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‘Person of Interest’ Review/Recap: “The Cold War”

Joe Carter ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Michael Emerson, Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi in the Person of Interest episode "The Cold War." Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.
Michael Emerson, Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi in the Person of Interest episode “The Cold War.” Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.

Much like the Bon Jovi song, Person of Interest is halfway there with the arrival of the fall finale and team Machine is certainly living on a prayer.

Since POI last left off weeks ago, the Brotherhood plotline has calmed down and the focus has shifted back to Samaritan, which has taken a new tactic in destroying team Machine. Doing the good guys’ job for them. It was a little weird at first but it quickly turns when the Machine turns down a face-to-face meeting with Samaritan and Samaritan retaliates by blocking up traffic, letting murder run wild, and doing everything in its power to mess with team Machine’s efforts to save their irrelevant numbers. Eventually the Machine sits down with Samaritan in a very bizarre and creepy fashion to discuss the future of humanity and the world.

Oddly enough not that much happened in this episode, but it was probably one of the most plot relevant ones this season. The only spoilers that could possibly be shared are that Samaritan has vowed to destroy the Machine and its agents and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) has left the safety of the subway station to help the team with the rising chaos. Oh, Samaritan also crashed the stock market at the end of the episode the effects of which will most likely be seen when the show returns on January 6th.

Amy Acker and Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode "The Cold War." Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.
Amy Acker and Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode “The Cold War.” Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.

This episode skipped the metaphors and had the two AI’s clearly spell out what they stand for through their respective “avatars.” Root (Amy Acker) stood in as the Machine and a scary little boy stood in for Samaritan. It was very horror movie-esque and a clever way to give Samaritan a voice, especially since the Machine is more mature than Samaritan and Samaritan has only been “alive” for a short amount of time.

The Machine advocated free will while Samaritan pushed for control which came as no surprise, but it did pose quite a few philosophical questions to the audience in true Nolan style. This episode didn’t develop the main characters as much but it developed characters that are technically non-corporeal. The Machine and Samaritan, for as long as it’s been around, have been shrouded in mystery since the get go and it was interesting to see them relate and talk to each other. It gave otherwise clinical god-like machines more dimension as characters.

Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode "The Cold War." Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.
Michael Emerson in the Person of Interest episode “The Cold War.” Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.

Samaritan telling the Machine that it will “never be one of them [humans]” was a powerful albeit blunt point. The Machine is about as human as an AI can get if the Iron Giant isn’t in the running. Hearing Samaritan and Harold (Michael Emerson) state it various times reinforced it elegantly and created an odd juxtaposition of Harold and Samaritan agreeing on something. As much as Root and even Shaw would like to think the Machine has everyone’s best interests at heart, it isn’t human and could never be.

The POI team continues to delve deeper into the mythology of the show and it has been captivating to watch the Machine and Samaritan grow as characters. The winter premiere cannot come quick enough and they still need to use that missile they found several episodes ago. Do not miss the coming episodes. Things are still heating up if that is at all possible after the events of last episode.

Overall Episode Grade: A-

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