Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S04E09 – The Devil You Know

In the ninth episode of the fourth season of Person of Interest, I’m tired. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of nonconsensual drug use, and for talk of child abuse.

That was one of the most emotionally exhausting episode of the whole show, HOW DOES PERSON OF INTEREST KEEP DOING THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN.


So, I will definitely need the next episode to address the ramifications of what Root and Harold have done. (I include Harold here because at the end of the episode, it is heavily implied that Harold directed Root to sedate Shaw, since he recognized that she would risk exposing herself to Martine if she was allowed to be conscious.) That’s important because what happens here is reminiscent of how Shaw and Root were first acquainted. See, I didn’t forget that Root had once drugged and kidnapped Shaw. Despite that they’ve moved beyond that and developed a friendship since that time, this was an incredibly fucked up solution to Shaw’s stubbornness. How is she gonna feel once she wakes up and discovers what Dominic did? Or that she couldn’t help John because her friends put her out like she was an animal?

Look, I understand the logistical concern here, and I also get that Shaw is ridiculously stubborn. She was going to give herself up to Samaritan just because she couldn’t go help John. SO PETTY. But of all the things they could have done to her, this was the one that she was guaranteed to hate.

To The Victor Go The Spoils

What the hell do I even say about this? Somehow, this show turned a turf war between two rival gangs into a tragedy that felt Shakespearean at its core, and I AM STILL BLOWN AWAY BY THIS. While Elias has always had depth, this episode manages to grant layers to Dominic, Link, and Anthony/Scarface, AS WELL AS A NEW CHARACTER WE JUST MET. It’s executed amidst one of the most tense, terrifying plots: Elias and John are stuck in a building surrounded by Dominic and the Brotherhood. See, I love closed-room scenarios already, so yes, I was biased in favor of this episode from the start. But there were so many other levels to my enjoyment! This was the first time we ever saw Elias on the run, especially in a way that felt so real. The threat of Elias’s execution hung all over “The Devil You Know,” so the suspense, while manufactured, was still believable. This show had kept Elias’s story going for so long, and if this was going to be it, then… well, shit. What a way to go out, you know? What a way to signal that this was all going to change in a huge way.

In hindsight, Elias and Anthony spoiled the twist every time they spoke, but I misread it all because I was interpreting everything within the wrong context. First of all, I, too, believed that the safe held something so vitally important that both Anthony and Elias were willing to risk their lives to retrieve it. It had to be a secret to Elias’s empire, right? Dominic’s logic regarding it was incredibly solid, and it seemed that this was the vulnerability that Dominic was going to exploit. Because even if he had turned a ton of Elias’s men to his side, Elias was still alive and still had power. This whole episode was about the passage of power from one man to another.

Yet Dominic misjudged this situation, much like I did. Oh my god, this plot was so brilliantly a parallel to Martine’s insistence that relationships are the easiest to exploit, and that’s something Dominic could have used if he’d done his due diligence. I found it bold that the writers waited until “The Devil You Know” to give us the story of Anthony, Elias, and Bruce, the three boys who had been abused in a group home long ago. OH, THAT GROUP HOME WAS IN THE VERY BUILDING THAT ELIAS AND ANTHONY ARE TRAPPED IN. Relationships were everything to these three men, and while Bruce is only a recent addition, I do feel floored by the explanation for Anthony’s dedication to Elias. Childhood friends, y’all.

But you can easily see how knowing what’s in the safe re-contextualizes all of Anthony’s scenes after he’s captured. He delayed giving the safe number in case there was a chance he could get at, but really… how long did that hope last? How long was it until he knew that he would be sacrificing his own life to take out as many of Dominic’s men as possible? Holy shit, that scene where he says he just wants it to be done… WHAT THE FUCK, HOW AM I FEELING ANYTHING FOR ANTHONY??? HOW???

This is a monstrosity of an episode, one that’s escalated the Dominic/Elias war, one that has also shown us just how far Greer is willing to go. He is pissed that Harold’s team has managed to escape detection using technology, so what’s his response? More humans. More people to case the streets of New York City with Samaritan’s help, and an even higher risk that the team will be caught.


The video for “The Devil You Know” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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