Person of Interest Review by Edmund B.

Person of Interest 3.18: Allegiance

Person of Interest 3.18: Allegiance

Written By:
Tony Camerino
Directed By:
Jeffrey Hunt

After the stunning triptych that concluded the HR arc, Person of Interest hit a bit of a lull. Besides the highly intermittent scheduling, the need to leaven the long network season with some episodes less demanding of cast and crew led to some hits (Reese on a plane, good) and misses (letting an art thief, however compromised, walk, bad.) The previous episode, "/", saw the show return to its central story, the continuing evolution of the Machine and the looming conflict with its bad-boy cybernetic brethren, Samaritan. Also, the Machine deftly maneuvered Root, its most fearsome acolyte, into finally feeling empathy. Ostensibly, a battle lost, but in favor of ground work for an eventual victory.


"Allegiance" marks the return of another familiar format, the seemingly stand-alone Number, whose story feeds into the ongoing action. With some of the immediate action being a tad predictable (always beware of Greeks bearing gifts, for instance,) it's those connections to the imminent battle of the AI Gods that keep the episode afloft. It also helps that the new additions to the teams finally feel fully integrated, yielding some delightful new combinations. Shaw and Fusco in a car are battling Kennex and Dorian for best buddy banter of the year.


In keeping with its evolution and new role driving the team's actions, the Machine's graphics have become more and more central to the plot. "/" ended with a threat matrix  for Samaritan, tagging all of the regular players plus an unknown, Maria Martinez. When "Allegiance" opens with generators in Iraq blinking off the grid, it's no surprise that Maria's Number is the one sent to Finch.


Between the opening credits shift from irrelevant 'crimes' to 'people', CBS' promos trumpeting "Who will they save?", and the good vs. evil battle lines growing ever sharper, I long ago made my peace with Numbers invariably turning out to be victims, and not perpetrators. That shift means the attempt to paint Maria as a possible terrorist falls flat. I assumed the 'package' she received contained documents from the moment it was handed over.


However, the strength of the show is watching the team in action. Reese shrugging off his multi-story crash through a window, Shaw winning the Root nickname sweepstakes with "cochlear cuckoo", and Lionel playing with the fire truck's horn more than made up for the more predictable elements. Fusco, in particular, came to the fore with a steady stream of wisecracks. After a respectable period of mourning for Carter, Fusco is finally coming into his own, bouyed by a newly-minted notoriety and respectability.


Aside from the generators winding up as Samaritan's power source, the main connection to the bigger story comes from Root's pursuit of Mr. Greer. The opening skirmishes of the war are joined as Samaritan cuts off the Machine's eyes and ears. Notably, it does take a human action, Greer palming off his phone, to complete the subterfuge. (It also allows an Easter egg to slip in when Root extricates herself from the wrong man with, "I thought you were my uncle," which is what John Nolan is to executive producer Jonathan Nolan.) For all their capabilities, there is good reason for the Machine to shore up the less-predictable human factor on its (or, for Root, her) side.


The return engagement brings one of those elements, if not a human one, to the mix. Bear returns to the field as the tracker that cannot be thwarted. It's good to see his skills have survived all this time being fussed over, fought over, and spoiled in the library. Greer's attempt to recruit Root mirrors Collier's appeal to Shaw in the previous episode. Neither offer feels credible, for now. But this still-nascent team promises to be sorely tested as these feints escalate into all-out war.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Strong connections to the series arc
  • Brilliant team dynamic
  • Bear was back in action!
The Bad:
  • Some episodic plot elements were predictable
  • Maria's purpose in the story was too apparent
  • Your Mom

Edmund B. is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @EMSBoys.

Person of Interest by - 3/25/2014 9:56 AM201 views

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