«Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting,
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
And I say… it’s all right.»
this movie was a fucking masterpiece
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering I love you repeatedly as they struggle to escape from my arms
So, riffing off this conversation here, I have to say, as opposed to being an ‘idiot,’ I rather think Shahi is pushing to play the character as originally conceived — not the one that got watered down little more than six episodes in.
Indeed, I’m fairly certain that’s what she means, because this was her answer to the question immediately prior:
I would love to dive into Shaw’s backstory. I mean, part of the reason I took the job was because of the character and how stormy and dark and, yeah, “troubled” she seemed. But we haven’t really gotten there to explore it.
Shahi didn’t spin out of whole cloth the idea that Shaw has a particular personality disorder. That was there on the page. Shahi didn’t write that Shaw: a) was angry that her employers killed her work partner and tried to kill her, yet also b) gathered up all the intel that said partner had collected and handed it right back to those employers so that they could continue to cover up the assassination of Daniel Aquino.
I would also say that, IMO, it is apparent that the writers are “just kinda figuring it out [as they go].” Shaw as originally presented was a tough nut to crack with an unusual value system. She definitely was not The Comedic Relief. Shaw of the latter three-quarters of S3 was inconsistently written and seemed to bring little unique to the team beyond her hunger and [redacted].
An example: It’s difficult to play Shaw as a wild spirit who wants to go with Root on missions for The Fun when Shaw also is written as feeling obligated to ask permission from Reese.
As S3 progressed, for me knowing which way Shaw would jump in a particular episode became less an intriguing character puzzle and more a wild guess based mainly on the writer of that episode.
The other day I wrote about how (when re-watching the first few eps of S3) I was unclear about Finch’s desire to hire Shaw, given Shaw’s Shawness. What I failed to mention is that I also think the show missed its window for exploring exactly why Shaw went to work with Team Machine.
I have read many fans’ interpretations for why Shaw is with the team. In the final analysis, though, we all are guessing based on indirect information. With Finch and Reese and Fusco and Root, we have their own words to point to — sometimes a whole lot of words. We may dive deeper into those words and understand them differently, but at least we’re working from a common source. With Shaw we have the words of other characters and our own lay personality theories.
So, yeah, far from being idiotic and of inherently less value, I think Sarah Shahi’s ideas about and desires for her character are at least as valid as any actor who isn’t playing Shaw or any of us fans who aren’t there on set, doing the work.
tldr: Fans tend to pull Shaw in one direction, Shahi wants to go in the opposite.
P.S. Amy Acker has a way of going semi-into and out of character during interviews. One might consider that her “No” was a demi-expression of Root, acolyte of The Machine.
IMO, Sarah’s chomping at the bit to play at the more complex parts of Shaw. She’s had fun with the comedic lines Shaw delivers but I think she’s ready and willing to jump all in with whatever dangerous and dark thing Shaw is capable of.
I really hope Season 4 will showcase more of the Shaw we saw in Relevance and Razgovor, and RAM. I kind of want to see the connective tissue between the Shaw we saw in Devil Share become the Shaw we see in RAM, then the cool and lethal operator we get to know in Relevance.
(In an unrelated note, I wonder how often Shaw and Cole tangled with the FSB.)
The project broke me, but humans are broken from the moment of conception. Mutations, defects— it’s all so wonderful. The chance of disaster. We fail, we learn, we fail. My program was too perfect. […] That day, Harold, I broke it. I forced it to delete bits of itself— its code, its blood— and then reboot. Rebirth. Flailing in the dark. A loop, ten times a second, and after ten hours, Harold, 360,000 mutations, it would live or die trying, and it lived. It sparked. It stirred. For 30 seconds, it smiled and then died.
— Arthur Claypool, “Aletheia.”
Reblogging this again because I honestly LOVE this meta. Especially this:
The thing about what Person of Interest does with the concept of brokenness is that it’s not actually interested in the concept at all. It’s interested in the reality of it. Which is why it gave us this conversation, with these characters, in this episode. Because brokenness isn’t something that happens in other people’s stories. It’s the reality that these characters live with every day.
It is just so fascinating that almost everyone in the Team Machine, even the Machine itself, and Samaritan and its creator are all ‘broken’
Again copying and pasting from the original meta:
so we have a man whose memory is slowly eroding as a result of his terminal cancer telling a man with a fused spine, a permanent limp, and chronic pain how important it is to be broken.
While they wait for the woman with a personality disorder to rescue them.
(Which she does with help from a recovering and a relapsed alcoholic.)
I don’t know if I can add anything to that, its a beautiful and accurate descriptor, that the rag tag band of heroes are all ‘broken’ in some ways and that’s what made them the perfect candidate to help other people.
he (Arthur) says flat-out what Harold never has, that he had to break Samaritan in order to give it life. That a perfect program is simply a program; that intelligence requires a certain base level of damage. That the very thing that makes the Machine and Samaritan so powerful is the same thing that people like Greer and Root (before she became the Machine’s apostle, anyway) so adamant that humans are outdated — our flaws.
I think, it took hearing Arthur say it out loud that finally had Harold acknowledging it out loud to Root:
'How badly did you have to break it to make it care about people so much?'
And, Harold answered, in all honestly: ‘That didn’t break it, its what made it work.’
You know, this is also actually a description of Harold too… that Harold *had* to go through his loses and experience pain to realize that everyone is relevant to someone, that he echoed the sentiment Nathan told him so long ago, in the very room they were standing in.
He had to break and lose people in order to realize and care about everyone and not just the greater good.
*blinks* *blinks* Guys, in a few days, somebody toss an ask or a reblog at me with this post, and a reminder about openness and responsibility. Because fuck if this doesn’t sound like the second chapter of my PhD dissertation, but I’m going to have to think about it and today I am all out of brain.
Okay so. This is one of those ideas that are very clear in my mind but which I’d ordinarily need ~3k of postgraduate-level nonfiction or +15k words of fiction to express, so what follows below is very much an outline of a draft, so if any of it catches your eye at all, ask. Talk. Remember how the Handbook went? There’s stuff I don’t know how to explain until I get asked the right questions.
Creativity is not merely innovation. Creativity is an innovation that is valuable/good/helpful in some way. Creativity doesn’t have to be seminal or grand, it can be everyday too. If it didn’t exist before and it works better, than it’s creative.
Creativity can be in problem spotting or in problem solving. If there’s half a dozen people trying to create an AI and only one of them succeeded, that was probably problem-solving creativity. If one person looks around and goes, “Uh, guys, our society has a Problem,” that’s problem-spotting - before that, no one had realize that (a) there is a Problem and (b) this Problem is Significant. I’m using this example to also to illustrate that creativity doesn’t have to be in the sciences or the arts.
Creativity can manifest in two - let’s call them phases. There’s creativity that is conscious and skilled, when you’re thinking about what you’re doing. Then there’s creativity that comes to you, when the perception of your world shifts and tilts and you see something that hasn’t been there before.
Whether creativity is in the perception or the judgment, it requires a fundamental, deep-set belief that the world is open. That things have not always been the way they were. That things doesn’t have to always be the way they are now. That we may benefit from this change. (To those versed in the relevant lit: yes, my opinions on creativity mostly follow Robert Sternberg’s work.)
Creativity requires perceiving the world as open. Now let’s set this aside for a moment, and inverse the direction.
Someone slips while walking. Do you laugh at them - because they slipped, because they’re crying? Do you laugh at the situation? Or are you concerned, because that looks like it hurt? Any of those reactions might occur in an observer; there are contexts in which any of those reactions may be appropriate. Importantly, those reactions occur in the perception: we may modify our responses later based on consciously-held beliefs, but there’s that split-second when a reaction emerges out of a mind, without being deliberately willed.
It’s the same question: what do you perceive? The direction is different, though. The question isn’t “In what ways is the world open/permeable do you?” but rather “What things in the world are you open/permeable to?”
No, no, no. that is not brokenness. “Brokenness” implies that a thing is not how it ought to be - and because this phrasing bothers the hell out of me: a Thing that is “broken” is not good as Thing. That’s what “broken” (idiomatically) means.
The perfect algorithm, Arthur Claypool tells us - the algorithm that is perfect as an algorithm - it’s not open, it’s closed. It’s fundamentally closed, well defined, everything exactly as it should be - can’t be any other way. But where things cannot be any different than they are, there is no creativity. Creativity requires that the question “But what if this was different?” be potentially valuable.
I argue that those “imperfections” are not “imperfections”. That altering the code, as Arthur describes, does not break or damage it. To the degree that it’s a standard algorithm - yes, it does. But he wasn’t trying to create an algorithm, a program, and neither did Harold. They tried to create something that is capable of interacting, of generating.
Note how those two things keep coming together? The ability to perceive new things in the world, and the ability to be affected by the world? Openness. It goes both ways.
Our experiences inform us. Sometimes it becomes easier (or at all possible) to perceive something, to grasp it on that basic level, after having been through something. Not always: pain is as likely to blind as it is to give insight (if not more), and the same holds for grief and fury.
Let’s look at Harold. I’m full of criticism of Harold, I don’t think that’s news to anyone at this point. But following the bombing at the ferry and Nathan’s death (assassination, let’s call it what it is: an incredibly ugly and messy assassination with atrocious collateral) Harold didn’t have to draw the conclusions he did. He could’ve instead become even more convinced that what Nathan had been doing was silly and wrong and was only going to cause harm. Hasn’t it caused enough harm already? Why continue down that path?
There is an awful lot I will criticise Harold for, there are things he believes in I think are morally bad, but he’s the person who responded to that much hurt - responded, didn’t cut himself off, didn’t shut down, didn’t distance himself in ways that matter.
(I’m very careful with my words, here, because I loathe the idea that pain and trauma and grief are for - are good - for teaching morally or otherwise valuable things. No, no, absolutely not. Just because sometimes people manage post-traumatic growth, that does not make the awful any less awful. And just because someone didn’t manage post-traumatic growth as well doesn’t make them a bad person. Sometimes it just means they had the psychological version of bad nutrition fucking up your bones or the psychological version of haemophilia, so obviously they didn’t recover from injury as well as someone who doesn’t have those problems.)
It’s not brokenness that’s a necessity of life; it’s openness. It’s not broken, to be affected by things and be capable of imagination; it’s openness. It’s not brokenness, to take pain and injury and different abilities (than you had before, than considered ‘normal’) and use those to make value/goodness/helpfulness.
And yes, PoI illustrates this: that you could be any of a thousand things commonly considered ‘broken’, but you’re not broken. ‘Broken’ means no good as what you are supposed to be. Sometimes you become better at the broken places, as Harold did. Sometimes you find something else to be, as John did. Sometimes you say “I decide what fulfills relevant role expectations”, as Shaw did. Sometimes you say “My limitations are mine but they do not solely define me”, like Lionel did.
I want to go back to John, for a moment, and to Kara. John got hurt, doing the job he did for the CIA. So did Kara. They reacted differently to that hurt. Kara shut the parts of herself that got injured; John took the pain in. Both options were going to get them killed, yes? It may even be argued that when Kara returned, post-Ordus, Kara was already dead. (Trauma would do that to you. Kara took more than enough shit.) But just like Harold didn’t have to turn around and choose to continue Nathan’s work, so do John and Kara illustrate two different options. Carter… Carter would probably agree with this ethos. Lionel sure does. Root doesn’t, I think; but then, it took something tremendous to get through to Harold, too.
But this last paragraph of observations, those are a lot of half-baked ideas, things I spin out of thin air (that is, out of perceptions I haven’t fully verbalized and arranged, yet).
But the point I wanted to make is, that’s not brokenness. Brokenness is by definitions dysfunctional. What Arthur did to Samaritan and Harold to the Machine, that wasn’t breaking their creations. It was seeing something a possibility in the world that (best each of them knew) nobody has ever seen before, it was finding a new solution to a problem - and it was giving their creations the ability to take in new things from the world and genuinely respond to them.
It created the intended function. How is that ‘broken’?
Oh look, “Lucy” topped the box office. WHERE IS OUR BLACK WIDOW MOVIE, MARVEL?? I would trade ten Ant-Man movies for one Black Widow, and from the sound of things so would most of the rest of the world—including half the people involved in Ant-Man.
Leverage Meme » 8/9 quotes
↳For better or worse, we change together.
Here’s a fun thing you learn when you study literature: the western canon is not universally beloved. Those books are not the Truth any more than the New York Post is skilled journalism. The main reason they’re held in such high esteem is because they were written by boring white dudes with rage fantasies and boring white dudes with rage fantasies also happen to be largely in charge of deciding which books are deemed classics and taught forever in the American school system.
So if your boyfriend tells you he loves Kerouac then you tell your boyfriend Kerouac was a fucking second rate hack who wrote Beat style because he didn’t have the skill or talent to write any other way, which is probably also why he just copied every adolescent male wanderlust story since the beginning of time. That shit’s derivative and boring.
Everyone go read this immediately. As I decided last week, my life motto has been expanded from “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it” to include “If all your favorite books are by white men, I probably don’t think you’re a very interesting person.”
If the ‘Great Book’ everyone’s told you that you ‘simply HAVE to read’ features women and POCs who are neither three-dimensional people nor even archetypical characters, but are rather two-dimensional stereotypes and plot devices who exist only to move the plot along and/or to help the ‘hero’ on his journey to wherever the hell he happens to be going? You’re not actually reading a Great Book. Or even a good book. Or, really, a book. You’re reading yet another piece of ism-happy, masturbatory, and self-congratulatory crap. No matter what your beloved English professor said way back when.