Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Person of Interest 3.11: "Lethe"

“I understand why you want to quit, Harold. But now’s not the time. She wants us to work together.”
- Root

We have reached the mid-season finale, folks. And the fall-out from Carter’s death and the take-down of HR has really hit our heroes hard. The Machine has been silent for weeks and Shaw is getting antsy. Finch is happy for the break and even ignores the mass of ringing payphones after he ends their call. He gets back to the library to check on Root and she’s somehow managed to converse with the Machine so she has the new number. He’s hesitant to take it until he sees who it is; Arthur Claypool. We don’t quite know what’s so special about him or why Finch looks shocked at his face popping up but Shaw figures out that he’s being protected by Secret Service (she plays doctor and they learn he’s got a terminal brain tumor which is affecting his memory). And where is Mr. Reese in all this? He’s out in Colorado getting wasted. Which is pretty on par for how he’d react to someone he cared about dying. After all, that’s how he reacted to losing his ex-girlfriend while he was off in China. After a short time he spots Lionel sitting at a table reading a paper in the bar. Finch sent him to make sure he was okay. Reese is not pleased by his new drinking buddy but can’t really do much to get rid of him, seeing as it is a public place. But Reese is getting more irritated as he drinks. He expected Fusco to drink alcohol but Lionel says he’s been sober two years thanks to Reese crashing into his life. And we learn that the bar they’re in his Reese’s dad’s old watering hole. He shipped out for four tours in Vietnam from that bar and died in a refinery accident shortly after he got back. Then, when Reese proclaims everything irrelevant, Lionel drags him outside in the rain for a fist fight. Because that makes all the sense in the world. And the cops roll up just in time to break them up.

We get our farthest jump back in time since the start of the show; 1969. We find a young Harold (maybe 8 or 9 years old) and he’s fixing a car with his dad. His dad is being a little forgetful lately which I have a feeling ties into the case of the week. And we see Harold first express his interest in getting into things, by taking apart the car engine, stating if the designer didn’t want people to get inside, they should build it better. Totally a Finch thing to say. We then jump a couple years to 1971 where young Harold is building a machine to store his dad’s memories. It’s rather sweet, even though his dad says that there’s some things he can’t fix. We then jump to 1979 where Harold, now a teenager, is hanging with some guys near a convenience store and he impresses them by using a payphone and a whistle to actually call someone in France. I’m expecting one more flashback as this one ends with a cop rolling up and telling Harold that something’s happened with his dad. And I was right. The cop takes them home and tells Harold that he should consider putting his dad in a home or something if he doesn’t have the resources to look after the old man himself. Harold clearly doesn’t want to do this but I have feeling his dad convinces him at some point because he ends up at MIT.

Back in the present, Shaw is having a hell of a time getting close to Claypool. His wife shows up and he doesn’t recognize her. He thinks he’s still at work and he’s trying to keep someone or something from shutting down Samaritan. Shaw asks for some back up but Finch says he can’t due to increased responsibilities monitoring Root. I feel like Arthur is someone Finch knows or is related to and that’s why he doesn’t want to be seen. Shaw chats up the wife and learns that Claypool worked for the NSA and Finch supplies that Samaritan was a project that got shut down in 2005. If Claypool is a career government monkey, then he has all kinds of secrets he could spill. Shaw goes to check on the patient when she notices his bodyguards are AWOL. He’s been taken to radiology but he’s not undergoing a scan. He’s been dosed with a sort of truth serum and whoever is after him, is already present and his bodyguards catch Shaw while she’s snooping.

Things go from bad to worse once Shaw is caught. The NSA guy that’s questioning her dies from poisoned rice and the other two guards are dead, too. Finch realizes that the technician (who isn’t really a technician) is working for Collier (the organization who is trying to expose government security and secrets). Shaw and Claypool’s wife are trying to get him to leave so they can get him to safety but he refuses to leave. Just as Shaw is telling Finch that she can’t get him to go, Finch shows up in person (he’d been out in the parking lot) and immediately Claypool recognizes him and asks how long it’s been.

Amidst gunfire and escaping the hospital, Claypool blathers on about the times he and Finch shared at MIT. Once at a hotel which is relatively safe, Finch manages to get Claypool settled down enough to discuss Samaritan. It turns out that Claypool built another version of the Machine. I guess that makes sense. He and Finch were buddies at MIT and Finch had already built portions of the Machine based on what we saw him doing as a kid. And by 2005, he’d definitely been working on his Machine and the NSA was involved. I’m wondering now if the NSA had Claypool build one just to have a backup or something and that they kept Finch’s Machine secret from Congress when Samaritan got shut down. Claypool surmises as much as he and Finch continue their discussion. Later, Finch has set things up so that Claypool and his wife can get somewhere safe in Toronto. But that doesn’t look like it will be happening because Claypool finally realizes that the woman who is claiming to be his wife isn’t because his wife died two years earlier. She works for Northern Lights and is “Control”. And now she’s got the masterminds of both Machines in one room. And she wants answers about them. Whoever gives them to her, gets to live. And of course they had to go on a three week hiatus with a cliffhanger!

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