Except for some insane action with Root, this episode of Person of Interest was like getting a TMI report from your college-age cousin about his dorm room sexual exploits. Stalking doesn't have to be bad, OK? Seriously, Person of Interest, we didn't need to know you felt that way.
So the number this week was a pickup artist — let's just call him PUA — who trolls for ladies using mobile apps that are like Grindr for straight people. Shaw starts tailing him and finds out that he basically hops from lady to lady, changing his look from preppie to hipster in order to entice different kinds of women. Then Reese finds out PUA is keeping elaborate folders full of information on each woman in his apartment.
"Why don't we just take him out now?" Shaw asks.
"Just because he's a stalker doesn't mean he's a killer," admonishes Finch.
OK, but still, isn't being a stalker still a criminal thing? Like shouldn't they be dragging this dude in? His apartment is also littered with "missing persons" flyers for ladies (this detail is actually never explained). But fine. We won't bring him in. We'll just keep spying on him.
Which gives us an excuse to use the "lure him in" scenario. Which then gives us an excuse to dress every female character on the show (other than Root) up in cocktail dresses while Finch and Reese look them over critically to be sure they're proper bait. Hooray for Shaw, who breaks up that seriously awkward moment by showing Carter her new gun. "Ohh I've been wanting one of these!" Carter says. So they're all dressed up in their girl outfits, but at least they're bonding over guns instead of shoes, I guess.
When the ladies get to the bar, they do their luring — which involves sexy dancing — but it's Carter who reels in PUA. There's some horrible flirting and she agrees to meet him for dinner the next night. At which point, she gets to know him better and realizes he's actually a nice guy who can cook. Meanwhile, the Machine Gang figures out that PUA has been targeted by his dead ex-girlfriend's dad because PUA's son — whom he didn't know he had — is heir to the ex-girlfriend's dad's fortune.
When PUA finds out about all this there are tears and sads and we find out that he is a PUA because the only woman he ever loved was that dead ex. And he thought she had an abortion and dumped him. And he was only stalking those women because women like it when you know things about them! Most guys don't even care about what women want, but he cares. Which is why he stalks them. Awwwwwww. Nice PUA.
So anyway now we know that stalking can be a sign of men really caring about what women want. And faking who you are is also a way of showing you care. We never really understand why all this "caring" is required to hook up for casual encounters on straight Grindr.
But that's OK because the next thing that PUA does because he's so nice is knock out his long-lost son's driver, steal his chauffer's outfit, and kidnap his son so they can share a moment.
Hey kid, look at these pics on my phone of me making out with the mom you didn't know was your mom!
Yeah, great. But luckily he calls Carter and explains that he knew kidnaping the kid was a bad idea and can she help make it right? Sure. She pops right over and doesn't report this guy who is already a proven stalker and now a kidnaper. Instead she takes the kid home and tells PUA that maybe she'll actually go out on a real date with him "after all the dust settles." Because he cared enough to stalk and kidnap, alright? He cared.
After all that, damn fucking right I'm ready to watch Root smash the shit out of everything. The Machine is now basically her mentor, and they figure out a scheme together to get Root out of the asylum before a shady operative gets to her first. So we get the requisite scenes of Root telling her shrink how she's going to break out, and his "you're crazy" reply, which is all the more amusing because we know that she really is taking orders from an omnipotent voice.
Earlier in the episode, we also got a little Machine POV on what's to come.
With that agent coming for Root, violent confrontation stats are off the charts. "Intervention" is necessary. I mean, a different kind of intervention than what the Machine has already been doing by keeping Root in the asylum until she can stop being so into murder.
When the time comes for the breakout, Root has dosed the hospital with sedatives in the air ducts. So no killing! And then she knocks out her shrink instead of killing him, too. I love how this whole sequence is a reversal of the Terminator-style scenario, where John Connor teaches the Terminator not to kill when they're breaking his mom out of the asylum. Here, the Machine is teaching Root not to kill.
The Machine is also doing that awesome trick where it tells Root where to shoot — so she can talk to her shrink while shooting the agent behind her.
There's another great moment after Root brings the operative down and is aiming her gun at his face and then she stops, listens to her earbud, and whines, "Really? Not him either?"
Root is growing a conscience, thanks to our benevolent Machine. And we have absolutely no idea what their plans are together, now that both of them are free.