The first season of Person Of Interest climaxes with the firewall breached — but was it one number too many, or did the Machine cough up a classic? Read our take.
The Good: The flash-forward, suspense from several angles, central story development, Zoe, Alan Turing reference, Finch killing the comms, Machine WTF!? Season 2 set up.
The Bad: The episode lacked that ‘finale feel’ at times, the big twist was a bit predictable.
Thoughts Of Interest
Caroline Turing Twist: Initially I found it a bit disappointing that the finale involved a person of interest who seemed detached from the overarching story, but it soon became clear that there was more to the psychologist than met the eye, there were just too many signals. While the reveal that Caroline Turing was the mysterious Root was ultimately predictable, it delivered good payoff.
Root vs Reese: Root (as Turing) psychoanalysing/scanning Reese was interesting, especially when she asked him whether saving her was making up for someone he didn’t save. Of course, this takes on additional context once we know that Turing is actually Root and probably knows all about Reese, but it’s an interesting question that taps into Reese’s motivation following the death of Jessica. It also poses the question: how many ‘irrelvants’ does Reese have to save until he’s redeemed? And who will be the redeemer, in a story were ‘god’ is the Machine?
Carter & Fusco: They continue to work for me as individuals and important members of Team Avenging Angels. I’m a fan of Carter, she brings a toughness and compassion to proceedings, and it was great to see her reaction when learning that her and Fusco had been fighting on the same side all this time (For a moment, I thought she might be upset by the deception). This was good pay off and important that it resolved before the second season — you could say the storytelling was on time. I’m really interested to see their characters continue to evolve in Season 2.
Finch vs Alicia Corwin: Interesting encounter that brought the Machine mythology into focus; she believes he created ‘god’ and wants him to shut it down. The idea that Finch created ‘god’ is a concept that the story is obliged to address, it further illustrates the high-concept that always attracted me to the show’s premise. While posing the question of what creating the Machine makes Finch, it taps back into the origins of this creation and Finch and Nathan’s different outlooks on the Machine; including the fact that it was Nathan who implored Finch to create a backdoor — a fail-safe should ‘god’ be exploited.
To see the notion of the Machine being turned off come back into play is very interesting given that the lives of ‘irrelevants’ are in the Machine’s hands, so to speak. Can Finch walk away from that? Would it be responsible for him to do so, even though it apparently ‘killed’ Nathan? Indeed, he admits that he’s made some mistakes, but “building the Machine is not one of them”. This is the sort of conviction that further adds to Finch’s complexity. Given how much he’s lost (his fiancee, Nathan, etc) it’s interesting that the entity at the root of all this, is the thing that underpins his faith.
Corwin’s comment about the feeling the Machine “watching us, listening to us” was also fascinating — what this does is further present the Machine has a conscious, self-aware being, something that Finch has previously reinforced through his relationship with the entity.
Finch vs Root: By the time Turing was revealed as Root it was pretty obvious what was going to happen, but as mentioned it was still rewarding and great to see the show follow through with this mystery. She successfully lured Finch out from his ‘firewall’ (which is a great concept in itself) and this presents many interesting possibilities for Season 2. Just what are her designs on the Machine?
Reese vs The Machine: If there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s that POI knows how to deliver a great ending, even when the show was finding its feet. Reese talking directly to the Machine through a street surveillance camera, demanding that it help him get Finch back, brought a chill to the spine:
“He’s in danger now, because he was working for you. So you’re going to help me get him back”
You can’t beat that really — except you can, because then a pay phone rings, suggesting that the Machine heard Reese loud and clear and has made contact. Is the Machine actually self aware?
It’s a crazy ending — even if it turns out not to be the Machine, per se, the curtain has been poked. Personally, I’m wondering if this is part of some additional fail-safe or contingency that Finch installed, though it’s possible that it could be Root calling having successfully entered the Machine. Either way, it’s a fitting way to end the season and does more to present the Machine as a major character in this story. If this is what POI is capable of now, dare we imagine the future?
9/10 Seriable Stars