In Monday night’s Person of Interest, the series proved that even when it’s under the gun of an ambiguous future with a limited run of 13 episodes and while dealing with topical and serious techno-drama, it can still kick back and have a lot of fun too. In the spirit of episodes like “Bury the Lede”, “Booked Solid”, and “Most Likely To…”, Person of Interest once again skated the fine line of action, drama and farce as Team Machine gets dressed up for a wedding out of town. Despite the stakes of saving a number that may or may not be the bride and/or groom, this wedding was an uproarious, enjoyable affair which is the complete opposite of most weddings.
As it turned out, the number belonged to Maggie, the family photographer for the Turners, the patriarch of which made his clams breeding race horses and may or may not be dropping them in order to perform better. Spoiler alert: he’s doping them, and Maggie has the photographic evidence to prove it. Reese and Root manage to save the day with Finch’s help, which is all standard fair, as it turns out that the bride’s older sister, the one who would inherit the racing horse empire, tried to have Maggie bumped off. Just another day at the subway station.
The true joy of watching it all unfold though was witnessing Reese work it as “stripper security”, seeing Finch pose as Uncle Ralph and sing “We’re Not Gonna Tale It” with a bad Irish accent, and having Root literally ride in on horseback to save the day. (No Maggie, despite the terrific carrot soup she’s not a caterer.) There’s even a dance. Root and Finch share the last dance where she confesses that she knows Finch’s simulations are not going well, and again proposes to open up the Machine’s capabilities. Finch confesses that he’s not so worried about the Machine being corrupted by power as the team. They are only human after all, but as Root says, they’ll never know until they try.
The humor and pathos were a necessary counterpoint to two very serious developments. The first one had to do with Fusco’s covert search for the missing people, a search that got more complicated when the Machine, through Root, gives him the number of of city employee named Howard who approves demolitions. Bruce, Elias cohort, is also investigating the ongoing mysteries, and when Fusco sees Bruce and Howard conversing he follows a lead to a tunnel where he finds all the missing people. Or their bodies anyway, including Bruce and Howard.
It’s going to be more difficult to keep Fusco from learning more about the Machine, Samaritan and what’s really going on, but don’t think that the team won’t try. That is assuming, of course, that Fusco emerges from the demolition of the tunnel unscathed. (He does, he was in the preview for the next episode after all.) If I were Reese or Finch I’d definitely have to question the wisdom of keeping Fusco in the dark any more since keeping people in dark seems far from a guarantee of safety. Not only that, but Samaritan is definitely suspicious of Fusco, and while the team doesn’t know that, surely the Machine’s noticed his same squirrelly behavior and can extrapolate.
Also stuck between a rock and a hard place – although less literally than Fusco – is poor Shaw. Giving up on running simulations to get her to crack and reveal the location of the Machine, Greer and Samaritan try to show Shaw what Samaritan really thinks of the world, and what it’s really trying to do. People are bad, people are the ones plotting bad things all the time, Samaritan is just trying to offer a guiding hand before humanity hits a bottleneck, and it capped it all off with the return of Li’l Gabriel, Samaritan’s analog interface. Samaritan built a good case, but I don’t think Shaw ever had any illusions about the people she was saving, she’s always the cynical one, so it’s suspect just how well appealing to humanity is going to work on Shaw.
Despite the seriousness of those two storylines, the thing that sticks out with the episode was the humor, the laughs, and the farce, but there’s a feeling as Reese, Root and Finch look out over the dance floor that the good times, such as they are, might be coming to end. Tomorrow night’s doubt-POI, which technically makes this week a triple, will mark the half way point for this final season, and there seems to be some very serious developments coming.