Person of Interest is pushing full speed ahead into the no doubt explosive finale that will be here in a few short weeks. Tonight, season three episode nineteen entitled Most Likely To managed to stick to the procedural infrastructure of the show while ensuring that no scene went without a purpose. Everything in this episode ended up tying in to the bigger, over-arching plot line that has been steadily building all season. This is an episode where reality and fiction begin to blur and viewers get a glimpse of a world that is so close to their own.
This episode began with a failed number. Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) are following a woman named Liona Wainwright. Yet what begins as a typical introduction to an episode of Person of Interest ends quickly when Ms. Wainwright gets into a cab with a driver who has wired it to explode. Everything goes up in flames before Reese and Shaw are able to lift a finger to help and the team goes home defeated.
Finch (Michael Emerson) comes to learn that the privacy terrorist group known as Vigilance, who made their first appearance earlier in the season, was behind the explosion. The event is all the more curious when Root (Amy Acker) appears on the scene once again flashing her newly obtained FBI badge and the alias Augusta King. Apparently the explosion caught the interest of the Machine, and in the first fifteen minutes of the episode the viewer was presented with a scenario that is becoming more and more common in the show: the major players are all present and no longer operating at a distance.
This is a huge shift from earlier in the season when the major opposing forces were all separate. Root had her own quest to attend to, at the behest of the Machine. Finch and his team were still focusing on the weekly numbers that give the show its procedural swing. DECIMA was off creating its own kind of artificial intelligence, and Vigilance was being a general pain in the neck where ever they could. All in all, these entities remained wholly separated until last week when they all crashed together, and it seems that set the tone for the rest of the season.
Liona Wainwright also happened to be connected to the program Northern Lights, headed up by a woman known simply as ‘Control’. More on that later.
With their number dead, Reese and Shaw (team Dark Knight) are put to a different task and part ways with Finch. Team Dark Knight is sent off to Westchester to look into a man named Matthew, while Finch and Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman) fly to DC to further investigate Leona Wainwright and the interest Vigilance has in her. The remainder of the episode bounces between these two settings as the team splits and becomes working parallels instead of their usual complete team.
Now, one thing has to be said for this episode and Person of Interest in general: the writers know how to mix humor with drama, and this episode is a perfect example. Even with Vigilance breathing down their necks and DECIMA off creating a super computer that could rival the Machine, there are still beautiful moments of comic relief amongst the team. This becomes obvious in Shaw’s alias for the 1994 high school reunion she is attending. She made the mistake of looking in the yearbook at the young woman she is supposed to be impersonating and finds this:
The slamming of the yearbook in her hands was heard around the world.
After this discovery, the scene switches back to DC where Finch and Fusco try to get into Liona Wainwright’s office, only to get there too late. The Feds already cleared it out and the pair are stuck in DC until they can figure out what to do. As it always does with Fusco, played by the talented Kevin Chapman whose line delivery is flawless, the tension in the scene is released by humor as he suggests to Finch that he knows a guy who could make them a great deal on a hotel that rents by the hour.
Finch is not amused by this prospect and ends up offering to pay for far nicer accommodations, leaving the viewer to wonder if that hadn’t been Fusco’s plan all along.
The story then flips back to team Dark Knight as they try to learn more about their number and who could possibly be after him. Apparently Matthew’s high school sweetheart died after a drug overdose and everyone blamed him for her death. To add insult to injury, all of the television screens at a bowling alley where the class of ’94 happened to be began showing images of the crime scene and of Matthew’s girlfriend with pills scattered all around her. Needless to say, the number runs off and the team is left to try and decide what to do next.
It ends with Reese and Shaw in a hotel room with two suitcases full of guns, as every segment should.
Again, as is the pattern in this episode, the story switches back to an odd couple scene with Finch and Fusco in DC. Fusco comes out of his room in a ridiculous bathrobe with a sleep mask resting against his forehead and Finch looks on distastefully. It turns out they need to get into the evidence locker where all of the contents of Liona Wainwright’s office reside in order to get into a safe that may have pertinent information in it.
Meanwhile, back in Westchester, team Dark Knight is attending the official reunion dance and this is where everything went to hell in a hand basket. In a flurry of events, a mannequin made to look like Matthew’s girlfriend falls from the ceiling while he and Shaw are sharing a dance, he runs off, Reese finds out a guy named Phil isn’t really a guy named Phil, and somehow Reese and not-Phil end up fighting in the kitchen. Not-Phil, after making a crack about the fact Reese is slow, ends up taking a plate to the shin and is bested by Reese. However, when Reese tries to get information out of him, not-Phil pops a cyanide pill and kills himself.
It is only then that Reese realizes Vigilance is on the scene and they have more to worry about than whoever wants to kill Matthew.
As it is with most procedurals, the plot twist hits as team Dark Knight realizes that Matthew isn’t the one in danger, he is the perpetrator. He wants to kill the guy who really led to the death of his high school sweetheart – a man named Doug who ends up having a very bad day with a gun pointed at him. Matthew planned to kill Doug and make it look like a suicide.
That plan is destroyed when Vigilance shows up in full force and Matthew finds himself in the middle of a firefight between Vigilance and team Dark Knight. Needless to say, he decides to give up his murderous plan in favor of staying alive himself. The resulting fight scene is great, with Shaw running out of bullets and Reese only having one final shot to take out the last member of Vigilance that is giving them a hard time. With a little bit of chemistry (handy they were in a chem lab, right?) they distract the guy, Reese shoots him, and they win the day. Matthew is saved, Doug is saved, and everyone gets to go home. The procedural portion of the show ends in a victory, as it often does, and the viewer swings back to DC.
Remember how Northern Lights was mentioned earlier? Well, the government becomes important in the last series of scenes. First, Finch and Fusco manage to get into the evidence lock up and Finch works his magic in order to get into the safe. What he finds is a long, black budget document connected to the Machine. It is damning evidence, so it is no surprise that Vigilance is hot on their trail and Collier, the head of Vigilance, corners Finch in the evidence lockup. Collier shares that he has done research on Finch’s team, that he is beginning to understand how the reclusive billionaire operates, and Finch admits something: he is sympathetic to Vigilance’s cause but does not agree with their methods.
He hands over the file he found in the safe and Collier is chased out when Root, still masquerading as an FBI agent, manages to save the day.
The episode ends with the ‘decimation’ of the black budget document as Collier releases it to the media and suddenly the United States has a lot of questions about a program called Northern Lights. Accusations begin to fly and a senator approaches Control, the head of the Northern Lights program which protects the Machine and acts on the numbers it gives them, gets an earful.
Then she’s told to terminate the program. After fighting it, she picks up the phone and tells whoever it is on the other line to shut it down.
So the writers have once again left viewers with a hiatus and a cliff hanger. Person of Interest is pressing forward toward the finale and at the moment the viewers are left wondering how everything will end. The Machine has been revealed and is possibly being shut down by the government side of it. Root suddenly has a new mission. Vigilance is probably out kicking puppies somewhere demanding that they stop spying on the American people. So what is Finch to do?
Guess we’ll have to tune in after the short hiatus and see what is next for the team.