We are almost done with Season 1. Time flies when you’re having fun. And this episode is fantastic!
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.
 Nathan and Harold are ready to hand the Machine to the government, and Nathan is feeling uneasy about the non-relevant numbers, about the fact that “Everyone is relevant to someone”. Which is true, but the government doesn’t care, silly Nathan.
John is following Harold, trying to find out more about him, like where he lives. He sees Harold dialing up something on a payphone, and immediately after, Harold calls John telling him they’ve just received another number. INTERESTING COINKYDINK.
The new number is Henry Peck, a financial analyst, or something. John and I weren’t really listening.
Harold: Well, they can’t all be babies and Mafia dons.
Okay but, remember when life was this simple? If you’ve watched up until the end of the series, you know what I mean.
John is curious as to Harold’s method of acquiring the numbers, since he is clearly not getting them at the library.
John: So how did you get his number?
Harold: Well, John, there’s this machine…
Oh, Harry, you sass master.
It turns out Peck isn’t a financial analyst, but an NSA intelligence analyst. And some hit men are trying to bump him off. Why? That’s what he’d like to know, too. He is forced out of the NSA, accused of having drugs on him, and now someone’s trying to kill him. For asking questions. About what, you ask? Names keep appearing on his reports, names he didn’t put there, and these names have led to stopping major terrorist attacks, so Peck began digging. In short, he was asking about The Machine. Silly puny human.
 Alicia Corwin is meeting Nathan at a bar, to finalize details on the Machine transfer. She talks about the dissemination protocol, which is that relevant names will find their way to the NSA and FBI without any possibility of tracing them back to the Machine.
So that’s how Peck’s reports got altered. That would by Advertise” href=”#38600308″> make me super paranoid too, to have my work be edited in such, um, relevant (sorry?), ways. .
The people trying to kill Peck are from the Intelligence Support Activity, which seems irrelevant now, but will not be so once we reach Relevance (the episode in season 2, not the abstract state). This ISA crowd is badass and ruthless and takes no shit.
John has a difficult challenge, since he has to protect Peck from the badass assassins without Peck seeing him, or he will ask who he is and how does he know what he knows, etc.
John: Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I take those reports, he’s gonna know I exist.
I love John’s deadpan way of delivering these lines. by Advertise” href=”#20109461″> Makes me like him a lot more.
Peck gets himself arrested thinking he will be safer that way, and tells the police about what he’s uncovered so far. Fortunately, he spills all these state secrets to Certified Cinnamon Roll Lionel Fusco, who prescribes him a tinfoil hat.
We get to meet Special Counsel in this episode! He is a bad-guy minor character that I kind of like. He seems like an average reasonable guy. He is one of the people high up in the side of government that deals with terrorism, and therefore with protecting the Machine.
Person of Interest is so interesting in how it doesn’t really pick sides on a lot of topics, or is in-y0ur-face moralistic about the things it deals with (except things like domestic violence, in which there are no two sides, and I appreciate them not pretending otherwise). On the one hand, super corrupt murderous cops, on the other hand, Carter, and in between, Fusco. (Although I have to say, upon thinking about it, the only reason I don’t love Carter more is because she is a cop, and #ACAB. She is a cinnamon roll but I don’t like how shows need to give cinnamon rolls to cops.) On the one hand The Machine uncovers terrorism and other violent crimes, on the other hand, there are privacy concerns, free will, humanity. On the one hand, these ISA assassins hunting innocent Peck, but on the other hand John asks one of them, right after he sticks a knife to his shoulder, if they knew why they were sent to kill Peck, and he answers “I never asked” in a way that by Advertise” href=”#8746307″> makes us feel like he was just like pre-show John. He was probably told the same things John was: that his country needed him, that he was doing the right thing. So anyway, I like the nuance and interesting topics the show deals with.
Realizing Peck wasn’t gonna give up, Harold meets with him and tells him it is all true: The Machine exists. He gives him a new identity and by Advertise” href=”#36858174″> money, and tells him to stop looking. He tells him he knows all this because he built the damned thing. I would have like, died. If I was Henry Peck and this dude goes “you don’t need a tinfoil hat everything is true” I WOULD FLIP MY SHIT.
 Nathan expresses his doubts about the people they’re giving the Machine to, but Harold is confident that they can never abuse The Machine because he is a genius. They debate over the dangers of building a back door, to retain some control over it. Harold is having none of it, and shuts it down. But later on, behind Harold’s back, Nathan builds in a Contingency function. A-ha! So it wasn’t Harold who accessed the irrelevant numbers first. It was Nathan.
In the meantime, and throughout the episode (and before it as well), John follows Harold around and snoops into his stuff: he notices he buys tons of copies of the same magazine, and always goes to the same tea stand. Is he getting close? Ish. He is getting close to something. Someone: his fiancee, Grace Hendrix.
During the case, talking about Peck, Harold alludes to losing something because of his knowledge of the Machine, alludes to the government being more ruthless than he had anticipated, and now we know a little bit about why: Grace thinks he is dead.
Talking to John about it later, Harold tells him that he needed to fake his death to Grace or he would be putting her in danger. She lives right there, in New York City, and Harold stares at her from a distance sometimes, knowing he could be with her, but not really.
Harold: I was lucky. I had four years of… Happiness. Some people only get four days.
(Is he referring to John only having 4 days in Mexico with Jessica?? Or is that just me overthinking? Maybe.)
Man, did that scene break my heart. Their storyline (or, what we see in flashbacks) from here on out gets a little MEH for me, but a lot of fans love it, so maybe you will too.
But that’s not the end of the episode. Oh no. We go back to when Harold is confirming Peck’s suspicions about AIs, and ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’ starts playing again. As Harold talks, we see someone else is listening…