Person of Interest: Death Benefit Recap (Spoilers)

Synopsis: N O P E

Rating: ★★★★★

Remember that promo up there? Remember that post I made about it being a big bunch of NOPE?

Dear lordie I wish I had been wrong. Tonight’s episode of Person of Interest definitely just tipped the series downhill, full speed toward the resolution of the season. What DIDN’T happen in this episode? That’s the real question, because everything fell into place tonight. The only party that wasn’t represented happened to be Vigilance, but they had a major victory in the previous episode so I was not really surprised to see that they didn’t really get any screen time.

Tonight’s episode, titled “Death Benefit,” made up for all of the confusing, ‘what on earth was the point of that?’ bits throughout the entirety of season three. In spectacular form, the writers brought home all of the plot lines they’ve been building the entire season and managed to hit the ball way out of the park in this single episode.

nope 4

With how good this episode was I don’t know if I want to see what comes next because I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to handle it.

It started off with comic relief, which was great because the rest of the episode was severely lacking in humor. Reese and Shaw, in their usual form, end up saving two drug dealers who were going to kill each other for drug money. They knock them out and leave them for Fusco to find.

Unfortunately, I noticed a distinct lack of Fusco in this episode except for the two times they referred to him by name. It is understandable, given the team was out of New York City, but the lack of Kevin Chapman’s humorous presence really was an indicator of just how intense this episode was.

Root shows up in style on a fucking motorcycle of all things and whisks Shaw away, claiming the Machine had a task for them. Honestly I think she was just trying to take Shaw on a date. None the less, the two girls end up leaving for Miami while Reese leaves to meet up with Finch in DC to trail the latest number. Their number happens to be a United States senator who, on the surface, seems like a really good guy.

This looks like a date

This looks like a date

He helps the homeless, makes great deals with unions, had a tendency to go between parties without taking a definitive side, and even maintains a cordial relationship with his wife. This guy is a star and no one can figure out why the hell anyone is after him. Except somehow DECIMA is always a few paces behind Reese and the team and they have no clue why.

Reese ends up stealing the identity of a secret service agent in order to get close to the senator, but that gets blown by DECIMA and he is forced to kidnap the number in order to get him to safety. When all seems like it is going to hell in a hand basket, Shaw shows up and the team gets away to a temporary safe house where they try to figure out what the hell is happening. Why is DECIMA so interested in the senator? Is the senator a victim or a perpetrator?

Unfortunately they find the answer and it is heartbreaking.

nope 1

They are not there to protect the senator. That was actually DECIMA’s goal, which really confused the team for a short time. Then they realized something: the senator’s life was in danger, but not because of DECIMA or any other nefarious organization. No, the senator was in danger because the Machine, who usually sends Finch and the team out to save people’s lives, sent them out to take one. It comes to light that the senator had been making a deal with DECIMA and planned to push legislation through to allow for a new surveillance system, Samaritan, to take the place of the Northern Lights program. In exchange for insider stock information, the senator agreed to side with DECIMA and ensure that Samaritan came to pass.

In other words, this is a man with the power to put a dangerous, rival supercomputer online and give it all of the American government’s feeds. NSA, CIA, FBI, everyone and everything will be fed into Samaritan and DECIMA will have unfiltered access to every single piece of intelligence the United States has to offer.

They are in some deep shit and the Machine says this guy has to die.

One life to protect millions, right?

Let’s get to the part of the episode that broke my heart.

First, let me say that I can’t handle the fact that nearly EVERYONE was in tears. John? Quiet voice, watery eyes, and SAD EYEBROWS. Finch? I SWEAR he was going to cry because of the choice that was being laid before him. Now, okay, Shaw wasn’t about to burst into tears or anything but I swear we saw more emotion in her face in this scene than we have all season.

nope 2

Second of all, all three actors were phenomenal in this scene, but Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson stole the fucking show. They’ve been building a partnership since day one, they are now friends, and right before them is the true test of their relationship. It is a test of everything they’ve stood for as a team. The Machine is asking them to kill a man and Finch refuses to let that be it. He refuses to give up on their quest to save people. He built the Machine to save lives, that had always been their quest, and he was not about to give it all up and allow the senator to die.

“I’m afraid this is where I get off.”

where I get off

Even after Reese reminds him what happened the last time they ignored the Machine, which opened up a whole different wound for fans of the show who were brutally reminded that they lost Detective Joss Carter because the team hadn’t gotten the intelligence in time. They didn’t eliminate Simmons when they had the chance and as a result they lost a friend. More than that, they lost a valuable member of the team and someone they all loved. They ignored the Machine and death was the consequence.

In the same way, if they ignored the Machine and let the senator live, people were going to die.

Specifically, Harold Finch, John Reese, Sameen Shaw, and Root are all going to end up with a bullet in their heads.

Reese doesn’t kill the senator and the team goes on the run and fights to get back to New York.

Samaritan is cleared for beta testing by the American government.

As Samaritan comes to life and begins reading through all of the feeds it has been given access to, four words come out of its master’s mouth:

Find me Harold Finch.

nope 3

If you need me, I’ll be on the Nope Express on the way to Nopeville where I’m going to live in a house built of nope on a farm where I raise nope and harvest it in order to live off of it.

2 responses to “Person of Interest: Death Benefit Recap (Spoilers)

  1. Person of interest is straying away from why I watch this show religiously. It is one of the best shows on tv but I love it because it helps people. The story lines now have made me start to lose interest. Get back to the way it was before which is entertaining. If you keep on this story line you will lose a lot of viewers. I love the characters you have put together but as I said if you continue this storyline not even they can save this show.

    • I just want to clarify – you mean a general ‘you’ and not specifically me, correct? Just to be clear, I’m in no way attached to the show. I’m just a fan! 🙂

      While I do miss some of the dynamics of season 2, I have to say I’m loving the descent into science fiction that I’ve been waiting for since they first mentioned the Machine and began hinting at Artificial Intelligence. I think the plot has become more complex than it was in its old weekly procedural format and I’m excited to see just how far they’ll take the show.

      There are days where I’m nostalgic for detective Carter, and HR, and the bad guys being tangible, obvious corrupted bodies. At the same time, the shift to dealing with grey area morals and technology really catches my attention. I feel like the show has switched from a bad guys vs. good guys procedural to a commentary on the very moral-grey world we live in, especially in terms of government surveillance.

      So I say all that to say, while I loved the show as it was, it has become something different but I love it now for different reasons. It gives me a moral conundrum at the end of the week that intrigues me, especially from a philosophical standpoint, more so than it used to.

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