Friday, January 9, 2015

What I’m Watching: Person of Interest

Person of Interest: Season 4, Episode 11 “If-Then-Else” (A-)

I’ll get to the devastating part of this episode at the end, and let me promise you that I’m very upset about that. But I have to take time to praise the construction of this episode, which found its heroes going in guns-blazing with furious techno music scoring their standoffs with Samaritan operatives, after a very weird moment in which Finch’s speech slowed down after Reese asked about the machine choosing a poor time to malfunction. I love that this was a glimpse into the mind of Samaritan and how it works, using the logic that Finch taught it about playing chess to run simulations in a split second to determine the best odds of survival for our team. That its chosen option only presented a 2.97% chance of survival isn’t optimistic, but I did enjoy that its final simulation involved Fusco planting a kiss on Root because it was only a simulation and each of the characters simply uttered a summary of their lines to make it go quicker. Watching Finch die and then Reese and Root was tough, but there were also fun parts, like Finch stopping to admire the original painting before watching it get shot to pieces. That Root saved it for him in the actual way things happened was great, and it was also refreshing to see Shaw talk down the bomber without having to shoot him and get herself arrested. That led to the episode’s most awesome moment, which was Shaw showing up to save the day and exponentially increase their odds. Unfortunately, that also meant her dying, which is a real shame. The kiss she planted on Root was hardly romantic but is sure to haunt her, and Shaw went out a true hero. I looked online immediately after I finished the episode to discover that actress Sarah Shahi is pregnant with twins and understandably needs a break from this rather precarious series, and she did say in an interview that maybe Shaw could come back someday. I’m sure the show will be fine without her, but she was a more intriguing character than Carter ever was, and she’ll be sorely missed. What an incomparably terrific performance from Shahi.

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