Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S04E21 – Asylum

In the twenty-first and penultimate episode of the fourth season of Person of Interest, we are not interchangeable. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest

Trigger Warning: For consent, torture.

I’m fucked up. THIS IS SO FUCKED UP.

Dominic vs Elias

In the grand scheme of things, it certainly feels like this plot is inconsequential. You know, there’s only something called THE CORRECTION looming over everyone’s heads. So that is precisely why I am so impressed that the writers have managed to give this arc such dramatic, tragic weight. I found myself aching to know what would come of this war, especially since there are so few meaningful players left in it. Part of that is because of the schedule (WHY IS THIS SPLIT OVER THE WEEKEND, WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN SO MUCH), but it’s also because of what the rest of “Asylum” reveals. This is a collision course, isn’t it?

I mean, it was always going to be. It HAD to be. Elias and Dominic were opposed to one another from the beginning. And while I can’t claim to have enjoyed every aspect of the Brotherhood mythology—I still think it lacks the same weight as Elias’s story—I am starting to think that this won’t outlast season 4. This might very well be it, you know? And it that is going to be the case, who is collateral damage? Does Elias die knowing he did significant damage to Dominic’s enterprise? Or does Dominic succeed? Or is this all a framework to build another story, one that concerns all the people who Samaritan seems as correctable?

I still think Dominic could have been given more depth, and who knows? Maybe I’m wrong about my suspicions, and maybe that will come at a later point. For now, though, Dominic thinks he knows what’s actually going on, and yet, “Asylum” proved just how unaware he was. Elias tricked him into killing Link, and Dominic still thinks that Team Machine are the ones assisting Elias in his endeavors. Will he ever find out the truth? Will he find out just how far from it he’s been this entire time?

A Trap

I’m worried. I’m worried about what’s said and left unsaid about the fate of Sameen Shaw. We finally get to see the team get confirmation that she is alive, and we are also fully warned that Decima and Greer are probably trying to trap Root. Even with that in mind, this episode still manages to shock, to escalate, and to set up a finale that is likely going to destroy me even more than this show already has.

I admit I’m invested in this for other reasons, too. Shaw/Root are canonical now, and I adore that this is about a woman doing everything to rescue another woman because she loves her. CLEARLY BOASED HERE, THERE NEED TO BE MORE F/F SHIPS, PLEASE. I’m so used to the scenario we see here in “Asylum” playing out with a man rescuing a woman that this felt electrifying and original.

And then A MILLION THINGS HAPPENED IN SUCCESSION. How does this show keep doing us? The reveal that Samaritan was closing in on the Machine was bad enough, and that is BARELY in the first third of the episode. From that point, we get to watch Harold and Root infiltrate the asylum through a number of increasingly absurd means, then discover that THE SAMARITAN HEADQUARTERS WERE THERE. Like??? WHAT???? Look, not gonna lie: I totally assumed it was in some fancy, secure building. Why wouldn’t it be? Except hiding it in a government facility is a billion times smarter because it would come with an extra layer of protection by default, and no one would look for a shadowy corporation influencing world affairs inside of an asylum.

Yet I knew this was a trap. The characters did. So why was that reveal so painful to watch? It wasn’t a surprise at all! It’s because of how that trap was set, y’all. I don’t know if Martine was telling the truth, but the evidence seems to point to that. Somehow, Sameen was broken. She was the one who told Decima how best to trap Root and that she spoke to the Machine via her cochlear implant. It stings, of course, even though it’s not like she did so willingly. She was tortured for months, right? So does that mean they’ve made her an agent for Samaritan? WHY HAVE YOU HURT MY SAMEEN SHAW???

You Were Wrong, Harold

Like the events in “Zero Day,” which I think this episode deliberately refers to through imagery and the theme, I was fucking transfixed once the Machine reached out. We haven’t seen the Machine communicate like this—so directly and so plainly—and its words were heartbreaking. The irony is that Root wanted the Machine to sacrifice her to stay alive; Harold believed that the Machine would easily dispose of them all to protect itself. Instead, Harold’s lessons about the value of humanity worked. And in that moment, the Machine valued them, and it set in motion its own destruction.

Harold was wrong. AND WHAT A TIME TO BE WRONG.

The Correction

I AM SO DEEPLY, DEEPLY UPSET ABOUT THIS. It fits entirely in line with what we’ve seen from Samaritan and Greer. This took me back to “Q&A,” where Claire showed Harold what Samaritan could do. But now, the other shoe has dropped. How was that school created? Who was denied a job opportunity there so that the right teacher could end up there? How many kids near that school were turned away because they weren’t the right kind? In order to provide the sense of purpose that Samaritan wants, someone else must suffer.

And now we know who. A purge. Samaritan has determined who “deserves” to be corrected from the United States, and it’s going to create a better world through mass murder. Control found out the truth and what they’re all being used for, and there is no way she’s going to be able to stop it. But how will these people be corrected? With Samaritan agents? Manipulation of reality? Random chance?

HELP.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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