Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S03E12 – Aletheia

In the twelfth episode of the third season of Person of Interest, the team’s stand-off with Control becomes chaotic. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of grief.

What an episode, y’all. This show is not what it was when I started it.


I first learned of this concept when I was a kid, and it’s thanks to a brilliant song off Bad Religion’s Against the Grain record that I know what it is. But the idea appealed to me for many years to come because it was another way to understand the universe and what I saw as the slow degradation of it. I feel like I don’t need to explain this here (since I’ve shared so much over the years), but suffice to say I did not have an easy childhood. So I latched on to this idea of a social entropy, and it gave way to my interest in existentialism as high school came to an end. It was all inevitable, and if I accepted that everything slowly decayed, that the world always became disordered, then my own chaotic life made a lot more sense.

I don’t know if that means much to me anymore, but lord, did it ever affect me as I watched John deal with his grief over Carter’s death. I still dislike that she’s dead, and I can also recognize that I do have a thing for stories like this. I hesitate to say that John is regressing, though what we’re seeing here certainly looks a lot like where he was at the start of the show. It’s for a different reason, though, and this is so personal to him. And as much as I hate that Carter is dead so that John can have LOTS OF PAIN, I’m at least of the mind that if writers are going to do this, you need to show the ramifications of it. You need to address the absence left behind and the way it affects other people. That stuff is super interesting to me, you know? And you can see how both Carter’s and John’s absences in the main narrative change the dynamic of the group.

Is he going to stay away? Not for long, I imagine, though I can’t guess what will bring him back. But I get it, and I don’t feel like it’s a stretch that John would react to Carter’s death like this.


It’s alive. It’s alive.

One thing I’m coming to adore about Person of Interest is the way the show folds in these new plot lines without it having felt written. Samaritan may be a new element to the deepening mystery of the Machine, but it felt natural. Part of that comes from the flashbacks, which show us how Harold got so interested in memory and surveillance. Thus, Arthur seems like the kind of person Harold would have been friends with at MIT, and it makes sense that both of them would have attempted to build the very device/machine that they had dreamed of in those days.

The key difference here, though, is in intent and execution. I still don’t think Vigilance is going to be too happy to discover the Machine, even if their focus is on Samaritan, but Samaritan is definitely worse. Unlike the Machine, which contains user safeguards, Samaritan can be directed. You can focus its surveillance on anyone you want, and knowing who got their hands on it makes this even MORE upsetting. Without any sort of objectivity or protection built into the machine, Samaritan can be a weapon. It’s a nightmare.

Granted, we haven’t seen Samaritan in action. Yet look how quickly Arthur “destroyed” Samaritan once Harold spelled out the ramifications of letting it live. Even Arthur knew, for all the beauty and wonder of that creation, that Samaritan was going to be used in its worst capacity, to exploit and harm and ruin. My god, that scene where Arthur talked about Samaritan like it was a child… HOW IS THE WRITING AND ACTING IN THIS SHOW SO FUCKING GOOD.

Analog Interface

I am beginning to think that this might be my favorite role of Amy Acker’s, and it is a delight to watch her play a character who can be so alternately sympathetic and terrifying, intriguing and revolting. It’s clear more than ever that the Machine truly does view her as an extension of itself. It has a vested interest in keeping her alive and protecting her… and everyone else? Out of everything that transpired here between Root and Control – and oh my god, was there a lot – it’s the Machine’s final words to Control that interested me the most. The Machine wants to save everyone, which I think implies that its very nature will always be to protect people, to find ways to prevent their deaths. No matter how many times it has evolved, this one part of it has always remained consistent. Despite that Control has demonstrated that they’re a threat to the Machine’s analog interface, the Machine still has Root tell Control that their interest is in protecting her. Well, the Machine also threatens whomever it is that Control loves more than anyone else, SO THERE’S THAT, TOO.

Ugh, I am just so INVESTED in Root’s relationship with the Machine. And now that she’s free, what the hell is next???

The video for “Aletheia” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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