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Two Takes: Person of Interest “Truth Be Told” 

Two Takes: Person of Interest “Truth Be Told”
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

Did you see the new opening credits? If not, go back and re-watch immediately. We love that we get both perspectives now — what both the Machine and Samaritan are doing. But more than that, since it seems like the Machine is no longer glitching — more on that later — it’s back to business as usual, for the most part. The team gets a new number that ties back to a mission John and his ex-partner, Stanton, carried out in 2010, John “meets the parents,” and Finch and Root find out what the Samaritan-sanctioned malware is really doing.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

Kara: I know we were just complaining about Iris, but I’m still surprised that John’s attempt at a “normal life” is already over. I mean, he absolutely made the right choice. The things he’s done in the past coupled with the things he has to do in his present and probably for the foreseeable future, mean that he can’t have someone he really cares about in his life unless they know what he’s really up to. The team, and Fusco to a certain extent, knows what they’re up against. They know the risks and are willing to die for this mission. Iris can’t and won’t know what John and the rest of the team have to do in order to stay ahead of Samaritan. And if John’s cover is ever truly blown everyone in his life will be at risk. So even though I was never a fan of this relationship, I’m still sad John had to give up something he seemed to need and want.

Tina: I want John to be happy, I really do. But it was never going to happen with him and the doctor. So this break-up was inevitable and I’m glad it came this early into POI‘s final season. John has a job to do. They have to deal with Samaritan. They have to find Shaw. Things are about to get bad — and badass. There’s no way he can live this double life of danger on one side and dine with potential in-laws on the other. I’m also sad he can’t have this in his life right now. But even if he could, I don’t think it would ever be with someone so normal. And I don’t mean to make normal sound like a four-letter word. It’s just not Reese. Not now. Not ever.

Okay before we dive deeper into analyzing “Truth be Told” — I need to take a moment and just gush over the opening credits. You talked about it in the intro but I want to do it more here. I shouldn’t have been surprised that they dropped this Samaritan/Machine mash-up on us, but I am. And now I don’t ever want it to go away — at least not until the Machine and the Irrelevants prevail. This made me happy as did FINALLY getting an episode featuring Reese-centric flashbacks. YES. How long has it been?

Kara: I was surprised about the opening credits as well. I’ve been paying attention to them for every episode so far this season and for the first two episodes of this season there were no proper opening credits — at least not like we’re used to. I love where it is now. Kudos to everyone on the show for paying attention to all those details and knowing we’d love seeing something like that.

So, I did some googling and discovered the last Reese-centric episode was “Terra Incognita,” which was the Carter episode last season. Tina, how dare you bring that up — however unintentional. God, I loved that episode and I still miss Taraji P. Henson. But I do I love it when we see familiar faces, even if it’s someone like Stanton. I wouldn’t pee on her if she was on fire. Too harsh? No. It’s deserved.

Tina: Not harsh at all. Totally warranted. However, I love how you mention her by her last name considering this character shares your first name. It was great to see Kara again, even knowing how dastardly she is. When Annie Parisse got a regular gig on The Following and they subsequently killed off her character on POI, I was kind of crushed. I’ve always wanted to see her on this show again. And with Person of Interest, you can always live in flashbacks. Not only were we treated to Parisse’s return, we also got another great guest star: Keith David. Love him! He was one of my favorite parts of the short-lived (but awesome) FOX comedy, Enlisted. And don’t think I didn’t notice the fact that David actually got to say the word “enlisted” in tonight’s episode. Made me miss his former show so much. It’s the little things…

Kara: Keith David is awesome. And can I just say the entire storyline with Alex and Paul Duncan did not go the way I expected. It wasn’t hard to guess that Reese and Stanton killed Paul before it was revealed to us. We know what their job entailed and that was interrogation and then execution. But what I didn’t see coming was Paul Duncan actually being guilty. It was in Beale’s best interest to allow John to lie about it, of course. I loved that John knew Alex needed to believe his brother died a hero. I love that John and Beale let Alex believe that beautiful lie. But, at the end of the day, it’s also a smart move — Alex stops investigating his brother’s death. Because if the truth ever got out, it would end careers and the CIA, lead by Beale, would come after Reese with guns blazing.

Tina: I do so love how this show keeps me guessing. Of course Reese and Stanton were there to kill Duncan. But for a little bit, I actually thought he was telling the truth and that what Reese ultimately told his brother was a lie. But stupid me. Reese is so damn smart. So is Kara. The guy was guilty. I’m a bit gullible when it comes to watching television, have I mentioned that before?

Something else I liked about the showing of the flashbacks is that they completely tied in to what’s going on with Reese today. He had to mentally re-commit himself to Finch, Root, the Machine and finding Shaw. Kara let John know exactly why Beale chose him for this stolen missile shipment mission. It’s not just because he’s one of the CIA’s best and most badass. It’s because he barely has any family. He lost his adopted mother. And he didn’t hesitate to leave his girlfriend. It goes back to him not being able to live the normal life. I don’t know. It just feels like it’s been a while since we learned anything about John’s past, so this all felt good to me even though I felt bad for his lonely circumstances. Kara, did we know about Reese’s adopted mother? My memory sucks.

Kara: That piece of information was new to me, so I’m going to say no. But I honestly have no idea. This is episode 93. How are we supposed to remember everything?!

But my favorite line of the episode is uttered by my evil namesake:

Kara: “You can’t miss what you never had.”

As you said, the CIA chose wisely when it picked these two operatives. They knew both Kara and Reece would give absolutely everything to the CIA and they did, for a long time. John knows his strengths and now he’s using them for good.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

So, while John was risking life and limb for Alex, the Machine gave Root a cover identity as a package delivery person. During the course of her job, she and Finch discovered that Samaritan was rerouting packages from electronics stores to get retrofitted for malware. We find out that the newly installed malware copies the computer’s files and sends them to Samaritan. But it’s not until Root runs the malware on a “safe” computer that they also discover that the malware is replicating and overwriting the computer’s existing code. But why?

The most interesting part of the Harry/Root dynamic in this entire episode is when Root says to him that without risk there’s no reward. She reminds him of their mission and tells Finch they can’t play it safe. While I think Root can be reckless, I have to agree with her here. If they don’t make some calculated risks, how are they going to defeat Samaritan?

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

Tina: I made a note of the risk conversation as well. I made note of a lot of things in “Truth be Told.” It turned out to be such an interesting episode. Some of the words/themes that stood out to me were:

  • Normal. That was big for Reese. Something he’s never going to be. None of them are ever going to be normal. Not even Fusco.
  • Risk. I do love that Root is trying to keep things focused and moving forward. They can’t always play things safe.
  • Ghost. Beale — I think more than once — called Reese a ghost. Obviously, he just found out that John’s alive. But it struck a chord with me. I also thought it was interesting how he mentioned a couple of times that Reese is someone who does what needs to be done. He hit the nail on the head with that assessment. It also makes me a little scared that John may be a casualty by the end of the series. Not sure how I made that leap, but I did.
  • Change. That crazy puzzle the Machine provided Harold with? Well, Root solved it. It’s some sort of Emily Dickinson poem. Talks about change and metamorphosis. And they both wonder whether the Machine is talking about itself or them.

I don’t know, Kara. Things are starting to feel…real? Like they are about to change? Am I reading too much into this too soon? So many questions. Don’t know if they can be answered just yet. Right now all I’m going to think about is how I really liked this hour of television. And I’m hoping Beale will make a return appearance before the end of the series. I liked his presence.

Kara: I’m with you. We know we’re counting down to the end. And because the stakes are so high and there’s so much at risk, I don’t think everyone will survive it. That’s just not real life, is it? People are taken before their time. It’s possible Reese will sacrifice himself for the cause and if he does, it will be for all the right reasons.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

Tina: Okay, this train of thought is kind of depressing me. I’m going to think about Root knocking that “coworker” of hers out more than once. I mean, she had business to conduct! And then she sounded all innocent when she crouched over him and asked him what happened. As if she didn’t know. So hilarious.

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

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