Person of Interest Review: Mr. Reese Goes to Washington

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At this point on Person of Interest, expecting an episode to be just a basic case of the week is underestimating the show’s ability to weave together a story that is so much more.

Initially, the concept of Reese leading the charge and taking on a case with just Finch harkened back to the early days of Person of Interest Season 1.

Their banter in the car while watching the congressman and Finch’s wide-eyed expression as Reese fired on their mark so he could wind up playing a secret service agent fit in line with what those two have always done. Their methods might be a little unorthodox, and they get that extra knowledgeable help from the Machine, but they are there to save people.

Sure, the sandbox for their activities has grown beyond New York, especially with Decima and the threat of Samaritan, but protecting others remains the point.

Except, that’s where Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 20 started to shift the story and spin everything on its head.

First was the oddity that the Decima team sent to “take out” the congressmen was, in fact, there to protect him. What? Decima is the “bad guy,” not the side that does the saving.

The congressman apparently has the power to help lobby Decima’s super system to the government, but he isn’t really a bad guy himself. He’s more of a pawn in that bigger scheme.

Which made the shocking turn of events as Reese realized why the Machine had sent them after the congressman. They weren’t there to protect him, they were there to kill him.

Have things gotten so bad, that that’s what the Machine has to do? And is ending one life to save thousands or millions worth it?

Seeing Finch shaken by the turn of events, wanting to get off the “ride” that led to that moment was kind of a scary one. Finch always has felt confident in the Machine and seemed to have some level of control. But here that seemed shattered.

What’s more was the conflicting decision put before them. Reese seemed ready to take action, even calling back to the death of Carter as a reference point.

And yet he didn’t follow through. He listened to Finch.

That ending to the hour was truly haunting, with a great song, Medicine by Daughter, that enhanced the mood. Dark times have fallen on the POI team and their run through the woods made them appear small and defeated. Even Shaw was shot and almost taken out. Simply watching them also try and move about the streets of New York seemed like they were on the run.

This isn’t the same POI unit. That storm that was hinted at the start of Person of Interest Season 3 is finally here, and I’m not sure how the group is going to get out of it.

The fact that the congressman and the senator were able to conspire with Decima and activate their program for 24 hours to catch a “terrorist” was frightening enough because we have some knowledge of what they are capable of.

So, seeing Finch’s name entered into the system was a fantastically chilling way to end the hour. The walls are closing in, and I can only hope the POI team will figure how to stop Decima.

Might Root be able to help? And what's with Finch disappearing? That can't be a good sign.

Person of Interest Season 3 may have taken some time to build up steam but it hasn’t let up. The staple badass moments are there, the humor, action and characters are there. And a story that keeps a compelling pace full of tension as we draw closer to the finale continues to prove why this is one of the best shows on television.

Should Reese have killed the congressman?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (99 Votes)

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


I personally prefer Person of Interest prior to Shaw and Ruth. Now there are just too much of them. It feels just like another soap opera.

@ Sarah

Think you don't even watch the show that much as you got the name of a main character wrong.
PS: this show is one of the best dramas right now on television.


I find root nauseating also


when this show started i wasn't a big fan but now... it's one of my favorites. the addition of shaw, sarah shahi is fanastic. sort of a ziva david only a lot more ruthless.


A great episode; edge of the seat endng. Root and Shaw will save Finch.


i agree with you Cathy. it was a great episode as usual but getting a bit complicated. you can tell by the storylines that they're setting up for a finale in may. my bet is finch will be in trouble. was also disappointed no fusco this week


Is it just me or do others find the character of root to be nauseating? Can't she be removed?


Does anybody else get the feeling that Our heroes are going to have to enlist the help of Vigilance (albeit temporarily) in order to shut down Samaritan and Decima?


I couldn't find it in me to vote one way or the other... as much as I'm sure Reese should have killed the congressman - that it would have served the greater good - a big part of me is glad he didn't. I don't think I would have had the strength to do what he did. Reese, Finch and Shaw aren't just tools; they're human beings. But to stay that way sometimes means choosing the smaller good over the greater. Even if it comes back to bite them in the ass. It's not often a network TV series puts a lump in my throat, and even rarer that it does so while also making me debate philosophy with myself... Of everything I watch, I don't know if I can call PoI my favorite show (though it's definitely up there). But it might just be the best.


given the time frame at the end of the episode, i'm not sure killing him would have made much of a difference … it would not have stopped decima … merely slowed them down interesting to see that decima is corrupting washington men in front of hieronymus bosch paintings ... meaning of the triptych ? heaven-earth-hell ? shoot / raw ... ROFL … not alaska … post fun drink …


I don't think it was a simple as 1 life vs. 1000s. Given that the direct result of the congressman living is Finch in immediate danger and the likelihood of the machine realizing that, it seems more likely it was thinking of protecting its creator/daddy. Which, when looked at from that perspective, puts a little less "coldhearted" spin on the machines motivations in trying to get the team to kill the politician.

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Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 20 Quotes

Find me Harold Finch.


See? Business as usual. Even if the government's program is on ice, the machine keeps spitting out numbers.