Last night's Person of Interest gave us some backstory on Shaw, filling in her tragic past while she rescued the youngest spy we've met in this series. Plus, Carter pulled some badass moves. Overall, this was a great number of the week episode.
When I realized that this week's number was a precocious girl with curly hair, I wasn't exactly thrilled. I kept thinking she would turn out to be the perpetrator in some terrible twist, or that she would just be so cloyingly sweet that I wanted to stab my face. She was sweet – but in the context of Person of Interest, that means she knew how to build her own analog surveillance equipment. Basically, she was Harriet the spy for the new millennium. An orphan living with her drug – addicted cousin, Harriet had bugged a bunch of people in her building, trying to root out the drug dealers and get rid of them.
As she tells Shaw proudly, she learned everything from her grandfather, who was in the KGB. Unfortunately, she learned too well. She manages to overhear a conversation where the head of HR is brokering a drug deal for bath salts with one of the Russian mafia dudes. So now the mob is after this little kid, who keeps telling Shaw that she's a spy. Which – she kind of is.
There's a great moment where we see her surveillance rig, and it's made out of old cassette recorders hooked up to phone lines. She's definitely a Shaw in the making. That's probably why the Machine takes this opportunity to "remember" what happened to Shaw when she was Harriet's age back in 1993.
A terrible car accident killed her father, leaving the young Shaw pinned inside the car. When a rescue crew cuts her out, she discovers that her father is dead. Instead of crying, she feels practically nothing, and asks the emergency responders for a sandwich. At that moment, she tells Harriet, she realized she was different from other people. She just doesn't feel the same things. "Angry – I can do that," she says. But all other emotions are nonexistent for her.
Of course, we know that's not true. She also admits to Harriet that she's only in the business "for the dog." To which Harriet replies excitedly, "You have a dog?" It's a fun scene, but also reveals that Shaw does feel something more than anger – she loves that dog, and we get the sense that she grudgingly likes Finch too. And once she's killed all the bad guys who were after Harriet, the girl figures out Shaw's feelings also.
"You feel things – but the volume is turned way down," Harriet says to Shaw. And for the first time ever, Shaw gives somebody a hug. Sure, it's an awkward hug. But Harriet has gotten through to Shaw, and somehow the scene isn't completely schmaltzy. I can't wait for the Harriet spinoff.
(As an aside, Shaw took ninja-hood to new heights with her "I'll interrogate you while also using you as a blood donor" move. Damn.)
But it's very possible that Harriet wasn't the best part of this episode. We finally got to see Carter deliver the smackdown to her two-faced partner. We've known all along that this freshfaced kid was working for HR – but we weren't sure that Carter knew. In this episode, though, we see her taking pictures of all the HR guys and cloning their phones. She's been spying on their organization all along, doing her own version of Machine Gang work on the side.
There's a seriously beautiful bit where Carter's partner tries to trick her into giving him information, and she knocks his feet out from under him so fast that it's dizzying. First she shows him a picture of one of the HR guys giving him cash, then she quickly kills the backup guy he's brought along, and finally she holds him at gunpoint and informs him that he'll be working for her now. Love. It. It's like a replay of what Reese did in the first season with Fusco. Now she's got an informant inside HR – and, we won't have to hear any of her partner's fake friendly banter anymore.
Carter and Reese also have a new mutual goal, thanks to Shaw's job and Harriet's spying. They've figured out who the head of HR is in the police department, though Carter doesn't want to take him down until she knows who the real head honcho of everything is. That's actually a good strategy – the politician who runs everything can just create a new head of HR in the police department if he wants to. But now, they are one step closer to knowing who he is.
Still, Reese had a little face-to-face talk with the head of HR. By which I mean he punched the crap out of him, and then handed him over to the police (presumably with Carter's evidence proving he's a dirty cop in with the Russians). Before HR guy goes down, he mutters, "There are hundreds of us." So look for a new guy to replace him soon.
Meanwhile, somebody else is about to have a little facetime. That would be Root, who is back from doing whatever she was doing after she broke out of the insane asylum. And she's decided to celebrate by seriously fucking with Shaw. That's our cliffhanger, kids – the reunion of Root and Shaw. I can't imagine that the Machine will allow one of its favorite assets to kill another of its favorite assets. But things might get pretty dicey anyway.
I kept wondering what the Machine's first comment after the Root/Shaw meeting meant. Analog interface?
And yes, we got to see Bear eating a cookie in this episode. For many of you, I'm sure that was the most important plot development.