The war between two AI giants has begun- and it all kicked off with Root in a bear suit. “The Cold War” started light- predictable banter between Root (Amy Acker) and Shaw (Sarah Shahi), the awesome “Bernstein” costume, and Fusco having a great morning. However, things started getting messy after Root/The Machine rejected Samaritan’s offer to formally negotiate. It was interesting how Samaritan can instigate bad human behavior just as easily as curb it, and how coldly methodical it is either way. Either outcome was simply a move to get The Machine to talk with it face-to-face.
And how about that dialogue when it finally happened? Root’s the obvious interface choice for The Machine, but I’m still not sure how/why Samaritan used a ten year old prodigy, besides the outstanding creepiness factor. I suppose it was one agent that Root wouldn’t try to take out, but couldn’t she at least given the kid a spanking? Apparently Samaritan really only wanted to talk to The Machine to gloat, or perhaps manipulate it somehow. I personally think the scene would have been more effective if Claire from “Nautilus” had been the interface. How chilling would it have been if she was sitting there, devoid of any personality and only speaking for Samaritan? The kid was creeps for sure, but where were his parents and how did he get there? Showing a previous POI completely under Samaritan’s control (essentially being an evil Root) would have felt less random.
There really wasn’t a real POI this episode, unless you count Greer (John Nolan) perhaps. I enjoyed the parallels shown between the AI War and the Cold War because it helped it feel more grounded by precedence. The flashback scenes also gave us an interesting back story for Greer, explaining his lack of allegiance to anybody but artificial intelligence.
This was the mid-season finale, but of course “The Cold War” was also the first episode of another trilogy. The last time Person of Interest had a three episode story arc, we lost Detective Carter (sniffle). You can bet the show-runners are riding that hype train into the new year, but will we really lose anybody? Jonathan Nolan has said in past interviews that if a show threatens characters but never kills them off, the effect is lost and the story feels cheap to him. If he and the writers are still in that mindset, we could very well be in the final episodes of a main character. My guess is either Root or Shaw, given all the excessive exposure their characters have gotten lately. Again, I’d hate to see either one go, but if Finch or Reese (heck, even Fusco) got killed, I would lose 90% of my interest in this show. Plus, it really is getting a little stale with their awkward relationship, and I’d like to think that’s been setting that up just for extra impact when one of them gets offed. Honestly, I love Amy Acker (if I haven’t already made that abundantly clear in previous posts), but between her and Shaw, I feel like Root’s character arc is more complete. Maybe losing her could be the trigger that finally gets Shaw in touch with her emotions. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a long wait.
Points of Interest:
1. Best quote from Root- “Mr. Bernstein was a big hit.”
2. Is Fusco being set up to help more intimately with numbers? Reese gave him the info on POI’s. Will he ever learn about The Machine?
3. If Samaritan isn’t taken out after this trilogy, I’m not sure how Team Machine can survive this exposed.
4. If Samaritan is taken out, we can only assume Elias vs. The Brotherhood will take center stage.
5. Hearts, prepare to be broken in January.