In the eighteenth episode of the third season of Person of Interest, the team thinks they’re tracking a terrorist cell, but they uncover something far more insidious. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of Islamophobia.
I am so pleased that there’s a happy ending at the conclusion of “Allegiance,” especially since I started to worry that Person of Interest was playing these tropes straightforward. But the subversion that happens halfway through this episode highlights the sheer absurdity of racial profiling and the power of Islamophobia. At the heart of this is Omar Risha, a man who discovered corruption in the wake of a theft (which caused people to die, for the record!!!!), and then was punished swiftly for that act. But what’s important here is how easy it was to punish him for speaking to power. It took a forged letter, yes, but that’s just the means. And it’s just one of them.
I hold that UN diplomat – Lapointe – just as complicit in this, even if he wasn’t in on the plan to sell generators to Greer and Decima. Why? He was just doing his job, right? Except that in that capacity, as a person with immense power of the livelihood of people who are applying for asylum, Lapointe erred. He based his decision not solely on that letter, which could have been disproven with a modicum of effort, but on stereotypes. On the fear of Muslims or people he thought were Muslim. BECAUSE WE NEVER EVEN FIND OUT IF OMAR WAS A MUSLIM! And it doesn’t matter to him because Lapointe assumes the worst: of Omar, of where he came from, of what he looks like, of what his potential is. Oh, Davis and Sevon absolutely did horrific things to ensure that Omar was never granted asylum, but I’m willing to bet that they knew that Lapointe would need nothing more than a gentle push before he would do exactly what they wanted of him.
So fuck Lapointe, too.
AND HUZZAH FOR THIS TEAM GETTING BACK TO DOING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING IN REUNITING MARIA AND OMAR. I just!!! It reminded me of the way the writers dealt with a similar issue in “C.O.D.” This is barely fiction, and we’re shown how applying for asylum is a difficult, subjective process, and it can turn into disaster in the span of a few hours. But both Maria and Omar are rewarded by the narrative and by our team. That reward is so important, too, because, as I said earlier, it’s not what I expected. It is just as necessary to see happy endings for characters like this – Maria included! – as it is to get stories that deal with complex and upsetting issues.
As for that other plot… lord. I’M NOT READY. I said this on video, but it truly hit me how huge it was that Greer and Root met. Both of them are on the edge of this massive change in the world, and they’re both the closest to the machines that will bring about that change. I had always thought of Harold as the “leader,” but Root’s analog interface role makes her better suited for that position. Seriously, it was like the calm before the storm, and A WAR IS DEFINITELY COMING. Oh god, they’re going to get Samaritan online, aren’t they???
PS: Gods all bless Haaz Sleiman and his perfect face, GOOD GOD.
PPS: Person of Interest is now the feature since I have completed my journey through Star Trek, thus explaining the new posting time!
The video for “Allegiance” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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