Person of Interest “Beta” Review (3×21)

30 Apr


I’d like you to avoid violence if at all possible, but if they harm Grace in any way, kill them all.”

No other line sums up the character of Harold Finch better than this one does. He’s not a man of violence, but he’s capable of love, of feeling so strongly about someone that he’d truly desire to enact revenge. For, he’s now facing the inevitable consequences of his actions, and he’s willing to place himself at risk.

It seems as if this episode undoes much of the recent status quo set by the show, pulling back, but also sending us barreling toward the finish line. “Beta” is all about avoidance and confrontation, hiding and facing the truth. We have Reese, Shaw, and Root slinking around, avoiding Decima, while Greer is plotting his moves in a secluded place. We have Harold Finch and Grace Hendricks, separated by a lie, but still bound by love. We have Samaritan and the Machine, two clashing technological minds and ideologies that are only barely avoiding an all out war at the moment. The master plan is still hidden, to be carried out by Root. With avoidance comes inevitability, though, and as Harold states at the end to Reese, he knows he had this coming. People around him will be hurt; by avoiding them, he’ll keep them safe, but it’ll still tear all parties involved apart. He needs to confront both his external and internal enemies.

Confrontation involves all of our characters. At the end of the episode, it’s Shaw and Reese in the same location Greer was in, finally confronting the man. Fittingly, it’s through a video screen–through technology–given the premise of the Machine as a go-between for the ideas of safety and privacy. Throughout her interrogation scenes, we see Grace forced to confront her past, to confront her love for Harold through the intimidating presence of Greer, and Harold eventually has to confront the same person at the end of it all.

Of course, that’s not until after an absolutely wonderful scene in which he and his former fiance are exchanged on a bridge. Michael Emerson is at his best there, his expression after helping Grace–but not being allowed to say a word–absolutely heartbreaking. Finch is risking his own safety and his own secrets–his privacy–in exchange for the safety of another, and with such a huge decision, he’s determined to face the inevitable truth. In what little screen time he has, he’s a compelling presence, an accomplishment matched by Carrie Preston’s acting ability helping to really flesh out her and Greer’s characters. The latter is a very intriguing presence, exerting a quiet, yet powerful, influence over others without coming across as a cartoonish villain.

In the end, though, while Finch may be risking a lot, continuing down an ethical descent of sorts that began earlier on, he still has friends. We know this, so it only makes the Root/Shaw/Reese team up all the more satisfying to watch. As cliche as it sounds, they’ll be there for him no matter what; Reese will support him if he seeks revenge, but he’ll also stay true to him by not proceeding until Root gets a name from the Machine. He’ll go see Finch on Grace’s stoop, and he’ll be there when Harold needs it the most.

That’s the main difference between Greer and Finch. Greer will convince one of his lackeys to kill himself because it’s what’s expedient, but Finch’s support system will only grow stronger with each setback. Decima will try to shoot and kill and eliminate, but Finch’s support system will kick your ass and look good doing it.



-So, I feel like Bear’s going to enter the picture at some point; perhaps, he’ll save Finch and make a softie out of Greer. You know, due to the fact that Bear is irresistible.

-The sequence in the precinct is very entertaining to watch unfold, from Fusco in general to Root getting arrested to get into the office to her causing Decima to lose signal.

-Shaw is just so badass in that first scene. That wink. My God.

-I really like the way that bridge scene is shot.

-Only 2 episodes left this season. It’s going to go out beautifully, I’m sure.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest



3 Responses to “Person of Interest “Beta” Review (3×21)”

  1. Josh April 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    This show is absolutely incredible. That bridge scene was heartbreaking – beautiful cinematography and the Ramin Dwajadi’s amazing score encapsulated it perfectly.

    The titles of the next two episodes already inexplicably excite me. “A House Divided” and “Deus Ex Machina”. Absolutely cannot wait.

    Great review!

  2. Hepburn3 May 14, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Person of Interest is simply AMAZING tv!
    So well acted, written and plotted!
    Love the show and your reviews just add to my love!

    • polarbears16 May 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

      I agree; love this show. I’m glad you enjoy the reviews!

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