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‘Person of Interest’: “A More Perfect Union” Review

Person of Interest
Season 5, Episode 6: “A More Perfect Union”
Monday May 23, 2016

Monday night’s episode of Person of Interest finally provided a substantial and interesting number story line, the first of the season, as well as strong plot line for each main character.

The Machine is back to its incredible witty self and sends Finch a marriage license as the number of the week. (I know that there are more than one episode a week, but “number of the episode” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well). Who is the victim? Who is the perpetrator? The only way to find out is by attending the wedding!

Finch sends John to the hotel to protect the bride and her bridal party. And by protect the girls I mean give them a lap dance. Oh man, and John’s reaction is beyond priceless.
STripperJohns Response

With an evil smirk on his face, Harold tells Reese “Sorry Mr. Reese, but I had no choice. I need you at that wedding.” Looks like Finch has the same whimsical sense of humor as the machine. As the old saying goes: Like father, like ASI. John turns on his charm by continuing to be grumpy and monotone and snags an invite from Jenna, the bride’s sister. Jenna also has a case of the “Tequila Talks” and tells John all of her family’s dirty secrets. Phoebe Turner, the bride, is a Harvard grad whose dad owns a horse racing empire (which is apparently a thing) while the groom, Will O’Brien is a lowly peasant working a public defender who graduated from the undignified halls of Boston College. Papa Turner decided not to give Phoebe the racing dynasty because of her choice in life partner, and is leaving his life’s work to his eldest daughter Karen instead. Also Will’s ex-girlfriend is inexplicably one of Phoebe’s bridesmaids.

Root strolls into the subway looking for a place to crash because her latest alias, a meth head, was behind on the rent. She offers to make the pair lasagna for dinner, but Harold can’t. He has to attend a wedding as Uncle Ralph, Will O’Brien’s estranged alcoholic uncle from Ireland. Root is offended when Harold neither invites her as his date, nor assumes she enjoys weddings.

Root: “Even I appreciate a fairytale ending Harry. Family politics. Overcooked meat. Monogamy. What’s not to love.”

Harold laughs this off and gives Root the house rules: Bear gets 2 scoops of Kibble twice a day and answer the payphone. Well that sounds simple enough. Fast forward to Root sadly sitting on the subway floor with Bear, eating a sandwich while flipping through a wedding magazine. The payphone rings and she jumps up to answer it and retrieve the new number, letting Bear finish the rest of her sandwich. Well at least she followed one of Harold’s rules.

bear and root

They head back to the office, only to discover that all the surveillance camera’s cut out during the ceremony. Luckily all weddings have their own form of surveillance, so the pair decide to find Maggie, the official Turner wedding/life photographer. Well, before they even start their search, they find that someone has beaten them to it. And that someone is Root, the catering ninja extraordinaire who magically appears in the back of the room with a temporarily drugged Maggie.

Before they can continue on with their investigation, Uncle Ralph is called up to the stage to perform his long overdue number. Will’s father always used to tell him stories growing up about how fantastic of a singer Uncle Ralph was, and his one wish is that Uncle Ralph perform at his wedding. This has to be, without a doubt, in my top five favorite moment of Person of Interest ever. What song does Mr. Harold Finch/Uncle Ralph decide to sing? We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sisters. But that is not all, he sing/talks the entire thing in an Irish accent. If you haven’t watched the episode (which I am not sure why you would be reading this right now) you need to stop everything you are doing and watch the entire episode just for this scene. That is how amazing it is. I have actually watched this clip about ten times already.

Root: “How come Harry never sings to us?”
John: “He doesn’t sing to you?”

It turns out that Photographer Maggie was the victim, and Phoebe’s older sister Karen, the perpetrator. Maggie learned that Phoebe was doping horses so they could still race even when injured by accidentally catching it on camera. Because of this Karen wants her dead. Luckily for Phoebe, John, and the entire world, Root (again) comes to the rescue, but this time on horseback. Robin Hood style bro!
horse
With all of the action and fighting out of the way, the gang goes to enjoy the wedding reception. As the night winds down and the last song is announced Root asks Harold for the last dance.She confronts him about the Machine’s utter defeat by Samaritan and asks to give her the tools to act. Harold asks if that is why she is at the wedding, because the machine asked her to come and make this point

Root: “I didn’t like being alone in the subway.”
Harold: “Oh. Ms. Groves, you are perfectly capable of taking care of yourself.”
Root: “I wasn’t scared.”
Harold: “You were lonely.”
Root: “Or maybe I just like weddings.”

The song ends and they meet John who is sitting down at their table with a top shelf bottle of bourbon he stole from the wine cellar. He pours one out for each of them and they take a drink. One small happy family, minus a few missing members. As they watch the happy couple dance and celebrate with their family, they look off into the ether, imagining what their future with Samaritan may bring tomorrow. In my dreams of dreams, this is how the episode would have ended, with Root, Harold and John sipping whiskey, but alas it is not how it ends. Not how it ends at all.

Now onto the two stellar B-Plots:

Shaw:
Shaw is still in Samaritan’s control, still wearing virtual reality glasses, and Samaritan is still unable to break her. Greer asks Shaw if she is tired to which she responds “Why would I be? That’s what? 7052 times you’ve tried to get me to murder my friends.” Phew okay, well this mollifies my fear that Shaw wouldn’t know fantasy from reality.

What Greer wants is to prove to Shaw that the Nerd Herd are not the heroes. They are the villains. He brings Sameen to Central Park and tries to butter her up by giving her her favorite sandwich before explaining how Samaritan does good. He does this, as Shaw says so eloquently explains, by showing her “two rich, balding, white men.” Ha. I missed Shaw’s dry humor so much. These two rich, balding white guys run companies that put other companies out of business resulting in the deaths of many elderly people and kids. Next, he brings Shaw to a second location to show her two more bald rich white guys who are about to seal a deal to start using cheap faulty airplane parts to save money, which will result in the loss of thousands of innocent lives. Samaritan would be able to save all these innocent lives before The Machine even received their number.

Finally, after telling Greer that his tactics are not working, he brings Sameen to meet the creepy creepy kid Samaritan has taken control of. This kid creeps me out so much, I just can’t. Yet again, they try to convince her that “Samaritan=Good” and “The Machine=bad”. This time it is by blowing up a bunch of buildings in NYC, which would have been stopped if she just worked for Samaritan. It is then that Shaw realizes that this is, yet again, another simulation.

Fusco:
Harold calls Fusco to try to enlist him on Team Wedding, even offering him the possibility of a caviar bar. Really Harold, caviar? You’re talking to Fusco, know your audience. Fusco declines, citing the fact that a) he has a life and b) he has an actual job, but really it is because he is trying to get to the bottom of the rash of disappearances and suicides occurring in his city. Man this makes me so scared that Fusco’s going to get shot in the head before this episode ends. Luckily, Fusco is smart enough that he hides his missing person board in a room without a camera. See, Fusco knows things! Just trust him already!
missingpersonboard

Fusco may be able to say no to Harold, but he can never say no to his one and only Coco Puffs. Root has a wedding to crash, so she is unable to work the new number so she hands it off to Fusco. Lionel walks to his desk to find Root sitting in his chair with Bear, her service dog. When he asks why she can’t handle it herself she replies with “because I’m Harold’s plus one.” She slowly explains to a confused Fusco what a plus one is, but the definition of a Plus One is not the part of the equation confusing Fusco. Annoyed that yet another person thinks she hates weddings, she sighs “Please, I left a guy at the altar just last year.” Ha! Now it’s up to Fusco to save this the number’s life.

Fusco follows Howard (the new number) to Central Park, where he is meeting up with Bruce, Elias’s partner who threatened Fusco’s son last week. Fusco gets really suspicious though when Howard goes missing, and he has to add another picture to his missing persons board. He is going to get to the bottom of this, so he pulls up a recording he taped of Bruce and Howard in the park on his computer. Fusco knows computers! He then does some high-tech computer sound mixing and gets a new lead. Woohoo, you go Fusco! This lead leads him out to a soon to be demolished building in Jackson Heights where he finds the dead bodies of every missing person on his missing person board. AND THEN THE BUILDING EXPLODES! Fusco better be okay, or I am going to be the one that explodes!

Other Tidbits:

I really did not understand Samaritan’s strategy to turn Shaw. Greer starts the episode by saying that he plans to show Sameen that Harold and the machine are not the good guys they make themselves out to be. But his argument really is that Samaritan can save more lives on a greater scale than the Machine by killing people in advanced. While that argument may be valid, it does nothing to discredit the Machine and the good it does. It is just saying that Samaritan could do more.
Was Fusco referring to Bear or Root when he said “Most of my mugging victims don’t have an 150 lb killing machine.” Root obviously took it as being about Bear, but there is no way Bear is 150 pounds right?

About Alyssa Berkowitz

Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa (TV Editor) likes long walks on the beach, Greek food, talking about television, watching a good sunset, and girls who wear glasses. Wait, this isn't a bio for OKCupid? Alyssa got her start recapping in college when her friends got tired of her constantly talking about TV and suggested she start a blog. The idea was if she wrote about TV she would talk about it less. Well her friends succeeded in one of their goals...she started writing about TV.

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