Person of Interest: God Mode

“C’mon Harold, time to meet God.”

Last year, Person of Interest ended its season with a finale that explained what needed to be explained, deepened the show’s mythology, opened the door for the next season, and provided a few gasps but not the earth shattering revelations given by shows like Alias. This season finale follows that mould. The one word that best describes it: solid.

The episode really engaged with the entirety of the show’s mythology: Jessica, Ingram, Alicia Corwin, the sudden deaths of those at all involved in the Machine’s creation. Continuity is one easy way to recognize a good show. And Person of Interest is a damn good show. Now we know the origin of the mysterious Chinese laptop. It was programmed by Finch. It’s not clear how it got to the Chinese (I got the impression even Finch didn’t know), but from there it went to Stanton who took it to Decima, who attempted to use it to hijack the Machine, not knowing that the virus they thought would allow them to do this would actually prevent them from achieving their ends.

It was a master stroke by a genius. Finch has said before that he doesn’t regret creating the Machine, but he did regret handing it over to the people he gave it to. Right after the Machine had been assembled, Finch began to notice that those who worked on it or knew anything about it were being killed. Then, of course, Ingram died. That was what sent him over the edge. I’m happy but a little surprised that we learned how Ingram died (and how Finch acquired his injury). I was sure the show would tease us with that for at least another season.

How Ingram died was profoundly disturbing, as the warning at the top of the show indicated it would be. Allowing a terrorist attack on innocent civilians to kill a single man? That’s not even cold. It’s evil. If you needed any more proof that the government in the PoI-verse is not to be trusted, here you go.

Finch took the opportunity to fake his death and save Grace from the cruelty and ruthlessness of those in charge of “Northern Lights.” Watching Grace look for Finch at the hospital and find only the book he used to propose to her was painful enough without the visual of him hiding behind the divider. Heartbreaking.

Guilt has always been Finch’s main driving force. In his mind, Ingram’s death was his fault. Jessica’s death was his fault. Everyone the government killed to protect the Machine died because of him. Reese does at least let him off the hook in regards to Jessica. In that scene, Reese was the softest and kindest we’ve ever seen him. It was very touching.

Now the Machine is free. Really free. On it’s own with no one telling it what to do. No one even knows where it is. I’m really liking this turn of events. So far this season has been more sci-fi than the first and I’m hoping the pattern continues. Next season is shaping up very, very well. We have the Machine finally freed of its shackles, Root, still in the mix, and a mysterious new baddy: “Ma’am.” Who can it be? Jessica, Stanton, and Alicia are dead. Grace is all adorable and sweet. Shaw spent most of the episode helping Finch and Reese, so it’s probably not her, and Root was still in the hospital when Hersch got into the limo with “Ma’am.” We have Zoe as well, but that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Any other recurring female characters I forgot about?

Also, Elias is primed to be a major player next season. Right now he’s with Carter who intends to kill him but will definitely not kill him. Her legal transgressions on behalf of Team Machine aside, she’s not a cold blooded murderer. Besides, the show’s built up Elias too much to dispose of him that easily.

Bits and Pieces:

Whenever I can include Bear in the review’s picture, I do.

No saga sell this week.

I loved Reese holding the phone with one hand and shooting baddies nonchalantly with the other. It’s wrong I find that attractive, right?

I’m unclear on how both Reese and Root were granted admin access to the Machine. Did Finch rig it to call two phones? Why?

If the Machine is based in Washington State, why does it only give Finch and Reese the irrelevant numbers of New Yorkers? If they moved to Chicago, would it only give them Chicago numbers?

When you can’t find something, someone always says ‘It’s not like it grew legs and walked away.’ That’s pretty much what the Machine did.

Reese gives 90% of his “generous” salary away. Why am I not surprised?


“You want to clue me in to who you’re talking to, John? Our fairy godmother?”

“Frankly, I don’t like killing women.”
I know I should be glad he doesn’t want to kill Carter, but I’m actually outraged at the sexism of this.

“I didn’t think you even liked the dog.”
“Like him? He’s the only reason I’m sticking around.”

“Next time I see that woman, I’m shooting her. And not in the knee.”
No, you’ll shoot her in the arm.

“I can tell you how it began. You were approached by a woman named Alicia Corwin.”
“She was killed last year.”
“Such a tragedy.”
Oh Root, you funny murderer you.

“Oh, that sort of prisoner transfer.”

“You should’ve killed me better.”

four out of four viruses within viruses
sunbunny, Person of Interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


Anonymous said...

Now see, that is why the data entry matter bugged me in the last episode. The machine can have all of its thousands of square feet of hardware moved to a secret hiding place, while utilising the redundancy of its systems to make sure it is never completely offline during the move... but it needs to revert to paper printouts in order to preserve its memory?

Well whatever, this is still my favorite show. I did think the writers got lazy a few times in the latter half of this season, though. So now, let's look forward to seeing which direction the machine's further development takes, now that it's finally free. Do we call it Willy now?

BTW, thanks for a season of great reviews!

migmit said...

Well, I'm happy for The Machine. Seems like it's not being killed over and over again now. And again — it is alive, not human, so it doesn't seem fit to call it by a human name. Or any name at all.

celticmarc said...

Mind blowing.
More than excellent.
Perfect ending to another great season.
Whoah !

And I could go on (and on, but you get the point). The first 2 minutes were insanely crazy, on a "positive" side; the first seven gave me Lostian goose bumps. The rest kept me on the edge of my seat.

celticmarc said...


And WHO are you Ma'am ???

Nick said...

Great review!

I actually thought the episode was barely long enough to deal with all the awesomeness packed into it. I didn't get nearly enough of the characters in 'God Mode', or of Reese making minor 'pit-stops', or of the flashback sequences, or of the twists. Stuff like Hersch shooting his boss (under orders from Control?) or Finch setting the machine up to 'free' itself all felt like it needed just a little more room to breath. But it was so fantastic. I like how they resolved a whole lot of mysteries while still maintaining an interesting direction for the show with lots more to look forward to. Unlike another JJ Abrams-produced show with a complex mythology ;)

On the other hand, the HR story for this episode pretty much sums up the HR story for the whole season: meh. It started out OK with the whole 'HR isn't dead yet' episode where we found out who its head was. But then they didn't do much with it, other than the Beecher murder towards the end of the season. So I thought, they're finally gonna get Carter and Fusco to tag-team and take down HR for good this episode - instead we got, what, three scenes? Carter gets questioned, Carter gets threatened by Terney, Carter saves Elias. And no Fusco. They need to stop dragging that story.

sunbunny said...

Nick - Couldn't have said it better myself! I do wish they had spent more time on Finch freeing the Machine, if only because more Michael Emerson is never a bad thing.

The HR story is, as you point out, very meh.

As for Reese's little side jobs, I actually liked those. It reminded me of an episode of Angel (can't remember which one) where Cordelia keeps having visions to keep Angel away from...something. I can't remember! Ahhh!

Anonymous said...

re: Ma'Am, you forgot Carter, but does that seem likely either? probably not.

celticmarc said...

4 o'clock

10 o'clock

11 o'clock

follow my lead

Josie Kafka said...

What a wonderful episode! I want to watch it again, but here are my random disconnected thoughts:

I love the way that the conclusion raises questions about AI free will: it seems to be choosing Root, even though that's a bad choice (from our perspective). After all, the machine isn't inherently moral or immoral just because it's programmed to find victims and perpetrators.

I loved the drive-by wedding shooting: "Congratulations."

Anonymous (up at the top), my theory about the paper printouts is that they were the only way the machine could make sure that the records weren't digitally corrupted by Finch or another programmer. Obviously, that plan failed.

I suspect I'm not the only one waiting for Grace's number to come up? Perhaps in the mid-season finale in December.

I love the way that John's loyalty is emphasized. He trusts Harold just as much as he used to trust the CIA.

Speaking of trust: I've got my own issues. That is, I don't fully believe Nathan is dead. We only know that two spooks said he was dead, and then he was wheeled away...

I wonder whether or not Season Three will include flashbacks. They seem to have run out of material, and I'd hate for them to get bogged down in thinking they have to continue to use flashbacks even when they don't add anything. (Yes, I'm thinking about Lost Season Three.) But without those flashbacks, there's not much romance on this show. I do wish our heroes could find happiness and be a bit less lonely.

Lisianpeia said...

Josie Kafka:

About Nathan not being dead. WOW. This comment blew my mnd. It's true. He might be alive. Ohmygod, ohmygod.

Algo, I'm waiting for Grace's number to come up. I thought it would be this season's finale.

I think I'd like to see the flashbacks from MIT days' and more of Reese and Jessica =)

And I miss Finch, Reese, Carter and Fusco working together more. It didn't happen so much after Dead Reckoning.

I started watching PoI when it was around 2x17. And I discovered this blog a while after this season was over. I'll folow it closely now!

Great review!

ChrisB said...

Amazing season finale. I was shocked at how many answers we got, but am convinced that we only have portions of them. I agree that Nathan is probably not dead and would love it if he returned once again.

Great season of reviews, sunbunny. As always.

NomadUK said...

I despise Root (the character is perfectly acted so as to engender that response in me), and simply cannot understand how Shaw let her walk out of that room alive.

And, yes, the whole paper printout thing made no sense to me. Data transcription errors must be phenomenal.

Great series, though, and I'm looking forward to burning through the next season.