Recap: Person of Interest Trilogy, Part III — The Search for Shaw

CBS’ Person of Interest wrapped its midseason “trilogy” with an episode that focused on she who is known as Control — including, specifically, whether she has much if any left.

Exhibit No. 1: Control (recurring player Camryn Manheim) knows nothing of Samaritan’s role in the “flash crash,” writing it off as the same “computer glitch” the news reports are citing.

Exhibit No. 2: Unbeknownst to Control, Samaritan’s child avatar is hounding the president’s chief of staff, using facts about the “flash crash” to prove his cred and demand a sit-down with, you know, the leader of the free world.

Exhibit No. 3: Summoned to the ops room, Control looks into a terror threat percolating in Detroit — a quartet of (allegedly) sketchy programmers who (allegedly) plan to bomb a series of historic landmarks. When Control sics Grice and Brooks on the cell, one of them, Yasin Said, escapes termination and flees. Control orders Samaritan to read Yasin’s laptop hard drive, but access is denied, which just never happens with a super-intelligent, omnipotent AI. Speaking on Samaritan’s behalf, Travers (True Detective‘s Michael Potts) tells Control that the laptop is “irrelevant,” that finding Yasin is Job 1.

Exhibit No. 4: Control’s pursuit of Yasin — giving chase via SUV when the lad tries to hitch a train to Canada — is interrupted by the “ski mask-wearing vigilantes” who’ve been on a rampage of sorts in NYC, stealing stock exchange security cam footage and what not. After interrogating/beseeching Control for any intel on Shaw’s whereabouts — Reese and Root, at least, believe she could be alive — it is gleaned that she knows nothing about the shootout beneath the stock exchange, or Samaritan’s human army.

Exhibit No. 5: Upon tracking Yasin to a cabin in Canada, Control is met with a rather convincing version of events, in which the four friends merely were recruited to help with some sort of eco start-up. They each worked on separate pieces of code, and had just made their final delivery — the laptop files Samaritan won’t let Control see — before being targeted as relevants. Control seems slightly affected by Yasin’s explanation… but kills him anyway.

That said, Control obviously is forming questions, as evidenced by her “tour” of the sixth level beneath the stock exchange, where Team Machine’s epic shootout with Samaritan’s army is said to have taken place. Everything appears clean and in order… until she drags a finger along a wall that has freshly been painted over. Hmmm.

Elsewhere as the hour came to a close: Armed with a semblance of a lead from Finch — a Samaritan soldier’s phone traveled in a refrigerated truck from the stock exchange to upstate New York — Reese and Root set out to (hopefully) find Shaw on the other end of that ping. As they drive there, Root is visibly full of emotions and fear for the worst….

What did you think of the episode “Control-alt-delete”?

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  1. kate says:

    Wow this show loves its Easter eggs… That contest was the one that girl who was like the last sort of poi episode was playing.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I counted two (maybe three) women on the screen that looked like Shaw from side and back angles. It was freaky. And I loved it.

    • Sad Panda says:

      At the beginning I totally thought the woman taking out the kid at the door was Shaw! Didn’t see the other ones, tho.

      • dioxinblues says:

        For a reason: Apparently the actress is Sarah Shahi’s stunt double. I imagine the show wants to still keep her employed while Shahi is away; it’s not the former’s fault the latter is taking time off.

  3. Great episode, with little less action, but with more grieving and the relevant side finally realise they’re being played all this time. I love the focus on Control and I like the great between her and Finch.

  4. ANON R says:

    Amy Acker may have not done much, but my god, her face said it all. Heartbreak and a punch to the gut, all wrapped up in her expressions.

  5. Tran says:

    The Person of Interest trilogy was mind blowing and pure popcorn TV. I was very emotional about the demise of Shaw last week and I wouldn’t rule out if that moment really jump the shark. What does this mean for the rest of the series’ characters and where will they go from here?

  6. Andy says:

    If that programmer wasn’t a terrorist, why would he jump out a window?

    • Gail says:

      To get away from the man who was pointing a gun at him perhaps?

    • JEst says:

      To avoid being killed, just like he eventually was?

      • Andy says:

        He essentially was committing suicide. They thought he was dead. Don’t know many innocent people who wouldn’t just run down the stairs they came up instead of diving head first out a window.

        • khaira says:

          He was running for his life. the story was leading us to believe that he was being manipulated the whole time. also, you’d be surprise to know what people can do to prevent themselves from a certain death. So yeah i think i would have jumped as well.

  7. Gail says:

    Knowing that Shaw will not being coming back for the foreseeable future reduces the suspense for me. It will be interesting to see what the writers come up with that stops Team Machine from looking for her. Perhaps they will find out something that makes them believe she has been recruited by Samaritan.

    Never a fan of episodes where the main characters are used lightly. After 30 minutes I was afraid they wouldn’t appear at all. Glad they finally showed up.

    • J Bernard Joens says:

      Um, ya know, the episode that introduced Shaw — one of the main characters — featured less screen time for Reese & Finch than this one did (including no screen time for Carter & Fusco) and it was one of the best of that season.

      • Gail says:

        OK. However in this case the episode was promoted as the conclusion of a trilogy and the producers after last weeks episode were talking about watching how Root and Reese would react to Shaw’s situation etc. What we got in the first 30 minutes was an episode featuring Control, when we (or I) want to see Team Machine and how they are dealing with what just happened.

    • Fido says:

      Before she left she might have filmed some scenes to play out in future eps. :)

  8. Cheeto says:

    Is Grice going to be joining the team?

  9. aplwrites says:

    The way the are playing the whole Shaw exit due to pregnancy is perfect. When Carter died, they had a moving and emotional sequence to follow in the next episode. Shaw got one too, but we see it from a distance, so the reaction is similar but as viewers we don’t feel it as much and it allows us to hope for a return. However, because Reese and Root still hold out hope, if Shahi decides not to come back after her maternity leave, they can have an episode when this, what I assume will fall into the backdrop, search storyline can come to end with empirical evidence that Shaw indeed died, maybe not at that moment we saw last week, based on the circumstances of the show in this future hypothetical. She can then have her official send off like Carter had.

  10. blah says:

    Great Episode. I was surprised how much i liked the 2 team Samaritan operatives. When they were just doing their jobs. if they ever did a spinoff POI:Relevant. I would definitely watch that show.

    I was also surprised how much better the main cast dynamic was without Shaw. I liked Shaw and i will miss her, but the team just seems to have better energy without her

  11. Rick Katze says:

    Wow. Lots of hints. Control showed that she is a “good guy” liberally interpreted and I suspect, eventually, a co-conspirator against Samaritan who she will eventually deem a threat to the USA. The male agent also could become a potential recruit. That the woman agent did not shoot the ‘terrorist” suggests that she is not Samaritan’s agent leaving the unnamed agents there as possible choices.
    Political comment: Please feel free to ignore. Would love to see the kid actually negotiating with our incompetent President but obviously that will never happen.
    Biggest problem is that Samaitan only needs to win once to succeed while the Team needs to continually win or they lose. Eventually that aspect of the story can’t go on forever without becoming unbelievable but becoming boring. There needs to be an end-game sometime.

    • Citygirl says:

      “negotiating with our incompetent president”. Are you serious???? What an ignorant thing to say. This is a TV SHOW. There are a couple of TV shows currently on that have actors playing the U.S. President, one is even a black woman!! Perhaps if this kid was to negotiate with the President – it will be a plain, good ole’ boy from (fill in the State).

    • Carm says:

      This is a tv show so there was absolutely no reason for you to tell us what you think of the President. You probably only made the comment so you could make the idiotic statement. I am sure you can find a place where others care about what you think and agree with you about the President. The POI recap is not it.

  12. CK says:

    So my guess is that Shaw was shot in the head, survived, and will now be in a medically induced coma from now until her return. Seems like the only reason for a refrigerated truck would be to reduce brain swelling and bleeding for a trauma patient.

  13. chill1988 says:

    Control reminds me of Amanda Waller from batman

  14. Jake says:

    From a technical standpoint, wouldn’t Samaritan be writing it’s own code now? Even if it was for another computer system, wouldn’t it just write it itself? Still, love the show, but I’m wondering what the writers intend for Samaritan to do – publicly take over the world, or would it just keep the world leaders in place as puppets and stay behind the scenes so not to cause panic or a revolt.

  15. Anna says:

    I did not enjoy this episode as much as I usually do… I missed Team Machine too much. To be honest, I don’t really care for that Control lady and I couldn’t care less about her relationship with Samaritan. I just wanted Root to shoot her and be done with it. That’s why the bad guys on this show get stuff done, they actually shoot people they wanna shoot, they don’t talk to them and try them to be good when clearly they’ll never be. (Keeping in mind that this is a TV show. In real life, I don’t want anyone to shoot anyone else.)

    • Machine Parts says:

      “I just wanted Root to shoot her and be done with it. ”

      How can you miss the point this much? How?!?!? If Team Machine can “enlighten” Control as to what is really going on with Samaritan, she would be a very powerful ally for them in potentially destroying, or at least permanently crippling, it. That’s why Root didn’t just shoot her … geez.

      • Anna says:

        Yeah, that’s one way to see it. But I would argue that one person doesn’t make such a huge difference. Samaritan, as it is shown lately, seems to be super smart, so I guess it would definitely notice if Control would turn on it and have her killed. I’m just saying that shooting the Samaritan guys and destroying the servers would be a quicker way to get rid of it – although it wouldn’t make for good television I guess… But “geez”, thanks for enlightening me that I totally “missed the point” because I didn’t like the episode. You can “get the point” and still not enjoy something, you know?

  16. Morisot says:

    It’s all too muddy now. I liked it better when it was clear who the good guys were. And each week they saved somebody.

  17. Luis says:

    Absolutely anything that puts Camryn Mannheim on my T.V. screen makes me happy.

  18. Becky says:

    I just loved this episode. It’s so interesting to see what’s going on with Control, her new awakening the the problems, and our teams’ efforts to find Shaw. I just can’t wait to see where it all goes.

  19. roz12 says:

    I think its fantastic that this site is finally doing -great- reviews of this impressive show. Thanks Matt!!

    • Citygirl says:

      Wish the site had “Thumbs Up” signs, though!! I don’t like that after posting a reply, you have to scroll all the way down to where you were before posting.

  20. sladewilson says:

    PoI still has some of the best writing on TV today. Loved when Harold informed Control she was just the janitor. That was classic….

  21. HAP says:

    Talk about daring. It was almost 20 minutes into the episode before any main cast member made an appearance. You don’t often see something like that.

    • Gail says:

      For some shows there is often an episode where the main character(s) is written lightly..
      I don’t know what the reason is. Could be in the actors’ contract, or an accommodation to an actor(s) who need time off, or perhaps it is necessary in order to produce enough episodes in a timely fashion. ie they could film 2 episodes concurrently. I don’t think I have seen anyone ask about this on these boards.
      Another example where this happened is Doctor Who. When David Tennant was the Doctor, there was always one episode each season where he only appeared briefly. This hasn’t been the case when other actors played the Doctor.

  22. william looney says:

    I am losing interest in the show. Bring Shaw back!!!!!!!!!

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  24. pakegler says:

    I was admittedly somewhat distracted while watching the episode. With that said….I don’t remember seeing Martine in part 3. Wouldn’t Samaritan have dispatched its number one assassin at some point in part 3? Will be interesting to see if/when/how Martine shows up going forward.

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