|Episode Overview||Summary||POI||Cast and Characters||Crew|
|← Season 3 Person of Interest — Season 4 (Flashbacks in parentheses) Season 5 →|
|401 “Panopticon”||409 “The Devil You Know”||417 “Karma” (Finch)|
|402 “Nautilus”||410 “The Cold War” (Greer)||418 “Skip”|
|403 “Wingman”||411 “If-Then-Else” (The Machine)||419 “Search and Destroy”|
|404 “Brotherhood”||412 “Control-Alt-Delete”||420 “Terra Incognita” (Reese)|
|405 “Prophets” (Finch)||413 “M.I.A.”||421 “Asylum”|
|406 “Pretenders”||414 “Guilty”||422 “YHWH”|
|407 “Honor Among Thieves”||415 “Q&A”|
|408 “Point of Origin”||416 “Blunt”|
|“||I want to hold out hope. But hope is painful. We may never find her.||”|
— Finch, about Shaw
Reese and Root’s hunt for Shaw takes them to a small town in upstate New York where it becomes apparent that not everything is as idyllic as it seems. Also, Fusco teams with a former POI to tackle the newest number.
Origin of the Title
M.I.A. is the acronym for Missing In Action, a military term used to describe troops who cannot be found or have not returned to base after an engagement. In this case, Shaw can be termed M.I.A. because the team cannot determine her whereabouts, or whether she is dead or alive.
Main Plot Points
The events in this episode are in Machine point of view.
- Person of Interest: Albert Weiss, a seemingly ordinary uncle who is a contract killer. Previous POI Dani Silva joins Fusco in the hunt for Weiss.
- Reese and Root in their search for Shaw, follow the trail of a refrigerated truck to Maple, NY, a small town upstate. While the town looks innocent from the first glimpse, Samaritan actually controls the town, and is experimenting on humans.
- Fusco and Dani Silva investigate a new number, who appears harmless and timid but turns out to be a murder-for-hire hit man who dissolves his victims in lye. Silva shoots him when he makes an attempt to murder her and Fusco; she later confesses it was her first kill.
- Samaritan's factory in Maple, operating under the company name Carrow, produces neuroimplants with microtransponders for people with cerebral damage or epilepsy; Root suspects that Samaritan plans to collect data from these implants to study people at an electrochemical level.
- Reese and Root's search for Shaw leads to a different dark-haired woman in the Carrow facility. She was shot at the stock exchange and taken to Maple to be a test subject for the new neuroimplants.
- Root leaves Harold and John after the Machine tells her to stop looking for Shaw.
- At the end of the episode Greer watches Shaw awakening in one of Samaritan's facilities.
- Root refers to Shaw's situation as Schrödinger's cat. Schrödinger's cat is a paradoxical logic problem: when does a cat, locked in a box with a device that will eventually kill it, definitively become either dead or alive? Drawn from quantum mechanics, the study of quantities that can change only so much, and no more, it was initially applied to the physical state of matter. In more popular use, it has become an aphorism referring to situations analogous to a state of limbo. However, unlike limbo, Schrödinger's cat asks a critical question: when does the uncertainty end, and the cat become one or the other, dead or alive? To the team, Shaw is neither dead nor alive until they know which, leaving her, and them, in an unresolved state which each must reconcile for themselves. Only we, the audience, know which is true.
- Finch refers to Maple being Samaritan's ant farm. Finch is referring to a formicarium, a glass-walled device where the observer can watch a colony of ants form tunnels through material contained within the device. In the United States, the best known of these is Uncle Milton's Ant Farm, a toy popularized in the 1960s which allowed children to observe the activities of an ant colony inside the green, plastic device. Advertised as giving children hours of entertainment (and hinting at the toy as an alternative to television), Uncle Milton's Ant Farms are still available for purchase from toy and hobby stores today.
- This is the first of four sweeps episodes to feature the return of a former POI, each of whom assists a different character. In this case, Det. Dani Silva returns to help Fusco track and capture the POI.
- Sarah Shahi and John Nolan were not credited in this episode, in the first case presumably to leave Shaw's status uncertain until the reveal.
- Scenes in Maple, NY were filmed in the towns of Tappan and Piermont, both located in Rockland County, New York.
- The tune at the fair was composed by director Kevin Bray’s brother, Stephen Bray.
Bloopers and Continuity Errors
- When Dani Silva enters Albert Weiss's safe house her gun doesn't have a silencer, later it does (with no explanation as to why she would be using one).
- Reese mentions Dr. Madeleine Enright, the person of interest in Critical, as tending to Delia Jones, one of the subjects of Samaritan's neural experiments, at one of Finch's safehouses.
- Leslie Thompson says "the blonde woman" told her she'd been given a new job, likely referring to Martine Rousseau.
- Reese remembers the time when Root abducted Finch and he had to ask the Machine for help. (“The Contingency”)
- Reese wonders why Samaritan would hide Shaw in a small town like Maple, and Root says that "monsters love small towns". When Root held Finch captive, they hid in a small town in Maryland. (“Bad Code”)
- "Luck is in the air." (Reese, to Root)
- "If this is the afterlife, it sucks." (Shaw, to Greer)
- "I sincerely hope you managed to get some rest, my dear Sameen. You're going to need it." (Greer, to Shaw)
- "I'm good with computers." (Root)
- "A little beastliness is just the thing now and then." (Root)
- "I want to hold out hope. But hope is painful. We may never find her." (Finch, to Root)
- "We need an answer. I need an answer. If Sameen is alive or if she's dead." (Root, to Finch)