PERSON OF INTEREST Recap: Relevant vs Irrelevant

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Person of Interest 2.16  Relevance

2011 – We see surveillance footage courtesy of the Machine. A man deemed Relevant, Daniel Aquino is shot to death in a parking lot.

2013, Berlin -An American agent, Sam Shaw, enters a building and is approached by two men who accuse her of following them. A cop shows up and offers to help her. The men pull guns on her and the cop but she pulls hers and kills them before pistol whipping the cop and running off. It’s not the men she wanted, though, it was their boss.  She gets a partial phone number off one of their cell phones and her partner, Cole, is able to trace it. They go to the address and use an endoscope to look inside an apartment through a ventilation shaft in the roof. Two terrorists inside are building a dirty bomb.

Shaw calls her headquarters (Control) and is given permission to engage them. Cole fills the apartment with gas via a ventilation shaft and she enters and removes the cesium from their bomb. One of the inhabitants wasn’t overcome by the gas and attacks her. Cole helps her find the man via his camera and she kills him. (Shaw makes Kara look like a Girl Scout). Their mission accomplished, they split up and both head for NYC – they have a new number!

In New York, Shaw meets with her boss, who hands her a newspaper and suggests that her arming the terrorist’s bomb before leaving the apartment may have been overkill. Inside the paper is a new number. She follows the man around the city while Reese follows her. She sees him, but he wanders off and she dismisses him. She bluejacks her targets cell and overhears a call. She tells Cole that they need to get on the guy’s computer.

They meet up in their surveillance van and Cole asks her if she thinks the numbers are always right – he keeps thinking about Aquino and how confused he seemed before she killed him. She assures him that the numbers are always right. They don’t know where Research gets them from but assume they come from tortured terrorists. He admits that he got suspicious and talked to a friend at the CIA – the money trail from Aquino traced back to the American government, not Hezbollah as they were told.  He asked one of their superiors to look into the matter but will keep her out of it.

They proceed with their mission and go inside the man’s building to access his computer. They find their names all over the files and an instant message pops up – “It’s a trap, get out of there, now!” – they’ve been set up. A hail of gunfire comes through the wall and hits Cole. Shaw manages to take out the two men who enter the room to come after them, but she can’t save her partner. A second team – the orders come from her boss –  enters and she manages takes them out with some help – Reese has shown up. He tells her that he’s there to help her, but she shoots him multiple times in the chest and escapes, although she gets shot along the way.

Shaw runs outside and sees her supervisor, Wilson. He was the one that called in the hit on her. They shoot at each other but she escapes. Wilson calls the Special Council’s Office to report that he lost her. Root enters and drops off some info for him, then leaves his office and proceeds to listen in on his conversation.

Even injured, Shaw’s a force to be reckoned with. She kidnaps a two-bit drug dealer and forces him to take her to his home base. She makes him help her while she pulls out the bullet in her abdomen. He’s impressed by her skills and she tells him that she was in med school, but left to join the Marines. She makes him zip tie himself to a radiator and then she passes out and wakes up to find a number of rival drug dealers in the apartment. She tells them she’ll kill them all, but they aren’t impressed. They should be because minute slater they are all dead after a moment of Reese-esque bad-assery. In a rare show of mercy, she releases the dealer that helped her, warning him that he better tell no one about her.

Hester comes to the Special Council office. He trained Shaw, so he knows that she’s the best and he won’t be found until she’s ready. Special Council asks him if she’s looking for answers on the Aquino situation or revenge. Hersh suspects both. They obtain Michael’ contact at the CIA – Veronica Sinclair.

Shaw calls Veronica. She tells her to meet her the next day at a hotel and the woman agrees reluctantly. On her way to meet Veronica the next day, she next calls her boss and tells him she will turn herself in only to his boss. If he doesn’t play, she’ll go public with the Aquino files.

She knocks on the hotel room where she is meeting Veronica and Root answers. Shaw tells her that Cole was killed on a mission. Root confirms what he told her about Aquino – the wire transfers initiated from a group called the Intelligence Support Committee (the group Shaw works for). They spent huge amounts on a project called Northern Lights. She asks Shaw if she knows the name of Aquino’s Northern Lights contact. Shaw goes to investigate a noise in another room and finds the real Veronica tied up in the bathtub. Root tazers her and ties her to a chair.

Root found out from the real Veronica that Aquino was hired to build a home for the Machine. She’s set to torture Shaw for more info (talk about a twisted scene!) when her phone alerts her that agents are on their way up, so she leaves Shaw and takes off. Three men enter the room and try to drug her, but before they can press the plunger on the syringe, she manages to get get a hand free, grab one of their guns and shoot two of them. The third man is shot from behind an alcove and Reese enters the room. She resists the urge to shoot him this time and lets him take her to an empty skyscraper to meet with Finch.

Finch tells her that he knows the organization that she works for and what she does – she gets numbers from an organization called Research that is never wrong. He hands her a paper with two numbers – hers and Cole’s. Finch apologizes for not being able to save her partner. He tells her that Research doesn’t exist and the secret is so important that they will kill anyone to protect it. Not many people who knew about it are still alive. He tells her they are the only people who can protect her. Finch tries to gives her his number but she won’t take it.

Shaw goes to a party (classic espionage scene) and finds Mr. Special Council, who it turns out is not the man on top that she refers to as Control. They move away from the party and he tells her that the program she has worked for is the reason why there hasn’t been any other terrorist attacks. Aquino and her partner were acceptable casualties for the big picture. She gives him Cole’s files on Aquino and then shoots Wilson, her boss, who has been standing nearby. Mr. Special Council watches it all and then lets her leave. As soon as she’s out of earshot, he orders an underling to take her out.

Shaw leaves the party and walks out into the street, thinking she’s free. Hersh walks up behind her and injects her with a drug. She falls unconscious to the sidewalk.

She’s pronounced dead and put into a body bag. Fusco and Carter come to the scene and make arrangements for her body to be taken away by an EMT, who looks awfully familiar – it’s Leon! Hours later, Bear is licking her face and she awakes in the ambulance, strapped to the gurney.

Reese and Finch are waiting in a cemetery when the ambulance pulls up. Leon is kind of ticked that they didn’t give him more warning. He gave Shaw atropine to counteract the drug and Demerol but she woke up and tried to kill him, so he had to give her more. He leaves Reese and Finch with the ambulance when he sees Shaw get up and head towards them.

Reese offers her water, but she refuses. Finch explains to her that she’s now thought to be dead. She holds them at gunpoint and takes their phones. Finch tries again to give her his number and this time she takes it, driving off in the ambulance.

My Thoughts:

This episode provided an interesting window into how exactly the government has been using the Machine. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of all the other characters – Finch, Reese, Fusco and Carter shared about 5 minutes of screen time total. Although Finch and Reese completed their objective in the end – saving Shaw – they seemed pretty irrelevant (pun intended) for the most part and the phenomenal chemistry between the characters is one of the main reasons why the show has been so successful.

Reese seemed nearly helpless compared to Shaw and I’m not sure it helped his character much to make him seem so vulnerable – he’s supposed to be the strong, sensitive, major badass and he certainly didn’t come off that way in this episode. His lack of screen time also took a lot away from the drama of her shooting him. We see him take multiple shots into his vest, but then no aftermath at all except for him asking her later to please not shoot him. Maybe this discontinuity was due to editing rather than writing, but regardless,  the show works best when it appears that the characters take actual risks with real consequences rather then seeming immortal.

A couple reveals tonight give us more to think about – we now know that Special Council is not acting alone and that Finch and Reese are being pursued by an entity that is pretty much Finch’s making – the two sides of the Machine – relevant and irrelevant – are warring for control. Whether Control knows that about the Machine’s contingency and Reese’s relation to it is still unclear to me.

Root’s role is also fascinating. It seems that she’s acting alone but is obviously in a position to be very well-informed. How long she can carry on the deception under the nose of Special Council remains to be seen. At some point, based on what we’ve learned about its near sentience,  I half expect that the Machine might recognize her as a threat to its own existence (like Hal in [easyazon-link asin=”B000Q66J1M”]2001: A Space Odyssey [/easyazon-link])and figure out a way to warn Finch.

Memorable Quotes:

You should know torture almost never produces good information. Well, almost never! – Root

Can you do me a favor? Can you not shoot me this time? – Reese
Give me a good reason? – Shaw
I don’t know. I’m a really nice person…and…well…that – Reese

Set out to correct the world’s wrongs and you’ll almost certainly end up adding to them – Finch

You guys never told me she was dangerous AND crazy! Bad combo! – Leon

I so don’t get paid enough for this crap! – Leon
We don’t pay you anything, Leon. – Reese

Watch Person of Interest on Thursday nights at 9/8c on CBS!


Cay’s family thinks her obsession with pop culture is “not normal”. Normal is boring!

1 Comment

  1. Maka556

    February 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Actually, Reese takes several bullets to his body armor and he isn’t even knocked down. We just see him stagger. At which point he collects himself and we hear him utterly demolish an entire tactical team on his own while the team leader screams frantically about the guy who is tearing apart his men. Bad. Ass.

    Plus we see Shaw walking past two instances of “Reese was here” on the curb, clutching their shattered kneecaps.