“Person of Interest” recap (5.09 & 5.10): God is a Lesbian

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Root: “You can’t live with me, and I can’t live without you.”

I’ve said a few times now that one of the Person of Interest’s core theses is that connection, loyalty, love, and friendship are humanity’s greatest strengths—to be effective against an enemy, and not only to allow wholeness and goodness in people, but to redeem them from themselves when they are lost or corrupted. There are different ways to approach Root’s death in “The Day the World Went Away,” and I wouldn’t want to make anyone adopt mine even if I could; I can only offer my own perspective. So when I position this death as not only valid (for the most part; I’ll make some critiques below) for the story, but reinforcing the show’s investment in its characters’ connections, please understand that this statement is not meant to argue that anyone’s pain or anger is wrong or somehow not allowed. This approach is, to some degree, a choice I’m making, to focus on the value in this development rather than on the boxes it simultaneously checks.

To start out with the good, then, let me back up to “Sotto Voce,” which hammers home this theme of connection at every turn. Its villain, “The Voice,” typifies cold, disinterested isolation. His motto, “Cleanliness is all,” refers to his insistence on wiping out liabilities and cutting off loose ends wherever they occur. He has no partners, no friends, and it would appear no real acquaintances: only employees, victims, and mask after mask of false identities, shell corporations, P.O. boxes, and spoofed signals. While bringing him back is part of the bookending tactic many shows turn to when they’re ending (so is the later return to Elias’s old stomping grounds), it’s a strong use of the tactic because he so closely parallels Samaritan in that the ASI also ruthlessly wipes out anyone that could compromise its secrecy and its operations.  Throughout the episode, it’s human connections that allow the core characters to defeat both enemies—The Voice and Samaritan.

It’s not just that Elias comes out and tells The Voice that his belief that compassion and loyalty make people weak is why he’s “gonna lose” as he’s in the process of defending his friend, Harold. It’s that “Sotto Voce’s” plot is all of Team Machine coming together to protect Harold. It’s that Fusco takes a bullet for John even when he’s furious with him. It’s that John finally tells Fusco the truth, observing that when nowhere is safe (not that it ever really was), “Maybe all we can do is trust each other.”  And it’s that it’s Root’s love for Shaw that manages to rescue her, if only partially, from the hell of ambiguity that Samaritan has forced on her.

tumblr_o82qsjGr2G1vw05b1o2_540Via personofinterestshaw

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