2x21-zero-day

Person of Interest Week 1 Event

Day 1: Favorite Scenes

Any scene that involves Shaw “telepathically” reading minds (a.k.a insane cold reading skills).

2x21 Zero Day: Shaw needs John to find a coerced Harold so she can track down Root.

2x22 God Mode: Reese finds a picture of Jessica in Finch’s vault.

3x13 - 4C: Finch needs Shaw to investigate the Activity to find out why John is with a relevant number.

4x09 -The Devil You Know: Root tries to hide Shaw after her cover was blown. (They should have reversed Root’s sequence of dialogue to put more emphasis on Shaw’s cold reading.)

You know what? I just realized Shaw’s cold reading skill is something I don’t see fans pointing out often. It kind of annoyed me when some people stated that Shaw can’t really read emotions on others because she herself doesn’t feel emotions nor want to understand it. I’m sure she can read people spot on despite rarely feeling any emotions. There’s a difference between detecting/acknowledging versus relating/compassion.  

Edit: 12/29/2015

A few POI fans pointed out that I missed a few scenes that are related to Shaw’s “cold reading” skill. So, I added more gifs to this post because it’s a nice place to hold the collection. I also updated the original scenes from still images to animated gifs.

S03E18 - Allegiance

S03E23 - Deus Ex Machina

3

TV Tropes:  Stealth Hi/Bye - Sameen Shaw

An integral part of the Stealth Hi/Bye is that not only doesn’t the character see the actual entrance/exit, but neither does the audience. Often there will be a pan of the room first showing that nobody is there, a close-up of the “victim” and then suddenly there they are.

The thing that strikes me the most in the Pilot episode, especially after watching the extended pilot and recalling the whole arc in season 2, is how much of Harold in the pilot is performative. He’s a drama queen too, he knows the power of imagery. He meets John by the Brooklyn Bridge, in his best suit and had John fetched by a limo and then he meets Shaw in an abandoned building that, I assume, is one of many of his properties, and then with Carter he also orchastrates the meeting in a way that would leave an impression with Carter, same with Fusco, to a limited effect, and with Zoe. 

Meeting with Zoe though was less performative since, I think he knows Zoe can see through him and already knows about him. 

The only people he doesn’t meet in his own terms are Root and Greer. In both cases he is the victim. 

But I digress, the thing I’m most fascinated about is the idea that the story Harold told John is not true, he promised John he wouldn’t lie to him and yet, in the first meeting he embellishes his story. Maybe because he knows that the truth won’t fly with John, maybe because he doesn’t know John enough yet. In this regard, he and Root are similar in their introductions. 

They both tell a story about themselves that’s not exactly the truth.

(BTW, I just wanted to put a disclaimer that I love Harold, sometimes I’m annoyed as hell with him but at the end of the day I still love him. I find his whole character fascinating and complex and his foibles interesting and understandable– which is not the same as thinking that he is always right and justified. I think he is human as everyone else and that’s what I love about the show.)

Harold tells John he bought the library because it was the ‘decline of Western civilization’, which is true to an extent. Its true he bought it but its not true that he let it fall into limbo because of an ulterior motive. He let it fall into limbo because he forgot about the library. Nathan had to remind him about this: 

Nathan: “You following me now? Is that what we’ve been reduced to?”

Harold: “You didn’t return my call. I simply thought–”

Nathan: “It’s never "simply” with you, Harold. There’s always two layers to everything you do. You’re worried that I’m a liability. You don’t trust me.“

Harold: "This isn’t exactly the kind of place that inspires trust, Nathan.”

Nathan: “[Laughs] You bought it. Don’t you remember? You thought it was a tragedy the city was shutting down libraries. "The decline of western civilization,” you said. You made me buy 15 of them, you said we’d find something to do with them eventually.“

2x21 - Zero Day

Harold has, in his possession, 15 libaries and probably in various states of disrepair because he forgot that he owned them.

The very presence of Nathan Ingram in the series is a debunking of almost everything Harold told John about himself.

Harold claimed the Irrelevant list ‘ate at him’, or maybe it did, but Harold never showed it while Nathan was around but in the very second episode we learn that Harold didn’t really build the Machine alone, or at least that Nathan provided some help even if the main engineer who toiled at the Machine was Harold and then we learn that the Irrelevant list didn’t haunt him as much when he made a decision to delete the whole list. Its a stance he stuck with for years.

Nathan: "When were you going to tell me?”

Harold: “I wasn’t gonna tell you, I guess. I’d rather I didn’t know myself.”

Nathan: “All these people. And this damn machine knew. You knew… That someone wanted to harm them, kill them… And you did nothing?”

Harold: “You knew what we were building here. This thing looks for plotters, for schemers. It looks for malicious intent. We built it to stop terrorists before they could act. But a machine doesn’t understand the difference between those crimes that are relevant to national security and the ones that are irrelevant. Irrelevant?”

Nathan: “So you taught it the difference? You want to play God? Is that the deal? No, I don’t. That’s the whole point. There are exactly eight people in the world that know that this thing exists. If anyone else ever found out, there’d be such an outcry… They’d turn it off. The intelligence the machine produces has already foiled a half dozen major terrorist plots.”

Nathan: “How are we supposed to live with this, knowing that someone out there needs help?”

Harold: “Well, we don’t have to. I’ve coded the machine. Every night at midnight, it deletes the irrelevant list. We didn’t build this to save somebody. We built it to save everybody.”

1x02 - Ghosts

By the end of Zero Day and God Mode we finally get the true story about the Harold we meet in the Pilot. Its a dismantling of the story he liked to show the world (John).

He claimed to have cared a lot earlier than he did but the truth was Harold didn’t let the Irrelevant list bother him for a long time. He had to make a decision building the Machine and he committed to that decision. He felt secure in the knowledge while he can’t help a few people, he could at least save a great many more.

Even Harold’s: 'Everybody is relevant to someone.’ isn’t originally his. It was Nathan’s. Just like Alicia Corwin was Nathan’s friend and not Harold’s.

(When he told the guy in Proteus he was an amateur at being someone else, he knew where he was speaking from. Its another thing he and Root have in common– the ability to be someone else.)

He took up the Irrelevant list cause as both tribute to Nathan and as penance. He is still operating on the guilt that he could have done something to prevent Nathan and a group of people from dying.

And then Harold articulates it in The Devil’s Share:

Doctor: “I’ve been working with the survivors of the ferry bombing earlier this year. Their trauma is similar to yours. More extreme, of course. Many of them experience a sense of responsibility for what happened.”

Harold: “Survivor’s guilt. I’m familiar.”

Doctor: “Well, then you’re also familiar with what I’m about to say next– that you think your friend’s death was your fault. Otherwise, you’d have to face a very painful truth.”

Harold: “Which is what?”

Doctor: “That you are not God. You don’t control who lives or dies. That powerlessness also means that your friend’s death is not your fault. I assure you, Mr. Wren, in time, the guilt you feel will pass.”

Harold: “Let me ask you a question then. Does survivor’s guilt pass when everything that has happened actually is, in fact, your fault?”

3x10 - The Devil’s Share

How awful it is to know that the reason why people died was because of you, literally was because of you, that he erased the very list that could have been instrumental to saving all the people in the Ferry and Nathan.

Two horrific events marked a chance in Harold’s adult life and it changed him forever, the first instance he changed the world with him and the second changed him from just someone who cared in an abstract way to someone who believed every individual mattered. It was a hard and harsh lesson he had to learn.

Root, and sometimes Shaw and John, particularly in Death Benefit trying to get him to think of the bigger picture? Its not something he has trouble doing, but he is actively fighting against that part of himself. Harold from one extreme to another without finding the middle ground.

I really love how season 2 turned everything Harold said around. Just like the way the extended pilot and then Terra Incognita showed that how much about Jessica being the 'one that got away’ was just a story John told himself.

anonymous asked:

I realize you made this comment like a month ago and apologize if this is a thing not to do but - "(I also wonder what time of night it was exactly when the Machine gave up trying to get Reese to work the numbers without Finch and told him Hanna Frey’s number – after midnight, or before?)" - !! oh wow I'd never thought of that that is such a cool thought...(!). (er, this is findundergrounddragoutofwater, I'm a sideblog and can't sent non-anon asks)

OMG, as far as I’m concerned this is one of the best possible things to do – I love flailing about the Machine so much, and it’s ten times better with company!  Also thank you so much!  (Also I love your fic and story-thoughts!!)

But yeah, this question (originally posted here, if anyone likes context) just gets me so much, because it’s like, which scenario is more heart-wrenching?  We just don’t know.

Like, had the Machine just reset, and decided naively to… help the Admin even though he’d always said not to? comply with the stern ultimatum of the last remaining hope for the other numbers? reach out to this human who was speaking almost as if to another person, even?

Or was the Machine about to reset, and if so, why the timing, why the delay – did it take that long to decide to help Finch, or to figure out a way to?  And was it to any extent a decision driven by desperation – I’ve got to act now, or I won’t get another chance before it’s too late?

Not that those are the only possibilities, either – maybe the Machine is so practiced at rebuilding that by two or three in the morning, say, it’s perfectly simple to continue with the previous day’s plans.  Maybe it’s just a matter of remembering that Finch is gone, Reese is recalcitrant, and here’s where they are on the flowchart.

I think about it, though.  And have feelings.