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Recap / Person Of Interest S 03 E 21

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Season 3, Episode 21


"Just remember, what our Machine sees, Samaritan sees. Two gods playing with the same deck of cards."

A few days after the events of "Death Benefit," Decima gains access to all the government surveillance feeds from New York City and tasks Samaritan to look for Harold Finch. When it can't find Harold himself, Greer tells it to look for someone close to him, and it gives him the name of Grace Hendricks.


Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Analogy Backfire: Greer asks Grace to think of him as Michelangelo lying on his back, painting the Sistine Chapel. Grace informs him that Michelangelo painted standing up.
  • Always Save the Girl
  • Aside Glance: Root winks at the camera in the police precinct that she knows is being monitored by Samaritan and Decima. Unfortunately that tips off Greer that he's Being Watched, and he positions his forces in CCTV blind spots to ambush Team Machine.
  • Batman Cold Open: Shaw foiling a convenience store robbery.
  • Black Site: Decima is hiding in areas not covered by surveillance, including a ship that doesn't appear on the register.
  • Blindfolded Trip: As a courtesy to Finch, the hostage exchange is made with Grace blindfolded.
  • Call-Back:
    • A subtle one. The place where Greer has Harold taken to is the empty IFT office where he built the Machine.
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    • As in "Trojan Horse", Greer orders one of his own men to kill himself.
  • Car Fu: A Decima SUV rams Team Machine's, enabling them to kidnap Grace.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Invoked by Greer when showing Garrison his crude setup for Samaritan's beta test:
    Garrison: Mr. Greer, I'd assumed the beta test of your system would be a little more...professional.
    Greer: [soft chuckle] The espresso machine is on its way. And let me assure you, Senator, Samaritan is running as smooth as a Swiss watch.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like:
    • Grace, understandably. She's grateful, but has no idea what is happening and reacts accordingly.
    • Shaw shoots someone about to kill Root, who complains that she holed the tablet (with crucial information on it) he was carrying.
    Root: "You couldn't have aimed two inches higher?"
  • The Computer Is Your Friend/Deus Est Machina: The Machine, yes. It even has "protecting assets" as part of the protection protocol.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Finch, as ever.
    • The Machine uses "Protection Protocol 7" at the start.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Finch, after Grace is taken, is so distraught that he willingly surrenders himself to Greer to ensure her safety. Not to mention when Finch makes clear his intention to surrender himself to Decima, he tells Reese and Shaw to refrain from violence at all costs, and then goes on to instruct them to murder all of Decima's men if they harm Grace in any way.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Greer interrogating Grace.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus/Shout-Out: The name on Grace's new passport is "Grace Ellsworth," which is a subtle reference to Finch's bird-based Theme Naming.
    • Ellsworth is Goofy's mischievous pet crow.
    • The town of Ellsworth, Maine is home to a bird sanctuary.
    • Abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly, who enjoyed bird watching as a child, made a sculpture for the Holocaust Museum which suggests "the image of a great bird lifting upward over closed windows."
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: As Shaw and Reese rescue Grace at first, the usual Idiosyncratic Wipe gets subverted: Samaritan instead crops the screen to the heroes and provides it to Greer and Virgil. You can almost feel the fourth wall crumble down.
  • Get into Jail Free: Root is brought into Fusco's office after being arrested with two unregistered weapons.
  • Honor Before Reason: Reese insists on answering a ringing phone, knowing he may be caught on camera.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: With Finch as the MacGuffin.
  • I Have Your Wife: Well, Grace and Finch were never actually married, but Greer makes effective use of her as a hostage nevertheless.
  • Impersonating an Officer:
    • Reese's habit of introducing himself as Detective Stills backfires when Grace finds a Missing poster of the real Stills.
    • Decima sends one of their own men into the precinct as a fed with a warrant. Fusco eagerly herds him into the interrogation room...where Reese is waiting instead of Grace.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Deliberately done at the start.
  • I Will Find You: Reese promises Finch he will find him, before handing him over to Decima.
  • Laser Sight: As usual, it just gives Shaw a chance to save Root.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Decima poison the crew of the ship bringing the servers to be used for Samaritan into the United States. This only gives Root the opportunity to steal some of the servers herself.
  • Lonely Funeral: Grace is bewildered that her fiance had no friends willing to turn up for his memorial, though this is mainly because at that point, Finch had very few friends to begin with.
  • Long Last Look: Finch at Grace as he passes her on the bridge, then Reese before Decima take him away.
  • MacGyvering: Root makes an induction coil out of duct tape, copper wire, needle-nosed pliers and an extension cord, in order to take the 8th Precinct's cameras down.
  • Never Found the Body: Finch, after the ferry bombing.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Finch telling Reese and Shaw to Kill 'Em All if the Decima agents harm Grace.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In the opening scene, Shaw stares down a guy robbing a convenience store, baffles him with knowledge of the man's home life, then tosses him a pack of diapers and tells him that his child is better off with a father. She kicks the crap out of the inside man who planned the robbery, but leaves him alive and even pays for the ice cream she was eating at the time.
    • Despite having had her kidnapped, Greer is unfailingly polite to Grace, doesn't reveal to her that he's hunting Finch, and lets her continue to believe Finch is dead.
  • Perspective Flip: This episode is from Samaritan's perspective, rather than the Machine's.
  • Prisoner Exchange: Averted; Reese offers to swap Greer's tech guy for Grace. The tech guy then kills himself using Reese's pistol.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Reese and Shaw smuggle themselves in a yellow cab.
    Shaw: Next time we need to hide from an all-seeing supercomputer, we're getting separate trunks.
  • Shown Their Work/Doing It for the Art/Fridge Brilliance: During his interrogation of Grace, Greer reveals that Grace is from South Carolina. As Grace gets more stressed and upset, a touch of a Southeast regional accent creeps into her voice.
  • Sinister Surveillance: For the first time played straight. Unlike The Machine, Samaritan's main objective is killing the main characters.
  • Spit Take
    Shaw: Are we safe here?
    Root: Everything but the coffee. (Shaw spits up her coffee)
  • The Spook: Finch, almost comically so. Samaritan doesn't even have a picture. Of course, it helps that the Machine is actively protecting him itself.
  • Spot of Tea: Which Grace pointedly refuses to drink from.
  • Take It to the Bridge: The Jefferson Bridge is used for the exchange, because it's too exposed for any treachery, especially with all the cameras accessed by both the Machine and Samaritan.
  • Take Me Instead: Finch gives himself up to save Grace.
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: Root shows up and warns Reese and Shaw that a Decima hit squad has set up an ambush for them down the road. Said ambush team is armed with no less than six sub-machine guns and one honest-to-goodness Russian RPG-7.
  • Unperson: The Machine attempts to make Finch disappear even more than he already has from the public view. It works, too...but Greer finds another way.
  • Van in Black: Decima hit squads drive black SUV's.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: The thief Shaw thwarts in the Batman Cold Open did not have his weapon loaded.
  • We Need a Distraction: Cue Stuff Blowing Up. Unfortunately, it's not enough. Giving your car to a wino works better.
  • Wham Episode: Greer finally has Finch.
  • Worthy Opponent: Finch is Greer's, almost to the point of obsession.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Finch always knew he'd come to a sticky end after he brought the Machine on line.

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