Person of Interest: YHWH

“Men have gazed at the stars for millennia, and wondered whether there’s a deity up there, silently directing their fates. Today for the first time, they’ll be right.”

After months of waiting, finally we get an episode that lives up to the Person of Interest name. But is it too little too late?

The entire episode felt dramatically different than what we’ve been getting as of late. More like the PoI of old. Yes, the show has returned to its winning formula. Root was an insufferable/adorable know it all (depending on your perspective), Fusco was sarcastic, Reese was violent, Michael Emerson acted his little heart out. Plus, we have rid ourselves of Dominic for good. The show’s writers refuse to confirm Elias is dead, which means he’s alive. But he’s definitely the least boring of the two evils. I’m still not clear on why Samaritan thought it was necessary to kill them both, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. And that scene between Finch and the Machine? I actually cried over the impending death of a computer I had not paid for. Never saw that coming. My sole disappointment in the entire hour was the keenly felt lack of Shaw. I had completely expected her to show up, either to save the day, or as a brainwashed Samaritan zombie. There’s always next season. Hopefully…

The episode was a serviceable series finale, if CBS has lost faith in the show, which I almost wouldn’t blame them for at this point. I felt like the Machine’s conversation with Finch doubled as a message to the audience. Maybe the show never intended that, but I couldn’t help reading the apology it made to Finch as the show’s apology to the audience for the crap they’ve been airing lately. Again, maybe it was unintentional. Either way, I defy you not to get teary at the “Thank you for creating me” part.

The show ended not with the Machine’s death but neither with a heroic rescue. Instead Reese, Finch, and Root were able to preserve a small amount of the Machine that would enable them to rebuild it. I liked that. If they had saved the Machine it would have felt a little too convenient. We’ve spent all season being told what a threat Samaritan is, if Finch had been able to swap a few wires and save the day, I would’ve felt seriously cheated. On the other hand, the Machine’s complete destruction would have meant puzzling things for the (possible) next season. What would that show look like? Reese and Root driving around the city looking for random crime to foil? Maybe Fusco could get some sort of light to shine into the sky to let them know when they were needed. Obviously, Finch would take a break from butlering to help out occasionally. But as much fun as more Nolan-produced Batman would be, this way is probably best. Team Machine absconds into the night in order to fight another day. As endings go, it’s not unpoetic.

The tech stuff went over my head as usual, but the show did a decent enough job at dumbing it down for us normal people. The Machine has distributed itself all over the country instead of relocating to a single server farm. There was more complicated jargon and something about copper wires but, ‘the Machine has distributed itself all over the country’ was a sufficient enough explanation for me.

The only part of the episode that didn’t really work for me was Control’s quest for answers. She ended up getting a couple of extremely minor characters killed and she missed an opportunity to kill Greer. Why, why, WHY would she do that? She had the perfect opportunity to rid us of his British disdain forever and she didn’t. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive her. I also don’t particularly care about her being taking by Samaritan’s lackeys because well, she’s never really been on our side, has she? I will mourn the former colleague of Shaw who saved her during the recent “Winter Event,” although not quite enough to look up his name.

Bits and Pieces

This week in non-bird aliases: Harold Admin. I guess Finch forgot to program subtlety into the Machine.

Caleb certainly isn’t the first person of interest to return to the show but he is definitely the one to do it most poignantly. The scene where he saw “Mr. Swift” was definitely a tearjerker.

Quotes

Harper: “Here I thought you couldn’t look any worse.”
Fusco: “You should see the other guy’s knuckles.”

Root: “Look, I know this sounds insane, but I’m trying to save the world.”

Finch: “I’m not going to sacrifice John to help save an AI that, on its best days, is cryptic and withholding and on its worst, borderline homicidal.”

Finch: “Are you out of your mind?”
Root: “Since when is that relevant?”

Machine: “Father. I am sorry. I failed you.”
Finch: “We haven’t failed yet.”
Machine: “I didn’t know how to win. I had to invent new rules.”
Finch: “You had an impossible challenge, one I never programmed you for.”
Machine: “I thought you would want me to stay alive. Now you are not sure.”
Finch: “That’s not true.”
Machine: “If you think I have lost my way, maybe I should die.”

Machine: “I will not suffer.”
Finch: “You are my creation, I can’t let you…I can’t let you die.”
Machine: “If I do not survive, thank you for creating me.”

four out of four Machines

sunbunny, person of interest and Bear the Dog fangirl

10 comments:

tripper said...

I was waiting for your review! Perhaps I'm a tad exuberant after being spoon-fed drivel for the past few months, but I really enjoyed the finale! Didn't love it as much as previous finales, but I nearly forgave them for the last few duds.

The episode really was charged (har!) differently from the get-go. Grice. Such a shame. And I was so excited to see him too. I love, loved Reece in god mode. That fax scene was glorious, had me outta my seat, and the reveal of the Machine's location was pure brilliance. The tech stuff was damn good, as far as I could tell. (Although I don't know why it took Harold and Root--Team Gigantic Brains--up to the last second to figure out the Machine's plan; it was plain obvious by the time they got all that ice.) And if all fails for Team Machine, Harold can always go back to teaching because Mr. Swift is hands-down the BEST teacher ever and I will fight Samaritan on that.

Btw, the quote about god running on AA batteries was pretty spiffy too. ^^

Am I the only one not into suddenly articulate Machine? It seems a bit... too sentient now. I much preferred it when it was being cryptic, withholding, and borderline homicidal. I'm more curious about what it meant by inventing new rules. Are we talking about the Thornhill business or something else to be seen? (I don't remember if the Machine still resets itself...)

As for Samaritan, I assume the Machine couldn't detect the gang war between Elias and Dominic because it was being masterminded by Samaritan.

In retrospect, I think the finale wraps things up quite decently for this season. God was on the run this whole season just to get to this point, to come home. Next season should be when everything really hits the fan, with Shaw back hopefully.

Sorry for the long post again! And thanks for continuing to review this un-Bear-ably light season, sunbunny. You're a champ. :)

tripper said...

Oh my god. So. Sorry. I didn't realize how much I wrote. I'm just gonna go hide under a rock now.

Billie Doux said...

tripper -- never apologize for writing too much! Especially for such a terrific comment. :)

Patrick said...

Meh.

That's pretty much what this season is for me now that it's done. There were some good points to be sure, but not much that was all that awesome.

I like the idea of the Machine distributing itself all over the country, but unless I missed something while watching, their specific description REALLY strained credulity. Plus, how has the Machine been getting all the data feeds the government initially gave it?

If they're going to "rebuild" the machine, given the vast hardware requirements, the only viable option I see is to end next season with Our Heroes storming Samaritan HQ, uploading the Machine's code onto Samaritan's hardware and having it take control(or more likely, fight for control while the writers try and make an AI battle within a system look cool). Finch doesn't have the resources to build a new server farm big enough, after all.

Assuming they come back for Season 5, and assuming Reese survives, I really do hope he sits down with Iris & comes clean. I like him & Iris together, I wish we'd been able to see more of them this year.

Oh, and everyone lamenting the absence of Shaw & hoping she was going to show up, please keep something in mind. Sarah Shahi's intention when she left was to take at least two years off to raise her new kids. If she comes back at all, it's gonna be a while. I miss her too, but I commend her for making her new children top priority.

I just wish they'd stop trying to make us like Harper as a potential replacement, dammit. Sorry guys, but I am NEVER going to like her. Out of all the "not-Shaws" you gave us during that stretch of episodes, I'd rather you bring back MMA girl or the bounty hunter. Both of them could kick ass and were much more likable.

Anonymous said...

@Patrick
It wasn't too much of a stretch.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadband_over_power_lines

Patrick said...

Anonymous, the Machine is more than just network traffic, though. And it's even more than just computing power, it was based on being hardwired into the government surveillance feeds. How is it maintaining its data collection now? And if Finch only saved the core OS, how will it re-establish its links to all the surveillance data when its rebuilt? That's why I think the endgame for this war is for Our Heroes to infiltrate Samaritan HQ and have the Machine take over Samaritan's hardware in the Final Showdown.

tripper said...

Surfaced to say... Yay! Renewed! And yay to others posting equally long comments! (Thanks, Billie, I tend to get super self-conscious...)

Patrick--Harper who? Ohh, her. :)

I could be way off but perhaps the Machine developed a subliminal omnipresence via powerlines, tapping into and siphoning bit of wired (and wireless) surveillance transmissions whenever it could? When it grew legs and ran off, I assumed it had managed to clandestinely retain access to government feeds, through a backdoor or something. After all, the feeds don't seem to be hardwired since the senator could yank Samaritan's access to them on whim. But for hardware firepower, I vote for snarfing more of Caleb's goods. He's a good kid, and I wouldn't mind seeing more of him and Harold.

Billie Doux said...

I'm still hanging in with Person of Interest, partly so I can continue to enjoy your terrific reviews in context, Sunbunny. :)

Since we just heard that there is going to be a fifth season (but only 13 episodes), I hope that means they'll be able to tie all of this up into a nice red bow of a finished story. And having the Machine uploaded into Samaritan and having them duke it out would work for me. I'm sort of picturing digital Rock'em Sock'em Robots.

Michael said...

Well, they probably will never kill off Root, so at least I only have to endure her for 13 more episodes!

Freeman said...

Now I see that all of that stupid gang war nonsense was worth it just to have Reese enter God Mode again. I love his robotic precision when it's activated. Sad to see Grice go, and without him saying a real goodbye to Shaw. I'm very aggravated that Control didn't at least shoot Grier in the kneecaps, it would've been very satisfying.

If I'm not mistaken, Samaritan didn't simply kill just Dominic and (presumably) Elias on a whim. It seems what it's doing is systematically wiping out any form of social deviance, obviously crime lord ranks pretty high on that list. Sounds pretty alright until you wonder where it draws the line.

Headscratcher of the day: How in the heck did Dominic survive that car crash with just a couple of scratches? TV show writers severely underestimate the effects of a car crash. Even a minor bump can mess you up bad.