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Recap / Person Of Interest S 04 E 21

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Season 4, Episode 21


Finch: Have you forgotten her so quickly? You've already discarded her and you're a human being, imagine how quickly that thing that you've created would discard you. Do you ever lay awake at night, wondering if one day it will see you as a threat? Or worse, as irrelevant?
Greer: How arrogant of you to think that any of us are anything but irrelevant.

After Root and Finch receive a mysterious phone call, The Machine sends them to a mental hospital where Shaw may be held prisoner—and which turns out to be more than that. This leaves Reese and Fusco to work the two newest numbers, Elias and Dominic. Elsewhere, Control kidnaps a seemingly harmless soccer mom who she suspects of being a Samaritan operative working a mole within the ISA.


  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Root, out of sheer desperation, begs the Machine not to give in to Samaritan's Sadistic Choice.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Martine while Evil Gloating to both Root and Finch.
  • Animal Theme Naming: Harold hangs a lampshade on his own during his Sarcastic Confession.
    Harold: I go by many names, all derived from species of birds.
  • Arc Words: "It's not enough to hit back. You gotta put your enemy in the ground."
  • Back for the Dead: Link
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Elias planted the pneumatic canister and the mole note at the bank to lure the Brotherhood to a trap.
    • Samaritan knew Root had the only code of the Machine in her cochlear implant, and would come running to save Shaw even if that meant running into a trap.
  • Beard of Sorrow: 12 episodes after Scarface's death, Elias looks rough.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Elias says this when Dominic sardonically asks what it's like to be responsible for the death of a friend. He finds out.
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  • Beneath the Mask: Shelly drops the frightened schoolteacher act after Control shows photographic evidence that she's working for Samaritan.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Blatant Lies: Harper claims she doesn't know about Team Machine's safehouse, despite having been there.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • Root when she kills Martine.
      Martine: [about killing Harold] He doesn't look like much of a fighter. Bet he'll die without so much as a peep.
      [Beat. Root snaps her neck.]
      Root: What do you know? Not a peep.
    • When Dominic gets to know the name of the account of the "rat" in his Brotherhood:
      Link: Whose name was on the account?
      [Dominic pulls out a gun shoots Link dead four times]
      Dominic: It's yours, Link.
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  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Root shields herself from Martine's fire with the mook she's struggling with. Martine just empties her gun into him and goes in for hand-to-hand.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Link appears after an eleven episode absence.
    • Harper Rose is working for the Brotherhood.
  • Cassandra Gambit: Used to insert Finch into the mental hospital.
  • Call-Back:
  • Cliffhanger: Samaritan has the Machine's location.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Elias gets his hand smashed by a hammer, John is stabbed with a screwdriver, and Fusco is waterboarded.
  • The Computer Is Your Friend: Samaritan is getting closer to this with every episode.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cosmic Plaything: Suddenly, everything goes to hell for the Machine: first it had to give in to Root's Game of Chicken and reveal Shaw's location it knew very well was too dangerous to go to and Root refuses to listen to reason. Then it has to give up its location to save Root and Harold once they get captured.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Root and Harold really don't stand a chance inside the asylum once the trap is sprung, though Greer has to point this out for Root.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Martine invades Finch's personal space, and says that she'll lay "more than just a hand on him" and that "he doesn't look like much of a fighter", which seems almost more like a threat of sexual assault than a death threat.
  • Driven to Suicide: Elias left the pneumatic canister at the courthouse deliberately, so the Brotherhood would come for him. However, unlike last time, he doesn't have an escape route planned.
  • Enemy Mine: Control acknowledges, with deliberate irony, the 'friends' in Team Machine who tipped her off about Samaritan.
  • Exact Words: Reese tells Dominic he truthfully doesn't know where his boss is. Is he referring to Harold or the Machine?
  • Face Death with Dignity: Greer brings up this trope while scolding Root for continuing to fight, even when the situation was hopeless. Root waits until she's snapped Martine's neck like a twig before she stops.
    Root: Now I surrender.
  • Face–Heel Turn: According to Martine, Shaw has done this. She's later seen aboard a Decima van.
  • Fake Shemp: Shaw being led into a car. However, we also see her in a reflection in the passenger-side mirror of a car.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Greer has finally reached this point, gleefully greeting Harold with the fact his subordinates are about to slice Root's head open.
  • Forced to Watch: Root says that Finch doesn't have to watch her get her head cut open. Martine threatens to make Root watch her killing Finch instead.
  • Foreshadowing: Samaritan's dialog at the end of the episode is a map of the U.S. power grid, revealing the fact that that's where the Machine moved itself an episode early, for people who know what they're looking at.
  • Game of Chicken: Root and the Machine.
  • Glass Cannon: Martine. All the marksmanship in the world was ultimately worthless once Root got close enough to kill her.
  • Greater Need Than Mine: Root begs for the Machine not to give away its location to Samaritan, even if it means herself and Finch being killed.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Finch taught the Machine never to value one person over another. The Machine, however, admits that Finch and Root are not interchangeable as he says.
  • The Handler: Shelly, with the cover of a schoolteacher, is working for Samaritan to handle his moles inside ISA.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Machine gives up its location (thus giving Samaritan all it needs to end it) in order to save Harold and Root.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Root and Finch steal an ambulance, which comes in handy infiltrating a hospital.
  • Hitler Cam: Used for comedy when Lenny stands up and Finch realizes just how big he is.
  • Hope Spot: Finch and Root are still alive. If the Machine had let them die, Samaritan would still have been able to get the location from Root's implant.
  • Idiot Ball: After finally managing to discard the one Root hardwired into it, Samaritan willingly picks this up again, releasing Finch and Root as targets in exchange for The Machine's location. It's not until 11 episodes later that it manages to get a bead on Finch again.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Dominic's attempts to get information on the mysterious Harold are... ineffective at best. Elias mockingly lampshades this.
    • He asks Elias to make Finch give up his surveillance system - but it's an inaccessible black box.
    • He asks Reese and Fusco to give up Finch's location - but Fusco mocks him (and doesn't know anyway), and Reese would die for Finch.
  • I Have a Family: Subverted; Shelly pleads to Control that she has a daughter, but Control just takes this as proof that she knows who is interrogating her, as Control has a daughter herself.
  • Internal Reveal: Finch and Root learn Shaw is alive and held by Decima, which the audience has known since "M.I.A."
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Dominic asks Elias how it feels to be responsible for the death of his friend. After baiting Dominic into killing his own Dragon, Elias asks him the same question. Foreshadowed by Elias in the earlier exchange: " Do you really want to know? Be careful what you wish for, Dominic."
    • "It's not enough to hit back. You gotta put your enemy in the ground."
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Control begins Shelly's interrogation by shooting a Double Agent in the head, just to show she's not to be messed with.
    • Plenty of I Shall Taunt You by the various villains, several of whom are made to regret it.
  • Lack of Empathy: Greer. His only reaction to Root begging the Machine to let her die is to look on impassively.
    Greer: Welcome, Mr. Finch! You're just in time to see us cut your friend's head open.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: As evidence against Shelly, Control produces photos of this so-called schoolteacher meeting the Double Agent in the park and a coffee shop…and walking down a restricted corridor in the White House.
  • Last Stand: Elias admits that this was his.
  • Living Lie Detector: Dominic has hired Harper as one.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Enough for Root to play chicken on a skyscraper ledge, to convince the Machine to help her find Shaw.
  • Mob War: The cold war between the Brotherhood and Elias turns hot.
  • The Mole: Subverted. Elias made Dominic think Link was the mole in the Brotherhood. There was no mole.
    • Harper. Although she was working with Dominic, Thornhill (note: the Machine) says she can name her price if she rescued Fusco, and she didn't tell Dominic about Finch's safehouse.
  • Mr. Smith: Sameen is listed under the hospital records as a Jane Doe, but her description as a 5'3" Persian sociopath narrows it down.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Deconstructed with Dominic; he kills Link on the suspicion of him being a rat, but it was exactly what Elias wanted.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Machine feels this way with respect to Shaw's capture by Samaritan.
  • Neck Snap: Root does this to Martine.
  • New Era Speech: Shelly gives one to Control.
    Shelly: Go home to your loved ones. Hold your daughter tight, because a new day is dawning. And those who impede progress—the disruptive, the aberrant—will be systematically purged from our society. There will be no mercy, no stay of execution. For some this will be the end, but for others a rebirth, a second chance to live the life they were designed for. Every life given a purpose. Samaritan will build a new world, a better world.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
  • Noodle Incident: Root went to a "People's Republic" (presumably China) to get a circuit, using a fake cast to smuggle it out.
  • Not So Different:
  • Not So Stoic: Control keeps up a calm facade for the entire episode - but, when she finds out about the impending Correction, she brutally strikes Shelly in the face with her pistol, screaming as she does so.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Harper explaining why she's working for Dominic. Turns out the Machine can come up with an even better offer.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Shelly when she realizes Control is going to kill her.
    • Dominic when he realized that Elias manipulated him into killing Link.
    • Root when she realises they've walked right into Samaritan's operations center.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The previous episode's events are shown to have an effect on Reese. Elias notes that he seems calmer than normal, and Fusco is surprised when Reese gives him genuine praise.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Reese says it's not like Elias to get careless by leaving a pneumatic tube at the murder scene.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Shelly is on the receiving end of this from Control after hitting her Berserk Button.
  • Plot Parallel: Both Samaritan and Dominic had the same plan: Lure their enemies (Team Machine and Elias' men, respectively) to their headquarters, so they can be killed and end their conflict. Both also failed, slightly: Samaritan succeeded in getting the Machine's location but left Harold and Root alive; Dominic didn't go through with it, thanks to Elias "giving up his mole in the Brotherhood."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner / Shut Up, Hannibal!: Control responds to Shelly's New Era Speech with one:
    Control: Too bad you won't live to see it. (double tap)
  • Properly Paranoid: Invoked as part of Finch's Cassandra Gambit.
  • The Purge: Samaritan's ultimate plan, dubbed the Correction.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Dominic has captured Elias, and is poised to take over New York - but he'll never be able to hold it, as he killed his right-hand man on mere suspicion, and now nobody will trust him.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Root hits this when Martine gloats about what happened with Shaw while she disappeared and threatens Finch. Root kills her in response.
  • Red Herring: The talk between Anthony and Link was revealed to be one. For the genre-savvy viewer, it hinted that Link might betray Dominic at some point, which is aided by the new knowledge there's a mole in Dominic's operation. It turns out that no, there isn't - Elias just fooled Dominic into shooting his own number 2 by setting him up to look like a traitor.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Elias making use of the pneumatic tube system, once a cutting edge 'machine' of its day.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Control's execution of Tyler, a Samaritan mole within the ISA, establishes what she's willing to do (and ultimately does do) to Shelly.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Samaritan gives the Machine the choice of giving up its location or having its Harold and Root die. Of course it would just get the Machine's code from Root's cochlear implant and locate the Machine using it anyway.
    • Dominic gives Elias the options of revealing the rat in his organization or sending his men to their deaths. Though it's exactly what Elias wanted in the first place.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Harold, when Root admits him to the asylum under the guise of being a 'homeless dope fiend'.
    Root: I need to admit this man on a TDO. 72-hour involuntary hold. He's an increasingly dangerous paranoid schizophrenic. [looks at Harold] Unless he'd care to disagree?
    Harold: [beat] It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.
    Doctor: Who exactly is after you?
    Harold: The Brotherhood, the federal government... an artificial super-intelligence, obviously.
    Doctor: What's your name, sir?
    Harold: I go by many names, all derived from species of birds.
    Root: I'd mark him as a John Doe. [beat] He basically lives in the subway.
  • Schizo Tech / Reinventing the Telephone: Elias restores the defunct pneumatic mail network so he can have a means of communication that can bypass phone taps, and smuggle weapons into secure government buildings.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Shaw being hauled into a Decima vehicle, though it's likely she's drugged or weak from months of torture.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Root — though if they'd done the strapping a bit sooner, Martine would still be alive.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Root does the most permanent one possible to Martine.
  • Smug Snake: Shelly, when her mask comes off.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat
    Root: You admitted me to the funny farm once. Turn-about's fair play.
    Finch: I don't recall dressing you like a homeless dope fiend.
  • Straw Nihilist: Greer sees himself, and all of humanity, as irrelevant.
  • There Are No Coincidences: Invoked by Control to get Shelly to admit she's working for Samaritan.
  • Torture Always Works: For Control, it's played straight. Averted with Dominic, who fails to get information on Finch from Elias, Reese and Fusco.
  • Torture Chamber Episode: Control tortures Shelly, Dominic tortures Elias, Reese and Fusco, and Decima were going to vivisect Root.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Shaw's phone call from the dead.
  • Tube Travel: Restoring an obsolete pneumatic tube system gives Elias a method of communication that can't be intercepted, and a means of smuggling weapons past security in government buildings.
  • Vehicular Sabotage/Faking the Dead: Shelly's brakes are tampered with so that she crashes. Control's men then plant the dead body of a blonde woman and a bomb in the front seat, to Make It Look Like an Accident.
  • Villain Respect
    • Control, in an ironic tone, acknowledges the 'friends' who tipped her off about Samaritan's activities.
    • Elias lets Reese know It Has Been an Honor
      Elias: You're an honorable man, John. It's been nice knowing you.
  • The War Room: Root has an Oh, Crap! moment when she peeks into a room and sees Greer standing in front of an electronic board showing Samaritan's worldwide operations.
  • We Need a Distraction: On the instructions of the Machine, Finch tells a large mental patient that some orderlies stole his spaceman toy. He promptly goes berserk.
  • Wham Episode: As usual, a few things qualify it:
    • Samaritan has finally located the Machine and its assets are out to get her.
    • Link and Martine die.
    • Team Machine finds out Shaw is alive. She is glimpsed and is heavily implied to be working for Samaritan now.
    • Finch and Root's covers appear to be blown, but this doesn't seem to be much of an issue since Samaritan has stopped hunting them, instead choosing to go after the Machine.
    • Control finds out that Samaritan is planning an event resulting in a massive loss of life called "The Correction".
  • Wham Line:
    The Machine: You are wrong, Harold. You are not interchangeable. I failed to save Sameen. I will not fail you now.
    • Also, after Elias identifies Link as the traitor within the Brotherhood, and Dominic shoots Link:
    Elias: I might have lied about a few things, like the message your men intercepted.
    Dominic: You planted that message? ...You knew we were coming.
    Elias: Well, good news, there's no rat in your organization. Bad news, you need a new right-hand man.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Shaw's phone ringing.
    • Samaritan's map of the United States, locating the Machine.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Link urges Dominic to kill Elias immediately, but Dominic wants control of his men and access to his mysterious source of information.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Samaritan's plan: Either the Machine gives up her location in exchange for letting Root and Finch live, or they get the Machine's code from Root's cochlear implant, and use that to locate her.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The Machine's eventual message to Harold.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
    • The Machine always refers to Finch as Admin. She called him Harold before giving her location up.
    • Finch also switches from 'Ms. Groves' to Root when the latter looks like she's about to jump off the building (though this isn't the first time he's done so).
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Shelly dropping the mask.
    "You have no idea what's coming for you, bitch."
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Averted; the Machine insists Greer's men let Finch and Root go before she reveals her location, and they make no effort to recapture them at this stage.

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