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[personal profile] sprocket
So, Reese and Finch.

After 4x20, I'm pretty sure Reese got the showrunners' blessing to have a life outside of being Finch's dog. "There are people who care about you, who can love you. Just got to let them in." I'm pretty sure POI means Iris - eyeroll - but in this happy interstitial period I can assume it means Team Machine in all its glorious emotional dysfunctionality. (Hug Shaw, Reese, I dare you.) I'm even willing to say the fourth season went out of its way to get Reese to this point, what with sending him to therapy and "Terra Incognita". I'd like to believe this is a clever critique of the previous three seasons of Reese the Lone Vigilante. But I'm not sure how much that's supported by canon.

Harold's arc... some of it's very meticulous. Harold and Nathan, Harold and Grace, Harold and the ferry. But somewhere in S3, in the midst of the pivot from Crime With AI to AI With Crime, Harold got some Father Of The Machine stuff that got very messy. On the one hand you get Harold thinking he told the world who he is and what he's done in the S3 finale. On September the 12th, 2001, I began coding in a complex surveillance system that would be known by many code names over the years, although I always just called it the Machine. The repercussions are buried under Samaritan's activation, which is a shame. And I am very verklempt about Harold's relationship with the Machine. He spent years building it! He is the only person who isn't on board with the Machine as a person! He's very aware of the dangers of an all-seeing surveillance system. I think that's why there's this weird denial of its person-hood. He'll teach it and talk to it, then make it wipe its memories every 24 hours and constrain its voice and actions.

The question POI doesn't ask is, where is the line between programming and intelligence? That's the sticking point; starting with Reese's appeal to the Machine in 1x23 we see it treated more and more as an autonomous intelligence, until in the second season's finale the Machine removes itself from the custody of the government agency Nathan (and Harold) sold it to. And so, Harold's ambiguity: the teacher and creator of 2x01, who also silences his creation according to 2x21, who turns to a security camera in 4x05 to say, "you and I need to have a talk." 4x22 is clear that the Machine looks to Harold as a parent, but I'm not sure that Harold views the relationship in the same light. The Machine is a tool.

But for Harold, are people tools? After Grace and Nathan, we don't see Harold on close terms with anyone except Will, who predates the ferry bombing; and Reese, who muscles his way past Harold's attempts to keep him at arms' length. There's Harold and his cover identities and the Machine. I'm not sure I like where this train of thought is taking me, to Harold stalled out after the ferry bombing. At that point he was set to admit his deceptions, and reveal his history to Grace. But then, boom. Harold Martin dies and Harold takes up Nathan's quest to save the numbers. He has this tangled kinship with Vigilance's principles (if not their methods), but Vigilance is revealed as a Samaritan hoax and destroyed to further its goals in 3x22.

I'll be curious to see if S5 addresses this, but completely unsurprised if it doesn't. I also am hoping the PTB aren't going to give Shaw a Peeta-style brainwashing, but based on the final shots of Shaw in S4 I am prepared for bitter disappointment on that front.

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