Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S04E14 – Guilty

In the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of Person of Interest, the Machine confuses the team until they realize they’re right where they need to be. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest

Trigger Warning: For brief mention of suicide.

Oh god, even when this show is taking a “break” from its main narrative, IT IS STILL A HIGH-STAKES ADVENTURE. I’m actually surprised it’s taken the show this long to do an episode focusing on a jury. It’s so ripe for entertainment and intrigue, and oh lord, was this ever a combination of those two things. I admit that I suspected Samaritan the entire time, so I was pleasantly surprised when this ended up being an independent case. That doesn’t mean this episode held any less meaning, though, and in a sense, “Guilty” strips the action down to something we might have seen in the first season. We’re back down to John and Harold for the moment, though this episode hints that there might be more in the future.

Which I’ll get to. I loved the nebulous nature of this number because it was so easy to read the target as either completely evil or innocent. That’s most likely why she was chosen, too! She was unassuming enough not to seem like someone willing to throw a trial or turn a jury. She was also vulnerable, and that part makes me the most angry. SHE WAS SUCH A PURE SOUL, HOW DARE YOU USE THAT AGAINST HER TO SEND AN INNOCENT MAN TO PRISON. Yet that tension—not knowing if she was a victim or a perpetrator—pushed this episode along, right up until another wrench was thrown in the plan. Like the characters, I assumed she was trying to get the defendant off, so I was messed up by the reveal that she wasn’t working for the defense. OH GODS, THE PANIC ON HAROLD’S FACE WHEN HE REALIZED THAT THEY’D GOTTEN EVERYTHING WRONG.

But I also love that this comes after “M.I.A.” because there’s such a fascinating parallel between Emma and the Mayor of Maple. Here, we’ve got a character being issued orders by a faceless being, threatening her to get her to do what they want. It’s just like the Mayor, right? Well, not quite, and I think the distinction the show makes between these two people is important. The obvious issue here is time. Emma was being manipulated for only a few days, and she was still kept at arms length from the affects of her actions. The fixer had taken a shot at her neighbor, but what else had happened? Nothing. She saw no evidence otherwise that what she was doing was terrible, and truly, she was still in a haze of fear from the messages she was getting, all of which targeted the people around her. Miss Thompson knew without a doubt that she was harming people, and she still tried to resist any accountability.

Emma, however, does no such thing. Once Harold’s life is threatens, she starts to take action to undo what she’d participated in. It’s heartbreaking, of course, to watch her climb up on her balcony, ready to end her life. She was forced into this nightmare because a company didn’t want to hold itself accountable. And yet here’s this woman, who has the tiniest fraction of wealth and power compared to Infinince, willing to do more than they would. It is so fucked up, but that imbalance is so vital to the conflict. This company tried to use Emma to destroy someone’s life after they destroyed countless lives of their own, all so they could make billions of dollars off a faulty product. It’s exactly the sort of case that Harold and John take on all the time, and it’s why this episode felt “classic” to me.

But these characters can’t go back to that world. I feel like it’s very imminent that Fusco will finally be initiated into the team full-time. He made it quite clear in “Guilty” that he’s tired of being left out and that he’s aware he would be risking his life to be in the known. Thus, “Guilty” feels like a transition of sorts. Perhaps we’ll see Fusco learning the truth soon. And perhaps John really will pursue a relationship with Iris. See, I’d been wondering if his decision to open up to her was just so that he would have an outlet that hadn’t been there before. But that final scene between the two of them suggests pretty heavily that John is looking for something specific in her. WHICH MEANS??? Oh god, I like her a lot but YOU CAN’T LIKE ANYONE ON THIS SHOW, I SWEAR. Are they going to be allowed to find any happiness or comfort amidst this drama?

LOL probably not. (Help me.)

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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