Person of Interest
Season 5, Episode 5: “ShotSeeker”
Tuesday May 17, 2016
I think the best way to describe Tuesday night’s episode of Person of Interest, “ShotSeeker”, is as a palate cleanser. The episode wasn’t bad, but truthfully, any episode following the monster that was “6,741” has big shoes to fill. I think my issue with this episode, and if I am going to be honest with this season as a whole, is that I do not really feel a connection with the number storylines. They almost seem to get in the way of the important stuff, or feel like a contrived vehicle to move another part of the plot along. There was a lot of interesting stuff going on this episode in terms of basically everyone, and it seemed like number storylines was more of a distraction.
The episode begins with Harold visiting the safehouse after fulfilling some of his Professor Whistler duties. Well that is an alias we haven’t heard in awhile. Are we really supposed to assume that Finch has been keeping up with his college professor identity while being in the subway basically 24/7?
Classes and office hours have been suspended indefinitely. If you need to contact Prof. Whistler he will be in a hidden underground subway nursing an ASI back to life.
Regards, University Administration.
So onto the irrelevant storyline (ha get what I did there). While the plotline weaves in and out of all the other stories, it isn’t really that interesting so I am going to try to sum it up quickly. This episode’s number is a caffeine addict named Ethan who works on the NYC task force ShotSeeker, a program that picks up the sound of gunshots around the city. This guy has supersonic hearing, like superman level shit. He can hear the sound of gunshots and tell you what type of gun they came from. I feel like that would be the best blessing while also being the worst curse. Want to eavesdrop on every conversation ever? Done! Want to fall asleep with a ticking clock anywhere in the vicinity? Nope, never gonna happen.
The reason that Ethan’s number came up is because he is investigating the disappearance of a chemist named Krupa a woman who has been missing ever since ShotSeeker misidentified gunshots in her apartment as fire crackers. As Ethan astutely points out “Last time I checked, this wasn’t the Fourth of July.” While the setting off of firecrackers in Harlem and the Heights is actually a common place during warmer weather (unfortunately I have first hand experience with this very loud and annoying practice) it almost always done outside, and not in the very small confines of a NYC apartment. John believes Ethan’s story and decides to help solve the mystery of Krupa, by handing him off to Fusco.
After some more digging, Root and Finch realize that Samaritan is behind the entire thing. It tampered with ShotSeeker, hacked into and stole Krupa’s world hunger ending patent, set up Ethan. For some reason, Samaritan finds it imperative to keep Krupa’s discovery a secret, and will kill to keep it that way. So in order to take the power of obtaining this knowledge away, Root disseminates Krupa’s paper to a myriad of scholarly publications.
So while this whole thing is happening, there are two additional, way more interesting and important subplots. The first involves Fusco, who in the beginning of the episode is approached by Elias’s old friend and business partner Bruce. Bruce approached Fusco in the park, while he was watching his son play hockey and demanded that Lionel tell him the truth about what actually happened to Elias, and if he didn’t he would inflict harm on Fusco’s son. Fusco basically responds with “You want answers? Join the line, kid. AND NEVER LAY YOUR FUCKING EYES ON MY SON AGAIN.” Since John and Finch STILL won’t tell Fusco about the machine and Samaritan, John tells Fusco he will take care of Bruce situation.
Well, suffice to say the John does not do a great job of taking care of this, because it results in John being kidnapped by Bruce and his guys. To make things worse, Root and Finch think that it is Samaritan that kidnapped Reese, as they are unaware of the C-plot going on this episode. I have to say, it was really touching to see Root come to John’s defense in this scene. We have seen Shaw and John work closely and bond, obviously Shaw and Root have a very, very special connection, and this season especially we have seen Root and Finch grow closer than ever, but we never see John and Root emotionally interact. You usually get the sense that Root and Reese those two people who if their mutual friends were not in the same friend group, they would never speak. But Root cares about John, and is not willing to have another member of the Scooby gang be taken away by Samaritan (even though Samaritan has nothing to do with the kidnapping, but that is neither here nor there) and is raring to go and save him. But, as expected John does not need anyone’s help. It is time to tell/show Bruce the truth….. that ELIAS IS ALIVE.Yup you read that correctly. After the crash in last season’s finale, Elias did not die! Fusco saved him and brought him to the safe house so he could be nursed back to house. That was not a twist I ever saw coming.
And finally, my favorite storyline of the episode: Root, Harold, and two baby ASIs. Harold has taken the kernel of Samaritan code that he and Root retrieved and has started to incubate a baby Samaritan. He plans to set up a battle Royale between two baby ASI’s, the Machine and Samaritan, in order to find any flaws that may be hiding inside Samaritan’s code. This monumental battle will occur inside a Faraday cage, and Root is not allowed to watch. Root is miffed to say the least as she is the one who helped Harold retrieve the Samaritan code.
Harold connects the third to a third computer, which is a computer version of a boxing ring (or something like that, I really get lost when Harold gets too computer-y), and the games begin. Let me rephrase that. The complete and utter massacre begins. Out of over a billion matchups between the two superpower computer gods, Samaritan has won every. single. one. This brings Harold and Root back to the overarching theme of their entire relationship: how to treat and raise The Machine as they discuss whether or not to give her code to let her “push back in the playground.” And then comes one of my favorite lines of the episode.
Finch: The Machine is infinitely smarter than either of us. If anyone here needs to recode the Machine, it should be the Machine.
I think it is really interesting to see how this conversation between Root and Harold on the subject of the machine has evolved over the past five seasons. Harold would NEVER have said this line, in season one, two or three for that matter. In the beginning Root was the rebellious rambunctious aunt who just wanted to set The Machine free, and Harold was the over protective and cautious father. While the pair still differ on how they view The Machine, over the years they have adopted parts of the others perspective as well. Root realizes now that The Machine needs to be nurtured in a certain way, and Harold has learned to put trust in The Machine.
Other Interesting Tidbits:
- Fusco has taken upon himself to investigate everything the Nerd Herd is keeping from him, and Samaritan now has him flagged as a potential obstruction.
- It is finally revealed that Samaritan is most likely behind the decrease in murders over the last couple of months, as they have been covering all of them up as missing persons and suicides (hence the increase in these). Maybe other people had picked up on that earlier, but I did not.
This season I am more frustrated than ever that they’re keeping Fusco in the dark about everything! I’m assuming the intent of this is to protect him, but he sticks his neck out for them constantly, and they still can’t bother to tell him the truth?
Also, I was surprised at how much tension I felt just from watching a computer screen run numbers about simulations. Considering this show is pretty much just about two computers fighting, I’m always impressed at how POI manages to make me feel like the stakes are still incredibly high.