Person of Interest Review by Edmund B.

Person of Interest 3.23: Deus Ex Machina

Person of Interest 3.23: Deus Ex Machina

Written By:
Greg Plageman and David Slack
Directed By:
Chris Fisher


"Well, this should be fun!" - Greer


And so it was, even if, in the end, only Greer, and the audience privileged enough to witness it, could take much pleasure in the proceedings. Person of Interest has taken an almost gleeful delight in upsetting the status quo of its characters at each season's end. This time around, perhaps mindful of how quickly the real world's status quo has been catching up in the wake of the Snowden revelations, the team gets thrown a curveball thats flips their world on its axis. It was possible to anticipate some of the revelations, but, like a magician's sleight-of-hand, that only distracted from the more important game playing out elsewhere.



 

The cracks in Vigilance's show trial show up early, in the split second following Collier over-ruling objections via shotgun blast. This is not going to be the well-mannered, media-friendly expose of government abuses some might have hoped for. Vigilance has always tended towards violent extremism, and, in this setting, rife with heightened tension, Collier and his compatriots come off more as urban terrorists than committed patriots.

 

I have suspected Vigilance had some sort of seedy underbelly throughout the season, so, at first, I wasn't sure if that internal bias was coloring my view of Collier's recruitment and rise. But then the precise language of the computer links that begins Collier's journey started playing in my head with a clipped British accent. After that, I could only watch with mounting horror as it escalated towards Decima goons bursting in to 'take control', and shepherd the captives towards the desired goal: the major incident Greer needs to get Congress to green-light Samaritan.



 

Anticipating those events did not diminish their brilliance. The shifting sands lead to unexpected acts of courage between long-time enemies: Control willing to die to protect even Harold, Hersh making that sacrifice to try and stop the carnage. Collier goes down with his hopes in flames. Knowing Reese will burst onto that rooftop just in time to save Finch doesn't blunt the impact of having Greer's manipulations cruelly shoved in their faces. In an show with this many twists and turns, that reassuring beat provides some scant consolation in the face of near total defeat.

 

Elsewhere, Root and Shaw's shenanigans at the Samaritan server farm provide one final hope for a "Hail Mary" victory. Here, the show brilliantly plays off the expectations built up over three seasons. The team has grown from two brilliant misfits to a broader-based unit who seem incapable of failing. And then Root shatters that myth with cold, hard reality. "This was never about winning, it was just about surviving." Team Machine is still a tiny cadre, and stands no chance against an untethered colossus like Samaritan, backed by the full force of Decima and the Government.



 

The closing montage, backed by Root's explanation of what she and the Machine had to do, didn't carry the emotional catharsis of the opening to "The Devil's Share." Then, they were processing their grief over Carter's loss (and it was a lovely last nod to see her picture strewn about in the raid on the library.) Now, they have to process the numbing, chilling prospect of losing their identities, the public ones, at least. Root's words echo the show's thematic cousin, The Prisoner, a couple of times. But I found myself recalling a more recent offering. This is how The Winter Soldier ends in a world where there is no Captain America to lead the charge against tyranny. There are only seven ordinary souls, scattered to the winds. Next fall, we'll discover how clinging to hope, all they have left, makes them extraordinary again.

 


Our Grade:
A+
The Good:
  • Team Machine is tested more than ever
  • Amazing exploration of comtemporary fears
The Bad:
  • It'll be a long wait for the fourth season!

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 - 6/3/2014 8:38 AM266 views

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