Person of Interest “Q&A” Review (4×15)

18 Feb

Q & A

“They are remaking the world in the image of their leader.”

“Q&A” sees the return of Claire Mahoney, the young hacker we met at the beginning of the season in “Nautilus”, and it expands upon her story by revealing that she’s now working as a Samaritan operative. It isn’t difficult to guess this twist early on in the episode, but that doesn’t prevent it from still being an entertaining and engrossing hour of television; after all, this is Person of Interest we’re talking about.

This is an episode that further divides Finch from Samaritan, and it does so by building up a foreboding mood throughout before tearing down a relationship near the end. It’s an episode permeated by death, whether it be through Anna Mueller’s sister’s cancer or through Paul Zimmerman’s death or through Charles Wynn’s death, and at one point, we even get the following quote: “Everything I did led to the death of ordinary people.” Note the use of the word ‘ordinary people’, a term used in the opening credits when Finch talks about “violent crimes involving ordinary people”. The very kinds of people that Team Machine exists to save are ending up dead, and this is all done under the influence of Samaritan. At this moment, it’s an incredibly bleak outlook for the world, and Anna sums it up nicely when she states: “I have something to hit, something I can actually fight. Why do I still feel so hopeless?”

Reese’s response is also essential. He talks about how the harder fights–the ones outside of the ring–are the ones that actually mean something, and he refers to everything else as a “waste of time”. This type of mindset helps because it’s the mindset that has been taken recently by Team Machine: if you want to win the war, you must bring the fight outside of the ring. If you stay passive, Samaritan will envelop everything.

The scary thing right now, of course, is that Samaritan is steadily improving its ability to manipulate people. By manipulating search results, it can, as Greer puts it, “simulate and manipulate emotion”. The fact that Claire takes Finch to the charter school at the end to show him all the good Samaritan is doing serves to highlight just how well she’s been manipulated. Sure, Samaritan can control you in any number of ways, but this is the most effective: having people actually believe in its cause and believe it’s doing good for the world. When Claire tells Finch that “beliefs can change”, she doesn’t realize that it is for that very reason that she was able to become manipulated. As Finch says: “If Samaritan was willing to shoot you to get what it wanted, how far will it go to get these children to do what it wants?”

At the same time, there’s reason to believe that Claire is beginning to realize what’s happening to her. When she asks Greer about whether the sniper shots were meant to miss, she has to, for the first time, confront the notion that she might have to die for Samaritan. You can see the uncertainty on her face, and Greer’s response–“It’s for a good cause”–is clearly unsatisfactory. This, after all, is just what Samaritan wants her to think, and once she gives herself over to this idea, then she will have fallen into its trap.



-Always nice to see Fusco getting in on the action.

-Even nicer to see Root back. She returns as we expect her to return: with guns blazing.

-The MMA world is described as having a “lack of regulation” and being “overrun by crime”. A nice nod at the Samaritan themes with this.

– “That may have been true once…before I lost someone. I don’t want to lose anyone else.” Finch’s words here echo Reese’s words with Dr. Campbell, and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that our characters are legitimately afraid. Usually, Finch can find something good to take out of a bad situation, but there’s not much of that in “Q&A”.

-Next week: Dominic returns. Seeing as the series finale of Parks and Recreation apparently airs at 10/9 central next week, that means that three shows I review–this, Justified, and Parks–will fall at the same time. Thanks for the wonderful scheduling, TV. Anyway, I have no guarantees about when reviews will be up next week.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

5 Responses to “Person of Interest “Q&A” Review (4×15)”

  1. Hepburn3 February 18, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    When I saw Claire I had a feeling that she was trying to play Harold and she was. That girl not only drank the Kool-Aid she helping to make it. I find her naivety and Samaritan zealousness sad actually. She is as Greer likes to say in for a rude awakening but will she have an epiphany?
    I love that what Harold said to her and he did make her think and when Greer spoke to her you could tell that he just thinks of her as a something expendable, and hopefully she is realizing that herself but I do not hold out hope.
    it was a good episode about dealing with death and feeling helpless, but in the end doing something about it is not helplessness it is proactive,and it is okay to be afraid, but it is not okay to let the fear stop you. They are not going to stop and let Samaritan take over.
    Harold does not take human life and purpose lightly but I love that he told Claire that he would leave her there in the funeral home to die if need be. Oh but thankfully he did not put that USB into his laptop!
    It was good that John and Lionel were working together for this ties in with last week when he said he did not want to be left out and it is his choice not theirs.
    Anna and he MMA fights were interesting, I did not know it was illegal in the US it is legal here, not the underground gambling but the fights. To be honest I thought that Elias and The Brotherhood would have been fighting over trying to run the fights, but we get to see them next week so that is nifty!
    HUZZAH Root is back! She arrived just in time. I am happy that she had her time to think about what is needed and important. I think that it was the final lesson for her to realize that all of this is bigger than her and her wants. She found that out the first time with the former millionaire now janitor who’s life she ruined but she then saved, I loved that she said that
    Harold said that this ‘gambit’ ended in a stalemate, Greer and Samaritan think that they have the upper hand in all things and are running circles around the Machine and her team but Harold and Team Machine are no longer fooling around, they are working to win, I did not say play because this is not a game to them it is a mission and a purpose.

    I love that Root shot the Samaritan stooges but she simply shot Claire in the shoulder, just like Samaritan did. Root let her live, Samaritan was just toying with her. I also liked that she said “hello Claire.” the look on her face that Root knew her name was just priceless. Claire likes to think she is smarter than everyone, I found it a tad patronizing that she called Harold a “hacker like her” it is obvious that she thinks she is smarter than Harold, silly girl.

    Stoked for next week! 🙂
    Good review Polarbear!

    • Hepburn3 February 18, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

      I just noticed that I did not finish a sentence in regards to Root.
      What I meant to say was I loved that she said that things are new/different, she and Harold have new laptops. I am paraphrasing. New and different in terms of perspective and purpose. 🙂

    • polarbears16 February 18, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

      As always, wonderful comment! I love your take on Claire; yeah, she feels like she’s a bit above everyone else, but at the same time, we feel for her because we know how manipulative Samaritan can be. I also wonder whether she’ll be able to do something about her situation in time, as I do believe she’s starting to realize what’s going on.

      And yes, Team Machine isn’t playing around anymore. I wonder how Shaw is going to play into things; I suspect that Greer is going to try to make her a Root/Claire of his (or rather, Samaritan’s) own?

  2. Justin February 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    I had a feeling that not all was it seemed with Claire. The twist didn’t surprise me but it made me feel sorry for Harold. I can see the heartbreaking look of disappointment on his face. He tends to believe in the best in people. He saw that in Claire from the beginning only to have that belief thrown in his face this episode. But I think it’s just a matter of time before Claire ends up proving Harold right after all once she sees Samaritan fully for what it really is and take part in stopping it, for real this time.

    I hate that Samaritan continues to grow stronger while Team Machine only manage to achieve enough small victories to keep themselves alive and running.

    I’m glad Root is back.

  3. Joanne Dorlando February 19, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    I watch this show as if I were reading a comic book, and I’m not a comic-con kind of person.I say this with all due respect. The only thing missing are the BIF BAM POW balloons…I love it!

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