Person of Interest s5 ep 9

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Possible spoilers. I’ve done my best.

Person of Interest long ago passed the point at which the casual viewer could drop in and watch an episode. Nonetheless, ‘Sotto Voce’ provides something of a masterclass in weaving together an apparently straightforward Case of the Week and an increasingly complicated backstory. The Number is Terry Easton, a locksmith, who is first seen by Reese breaking into an investment company. Terry’s wife is being held captive, as a result of which he’s doing the bidding of a master criminal known only as The Voice, who we’ve seen – heard? – before. It turns out that The Voice’s plan is to get Terry into Reese and Fusco’s police building, where members of the Templarios gang are being held, so that Terry can use his locksmithing skills to get them out.

In the middle of this, Person of Interest finds yet another way of manipulating its cast in interesting ways: Finch asks Elias for help in tracing The Voice, and Elias – presumably wanting some fresh air – agrees, as long as he can go into the field, which means that we get the two of them working as a partnership. Nor is this merely entertaining: the Case of the Week is resolved by Elias in a way which Finch would undoubtedly not have countenanced, but doesn’t entirely regret.

Meantime, Root has a number of her own: Matthew Stone, a radio engineer. And Shaw is back in NYC, hunting down Samaritan agents one by one. And Fusco has a taxi driver in custody, accused of possessing a firearm which – much to his suspect’s surprise – has been used in an unsolved homicide. The storylines pile up, but it never feels forced or crowded. It’s the sort of episode, in fact, where you kind of know that there’s a twist coming which will connect some of the threads. Even allowing for that, though, I didn’t anticipate the one we got: either the Person of Interest writers and actors are remarkably skilled at misdirection, or I’m unusually gullible, because in all likelihood every other viewer saw this one coming.

By the end, though, Root and Shaw have reconciled, Fusco has been read in to the whole Machine/Samaritan thing, and Team Machine is back together; a haunting final shot (soundtracked by The National’s majestic ‘Fake Empire’) makes a point of highlighting just how vulnerable the five of them are considering the forces arrayed against them. It’s a terrific episode.

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