Person of Interest: B.S.O.D.

“I know you can’t talk right now, but maybe that’s better than hearing all our numbers are up.”

This episode was basically about the race to plug your iPhone in before its battery runs out. I shouldn’t have watched it on the edge of my seat and I shouldn’t have cried, but I did both those things.

We open with a foreboding voiceover by Root and shots of the batcave, abandoned. It’s over, she tells us. This is all that’s left. Everyone, including herself, might be dead. Now, I usually hate things like this but it really, really worked here. It felt so…final. You get the idea that the writers knew very well that this was their last season and they are going to wrap it up in a satisfactorily final manner. It was comforting, knowing that the writers started writing the season with this expectation. No cliffhanger series finales here.

Then we go back in time and pick up where we left off last season. Root, Finch, and Reese, completely without cover, attempting to save a briefcase that contained The Machine as they were hunted down by Samaritan lackeys. It’s amazing that what once was a creative procedural drama has now morphed into a sci-fi dystopian nightmare. Not many shows can do that.

The idea that Samaritan is able to manipulate and control everyday citizens is downright terrifying. That no one knows it’s going on is far worse. In the subway, it’s able to decide who would be most likely to take action against Root and what information to give them in order to make them act. It’s playing with the world like some sort of perverse dollhouse. It’s extremely creepy is my point.

As I stated in the intro, the center of the episode was trying to get the Machine plugged in before it ran out of batteries which really should not have been as compelling as it was. The show made its stakes clear: if the Machine’s power source dies, it dies. As unbelievable as it sounds, the Machine is a character on the show and its death would have been affecting. Further, it wasn’t at all clear that they were going to save the Machine. Root’s opening voice over combined with the knowledge that this is the show’s final season made me think they might really let the Machine go and leave the team completely on their own. Fortunately, they managed to save the day and the Machine thanks to a bunch of Playstations and some quick thinking on Reese’s part.

Now: Fusco. After the shootout last season, it’s revealed that not only Dominic but also Elias are dead, which surprised me. I was sure they’d find a way to save Elias but maybe it’s better that they didn’t. The show is laser focused on its core five (and Bear) and their eventual fates. Fusco who started the show a dirty cop, is now the polar opposite. He insisted to internal affairs that the insane version of the story, where a sniper took out both crime lords and left Fusco standing for unknown reasons, is the truth. Last season I wondered why they left Fusco, a witness to Samaritan’s killings, alive. Now it’s revealed that he’s their fall guy. Fusco heroically killed Dominic in self defense. They even managed to get Fusco a commendation, obviously with the hope that he’ll just take the praise and let the conspiracy theory go. Fusco, to his credit, isn’t willing to do that.

The show debuted a different method of flashing back for the season. They used to show dates and use MPOV to orient viewers to what was happening, which they’ve abandoned as the Machine is, for this episode at least, out of the picture. They also used to use color to denote flashbacks, generally opting for a bluer tone for the past. Here, they used the color briefly but the flashbacks themselves looked just like the rest of the show. I didn’t mind the change, but I’m wondering about the calculus behind it. Did they want the flashbacks to seem more significant, more relevant? Grace was back, bringing Finch ice cream and walking her adorable dog. I so hope she and Finch get a happy ending together. I want that for all the characters, really, although I doubt they’re all going to make it out of the season alive.

The flashbacks also showed us the genesis of Finch’s decision to wipe the Machine’s memory every night and that he had a lot of hesitation in doing so. This was appropriately linked to the current predicament, with Finch wondering if he hadn’t made that decision, the Machine might have been better able to defend itself against Samaritan.

Bits and Pieces

When Finch was pretending with Grace that the Machine was a person he used the pronoun “he;” at the end of the episode, for what I believe is the first time, he referred to the Machine as “she.”

Bear brought Finch a fire extinguisher. Such a Lassie moment.


Finch: “It’s burgeoning intelligence is a little unsettling.”
Ingram: “Spoken like a true parent.”

Root: “You can just call me Root, bitch.”

Reese: “Right now we need a heartbeat and when doing CPR, sometimes you gotta crack a few ribs.”

Root: “Just needed a new change. Got a new job, fell in love.”
And Shoot shippers rejoiced.

The Machine: “But if you erase my memories, how will I learn from my mistakes? How will I continue to grow? How will I remember you?”
I definitely teared up right here.

Root: “You built something better than us, Harold. Intellectually, morally superior. You weren’t comfortable with that.”
Finch: “How could anyone be?”
Root: “I am. Because it’s a reflection of you.”

three and a half out of four briefcases

sunbunny, person of interest and Bear the Dog fangirl


seekingoutfriday said...

I am so happy this show is back!

Billie Doux said...

It's a girl! Finally! :) Great start to the final season, and a lovely review, sunbunny.

Siddharth M. said...

The creators have said that the previous flash backs were the machine reviewing old footage to update it's own understanding/programming. As the machine is down, the flashback method is different.

It's this kind of attention to detail that makes the show so great

Baby M said...

According to my son the computer engineer, the show was uncharacteristically fast and loose with the technology in this episode--but I'm inclined to let that slide because the flashback scenes with Finch talking to The Machine about death and memory were so powerful.