Person of Interest: s04 e08 – Point of Origin


Hell of a place to leave an episode.

Most of this latest episode of Person of Interest was a primarily procedural thriller, developing the ongoing strand of the Brotherhood, building up the character of its imperturbable and strategic leader, Dominic, and setting up next week’s episode whose Number has been identified for us this week: Dominic has established a hold over all the gangs in New York save one. Next week, he plans to bring down Carl Elias.

But that’s for next week, which is rather more of proximate interest for the episode’s secondary strand. Remember that last week Smaritan constructed a very shadowy, blurred and completely unrecognisable picture of Sameen Shaw? A picture that it’s constantly refining, deblurring, bringing closer to recognisability throughout the episode. Meanwhile, Greer has set Martine Rouseau on the trail (always a pleasure to see Cara Buono).

The problem is, as it always is, as she and Greer cynically observe, relationships. Their underground friends overlook this. Leverage. Contacts. Trace them from one person to another – Katya, the woman replaced in Tomas’s gang, Romeo, who recommended her replacement, an online dating, and therefore contact app, called Angler – gradually closing in on the point of origin…

And there was a tertiary strand, reintroducing Dr Iris Campbell (the delightfully red-headed Wrenn Schmidt, I am being spoiled this week), psychologist to one Detective ‘Riley’, who’s not really playing fair, avoiding appointments. Iris’ commentary on ‘Riley”s supercop persona is a delightful in-joke, but she’s got him a pass to temporary re-assignment as a Training Instructor as the Academy, where he is watching the Number of the Week, trainee Dani Silva (Adria Arjona), who’s behaving very mysteriously towards her training group, especially the smitten Alex Ortiz (Mike Figueroa).

Not to mention that she’s savvy enough to kneecap ‘Riley’ in a training exercise with paintball guns.

It’s another switch episode, with Silva’s actions setting her up to be Perpetrator when she’s actually going to end up being Victim: already a cop, working undercover long-term, identifying a mole sent by the Brotherhood to inflitrate the Police (a callback here to Mike Laskey in season 3). Reese is sympathetic over and above his duty to both her and Team Machine (not to mention his hero-complex): she reminds him of Carter.

Things start to go pear-shaped. Silva’s cover is blown, ‘Riley’ saves her from being gunned down on the street, despite Iris bugging him over his psychology. Silva’s handler is murdered, and she is framed for it. The mole is, and I’m sure you will be surprised by this, Ortiz, whose naivete in thinking he’s doing a one-time job for the Brotherhood is almost laughable. His job was to steal Police files from the computer, years of investigative detail about Elias and his gang, gleaned in a moment. And Shaw and Finch identify the big thug Mini, the quiet boy at the back of the class who everyone thinks is stupid, as Dominic. Enemy sighted, but not yet enemy met.

It all works out. ‘Riley’ and Fusco bring in Ortiz, clearing Silva’s name. She has lost her trusted handler, but gained a friend on the force (she will pop-up again: irrelevant, I know, though perhaps the show’s own terminology justifies this aside, but I hadn’t recognised her as Anathema Device in last year’s Good Omens).

A good thriller, though not a great one, through ultimately becoming nothing but a preliminary to something larger. There’s no space for Root, and only a limited role for Finch, isolated in the underground, speaking to the others only by phone, not even Bear for company because he’s got an action role.

But a hell of a place to end an episode. Rousseau’s traced the Angler app to a department store, cosmetics section. Shaw, in her day job, won’t answer her phone. Samaritan says the target isn’t there. Rousseau requests the latest photo. It’s still unclear but it’s enough to enable Rousseau to recognise one of the assistants. Who’s staring back into her face, with recognition.

Rousseau strides forward, her gun in her hand…

2 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s04 e08 – Point of Origin

  1. “Point of Origin” [4×08]
    Written By: Tony Camerino
    Directed By: Richard J. Lewis
    Originally Aired 18 November 2014

    I don’t have much to say about “Point of Origin”. You summed it up nicely. For the most part it is good but not exceptional. The main problem is that it is mainly set-up for the fireworks of the next 5 episodes. On its own merits it isn’t quite memorable. It’s still good though. Adria Arjona is a talented actress, and carries this part of the hour well enough. The way Carter’s death continues to hang over the show is another nice touch. The subplot really gets cooking at the end, especially for those of us who know where this season is going. Thematically, this episode touches on one of the themes of the season in the way personal relationships can be exploited by others. The show’ll touch more on this later, but it’s a subset of the larger idea driving the third act of the series in its juxtaposition with humans and technology. Relationships can be a weakness, but without them, we’d be as cold and inhuman as Samaritan. The Machine does her best to understand everyone she sees, even if she can’t form conventional relationships as we do. Samaritan doesn’t bother.

    Grade: B for most of it, but the ending definitely bumps this up to a B+. This was a rough cliffhanger for you last week, eh?

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