Person of Interest 4×11

I would’ve had more (angry) feelings about this, but before I talk about anything else I want to address the fact that Sarah had to leave the show because she’s pregnant with twins and Shaw is, obviously, a character not remotely compatible with this state of being.

It’s tough either way, but as Sarah says, it’s a no-brainer for her.  You’ve obviously got your priorities skewed if you think a TV show with a ship you like (probably the most vocal protests will be coming from shippers and not people who watch PoI for PoI) is more important than the safety of two foetuses that the mother wants to keep.

And I highly prefer this to anything else.  We’ve seen what “be careful what you wish for” ends up being like (COUGHWAREHOUSE13COUGH).  I am so down for Shaw exiting the show in a totally Shaw-like way.  And Sarah fought hard for this.  She fought hard to give this to Shaw instead of having her chained to a desk and having Bear keep her company in the subway hideout.

They even talked about working the pregnancy in, and AHAHAHAHAHA, no.  Shaw can barely sit still for two hours.  Nine months?  Hell no.  She’d never get pregnant in the first place (contraceptives if she’s having sex with a guy) but even if she somehow managed to get pregnant, she’d abort safely rather than leave it to the inevitable miscarriage it’d be (because let’s face it, even if you want to argue she’ll be completely OoC and keep the foetus, she’s NOT going to sit still until she’s the size of a whale and is physically incapable of moving quickly).

See, Shaw’s leaving in a graceful way, and the promo for “Control Alt Delete” shows they’re writing it the best way possible — Shaw can stay off the show indefinitely and still come back easily if or when Sarah wants to, assuming PoI is still airing.

Look, it's a foregone conclusion.  They're saying their goodbyes.

Look, it’s a foregone conclusion. They’re saying their goodbyes.

It sucks, and it would’ve been nice to see what they did with it on a show like PoI had Sarah not become pregnant.  But let’s face it, it would’ve probably been more overt come ons and mildly embarrassed defensiveness bordering on hostility.  I don’t think it would’ve gone anywhere, because PoI is not a show that focusses on romantic subplots.

Remember how I was concerned how they were suddenly accelerating the Shoot subtext and stuffing it in like they were writing fanfic?  Yeah, well, they must’ve known for awhile.  And this makes sense in real-time, since they’re not shooting that much in advance.  Amy says they’re shooting episode 16 right now so they’ve only got a four-episode gap.

The consolation that we have is that Root is safe for the season.

PoI02

I’m surprised she answered this at all or that it has so few favourites.

She basically spoiled that she’d survive this episode even before the episode ended.  =P

Non sequitur transition and segue to TM’s simplified simulation.  Delighted appreciation of the tongue-in-cheek humour.  Happiness at the nice balance of seriousness and silliness that makes the episode bearable and enjoyable.  Displeasure at the idea of marching mobs of people walking to their deaths and kneecapped agonies and displaying no tactic whatsoever as the major pet peeve.  Realisation that there is no rhyme or reason to the thoughts that flit across her mind when her thoughts are summed up and described thusly.

But the third (?) simulation was definitely heartwrenching.  You knew Root was going to die waaaaay before they showed Martine and the other Samaritan operatives.  I’m not sure what to do with this semi-canon.  How often does that happen on a show?  To have something canonically semi-canon.

And you want to know what?  Now that I know they’re not killing Shaw off because she’s a woman or PoC or queer or whatever, I’m totally cool with this.  Because let’s face it, Root has always been my favourite, and Shaw was basically the periphery accessory to ‘Yay, Root likes women!  And she’s flirting in her dorky way!’.

I think if Shaw weren’t super actionny and gung ho they would’ve ended up with awkward shots to hide the pregnancy (which I would be totally okay with).

I also wish I weren’t genre savvy because any simulation that resulted in the destruction of the painting was ‘Nope, this one isn’t going to work out either’.  I appreciated the levity it gave the episode though.  It’s very dreary to have it all emo and dramatic the whole time.  I didn’t really like how the Samaritan operatives didn’t shoot Root after they got Finch though.  ????

Even if you wanted to hide that it was a simulation, having her shot at the last second just before you fade to black would’ve worked for me.

Also, I like how TM doesn’t bother with simulating Finch and Reese disagreeing with her (or she just doesn’t even pause to think anyone would question her judgement).

So yeah, since they’re basically writing Sarah out of the series, it’s obvious that she won’t feature too heavily in the next episode, or at all.  Probably not at all.  Because showing her alive would instantly kill the “is she alive or not???” suspense and they need her off the show indefinitely.  They need her to be Schrödinger’s Shaw.  If Shaw were alive, she would have to be back on the main cast and not two or three years later.  If Shaw’s dead then she would have to stay dead.  So they need this limbo.

There probably isn’t much to be said plot-wise, since only maybe fifteen minutes passed in real time by the end of the episode.  I quite liked the flashbacks though.  It seems unlikely that Finch would get so uppity and refuse to play chess because it was created in a time where lives meant little, but I did like how the scenes played out in general.

TM’s like a super smart little baby and gobbling up everything Finch teaches her.  It’s so cute!

I liked how they worked the themes in.  At first it’s to suggest that sacrifice might be necessary, and then Finch reinforces the idea that you can’t assign values to lives.  Which is something I personally disagree with*, but for an AI, it’s a good lesson to teach, and in line with Finch’s view on life after Nathan’s death.

*If you gave me a hypothetical situation where one of two people ABSOLUTELY had to die and the decision somehow rested on me and otherwise they would both die, you bet your bippy I’m going to choose a loving, considerate, giving person who understands the inequalities in life across all demographics and all walks of life over some egoistical self-serving person who has no regard for others and has committed horrific crimes.

I’m not saying it’s my place to pass judgement on life and death, but I think it’s inherently assigning value to these two lives if you had to pick one over the other to prevent the loss of both.

Also let’s face it, some people do deserve to die.  I think it’s prettied up Disney bullshit to pretend otherwise.  Like, dream up the worst possible person.  A paedophilic cannabalistic rapist serial killer.  How about that.  Come on, I’m sure at least one has existed in the history of humanity.

And what did you find the most upsetting?  To me, it was Root’s parting speech to Shaw before she gets shot down in the third simulation that really, really, really gets me.  I got teary (but didn’t cry) when I watched it, but I did cry afterward when I really thought about it.

Root’s happy to die knowing Shaw “maybe someday” would be open to being with her.  Says she loves Shaw and says her goodbyes in the circuitous way she knows how (because while Root can flirt like nobody’s business she’s super shy about and awkward with Shaw reciprocating).

I would go all meta about how part of Shaw’s appeal to Root is how emotionally unavailable she is.  I know someone who told me that she consistently and repeatedly ends up being attracted to emotionally unavailable people.  And I think that makes sense, both in real life and for Root.  You build these walls, and you don’t want to get hurt, but you really want the idea of being in a relationship.  You want companionship.  You want not to be alone.  When you’re attracted to someone who’s emotionally unavailable, it’s “safer” for you.  And that way both desires can be fulfilled to a degree.

And Sarah says, in the interview I linked earlier, that she and the producers disagreed on what the kiss meant:

Tell me about that big kiss between Root and Shaw. Was that purely for the fans?

But yeah, to be honest, I felt like it was more for the fans. The one thing that the producers and I did kind of disagree on was they felt like Shaw knew she was going to die. She’s against ten Samaritan operatives, there’s no way she’s getting out of this alive, and that kiss was a goodbye kiss. Whereas I didn’t see it like that. I don’t think Shaw goes into any situation going, okay, I’m going to die today. I feel like the stronger choice is to struggle to live, and so I felt like that kiss was just like, “Oh, shut the f–k up already, Root!” I felt like it was more trying to calm down a pestering child, if anything. “Okay, fine, I’ll give you what you want, now be quiet.” Just one of those moments. But again, I also felt like it was more for the fans than anything.

I side with her on this one.  It’s romanticised bullshit to say it’s a goodbye kiss.  That might work for a shitty formulaic Hollywood blockbuster, but Shaw isn’t like that.  She ended up playing it as “Oh STFU Root”.  I feel like the idea was

“No, Sameen!”

“We’ll all die if I don’t, so stuff it.  But also this is pretty dangerous and you’re talking too much and you’re really hot, so what the hell?”

Sarah’s right.  Shaw doesn’t go into a fight knowing she’s going to lose.  She’ll go into a fight knowing her odds of survival are low, but she doesn’t write herself off. And sure as hell she’s going to take down as many with her as she can.  Martine is going to be the first Mauve shirt to go when Samaritan falls, but hey.

And yup, I also agree that it was more for the fans than anything.  Because to stay absolutely true to canon, and even if I were to consider this scenario and I were asked to write it, the idea that Shaw kisses Root to shut her up is the only remotely plausible explanation.  She probably wouldn’t even kiss her at all, even.  But if you had to write a kiss, that’s how you’d write it.

I am also hugely questioning the idea that the writers even considered writing Sarah’s pregnancy in.  It wouldn’t work at all, seriously.

And one hugely distracting thing for me was how… uh… no one actually kissed Amy?

Does she not kiss on screen?  It was obvious that neither Chapman nor Sarah actually kissed her on her lips.

And WTF with Fusco anyway.  I felt writing that in was hugely annoying.

I get so distracted and confused by the kiss that I’m just squinting at it oddly and not taking it as is.

And also, I feel like I might drop this show or put it on hold in the near future, possibly depending on how they write it.  Probably not for the reasons you think though.  That is, not for shipper reasons.  I honestly don’t care about Shaw too much and don’t really care for Sarah’s acting.  And Root is safe for the season since Amy says she’s doing 22 episodes, so that’s cool.  She’s my main draw to PoI even if the story is more consistent and more well-written than most because the status quo and stasis and whatnot are heavily maintained in procedurals, but she’s not the perky psycho that I know and love (but the change was a necessary move to keep her on the show in the first place, so, sigh) and cutting Shaw out means Reese’s nastyass voice will feature even more.  I don’t think anyone quite understands exactly how unappealing I find his voice and his face.  But mostly his voice.  I feel like many people understand how unappelling I find his beliefs and values.  I’m quite surprised Mr. Fundamentalist Patriarchy deigned to kiss Taraji P. Hensen.  Apparently their OoC kiss was unscripted and initiated by him.  I learnt this while trying to look up Taraji’s side of things and how they had Carter leave the show.  I thought it was hilarious that they decided to do it that way to show they weren’t just offing the black character, but it came off AS just offing the black character.

There is clearly a lot more thought to Shaw’s “death” than to Carter’s.  Like whoop de doo I randomly get shot at by the big bad WHO ALREADY LOST.

Anyway, yeah.  It’s nice that they gave Shaw the Schrödinger’s way out.  Thumbs up.

P.S.  I think it’s tragic Shaw “dies” right after she says “Die for something that you love”, but I have very little respect for your character analysis if you think that means “Root”, because while Shaw’s fond of her, I think that “something” that she loves WOULD be to go out guns ablazin’.  Not Root.  Like, seriously.  She wasn’t CIA just so she could shoot and kill people and blow stuff up.  No, her line to Vigilance about terrorists and what you do is just as important as what you believe in?  She does this to right wrongs.  Shaw considers Team Machine her own little group (RE: referring to Root as “one of our own”).  It might be a reach to say “her own family” since she barely bats an eyelash to her father’s death, but like.  You know?  Not for Root exclusively, even though she was a factor.

It’s semi canon (hah… where does that leave us?) that Shaw self-diagnosed herself as a sociopath.  Which continues to aggravate me to no end.  Because nothing’s suggested Shaw’s been abused.  In fact, it seems like she had a pretty uneventful childhood.  It just diminishes the emotional aspect of it for me.  I will never stop complaining about this, I believe.

Also, to any (on tumblr and otherwise) who said Root and Shaw had sex at the safehouse: HAH!  SUCK ON THAT.

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3 thoughts on “Person of Interest 4×11

    • The woman in the red scarf can’t act at all, and that’s as hilarious and as “dead fish” as a kiss can ever get, with cheesy “romantic” pans to their hands (what?), but I suppose it’s a step in the right direction. I honestly don’t feel much for baby steps of progress admist a sea of overprivileged conservative douchebaggery. Plus it’s really obvious both actors had their noses done… and the kiss made no narrative sense whatsoever. Red Scarf would have never let her kiss her in public. I don’t think these writers really understand the concept of “desperately in the closet”.

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