Person of Interest “The Devil You Know” Review (4×09)

25 Nov

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“Invictus maneo.”

The above is a Latin phrase that translates to “I remain unvanquished”, and that certainly applies to the man who walks away unscathed at the end of the episode. In the Person of Interest world, you either survive or you don’t, and the rules of the game dictate that at some point, someone who doesn’t survive has his or her place taken by someone else. As Dominic says, “it’s the natural order of things”.

Of course, that view is the most rudimentary view one can have of this world. That view looks over the relationships we form with others, the very human connections that even the biggest criminals can have. At the end of the episode, Elias refers to the picture of Anthony as that of a “real brotherhood”, a brotherhood with genuine human connection, a brotherhood in which people will lay their lives on the line for each other. What sets him apart from Dominic is the fact that although he’s incredibly smart, he’s always had people protecting him, not just working for him.

Of course, Dominic now realizes this. Elias states that Dominic’s greatest weakness is hubris, and he’s absolutely right about that; however, that flaw is also exactly what got him to where he is today. He’s someone who understands what he needs to do to rise to the top, and he’s only going to get more powerful from here on out. His monologue midway through the episode says a lot about his state of mind, his smarts, and his knowledge of “the game within the game” signals an eventual shift in winners. “There’s more in the game than money,” he tells a listening Link. “You need power, leverage. It’s the kind of power you build, not the kind of power you buy. If you want to run the city, you need more than just money.”

Going off that, the episode also zeroes in on the idea of power and what to do with it, power and how it relates to organizational hierarchies. Elias is told here that he “still has some power” and is asked what he will use it for, and he winds up retaining that power at the end of the episode; anyone who now stands in his way–including Finch and Reese–better watch out. The idea of succession, of number twos, certainly applies here as well, and the episode sets up a contrast between the Link-Dominic dynamic and the Anthony-Elias dynamic. “It’s hard being number two,” Anthony tells Link. “One day, you might find yourself in a chair that looks a hell of a lot like this one.” The difference between the two is that one is a number two because he works for number one, and the other is a number two because he cares for number one.

After all, this show has always been about connection, about people who care for each other in the face of danger. As regular commenter Hepburn3 noted last week, “They all were fragmented people who have come together for a purpose and now care for each other”. We not only get those ideas with Elias and Anthony in “The Devil You Know”, but also with Shaw and Root. At the beginning of the episode, Root responds to Shaw’s “I’m not scared!” with a concerned and assertive, “Maybe you should be scared. Other people are, people who care for you.” In the end, the battle against Samaritan cannot be won without a united front.

It’s true that this isn’t just about Elias or just about the team or just about the Brotherhood. Yet, even though this battle represents so much more than the personal conflicts may suggest, the individuals are the ones who enact change, who fight, who grow, who live, who die. This is perhaps best summed up in an exchange between Harold and Elias:

“Your presence has always brought order to the chaos. Without you, people like Dominic will survive.”

“The world will always be a violent place. The best thing we can do is to protect the ones closest to us.”



The Devil You Know

-Yay, Shaw and Root together again! I love Shaw sort of trying to flirt her way into getting Root to agree with her. Oh, those two. “You can end me all you want.”

-Enrico Colantoni is masterful in this episode, especially during that scene in which he talks to Anthony on the phone. We get the side of him that truly cares for the guy–I really thought he was done for when he started talking over violins in the background–and then we later get the side of him that is confident and chilling and entertaining as hell. “Then why are you not smiling?”

-There is one key thing Elias and Dominic have in common: they know their time at the top will be over at some point. They understand the world they live in.

-Oh, Elias. I love you and your premeditated plans.

– “…bitch who pulled me out of the ambulance…”

-Scarface was cool. RIP, Scarface/Anthony.

-Elias is still utilizing a “holdover from the old owners”. Dominic probably wouldn’t.

-Interesting how Anthony is offered a crew of his own in this episode, and at the end, Martine is the one who gets it. Of course, fitting in line with the episode’s themes, this new crew is only designed to hunt people down; it’s not a true “brotherhood”, if you will.

-No episode until December 16, and then we’ll presumably take another few weeks off after that (just like last year). Who schedules these things?

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

4 Responses to “Person of Interest “The Devil You Know” Review (4×09)”

  1. bobby927 November 26, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Elias: “Invictus maneo” (I remain unconquered).

  2. Hepburn3 November 26, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    DECEMBER 16th!!!
    WHAT!!?? Yes indeed who does schedule these things!?

    Good episode and as always a insightful review! I love this show it moves and links back to the past and the present with style and reason.
    I have to say that I KNEW that Root would be there to get Shaw out of there, and I love that Shaw gave the Martininator a showdown.
    Now that Shaw has to be kept underground I wonder how she will be utilized?
    This really was a moving and well acted episode especially on Elias and Anthony’s part I was moved by their final conversation. I love that Elias is always in contingency mode.
    Elias and Dominic are going to do battle and they will most likely both go down as they set fire to the world, but it makes me wonder who will rise from their eventual ashes?
    Hubris was a big motif in tonight’s episode, and it has be a leitmotif throughout this season.
    Harold had to leave his hubris behind and finally talk to his ‘prodigal’ child/god The Machine, he had to finally try and trust her. Root had to leave her hubris by accepting that the Machine may not and cannot be in touch with her all the time and to accept being afraid, a lesson which she tried to impart on Shaw tonight, fear can be good if harnessed and it can be a fierce motivator. Reece had to leave his hubris due to his cover as a cop,they all are learning for the better.
    Dominic is full of hubris and Elias schooled him, I LOVED the “then why aren’t you smiling line” which was said with a wane smile. 🙂
    Samaritan is just made of pure hubris as is Martine and Greer, they think nothing can stop them and they are so full of pride.
    Elias and his ‘brotherhood’, team Machine and their “brotherhood” are for lack of a better phrase emotionally tangible where as Dominic and his Brotherhood and Greer and Samaritan are not, I think that they will fall apart in the end. Last week both Dominic and Samaritan/Greer/Martine all went hunting for what they conclude as weaknesses, the emotional relationships that people forge, to use to crush team Machine and Elias but in the end it is the irony of a machine learning to care via Harold ( at least I think that is what is the difference between Samaritan and the Machine is) and the lack of caring and coldness that is Samaritan and the Brotherhood that will be the latter’s undoing and end.
    Oh and as an aside I find it totally dripping with irony that the evil machine is called Samaritan, for the Good Samaritan was a parable about kindness,caring and forming trust in the least expected person, Samaritan should be called the Pharisee.

    Again I say DECEMBER 16th!!! Aw man. 😛

    p.s. I was so flattered that you quoted me! Thanks! 🙂

    • polarbears16 November 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Excellent points, especially about the ideas of hubris throughout the entire show and the irony in Samaritan. I completely agree with the notion that some “brotherhoods” will fall apart in the end; interesting how the Machine was viewed by Finch as something gaining too much power, but now it’s being used as an ally to combat Samaritan.

      No problem. Your comments are always insightful, and I was happy to quote you.

  3. dovorobucchi November 26, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Anthony’s dedication really moved me! It reminds me of some of the books that I’m very fond of. And that lineverything, ‘then why aren’t you smiling’. And another one: “The world will always be a violent place. The best thing we can do is to protect the ones closest to us.”… My….

    As for the air time… It seems to me this always happens when things are getting interesting! I suppose I’ll have to shut down my feels temporarily. Until then.

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