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Recap / Person Of Interest S 03 E 01

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Season 3, Episode 1:


"Fleet Week! An annual deluge of drunken sailors that somehow does not qualify as a military attack."

It's Fleet Week in New York City, and with 6,000 sailors out on the town, it's all hands on deck for Team Machine to keep track of the latest number: Petty Officer Jack Salazar. Carter has been demoted to a patrol officer on account of the shooting incident in "Zero Day," and is helping Elias to stay hidden. Root, now a patient in a mental hospital under the pseudonym "Robin," is getting to know her psychiatrist and is arguing about her methodology with the Machine.


Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Actor Allusion: One of Shaw's quips obliquely references Sarah Shahi's previous TV series, Fairly Legal, in which she played a mediator:
    Shaw: Hey Reese, no offense, but if the vigilante thing doesn't work out, I'm not really seeing a future for you in conflict resolution.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Root reveals that her psychiatrist fantasizes online about having sex with several of his patients.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Salazar predicts what moves are going to be made in the upcoming Bar Brawl, in an attempt to avert it.
  • Bar Brawl: Notable if only for the fact that Reese actually wasn't involved for once, apart for being gratuitously clobbered with a stool at one point.
  • Batman Cold Open: The episode opens with Reese rescuing a POI from a van full of kidnappers. At the same time, Shaw is shown in her first case as an official member of Team Machine protecting a con man from killers sent by the family of his last victim.
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  • Batman Gambit: Elias knew something was going down at Maxim's shop so he had his lieutenant Marconi walk into the carnage left behind by Reese and Shaw in there to steal the diamonds and the money the Russians were planning to use to buy them.
  • The Big Board: Carter has one in the back of her closet, diagramming her pursuit of HR.
  • Big Eater: Just based on this episode, Shaw seems to be one.
  • Black Comedy: Shaw wounds a man as per Finch's Thou Shalt Not Kill policy, only for him to fall out the window to his death.
  • Blood Knight: Shaw really enjoys combat.
    Shaw: I would have taken a head shot, but Finch gets annoyed when I kill people.
  • Bomb Disposal: Fusco has to remove a detonator from a large tank of propane before it's detonated remotely, despite no training in this matter. He digs out the fuse Just in Time.
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  • Briefcase Full of Money: Only it's not enough.
  • Book-Ends: The episode opens with Reese grumbling that the numbers never say thank you after he saves their life. At the end, Jack does just that.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Reese deadpans that he's "a very private person" to Finch.
  • Camera Spoofing: Finch loops an image of Reese so he can leave while Fusco defuses the bomb.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Shaw snarks at Reese throughout the crisis.
  • Cassandra Truth: Root really is Hearing Voices from a higher power.
  • The Chosen One: And even Root finds this scary.
  • Climactic Music: "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone.
  • Come Alone: An Enforced Trope. Knowing the Man in the Suit will turn up anyway, the Devildogs strap Salazar's friend to a bomb, which they will detonate if Reese leaves the room while Salazar gets a taxi to the real location.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Well it's not like Reese shot the hostage-takers including the driver which crashed the van.
  • Deal with the Devil: Carter has Elias hidden away, and not even Team Machine knows this. In exchange, Elias has agreed to lie low and is providing information on his enemies (the Russians and presumably HR) while seeking to manipulate events to his advantage.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Or do not cut off contact between an insane sociopath and the all-seeing AI she fervently worships.
  • Enemy Mine: Carter and Elias.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Russians shooting it out with the crooked Marines over the diamonds.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Cartel kidnappers are confused when they realize there's another masked man in the back of the van with them. Violence and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the very end of the episode, after Root's Hannibal Lecture, The Machine constructs a Bayesian network diagramming possible outcomes of its ongoing interaction with Root.
    • A branch of blue boxes estimates a 1.91% probability of Root becoming an Indigo asset.
    • A yellow branch labeled "Asset Activation" estimates a 28.49% chance of her number coming up. Possible outcomes include "Aux_Admin" and "Marriage and Procreation", as well as a 12.64% chance that "Asset" (Reese or Shaw) dies, and another 62.79% chance that he gets captured.
    • A red branch estimates a 34.98% probability of violence, which leads to a 78.06% probability that Dr. Carmichael dies, a 12.66% probability that "Admin" (Finch) dies, and a couple of other cheerful scenarios: 9.86% chance for a "Mass Casualty Event" (which the Machine is later seen to refer to relevant threats by) and 3.91% chance for a "Global Thermonuclear War". Another red branch estimates a 12.51% chance that Root dies.
  • Gun Accessories: Shaw lampshades the importance of flash suppressors.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Root gives her psychiatrist an epic one at the end, eliciting an Oh, Crap! reaction from him when he realizes she knows things about him that nobody else does.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Carter gets a lot of appreciation from the sex-starved squids. She's not adverse to the attention.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Root states this when the psychiatrist says she will thank him one day for putting her in solitary confinement without access to technology.
  • Human Shield: Fusco isn't happy when Shaw stands behind him firing Guns Akimbo past his head.
  • I Have Your Friend/Hostage for MacGuffin
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Shaw with the sniper rifle.
    Shaw: In the arm through a brick wall in the dark....You're welcome.
  • Infraction Distraction: The Cuban cigars being smuggled actually conceal African diamonds.
  • Ironic Echo: In a Call-Back to the Pilot episode, Reese tells Finch that he's "a very private person", and also snarks that he's 'a concerned third party'.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    Salazar: I'm not a jarhead, I'm a squid, but a tube steak like you doesn't get to call me either.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Averted with Root who refers to 'God' using feminine pronouns.
  • Left the Background Music On/Medium Awareness: Scarface whistles along with Nina Simone as he walks out of the botched exchange with the diamonds and the cash.
  • MacGuffin: An AK-47 memento from a Marine pirate raid. Turns out they were using it to smuggle back diamonds.
  • Machine Worship: If we ever had doubt of her feelings before, now Root openly makes her faith clear.
    "The truth is, God is 11 years old, that she was born on New Year's day, 2002, in Manhattan. The truth is that she's chosen me, and I don't know why yet, that for the first time in my life... I'm a little scared about what's gonna happen."
  • Mafia Princess: The man Shaw and Fusco saved seduced and robbed a girl who apparently asked her mobbed up father to kill him in retaliation.
  • Mexican Standoff: Between Russians and Americans, which sure enough leads to mutually assured destruction.
  • Master of Disguise: Fusco wearing a fake beard, posing as a Central Park carriage driver!
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Reese has a problem tracking down the POI among 6000 other squids.
  • Noodle Incident: The Machine is sending out Relevant numbers too, with a newspaper headline about a policeman who just happened to find plutonium in the trunk of a car. Nice to know Northern Lights can be subtle when needed.
  • Not Helping Your Case: RJ asks if Fusco is with the Bomb Squad.
    Fusco: Homicide. [RJ flinches]
  • Not My Driver: The Devildogs throw Salazar in the trunk, only to find out Reese got to the car first.
  • Not So Different: Reese shares more than a few similarities with Jack. In the end Reese requests that if Jack's life ends up even more similar to Reese's and he ends up getting a job offer from the CIA, he should deliberately not follow in Reese's footsteps and decline.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Root and Shaw appear in the intro for the first time.
  • Punk in the Trunk: The Devildogs throw Salazar in the trunk, when kidnaping him. Fortunately for him, Reese had already stolen the car.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: CBS shifted the broadcast time of the show to follow after NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles for Season 3's original run, so the writers decided to set the premiere during Fleet Week as a nod to it.
  • Reasoning with God: Root tells her psychiatrist that she's been arguing with 'God' (The Machine) about whether or not she is going to kill him.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Root's therapist. She puts him in his place though.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Shaw vs. Reese. Shaw appears to be winning at this stage.
  • Steel Eardrums: The horses don't startle at all the gunfire near their ears. Fusco isn't happy, though.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Shaw chafes at Team Machine's restrictions.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Team Machine regard Shaw as this.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: Salazar, and apparently Reese at one point in his life.
  • Villain Respect: Scarface thanks Carter for saving Elias in "God Mode".
  • Villains Out Shopping: Carter goes to Elias for the name of a diamond fence, and finds him sharing a nice home-cooked meal with Scarface.
  • Wake Up Fighting: Jack does this after getting shot, and immediately gets a gun to his head from Shaw.
  • We Need a Distraction/Blinded by the Light: Reese uses a foil wrapping to reflect sunlight in the sniper's face so Shaw can sneak up and clobber him.

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