On Person of Interest, we learned more about how the Machine thinks about crime

Last night's Person of Interest was a lot like last week's in that our number of the week led to a basically heartwarming story about some people who are just desperate for a little human kindness and love. While last week's story of a warring couple was played for laughs, however, this week's tale of a Cuban cabbie trying to get his family into the United States was verging on "very special episode" status. Still, it afforded us some super interesting glimpses into how the Machine thinks — and gave us more insight into New York City's true power players.

The number of the week situation was so simple that I'm going to dispatch it in two paragraphs, just for fun. A cabbie is in danger. We find out he used to be a big baseball player who defected to the U.S. from Cuba, but then injured his shoulder. Since then he's worked like crazy to raise enough cash to smuggle his family out of Cuba to join him. (He just wants the American dream! Cue moving speech!) Unfortunately, the corrupt guy who offered to help him has just raised his price. Trying to get even more cash, the cabbie sells a laptop left in his cab by an Estonian hacker-gangster. Now the Estonians want to kill the cabbie!

On Person of Interest, we learned more about how the Machine thinks about crime

There's a great series of hacker bits where Finch tracks down the laptop to another hacker who is trying to sell it — and Finch is so badass that he scares this super-elite hacker guy into getting the hell out of town (with a bunch of cash Finch gives him for the laptop). So the laptop is returned to the authorities, Reese beats the crap out of the Estonians, and yay. Also, Bear got to fight the Estonians too! That was great. And then Carter arranges for cabbie to get his family back, in exchange for helping the Secret Service get that laptop. Yay!

On Person of Interest, we learned more about how the Machine thinks about crime

HR vs. Elias vs. the Machine Gang vs. the Mayor's Office

Meanwhile, in the realm of ongoing plot developments, the remaining HR honcho Simmons is trying to regroup by renewing the alliance with criminal mastermind Elias. Remember, we learned that the mayor's campaign manager and right-hand man Quinn is actually the secret head of HR, which means that Elias' influence extends (potentially) up to the highest reaches of NYC politics. So Quinn tells Simmons to get in with Elias again, and Simmons forces Fusco to help. He's got evidence that connects Fusco to Davidson, a missing internal affairs guy, so there's blackmail to think about. Elias' guys talk to their leader in jail, and Elias says sure I'll be your allies if you hand over the last of the old NYC crime bosses to me.

But it turns out that Elias has double-crossed the HR types. He's secretly tipped off the crime boss, who comes at Fusco and a throwaway HR cop with guns blazing. Throwaway cop is dead, and Fusco has to deliver the bad news to Simmons. So you know what that means, right? Elias is allied with the Machine Gang, but not with HR. It's basically (and weirdly), the Machine Gang and Elias against HR and the Mayor's office. As ever, this show delivers on the weird conspiracies.

Wassup, Castro?

Speaking of weird conspiracies, there's a great moment where Finch hacks into Cuba's computer system (because of course he can do that) and tells Reese offhandedly that Castro is dead, and his body double has cancer. Add that one to your tally of awesome crackpot theories this show takes for granted as real. Yeah, the CIA is selling drugs to fund the war on terror. And yeah, Castro is dead and his diseased body double is running Cuba. I live for these super bizarro moments in Person of Interest.

On Person of Interest, we learned more about how the Machine thinks about crime

How the Machine Thinks

Because I'm completely invested in the Machine as a character, I freak out every time we see a new view of the Machine's brain in action. And in this episode we saw how the Machine thinks about the HR conspiracy. It has a giant array of interconnected files, each of which represents a player in HR — and it's ticking them off each time one dies, gets arrested, or goes active again. This is also clearly how the Machine thinks in general, mapping connections between people and trying to determine where violence will break out.

As the episode ends, Fusco basically tells Simmons to kiss his ass. He's just gone on a wild goose chase for Elias, only to find that Elias has double crossed him. Plus HR is basically just Simmons at this point, and he doesn't want to do this one dude's dirty work anymore. But as soon as he tells Simmons that, Carter gets an anonymous tip that Davidson has been murdered. Is Simmons getting ready to destroy Fusco's life? And will the Machine Gang be able to help?