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ElectricBoogaloo

S03.E20: Death Benefit

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What. The. Hell?????

Started out so nice with snarky Finch.   Did you bring more than weaponry?  You can be DJ.   Then someone Reese turned into Shaw with a dick.   Really since when did Reese not have a bedside manner and be rude to the POIs?   Even the perps?  Hell he was nicer to Fusco in the first episode than he was to the Congressman.  

I know I said if they kill off Reese, I am out of here.   Well turns out that goes for Finch too.  Without him considering every human being important, there is no show.  Look at how he even redeemed Leon.   And FUSCO for god's sakes.   He never used and discarded.  He saw worth in everyone.   He bails because the Machine has become too Rootlike then I am out of here.  

That ending was just so sad.  Shaw and Reese on the run, Finch hunted.   All the things Finch created the machine to avoid.  

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I just wonder why the Machine didn't send Root to kill the Senator. If that is indeed what the Machine wanted. We know she'll kill on command.

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I don't think the Machine wants to encourage that in Root unless absolutely necessary.   With the Congressman there was some hope they could talk him out of it.  With Root it would have been just shoot him when she realized he was a threat to Her.

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Of all the episodes, this is the one to return to, only to be off again next week?  Damnit, CBS!

Seriously, this was just an awesome episode.  The first half was just hilarious and fun, with Reese and Finch front and center, doing their thing, while Root and Shaw provided a few funny moments in the B-plots.  John Heard was great as the POI, a lot of laugh out-loud moments, and, again, Reese and Finch together was just fantastic.

But the second half was intense as hell and I didn't see that twist coming.  The Machine wanted them to kill the POI?  Yikes, that's some dark stuff.  I can see why Reese and Shaw thought about it and seemed close to doing it, but I'm glad they listened to Finch at the end.  Michael Emerson was amazing in that scene, when Finch is begging them not to do it.

I do wonder why The Machine just didn't send Root to do the killing.  That's my only complaint.  Well, that, and them not finding a way to work in Fusco somehow.

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I just wonder why the Machine didn't send Root to kill the Senator. If that is indeed what the Machine wanted. We know she'll kill on command.

My guess is it had Root doing some backup plan since it knew that Team Machine probably wasn't going to kill the senator.

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That seems awfully inefficient. I do think there is more to the story though. If all the Machine wanted was to neutralize the POI, than it would have sent Root, I'd think. I think it sent Team Finch for some other reason and it should come together in the remaining eps.

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That seems awfully inefficient. I do think there is more to the story though. If all the Machine wanted was to neutralize the POI, than it would have sent Root, I'd think. I think it sent Team Finch for some other reason and it should come together in the remaining eps.

The Machine probably could have just wired some money and hired an assassin to do it if it wanted the Senator dead. In fact, I can't see why Northern Lights going under would even slow it down with the electronic resources it has available.

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Goddamn, this show is so good!  Why do you have to go away again for another week, show?

Everyone was awesome.  Reese was awesome, Finch was awesome, Shaw was awesome, and Root wasn't around much but she was still pretty awesome.  Sadly, there was no room for Fusco but he was probably being awesome offscreen.

Really liked the week's POI.  Interesting that, even though Reese and Shaw were both ok with killing the Senator, they still acquiesced to Finch's wishes.  And the entire ending sequence was beautiful.  That's one thing the show does beautifully: dialogue free licensed track sequences.

"Can we put the screeching cat out of its misery?"  Hah.   And I wanted to see Root and Shaw kick Miami weapons dealer ass (loved the pan out), although I wouldn't mind them dialing back on the Root/Shaw teasing (since it's probably not going anywhere).

Two weeks can't come soon enough, goddamn it!

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I'd say I wasn't in support of killing the Senator, but not for any moral reason, more like because it wouldn't have accomplished much. Decima would have pushed Samaritan through Congress eventually or just activated it and used it themselves anyway without approval even without the Senator's help in the end, so at most it was a delaying tactic.

However, if killing the Senator would have ended the threat of Samaritan right then, I would say just kill him already. I've always hated heroes that refuse to kill innocent people or worse even guilty people despite the fact that it would save countless lives and they are perfectly aware of this. That's not being heroic or even naive, that's just being stupid.

Edited by immortalfrieza

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I doubt killing him would have stopped Decima, permanently.  Greer was basically telling Senator Garrison that they would quite happily assassinate any resistance in order to push a bill through.  Decima is ruthless and persistent, so killing McCourt would only have been a temporary setback.

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I doubt killing him would have stopped Decima, permanently.  Greer was basically telling Senator Garrison that they would quite happily assassinate any resistance in order to push a bill through.  Decima is ruthless and persistent, so killing McCourt would only have been a temporary setback.

Exactly, which is why I was against killing McCourt, but only for that reason. Sometimes innocent people have to die in order to stop tragedies, but if it won't stop it then there's not really any point. Hypothetically, if it would stop it though, I'd have no problems with it.

Edited by immortalfrieza

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Holy crap, when they were running through the woods and Shaw got shot, I thought no, they can't lose another member of the team! I was relived that all three of them made it to safety only to have Reese and Shaw lose Finch.

I hope Lionel or Leon has Bear.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I was confused as I thought they had shot him.  Wasn't his head lolling to the side and he had blood near his collar?  And then he's in a Black SUV deal making?  I almost wondered if he used a body double.  What's going to keep him from talking about Team Finch/Shaw/Reese?  His clear conscience and basic humanitarianism?  Finch's money?    Thanks!

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Other than Root ( who continues to remain a waste of space as far as I'm concerned), I really like this episode. Not as much as "4C", but I did enjoy it. Reese looked so very very pretty. (What? I can't dip into the shallow pool in an intense episode?)

I totally knew Reese wasn't going to kill McCourt. If only because of innocents he ended up killing for the greater good back when he was CIA.

I loved, loved, ALL the Finch and Reese moments.

I think they just knocked McCourt out at the end. I'm now wondering, who McCourt handed his phone off to in his car at the end. With my luck, it was probably Root.

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I just wonder why the Machine didn't send Root to kill the Senator. If that is indeed what the Machine wanted. We know she'll kill on command.

Which is why I wonder if the Machine really did want them to kill him.  That was their conclusion, but it was by no means certain given the rather oblique way the Machine communicates with them. 

And I'm really, really glad there was someone (Finch) to voice the non-consequentialist viewpoint.  Deliberately murdering an innocent person is always wrong (in my moral code), and cannot be justified by any greater good.

Powerful episode, and I'm dying to see how the Decima plot is resolved.  But I'm also looking forward to a return to non-arc-y POI of the week storylines.

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I [heart] Finch.  Damn but Emerson's good.  Spent the first half trying to figure out where some of the scenes were shot--was that UVA?  Looked like the back of the Willard; those were real shots of the Capitol and West Wing of the NGA, but I'm pretty sure that Bosch painting isn't in it....

And then it went and got serious.  Argh.  We have to wait two weeks?!  Anyone know how many more episodes there are this season?

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I just love this show and this episode epitomizes why. I love the deadpan interaction between Reece and Finch, I love the partnership between Shaw and Root (the scene with the two of them drinking and then the pan of the knocked out henchmen made me laugh for a long time), I love the way people show up at just the right moment to rescue the team, and I love, love, love that Finch's moral choices keep both the Machine in check and have spread to the rest of the team (even the absent Fusco. Who would have expected the Fusco we saw in the first episode to have become the bad ass hero he is?) I am content to lie back and watch,knowing that somehow things will be all right in the end. 

Edited by Good Queen Jane
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Thanks ElectricBoogaloo! I swear when I hear some music now days, its just noise and mumbles. [get off my lawn!]  The lyrics to Daughter is pretty appropriate for the scenes of the gang running for their life.

It's going to be interesting to see how they go dark with Decima chasing them.  I guess the Machine and Decima are going to start moving their chess pieces around the East Coast for control of the world.

Searching and killing opponents using highly evolved computers seems very Marvel-ly/Capt Am. Or maybe its just the flavor of the years for the writers.

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I know we need a baddie but how the Machine allowed, either through Northern Lights or Finch, Decima to get this close to activating their machine is awfully convenient. The way John Greer avoids surveillance all the time is rather too fictional for me. Finch's machine has the advantage of incumbency but it didn't press it and Finch's restrictions aren't enough for me. This is the thing that disassembled, moved and restored itself somewhere secret, whilst running an office full of human beings. I'm not buying any argument about why it didn't protect itself except incompetency. The only way it can redeem itself is by protecting Finch, at all costs. Is that what is was doing in this episode?

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I'm just glad my own Machine is smart enough to keep track of which week in a given month a new PoI episode will be airing, and sends me the number. Sheesh.

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Which is why I wonder if the Machine really did want them to kill him.  That was their conclusion, but it was by no means certain given the rather oblique way the Machine communicates with them. 

I agree with you.  I also am not convinced that the Machine wanted them to kill McCourt.  I love this show because it's one of the very few shows that is truly unpredictable.  It finds a way to surprise its audience and keeps me guessing.  I really like what the writers have created here.

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A solid episode, but the girlfriend and I had some issues with it. One issue really: Finch should have let Team Sociopath kill the POI. The Machine wanted it done, Reese was ready to do it, Shaw was absolutely on board, but NOOOO, Mr. High Morals Goody Nice-Nice has to get a bug up his ass about offing someone who, (arguably, yes) deserved it. Our main problem was this: Reese and Shaw were on board, but Finch wasn't. So, his team each votes, but his vote overrides theirs, because he's moral. Boo. Kill the bastard, the team has done worse. 

Other than that, awesome episode. I love Reese in action, and how flippant he's gotten. He's just too cool for any nonsense. 

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I don't buy the arguement that the machine wanted to kill anyone - the logic was faulty. At that point all they really knew is that they needed more time to figure it out. There very well could have been a third player.

So listening to Finch was not a case of wimping out to the moral right, but just a logical conclusion that if you do not know what to do, do nothing.  The fact that it was a moral slippery slope is still there, and relevant but not the deciding factor to me.  However, I completely agree with the poster above that the machine is able to self protect, communicate clearly...and isn't.  That'd just make me mad if I were Harold, and I think it kind of did.  Michael Emerson does grieving so very well. 

I hope the end scene wasn't a foreshadowing of a team split. And when the bar scene panned out?  ummm....I think they were all dead pretty much. Funny but creepy. Shaw can still creep me out.  Root's an afterthought or an annoyance.

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Well the dilemma of whether to take out the Congressman Roger McCourt or not was tough for Reese and Shaw and a no go for Finch. If Reese and or Shaw were alone with him I know they probably would have. But he and the Vigilance "Cockroach" guy were "saved". It will probably bite them in the bottom later. Then he helping John Greer convince Senator Ross H. Garrison to let Samaritan go. Wonder if Garrison will change his mind on Northern Lights now? I thought McCourts security man Dolan would be a problem.

When the union head Bruce Dunphy talked to McCourt I thought he was going to sock him.

On the escape Shaw getting shot I thought from what Reese said in the commercial( I know they mix things up) about "Sacrificing one to save many" I figured she was dead. Glad Finch took care of her.

After Reese and Shaw take out the drug sale, it was funny Root rides up and needs Shaw's help and called Reese, "Lerch".

With Decima's Samaritan up and going they may have to protect Peter Collier now? But I know Greer is after Finch first.

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I agree with you.  I also am not convinced that the Machine wanted them to kill McCourt.  I love this show because it's one of the very few shows that is truly unpredictable.  It finds a way to surprise its audience and keeps me guessing.  I really like what the writers have created here.

I'd say it's highly unlikely that The Machine wanted McCourt dead. After all, wasn't it like 2 or so episodes ago that The Machine could have stopped Samaritan from even being possible at least for a while just by ordering Root to stop the bad guys instead of going to save this one innocent janitor guy? Why would The Machine do that and then make a complete about face and want to have another innocent person dead instead, especially since then it would have barely slowed Decima down? If the writers are trying to go that way, then they're forgetting the characterization they've given The Machine so far.

Edited by immortalfrieza

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But I'm also looking forward to a return to non-arc-y POI of the week storylines.

I start out a lot of shows just liking the normal plot f the week then they almost all end up having an arc to them.  I do not like it like most do..ruined Fringe for me too.

What is wrong with case of the week?

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I love arcs, and I think PoI's brand of storytelling is more geared towards them.  You can tell a much better story in multiples of 45 minutes than you can in just 45 minutes, plus they require consistency and continuity that you're not going to find your typical arc-free show.  Sure, serialized storytelling requires a greater commitment from the viewer, but all the same I'm willing to give it.

Case of the week, one-and-done episodes are mindless entertainment in my opinion, and it's telling that the worst episodes this season have been case of the week, rather than serial arc or mythalone.

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I picked this show up over the summer (after watching the final three episodes of S3 online because I heard they were awesome--AND THEY WERE), and I've been making my way through the weekly reruns since. This episode aired tonight, and it's the first time I've seen it, and I just have to say, holy CRAP the second half was amazing! Super dark, very intense, and with a lovely ending montage (imo it's up there with the 3x10 opening set to "Hurt" and the end of 3x23 with "Exit Music (For a Film)"). That song was haunting and captured the moment perfectly. The episode's first half was up and down--it felt disjointed (I ship Root/Shaw so hard, but Root taking Shaw to Alaska/Miami was just so obviously contrived to let Shaw make her big entrance later), the case seemed run of the mill, and I like the Finch/Reese (br)otp fine but I don't melt over it, so I wasn't going gaga over them doing their thing. But once the team got the congressman to the house, it became a totally different episode, and that one was so good. I find all of the main cast compelling in different ways, but they're all most interesting when they're playing off each other--another way to say this is that the team is greater/more interesting than the sum of its parts--so I thought the Finch/Reese/Shaw discussion over what to do with the congressman was riveting. Great acting. Such important, huge, momentous choices to make. And then the team running through the woods, hunted? (And then the cut to the car, with Harold desperately trying to stop Shaw's bleeding as a semi-conscious Shaw (I think) mumbles instructions?) GAH. SO, so good.

 

As I said above, I find Finch compelling, but it's in a way where I often want to punch him, so this episode was great for me on the Finch front. I loved when Reese called him out on his hypocrisy--what is the relevant number list if not a huge hit list?--and that Harold really didn't have an answer for that, because Harold's never wanted to face the reality of the things he creates and what he and his team does/do (until he's affected personally, and then he'll burn the world down if he's angry/upset enough). I'm so, so, so curious to see where the new season takes Harold in this regard, and if he has second thoughts about not killing the congressman, because I feel like that willful blindness/denial isn't going to be an option anymore.

 

Count me in among those who think that the Machine maybe wasn't quite sure what it wanted with the congressman, and wanted to see what the team would decide (whether looking for guidance or testing them). As others have said, if it just wanted the congressman knocked off with no muss/no fuss, she would've sent Root. And in fact, we know Root was (somewhat) aware of the situation--she tells John he needs to go to DC, later Shaw said she knew where to be to pick Reese & Harold & congressman up because Root called and told her where they were--so there had to have been a specific reason the Machine wanted the core team, and not Root, to handle this particular case. Which has to come back to the fact that the Machine, on some level, probably predicted their discussion.

 

This really was a great season of television. Every show has a few meh episodes, but this season was pretty much consistently awesome from start to finish.

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