Person of Interest 4×02 Nautilus Revisited
FINCH MUST DECIDE IF HE CAN HELP A BRILLIANT STUDENT ENGAGED IN A LIFE-AND-DEATH SCAVENGER HUNT WITHOUT ALERTING SAMARITAN, ON “PERSON OF INTEREST.”
“Nautilus” – Although Finch insists that he no longer wishes to help with new numbers, his interest is piqued when Reese learns that the newest POI is a brilliant college student engaged in a mysterious, life-and-death scavenger hunt.
The second episode of Person of Interest season 4, Nautilus, begins with Harold Finch welding when John sends him a text to meet for a late night snack. Reese can’t make it after being swamped with paperwork (courtesy of a smirking Lionel Fusco). Of course it’s no accident that the new number is also at the diner. Claire Mahoney, a once diligent student, who recently has become involved in minor criminal activity and also had acquired a 9 mm handgun. Finch at first refuses to help, but ends up following Claire who takes a slip of paper from a flyer. Those slips of paper each have icons of a nautilus shell and a phone number. The nautilus shell is always present on clues of the game. The phone number on the slips of paper are actually math equations when solved gives the geographic location of the next clue.
Harold goes to the next location—a building that has one wall covered with graffiti art, yet contained in the painting is the next clue— runs into Claire who thinks he is also playing the game and accuses him of cheating. She shoots out the widow of a passing car and fleas. John shows up miraculously at the scene and pretends to arrest Harold, just in time to stop the irate car owner from taking out his anger on an innocent Finch. While in custody i.e. sitting in the back of John’s vehicle, Finch suggests Reese take Bear to search Claire’s apartment. While John is there he finds a hard drive and takes it back to Finch. Also while Reese and Bear search the apartment a man claiming to be Claire’s father (he’s not, Claire’s parents were killed in a car wreck) shows up giving John a phone number to call if the detective finds anything about Claire’s were-abouts.
Finch and Reese meet at Professor Whistler’s office. The picture of the wall’s graffiti art is another puzzle Finch and Reese solve together. The clue leads them to believe Claire will be at an arch and Reese goes to find her while Harold stays behind to see what is on that hard-drive. Reese finds Claire standing in the middle of a busy highway. John saves her from being run over by a car, then from the man posing as her father. Claire gets away as does the fake dad.
Harold comes to the arch and John searches for Claire. The two are trying to figure out the endgame of the scavenger hunt, one Finch believes Samaritan is behind and is global, not just New York City. The first part of the scavenger hunt was to hack into a private contractor’s data storage and steal a file, the data which is now on the hard drive Reese found in Claire’s apartment. Looking at the signs alongside the road—the colors of the stoplights and the numbers of them on the sign’s borders are representative of phrases in braille—Finch figures out the location of the next clue, a biker bar.
Finch gives Reese the address of a biker bar where John finds Claire. After a run in with some rough characters Reese convinces another player to quit and go home. He also finds the next piece of the puzzle, a skull with Nautilus eyes and numbers in a banner above it, but first has to resume his search for their number. Reese keeps an eye on Claire, who has a bunch of ex-military private contractors chasing after her because she was successful in stealing one of their files. While he does that, Finch takes Shaw on a fun field trip to scare the living daylights out of a barista to get more information about the game. The barista was only a pawn in the game and received an email instructing him to put up the lost dog flyer for money. While Finch is trying to find the source of the email sent to the innocent barista something attacks Finch’s hard drive, viciously. Finch throws the laptop out he car window and tells Shaw to “Drive!” The conclusion they come to? The game was established by Samaritan as a tool for recruiting.
Finch has a talk with Root. Much as The Machine has made Samantha Groves an asset, Samaritan is recruiting assets of its own—namely Claire and other winners of the game elsewhere if there were any. Samaritan is recruiting assets much the same as the Machine has Reese, Shaw, and Fusco, Root, and the other hackers.
Reese disarms and disables the band of mercenaries out to get the number and finds out they work for the group Claire stole the files from. The company was trying to build its own surveillance system similar to The Machine and Samaritan. Later with Fusco’s help they determine the clue from the bar was musical notes. The song is New York New York and the numbers above the skull along with the song title give them the address where the next clue is.
Claire also has deciphered the next clue in Samaritan’s game and ends up on top of Rockefeller Center where Harold meets her. They have a talk, Finch trying to convince Claire to accept their help, but to no avail. In the end, Claire refuses his offer. She has deciphered the last Nautilus clue etched on the building’s roof. Claire disappears into the crowd; Finch and the Team let her go. They let her go because they gave her a choice and let her make it. That has been the premise of the show that people are allowed to make choices and sometimes they make the not-so-great one, and that’s just how it is. The heroes can only save people who make a choice to be saved, and Claire didn’t see anything she needed to be saved from.
So in the end, Claire gets connected with Samaritan. She ends up in a final conflict with the para-military company she stole a file from, but they are all shot dead right in front of her eyes. With a cell phone Claire found in am empty electrical box, Samaritan gives her a short message: I will protect you now. Samaritan is recruiting assets and also snuffing development of any other artificial intelligence.
Finally, the episode Nautilus, ends on a high note. Finch finally makes the big reveal and shows the team the new headquarters, stashed away in an old subway line repair station. It isn’t the library by any stretch of the imagination, but it is hidden away, forgotten and antique “like us,” as Reese said. Finch smiled as he agreed, “Yes I suppose we are, but like them, we still work.” Shaw walks in just as Reese asks Finch if he is back. She finishes the words, “You back?” Of course Finch is, Harold can’t let his friends continue on with something he started. John tells Finch they are glad he has their backs. Then Harold sits down at his computers once more, Shaw and Reese at his back. It is a new start, a rebirth if you will, and team Machine is back in action.
Nautilus – Safe Haven
Person of Interest returns January 6th 10/9c on CBS
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