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Person of Interest - Search and Destroy - Review: "A strong instalment"

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With four episodes remaining, my hope was that Person of Interest would focus primarily on Samaritan rather than delivering procedural-type episodes. Luckily, despite the episode focussing around a number-of-the-week, it was abundantly clear from the very beginning that Sulaiman Khan’s life was being ruined by Samaritan, and it made for a very good instalment of POI.

Something that I commented on earlier in the season was that when the show wanted to hide the fact that a number was connected to Samaritan, it didn’t do it very well and as a result it was predictable and a lot of the story to that point was quite bland. ‘Search and Destroy’ smartly went in the opposite direction and made it clear to us early on that Samaritan was behind everything - though it took a little longer for Finch to work it out, Emerson showed little expression of surprise nor did the accompanying music suggest it.

As a result of this, a lot more time was spent on trying to figure out exactly what Samaritan wanted while simultaneously attempting to save Khan. I felt that this worked in the episode’s favour as it allowed the show to tap back into the serialised story much more than has been the case of late, and with it being so late in the season, things really needed that jolt to push forward.

While it was fun watching Aasif Mandvi throughout, Khan was the architect of his own death through his inability to stop asking questions, something that had also worn thin on me by the end of the episode. It’s understandable, granted, that someone with his technological expertise would want to know how exactly he was bested, but as the old saying goes: ‘Curiosity killed the cat’. As much as his persistent questions frustrated me, it’s somewhat of a shame to see Khan die since he could have become an asset for the team, but his death scene was pretty cool, so I’m fine with it.

Unsurprisingly, what interested me most was Samaritan’s interest in Khan. The episode alluded to Samaritan’s “search” part-way through and it was reasonably predictable as to what it was doing, but it was terrifying to see it confirmed. Using Khan’s anti-virus software that was installed in every network device (well, 86% of network devices) to scan for the Machine’s unique code instead of viruses was a great concept.

Samaritan was once again shown to be the evil, omniscient AI that the team perceive it to be, as opposed to just scratching at the surface as has been the case in recent episodes. It managed to figure out not only that the Machine’s code was unlike that of any other device or software anywhere in the world, but that it had to search for it under the radar to prevent detection. Samaritan seems to be improving itself at every turn and I feel that it’s only a matter of time before it discovers the location of the Machine.

Once again, Person of Interest found a way to subtly weave in an issue of morality through Finch’s refusal to use a gun. Even in the face of danger to his own life, he won’t accept taking a firearm. I commend Finch’s unwavering dedication to his morals, and it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock given that he was willing to die in the previous episode to save an innocent woman. It’s interesting to compare that to the flashbacks from ‘Karma’ where he was set to kill Alicia Corwin to get revenge for Nathan’s death. I think the moment at which he chose not to press that button was the moment that he realised that his morals are everything to him, and since then he has tried (and will continue to try) his hardest to avoid breaking those morals. We saw it back in ‘Death Benefit’ last year, and we saw it again here.

Root had another side mission this week and it was nice to actually see her complete it. Her opening scene in the restaurant with the gas was just superb (featuring a fantastic variation of her theme) while for the majority of the episode, I was left scratching my head over what could be in the box the case. It turned out to be a Faberge egg, which was relatively anticlimactic. However, the Machine - and the show - is too smart and instead of the contents of the case being important, the case itself was the key. I wonder what they will need to stash safely in there in the next three episodes. Leave any ideas you might have in the comments!

Odds and ends:

  • The Root/Martine fight sequence was pretty good, though I felt it was lacking slightly in choreography compared to some of the other fistfights we’ve seen on the show. Regardless, Reese really should have let Root kill her.
  • Speaking of Martine, she was much better as a blond.
  • The code for the case had to be 314, did it not? The show does seem to like Pi…
  • When Root was defending herself with the case, why did the shooter not aim for the rest of her body, which had no protection? Reese would’ve just kneecapped her. I’m glad the shooter wasn’t Reese.
  • Zoe’s appearance felt a little forced as if her only real purpose was to tell John not to get close to Iris for her sake (also - Zoe is spying on Reese). Still, it gets Paige Turco back on my screen and allowed for a fun exchange between her and Reese earlier on, so I won’t complain.
  • “Think of it as a machine. You like machines, right Finch?”

What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below and check out the promo for next week’s ‘Terra Incognita’ below too.

About the Author - Bradley Adams
16 year old based in England, currently Senior Staff at SpoilerTV. Most of his posts are news/spoiler based, though he is currently the reviewer of Person of Interest, as well as being in charge of the yearly 'Favourite Episode Competition'. A big TV fan, his range of shows are almost exclusively dramas, with some of his all-time favourite shows including 24, LOST, Breaking Bad and Friends. Some of his current favourites include Person of Interest, Arrow and The Walking Dead. He also runs an Arrow blog, ArrowFansUK, and aside from TV, is a keen cricketer. Get in touch with him via the links below or via email
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