a 911 call and identifies himself as Simon Lee. That’s more than enough for Samaritan to track him. But Root has a plan and makes the decision that if need be, she’ll sacrifice herself to save Lee and essentially save the Machine as well. And I swear for a minute I think the audience is led to believe that that’s what she did. Martine is a total badass and good — and I mean really good — and just like Root, she’s willing to die for the mission. The result is an awesome fight scene, with guns-a-blazing, bullets flying everywhere and Root is shot at least twice. It’s enough to give Lee time to escape, but what about Root? Was this her swan song with her going out a hero? It certainly seems that way.
Where’s Root? — Shaw
It’s going to be a long fight, but it must be won at all cost– Finch
At this point, we really don’t know but Samaritan’s motivation in the plot is finally revealed. The objective wasn’t to get Perez elected but her Lieutenant Governor, Nick Dawson (Kevin Kilner). He’s completely soft, no guts and no backbone and thus a perfect person in power that could be manipulated by Samaritan. What’s more, this scheme is going on throughout the rest of the country, with 58 additional election wins. Slowly but surely the war is shifting in Samaritan’s favor.
Besides this, we are also treated to more fantastic Finch (Michael Emerson) and Ingram (Brett Cullen) flashbacks. I have always felt those flashbacks have been some of the best scenes of the entire series, but I honestly thought the story of Finch and Ingram had been completely told, thus no more flashbacks. Needless to say, I was pretty darn happy to see more coming. What we learn from these scenes is somewhat disturbing. We have always known that the Machine in its infancy tried to overstep its boundaries and do things like protect Finch. Little did we know that the original Machine was just as evil as Samaritan, with its only focus being on itself, the objective at hand and doing whatever it takes to meet that objective even if means hurting or killing people. The Machine tricking Ingram out his password to hijack his laptop and get out on the Internet? And even worse, an attempt on Finch’s life by suffocating him? Fortunately, Finch was able to work out all of those kinks.
I taught it how to think, I just need to teach it how to care — Finch
But was it really worth it? By doing so, did Finch inadvertently create an inferior Machine that is no match against the mighty Samaritan? I think that’s the million dollar question and one that won’t be answered for a while.
Just like the other episodes so far this season, this was another great one. Great storyline, fantastic tieback to the Samaritan arc and lots of kick-butt action sequences even if Reese was absent for most of them. Even though Root did survive the big shootout with Martine, I think what Root said about there being no way in hell this is going to be won with no casualties is an omen — and a big one. If there is victory, someone will pay the price. But who? Is it so obvious that it’s going to be Root? Or could it be her sidekick Shaw? As we found out with Carter’s untimely death last season, no matter who goes before season’s end, it will hurt like hell.
It’s going to be a long fight, but it must be won at all cost — Root
Person of Interest airs on Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.
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