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Samaritan raises the stakes on a thrilling 'Person of Interest'

Season 4 | Episode 5 | “Prophets” | Aired Oct 21, 2014

It’s Election Day, 2014. But on a hot New York afternoon, something is amiss as Reese and Fusco chase a rather conservative-looking perp (David Beach) to the very edge of a rooftop. The perp, an embezzler/murderer, threatens to jump as Reese reminds him that if he does, his wife and son don’t get the insurance payout so why not go for suicide by cop?  As backup arrives, Doug whips out a gun but Reese is too quick—he turns and sends a slug to Doug’s knee, wounding him.

At the precinct, Reese and Fusco’s banter is interrupted by the arrival of Dr. Iris Campbell (Wrenn Schmidt), a shrink who has been assigned to Reese via Internal Affairs. To cope, Reese inquires about a new number but Finch has already assigned it to Shaw. The number belongs to Simon Lee (Jason Ritter), a Nate Silver-type who has run 10 consecutive successful campaigns and is polling for the incumbent, Governor Murray (Michael Bryan French).

Finch gives Shaw, working undercover at campaign headquarters, a call to inquire if there has been any suspicious activity involving Lee. Asserting that he’s clean, she watches as the campaign manager, Mike Fisher (Anthony Arkin), approaches Simon in a huff. At HQ, Finch is paid a visit by Root, whose promptly changes identities to successfully throw off Samaritan before handing Finch a map per the Machine marked with blind spots in the city, along with a flash drive and a message: “Sometime it’s better not to know.”

As the election comes to a close, Murray’s campaign is shocked to see the challenger, Michelle Perez (Caris Vujcec), being pegged the winner by the news media.  As the governor concedes, a livid Fisher violently attacks Simon and both men go at it. Finch concludes that this is enough for Simon to be a marked man as Shaw gleefully watches. (Now this is an election I could get into.)

Flashback to Oct, 13, 2001—Day 1 of the Machine going live. Finch, as Admin user, tests his creation by asking her word problems before being approached by his partner Ingram (Brett Cullen). As the two converse, Finch notices strange code in the Machine that did not come from either of them. The Machine asserts that it came from “Admin,” prompting Finch to immediately shut it down and start from scratch. He tells Ingram that the Machine must be “governed carefully or risk disaster.”

Present time, Reese and Finch watch as Governor-elect Perez gives her acceptance speech. Shaw listens in as Simon tells Murray that he suspects the election was rigged. Reese and Finch part ways as Reese makes his way to his meeting with Dr. Campbell, who grills him on his habitual shooting incidences. Reese “opens up” about a dealer who was shot and bled out and how that resonated with him. Campbell, who sees right through Reese, warns him that if he doesn’t seek help, he’s going to continue sliding on a dangerous slope.

Simon continues on his quest to prove his theory as Shaw watches. Root slinks by, telling Shaw that the Machine wants her here. They both watch as Simon makes his case of voter tampering in front of the state commissioner (Ned Van Zandt), who, having just arrested a state employee, tries to reschedule the meeting.  As Shaw and Finch seem to have hit a wall, Root realizes that the Machine was correct in wanting her at the courthouse. Suddenly, shots are fired. The disgruntled employee, having shot a cop, makes his way to the commissioner’s quarters but is stopped by Shaw. Outside the courthouse, Root figures out that it was Samaritan who rigged the election and that it is now “cleaning up.”

Nov. 29, 2001: Finch and Ingram start from scratch. The Machine refuses to accept the admin password from Ingram. When Finch asks why, the Machine states “Admin is not admin” and seems to have only accepted him in the role. Ingram notices that his computer has mysteriously connected to Wi-Fi, leading Finch to realize that the Machine is becoming more self-reliant.

105268_wb_0427bcShaw and Root continue piecing Samaritan’s plan together and must now make sure that Simon doesn’t go public with his theory. Finch pegs Perez as a puppet of Samaritan’s and decides that they must make her resign. At HQ, Finch and Root puzzle at the fact that the Machine did not catch the election snafu, leading to a great, emotional scene between the two, where Finch finally calls her out on the fact that she has been lost without the Machine in her life (the look on Root’s face is priceless and shows great vulnerability). Root warns him that as dark as things are, they are only going to get darker.

There is a ping and their search leads to a rap sheet on Perez from 20 years ago. Finch and Root arrive at the Governor-elect’s celebration party with the goal of bringing this piece of information to her attention. Shaw informs them that Simon is in the building and that he is approaching the stage during Perez’s speech. Root notices Martine a few steps behind but before anyone can do anything, Perez collapses on stage, dead.

Martine sets her sights on Simon and follows him to the men’s room to find his phone in one of the stalls. Outside, Finch tails Simon, who is distracted by Root’s reckless driving. Finch continues tailing the pollster as he enters a hotel—an easy target due to the security cameras, leading Finch to frantically cut all the feeds. The trio stay on Simon as he gets a room.

Finch and Root get into an ideological war of words in regards to the Machine–Finch warns her that the Machine may soon show her killer instincts and can not be depended on while Root reasserts that the Machine loves them and would do them no harm.

There is a knock on Simon’s door. He snags a cell phone from housekeeping as Finch quickly drops the call to stave off Samaritan. As Martine makes her way in the hotel, Root arms herself and, per the Machine’s orders, goes down to take her on.

A gun battle ensues as Samaritan watches. Root is shot protecting Simon as Samaritan pegs her as the priority target and Martine goes after her full throttle. Outside, Simon is knocked out by Shaw, who is then saved by Reese when he shoots an approaching heavy.

The next day, Finch pays Simon a visit and paints his conspiracy theory as a figment of his imagination. Reese finds himself in another session with Dr. Campbell, who continues prodding him on his actions. He opens up about Detective Carter and how her death still haunts him, serving as an instigating factor to his actions.

Root is alive and (sort of) well, this time under the guise of a pastry chef. She reiterates to Finch that the Machine needs him and is the differentiating factor between her and Samaritan. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Nick Dawson (Kevin Kilner) is visited by Greer, who congratulates him on his promotion. Later, Finch walks in a crowded street and turns to one of the Machine’s cameras: “It’s time we had a talk, you and I.”

After last week’s rather underwhelming entry, POI returns with a vengeance with an episode that not only displays the power of Samaritan but also perfectly lays out the desperation of Team Machine to win the impending war at all costs. Sharply written by Lucas O’Connor, “Prophets” is by far the strongest episode of the season and my personal fave. The scenes between Finch and Root discussing the merits of the Machine, referred to as “God” on more than one occasion, brings to mind debates about a vengeful God versus a loving God. While the episode is light on action (at least until the end), there is no shortage of suspense in a twisty plot that becomes much more than what is presented at surface.

Reese also gets a side plot of his own as we finally get a look into his psyche—these moments were a welcome reprieve from the main plot and I hope we see some more of this. Throw in a great sight gag or two (seeing Reese and Fusco with “I voted” stickers in the beginning was a very nice touch), the return of Ingram, the Machine’s origin story, and a relentless pace that never lets up, and you have yourself one great episode.

Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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