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Person of Interest Review: Fairly Lethal

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This was a wildly different episode of Person of Interest that attempted to bring a new important character to the mix, while digging deeper into the government affiliation with the machine and the secret programs connected.

Rather than follow Reese and Finch around, "Relevance" switched the point of view to follow Sam Shaw, an operative working for a secret government program that received numbers in order to prevent terrorist and/or bad guy plots around the globe. Something very similar to what Reese and Finch do in New York.

Finch, Reese, & the Government Agent

In a lot of ways, the whole concept of focusing on Shaw reminded me of The Bourne Legacy: creating a fresh character within the same world that's connected to the same people, but with different motives and a different direction. Except, here, the result was successful, in large part to the fact that all of the main characters were involved.

The story ultimately revoled around Shaw, but she was just a piece of the larger puzzle. Plus, Reese and Finch, who are the core of that bigger story, weren't absent.

The episode was directed by series creator Jonathan Nolan, and even written by Nolan and Amanda Segal, which meant right from the get-go, I knew it was going to be a hour full of crucial information and major story arc focus.

Similarly, an episode like this I don't think could have even been done back in Person of Interest Season 1. Rather, now that the central characters have been pretty well established, Nolan and company decided to go for a bold game changer.

I can certainly see people sticking up their noses to not really having Reese or Finch at work in the forefront, but this was ultimately the perfect way to introduce Shaw while garnering another perspective on one of the major enemies to Reese and Finch.

Sarah Shahi, who has worked on shows like Fairly Legal and Chicago Fire, was a wonderful spitfire addition as Shaw, with killer instincts, attitude and skills. She's certainly a lot darker and mistrusting of a character than Reese (at least for now), and she had no hesitancy in killing people. Heck, she even shot Reese!

I kind of was hoping her own Finch, Cole, would have survived - but it did lead her to start her own investigation that sort of rattled the government cages.

At the same time, it was fantastic that Root was involved as well, except on her own mission to find the Machine, something that Shaw hadn't really comprehended yet. Shaw still believed that the numbers she received were from a group called Research.

We all know where the numbers come from, though.

I was a bit confused with Root being Cole's contact and thought maybe she really was going to turn into a good guy, but after finding the real contact bound and gagged, I knew this was the same crazy character all along. She desperately wants to find that Machine, which it sounded might be housed in a new location?

I was so pleased when Reese came to save the day and it was fun seeing Shaw hear what Finch had to say about the numbers and her job. It was like finally letting her into the group and the dark empty room added to the cool factor and level of importance when it came to telling her what was going on. And yet, I was surprised that she turned Finch down.

Even still, I was shocked that she met up with the Washington official who has been running the show, but was apparently not the highest point of command. He also happened to be the one who hired the assassin (who happened to have trained Shaw) to take out Reese, as well as the person Root was pretending to be a secretary for.

The real kicker was that she handed over the information Cole had uncovered and simply wanted to get revenge on the guy who had put out the hit on them. Shaw wanted to protect the program, even though she didn't really know all the dirty details behind it.

Of course, it was no surprise that she got taken out after all was said and done.

In true Person of Interest fashion, however, the series gave a wonderful twist that included Fusco, Carter, and yes, Leon, scooping her up, reviving her and taking her back to Reese and Finch.

All the dots were connecting, the government connection to the Machine was becoming more and more riveting, and I was finally ready for Shaw to join the group. I mean, c'mon, Bear gave her the perfect welcome lick!

Except a fantastic final twist involved Shaw turning down Finch again, except this time at least taking his number. Fun fact, if you dial 917-285-7362, you'll get a voice recording from Harold's phone.

It was kind of nice that Shaw didn't jump right into their arms in true happy ending style. We all know she'll be back, but her introduction and her invitation to the show fell right in sync with the drama's ability to avoid the cliche and keep that fresh spark of creativity going.

It really was such a different direction for the show to go, but I'm already a fan of Shaw's kick-ass character, and the fact that the major story was expertly expanded upon made the episode that much more interesting.

Who knew that there were operatives running numbers all around the world? Who knew all these crazy connections existed bringing more of the mystery behind the Machine to light?

This was a well done episode that proved that Person of Interest really knows how to create interesting story and characters, stand alone episodes and one's that connect to the overarching plot, and a series that never settles for the same old, same old. I'm chomping at the bit for whatever's coming next.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (392 Votes)

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

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I always laugh when some idiot calls this episode "not PoI". This was co-written by series creator Jonathan Nolan and directed by him as well. This episode was Nolan's baby. It is as PoI as you can possibly get.

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I just watched this week "episode" - WTH was that - Not PoI - They should not have labeled it PoI so I would not have wasted a hour of my life - Bring back Fairly Legal if you want but leave PoI alone - VERY VERY disappointed

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If I were still a teenager, interested in shootouts and combat fights, I would've thought this show was great, too, but now that I've grown up and seen British television shows like "Spooks," I've learned more about acting, writing, directing, politics, and world issues than from any American T.V. show I've seen- quality over quantity. "Person of Interest," like other Hollywood movies with gun-toting female characters, incorrectly perpuates the idea that women can easily defend themselves against larger, stronger men; as a tomboy who grew up being assualted, I can tell you this isn't the case. Thankfully, the writers of "Spooks" understood this, including the fact that not all people who work for the government are ex-military personnel. This, I believe, is why some American jurors don't convict rapists: they believe women could've easily protected themselves, just like in the movies or t.v. shows. If you want to become more educated, watch British television.

William e bruce

To read my full thoughts you have to read from the bottom box of my response to this top one sorry.
She hates all the espionage twists.That is why she stopped watching Alias. Leon wanting more pay and wasn't told she was dangerous was cute. The Shaw did take Finches number, and phones. And drove off into the sunset in the Ambulance. Will she call us a cab asked Finch, lol I figured Reese would like her.
Sam is controlled and disciplined, she did not kill the German Policeman, or Lewis the corner drug dealer. I like her. And I believe she will be after Root as well, out of curiosity at least.

William e bruce

Shaw visiting The gala affair to drop off the information from Cole to Pennsylvania Two/Special Council was strange, but a good soldier. Surprised she only took out Wilson. But maybe she will meet her boss again. And he said he wasn't the head man in Control. Hersh shoots her with poison on street corner, and no one stops to help? Carter and Fusco has Leon Tao, bring her to Finch and Reese.
Bears friendly lick to wake Shaw was so cute. I figured after Hersh shot her with the stuff that she would be saved. Even though it could just as well have been her dead on street. Wife would not have been happy, she likes less twists. And Shaw being killed by Hersh like that would not be cool to her.

William e bruce

Reese's line in the motel room was cute, him talking about not trying to shoot me again and Shaw asked why? Reese replied that he's a nice guy. So cool. When they go to the empty office building to met Finch, Reese staying in background, must be watching the door? She didn't trust him which I could see that. He showed her her number and Cole's came up. Finch apologizing for not being able to save Cole was nice. You can see it doesn't always work. Shaw wants the man behind the curtain. Harold was a little uneasy there. Him telling her she is a piece of the puzzle and the world has changed. he wanted her to stop running, but she wanted the head of Research. She told Finch, "Thanks but no thanks" when he offered his number the first time.

William e bruce

team coming? Shaw then took out 2 and Reese got 3rd.
Reese's line in the motel room was cute, him talking about not trying to shoot me again and Shaw asked why? Reese replied that he's a nice guy. So cool. When they go to the empty office building to met Finch, Reese staying in background, must be watching the door? She didn't trust him which I could see that. He showed her her number and Cole's came up. Finch apologizing for not being able to save Cole was nice. You can see it doesn't always work. Shaw wants the man behind the curtain. Harold was a little uneasy there. Him telling her she is a piece of the puzzle and the world has changed. he wanted her to stop running, but she wanted the head of Research. She told Finch, "Thanks but no thanks" when he offered his number the first time.

William e bruce

normal capacity. Wilson did clip her, and she had to get fixed at Lewise's home. After stealing that car she grabbed the drug dealer. She pulled bullet out. Had both guys tie-wrapped to heater so when she passed out they couldn't hurt her. But she wakes to 3 guys beating them. Must be his drug supplier. Cool how she took down all 3 then enjoyed a beer. Wonder how Lewis would explain that to the Police? Hersh trained her, we can tell. So must be he didn't suspect Reese mixed up in this. She contacted Veronica Sinclair, and finds out Root is waiting, knockout drug and iron in hand. Surprised Root hadn't killed Veronica Sinclair. Shaw wondered what Cole had talked to Sinclair about. Maybe she will be contacting her in future? She called Wilson to meet Control too, or will go public with Aquinto's file. Program was Northern Lights? Root told Shaw, real or fake? After Root zip-tied up Shaw and was ready to press her(pun intended)for information.Who texted her, about Wilson's team coming? Shaw then took out 2 and Reese got 3rd.

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Well to me Sam Shaw and Michael Cole right out of the box was cool. It was nice seeing the relevant side of the machine. Shaw was rougher with her gun use then Reese. She took out the dirty bomb makers in Germany. Nice take down, and recovers bullets before blowing it up. Cole questioned the numbers, and if someone was manipulating the machine. Also about the death of Daniel Aquinto's in 2011. His mistake was to call Wilson, their handler. In the US, who warned Cole on his lap top to get out of there? Was it his contact in the CIA, or whatever? Didn't like Cole to be shot. But after being ambushed by Wilson's team Shaw came out side and you could see Reese's handy work, shot knee caps. Her shooting him when he came to help was scary. But we figured he had on vest. Wilson reported to Special Council. "It is a problem!" cute. Miss May(Root) is in Special Councils office. He don't recognize her? My wife thought she worked for him, but later with his phone tapped you could tell she didn't in her normal capacity. Wilson did clip her, and she had to get fixed at Lewis's home. After stealing that car she grabbed the drug dealer. She pulled bullet out. Had both guys tie-wrapped to heater so when she passed out they couldn't hurt her. But she wakes to 3 guys beating them. Must be his drug supplier. Cool how she took down all 3 then enjoyed a beer. Wonder how Lewis would explain that to the Police? Hersh trained her, we can tell. So must be he didn't suspect Reese mixed up in this. She contacted Veronica Sinclair, and finds out Root is waiting, knockout drug and iron in hand. Surprised Root hadn't killed Veronica Sinclair. Shaw wondered what Cole had talked to Sinclair about. Maybe she will be contacting her in future? She called Wilson to meet Control too, or will go public with Aquinto's file. Program was Northern Lights? Root told Shaw, real or fake? After Root zip tied up Shaw and was ready to press her(pun intended)for information.Who texted her, about Wilson's team coming? She took out 2 and Reese got 3rd.
Reese's line in the motel room was cute, him talking about not trying to shoot me again and Shaw asked why? Reese replied that he's a nice guy. So cool. When they go to the empty office building to met Finch, Reese staying in background, must be watching the door? She didn't trust him which I could see that. He showed her her number and Cole's came up. Finch apologizing for not being able to save Cole was nice. You can see it doesn't always work. Shaw wants the man behind the curtain. Harold was a little uneasy there. Him telling her she is a piece of the puzzle and the world has changed. he wanted her to stop running, but she wanted the head of Research. She told Finch, "Thanks but no thanks" when he offered his number the first time.
Shaw visiting The gala affair to drop off the information from Cole to Pennsylvania Two/Special Council was strange, but a good soldier. Surprised she only took out Wilson. But maybe she will meet her boss again. And he said he wasn't the head man in Control. Hersh shoots her with poison on street corner, and no one stops to help? Carter and Fusco has Leon Tao, bring her to Finch and Reese.
Bears friendly lick to wake Shaw was so cute. I figured after Hersh shot her with the stuff that she would be saved. Even though it could just as well have been her dead on street. Wife would not have been happy, she likes less twists. And Shaw being killed by Hersh like that would not be cool to her. She hates all the espionage twists.That is why she stopped watching Alias. Leon wanting more pay and wasn't told she was dangerous was cute. The Shaw did take Finches number, and phones. And drove off into the sunset in the Ambulance. Will she call us a cab asked Finch, lol I figured Reese would like her.
Sam is controlled and disciplined, she did not kill the German Policeman, or Lewis the corner drug dealer. I like her. And I believe she will be after Root as well, out of curiosity at least.

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canadagraphs, while I agree with a lot of what you say, that people tune in to see Reese and Finch, I totally disagree with what you say about Sarah Shahi. She was very good in "Life" with Damien Lewis from Homeland, and wonderful in Fairly Legal. I did not know that it has not been renewed. I have not heard that. However I would not say she is kryptonite at all. That is such an unfair statement for a wonderful actress. Wooden? I soooo beg to differ.Anyhow, we are each entitled to our own opinion, and unfortunately yours is so negative towards a wonderful actress. Nolan tried something different with the show, and I do agree that the absence of the main stars did not go down so well, but it did give a good back story as to the machine and to Shaw's part in the show.

Person of Interest Season 2 Episode 16 Quotes

You think she'll call us a taxi?

Finch

I hear dying makes you thirsty.

Reese
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