As good a job as CBS has done with stocking Person of Interest with interesting and capable female characters (Zoe Morgan, Kara Stanton, Root), much of the day-to-day ass kicking has been left to Mr. Reese. And capable as he's been at it, after two seasons things were threatening to get a little stale.
Enter Samantha Shaw, the former assassin for the Special Counsel who switched sides and joined Messrs. Reese and Finch in their continuing quest to protect the "irrelevant." POI needed that woman's touch, even if the touch in question was most likely a trachea crushing aikido strike.
Any episode that opens with Reese (Jim Caviezel) shooting up a van full of kidnappers and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) using Fusco (Lionel Chapman) as a human shield is all right in my book. Fusco would beg to differ.
Things pick up where they left from the end of last season: The Machine, now self-sustaining and "in the wind," is giving numbers to both Finch and the government, the latter receiving "irrelevants," while the gubmint gets the big fish. The Number of the Week this time around is U.S. Navy Petty Officer Jack Salazar, in town for Fleet Week. Is that still a thing? I'd have thought today's Navy had you spend that time discussing your feelings over some chamomile tea. Anyway, Reese knows all the best Hell's Kitchen sailor hangouts. Unfortunately, he takes a barstool to the spine while tracking Salazar.
Elsewhere, Root (Amy Acker) is cooling her heels in a mental hospital, though still "talking" to the Machine (nice tie-in to the recent NSA events as well). That is, until the doctor takes away her cell phone. This turns out to be ill-advised, as the Machine has already fed Root plenty of dirt on the (not so) good doctor.
The patrol cop formerly known as Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson) joins Reese in his quest, and finds Salazar at a secret brothel. I'm shocked, shocked to find prostitution taking place in New York City. Reese rescues him from a bunch of Marines angry at him for taking ... something. I like how Reese left Carter in a room full of horny sailors. Eh, she's single.
It turns out Salazar is protecting his "ship buddy" R.J., who swiped some Somali diamonds from the Marines. Smart guy. The jarheads need to move them, however, and the only person with a line on a possible is fence is Carter. Or rather, Elias (Enrico Colantoni), whom Carter rescued from certain rubbing out and is now laying low. He gives her a name ... and also offers to "take care" of HR and the Russian mobsters who have moved in.
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Salazar is forced to play broker with the fence by the Marines. After last night's episode, I was surprised to see how many places in NYC a person can just lean against a tree holding a sniper rifle.
A Mexican -- er, Russian -- standoff ensues at the fence's pawn shop. It's like a mini Cold War, abetted by extra Russkie shooters on the floor above. These are dispatched with cool efficiency by Shaw, who -- Terminator 2 style - now goes for kneecaps instead of head shots. I'll be honest, this new Reese-Shaw combo is almost comically lethal. HR? Mobs? Government hitmen? They're going to need to introduce alien ninjas or something to make this a fair fight.
Reese and Salazar have a heart-to-heart about the sailor's future (Reese advises him to avoid the CIA). Carter is not done with HR by a damn sight. Time will tell if she gets medieval on their asses. Finally, Root dresses Dr. Carmichael down in stunning fashion. Bet he gives her that phone back.
Next week: elevator-fu.