Person of Interest: s04 e16 – Blunt

The Stumbling Block

Here, I’m afraid, we hit a block. A stumbling block of rather large proportions. It’s called Harper Rose, and since she’s the Number of the Week and thus looms large in this episode, it is a stumbling block of major proportions.

As usual, we begin in media res, Reese on a snowy campus tracking the new Number, played with energy by Annie Ilonzeh. Harper Rose is already unique in that, instead of her Social Security number, the Machine has provided her College Registration. This is because Harper Rose is not Harper Rose’s real name. What that is goes unrevealed: ‘Harper’ is a chameleon with multiple phones, IDs, names, roles etc. Why is this? Hang on a bit.

The usual question is Victim or Perpetrator. There’s nothing except Harper’s general air of innocuous innocence to tilt the balance, but early indications are that she’s likely the former. Her stoner boyfriend, Trey, works shifts at a Medical Marijuana Dispensary, and he’s feeling under the weather so Harper takes his shift. A legal Dispensary of marijuana nevertheless has issues, especially around how orthodox Banks won’t open accounts for them, and there’s tons of cash lying about, enough to warrant private security from a legal operation of, and it’s about time we got back to them, the Brotherhood.

And something goes wrong tonight. Harper’s handling the takings run. The Cartel attempts to steal the money. Much shooting occurs, including the usual number of kneecappings by ‘Detective Riley’. The bag is recovered. It is full of travel brochures. The bag with the money is disappearing towards the nearest horizon in the possession of Harper Rose, she who is a grifter, a conwoman, a perpetrator of criminal acts.

Which is where I hit my personal wall. It’s not just here but I remember her return appearance (and her third), and between now and next I find myself violently disliking her. Harper is highly intelligent, curious and inventive. She operates on permanent alert, every second devoted to pursuing angles and advantages, and to complete the alliteration, she’s completely amoral.

Every second of dear little Harper’s day and night is devoted to furthering the interests of dear little Harper, using her wits to con, shuffle and trick absolutely everyne around her, to get what she wanrts and do what she wants, without an atosecond’s worth of thought for anybody else. She is the predator and they are her prey and her refusal to get attached to anyone or anything leaves me cold. I cannot feel anything about a character who feels nothing and prefers to see everyone she encounters as sheep to her wolf.

That was a bar against my ability to enter into and enjoy the world of the show this week, or to be engaged in the machinations of the plot. Who cared if Reese and Finch got Harper’s feet out of the fire? She certainly didn’t. All she wanted to do was get out and find another sucker to leech off. Did we care about Trey’s fate, the pathetic stoner put at risk through all this but who, as played easily by Connor Hines, was insignificant to the point of utter dispensability?

The only things of merit to the episode lay in the aforementioned return of The Brotherhood and Dominick to the forefront of the audience’s attention, and the extremely truncated subplot featuring Root. Root has an idea. Finch and Reese have the wrong approach, pushing everybody else out since Shaw’s ‘death’. Instead of excluding, Team Machine should be recruiting. There are others out there who think as they do, who would fight if only they knew how. Root has designed an App (we all know the Machine has been at least a consultant on this).

And Finch, concerned, follows Root to a company, with whom she is set to go into partnership, to market her App, and to work with them on designing another.

What is the App? What does it do? How will it work? This is something to be patient about.

There are now only six episodes to the end of season 4, six episodes in which to deal with the Brotherhood, the War Dominick intends with Carl Elias, and the counter-measures Root and her App will bring into play to start the attack on Samaritan. Such a waste that this episode had to concentrate upon Harper Rose, who I decidedly do not trust, or like.

6 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s04 e16 – Blunt

  1. “Blunt” [4×16]
    Written By: Amanda Segel & Greg Plageman
    Directed By: Frederick E.O. Toye
    Originally Aired 24 February 2015

    This is now Amanda Segel’s final episode. She’s had an amazing run, no question about it, writing or co-writing “Witness”, “Flesh and Blood”, “Til Death”, “Relevance”, “Zero Day”, “The Devil’s Share”, “A House Divided”, “Wingman”, and “The Cold War”. It’s a shame, though, that she has to go out with this complete clunker, the worst episode since last season’s “Provenance”. Yeah, “Provenance” was dull. I always skip it when I re-watch the series. But at least it was self-contained. This one? Not so much. For that reason it might be my least favorite episode in the entire series.

    Frankly, I think the Brotherhood story-line takes a little too much flak. The acting is good. It makes a certain amount of sense. But the episodes they appear in are a mixed bag, to say the least. This and “Brotherhood” are the season’s worst. But Dominic is one of the few good parts of this. It’s an interesting move for him to want to take on Elias’ role with the team. Elias has done evil things just like the Brotherhood, so they’re clearly willing to work with, or tolerate to a certain extent, organized crime. Why not him?, Dominic thinks. Root’s also in this episode, working at a certain Caleb Phipps’ company, the kid from “2 Pi R” who Finch saved. Stay tuned for more on this.

    Anyway, the main reason this episode fails is due to Harper Rose. I like the actress, and think she does a fine job with what she’s given. The problem is, she’s not written nearly as well as Zoe Morgan, to pick an example of another character who uses her wit and charm to get what she wants. And if I can’t get invested in her, that’s a problem considering this episode’s plot is already B- tier.

    Grade: C-. Not D-level bad. But still bad. Thankfully, I like next week’s episode more than most people.

    1. Yes we do. A massive misfire of a recurring character. And said character takes up most of this episode’s screentime.

      I got the general sense you weren’t too fond of this episode either….You’re usually highly positive about the show. Not today.

      1. I don’t like people who have such total disdain for the effect they have on other people. And I remember her second appearance…

      2. She’s what most of this episode focuses on. ‘The Perfect Mark’ focused on a selfish con artist as well. In that case beautifully integrated into the over-arching narrative and he got a major comeuppance at the end.

        Maybe C- is harsh. C maximum.

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