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.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (275 Votes)

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


Great episode. This show gets better and better. And line for the night,"What's a crossbow doing on the bed." Answer: "It's okay, we're friends now."


Margo Martindale's usual 5star performance must be mentioned as making this another fine episode in a well crafted series. I enjoy the contrast/comparison between Finch and Reese, excellent acting and writing. I disliked Carter last year but so far this year, they have toned toned down the whiney self righteous attitude. Love Fusco's character, he has so many funny scenes. Always fine to see Amy Ackerman, believable sociopath. Look forward to the next episode.

Sarah silva

Another fantastic episode!
No one gets into more fights than John and I love watching him kick butt every time, sometimes he gets beat up too but the other guys always end up worse!
I was so glad that Reese found Finch so quickly.
I liked when Carter told Fusco she would buy him a drink. Everyone has pushed him off as a bad/dirty cop but he should not be under estimated.
I was totally not expecting Root to be the blond girl, I am sure people out there saw it coming but not me!
Looking forward to 2 weeks from now...


Fantastic show!
Love the way it travels, on many different levels.
I really want John and the Lady cop to remain close, other wise things
wont get done.

Sp mckenna

@POI 1001 - Yup, you're right. Thanks for noticing. No idea why I put Sara down. All fixed! @RandomCommentor - I like your take on the Flowers for Algernon reference. That's what is so great about stuff like that, it really gets people thinking about the story as a whole and that larger picture.


Great review. Just one thing, I think her name was Sam, not Sara.


Absolutely fantastic! This series delivers superb stories week after week since it began. And agreed - great review.


Fantastic Episode. The episode started out rather normally leading us to believe it was going to be cut and dry/black and white somewhat like the somewhat mediocre premiere, but then a very sharp turn. A case that even ties into the narrative of one of the show's arcs. Amy Acker was amazing. Emerson was great as well, but his role was (rightly) more subtle, and he's pretty good at that stuff. My only real beef was that more of this should have been in season premiere instead of the borderline implausible parts. As for Flowers for Algernon, perhaps that's a double reference to Root knowing was really happened to the kidnapping and curse of doing so with her intelligence. She's close to the case, so if she did try to interfere more personally the police might be able to put the puzzle pieces together, so perhaps she doesn't risk it? Just one random tired take on that one, well put, reference.


Forget to thank you Sean, really great review.


Amazing Episode, 5 stars.

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Person of Interest Season 2 Episode 2 Quotes

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Bear, remember Lionel?