“How much wrong are we willing to do in the name of right?”
In the Person of Interest world, it’s becoming much more difficult to separate good from bad, friends from enemies, technology from life. Sure, there are teams and sides and various agendas, but the lines separating everything aren’t as clearly delineated as they were before. As Samaritan’s power grows, our characters have to grapple with a plethora of moral dilemmas, and the moral ambiguity inherent in the situation begins to reveal itself.
“Honor Among Thieves” takes a look at criminality and morality, and even the title is an indication of these ideas; after all, Tomas Koroa represents the “honor among thieves”, someone who is a criminal, but also someone who won’t cross certain lines. “I’m not a saint,” he tells Root, “but some things are too far…even for a guy like me.” He comes across as this upstanding guy in comparison to the other people we see in the episode, but we know that he’s also a criminal. We know that he’s capable of doing bad things, so the question becomes: does the right outweigh the wrong?
That’s the same dilemma that is constantly on Finch’s mind, and at the end of the episode, he brings up the fact that the first thing Fidel Castro did was build schools. He says that while Samaritan’s motives may be amoral, the thing Wilkins was trying to do–bring tablets to students–was “an absolute good, and we destroyed it”. So, the idea of morality is very much in play here, and the situation becomes a delicate balancing act between right and wrong, between two vastly different ideologies that clash in the middle. What wins out in the end: the “honor”, or the “thieves”?
Outside of these rich, complex dilemmas, we still have an incredibly entertaining episode that places Root and Shaw together; the show knows what its audience wants. Acker and Shahi have incredible chemistry throughout, as we already know, and it’s nice that POI is willing to pull back on certain characters in order to highlight others. This is undoubtedly a showcase for Shaw, and her interactions with Tomas are fantastic. There are no last minute twists painting Tomas as the perpetrator here; rather, the show portrays a dynamic between two people who are very much alike, who both have a penchant for embracing their criminal-esque sides at times.
At the end of the episode, Tomas heads off to Barcelona while Shaw remains in New York, and it’s the mark of some excellent character growth for the latter because, let’s face it, she probably would’ve headed off with him without batting an eye had she not met the rest of the team. She still has a sense of duty, a sense of teamwork and camaraderie with Finch and Root and Shaw and Bear, and she’s going to stay with them to fight Samaritan. That’s good, because they need her.
– “Maybe infidelity is trying to spank him on the ass.” *Reese slowly turns his head*
-Root providing commentary on the Shaw-Tomas back and forth is the best.
-Grice letting Shaw go really goes to show you how big of an impact she must have had on him. Of course, this is also what’s going to send Samaritan into overdrive, as an attempt to delete security footage ends up making him another target.
-Brooks, played by Theodora Woolley, has a very important line: “We don’t get paid to think.” The ideas of authority and payment are key in the morality discussions. Are these people merely robots? Do they have agency? With Grice, it looks like he has some semblance of it.
– “It’s like ebola’s evil twin.” Not only do we have ebola references, but we also have an episode that takes place on Veteran’s Day. Seeing as today is actually Veteran’s Day, it’s clear that this show stays on top of things.
– “Fine, we’ll commit your felony.”
– “This could take all night.” Those smiles they share.
-ASHUR! Nick Tarabay plays Grice in this episode, and this now gives me an opportunity to mention, yet again, how great of a show Spartacus was. Seriously, go watch it if you haven’t.
Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest