Number of the Week is Timothy Sloan, an estate investigator – it’s his job to discover whether deceased people have any heirs. He’s doing a little off-the-books investigating of the death of Jason Greenfield, his foster brother; Jason, a gifted hacker, will be found to have been working with pro-privacy fanatics Vigilance, the organisation which featured in episode 2 of this season, its boss now named as Peter Collier.
To start with Finch is on the Sloan case, working undercover as his partner, because Reese is trying to find Shaw, who we saw at the end of last week being abducted by Root. And while we might well be wondering what the eff Root is up to, it’s already clear that it’s not going to be as simple as putting her in the baddie category: almost her first act is to cut Shaw loose from the restraints she had used on her. Root, as we know, is also receiving information from The Machine, and is basically doing the same as Reese and Finch: getting herself close to her own Number of the Week. This will involve her voluntarily getting locked up, with Shaw’s somewhat bewildered assistance, in a CIA black site.
But the Root/Shaw Number, and the Finch/Reese Number, are very much connected; the Machine has sent them all to work on the same case from different angles. (One of the interesting aspects of the episode is the way in which Finch and Root will tussle over The Machine, both clearly seeing themselves as the true disciple – I don’t think I’m stretching things to see a religious subtext here – with Root, significantly, referring to The Machine using female pronouns.) And that, in turn, will bring both teams into collision with Vigilance once again, a battle which has an outcome which serves the show’s overall arcs well, as does Root’s fate.
I suppose you could argue that Fusco and Carter don’t have much to do this week, although Carter’s almost throwaway storyline serves to humanise Laskey, her partner, albeit in a somewhat brutal way. That apart, though, ‘Mors Praematura’ was a sensationally good hour or so of TV, with judicious use of humour – the contents of Shaw’s fridge! – mixed with action, clever plotting, and an engaging moral ambiguity. Person of Interest is – if I can use the present tense, given that this episode was shown in October 2013 in America – on top form right now.