By Brett DaSilva
Person of Interest goes out with a bang not a whimper. I am so sorry to see the show go, but I am glad they got to go out on their terms, even if they had to speed up the story a bit to accommodate the short 13-episode season. The finale is titled Return 0. The episode starts off with Michael Emerson’s character, Harold Finch, seemingly suffering from a gunshot wound, talking to The Machine he created. Harold asks The Machine if It had learned anything since he had created it. This conversation should earn, Emerson, and Amy Acker, the new voice of the machine an Emmy nomination. The machine was built to predict acts of terrorism and stop them before they happen. In this episode we get to see what the machine goes through to be able to do this. It first had to understand human behavior. Try taking that on.
The scene turns to show news footage of mass chaos happening as the results of Harold releasing the Ice-9 virus to try and take down the evil AI Samaritan. Unfortunately, it took out the internet quicker than a selfie of Kim Kardashian. There is a lot of action in this episode, but the best moments are the moments with the machine. For the machine to understand life it had to exam death.
There is a lot of time jumping in this episode. The episode is basically telling the events that lead up to the scene of Finch’s conversation with the machine at the opening. Character is what has made the show since it began. There is no loss of it now. Team Machine, consisting of Shaw, Reece, Fusco, and Finch, meet back in their underground subway lair. They agree to split up. Reese and Finch have to go to the Federal Reserve where Samaritan has stored a backup copy of itself, while Shaw and Fusco stay behind in the lair to protect the Machine. Before Reese leaves he tells Fusco not to die. Fusco answers, yeah I love you too. Their relationship is boiled down in that exchange, two men that respect each other, but don’t exactly say it. As I said in a previous column, Person of Interest is full of redemption stories. None have been more fulfilling to see than Fusco’s story, going from being a dirty cop to being a heroic figure.
In the abandoned subway station Samaritans goons start their attack. The machine has a plan and they turn on the power to the subway car that houses the machine and Shaw and Fusco make their escape with the assassin Jeff in tow. This is the same guy that killed Root. While on the subway there is a quiet moment between Shaw and the machine. The machine tells Shaw that Root loved her because she was different and if Shaw was a shape it would be a straight line, like an arrow. This is the first time I have ever seen Shaw get emotional at all in any of the seasons she has been in. It was a very touching scene.
Meanwhile at the Federal Reserve Finch and Reese are able to break in. Harold tells the guard that the fitbit on his wrist is a heart monitor attached to a nuclear bomb. They make their way to Samaritans last hiding place and start uploading the Ice-9 virus to take it out. As Harold starts to upload a Samaritan agent shoots him in the gut. I guess this is why he had the bullet wound in the beginning scene. As Reece is uploading the virus Samaritan makes an escape to a building with a satellite dish on it. The virus has to be uploaded to this dish to take the last vestige of Samaritan out for good. One slight problem. Samaritan has a missile aimed at the top of the building. Whoever uploads the virus will not make it out alive. This is when Finch decides to lock Reese in the vault and sacrifice himself. One of the most heart wrenching scenes in an episode full of them happens as Finch says goodbye to Reese. He tells Reese, “I always knew you would make a great employee, but what I didn’t expect is that you were an even better friend. Then he leaves.
Finch arrives on top of the building. The computer actually takes on the form of Root now, as well as using her voice. It adds an extra weight to her presence. As Finch and the computer are talking, Finch realizes that the machine sent him to the wrong rooftop. This is when he hears Reese come over their coms. He is at the correct building. Reese is the one that is going to be sacrificing himself. He tells Finch that he hired him for a job. As Samaritans agents start attacking the machine starts telling him where to fire, it is a scene made even more poignant as the machine in the form of root puts a hand on Reese’s shoulder as he is getting overwhelmed by the agents. She is not really there, but it is a great scene. The Machine has always watched over them. I think this is a good death for Reese, and one that his life had been leading up to. The virus gets uploaded and Samaritan dies, along with Reese.
Fast forward, we have Finch being reunited with the love of his life Grace, though there may be some awkward conversations, as she has thought him dead for quite some time. We have Shaw finding Jeff the assassin who killed Root and stabbed Fusco and exacting her revenge. We also have Shaw meeting with Fusco and having some closure there. At the very end we have Shaw walking down the street and a phone rings. She answers it hangs up and smiles. The Machine is back online and that is where the show leaves off.
This was a very emotional season. We saw a lot of long time characters die this season. The conversations with The Machine that the characters have in the final episode make the machine one of the central characters of the show. It was also the most human, which seems strange talking about a machine. All in all, this was a great ending for a great show that will be sorely missed.
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By Brett DaSilva
The show Person of Interest is in their final season, and a shortened one at that. They were renewed for a 13 episode half season to be able to wrap their story up. Last week they celebrated their 100th episode and frankly, it left me gutted. With a short amount of time to get the show wrapped up, things are happening very quickly. This is doubly true for episode 100-“The Day the World Went Away.”
What had initially started out as a crime procedural, has morphed into an awesome sci-fil show about two rivalling AI’s fighting each other using human agent’s. The two AI’s are separated into the good AI simply called The Machine, and the bad one trying to take over the world is called Samaritan.
One of the main themes I see running through this show is about redemption. Whether it is about John Reese trying to make up for the things that he did while he was in the CIA, or former dirty Detective Lionel Fusco making up for his sins. We also have former villain Root, who actually tried to kill Harold at one time, as well as former organized crime Kingpin, Carl Elias. They all find redemption saving the lives that the machine tells them to, believing in something larger than themselves, as well as saving lives.
Ok, here is where I will put in the spoiler warning, for those who have not seen last week’s episode.
This episode the stakes are raised when Finch’s number is given by the computer. A big distinction to make, especially for this episode, is that the team does not know whether the person is going to be the victim of a crime or the perpetrator when they receive the number. Team machine sees Finch’s number come up and immediately goes into action. Let me state that Finch does indeed have, as the kids say, “Squad Goals” Reese, Root, Shaw, Lionel, and Elias, all move into action to protect him and the machine without a second thought.
The team splits up. Finch is sent into hiding with Elias, while the rest of the team try to go after Samaritan’s operatives. This is a culmination of a lot of seasons work. Elias takes Finch back to where they first met in a dilapidated apartment building. Root and Shaw stay at the safe house to fend off Samaritan operatives and have a really great moment where Root tells Shaw that with being with Team Machine is the only time she ever felt like she has ever fit in. She has come a long way from when she believed that humans were just bad code.
Meanwhile the Machine tracks down Finch and Elias at the apartments due to the gangs located there not fighting. Go figure. They almost make it out when Samaritan operatives appear and shoot Elias in the head. This is the first major death of the episode, but I like to think that this would be the way that he would have wanted to go out. I also think this is the point where Finch starts to lose all hope. Finch is captured and taken to an underground parking garage where he meets the man behind Samaritan Greer. Finch is informed that Samaritan no longer wants to kill Harold, but wants to have him work for it.
As they are moving Finch into the car to take him to his lockup Shaw and Root track them down with some information provided by a person loyal to Elias that saw him killed. They come out guns blazing and rescue Finch. What follows is one of the best action sequences that I have seen on a TV show. To run down all of it would not do it justice.
There are however some takeaways from it, as well as some possible foreshadowing. Root and Shaw have a great moment together where Root saw that real world is essentially a simulation anyway. That people don’t really die. They live on in The Machine. They two get separated where Root takes off with Finch and Shaw holds off the Samaritan Operatives. As the Finch and Root take off, Root tells Finch that she hard coded the machine to remove all of the restrictions that they had put on it, but could only be activated by Finch.
Unfortunately the car with Root and Finch in it gets followed by an SUV with a machine gun turret on it. As they are making their escape Samaritan is directing a sniper to intercept the car. As they turn a corner the sniper fires and kills Root. Harold is captured by police and taken to a prison where he is questioned by a fed. It is there where he learns Root’s fate. He is not even paying attention to the Fed when he looks at the surveillance camera and says “I’m going to kill you, but I need to decide how far I’m willing to go, how many of my own rules I am willing to break. “ this is a message for Samaritan, and it gives you chills. It made me think back to a previous episode where Elias and Finch are talking and Elias tells Finch that he is the scariest person on the whole team. It is always the quiet ones you have to look out for.
It is at this moment when the fed gets called out of the room and the phone rings. Finch answers it. Through the line comes Roots voice. The machine has decided to take her voice to communicate with them instead of the usual text. Finch asks the machine if it can get him out of there. The Machine’s answer. “Of course I can. You created me.” Then the lights go out.
The episode ends with Reese and Fusco showing up at the prison surrounded by cops. The cop in charge tells them that they have hundreds of escaped prisoners due to the power outage. This leaves Reese to question whether Finch’s number came up because he was a victim or because of what he did at the prison.
This was a heart breaking episode. The body count was really high, and some of my favorite characters got killed off. But it was also the end of Root’s redemption story. She gave her life for Harrold and The Machine that was her God for all intents and purposes. We saw the death of Elias, who had lost most of his friends in the last few episodes and died protecting the one that he had left. The characters in this show are so deep and layered, I am not sure what is going to take its place,
JEFF - I love Star Wars, Star Trek DS9 and TNG, The Flash, Arrow, Equilibrium, anything Christopher Nolan does, The Terminator, Back To The Future, RPGs especially Mass Effect and Dragon Age, martial arts movies, and Bantha Milk!