October 22, 2014
“Person of Interest” has always been a good show, but for about three and a half seasons it’s been a great to amazing show. Part of that is the fascinating story about law, order, and technology. It would be easy for “Person of Interest” to become a knock-off “Terminator” franchise — the Machine and Samaritan bear quite a resemblance to the battle of the T-800 and the T-1000, after all — but it is wholly its own original sci-fi program.
The other part of the show’s greatness is, of course, its cast. The addition of Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker to the boys’ club of Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson has been praised for ages, but it (like the show, in general) has gone largely unnoticed by those people who hold the key to awards nominations. Now, in the fifth episode of the fourth season of this, a hit CBS television series, it’s impossible to stay quiet about one very important truth: a crime will be committed if Amy Acker is not nominated for an Emmy (or even a Golden Globe) as a result of this episode of television.
It will be a crime of poor judgment and taste, but it will still be a crime.
The underlying issue in this episode is simple enough. It shows the toll that this life — both as vigilantes and people living in a Samaritan-infested world — can take on these characters. Reese is riddled with a hero complex and a death wish, Harold has lost faith in the Machine ever really being a force of good, and Root simply has too much faith. Shaw, on the other hand, is pretty great. This is what she loves, after all. Good for her. Also, Jason Ritter’s fantastic guest spot as number/pollster Simon Lee examines how easy it is to fall into this life, and it allows for the question of whether or not it’s better to stay in the dark about all of chaos.
For our protagonists, there is no choice.
Root’s part of the story here begins with her doing what she does, changing identities literally as often as she changes clothes. One minute she’s a United Nations translator, the next she’s a journalist. It’s all what the Machine wants of her, and who is she to deny her god?
Only Harold realizes that whatever she’s doing, it’s not what exactly the Machine wants. In fact, he realizes that she’s not in constant contact with the Machine like she used to be. When she has constant contact, she’s full of life, like she’s the luckiest girl in the world. Now, just the simple task of getting to Google and Yahoo (not euphemisms) with Harold gives her immense fulfillment. Harold sees her loneliness and how lost she seems now, and Root admits that she can barely talk to the Machine save for a few radio broadcasts and static television transmissions, because Samaritan will know if the Machine is talking to Root.
“She was supposed to remake the world. Now God’s on the run … She taught me to value life but war requires sacrifice. I’m not lost. I’m scared.”
It’s toward the end of the episode when Root fully admits that she’s not lonely or lost — she has Harold and the gang for all of that. She’s scared. She’s afraid that it’s war time, and she’s not going to make it out of this battle with Samaritan; she even wants Harold to give Shaw some parting words on her behalf.
She proceeds to get into a shoot-out that would definitely scream “blaze of glory” if she hadn’t made it out of alive.
Amy Acker’s performance throughout is the type you can’t help but watch and think, “Is anyone else seeing this?” Especially in that scene where she mentions she’s scared … because Root doesn’t get scared. She’s a happy-go-lucky sociopath who lives for disguises, guns, and flirtations. It’s not just proof that things are becoming truly dangerous for our protagonists — it’s proof that they’re growing as characters and people. And it’s proof that Amy Acker needs some statue-based recognition, immediately.