“Person of Interest” recap (4.13): Schrödinger’s Cat

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I also think Reese is very sweet here. I think he probably doesn’t have quite the faith that Root does (which makes sense, as it’s not the love of his life he’s chasing), but nor is he of Harold’s doubters’ party; he’s holding into some hope there. But in this conversation what he’s really doing is trying to make sure he helps Root keep up her faith because he knows she needs it, and he needs her to have it. Honestly, between this conversation and the moment later when they were rescuing the Shaw decoy (I’ll mention it when I get there), Reese endeared himself more to me this episode than he had in maybe years.

Throughout the entire narrative thread that belongs to Murders R Us (because their names both start with R! I KILL ME), Root just has no time for anyone’s shit, and if it were all less heartbreaking it would be hilarious. Chief of Police wants to play grab-ass? He’s going in a suitcase, consequences be damned. (“Coy isn’t really my thing, either,” SAMANTHA OH MY GOD.) (p.s. does “Oh, this doesn’t weigh a thing, don’t mind me” count as coy if you’re hauling a grown man in a body bag up a flight of stairs?) Doctor looks fishy? Kick in his front door. Factory head isn’t giving up useful answers? Drill her hand. Guards won’t clear out? Shoot the shit out of them. Sameen isn’t where she’s supposed to be? DESTROY EVERYTHING.

That moment was genuinely terrifying, almost entirely due to Amy Acker’s acting. I knew, of course, that Shaw was going to be alive one way or another, but Root didn’t. It’s not a coincidence that Delia Jordan was in a room-within-a-room; she was another Schrödinger’s cat, and that ward was her box. Root was entirely correct that literally up until the moment that Delia turned over and asked to go home, she was Shaw, because she wasn’t anyone else. How could the characters or we have imagined there’d be more than one person in such a situation?

Reese, leaning hard on his superhero side, responds to this by rescuing Delia (and eventually being entirely prepared to take unknown number of bullets for her—this was the other endearing moment). Root, well:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.32.08 PMTo be absolutely clear, she is pulling a grown man’s hair here.

I can’t find a screencap or gif that really demonstrates the degree to which she laid waste to that factory (also, that was a lot of armed men for a skeleton crew, I’m just saying), but basically she went full Terminator and it was both awesome and incredibly sad. Root spends the entire episode fraying thinner and thinner.

By the end—when they’ve made valuable moves against Samaritan and saved some good people, but not found Shaw—she is absolutely at her limit. Root is standing on a sidewalk just staring into a surveillance camera, begging The Machine for answers. Her desperate state culminates in an incredible scene with Harold (the two of them are always wonderful together) in which Harold keeps trying to get her to let go of Shaw (LOL HAROLD NO) and she keeps insisting she needs answers. She needs to open the box, whatever may be inside.

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Her refusal to accept The Machine’s silence is pretty revolutionary for her. She has gone from unquestioning obedience to what looks like it might be flat-out rebellion—a progression that is, of course, in interesting tension with Reese’s statements to the head of Maple’s factory about how those who follow orders without question are responsible for the consequences and deserve what they get. This is fascinating—WHERE IS ROOT GOING AT THE END??? WHAT IS SHE GOING TO DO?!—and also it supports my assertion from a few weeks back that The Machine isn’t so much the love of her life as She is her adoptive mother. Shaw is the love of her life. Of course we don’t know yet quite what “Goodbye, Harold” means, or what the Machine’s plea to Sierra Tango Oscar Papa will mean for Root, but it’s hard not to read the end of her story in this episode as a clear choice of Shaw as more important than The Machine’s direction. That is huge.

Some odds and ends:

  • So many parallels this episode!
  • Shaw’s cameo is obviously a callback to Kara Stanton’s first meeting with Greer. (Her line is also perfect. GRUMPY CAT SHAW.)
  • You cannot convince me that the factory head wasn’t supposed to remind us of Martine, with her perfect sweep of blonde bangs. It subtly reinforces the idea that Martine is a bit of an automaton and simultaneously makes us less sympathetic to this character (who Root is going to scare the living hell out of). Honestly, the backstory on this beleaguered woman makes me more sympathetic than anything else, but the visual link back to the core of Samaritan helps me focus more on Root’s pain than on the pain she’s causing poor Ms. Pacemaker.
  • Silva’s partnership with Fusco is almost like Fusco and Carter’s old relationship in reverse, with Fusco mentoring her (sort of) instead of the other way around.
  • “You remind me of a friend. Coupla friends, in fact” is obviously referring to Carter and Shaw, especially given that Fusco “couldn’t stand to lose someone today” largely because he’s just heard the search for Shaw is not going well.
  • HOW MANY FEELINGS DOES THIS SHOW EXPECT MY BODY TO CONTAIN WITH ALL THESE INTERESTING WOMEN
  • PS if you want to have your heart broken just like, watch these gifs. Harold will be right there with you.

This may be my last recap ever for this show, unless things take a drastically unexpected turn. If that turns out to be the case, I just wanted to say it’s been really fun doing this with you guys! Prayer circle for Silva to get a girlfriend TOOT SWEET.

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