Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S05E03 – Truth Be Told

In the third episode of the fifth season of Person of Interest, the Machine’s newest number sends John on a collision course with an old superior. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest. 

Oh god, the Machine is still probably steps ahead of the team, so I have lingering questions that NEED to be answered. SOON.

Unfinished Business

It’s hard not to assign meaning to what the Machine does because we’ve seen, time and time again, how intentional it has been with its assignments. It finds ways for the Team to be in the right place at the right time. It has used numbers to help teach lessons or to remind people of the purpose of what they’re doing. (And it is, of course, incredibly creepy that Greer/Samaritan exploits this very desire. UGH THEY TRULY ARE THE WORST.)

So there’s practically no way I can think about the events of “Truth Be Told” in another light. Somehow, the Machine knew, right? It can’t have been a coincidence that the number John was sent was of the younger brother of a man he killed five years earlier. So why this? Was there a greater lesson to be learned, or was it all one huge coincidence? I think you could argue for both, to be honest. Alex Duncan had no idea what he was unleashing when he began to use his job to look into his brother’s death. Yet it was John who was able to give him the closure he needed to move on. So, the Machine helps save a life—Alex’s, since John’s old boss, Beale, would have had him killed—and betters that person’s life, too.

But is that enough? Alex gets closure, but his closure is a lie. So was that the right move? Or was that more of a chance for John to spare himself Alex’s anger and heartbreak? It’s a messy situation. Alex’s brother really had committed treason, but was killing him warranted? The John of that time certainly thought so, but now? Not anymore. There’s even a line where John says that regardless of what Alex might have done, he deserves due process, which Beale would not have provided. Still, I think there would have been some value in Alex knowing the truth and, most importantly, for John to tell it. Regardless, I saw this as John’s brush with his violent past and the compromises he made in order to keep his present predicament from spilling into disaster. He might be a different man, sure, but he doesn’t live in a world where he can do what’s ideal. He had to get Alex to stop snooping and he had to placate Beale. That’s a lot to balance, y’all!

So it’s unsurprising that after all this, he ends things with Iris. It sucks to view her as yet another thing to balance, but how can the man do what he does and be honest about it? He couldn’t tell Alex the truth, and he certainly can’t tell Iris the truth. And more than ever before, that actually bothers him. He’s changed, y’all.


And I feel like that’s already becoming the greater theme of season 5: this is a time of change. The Machine is open now, rather than closed off and restricted. The team had to adapt to many things: shifting identities, the loss of Elias and Dominic, the presence of the Machine in their headquarters. The truth is that we don’t know what the future will look like once the Machine has worked out all of its bugs, when it is fully functioning. But it’s easy to imagine how much the world will change, especially since it already has. So what metamorphosis awaits these people? The Machine? Samaritan? What does that malware change a computer into? And how will Team Machine have to change in the wake of what’s coming?

The video for “Truth Be Told” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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