Person of Interest 4×05 Prophets – Video Recap and Review
“Prophets” – Finch is suspicious when a gifted political pollster’s number comes up at the same time that his typically ironclad predictions go wrong, and believes that the two events are linked. Meanwhile, Reese is sidelined by a direct order from Captain Moreno.
In Person of Interest season 4, Prophets, the opening sequence of events took John Reese/Detective Riley (Jim Caviezel) out of the number game from the very start. Even though John saved a suicide jumper’s life—tricking him into believing the man’s family would get his life insurance by “death by cop” but not by suicide, sliding the suicidal man a gun, and promptly kneecapping the guy when he tried to shoot an apparently distracted Riley—Captain Marino sent a department shrink to evaluate Detective Riley. John Reese was almost literally tied to his desk waiting on his sessions with the head doctor and leaving Finch (Michael Emerson), Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and even Root (Amy Acker) to take care of the POI, pollster Simon Lee (Jason Ritter), one of the modern day prophets in a way.
Simon Lee is a political analyst whose predictions, at least until the New York gubernatorial race, have been uncannily accurate. Finch wonders if the “golden boy” isn’t so golden after all because his prediction data doesn’t match up with actual numbers. Shaw continues to observe the goings on from her phone staffer cover. Root pops into The Haven and changes into her new cover ID, literally. She tells Harold The Machine hasn’t given her one cover identity but many and they have to be changed every few days. The candidate, the incumbent governor and whom Lee has predicted to win ends up conceding to the challenger. This is not a happy camp as fisticuffs ensue between Lee and one of the campaign managers. Simon knows his prediction numbers were right. There was no possible way his candidate should have lost. The election had to be rigged somehow.
We catch up with Simon trying to reach someone on the phone then leaving a message that he is getting proof from the election commissioner. No one is answering his calls, although Lee finally is able to confront the commissioner while Shaw taps into their conversation. They (Finch and Shaw) momentarily expect the commissioner may be up to something, but he has spent the day dealing with a disgruntled employee. Harold does find out that millions of auto dialer calls to remind people to vote were stonewalled. Root has shown up to sit with Shaw while she is observing Lee and communicating with Harold. Root, although I don’t think Finch was surprised, deduces that there is not a ‘someone’ who has rigged the election; there is a something, Samaritan. That disgruntled employee has somehow been coerced into killing Simon and it will appear to everyone that an employee has gone ‘postal’ and Simon Lee just got caught in the crossfire.
Finch and Root work together to find a way to discredit Samaritan’s candidate and find out she was arrested in her youth for solicitation. She paid for college as an escort. They plan on quietly confronting her with what they found out, hoping she’ll just step down quietly. While they are listening to the new governor’s acceptance speech, Simon shows up and also Samaritan’s asset Martine (Cara Buono). They assume she (Martine) is after Simon, but no she was sent to kill the candidate. Why? Simon escapes to a hotel with Shaw, Root and Finch not far behind. (Harold may not have access to his assets but he still has his keys as he lets himself into the security room of the hotel I bet he still owns.)
We catch up with Root and Harold in a room at that same hotel trying to figure out why Samaritan put Perez in government office only to kill her off. Root brings up it shouldn’t be hard to figure out what Samaritan is up to. They understand The Machine, they can understand Samaritan. Finch is still reeling from what happened after he perceived that it was an order The Machine gave to kill that congressman. He is scared of TM and after it was revealed through flashbacks that our Machine was not the first machine, I can understand why. Finch built 42 different versions that either attempted to lie to him, tried to trick him in order to escape, or tried to kill him and succeeded to destroy other AIs in deathly competition one against the other. The 43rd try Finch finally thought he had taught an AI how to care, but how could he really be sure. He took away its voice and memories because he couldn’t. He tried to warn Root not to believe The Machine is any different from Samaritan. Harold is not so sure that it isn’t using them all for its own endgame. Finch has been a combination of proud and leery of The Machine since it had freed itself. Harold’s limited faith in his own creation that it actually valued human life was shattered and he has been scared of what The Machine’s true motives are ever since.
Root cannot be dissuaded in her faith in The Machine. It changed her. She is not the Root we met in season one anymore. Root admits after the life she’s led, her losing it to protect The Machine, Harold, and her friends is a better ending than she deserves. Finch tells her that it isn’t where you start it’s where you end up that counts. They have run out of time; Samaritan and Martine know where Simon Lee is hiding. Ms. Groves tells Harold to stay put; she is willing to sacrifice her life for Simon’s, for Harold’s and the rest of the team’s. She takes on Martine alone in a hotel lobby shootout; Simon gets away in the confusion when Martine and Samaritan go after Root instead. Shaw with an assist from John ‘mug’ Simon and dump him in Lee’s camera free campaign office.
Harold hates doing it but Shaw steals Lee’s real data and replaces it with bogus info. He convinces Simon that the conspiracy theory of his is just Lee’s overactive imagination; the governor elect’s death was an accident and no one was trying to kill her or Simon. He tries to prove it to Finch but ends up believing maybe he was overstressed; his data (the bogus data) backs up Harold’s statements.
Finch watches Simon and hears him telling someone on the phone he was wrong about the rigged election. Samaritan then deems him a non-threat. Harold is pleased to see Root alive and well when she sits next to him. She’s safe for now Root tells him; to Samaritan she is now just a pastry chef winged in a drive by shooting. (I wonder how long Root can keep changing before Samaritan catches on?) Harold hated ruining Simon and his gift. Making Simon think he was wrong, living not knowing he was right was better than him dying knowing he was. Simon Lee is young and intelligent, he’ll bounce back. But sometimes, “It is best not to know.”
In the end we see that Samaritan has been rigging elections all over the country putting people who will bend to its will in positions of governmental power. It wanted the governor elect’s running mate to be governor and why it killed Perez. Root has said what has been the obvious since we found out there was a Samaritan. The only difference between The Machine and Samaritan is Harold, but it is still young and has much to learn. Harold looks up into the camera. “It’s time we had a talk, you and I.” It’s time for Finch to trust in himself again and in what he created. (Edit: We weren’t privy to the chat and at times Harold still seems reluctant to fully trust in TM again.)
This is still not a battle between good and evil, just one between two AIs. (Edit: I still don’t think Samaritan is evil but it has picked up some nasty human traits, an AI with delusions of god-hood is not a good thing.) Both have directives and will see to that directive, one without any concerns for the humanity it was created to protect. (Greer might be happy now his Samaritan is taking over, but does he trust blindly?) One has been taught to value human life, the other not. I always wondered why The Machine chose Root. The Machine has been learning from its Admin all along. If Harold can see what a difference it has made in Root, how can Harold doubt its capacity to care? At a time Harold is his most scared and skeptical. (What of Claire? Samaritan vowed to protect her. Doesn’t it care? Claire was just a means to an end and her winning that game proved that Claire could be a valuable asset. It will care for the asset not the human. And isn’t that what The Machine is doing? Yes, it protects its assets too, but not just as replaceable objects, TM cares about them. Harold had to order it not to save him; it was supposed to save everyone. It has disobeyed that order time and time again.)
I myself was going what? Root and Finch are friends now? How can that be after what she did to him? Overall we are seeing how wonderfully forgiving and good Harold Finch can be. Harold could have left her there in that warehouse with Hersh and the late Special Counsel. Root would be dead now. Instead she has had a chance to change and grow. Samantha Groves has been given a purpose. Finch holds no grudges and is willing to help, nurture, and guide even someone who has done unforgivable things to him. Harold and Root may never be the best of friends but are united against a common enemy.
As a side note I am glad Harold in his way pushed Reese into continuing to see the psychiatrist. Even though John never mentions her by name, we knew he was talking about Carter. Carter’s death affected him, how could it not? You don’t have someone you love dearly, as a friend or otherwise, die in your arms and not be affected psychologically. They all will need a healthy John in this battle.
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Threat to System
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