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Recap / Person Of Interest S 04 E 12

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Season 4, Episode 12

Control-Alt-Delete

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You foolish woman. You don't understand. You're not in control of anything. You're just the clean-up crew. You're the janitor.
Finch
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When Samaritan abruptly denies the government access to a suspected terrorist's laptop, and then turns off the flow of information just to show who's boss, Control becomes suspicious and embarks on a little field work of her own. Meanwhile, Gabriel infiltrates the White House with a message for the President, and Reese and Root are on a Roaring Rampage of Rescue looking for Shaw.


  • Apologetic Attacker: Reese and Root say sorry to a security guard he kneecapped.
    "We're looking for a friend."
  • All According to Plan: Finch's reaction when ISA turn up to rescue Control.
  • And This Is for...: Reese goes "This is for Shaw!" as he's about to finish off Devon. When Devon recognizes her name, Reese realizes that this is the ISA agent who let her go.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Attempted by Root, Finch and finally Yasin. At no point does Control seems to give a damn, until the very end of the episode.
    Yasin: (while being held at gunpoint by Control) "Have you thought, for even a second, that they [Decima Technologies] may be lying to you?"
    Control: No. (kills Yasin with a Double Tap).
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  • Arc Words: "Janitor" and "Clean up crew".
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Seeing the wound bleeding into Reese's White Shirt of Death, Devon punches it several times until Reese clonks him with a tire iron.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Control once again proves she's up for fieldwork.
  • Batman Gambit: Finch correctly predicted that Samaritan has placed one of its agents on Control's security detail and that Control would call them in if she thought that Root was going to kill her. This gives Finch the opportunity to isolate the frequency Samaritan's agents communicate on and provides them with a clue about where Shaw might have been taken.
  • Bookends: Early on, Control does an "I Did What I Had to Do" speech where she mentions the exact number of threats to American interests she has killed so far. At the end of the episode she mentions a new number, increased with the deaths of Yasin and his friends.
  • Call-Back:
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Control accuses Finch of believing that Shaw is dead, but not having the courage to say it outright to Root and Reese.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Control makes it clear to Devon that normally he and his partner would be killed for letting Shaw go, but right now she needs them, as this act shows they're not in the pay of Samaritan.
  • Chekhov's Rocket Launcher: The AT-4 antitank rocket from "Wingman" finally gets used.
  • Clean Up Crew: Finch expresses disbelief that Control hasn't heard a thing about their shoot-out with Samaritan agents beneath the New York Stock Exchange, deriding her efforts as "just a clean-up crew" for Samaritan. At the end of the episode Control goes to look for herself and finds the whole place spic-and-span. Except when she runs her finger along the wall, fresh paint comes off.
  • Cold Sniper: Brooks fires several shots that barely miss Yasin to get him running in the right direction, all while making snarky comments.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Continuing from the previous two episodes, the economy is still recovering (at a fast pace) from the Samaritan-inflicted "Flash Crash". As well, Finch finds out that Control was kept in the dark about the shootout from the previous episode (which he immediately points out to Control, having happened in the middle of Wall Street and all).
    • It also turns out that Samaritan still has some control over the stock market, which he uses to intimidate Mike.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Control, with the rest of Team Machine Demoted to Extra for half the episode.
  • Deadly Delivery: Used by the ISA along with Spies in a Van and Baby Carriage to take out the sleeper cell.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Root seems close to it.
  • Destination Defenestration: The last surviving member of the 'cell', by now pretty desperate, jumps through a plate glass window to escape Devon.
  • Euphemism Buster: Control tells the Chief of Staff that Research has handled 853 threats to national security. "And by 'handled', you do know I mean killed, right?"
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Control's daughter Julia.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: "There are no good cops here." Root and Finch end up playing the roles straight though.
  • Expospeak: Lampshaded. Finch explains all sorts of details about the worm he's created to the much less technical Fusco. When it's done, Fusco gives him a blank look. "You talking to me?"
  • Feet-First Introduction: Control, meet Root and Reese.
  • Foreshadowing: When Yasin boards the train to Canada, we briefly see a Machine-POV shot of him - with a white 'irrelevant' reticule, not the solid red of a relevant threat. Later in the episode, it is revealed that he wasn't a terrorist at all, but rather a programmer that Samaritan was attempting to dispose of.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Samaritan's transitions, it's developed a new read-out, of assets it has cultivated in American Government buildings like the Pentagon and the White House.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: "There are no good cops here." Root and Finch end up playing the roles straight though.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Both Control and Team Machine save peoples lives on a daily basis, with no public acknowledgement.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Literally when Reese slugs it out with Devon while Root trades shots with two female ISA agents.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: A Zig Zagged Trope and self-inflicted version. No matter the events of the day, the way that facts don't seem to add up correctly or the amount of Breaking Speeches she is subjected to, Control still goes after Yasin as if he was a terrorist (and explicitly calls him and talks about him in those terms), blows him away with little hesitation and seems to decide to work nicer with Samaritan. On the other hand, she then goes on to check the spot where Shaw was shot and finds something is amiss...
    • Actually averted when one thinks about it. She killed him to hide the fact she was starting to question Decima and Samaritan intentions and that they were just using her to clean up assets that outlived their usefullness. As after going about her day as if nothing has changed and is acting more compliant to them, she is starting her own investigation.
  • Ignored Vital News Reports: It's blatantly obvious that the news reports about the "man and woman in ski masks" are Reese and Root. Control is aware of the reports, but doesn't seem to realize who they are (or treat them as a relevant threat to national security) until they decide to use a rocket launcher on her car.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Moby's "The Violent Bear It Away" leads out the episode, underscoring the Bittersweet Ending of Team Machine still without Shaw, but also clinging to hope as they follow their lead.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Involving Root with a taser. Finch has to intervene when it looks like she'll kill Control.
  • Meaningful Name: Not her name, technically, but Control clearly demonstrates that she's a Control Freak. Anyone who even slightly disagrees with her ends up on her bad side. On the other hand as Finch points out, she's not really in control of anything, she's just cleaning up after Samaritan.
  • Mook Horror Show: Reese and Root's various exploits throughout the episode take on this tone. Without seeing the process by which they work, and the reasons they're doing what they are, it's easy to see how Team Machine is terrifying from a different perspective.
  • Mugging the Monster: Given how easily Reese and Root run relentlessly roughshod over Samaritan's mooks, Team Samaritan comes off as having done this to Team Machine.
  • Never Found the Body: This episode continues with the note of ambiguity the previous episode left regarding Shaw's fate. In the end the team has a lead about a truck her body may have been loaded into after the battle in the Stock Exchange, but they still don't know whether or not said body was still breathing.
  • No Name Given: We still don't know Control's name; her superiors don't use it in conversation; her subordinates only address her as "Ma'am," and Julia calls her "Mom," of course.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We see most of Reese and Root's rampage through news clips.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Control goes to the park, that old standby to escape electronic surveillance, and uses a satellite phone to contact Devon directly. However Samaritan adapts by sending a bike rider to place a microphone close enough to hear what she's saying.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Control by Reese and Root. She bounces back, though.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Control, whose day job is to kill people and has no qualms about doing it herself, doesn't want Julia playing violent First-Person Shooter videogames.
  • Pet the Dog: Control was not willing to allow her team to kill the terrorist threat without being 100% sure that they were in fact terrorists. She insisted on questioning everything and ignoring Travers' claims that they should just blindly trust Samaritan.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The ISA team put on camera goggles, giving Mission Control a First-Person Shooter-like view of them taking out the sleeper cell.
  • Profiling: Weaponized by Samaritan, who plays on the perception of Muslims as terrorists to kill four innocent hackers who had outlived their usefulness.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue
  • Running Gag: Reese and Root's campaign of Car Fu all along the east coast.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Fusco is pretty clearly intentionally ignoring everything about the Machine and Samaritan at this point. He ignores Finch's explanations.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The laptop used by the supposed terrorist bursts into flame when Devon tries to access it.
  • Shout-Out: Gabriel/Samaritan visiting the White House may be an allusion to Gabriel Over the White House, a 1933 film about a US President who becomes a dictator in the name of achieving world peace.
  • Shown Their Work: The evidence of the fake back pack bomb components is identical to the ones used by the Boston Marathon bombers.
  • Smug Snake: Travers. The fact that he can shut down Research's link to Samaritan at any point he feels like with one tap of his cell phone and he uses it to keep Research on a leash makes Control rather furious.
  • Someone Else's Problem: Control's response to Shaw disappearing, and Finch's response to their letting a 'terrorist' escape.
  • Something Completely Different
  • Special Edition Title: Control does the opening narration, though she doesn't get far until the Machine takes over to show the Previously On….
  • Take That!: While he is in Detroit, Fusco cannot help but tell an unconscious ISA agent that "the Red Wings suck".
  • Techno Babble: Finch provides an explanation of what he's doing to hack into the Samaritan phones. Fusco doesn't understand a word.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Gabriel (and Samaritan) casually calling Richelli "Mike" after showcasing that Samaritan still has some power over the economy (enough to do some damage to Mike's stock portfolio) and the order to want to see the President (with the implied threat of bankrupting Richelli if he says no).
  • Title Drop: Fusco mentions to a reporter that they are investigating several persons of interest.
  • Torture Chamber Episode
  • Tracking Device: Hidden in Control's watch. Turns out its All According to Plan.
  • Trash Landing: A more sensible version when Yasin does a Destination Defenestration into a crate of styrofoam packing pellets. Even then he's stunned for several minutes (and would probably have broken his neck smashing through the plate glass).
  • Van in Black: At the railway scene, Team Machine are driving a black jeep while Control's men are in a black SUV.
  • Walk-In Chime-In:
    • Greer does a phone-in chime-in.
    Control: Who the hell do you think you are, Travers?
    (Senator Garrison's phone rings. It's Greer)
    Greer: Mr. Travers is my eyes and ears inside your organisation.
    • Played straight with Fusco.
    Spies in a Van: Does anyone here have eyes on the target?
    Fusco: Yeah, I do. (Pistol-Whipping)
  • Wham Shot: Control finding fresh paint where the shoot-out of the previous episode took place, proving to her that there's something going on.
  • What the Hell Are You?: The Chief of Staff's reaction to Gabriel, once he's proved his point.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Despite being in the know, Control appears to behave like she's in a Post 9/11 Spy Fiction drama (of the "dirty beer" sub-type) rather than a science fiction show although she does seem to begin catching on in the end.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: the "suspected terrorists" are really computer programmers who've finished the assignment Samaritan gave them.
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