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Person of Interest Review: Taking Root

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What?!? There was no new person of interest for Reese to worry about this week?

Well, technically, the Machine didn't spit out any social security numbers, but Reese was honed in on one person: Root.

That's right, the computer whiz with a pretty face and a knack for crazy was still holding Finch hostage, and she was determined as ever to not only discover the location of the Machine, but to prove to Finch that people are just bad code.

Which is an interesting concept, in that despite the parallels between the two techno geniuses, their outlooks are vastly different. Finch wants to save people and recognizes innocence and goodness in others... while Root is vested in the ideal that people are manipulative, backstabbing and just plain bad.

I guess it takes one to know one.

Root Has Finch

Root is fantastically played by Amy Acker, who provides for a multifaceted character with devious undertones. As much as she seems friendly and sweet, she's also ruthless and a little nuts.

And while the episode was focused on her mysterious backstory, the show took our assumptions and flipped them upside down. Not only did we learn she was originally Sam from Texas, but back then as a blond-haired kid, she was one to be reckoned with.

I mean, c'mon. She beat Oregon Trail in seconds!

I have to note the interesting book choice reference, "Flowers for Algernon," and its relation to intelligence. The story itself is about a man undergoing surgery to increase his intelligence and the eventual repercussions of such an act.

Is that a foreshadowing for the Machine? Or does Root want to gain even more intelligence? It is great when seemingly small references can elicit a deeper meaning to the larger story.

And, truly, "Bad Code" was the second half to the Root story, finishing up where the premiere left off and giving us something of a complete movie.

Once again, the characters involved all had something to do. Fusco may have been stuck dog-sitting (which was hilarious), but he also dug up solid leads on the Alicia Corwin case. Carter and Reese worked together side-by-side, utilizing their specific abilities to unravel the mystery of the kidnapped girl, Hanna. It was kind of nice seeing them do more than just talk on the phone to each other.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the bar brawl. Reese really isn't the guy you want to mess with and there's something exhilarating about watching him take everyone out. Plus, he gets in those dry one liners to top it all off every time.

Certainly, Reese reuniting with Finch was a great moment, as these two really are a team. Similarly, it helped prove Finch's point that Reese is the so-called "good code."

Yet, it does make me wonder more and more about what the Machine can do and just how many people want to use it for nefarious plans. After all, Denton Weeks had no problem trying to get all that info from Finch to use for himself.

The mystery of the hour might not have been that enthralling, but it did give us a point of reference for the enigmatic Root. That said, I love that she confidently called Reese to tell him she'd be back. It not only allowed for a nice wrap up to the overall story, but laid the ground work for a return.

Person of Interest really does a great job in giving a certain level of serialization of story while neatly coinciding with the case of the week. The blend of elements makes for a compelling treat to watch.

Do I wish Finch had more to do? Sure. Do I wish we learned why Root is the way she is? Definitely.

But even my gripes seem minimal when overall the episode managed to entertain, entice, and have me ready for more.

After all, there's nothing like watching TV's best new hero save the day.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (273 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Andy, as for your second point (can't argue first) i actually think it makes perfect sense that Root got away while Reese checked Finch and got him out. Whether or not they admit it, and i know i hate it when this is thrown around in shows when it doesn't REALLY apply, i really feel they have a family love for each other. So when Reese saw Finch(i admit to almost crying tears of joy) his first reaction was 'check for injuries and get him the hell out,' b/c when he saw he hadn't been shot, he still couldn't be sure Root hadn't hurt him earlier. Even i thought she would. All i know is if someone had my best friend hostage and i had the chance to get her away, i know the best thing would be to do what i can to stop the bad guy(assuming i had the ability) but the fact is my love and defensiveness for her would, i believe, put getting her to safety away from danger at the forefront. just my point of view:) Awesome episode. I'm almost waiting for them to have a bad episode, but it's like the writers don't even know how...lol

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This is not meant to be a shot. No, I am not the vocabulary police. Just asking about the phrase "Reese was honed in on one person: Root." I was taught "hone" means "sharpen". The phrase "home in" means "to target". Is this one of those instances where a misunderstood sound-alike is substituted for the correct phrase, and no one cares ? Or does "sharpen" over "target" make sense in the sentence ?

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Virg where you live on mars? POI is nowhere near of being cancelled. This series is growing stronger every week and thank god there are tons of good series proving the procedural mumbo jumbo is not the only way to have solid fanbase, go back to watch some cops BS and have fun.

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Solid episode. Not the best, but very solid. This may seem like nitpicking, but the only two parts that I didn't like were : 1. When Sam gives the license plate #, my wife & I couldn't figure out if she was 1 digit off or not, because if not, why wouldn't they find Russell in 2 seconds. Plus, even if she was, wouldn't law enforcement tried to compare any similar license plates? 2. Didn't like how Root got away. Reece is not one to let people get away, and yet he checks if Finch is shot and walks the other way. Just didn't believe it. I understand she has to get away, but how about security officers mistakently thinking Reese fired the shot and pouncing on him, allowing her to get away, as opposed to just running away with no pursuit? Again, nitpicking, but the 2nd one bothered me. Lastly, I'll bring this up - what is the possibility that the fact that Root thanked Reece at the end for finding the other girl makes her think that maybe there is a "good code" in people, and not just a bad one?

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The writing on this show is fabulous! This (besides NCIS and Sons of Anarchy) has become my favorite show to watch. I'd love to see outtakes. So glad Finch and Reese are back together. I loved it last season when Finch gave Reese his own apartment. Fusco with the dog was hilarious! Hope to see more of the dog too. And Carter and Reese working together was a treat. Keep 'em coming!! :)

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Totally agree with all the praise. Enough twists and turns for all. No one has yet, mentioned the victim tied up with Finch who turned the tables on Root only to have them turned back on him again. Great drama.
And no one wears a white shirt better than John!

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Wow. Still catching our breath from last night! Yay! Finch is back - and safe! With the great POI writers you NEVER know where they are going to take you -or when! We could not assume for one minute that Finch would be saved or unharmed in episode 2. Have followed this show since the pilot. It is a huge hit now with over 14 million viewers (Nielsen) each week - and pushing #1 NCIS numbers! POI was #8 in Nielsen's top 25 Most Viewed shows last week. Love this great show and our new heros!
PS - We want to see more of Fince and Fusco!!! 2 superb actors!

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As a retired, old lady English teacher with husband a retired history teacher, we LOVE this show. Husband leaves football game to see this! Love the literary reference of Flowers for Algernon! Hope people who don't know this short but important book get and read it! (For other reads that connect--Brave New World, 1984, all those books you were supposed to read in high school/college but didn't.) This show fascinates because the characters are complex, multi-level, and unpredictable; plots challenge us; the themes are universal and complex. That is the whole deal: complexity. Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson are amazing actors. And Jim C. is Hot!

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Was a great show, really kept my interest...the surpise about who root was, caught me off guard...all the turns in the plot were good

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Still don't know why they have to mess up a great show like this. They had a winning primis with crime of the week. WHY this? Hope they go back before this gets canceled.