Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S04E19 – Search and Destroy

In the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of Person of Interest, THIS SHOW NEEDS TO TAKE A NAP. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of ableism.

Holy shit, I have to be a broken record about being a broken record, because how many times can I possibly say the same thing? This show escalates its mythology faster than practically anything else I have ever seen. That amuses me because this is a Bad Robot production, and despite being a LOST fan, we all know what it’s like to watch a show that drags its feet for way too long. This is not that show, y’all. And despite that I figured fairly early into “Search and Destroy” that Samaritan was behind all of this, I still wasn’t ready for where this would go.

One thing that makes this episode so terrifying is the sheer scope of what Samaritan is able to do. I know I’ve referred to how the mythology is escalated, but even within the script itself, Sulaiman Khan’s life is ruined—utterly and completely—in less than a day. And every time Khan does something to subvert what Samaritan has wrought, SAMARITAN FINDS A WAY TO UNDERMINE HIM AGAIN. What this does is imbue “Search and Destroy” with a sense of helplessness, a futility that is impossible to ignore. How do you fight against something that can alter reality so convincingly? And it’s not just the hack, which was indeed carried out with surgical precision. Samaritan leaked his emails, not because they were a way to demonstrate that he’d embezzled from the company, but because it would bias the people in his personal life against him. They would be more likely to believe he had done this horrible thing if they also felt personally harmed by Khan. They would be more likely to believe he’s a terrible person if his bipolar diagnosis was public knowledge, too.

And it’s just the start. Every step of the way, Samaritan uses people and systems to try to wipe Khan out, and it’s all the team can do to prevent him from getting murdered. It doesn’t help them, of course, that Khan ACTUALLY FIGURED OUT THAT AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE HAS TARGETED HIM. Oh god, it’s such a brilliant premise, one that also fits perfectly at this point within the greater arc. If anyone was going to figure that out, then it stands to reason it would be the person who also built a technology that Samaritan stole from. So what do they do? Tell Khan the truth? Keep him in the dark? If he already believes an artificial intelligence has been released on the world, then what’s the problem with telling him what he wants to know? Normally, the team never brings anyone in because with the knowledge of the Machine comes harm. BUT THIS DUDE UNDERSTANDS THAT JUST AS WELL AS THEY ALL DO.

I think they should have told Khan everything when he was in the safe house with them. Part of the reason he gets caught by Greer is because Khan is frustrated by Harold keeping him at arm’s length.

Still, it was hard to imagine any other end for Khan, especially since there was no way for Harold or Root to hide Khan from Samaritan’s surveillance, at least not in any longterm sense. Plus, he seemed like the kind of character who would pursue this until the end. Indeed, even when faced with Greer and Samaritan, all he asks for is to see the AI at work… right before he is executed. The tragedy comes full circle.

It’s the first time we’ve seen Greer kill someone himself (as far as I can remember, that is), and I feel like that’s significant, too. If Greer can’t find the members of Team Machine because Shaw refuses to give them up (I LOVE YOU SHAW), then it makes sense that he’d invest time and resources in finding the Machine instead. Take that out, and it’s only a matter of time before the Team can’t do anything to stop Samaritan from getting its hands in everything.

For the time being, though, the Machine is fine. (Though, apparently that super strong case is absolutely necessary? Not the fabergé egg? I DON’T GET IT.) The team still has their cover identities. But now that Greer has narrowed down the parameters of his search for the Machine, it really does feel like its only a matter of time. I’M SCARED.

The video for “Search and Destroy” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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