Person of Interest EPs Tease Search for Second Machine, 'Cluster#@¢% of Villains' to Come

Person of Interest PreviewThe first half of Person of Interest Season 3 did some heavy lifting. The battle with HR hit a fever pitch, ultimately costing Detective Carter her life. New light was shed on Mr. Finch’s past, and we got a glimpse at Shaw’s own backstory. Root warned of a larger fight to come. And as the CBS drama entered the break, the mysterious Control was revealed — as was the possible existence of a second Machine.

And mind you, the worst is yet to come for Team Machine.

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Asked to sum up the theme for the back half of the season (which kicks off Tuesday at 10/9c), EP Jonah Nolan at first says that’s “a complicated question,” but ultimately settles on one word: escalation.

“That battle with corruption in the ranks of New York’s finest and the mayor’s office, as taxing and difficult and ultimately lethal as it was, was really just the beginning in terms of the challenges put in front of our heroes,” Nolan explains. As suggested at the close of the episode that introduced Control (played by guest star Camryn Manheim, The Practice), “Shaw’s former employers and Finch’s former collaborators will come roaring back, along with Vigilance and another party.”

Surveying that veritable rogues gallery of ne’er-do-wells, Nolan laughs: “We like things to be as messy as possible. The technical term for [the Jan. 7] episode would be ‘a clusterf–k of villains coming after our heroes.'”

And that, for lack of a simpler explanation, is what Root has been alluding to when warning Finch of a greater fight ahead. “In the advent of HR’s demise, we’re going to start to see these various entities jockey for control or at least something commensurate with The Machine,” says EP Greg Plageman. “It becomes a situation where Root starts to take matters into her own hands and establishes a more direct line between The Machine and herself.”

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Speaking of Root’s rather unsettling symbiotic bond with “Her,” Nolan promises there is “a long and somewhat, if I dare say, convoluted” explanation of how the two have been communicating as of late, with Root holed up in Finch’s cage. “But it points to the escalation of the stakes across the board for our heroes and for The Machine.”

Or should that be The Machines, plural, seeing as addled NSA wonk Arthur Claypool (Warehouse 13‘s Saul Rubinek) has revealed that his own handiwork, dubbed Samaritan, may be operable?

Gleefully noting (as the producers like to) the similarities between POI‘s premise and the headline-making Snowden scandal — or as he puts it, the “collision of reality with fantasy” — Nolan says, “In real life you’ve got a half-dozen prominent groups working toward the construction of something like The Machine. We imagine that one of those old projects that was sort of ‘strangled in the cradle’ is dusted off or might still be viable. So, like Shaw, many are interested in that question: Is there another Machine?”

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When last we tuned in, Control was hot to have that mystery solved by Claypool — if not also get her hands on Finch’s creation. And with Shaw held captive with Finch and Reese and Fusco two-thirds of the way across the country, “There will be no cavalry,” Nolan affirms, “so you’ll have to tune in and see if someone will rise to the occasion.”

And what of the aforementioned Mr. Reese? Having retreated to Colorado to lick his emotional wounds after Carter’s tragic death, he was in no mood for Fusco’s uninvited company, and the episode closed with the men engaging in a parking lot brawl. But it will take more than a few punches to cure what ails Team Machine’s main muscle. As Plageman explains, “The loss of Carter creates a rift between the rest of our guys on Team Machine, and disillusionment on Reese’s part. Something much bigger has to happen if he’s ever going to come back into the fold.”

Want more scoop on POI, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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17 Comments
  1. Spoiler Junkie says:

    Season 3 has been phenomenal. So happy that Jonah Nolan describes the back half of the season as ‘escalation’. POI has elevated itself from being a mere procedural to one of the best dramas on TV.

  2. DL says:

    PoI has just been firing on all cylinders this season. I’ll take this highly serialized storytelling any day over the week-to-week procedural the show has been for most of its lifespan.

  3. dan f says:

    I can’t wait to see what happens next. This show has stakes the kind of which you almost never see on the networks. Will this Samaritan go Skynet? Will the Machine? Will Finch and the rest eventually have to destroy it? Does Root have a chip in her head and will this symbiosis harm the Machine? Very interesting possibilities. I wonder they will add more police to the team ass there was several times they needed both Fusco and Carter.

  4. shuayb says:

    Reese needs to get over himself already. He is just so woe is me. Carter gave her life to fighting the good fight. She knew that what she was doing would lead to her death and she accepted that. Jonah should use that brilliant brain of his and realize that this dark path is so not interesting. It has been done before. Making Reese into the Dark Knight is dumb. He should be the white light that saves the innocent and puts the bad ppl away.
    I get why Joss had to die but by going all dark and whatever it just makes the whole thing not worth it.

    I hope he comes in to save Finch and move back to what he was doing before Joss’s death.

    I’m loving Root! Amy Acker is a gem!
    Shaw is brilliant. I’m liking the frenemyship she’s forming with Finch. I think it will also grow stronger after this whole control debacle.

    I love that POI always has at least 10 villains at the same time and that they always find a wat to become interconnected.

    I also hope the leader of vigilance gets popped. I hate pompous princeton guy. Lol.

    • dan f says:

      I get John’s reaction, he’s deeply saddened and depressed but he will get there. The work is too important and he doesn’t want to disgrace Carter’s memory or sacrifice.

    • The show was dark from the beginning – in fact it was kind of a revamped noir. IMHO the greatest and bravest thing what Nolan and his team do is that they dare to give depth to emotions and sacrifices. I hate those shows which in one episode wave the Watch Our Biggest Drama Of The Television flag and next week the characters happily dance away from the whole thing, with only some sad looks. There are plenty of fake dramas on TV to watch is somebody requires quick and meaningless absolution from one week to another, let this show be different.

      Taking into consideration where did Reese started from, what were the reasons he wanted to die and why he found the work for the Team a reason to live to me it would have been petty and shallow if he came back just because it is another Tuesday and he should know he is just a fictional character who has got the call sheet. That’s the Disneyfication of real human conflicts, as Danny Boyle said, death and wounds without pain and sorrow. It’s not easy to watch and I’m truely afraid that PoI will be too good to be watched by the procedural fans.

      • RedSonja says:

        I completely agree with this. I’m glad it’s playing out this way. It’s not that someone died. Someone Reese deeply cared for died… in his arms. They save complete strangers all the time, and Carter died (randomly, senselessly, to him) in his arms. The guy is going to be a little disillusioned. Reese is probably the most emotional one of the bunch. He really feels things. Those expecting Reese to just “get over himself” obviously don’t understand him.

        Besides, Harold had been ignoring The Machine. If he’d just ignored Root, too, they wouldn’t even be in this mess. ;)

  5. theOtherDude says:

    Can’t wait for this. Colossus: The Forbin Project was a favorite Sci-Fi novel & movie when I was a kid and I have been waiting for a modern take on it. This is it.

    Is Hersh or Harold’s MIT buddy the new threat? What about Elias? Is Nathan really dead?

  6. peter says:

    i love how he discribes root ”she’s not all bad but everything she does is crazy ”

  7. DanielleZ says:

    Sounds good to me. Looking forward to tomorrow night’s episode!

  8. TDXI says:

    Root needs a canal. The sooner they kill her off the better.

    • JB Smooove says:

      probably should have said the show needs a Root canal. but hey, being funny is hard for some folks.

    • Dominator of destruction says:

      Root is the only reason i even enjoy the show at all so the sooner they kill her off the sooner i stop watching

  9. sarah says:

    I really hope John gets back soon, he needs to be there to help!

    • brenna says:

      I agree. I love the relationship between Reese and Finch and I miss that. I can understand the disallusionment Reese feels but I hope he will be back working with the team soon. It’s not the same without him.

  10. Jack says:

    Since the end of Season 2, I have wondered if there is no Machine, that the “Machine” now lives on many computers, that it is now a nearly self-aware Artificial Intelligence. Recall that when they went to Washington state, there was no machine there. I’m wondering if the Machine had its physical link removed because it no longer needed it. Can’t wait for the writers to address this issue, although I think we’re looking at Season 4 for this to be addressed.

  11. Danna says:

    This show is so bad now. It really sucks.

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