Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S04E18 – Skip

In the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of Person of Interest, John and Fusco assist a bounty hunter while Harold and Root deal with the ramifications of one of Harold’s plans. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest

Lots of plots to talk about! Let’s jump right into this.

Frankie Wells

While I enjoyed this story—and in particular, Katheryn Winnick is a lot of fun as Wells—it comes off the heels of “Karma,” another episode about what people are willing to do for revenge. By virtue of similarity to this previous episode, it kind of pales in comparison, but only because of that. Otherwise, I found it solid! Wells was a tricker number this time around because she was previously a victim; her brother had been murdered by Pratt. Yet she never intended to bring him to court alive. She wanted to frame him and blame his death on self-defense. (Again, a little too similar to the ending of “Karma.”)

What made this stand out more, though, was the surprise inclusion of Harper. The main plot of “Skip” works best when there were multiple parties onscreen, all with their their own motivations and desires. That shootout in the docks, for example! It would not have been as interesting if Harper was not there as an intermediary of sorts. She forced the story in a new direction: What were these people willing to compromise? It isn’t about revenge anymore, but pragmatism. What was the best end each could get for themselves? It’s no wonder, then, that the Machine has now recruited another person to work its interests. (Which explains how Harper ended up being Pratt’s contact at all.) Harper needed to be there to best resolve a situation that could have easily ended with the death of multiple people.

And it makes me wonder: What else is the Machine having her do? Who else has the Machine recruited?

Iris

Well, guess I was wrong about that! I’m sure you’ve seen me all struggle with exactly what the show was trying to say about John and Iris. Initially, I theorized that John was just going to finally open up to her, and then maybe they were doing something offscreen? But I was right the first time! I do think these two have chemistry, and it’s compelling to think of John trying romance (especially at this point in the show), but… y’all. She’s gonna die, right? NO ONE CAN BE HAPPY YET. What if Greer discovers this connection? They’ll exploit it in a heartbeat! I LIKE IRIS, THIS CANNOT END WELL.

Balance

As the credits were rolling, I began to realize the role reversal that had just unfolded. When Root was first becoming part of Team Machine, she was monitored. Harold kept an eye on her because he knew very well what sort of tendencies she had and how far she was willing to go. Here, Root and Harold have grown close enough that she is able to recognize HIS worst tendencies.

This was a complicated, emotionally devastating plot because the writers made it easy to understand why both these characters did what they did. Harold took the opportunity months earlier to set up a Trojan horse within Beth’s laptop, all with the goal of gaining access to the smallest bit of code belonging to Samaritan. One thing I’ve appreciated about this season’s arc is that the show portrays multiple fronts of the war. It’s not just a simple back and forth! I’m certain Greer has some terrible long con up his sleeve, too.

But Harold’s desperation, combined with his affinity for Beth, led him to a gamble that Root believed was not worth the risk. That’s what we watch unfold: Root tried to stop Harold from making a mistake, one that could have gotten him killed AND exposed his new identity. And exactly how long would it have been until Samaritan found the others? On top of that, both these characters were raw from the loss of Shaw (SHE ISN’T DEAD, OH MY GOD THEY ARE ALL GONNA LOSE IT WHEN THEY FIND OUT), so EVERYTHING about this is a disaster. Root ignores the Machine because she can’t bear to lose Harold. Harold refuses to accept that he may be risking his cover and his life because he has too much affinity for Beth. Even after he nearly dies, HE STILL GOES BACK TO BETH. He was still gonna activate the Trojan, ignoring everything Root told him!!! Does that make what she did right? No, and this show knows better than to give us moral absolutes. Root could have very well saved Harold’s life. But the cost is that he pushed away someone he cared about very, very much, and it’s only fair that he asked her to step away for a while. He might be acknowledging that it was necessary, but it also hurt.

LIKE ME. IT ALL HURTS.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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