Person of Interest – 4×02 – Nautilus – Video Recap
“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.
Person of Interest 4×02 – Nautilus, is the first episode to show the new opening sequence for season four. Instead of “You are being watched.” Harold Finch says “We are being watched.” The surveillance is through Samaritan’e perspective, but Harold Finch still says The Machine he built sees everything. While Samaritan is supposed to be seeking out acts of terror our AI is still seeing the violent crimes involving ordinary people.
Finch is welding something (we later find out he’s working on Reese and Shaw’s new sanctuary) and gets a phone text (from John) to meet him for a late night snack. Sitting at the diner, waiting for Reese, Harold gets a first look at Claire Mahoney, a brilliant mathematics major. According to Reese, even though she’s an upstanding and diligent student, she’s recently been engaged in criminal activity, breaking and entering—trespassing. Claire also has also purchased a 9 mm handgun. The Machine wants them to track her down, and though reluctant at first, Finch jumps into the task at hand. Harold follows her as she pulls a slip of paper from a flyer affixed to a light pole. The slips of paper have icons on each of them of a Nautilus shell. The icon of the shell from here on is always depicted somehow in the next clue, and hence the episode title, Nautilus.
Reese is tied up with paperwork and can’t make it to the diner. Fusco finally gets some payback for all the crap Reese has pulled on him the past three years and walks away smiling after dumping a stack of files containing open cases on John’s desk.
While John is doing paper work and Harold follows the number, we find out Shaw is fitting right in with her new career as a criminal. Root visit’s Shaw while Sameen is on the job. Shaw wonders how being a thief will keep her off of Samaritan’s radar. Root explains thieves stealing meaningless stuff are very uninteresting in the new world order. Samaritan is looking for deviant behavior more serious than petty theft. Just being an average run of the mill petty criminal and not an exceptional one will keep Shaw off the AI’s radar, but of course Shaw isn’t one to be ordinary. Shaw speeds away in the getaway car with a sarcastic remark about being ordinary. (What happened to the Shaw of Panopticon? Where is the partner who cracked John over the head in order to keep Reese from being to showy?)
When we see Harold again he is in his office on campus with a student who seems to need his help getting into a class. The young lady is a bit miffed because Professor Whistler isn’t really paying her much attention. The professor calls the number from the flyer. It’s not really a phone number but the student’s comment about hating math gives Finch an idea. The phone number is actually a math equation and when solved the answer is the geographic location (GPS) for the next clue.
Of course when Harold shows up at the address—a building that has one wall covered with graffiti art, yet contained in the painting is the next clue—Claire gets paranoid that Finch is also playing the game. She accuses him of cheating by following her, shoots out the window of a passing car and flees. Just when it looks like the irate car owner is going to make Harold pay with some hurt, Reese shows up to arrest the vandal (Finch) and take him into custody. (AnotherJohn breaches the space time continuum to save Harold in the nick of time.)
Harold has an errand to run so he encourages John to take his partner, no not Detective Fusco, John’s four footed partner Bear. While the partners are searching through Claire’s apartment a man claiming he is Claire’s father show’s up begging John to let him know anything about his daughter’s wear-abouts and gives John a cell phone number. (I admit I fell for the ruse, we find out later the man is not Claire’s father.) John does find a hard drive and takes it back to Harold.
Finch and Reese meet at Professor Whistler’s office, (Bear seems quite at home on the office’s sofa. Guess Harold got the service dog issue settled.) 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 flattened by a car then from the man posing as her father. Claire gets away as does the fake dad.
Harold shows up at the arch later and John continues his search for Claire. The two are trying to find out what the end game is for this scavenger hunt and who is behind it. Finch deciphered the encryption and discovered that besides the game Claire is playing in New York, there were two more as far away as Tokyo and Paris. The first part of the scavenger hunt was to hack into a private contractor’s data storage and steal a file.
Harold determine’s that the signs Claire was standing in the road trying to look at are a clue to the localization of the next piece of the puzzle, each sign has a part of the Nautilus symbol on them. The colors of the stoplights and the numbers of them on the sign’s borders are representative of phrases in braille. Finch gives Reese the address of a biker bar where Reese 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 af 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 is 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, and the Nerd Herd. I don’t know if this is something Greer has instructed it to do or if Samaritan is acting on its own behest. Much as the Machine has evolved recruiting assets for its purpose I think so has Samaritan. It’s recruiting the best for its greater purpose. A greater purpose that may not beneficial to the rest of humanity, something which later helps Finch in his decision to rejoin the mission. I am trying very hard to not see Samaritan as bad. It’s just a computer, a computer that just runs code. We haven’t been shown it has changed that coding, unlike our Machine. So I can’t see Samaritan as something bad, just what it was programmed to do is what can be considered bad. Maybe that is something our heroes can do to stop Samaritan: Harold with his infinite knowledge can just alter Samaritan’s code. Not defeat it just change Samaritan’s purpose.
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 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 FHarold meets her. They have a wonderful discussion about finding meaning in life. (Michael Emerson shined in this scene and his role of Harold Finch the whole episode. He deserves an Emmy or something, but alas he won’t get one.) There’s a tender chemistry between Finch and Claire and for the first time I think there’s almost a bit of a weight lifted from Finch’s shoulders. He’s finding meaning in his own way and while it may not always work out, there’s still value in it.
In the end, Claire refuses his help. She has deciphered the last Nautilus clue etched on the building’s roof. Claire disappears into the crowd and Finch lets her go. In a lot of series the heroes are overbearing. They think they’re doing the right thing and will strive for it regardless of what other people do or do not want. Some people don’t want to be saved, or some people don’t need to be saved, and the hero’s perspective may be skewed. In this episode, Team Machine lets 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 in hand, Samaritan gives her a short message: I will protect you now. This is another indication that Samaritan is more than just some evil competition for the Machine. It found a girl who needed to find meaning and offered it to her, just as the Machine offered Finch a chance at meaning. Samaritan isn’t inherently bad. Yes it appears to be strangling any competition for itself— a fact which pushes Finch into rejoining the team—but, is this something Samaritan has been programmed to do?
Finally, the episode ends on a high note. Finch finally makes the big reveal and shows the team the new bat-cave, stashed away in an old subway line repair station. It isn’t the library by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a hidden away antique “like us,” as Reese said. The smile on Finch’s face 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. I thought it was symbolic, 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.
(Author’s note: Life is a b and got in the way of my finishing this a week ago. Sorry for the long-winded-ness of this but I couldn’t find anything to gloss over. Tomorrow my video review of Wingman.)
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