Person of Interest “Brotherhood” Review (4×04)

15 Oct


“There’s just one rule: we all die in the end.”

The unrelenting cycle of violence and crime seems to be a common topic among television shows these days, with The Bridge exploring that idea in terms of the U.S.-Mexico border and with Boardwalk Empire doing so in a historical, gangster world context. Person of Interest is tackling the issue in present-day New York, in a steadily evolving world that gets more restrictive as time progresses.

Something that’s emphasized throughout “Brotherhood” is the idea of everyone being part of a game, “a game where you’re unsure of the pieces”, where “losing is not an option”. This is, at its most rudimentary concept, the ‘game’ of survival of the fittest, something people all play, something that’s inherent in the idea of life. Losing may not be an option, but losing inevitably happens, and the idea of there being “no long game”–as Mini/Dominic says–basically highlights the fact that there are illusions of free will when it comes to gangsters and cops and people who are swept up in the aforementioned cycle of violence and crime. “It doesn’t make a difference what you do or who you do it for.”

It’s certainly a cynical worldview, but at the same time, the show realizes that elements of planning and “long games” still exist. Yes, they may be implemented to further the cycle, but humans are still humans; we still need to believe in something and achieve something in life. So, we plan and we structure, and we sometimes break the rules set by society. Malcolm Booker is the “man with a plan”. Dominic is “still trying to figure out what game [the team] is playing”. In the grand scheme of things, each individual person’s story may be inconsequential, but when you narrow your focus, everything begins to take on a larger meaning for you. Unhappy with the cycle? Break it, but just know that it’ll keep spinning above you.

Another aspect of the episode I’d like to point out is the concept that you “can’t make something right by doing something wrong”. Said by Reese to Malcolm, this is a perfect encapsulation of why the cycle of violence is perpetuated. People are, for example, oftentimes out for revenge, with a misguided moral compass that leads them astray, that leads them down dark paths. By doing right here rather than wrong, Malcolm and Tracy end up happily going to school and feeling relatively safe.

And yet, that image of their smiling faces is contrasted with the lifeless stare of Agent Lennox, left in the street by Dominic and Link. They have plans to spring Tracy and Malcolm’s mother from prison, and they have plans to recruit Malcolm into the Brotherhood. You never can truly escape. Once you’re in the game, there’s no backing out.



-Bear is not very prominent in this episode, sadly. No Root, either.

-Elias and Finch meet on a subway, which I suspect is a nod to the team’s new lair. Essentially, Finch is slowly letting Elias into the circle, and that may turn out to be very dangerous. “Trust is a funny thing”, after all.

-Also, very nice to see Elias again. Enrico Colantoni is always great, and if you haven’t seen Veronica Mars yet, do so. I just finished up season one, and it was brilliant.

-It’s pretty clear early on that Agent Lennox is going to be the mole.

-I like the idea of Mini as Dominic. He’s been hiding in the open all this time, something Elias and the team do as well.

-The Malcolm/Tracy case for sure isn’t the strongest procedural case the show’s done.

-Next week: elections, Jason Ritter, and shooting through floors!

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

2 Responses to “Person of Interest “Brotherhood” Review (4×04)”

  1. Hepburn3 October 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    love this show and i love your reviews, you often show me things i did not see at first watching. yes dominic was hiding in plain sight the whole time even his nickname ‘mini’ is in his name.
    i want to see more root and bear too and it was great to see elias!
    here is to next week and more PoI! 🙂

    • polarbears16 October 15, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      Haha, I actually didn’t notice mini was in Dominic! Great catch.

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