Disillusionment isn’t pretty, and Person of Interest doesn’t try to sugarcoat it. Reese is done trusting: the Machine, that some man is better for Jessica than him, that his government only has the best intentions, that people who he’s saved will stay saved, or stay turned to the good. Reese has been burned too many times. He goes back with Fusco – who colludes with the local authorities so that he and Reese can have a few moments to talk in another attempt to reach Reese in his despondency, only to fail – to save Finch. But now he’s done with trying to save people. He’s reverted to the Reese from the Pilot who once told Finch that bad things are always going to happen. You can’t stop them. His words to Finch at the end are chilling. In essence he is saying, you’ll die too one day, Harold; just like Carter. Remember, Reese last said those words about Carter back in Season 1’s Get Carter. Now, two years later, she is dead. Reese knows Harold will die; he’s just not going to be there to watch it.
Reese has two sides to him. One wants to save the world – bring down corrupt agencies like HR. The other wants to take care of the people he loves. Sometimes those two sides collide. In taking down HR, he couldn’t protect the ones he loves and Carter paid the price. Same thing with Jessica; Reese went back into the military and then on to the CIA to save the world – his government needed him; however, that cost Jessica her life, because Peter, the supposed better man, killed her. Fusco told John that he’s a better man because of meeting him and working with him. To someone not lost in despondency and grief those words might have sparked something, but Reese can’t bring himself to see the good right now; for him, Fusco is just a stone’s throw away from corruption – we’re delaying the inevitable.
To his credit, Fusco understands where Reese is at. He didn’t pick a fight with Reese in Lethe because he was mad. He picked a fight with Reese to try to wake up the man’s spirit as well as let Reese work out some of his anger. Here, Fusco doesn’t take offense at Reese’s suggestion that Fusco will go dark again, rather, he changes tactics and tells Reese that not only are they free to go, but that Finch is likely in danger. Thankfully, that awakens Reese from his apathy to enact the rescue, but his return is temporary. He can’t stay. He’s too broken, too disillusioned. It’s not pretty, but it is real.
Some fans can’t accept John’s mindset. They comment about how Reese’s pity party is over the top and that it’s gone on too long. Think on this: Ever have a pet? Ever know someone who has had a pet? That pet dies. The person never gets another pet. The loss hurt too much. I understand that loss. But, for me, when I lost my beloved dog four and a half years ago, I immediately set out to get a puppy. I knew that there would be heartbreak again – and there will be, but I also know all the enjoyment I have from having that puppy, now a grown dog. The enjoyment outweighs the grief that will come.
Too simple? How about this: Some people get burned at love and never love again. Some people have a bad experience at a restaurant, amusement park, some business, whatever, and their response is to write the whole thing off. Ponder that for a moment and you’ll realize that either you have been in this situation or you know someone else who has. Ever been married and gotten a divorce and now say that marriage is awful? Ever gone to a church and found people there who are hypocrites and say that all people who read their Bible and go to church are hypocrites? The list could go on.
If you can understand that, then you can begin to see where John is. While I agree with Fusco’s viewpoint – no one ever said we’d win all the time, but it’s not a reason to stop fighting, I understand John’s. If we think of what we know about John, we’ll realize this isn’t strange. We know he turned his back on the government because ‘it’ lied to him. We know that he has no one in his life outside of Finch, Fusco, Shaw, Zoe – now that Carter is gone. Mark Snow’s first words to John in Number Crunch include his amazement that John hadn’t holed up in a cabin somewhere to live out in obscurity. That John is taking his time to figure things out and decide his course of action should be cause for celebration that Person of Interest isn’t simply glossing over a major event and acting like all that preceded it regarding these characters was no big deal. PoI’s writers are giving us the dark, raw, unpleasant side of grief; I’m a fan.
And now that I’ve spent over 80 percent of my review talking about what transpired in about 10 percent of the episode, what about Samaritan and Root and Decima and all the rest? First off, I love that PoI doesn’t slow down. HR was concluded in smashing style and without so much as a chance to draw our breath we’re off in a whole new direction. Root is free, the Machine is protecting Control – and apparently more than willing to continue to send Intel her way, Finch had to commit his father and then abandon him for good, we got a tiny glimpse of some of Harold’s seditious activities before he reinvented himself and went to MIT and met up with Nathan and Arthur, Decima now has Samaritan, and Vigilance has confirmation of not one but two machines, and shows itself willing to go to extreme lengths for its cause. The producers summed up in one word the second half of Season 3: escalation. We got a good dose of it in “Lethe” and “Aletheia.”
Notes of Interest:
Root: “I am the interface. You want to talk to her, just give me a phone.”
Finch even wonders if they should have built the Machine as he tells Claypool that in the end, at best, they’ve only given the deck a shuffle.
“Call me Root.” “Call me Control.” — hah, who has the cooler code name!
I don’t think Hersh died in that blast – we have yet to see a body; he’ll be back to cause more mayhem. The list of characters who would like to kill him continues to grow – add Root to that list after Shaw and Reese.
We’re back next week with “4C.” So, with Finch not giving Reese numbers, is the Machine contacting him directly or is it Root? Is this a setup for a Root/Reese teaming? I can hope!
Until next week, thanks for reading, Elle2