On last night's Person of Interest, there was a particularly interesting development with Elias, the mob boss who was the big bad of the show's first season.
Let's be honest: Most of last night's episode was an awkward and embarrassing After School Special. There was the kid who had to "learn to be a man" and the lessons about how gangs are bad ... and the ongoing facepalmery of calling the black gang "the Brotherhood." Let's just leave all that aside, shall we?
The real highlight of the episode were the two subway meetings between Elias and his old chess partner/nemesis Finch. Elias is no dummy, and he proves that he's got more on his mind than spanking the Armenian mob when he tells Finch that he knows something major has "changed." He realizes that the Machine Gang has gone deeper undercover, and he's figured out the world has somehow ... changed. It seems like he's starting to realize that Samaritan is out there.
Elias demands that Finch tell him what's going on. Finch demurs, explaining that it would be too dangerous. But Elias points out that he understands Finch's position all too well. He's seen his share of danger — and he knows what it's like to go undercover as a teacher (he posed as the world's greatest high school teacher in the first season, using his position to gain the confidence of the teenage kids of his mob enemies). And we see Finch starting to think maybe Elias would be a good ally against Samaritan.
Finch doesn't quite give everything away, but he does help Elias with some tips about the Brotherhood's stash house location. And he gives Elias a copy of The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells, calling it "advice for these troubled times." Wouldn't it have made more sense to give him Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, given that it's about a group called "the Brotherhood," and features a protagonist who is hiding underground and stealing electricity? Oh well.
"It's a tricky business, playing a game in which you're unsure of the pieces," Elias says. I like the fact that Elias, who is totally outside the realm of Samaritan's concerns, has somehow figured out that there are much higher stakes. This is in keeping with one of the season's emerging themes, which is that the Machine Gang is having to become outright criminal to combat Samaritan. Shaw is a thief, and now Finch has formed an even deeper alliance with Elias than ever before.
I did like the final scene with the Brotherhood guys, when their leader Dominic knew instantly that he was being tracked and yanked out the chip that Shaw had put in his watch. Obviously they're up to more than just selling heroin. But what?