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Person of Interest “/” (“Root Path”) Review (3×17)

19 Mar

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What an incredible hour of television.

It’s always great to see Root back in the picture, doing what she does best. However, this episode takes the character and improves on it, adding layers and revealing truths and exploring further. By episode’s end, we’re presented with a fully fleshed out, incredibly compelling character who I only want to see more of.

On a lesser show, this episode’s entire situation could easily come off as contrived; however, the character progression here feels entirely earned. It’s fitting that in an episode in which Root goes through surgery that makes her even more connected to the Machine, we see more of the human side to her than ever before, the part of her that realizes Finch is right about her being the most dangerous part of Cyrus’s life. That’s the essence of the Machine, isn’t it? Like Finch says, when the Machine cares about people, that’s when it can truly work; when Root realizes this, that’s when she’s able to be the most connected to it. Root will still be fundamentally Root–badass, entertaining, two guns at a time Root–but there are shifts she has to go through.

Those shifts are brought about because of her proximity to Cyrus Wells, who’s a fairly compelling character in his own right; like I said, it could easily be a cliche, but Acker sells these shifts perfectly. Root’s essentially given a choice here: save Wells, or save the chip. Who knows what an earlier Root might’ve done? Here, though, we see that human element shining through a bit, all of this facilitated by the Machine. Root’s purpose has always been to stop Decima from developing Samaritan, but the Machine’s fundamental purpose is to save people. In the beautifully acted, cathartic scene in which she goes on about existence and futility (welcome to the Rust Cohle club), she realizes who she needs to become in order to move on; Finch also realizes the value of collaboration in their fight against Samaritan.

The episode is obviously primarily about that storyline, but we also get some nice nuggets from Shaw’s relationship with Vigilance; she’s grown as well, stating that how you do something matters just as much as what you do. The same feeling that causes her to call Collier and co. terrorists is also what repulses her about Root; there may be a mutual level of understanding–even respect–but she isn’t going to compromise the position she’s in right now. She recognizes that she’s in a good place.

Ultimately, this is a thrilling, emotionally resonant, and hilarious episode that showcases this show at its best. We’re given so many satisfying beats, but as the threat level assessment card at the end of the episode suggests, we’re still in for a hell of a ride.

GRADE: A

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-“My name’s Billy, too!” Hilarious throwaway line there.

-“I couldn’t make you look bad if I tried.” *Eye roll* and “I love it when you play doctor.” Okay, Shaw and Root just need to get it on right now.

-“Sorry Boss, Agent King is actually a superpowered nutball; just ask my buddy the Urban Legend.”

-That opening sequence is excellent–hey, it’s Tommy Merlyn!–what with the tasing and the snarkiness and the fist-bumping and everything. If nothing else, it’s great seeing Amy Acker do her thing again, and I love how the show conveys how Root and the Machine work with each other like this. It sets the tone for the rest of the episode; it’s so fun to watch, but it also serves as a nice lead-in to the major character beats later on. Awesome stuff.

-Amy Acker. Man.

-Love the episode title.

-I wouldn’t be surprised if the Machine actually wants Samaritan to get online.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

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4 Responses to “Person of Interest “/” (“Root Path”) Review (3×17)”

  1. louisoc March 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    I’ve been seeing a lot of increasingly positive things about this show… Is it worth starting off from Season 1? I don’t know if it’s a procedural or more serialised but I’ve heard the first season isn’t particularly great.

    • polarbears16 March 20, 2014 at 12:09 am #

      The majority of the first season is more of a procedural and gets off to a shaky start, but recently, it’s become a lot more serialized and is better off for it. If you have time, start from the beginning; the back portion of the season is definitely worth catching up on, at the very least. Season 2 and 3 (so far) are stellar most of the way through.

    • Josh March 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

      I would watch the entirety of the first season regardless because there are still many important flashbacks that are included in the procedural episodes that are relevant to understand the whole backstory of the show. But in my opinion, first season gets especially good starting with the 7th episode of season 1, called “Witness”.

      But trust me, it’s still worth it. Season 2 has many procedural episodes as well, but many serialized episodes that are VERY good.

      And of course, season 3 is almost perfect, to me at least, so it’s worth the wait.

      • louisoc March 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

        Sounds like a Justified-esque situation, I’ll definitely check it out when I get the time, thanks!

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