Person of Interest Season 4 Review “Control-Alt-Delete”

Control-Alt-Delete 2

After last week’s breakneck pace, this week’s Person of Interest felt like hitting a wall. Team Machine begins the hunt for Shaw, but that is only a cursory part of the episode. The focus is on Samaritan’s expanding grip over the U.S. government. Camryn Manheim is back as Control, who seems to be gradually figuring out that she has everything but control.

Based on the previews from last week, I expected the episode to begin with Shaw and Reese running around, causing a lot of damage. And they did…though we see that only in tidbits of news coverage. We don’t actually see any member of Team Machine during the first half of the episode. It was an interesting angle to take the focus off the regulars, but also felt a little incongruous with the way things ended at the Stock Exchange.

Control leads another kill mission to take out four men that Samaritan has identified as terrorists. After the first three are killed, Control wants to check one of the suspect’s laptops. Samaritan shuts this down immediately. This should be a red flag moment for Control. It demonstrates that she is not the leader of the mission – Samaritan is. She decides to go rogue and try to get her hands on the laptop. Samaritan is keeping a close eye on her, though, and foils her attempts.

When watching Control respond to the new limitation on her powers, it’s like watching a light bulb flickering over her head—never turning on for any length of time. She knows something is wrong, but she won’t listen to the inner voice telling her that the problem is the machine she’s relying upon. There is no doubt that Control will have a reckoning. The tally of lives she’s taken at the direction of Samaritan is staggering. For now, she can still tell herself that she did it in the name of protecting Americans. If she fully lets in that she’s been manipulated, she’ll have to face the fact that she has blood on her hands. When she kills Yasin Said, she is desperately clinging to this fantasy of patriotism. She doesn’t want to accept that his death is merely Samaritan trying to cover its tracks.

It is incredibly frustrating to watch Control make one bad decision after another. When she tracks down Said, I thought we might finally see her “a-ha” moment. But, as Finch says, she is a foolish woman who will likely realize her error when it’s too late. The confrontation between Control and Finch was the highlight of the episode. There are many reasons to love Michael Emerson as Finch, but he particularly shined in this scene. His words will come back to haunt Control.

Meanwhile, Samaritan is trying to get a personal appearance with the present, through his 11-year old mouthpiece. Samaritan really shouldn’t be too surprised that no one is taking it seriously when his physical representation is a kid. The child actor, Louis Lourens, is doing a great job at being evil. Team Machine needs to come up with a way to sever the kid from Samaritan. You can’t exactly root for Team Machine to take out a child, so they’re going to need to be creative.

What will really be interesting is when every one of these pieces in the game between the machine and Samaritan come together. Control, Elias, Dominic, Decima…everyone has a stake in the battle and hopefully by the end of the season, we’ll know who the victor is.