Person of Interest: Sotto Voce
May 30, 2016 10:03 PM - Season 5, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The fellows go after a bomber known as "The Voice," who turns out to be someone Elias wants as well. In other news, the ladies reunite and...?

"The Voice" turns out to be a guy that the PoI crew thought was a victim, and Fusco gets injured yet again at the precinct itself. Reese unilaterally decides that since even the precinct isn't safe any more, it's time to trash Fusco's phone and tell him what's really going on.

In other news, Shaw makes her way back to NYC, runs into Root, and tells her about the whole 7000 scenarios thing. Since Shaw doesn't trust herself any more, she threatens to shoot herself in the head one more time. Root of course is all, "Okay, fine, I'll shoot myself too, then," which apparently managed to call the whole thing off.

The last scene features the entire PoI crew reuniting in the park.
posted by jenfullmoon (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
That's just stinkin' thinkin'. Oh, Elias, I'm so glad you're still around.

And Fusco gets a yellow square! And Shaw and Root don't shoot themselves! ... God, I hope it isn't all downhill from here.
posted by rewil at 10:37 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Quick, writers room. Brainstorm every good movie that happens in a police station. Now mash both of them together.
posted by andrewdoull at 8:11 AM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not usually a nit picker, but:
- Why would Shaw not ride on the truck with the family she saved? She taunts the smugglers by quoting their advice to walk 10 miles in a certain direction, and then she what, does the same thing?
- Given that Shaw was avoiding the team and has no direct access to the machine, how did she know about Samaritan's antenna guys?
- Reese knows that someone inside the police station is working for the voice, so why doesn't he question whether the only other cop left in the building (besides Fusco) might be that person? I know Fusco vouched for him, but so what? Reese doesn't make that kind of mistake.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:50 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


This was so familiar I thought it was a rerun, sneaky bad guy pretends to be a victim, luring police out of station, bad guys getting arrested intentionally, Fusco getting shot, if it wasn't for the opening bit with Shaw (yay!). I did like watching that actor's face when he went from "this is all some sort of misunderstanding" to "yeah I'm a killer".
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:51 AM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that transformation was nicely done.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:55 AM on May 31, 2016


I might have cried a teeny bit at the last scene in the park.
posted by rtha at 10:05 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


TWinbrook: It's the fourth time in the show by my count that they end up working with someone who turns out to be The Actual Mastermind (Elias, Root, Dominic, The Voice), but I think it's an intentional choice, as unlike all the previous iterations, bringing Elias in and showing the willingness to kill led to actually stopping the problem once and for all instead of them getting away.

The show's only got a few more episodes left and it's another stick on the pile for "The Machine and the team have to start being active instead of reactive if they're ever going to win," I think.
posted by flatluigi at 11:54 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I did like watching that actor's face when he went from "this is all some sort of misunderstanding" to "yeah I'm a killer".

Right before I started this episode I had literally just finished watching Rupak Ginn on the light, fluffy Royal Pains where he does not often get much of a chance to stretch his acting muscles so yeah, it was nice to see him get a chance to show off his skills, and it was very well done.

I tend to think it's kind of lazy when shows bring in another bad guy to kill off a bad guy so that the good guys don't have to feel guilty about it, but Elias blowing up that guy at the end somehow circumvented that. Probably because Elias has been around a long time, and also because it reminds us how dangerous Elias actually is, which was useful after an episode of him just being generally nice and helpful. And flatluigi's point about them inverting their usual way of setting up a recurring evil mastermind is a good one.

- Why would Shaw not ride on the truck with the family she saved? She taunts the smugglers by quoting their advice to walk 10 miles in a certain direction, and then she what, does the same thing?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that Shaw has both desert-survival skills and covert-border-crossing skills that far surpass any of the other people in or around that truck. Hitching a ride close to the border makes sense, but crossing it with that family just increases her chance of getting caught.

- Given that Shaw was avoiding the team and has no direct access to the machine, how did she know about Samaritan's antenna guys?

Shaw is a highly trained and skilled assassin, with plenty of experience tracking down enemy operatives and killing them, including at least some experience from back in the old days when you didn't have an all-seeing supercomputer telling you who your targets were or how to find them. Plus, unlike Fusco, she did at least know the basics of what's going on. I'll grant you that either the timeline's a little fuzzy or she found some targets very fast, but the end result seemed believable to me.

My big nitpick of this episode is that Samaritan seemed to not have any idea what was going on, or else didn't seem to care. Samaritan is evil, and more than willing to sacrifice many many lives for what it perceives as the "greater good", but it's always been shown as being spectacularly effective at preventing terrorist threats. Letting bombs get planted all over New York and an entire police precinct get shot up so one guy can be prevented from flipping on his boss seems weird - unless The Voice was a Samaritan agent, I don't see why it would allow that. Likewise, I buy that Shaw was able to make it back to New York and start offing Samaritan agents based on her background and skill set - but if the Machine was able to figure out that Shaw was back and put Root on an intercept course, why wasn't/hasn't Samaritan done the same? (Unless Shaw is still as much under Samaritan's control as she fears she might be...)
posted by mstokes650 at 1:29 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


It cracked me up that Elias was pretty much, "Look, what did you expect when you brought me along? Of COURSE I'm going to blow him up. Like that guy's gonna confess and go to jail." Harry's reaction to people making harsh life decisions is making me roll my eyes a wee bit, though, between this one and last week's radio guy death.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:13 PM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


> unless The Voice was a Samaritan agent

That was pretty much my read; Voicey was a pawn whether he knew it or not. You've got to have pissed off Elias personally or were a bug that perennially screwed with his precision and well-oiled criminal enterprise.

Voicey was either stupid/ambitious or was puppetted by Samaritan who wouldn't have a feel for the equilibrium in high-level criminal enterprise, or likely both, and Sammy (Samael?) took advantage of Voice's motivations/limitations.
posted by porpoise at 8:23 PM on May 31, 2016


Oh, mstokes650 - the historic questions/narratives about AI in science fiction is that... they aren't human. In what ways and how are they not human? How do AI and humans "think" differently?

Samaritan, the "official" government AI is "evil" because its operating under a particular set of assumptions and particular set of "desired outcomes." Since AIs "think different," the road to - or the interpretation of - those goals may-be/are-predicted-to-be radically unhuman.

The Cuddly AI is has been interacting with the "good guys" who exhibit an inordinate amount of compassion, generosity, sacrifice, &c.&c.&c. What does that abstraction layer do to an AI?

AIs (by definition, must be able to) learn, and the show is contrasting two possible extremes of AI behaviour based on different inputs but given very similar data access.

I wasn't expecting much of this season but I like that the writers are apparently being given permission to explore some grand ideas even if they don't translate/difficult(money/time/skill) to enact in this final season.

If PoI ends anywhere near a standard deviation of the ending for Burn Notice, I'll remember the entire series very fondly. The casting punched up for each and every one of the major roles, even if the writing for those roles may have been inconsistent sometimes.
posted by porpoise at 8:44 PM on May 31, 2016


Root of course is all, "Okay, fine, I'll shoot myself too, then," which apparently managed to call the whole thing off.

I liked that in over 7000 simulations, Samaritan apparently never considered this possibility.
posted by homunculus at 11:15 PM on May 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


Would love a spinoff detailing Shaw's subversive voyage from South Africa to NYC under the radar of Samaritan. Couldn't follow a straight line or it'd be trivial to predict, all kinds of adventures all over the world!
posted by sammyo at 8:50 AM on June 2, 2016


bringing Elias in and showing the willingness to kill led to actually stopping the problem once and for all instead of them getting away.

Reminds me of a certain tailor.
I really thought Elias was going to shoot him - but they had all those bombs.
Also, it's the relationships, the strengths and points of view that make Team Machine so formidable.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:36 PM on June 10, 2016


One of the things I will miss about this show is the subtle way Reese modulates the violence of his response based on how he assesses the skills of the people he is up against. Some low level lowlife hood with a gun? He doesn't even duck and cover, just calmly takes his shots. Someone a little better, he will bob and weave. The gang members in this episode, he just calmly uses one as a human shield while he drops the others cold. Real professionals and he will find cover, take care, plan his route carefully.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:37 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm usually very anti-shipper on shows, but damn if I wasn't thrilled to see Shaw and Root together. And yes how Root managed to thwart Shaw's suicide plan in a way unforeseen by Samaritan....I'm gonna miss those two.

One of the things I love about Team Machine is that characters previously considered opponents (Root and now Elias) become members through a slow arc.

I'm glad they finally brought Fusco in because that was seriously pissing me off. He definitely deserved to know wtf was going on. He's saved their asses and proven himself. He's a full member of the team and they needed to acknowledge that.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:48 PM on July 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


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