Today I (re)watch: Person of Interest, 1.11

I like this episode okay, although it is about stalking and stalking makes me feel very ill.

This episode’s number is Ernie Trask (played by David Zayas, from Dexter! I love him!), a superintendent that seems to be particularly interested in a young chef, Lily, who lives in his building.

TW for discussion of stalking, violence against women (both in the episode and this review)

I have watched the whole show before, so SPOILERS MIGHT HAPPEN. Big spoilers will be blanked out but references and irrelevant spoilers are going to be out in the open.

The episode kicks off exactly where the last one left off, with Harold rushing a severely wounded John out of the parking lot and onto… where? They can’t go to a hospital, with the CIA creeps looking around and all. Harold goes to a morgue, to our collective amusement/concern, where he tells the coroner that he knows he doesn’t have a licence for doctoring because of money, so Harold throws a bag full of bills at him and tells him to stitch John up. It’s very creepy how Harold just knows these things, but he did just throw a bag of money at the coroner guy, so I guess that takes priority over common sense questions (like “Are you Jesus?” “Are you my new Sugar Daddy?” etc.)
In the meantime, Carter is clearly conflicted about her lawful good ways: she doesn’t want the CIA dudes to find John – and shoot him again – but she wants to know more about him and Harold, so she must sneak around any way she can. And she does, pretty well, actually.
Snow: Finest surveillance training on the planet, and a New York cop gave you the slip.
Damn right she did. ‘Cause she’s a boss ass bitch (bitch bitch bitch).

Do not question the finger, Fusco. Do not challenge the finger.

[2005] Nathan Ingram meets with NSA agent Alicia Corwin, who asks him about the Machine, if it’s making any progress. Nathan hands her a social security number. He later meets with Harold, who was listening in while lurking behind a tree. Because that’s what he does. 

John is temporarily using a wheelchair since he got shot, and Harold sets him up in an apartment building where their new number lives and works. He also buys John a cushion for his neck, which John refuses to use. Harold wants to bond, John! Let him take care of you like the service top he was always meant to be.

[2005] Alicia Corwin arrives to Ingram’s office unannounced, with Deputy Director Denton Weeks. Does Harold always carry around spy gadgets like a pen that is actually a camera? Anyway, he is again listening in, the sneaky bastard. The government people are suspicious of how the Machine got the social security number, and discuss the fact that the Machine is a black box they won’t get to modify. They also explain that Ingram is building the Machine for $1.

Nathan: If no human sees what the Machine sees, then technically no one’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. […] And I’m much more comfortable having a machine watching my every move… than someone like you (Denton Weeks).

The Machine, during the flashback, tags Weeks with a red box, signaling him to Harold as a threat. We later learn that it’s because Weeks has been trying to hack and weasel his way into our favorite AI cinnamon bun. This lets us know the Machine has some self-preservation functions in there, intended or not.

Harold and John are sure Trask is the perpetrator, because he has pictures of Lily and Rick, a guy who is living in the pent house, and because he bought a counterfeit gun. We listen to a voice recording of Lily talking about feeling watched and stalked. Stalking is so creepy and invasive and nauseating, even when it’s fictional.

It’s really fun to see the guys’ roles kind of reversed in this episode, because Reese needs rest, and to stay hidden. Harold is not as smooth as John is in the field, but he manages. John is clearly annoyed by having to stay put, which is also funny.

Harold: You’re not tailing her to work..!
John: I’m getting pretty good at [using a wheelchair].
Harold: Yes, I’m sure the CIA will be deeply impressed, WHEN THEY SHOOT YOU.

And then one of my favorite scenes in all of season 1 happens, when John is worried that Harold is out and about, with no guns and no self-defense skills.

reactions stop nsfw person of interest do not want

It turns out Trask wasn’t the stalker, Rick was. Of course it was the rich white dude who can’t take no for an answer. This episode is about a stalking victim, Lily, even though the number is Trask. I care significantly less about Trask killing Lily’s stalker, which is what made Trask’s number come up. Kill all the stalkers for all I care, to be honest. It’s so weird because it’s technically creepy that Harold and John are always watching people and lurking but it doesn’t feel creepy because they’re generally respectful (that joke about watching a woman exercise was a bit gross but okay). But stalking? It gets on my nerves, it makes my skin crawl. And because later we learn that Trask is on witness protection, we have to know he was willing to risk a life of safety, go to jail, whatever, to make the stalking (which was already escalating) stop for Lily. That’s some solid dude-ing right there.
We get to see Finch use the thumb-to-eye-socket technique John taught him! So fun! And John kicks some ass, with crutches and everything! It is also very satisfying to see a rapey stalking asshole fly out a window and die. Not to mention the entire episode is a giant nod to Rear Window. Great stuff.

In this episode, as Carter is trying to find Harold (with the phone number he had from when he interviewed him in episode 3), Harold lets her find him, only to unofficially give her their newest number, since John is not really available. He doesn’t really tell her anything, except that he knows this number is going to be involved in a violent crime soon. *MYSTERY* (For her, not for us. We already know.) Carter follows this man and stops him just before he kills someone. And as she is arresting him, Harold creepily calls her and says “that, Detective Carter, is what we do.” That is not an explanation, or an appropriate introduction, but okay. Everyone in this show seems awfully patient of Harold’s cryptic ass self.

[2005] Harold and Nathan discuss how the Machine knew about the number they gave the NSA. Harold also tells Nathan about Weeks trying to tunnel his way into the Machine, saying that the Machine has self-preservation instincts. They joke about it being alive, and able to hear them. Yeah, uh, not that much of a joke as it is a reality. Kind of. 

Now is also a good time, since this episode saw the roles of John and Harold kind of flipped, to discuss how this show deals with disability. Harold’s limping is never an issue, for anyone. While John is worried about him, his worries come from Harry’s skill set, and his refusal to even look at a gun, not from Harold being physically disabled. The entire run of the series, it’s like this. John never asks weird, invasive questions either. It’s a low bar, I know, but it’s nice. Even when the audience gets to see how Harold became disabled, it’s not at all a sob story or pity party or even about the disability itself, but a reveal about Nathan and about Harolds’ story with Grace. The show seems to me to deal with disabilities of various kinds, and neurodiversity, in generally okay ways. This said, people with disabilities who watch the show and/or read this, can absolutely correct me on my impressions of the show’s treatment of Harold. I would appreciate it tons.

Anyhoo. We are halfway through the season. Almost. Huzzah!


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