“Beta” was a potent episode that ventured further into Finch’s private life and the development of the machine. It showed his deep love for Grace and the lengths he would go to protect her even to the point of telling Reese he wanted anyone who harmed her dead. And that’s a big step for him. But too little too late.
The episode showed more of the camaraderie between Finch and Reese that we have seen in the past. It brought in the big heart of Fusco and his wiliness to help his friends anyway he can, even to the degree of working with Root who we know he doesn’t like much. Maybe that will change in the last two episodes of the season. So far Root has been a ‘good’ guy and as long as she views the Machine and Finch as gods for her, nothing should change that. Let’s hope she stays that way.
The episode was very powerfully written, splendidly acted and excellently directed, and while I enjoyed it a lot, it did leave me a bit disappointed.
In ‘Death Benefits,’ Reese clearly told Finch that if the Senator was allowed to live, Decima would get Samaritan online. And in a previous episode, Root clearly told Finch that if Samaritan did come on line, all of Finch’s team would be hunted down and killed. Finch ignored both of them. He followed his set of values and allowed Samaritan to become activated. Reese, Shaw, Root and probably Fusco, though that was more implied than shown, became targets for Samaritan and Finch hid only himself. He did nothing to protect his friends whose lives he endangered by not following their advice. I would have hoped TPTB would have Finch measure up to the scope of the problem and at least attempt to be part of the solution. But than that is what fan-fic is for…Right? Guaranteed they will make this scenario play out a whole lot better.
Samaritan came on line at the end of “Death Benefits’ and only had the NSA link for 24 hrs to prove to Senator Garrison that it could function as well as Finch’s creation. So that is the time frame for the episode. Finch could not have been in hiding for ‘over a week.’ Bad enough he disappeared at all, let alone make it seem like he was gone for any extended period of time. Even so, Finch did nothing to help his friends. And that was sad for me to see. Even the machine did more. It at least obscured the group’s digital footprint. And while I was glad to see Root helping out, I seriously doubt that both Reese and Shaw, with all the knowledge of espionage and subterfuge they learned while with the government, wouldn’t have done that already.
Also Finch knew Grace’s cover was not well established after Root used her for the same purpose in season one that Decima has now in season three. He should have protected her more at that time then let it all play out again. Given Finch’s speech to Reese at the end of ‘4C’ about great deeds requiring great responsibility, I would have expected Finch to show a bit more strength and concern for those who’s lives he put in harms way than he has. TPTB say he knows the problems he created by building the machine, but his actions don’t show that to be true. He has doubled the problem by turning himself over to Decima. Now the group has to not only destroy Samaritan but try to get Finch back as well. To be honest, I would have much preferred TPTB have Finch help fight with his team than be a liability for them.
I guess the emotional pull of Finch in trouble is the reaction they wanted from the viewers and no question they portrayed that very well. Finch created a machine to save lives and even took on the responsibility of helping the irrelevant numbers the machine sent. And it’s sad to see him have to realize that many do not have the values he does. But I’d like to see TPTB work better within the mythology they have already developed and write scripts that represent the characters as they were originally portrayed; heroes who are out to do good at great personal sacrifices.
At least TPTB are showing Reese as being true to character. Even in the face of personal harm, he refused to follow Root and demanded the machine do what he wanted not what it wanted. Here’s hoping they continue to have him in charge for the rest of the season. He will still save people no matter what the cost to himself. Hence Reese got the name of the new person of interest instead of just Grace’s number. It also showed that the machine needs his human counterparts to maintain its own existence, a definite benefit to Reese and the others. And how about Reese’s speech to Grace at the end. He so appreciate the power of life and love. Sweet to see.
The good point of the episode was that we are starting to see some offense developing. At least the machine is doing something right. It instructed Root to appropriate a good part of Samaritan’s ‘brains’ if you will and that will not make Greer happy. Guess it will be Reese that uses those servers as a bargaining chip to get Finch returned. At least I hope its Reese. The two main characters are who and what should at the forefront now.
In the next episode, we see the machine’s hidden super computer hackers surface and I’m guessing they will be the ones who take on Samaritan and shut it down permanently. Oh and let’s not forget Collier and Vigilance. They are destined to surface again and they don’t like either machine. They will definitely play a part in Samaritan’s demise.
Because we all know, Reese, Finch, Fusco and the rest of the group will survive, win and return in season four. Hopefully back to the good procedural part of the show which is what made the series popular to begin with. Just wondering how far we will see that happen this season. I personally have never been one to enjoy or understand the reason for cliff-hangers. If I like a show, I return no matter what. If I don’t, doesn’t matter what the finale of a season shows. I won’t be back. And I like thinking my heroes are well and happy for the summer hiatus. 🙂