“Point of Origin” is a particularly involved episode revolving around the good and evil factions in the series. They continually swirl around in plots and subplots, slowly closing in on each other’s vulnerabilities and getting closer and closer to a confrontation. The ‘vulnerabilities turn out to be relationships, or Points of Origins, that develop between humans and how they influence what our lives will become.
At the core of the episode are two of our favorite superhero Reese, and his trusting sidekick Bear, who protect the life of an undercover cop Silva, as she attempts to uncover a mole in the police academy.To keep an eye her, Reese temporarily volunteers as an NYPD police academy weapons and tactics instructor, certainly an area Reese has ample knowledge in. 🙂
During a training session, Silva’s natural instincts in Reese’s training and tactical maneuvers stands out, revealing her to be more than just the recruit she appears to be especially as her official background makes her seem as average as possible. Reese appeared generally impressed by her abilities and the relationship the episode eventually develops between the two is already taking shape.
And of course she is a lot more. Silva is another individual who is given a second chance in life as she opts to change a flawed past into a career as a police officer. She turned her life around with the help of a friend and handler, Howard, and Internal Affairs officer who recruit her from the police academy. Silva started out as a runner for Dominic in the Brotherhood. But thanks to an arrest and a light sentence after her enrollment in a community college, she acquired a Masters in Criminal Justice and performed exceptional in her training in the police academy. Being familiarity with gang culture in general and the Brotherhood in particular, she was offered a job with Internal Affairs by Howard to sniff out a mole in the academy. As we have seen before in the series undercover work has its dangers. In this case, Howard was the only one who knew she was a police officer and that works against her in the episode.
Unfortunately for Silva, her operation is discovered and her life is threatened in a drive-by organized by the Brotherhood, the group behind the mole. Reese of course saves her but is not in time to save Howard. He is killed and all of his files stolen so there is no record of Silva being a cop, working for IA or her mission. To make matters worse Howard is killed with Silva’s tactical weapon from the training session which frames her for his murder.
Why is the Brotherhood behind the mole? Well that’s another one of the relationship the series is exploring the season, the one between Dominic and Elias. Dominic is attempting to expand his gang by absorbing other ones and Elias is interfering. To gain information on Elias and his operations, the Brotherhood has coerced the services of a police academy student, Ortiz, by exploiting the relationship between Ortiz and his uncle. The Brotherhood agrees to save his uncle from criminal prosecution, if Ortiz helps them. Not new from what we’ve seen of the Brotherhood in the past and from gang behavior in general. They empower themselves using blackmail and threats to recruit desperate people into performing criminal acts for the gang. Dominic is one of the series many sociopaths who has a very black and white view of society which reveals a flaw in his philosophy. It allows no room for people like Silva. While evil can manipulate vulnerable individuals initially, it in no way secures their loyalty indefinitely. Characters like Silva reveal Dominic’s weaknesses which eventually lead to their downfall. Basically Dominic is underestimating the very relationships he exploits and the good they can do in motivating people.
This is especially seen in Dominic’s relationship with his own gang members. A glimpse into Dominic’s past reveals his opinion that he was underestimated and believes the only way to lead is through dominance and fear. Those who fail him die, which is not the most effective approach to securing trust or long-term relationships. Relationships regardless of their source are more productive based on mutual respect and concern something Elias activity practices. Criminals or not, Elias’ followers are family to each other and that makes them a much stronger force to deal with. I personally can’t see how Dominic will never overthrow Elias or defeat Reese and his team members using the tactics he now employs.
One such mutually respectful relationship is the bond that develops between Reese and Silva over the difficulties of their undercover work and the emotional devastation from their personal losses. The strength and comfort that can be found in these types of relationships is huge. Silva had a strong partnership with Howard because he was her handler; he was a stable in her life, securing her to her real identity and all she had worked towards by turning her life around. It also reveals how deeply the loss was to her when he died. Reese can identify with his CIA work and his own survivor’s guilt over the loss of Carter and the void that’s left when these relationships end. By opening up to her, Reese risks his own cover. But he is also an exceptional judge of character so he is not jeopardize his position on the force, but instead secured a very important friend in Internal Affairs. That he values Silva’s life regardless of the threat she poses to him is what makes him the superhero we tune in every week to watch. That’s why we love Reese! 🙂
Their mission ends successfully, of course, with Ortiz in handcuffs, Silva restored to her position on the force, and a stupendous shootout between the good guys and the bad guys: culminating in an exceptional underwater escape. Bear was awesome backing up Reese, and love his Scuba Dog certification!
This did not end with the defeat of the Brotherhood’s plan however. They did not get to Ortiz before he disseminated his illegal information to Dominic. Finch was able to discern much of the information Ortiz stole which reveals next week’s new number, Elias, and Reese is sent to the rescue. This looks to be a replay of how the two met to begin with and, I suspect, will further refine the relationship between Elias and Reese which seems to be one of compromise currently. You have to remember that Finch did take Elias more into his confidence about Samaritan and hopefully that will serve to strengthen the relationship between Reese and Elias. No question the two groups will need each other to defeat their common enemies; the Brotherhood and Samaritan.
The Brotherhood is not the only evil player in this episode that is exploiting relationships. Samaritan was able to successfully restore the video footage from last week’s episode and has sent its stoic sociopath, Martine, on a mission to find Shaw. She does so by again exploiting relationships, threatening Shaw’s former associates and following the “breadcrumbs” of relationships that people leave behind.
In the last scenes of the episode we see that Martine has indeed found Shaw and begins to draw her gun. Have to say here I was kind of surprised that someone as intelligent as Martine would do that, or that Greer, or Samaritan would let her. While I do not want Shaw or any of Reese’s team discovered, it is more strategically sound to follow that person and let them lead you back to the entire group, then to sacrifice one and lose the rest. Also how could the Machine have missed Samaritan’s actions? Of course the writers love their scare tactics so placing Shaw in immediate danger is more in their repertoire. Hopefully it will keep the fans coming back.