Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S03E21 – Beta

In the twenty-first episode of the third season of Person of Interest, Shaw and John team up with Root in order to orchestrate a tricky rescue while trying to avoid Samaritan. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest

Three seasons in, and this show is still finding ways to fuck with the narrative. Y’ALL. Y’ALL. This episode felt like the show’s concept was reversed back upon the main characters, and it was a thrill to watch. Root, Shaw, and John all have to contend with the very same type of surveillance that their persons of interest are subjected to, and OH LORD. When the tables are turned on them, they realize just how challenging this is. Do they shy away from that challenge? OH, MOST CERTAINLY NOT. And look, this episode is a treat even without the constant punches to the heart, which I’ll get to in a second. It’s a plot heavy script, sure, but this story is one that’s been building for a while. As Harold puts it in that gut-wrenching climax, this was inevitable. We were barreling towards this conclusion for a long time.

This episode also definitively makes the case that Greer is one of the most easily-hateable villains in Person of Interest’s run. Don’t get me wrong; I still hate Simmons and shall forever hate him and his creepy face. Greer is a different version of that character, though; he’s a white man with power who knows he can get away with everything he’s done. That’s terrifying, y’all, and watching him use that power provides a tense experience for the viewer. With Samaritan fully online—and backed by the power of the NSA’s surveillance feeds—Greer is able to track down the team, all except Harold Finch. In Harold’s place, however, he goes after Grace, setting in motion that horrible finale I referenced.

So, yes, there’s a lot of tension here, which I realize is par for the course on Person of Interest. This show apparently doesn’t care about me at all? IT JUST KEEPS DOING THIS TO ME. Yet I appreciated that amidst the endless terror of trying to avoid Samaritan and all the Decima agents sent to retrieve Grace, the show manages to delve deeper into who she is and what she’s done since the “death” of Harold. She might be a pawn for Greer, but she has her own life, too. She moved on since she lost her fiancé, pursued her art, and was on her way to Italy for a job interview when Greer intercepted her. Is she the same person she was before? No, and you can tell from her interrogation that she closed herself off—at least romantically—since Harold disappeared. Thus, there’s an additional level of suspense: will Grace learn the truth? Will Greer reveal that Harold didn’t die in the ferry bombing, that he’s not who he ever said he was? Given the way that the concept of truth is used on this shown, I’m torn between Grace deserving the truth and keeping her from it because SHE WILL DEFINITELY GET KILLED IF SHE DOES. The fact that she survives this episode is a miracle unto itself because so few people are safe from the ill effects of The Machine or Samaritan anymore.

But what now? How much more time will pass before Decima gets government approval for the NSA feeds? My guess is that’s what this season will end with. Samaritan is going to go fully online, which is a deeply disturbing thought. Root might have seven of those servers/processors for the Machine to use, but how will Samaritan behave when it is set free? We don’t even really have an idea, do we? Harold built the Machine to become like a human, but he also taught it a morality of sorts. What would an AI like this turn into with unfettered access, without a moral core? And what the hell does Greer want to use Harold for?

I’m not ready at all.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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