Person of Interest Season 3 Review “The Devil’s Share”

The Devil's Share

This week’s episode of Person of Interest was all about the fallout from Carter’s murder by Simmons. Reese is severely injured and initially appears to be incapacitated. Team Machine soon discovers that Reese is awake and on a rampage to track down Simmons.

The loss of Carter is still a tough one to swallow. This isn’t made easier by seeing the suffering of her friends and loved ones. The scene with Finch and Shaw standing in the distance at Carter’s funeral and close-up shots of Carter’s son and ex-husband is probably one of the best scenes the show has ever done. I loved that Finch and Shaw unite in their grief, even though only one of them expresses it through tears. There had to be an acknowledgement that Carter’s son has lost his mother, and this was a touching way to do it.

It turns out that Shaw and Reese react in a similar way when faced with a feeling of helplessness – they both take matters into their own hands to track down Simmons. Finch joins with Shaw so that they can find Reese before he is overcome by his injuries. Finch doesn’t approve, though, of Shaw’s extreme tactics. Shaw and Reese are on par with their occasionally brutal tactics and I like the fact that they can operate in that way together. But, it does put Finch in the difficult position of tempering both of them.

The flashback scenes are cleverly done in the way that they mirror one another in style and appearance (table, anonymous cross-examiner/confessor), and in the manner that they gave further insight into our main characters. What do we learn? Shaw was in residency to become a doctor. I don’t recall this coming up before and was surprised. Shaw is not the warm and fuzzy type, so the idea of her taking care of patients was unsettling. Also, I typically think of Shaw as a cunning badass, so I guess I didn’t envision her as doctor smart. That being said, I can kind of see it now. I liked that she was called out by her boss for failing to tactfully inform a family of their loved one’s passing. I can absolutely picture Shaw gnawing on a candy bar and telling people, “Yeah, sorry about that.” It was interesting that the implication was that her callousness did not make her a good doctor.

I’m going to take a brief deviation. Shaw’s story reminded me of an NPR report about a prominent neuroscientist who studied brain functions of criminal psychopaths. The theory is that there is less activity in the orbital cortex, the area believed to be responsible for ethical behavior and impulse control, for these individuals. In studying his own brain scans, the scientist discovered that he shared similar brain function patterns, which led to an introspective look at his behavior. One of the ideas is that you actually want someone who is detached from emotion to be the one performing a complicated medical procedure. The detachment enables the doctor to focus on the job and not on the fact that they have a person’s life in their hands. Shaw’s situation reminded me of this. Would she have been a bad doctor because of her poor bedside manner? Maybe not. Would you rather have Shaw or Meredith Gray operating on you? Her detachment is what would also allow her to be a highly effective soldier.

Fusco’s flashback is also an interesting glimpse at the side of him we don’t see very often. He admits to having committed a revenge-style killing and expresses no remorse. This confession is necessary to set up his redemption at the end of the episode. When he decides to go after Simmons, I thought that for sure Fusco was going to extract some revenge for Carter’s death. To the contrary, Fusco doesn’t kill Simmons. Fusco explains that Carter changed his life and made him a better person. This drives home that this was more than the loss of a friend for him. This was the loss of someone who helped him to completely change his life. The fight with Simmons was definitely Fusco’s moment in this series.

Similarly, Reese’s flashback gives context for his ultimate decision to kill Quinn. Finch tries to talk Reese out of pulling the trigger and reminds him that Carter lost her life in order to bring Quinn to justice. If she just wanted him dead, she wouldn’t have gone to so much trouble. Reese is so blinded by his rage and grief that Finch’s words do nothing to sway him. He aims and pulls the trigger. Fortunately for Quinn, there are no bullets. Reese’s action makes sense in light of his flashback. We learn that Reese lost his father at a young age, which adds to the idea that this is an emotionally troubled character. We also see that when Reese believes he’s morally in the right, he won’t hesitate to kill. This softens the attempted murder of Quinn in that it’s not entirely revenge-motivated. But, it is still a letdown that Reese wasn’t able to handle the situation as Carter would have wanted.

Finch’s flashback is what you would expect to see for him. He is largely motivated by guilt and a desire to protect others in his life. This is what ultimately leads him to trust Root enough to let her out of the cage. He swallows his wounded pride that the machine won’t help him and thinks about the bigger picture – saving Reese. It was a good twist at the end when Finch thanks Root for helping them. I thought for a second he was going to let her go, but instead he locks the cage. It’s important that he doesn’t forget who she is.

The biggest moment in the episode occurred at the very end. After Fusco lets Simmons live, I was worried that would be the end of the tale. Happily, that was not the case and justice was served. Elias appears in Simmons hospital room and puts him out of our collective misery. This was a brilliant way to create a sense of vindication. Our good guys aren’t sullied by committing a reprehensible act, but we still have the satisfaction that Simmons got what was coming to him. I also liked that Simmons death stemmed from Elias’ respect and affection for Carter.

I have a couple other random thoughts about the episode. When Shaw says that it was hot the way Root took out the bad guys, it made me think that we might end up with a Shaw/Root hookup. The music in the episode was well-done. The opening montage with Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” was poignant.

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