Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Person of Interest 3.20: "Death Benefit"

“Since we started, things have changed. We’ve changed. But our mission has always been constant; to save lives. If that’s changed somehow, if we’re in a place now where the Machine is asking us to commit murder, that’s a place I can’t go. I’m afraid this is where I get off.”
- Finch

We are zeroing in on the season finale. News of Northern Lights is still circulating in the media and it’s putting pressure on our team. It seems Reese and Shaw have a number they’re working because they do a faux drug deal and plant evidence to get them arrested. Root shows up to pick up Shaw for a little girls’ adventure in Alaska. With Northern Lights shut down, she’s getting the relevant numbers. Sweet Jesus, our national security is in the hands of a sociopath. Reese is off to join Finch in DC because they have a new number of their own. Congressman McCourt who is anti-surveillance. So it’s possible either Vigilance or Decima want him dead. Or a disgruntled constituent who knows. It’s going to be tough to eyes and ears on him because he has a PA who handles all his calls. Thanks to some quick thinking, Reese engineers a fake threat to the Congressman’s life so he can pose as secret service to get in close.

It looks like Reese may have his work cut out for him. They get to Capitol Hill and McCourt is accosted by a union boss. But McCourt is actually very good at talking people down. While Reese is playing babysitter we see the head of Decima meeting with the Senator who ordered Northern Lights be shut down. Mr. Decima is offering to sell Samaritan to the US government and he promises that if there’s interest from the rest of his committee, the dissenting voices will be silenced. Joy. We next find Reese and the Congressman at lunch and Finch reports that McCourt is pretty much clean and has very few enemies. Hell, he’s even got a standing offer to buy anyone a hot meal who wants one to promote awareness of the homeless contingency. Reese spies a shady looking guy out the window and he takes down the license plate. It turns out it was rented by Decima. So not helpful. Even when Reese finds out that McCourt is sleeping with his PA, it isn’t a threat because his wife already knows. And of course Decima has to screw over our guys by telling McCourt’s driver that Reese isn’t the real secret service agent. A fight ensues and Reese basically abducts a US Congressman.

Root and Shaw have traveled from Alaska to Miami and it seems they’re kind of enjoying themselves. Root is always up for flirting with Shaw. It’s kind of cute but also creepy. Root doesn’t think she’ll be doing the “beating up baddies” routine forever and it seems right away she gets new orders from the Machine. She’s off to the Midwest but Shaw isn’t going with her. She’s got her own assignment to worry about. As you would guess, it dovetails with the boys in DC. Finch and Reese are trying to find a safe place to keep McCourt but the old burger manufacturing plant Finch bought leads Decima right to them. They find a tracker on McCourt and ditch it but they have to wait for Shaw to show up for a ride to relative safety. They take one of Decima’s guys with them after Reese shoots him (I swear him and Callen from NCIS: LA would get along great). They end up hiding out in some random people’s house and try to get some answers out of their POI and the Decima goon. At first, McCourt keeps denying he has any knowledge of Decima or why they’d be after him. But when Finch decrypts some texts that basically say “protect” from Decima guy’s phone, the pieces start to fall into place. Decima is protecting McCourt and it seems our own team is the threat this time. And McCourt finally admits that he knows about Decima. They approached him to support Samaritan and they give him insider stock trading tips. So McCourt literally has the power to stop Samaritan or unleash it. And Reese seems to believe now that the team really is the threat. That maybe the Machine wants them to kill McCourt to keep Samaritan from going live. That would definitely be a twist since up to this point, the Machine hasn’t really positioned any of our people to do something like that.

Finch brings up this point, saying the Machine gives them numbers to save lives but Reese is throwing Finch’s own warning about Samaritan back at him. Finch is very passionate about not wanting to kill McCourt. He goes as far as saying that he can’t handle it if the Machine is giving them order to kill people. We cut to a very emotional song playing over the next scene as SWAT busts in. It is unclear if McCourt is dead or not and then the team is running through the woods and Shaw gets shot. They make it back to New York but things are not going their way at all. The head of Decima is meeting with the Senator again. The Senator is hesitant to go forward with Samaritan but Decima offers a test run in New York for 24 hours as a show of good faith and to see what the system can actually do. The Senator gets a call from McCourt (so we know Reese didn’t actually go through with it) who says that he’ll push the bill through in Congress if the Senator handles his half of the legislature. We see Reese and Shaw walking together and Finch is sort of off on his own. It’s not clear if the team has broken up or what but it can’t possibly be good. We are going to need every member of Team Machine working together to stop Decima and Samaritan. Because they get the go ahead for their 24 hour beta test and the head of Decima’s first order is to find Finch. I have to give it to the writers, they are definitely stepping things up. I am not entirely sure where they’re going to go next season.

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