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A Sunset in a Sky on Fire

Last night’s Person of Interest was excellent, yet again. And I have a theory that I want to be made public, so when it comes about you can say you heard it here first. First though, I am copying my review that I wrote on my work site. Excuse me for such a quick sounding review, but when I get on in the morning, I have to get it written and out. People are depending on me don’t ya’ know. You can skip over the review and just go to the end to find out my theory. Oh, and there are spoilers in here too, so don’t read on if you haven’t seen it.

Well, we finally seen some of the Vigilance back story we’ve been waiting for. A blatant disregard of the human condition with unlimited power would drive many to the terror Peter Collier inflicts on those he calls his enemy. The price of freedom is not worth the rights that are lost to the individual. In a society where terror forced the hand of those in control to little by little ensure safety by taking a bit of freedom here and a bit of freedom there, has made the man Peter Collier. I always believe that we should hold ourselves to a responsibility for our own bad actions and stop blaming the government, our parents, those bullies, whomever, and Collier has taken that responsibility and taken a very strong action. An action of revolution. This episode has made me rethink whose behavior are we responsible for, how far should our actions take us? Should those of the American Revolution just been more tolerant of the actions of the British? I very much enjoyed last nights episode and the thoughts it brings, but back to the main plot points of the show…

Vigilance, as I predicted, was instrumental in the last few episodes, but not in the way I had seen. They don’t have the idea just to take down the surveillance systems, but to take out those responsible and put them to trial. Also, as suspected, there is someone behind the face of Vigilance, financing, perhaps brainwashing those minions so willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause… Were those of the Revolution just as dedicated? Have we got to the point where nothing really should matter that much to the point of sacrificing ourselves? Perhaps this is the message of Vigilance, that there is and will always be causes that are worth our lives. We have just given ourselves over to the McDonald’s culture so much, we forget there are things worth dying for. Our comfort is what is most important, we believe, and there are others who will fight for it.

Hersh, or should I say George is back as well. The ever vigilant protector of Control, he swoops in but too late. Reese and Shaw reluctantly join forces with him for comedic effect during this episode. The argument over who gets to drive is classic. Hersh, although blinded by Control and the power she has to protect the country, knows his place in this play and that it is right to team up with them for the common goal of rescuing the “good” guys.

And Root is the hero of the show now. She has her own little minions, wanting to go where she goes, please her with keeping on deadlines. They looked like sad little puppies when she tried to send them away. How much you want to bet they’ll follow her into the Samaritan’s lair? She is the only one that has any right to confidence, for she is the voice of the higher power. But did she or did she not know that the third number is Greers, holding Shaw and Reese back from rescuing Finch in order to complete the Machine’s tasks?

At this point we are unsure whether anyone really has any control of any situation. Who is controlling Vigilance? My wife just throws it out there that it is the Machine or Finch. How else would they know Collier left that meeting at just that time and in the state of mind he was in. I have my doubts…

Then there is the conversation between Greer and Finch. I just thought about what Greer might mean, and the Scottish origin of the name is “watchful or vigilant”… Hmmm… very interesting. That name is not just a coincidence. Anyway, there is a very poignant moment when Greer tells of his time in England during the War and the bombing and blackouts. He remembers a time that they were running for the tubes a little late and saw the sunset. But he found out that it was just the sky on fire. All that beauty was just an illusion, much like our freedom or the fact that we are in control. He reveals to Finch that his goal is to make sure that Samaritan is up and running before he can assuredly eliminate Finch. He wants to see the birth of this intelligence, watch it take shape and make decisions that aren’t effected by emotion. He mocks Finch as a father crippling his child, but Finch is aware of the danger of trying to control something as powerful as an omniscient computer. How does Greer think he’ll control Samaritan? And Greer answers why would he ever want to control the thing…

Now, onto my theory: You can see from above that I figured out Greer means watchful or vigilant and that I think the name is not coincidental. I have surmised over this season that Greer has always worked for the Chinese. Collier received a text last night after leaving the meeting with the callous government worker regarding the suicide of his brother. His anger was complete and just above the surface. If he would have fallen into a vat of toxic waste he would have become a super-villain, but this is real life, and someone knew the torture he was going through in a surveillance culture of the government’s creation, and contacted him at just the right time. It has been obvious that Vigilance has a lot of money, and perhaps like Decima, they have a program where if you are not caught, but die in their service, your family gets a huge bonus check. So, my theory is this: that Vigilance is funded by Decima. There may be some die hard revolutionists in the group, but I believe most of the men are Decima. I’ve always wondered how Vigilance’s men could die so easily for cold and callous Collier. It seems that any call for revolution is really just a bunch of people who want to camp outside of banks and smoke pot and just create a nuisance of themselves. These people are for the cause, but what if the cause we think they are dying for is actually the cause of anarchy, which is what Greer seemed to be indicating to Finch in regards to not want to control the Machine. The Chinese want America’s economy to crumble as their’s is built less and less on ours and in fact is actually surpassing the US. Look at the current relevant news headlines regarding Stephen Hawking afraid of an AI, and China’s economy surpassing that of the US’s. POI is relevant to our world’s fears. Collier probably doesn’t know that he is actually working for Greer or ultimately, the Chinese. And whatever chaos the US is thrown into because of the revolution or Samaritan going online, is a win/win for the Chinese, at least for the moment.

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Person of Interest: Death Benefit

Spoilers ahead:

Did the Machine really give them a number that, if murdered, would eliminate a threat to its existence? To the existence of the team? Was it really its intention that Reese or Shaw pull the trigger? This episode, more than previously, looks at the ethics of taking action against a threat, even for those who purpose has always been to save lives.

I wrote  just a week ago, for the need for us to have a healthy disillusionment with our government representatives, and this congressman who is this weeks number, perpetrator and potential victim, even though fictional, is a great representation for that very need. He is loved by all his constituents because he can appease even the staunchest of detractors. He even tries to use his “magic” to wheel and deal his way into the psyche of Finch, not even aware of the threat to his existence being debated and struggled with in the next room. He has made a contract with his wife that even affairs don’t matter to him, the people around him and, if it ever came out, to the public. Appealing to everyone just to survive is not governing a people, it is an ineffective diplomacy that creates an illusion that you are getting what you always wanted. This congressman says, “The simple truth is, the people want to be protected, they just don’t want to know how.” At the same time his representative battle against surveillance, he is making back door deals with the same group he has a rallying cry against, and he doesn’t see any conflict of interest with it.

Are all representatives of the people who have such duplicity deserving of death? These people are traitors to those they represent, if they don’t deserve death they at least deserve being kicked-out, but even that process reveals the red-tape we have to tear apart just to find out what happened, what were the motivations behind their actions. It is a sad commentary of this once great idea, and how easy it is to give our freedom away for drama.

But enough ranting about the plight we have put ourselves in, let us get back to the aching struggle of choice against purpose that is tearing the team apart. This episode reminds me of a film called Arlington Road, where the suspected hero turns out to be the perpetrator the whole time. The team realizes that the Machine has drawn their attention to a number that is a threat to everyone and everything. Do they murder this threat? I don’t know… and again this issue is brought up about programming and true self-realization. A few episodes back the Machine opened up Root’s mind to the possibility that there is a grander purpose in knowing everything; that you can either destroy or save lives. Root opened up to the possibility that the Machine “cares” about people and in fact “cares” how you feel about the people you are called to protect. Just Monday night they showed the episode where Shaw suddenly starts caring about the people she saves through the little “spy” girl. Coincidence? I think not.

So then we come to this ethical dilemma: I am going to present my theory. I believe the Machine predicted Reese or Shaw would not be able to eliminate the threat. For what purpose then did it lead them to threat? The Machine always “knows” of the human element involved is not always predictable, but, that is the way Finch created it. There is the human element involved and the Machine is exemplary at knowing what that human element will do. It has been online for several years and has stopped many terrorist threats because it know humans so well. So why put it’s administrator in a position where there is a deep personal struggle to choose what is right and what is wrong. For me the choice is… almost… clear cut: eliminate threat. But for our team whose values toward life, purpose, and meaning have been elevated through the interactions with each other and the Machine, the choice is not so clear. Whose life is more valuable? Who gains more by the choice of redeeming a life? It may be one of the biggest regrets our team will face, but they did not go against their values that have been built up and bonded each of them to the other, and that is what is the most important choice they have made.

~Stranger

(A fellow bloggers review.)

Strange Reviews: Person of Interest: One Life, Changes Many

I don’t watch many shows on television, but one I do watch, as much as I can, is “Person of Interest”. Last night’s episode finished up a three part story called “End Game”.

If you watch the show, and haven’t been caught up, there are spoilers ahead.

The whole “End Game” bit was the final confrontation between the corrupt group of police and politicians known as HR, the Russian mafia group headed by Peter Yogorov, the evil but lovable Elias, and our friends, the heros of the show, the Machine Gang. Carter has still been building her case against HR, seeking to bring down the group that killed Beecher, right after Carter realized that Beecher wasn’t corrupt and was starting to see him as a romantic interest. Her laser beam focus was making her drive away everyone who cared for her, because she didn’t want to risk anyone else’s life. However, the episode two weeks ago revealed that she did bring in the rest of the gang in the final push to get a warrant against Quinn. In the aftermath of finally bringing him in, she won back her respect, her detective status, a new interest in Reese, and some safety for her family and the city, only to have it come crashing down when she is shot by Simmons and dies in Reese’s arms. Last night showed the consequences of Simmons’ actions.

We were witness to four specific flashbacks. All of them were interviews with our remaining protagonists. Each of them revealed the changes that one life, Carter’s life, lived in rightness, affects those closest to them when the life is suddenly taken away.

First we see Finch, right after his best friend and partner is killed, and Finch has decided to let the world, and the love of his life, Grace, believe that he is dead. He is talking about grief and the responsibility taken because it was his fault. The psychologist suggests that grief is temporary and that Finch shouldn’t take any drastic steps because he feels responsible for his friend’s death. What the psychologist doesn’t realize is that Finch is responsible for Nathan’s death and he will take the drastic step of taking over his legacy in being responsible for the irrelevant numbers. Carter’s death makes Finch, along with what Root said last week, feel, almost overwhelmingly, responsible for those he has recruited in this purpose. He realizes that his only hope is in Root, who he can’t trust, but has a very different relationship with the machine. Will he give up some of the responsibility he feels so strongly, or just be so afraid to put those in harm’s way that he is frozen with indecision?

The next interview we see is Shaw’s. She is a brilliant surgeon who just can’t get herself to care about whether a patient dies or not and that is the concern of the interviewer: that she doesn’t care enough to eventually not get bored. We see her start to care when she saves the young “spy”, and perhaps the passion she has always lacked in her pursuit of Simmons. Like Reese, her violent pursuit is what she knows, but still doesn’t understand that this drive is her concern for what happened to Carter. She came to know and… appreciate Carter, almost as a friend; at least as much as Shaw can have a friend. Carter’s death made Shaw face the fact that she is now part of a family, and what affects everyone else, affects her. Will we see a drastic change in Shaw toward love and concern, or will that come out in being more angry, sarcastic or other strange characteristics displaying her affection?

We come to Reese, where we believe he is being interviewed prior to entry into an assassination program he is already involved in. He acts weak before this man, who is someone he is sent to kill. It is reminiscent of a cat playing with a mouse before snapping its neck, without care or concern about life and death. He is cold in his killing. This was before being assigned with Stanton, which made him disgusted to see her enjoyment in killing people. We saw last episode, what Carter meant to Reese. By the way, I believe the kiss wasn’t romantic in nature, it was more of a display of unique affection and bonding that Reese feels for Carter. Carter’s death is the released pin of Reese’s grenade like personality. Finch’s giving Reese a purpose was a very, if not the most important concept of the first season. But, Carter did make Reese stop considering suicide as a reasonable option, and gave him a much needed perspective. The reason for him having such a passion of ultimate retribution, is not only what she did in saving him, but because he finally revealed this to her, and he felt the weight of responsibility for all she stood for sifting through his fingers in her final moments. Even Finch can’t talk him down before he collapses. I want to say he pulled the trigger because through his delirium all he saw was hate. I hope it wasn’t that all Reese now sees is that good will never triumph by the law, but only by destroying all evil,will good win; obviously this would be very faulty logic for Reese to take on. Will Reese continue in his passionate purpose to save all he can, or will he stop shooting at knee caps and aim higher?

The final, and my favorite change of character is in Fusco. He is interviewed by the police psychologist after he was involved in a shooting. Fusco is weary of this ridiculous process, not because he is playing tough, but because he gladly killed the scumbag who had recently killed another young police officer. In this interview, you can see the reasons Fusco has chosen the path that would lead him into being involved in HR. It is not a justifiable killing, just revenge for a fellow officer. You can see Simmons becoming the way he is in the same type of situation; no need to justify his actions, he is a cop: the ultimate judge and jury on the street. Fusco has suffered some very bad consequences because of the choices he has made, and because of Carter, he has wanted to do right. He gives a wonderful, redeeming speech to Simmons, just before he arrests him. Simmons says that he always knew Fusco was a killer and eggs him on to just go ahead and kill him. Fusco asks if he should throw away all the good Carter has done in his life. He says that Carter saved his life. She made him want to be a good father, a good friend, a good cop. Should he ruin it all for a scumbag like Simmons? Then there is him arresting Simmons and bringing him through the police station: it made me cry. Fusco’s redemption was something I always knew was just on the surface, and he never had an opportunity to prove he could be good; and there it was, facing Simmons’ ugly, bruised, evil mug. It would have been so easy just to get rid of him, but Carter’s memory stopped him. Unlike Reese’s blind, delirious rage, Fusco knew that this was the turning point of his life. Whether or not he would make Carter’s trust worthy of him, or just become the corrupt cop everyone always thought he was. In this option we see no question of what Fusco will become: a good man. I am reminded of “Saving Private Ryan”: at the end, Private Ryan questions whether his life was worth all the deaths of those men who sacrificed themselves to find and bring him out. Fusco will make his life worthy of Carter’s death. He will become all that we knew he could be. I am very excited to see his role in future episodes.

Other notes about this episode: The beginning was expertly done. We all know what happened the previous episode, but the music and lyrics and camera technique, drew us to what it was all about; a loss of a very important person and all the implications that come from it. I loved it. Root is a very intriguing character, but why can’t she help without that smarmy smile… but, oh I see it now. She is the voice of god. She knows only “she” talks to her, and eventually all will beg her to help them. It was great that she put herself back in her cell, and Finch closed, but did not lock it. What is the storm on the horizon that only she can see? Everyone freaked out when Carter died, but this episode showed the need for it, the changes that will and in some cases needed to happen for these characters. Elias. Oh, Elias finally got to Simmons, but his speech about how he and Simmons were alike, but Carter was different, and how he liked Carter, but she didn’t necessarily like him, and how he wasn’t going to kill him he was just going to watch. It was perfect. I love Elias’ character, but now wonder what he is going to do, now with HR out of the way and the Russians power dwindling because of their alliance.

Speaking of Fusco changing his life for the better: There is one death that occurred two-thousand years ago that should drive me to become the man I was always made to be. Will my life be worthy of Christ’s death? Although time is a big distance between me and Him, it is no less important to me. Or, at least it shouldn’t be. We sing songs about how He walks with me and He talks with me, but it is hard to live a life worthy. He is there but I forget. We all need to have some point in our life where we decide to be the man God intends us to be or give in to the sin that is always there, that is always an easier choice, and we face them everyday. This week is Thanksgiving and maybe what I need is a fresh reminder of the sacrifice of God for my benefit. I will be reading over this on my time off from work, as an in my face reminder of who I can be because He works through me, because of what He has done. May my life be a worthy sacrifice, oh my Lord and my God.

~Stranger

(Pictures taken from this article)

Some Small Updates

Since hardly anyone reads my posts on That One Site anyway, here are some things to fill you in…

Did you know that oxymoron is an oxymoron? Oxy means sharp and moron means dull. I heard my youngest daughter telling my oldest this the other day.

We must remember that character is not seen in the moment, but revealed over a lifetime. I said this in response to a report on the navy yard shootings. It amazes me every time they interview friends or family of a crazy man who just killed a bunch of people, that they say they never saw anything like this coming. But, then the report goes on telling all the crimes, misdemeanors or character flaws this person has a history of committing.

I have a huge, new burn pile out in the yard, eagerly awaiting the torch. I started throwing branches, cutting and other burning type waste this last spring into an overgrown area in our yard. This last weekend I cleared away a six-foot area surrounding this monstrosity in preparation to contribute to the burning stuff smell that permeates this city and it’s surroundings over the fall season. I might wait until our best friends come for a visit from Kansas City, before I set flame to pile.

This week marks our former church’s effort at its traditional fall revival. Last year I was a counselor for people who wanted to “make a decision”. It was interesting to me that the people I talked to had previously been “saved”, sometimes more than once. On That One Site, people are posting how great it is to see all these kids being saved. Me, in my pessimism, say to myself, “Yeah, for the fifth time.”

I enjoyed watching the Person of Interest, season premier last night. It wasn’t the BLAST I was hoping for, but it was a great set-up for what is to come. I particularly enjoy the whole idea of an A.I. developing in the “real” world. Most A.I. fiction I’ve seen or read, deals with a far future scenario. In this day and age of so many shows and channels for people to watch, I have very much limited myself. I stick with a little Food Network, a little bit of cartoons, a little Seinfeld reruns, some Jeopardy!, and, always Person of Interest. This season marks a difficulty, in that it is now Tuesday night at 9pm. Our bible/fellowship group meets on Tuesday, and we never want to seem eager to get them out in time, but for goodness sake get out! No, we’d never, ever tell them that. POI is never as important as fellowship with other believers and the encouragement and love that lies therein, but, wow, this is going to be difficult. And we don’t have a DVR either.

I may have decided what I want to speak about Sunday morning in conjunction with giving my testimony. I want to talk about: taking action, and how it relates to a previous post regarding extreme Calvinism. I have to find some verses, but I also want to share this song:

This song drives me, gives me strength and courage, makes me excited to go work for God. But, I need some bible verses too.

At work today, we changed around the whole mailroom, and moved some shelves and pallets of envelopes around. One of my workers was absent and he is, how shall I say it, a little whiny, girly man, when it comes to not being involved in stuff like that. If we asked him about what we should do, he says, “No, that won’t work.” You know, always the negative type. Things never work unless he thought of it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, well, maybe not really. It’s a downer to hear someone mumble and grumble all day long.

How about that movie, “Gravity”? Huh? I think it looks very good, I’m pretty excited to see this one. Alfonso Cuarón directed my favorite Harry Potter installment. Although I couldn’t make it through “Children of Men”. Here is the preview for those who haven’t heard of it:

My mom bought us a new laptop today. The one we just bought about a month ago, doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive, and our 12-year-old computer died shortly after we got the new one. My mom called me a few days ago, and I don’t know how we got on the subject, but I was telling her we were probably going to buy a new one for Christmas. It was going to be for our oldest, because she has algebra tutoring CDs that she now can’t use, and today she cried over her math. She told us that she gets to buy things for her kids close to her every once in a while and she wanted to do this for us. So, we went and bought one today, and she is sending a reimbursement check. I love my mom and miss her dearly. Not because of the computer, but because of a lifetime.

~Stranger

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