Summary: Samaritan barely survives the virus and plans to upload itself to a satellite so that it can recover and return. Finch and Reese head out to kill the remaining part of Samaritan, hidden away on a single server. Finch discovers that they have just 18 minutes to stop Samaritan being uploaded to the satellite and that somebody needs to sacrifice their life. Finch locks Reese away and attempts to give up his life. However, The Machien frees Reese who then freely makes the sacrifice himself after The Machine leads Finch to the wrong building. Reese dies, but Samaritan is stopped. Shaw and Fusco protect The Machine from Samaritan's men. Shaw meets Jeff who she identifies as Root's killer. Jeff escapes an wounds Fusco. Fusco survives and Shaw hunts down Jeff to kill him. Finch goes off the grid and is presumed dead, but he has reunited with Grace. The Machine successfully uploaded itself to the satellite and returns in time. Shaw and Fusco presumably continue to work for it.
The Good: This was a terrific way to end the show, and this episode capitalized on the many emotions of a TV show coming to a close.
The opening scene started things out brilliantly, reminding me of the season-opening monologue back in "B.S.O.D." before following it up with flashforwards that strongly hinted at Finch dying to stop Samaritan. I was invested from that moment and I found myself desperate to figure out if Finch would make it out alive.
Finch and Reese's story was the best part of this episode. Their friendship has been wonderful throughout the series and it fittingly got the spotlight in this episode. Every moment between the two of them in this episode was wonderful, and the acting from both Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel certainly lived up to the moments. Jim Caviezel has come along way from the boring, charisma-vacuum he was in season 1, partly because the writers worked around his limitations and mostly from him actually improving as an actor during the show's run. His work in this episode was great and I really bought into the idea of him wanting to save Finch. I particularly enjoyed that Reese actually raised his voice when Finch left him caged, which marks one of the only times I've actually heard Reese panic in such a way. It's a brilliant way to show us how important Finch is to Reese.
Reese's sacrifice was a highlight of the series. The moment was so emotional, and I think that having Amy Acker be a stand-in for The Machine was perfect, and it gave The Machine's powerful dialogue about death much more of an impact when we got to see Amy Acker acting out The Machine's slight emotional reaction to the events that were unfolding. I really enjoyed Reese's heroic final stand, and also Finch's distress when he realized that he had been tricked by the two that he trusted more than anyone else because they wanted to save his life.
Shaw and Fusco's story was also quite good. I enjoyed that the underground base got to have a presence in the final episode, and Shaw bringing life to the subway train was a really cool moment. Better yet was Shaw coming face to face with Root's killer. The Shaw from the beginning of the series wouldn't hesitate to kill him, but it shows real character that Shaw actually let him live before ultimately killing him when she realized that everyone she cared about (minus Fusco) were likely dead. Another great moment for Shaw came when The Machine told her of Root's final words. I can totally buy that Root would have some final words prepared for The Machine in case she died, and the words had a very profound impact on Shaw, even making her shed a tear which I thought was very good storytelling. Sarah Shahi has been a gem, and her outstanding work on this show has often gone unnoticed.
The epilogue part of the episode was really nice. It did its job as a fond farewell to all of the characters while also showing us the fates of Fusco, Shaw and Finch. Each character managed to find their peace in the end, and I found myself cheering when Finch and Grace reunited and when Shaw was contacted by The Machine to continue to save people. Shaw has finally come full circle and has gone from a ruthless killer following orders to a good person making her own decision to save lives.
The Bad: Unfortunately, I found a lot of this finale to have been rushed. So much happened in this episode and I think everything would have landed even better than it did if there had been time for every moment to sink in. This episode had the impossible task of compressing the climax of the whole show and the epilogue into just 45 minutes, which was always going to be unsatisfying. I wish that this episode had been given an extra 15 minutes so that there could have been more set-up in the first half of the episode so that we weren't just rushing from exposition to exposition to set up Reese's big sacrifice.
One of the biggest casualties of the rushed nature of this episode was Reese and Fusco losing their jobs. This should have been a massive moment for the show because it leaves both Reese and Fusco vulnerable for Samaritan. Yet it feels horribly out of place in this finale because both characters' arcs are resolved at the end of an episode where they are faced with a major change to deal with. It means that the big moment of them being arrested, which should be a very climactic moment, means absolutely nothing to the story as a whole. Hell, I was able to cut that entire scene out of my summary of the episode without any problems.
This episode had a bunch of outstanding moments, but there was very little time to go from moment to moment. The episode didn't get the chance to breathe and really soak in the emotion and weight of each moment. We never see anybody mourn Reese. We never see Samaritan directly react to being shut off. We never see what happens to the world during the period when The Machine was inactive. There are many such instances of things like this throughout the episode, and I feel that I have to blame the cancellation of the show for this. Had this season been given 20+ episodes, all of this could have certainly been explored.
I was confused why Jeff was left alive. It didn't make any sense why he wouldn't have at least been knocked out or left for the police. Furthermore, Jeff almost killing Fusco went nowhere. Another example of the rushed nature of this episode. There should have been more drama in wondering if Fusco was going to make it out of the series alive.
This is just a nitpick but how did Finch not notice that his briefcase was empty? Surely there would be a weight difference.
The Unknown: Will Fusco and Shaw continue to work for The Machine?
Will The Machine reach out to the government for the relevant numbers or will it just create its own crew of elite assassins?
How did the world change after Samaritan and The Machine were taken out?
Best Moment: The entire sequence of Reese's sacrifice was some of the best television thsi show has produced. The Machine's lengthy monologue about death and its meaning set up the atmosphere perfectly as Reese went out like a hero, the way he always should have. There was so much emotion to this and it was a fitting way to end Reese's character.
Character of the Episode: Reese.
Conclusion: I thought this was an awesome finale even if it was rushed. There was more than enough emotion to this and I found myself to be satisfied overall. I just wish that there could have been more time given to this story because there was so much potential for some even better stories to be told here.
This season was a brilliant way to end the show. There was a healthy mix of POI cases, drama between The Machine and Samaritan, strong character conclusions and emotional moments. This season had everything to be a strong conclusion to the series. The only problem I had was that it was too short. It feels like there was supposed to be much more to the story that was being told, and a number of storylines and episode felt like they were rushed just so we could end the story in a meagre 13 episodes.
The series itself was one extremely fun ride. I'm very glad that I watched this show, and I give my thanks to Ben who recommended it to me. The show started off very poorly and it made a pretty bad first impression. But after that, it became one of a very small number of shows that actually corrected its problems and became a much better show as it went on. There's nothing more satisfying than watching a show live up to its full potential, and that's exactly what this show did. There were plenty of standout episodes that I've already watched several times, and I'm already itching to rewatch the best episodes of the show. Sure there are plenty of POI case episodes that I likely won't watch again, but there are always poor episodes in procedural TV shows. In the end, the good certainly outweighed the bad and the show ended with a bang.
Summary: Finch smuggles the virus closer towards Samaritan with The Machine's help. Finch infiltrates the NSA and plugs in the virus, but before he can activate the password, he is captured by Samaritan men. Reese and Shaw are guided by The Machine where they steal a modem and activate it. Finch is met by Greer and they argue about the existence of both AIs. It's revealed that the virus will kill The Machine too. During the argument, Finch accidentally reveals that The Machine doesn't know the password. Greer activates poison gas to try to kill himself and Finch. Greer dies but Finch escapes when The Machine contacts him via the modem Reese and Shaw set up. Finch goes to save Reese and Shaw and they escape. Finch activates the virus. Fusco is captured by Agent LeRoux. Fusco is able to turn the tables on LeRoux.
The Good: Finch's mission is a lot of fun to watch. It's satisfying to see him finally working at full force with The Machine to infiltrate the NSA. There are lots of clever moments showing The Machine's capabilities, and it made me buy into the idea of Finch actually succeeding in uploading the virus. That added to the tension, and the scenes in the latter half of the episode were a lot of fun because I was unsure if the virus would actually get installed or not.
The subject of the virus led to the return of the phenomenal philosophical talks between Finch and Greer which was excellent. I thought the revelation that the virus will kill The Machine as well as Samaritan added to the stakes and the discussion both, and it also led to some wonderful exploration of the relationship between Finch and The Machine. I liked that Greer put Finch in a position where he was forced to reveal his feelings about why he was willing to sacrifice The Machine to take out Samaritan, and the emphasis on human will in this episode worked as an overall theme.
What furthered the exploration into the theme of free will were those simulations that The Machine showed Finch of what would become of everyone had they not been involved with The Machine. These tied in with Finch's idea of free will and where each of the characters would end up whether there was an AI around or not. The resulting world being a mixture of good and bad was perfect, and it really highlighted how the world will simply go on no matter what happens. It added extra weight to Finch's big decision at the end of the episode, because at that point he knew that the world wouldn't necessarily be a better place without The Machine, yet he decided to pull the plug anyways.
The ending itself is huge. Samaritan has already started to glitch out and it's only a matter of time until both AIs are dead. It's an exciting cliffhanger that promises a huge episode up next to close out the show. This episode was a perfect set-up episode in this regard.
The Bad: Greer's death was wholly unsatisfying. It made sense to have him die believing in Samaritan continuing his legacy, but I felt that his death was so unnecessary and ultimately meaningless, almost as if the writers couldn't come up with a logical way to kill him. The fact that he died in the chamber but Finch somehow survived made little sense to me and it felt like too convenient of a way to write Greer out of the story. Furthermore, the motivation behind him killing himself made no sense. Surely he needs to stay alive to ensure that people listen to Samaritan and to ensure that there is a human in charge of everyone else. An AI can't exactly interact with the human world, there needs to be a man in charge to do that for it.
Why was it so simple for Finch to get to Samaritan? Surely there should have been a much better defense system in place in case Finch got through. After dealing with Samaritan as a villain for 2 full seasons, it shouldn't have been this easy to get to it.
The Unknown: Did Fusco kill LeRoux?
Can The Machine or Samaritan somehow survive the virus? Can the virus be removed somehow?
What will be everyone's fate? If The Machine is destroyed, what purpose would all of the characters have? What will be their ending?
Best Moment: Finch and Greer's lengthy debate about if the world would be better off without a godly AI in charge. These two had me glued to my seat.
Character of the Episode: Finch.
Conclusion: This was a great set-up episode that got me really excited for the series finale. There was one major misstep with Greer's anticlimactic death, but other than that this was great.
Summary: Reese, Fusco, and Shaw briefly mourn Root but they have to move on as the next POI is the president. Reese attends a gala where the president is going to be and encounters Logan. Shaw is there too and together they prevent a placed bomb from killing anyone. A warning appears stating that the president will die tomorrow because of illegal government surveillance. Shaw captures a suspect and she interrogates him. She releases him and follows him to his group. Fusco is her back-up. They discover a group of normal people who want to make a change. Together, everyone saves the president from the threat on his life. Logan is revealed to be part of a group consisting of himself, Joey and Harper who now work for The Machine to save lives. They secure a safe exit for Reese, Fusco and Shaw and give Reese a lead on Finch. Meanwhile, Finch is on the run and makes it to a Samaritan facility where he installs a virus. He escapes with the help of The Machine.
The Good: This episode felt like the definitive, final number-of-the-week case. There was some extra effort put in, making this case feel more important and enjoyable than usual, and the four main characters each got to have their moments to shine throughout the episode. Furthermore, having the team save the president felt like a great final mission, and having it be a total success gave the number-of-the-week cases a feel-good ending despite teasing us more than usual that something might go wrong.
I really liked the reveal of Logan, Joey and Harper being another team hired by The Machine. It makes perfect sense since there are obviously other places outside New York where crime takes place. Of course there have to be multiple teams to stop crime elsewhere in America. It's an interesting way to have the show address a plot hole that has existed since the very beginning of the show. Additionally, it serves as a passing of the torch as it seems like the original crew have been replaced and their legacy lives on through the lives of the people they have saved that decided to do good. It's a really uplifting story and it provides a beautiful conclusion for the POI cases regardless of what happens in the final two episodes.
The most interesting parts of this episode were the small character moments. Shaw was a stand-out as we got to see her mourning Root by falling further into her emotionless shell than usual. The scene where she tortured Charlie was borderline uncomfortable and it nicely demonstrated Shaw falling back into brutality to avoid facing her emotions. I do wonder if she was subconsciously reminiscing of her first meeting with Root where she got tortured, which is a nice touch.
Finch's side story was a lot of fun too. There were some good moments where he got to reveal how he is dealing with Root's death which felt very organic since having to listen to her voice constantly would force him to face these emotions. Additionally, watching The Machine operate at full potential is as joyful as ever, and I really enjoyed the sequence where Finch escaped from the Samaritan location using many of The Machine's loopholes.
Technically this episode isn't entirely accurate as a summation of POI cases because majority of the usual tropes and cliches weren't used in this episode. Though that definitely isn't a bad thing, and I'm glad that the show avoided falling into its biggest pitfalls in this episode. Hell we even got a scene where Reese and Shaw intentionally let a captive go instead of them randomly becoming sloppy and letting him escape. I liked that a lot.
The Bad: This episode wasn't perfect. The villains were boring and I never really felt any fear for the life of the president or the main characters. The attempt to escalate the stakes by having the president be a number didn't really work at all because of this episode's placement. The last episode was the most intense episode of the entire show, so no matter what the next episode was always going to feel like a step down.
I also wasn't a fan of Reese and Shaw escaping so easily, even if they did have Joey's help. They took shots at the president, surely the secret service would have locked down the whole building.
Logan having a lead on Finch which popped out of nowhere was a bit too convenient for my liking. The writers didn't even try to hide how convenient it was.
The Unknown: Are there more teams working for The Machine? Will we ever see more teams? Will these three help out Team Machine in the next two episodes? The tone of their conversation with Reese didn't really seem to suggest that though.
Were Logan, Joey and Harper originally supposed to have more significant roles in the story? I wonder how much was lost when the show got cancelled. I am happy with them showing up as brief cameos, but I do feel like there is potential for more story.
Where was that virus from? Was it the one that Finch obtained earlier in the season? Or is it a new one? I'm not entirely sure.
Best Moment: Probably the final conversation between Reese and Fusco, and Logan, Joey and Harper. It felt like a passing of the torch moment.
Character of the Episode: Shaw.
Conclusion: This was a fun episode with a sense of finality. It neatly celebrated the show's run and made me feel the emotion of the show reaching its end. Even though the story was nothing special, I appreciated this episode.
Summary: Finch goes to the place he and Grace had their first date but that gives away his cover. Elias smuggles Finch back to the hotel where he met Reese and hides him there. Reese, Root and Shaw give the attack to Samaritan but they still send men to get Finch. Elias tries to get Finch out to escape but he is killed and Finch is taken. Root and Shaw arrive to free Finch and Root drives him away while Shaw stays behind to fight. Samaritan's men give chase but Root kills them. Jeff is guided to a sniper spot where he shoots at the car and ends up hitting Root. The police stop the car and Finch is arrested. Root succumbs to her wounds. While being interrogated, Finch decrees that he will kill Samaritan for what it has done. The Machine, using Root's voice, contacts Finch and breaks him out of the prison. Reese and Shaw go to the prison to find Finch but discover that he has escaped while Fusco goes to the hospital where he learns of Root's fate.
The Good: What a crazy episode! The most impressive part about this episode was its pacing. This episode was packed with huge, impactful moments that flowed from one to each other at a breathless and rapid pace, and yet the episode still gave each moment the perfect amount of time for it to really stick and leave an impact on us. I'm not sure that I've ever seen an episode paced this well before.
The fantastic pacing aided the palpable tension that was felt throughout the episode. With Finch as the POI this week, the episode immediately felt important, and with only 4 episodes left until the show's conclusion, it felt like everyone was in danger. Because of that sense of danger, the frantic pace and the importance of the episode, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It really felt like this episode would have some huge consequences, as the constant hinting of Finch saying he doesn't want to lose any friends made it really seem like there was going to be a major loss in this episode.
And then the deaths hit in the middle portion of the episode and they were both outstanding moments. I'll start with Elias who got a perfect farewell in his final scenes. I thought that Elias' "death" in "YHWH" was seriously underwhelming and I didn't feel anything from it. This was handled so much better. In these last two episode we finally got to see Elias shine as a character as he joined Team Machine full-time. I think Elias was severely underutilized in the first 4 seasons, so it feels refreshing for him to get the spotlight he deserves. His final scenes were all brilliant as the show really celebrated his character and the way that he inspired loyalty in the criminal underground with so many allies hidden away in that hotel complex. Additionally, the return to the hotel complex was perfect. It's where we first got to know Elias and it's also where we get to say goodbye to him as well. His actual death was excellently done. It was such a sudden moment, but I think that really helped accentuate the shock and fear of his death as well as the impact that his death had on Finch who was standing right there. The scene was paced perfectly too, his death came as a sudden gut-punch but the scene kept going, giving us frequent shots of Elias' motionless body to allow the moment to really sink in for us and allow the heavy emotion of his loss to really settle in. After that, the suspense throughout the rest of the episode practically killed me. Elias was gone only halfway through the episode and his death entirely got me to believe that anybody else could die in the back half of the episode. The tension in the episode was immediately elevated by this change.
Following Elias, we had to say farewell to Root as well. Root's death was handled similarly to Elias' where she wasn't given any grand, dramatic farewell. She simply took a fatal wound protecting her friend and died later in the episode. The slow reveal of her death was really well done and it came off as a confirmation of our worst fears which added to the bleak tone of the episode. Furthermore, I like the idea of Root dying to save Finch as it nicely rounded off the redemption arc her character went through in heartbreaking fashion.
The episode did a nice job of celebrating Root as a character while also touching on her key relationships. We got some final scenes between her and Finch as they continued to discuss the state of The Machine and what needs to be done, but this time there was less conflict than before. It was simply a case of Root letting Finch know that she has faith in him, which does make me wonder if The Machine had actually informed her that she was going to die. Additionally, we got some ridiculous over-the-top action scene from Root as she blew up that car which I think is a fair way to give her one last hurrah, even if it did have some drawbacks to it (see: The Bad). We also got a lovely scene between Root and Shaw during the shootout as they got to embrace each other in the heat of battle. The moment was lovely, and I applaud the writers for deciding to make Root and Shaw's defining couple-moment to be them killing people together, which is certainly the more logical way for them to bond rather than holding hands like they did earlier in the episode. That showed that the writers understood what made this relationship work. As a final way to honour Root, the episode adds in a wonderfully powerful final touch of getting The Machine to pick Root's voice to use.
I thought the ending of the episode was phenomenal. Finch's speech to Samaritan at the end was probably the show's single greatest moment (see: Best Moment) as we got to see the "pot boil over" as Elias had referenced a couple episodes ago. After witnessing two of his friends die, Finch is in no mood to sit around in some cell. He has finally been pushed past his limit and Michael Emerson does a fantastic job of portraying Finch's disappointment in how he got punished so badly while trying to be the morally correct one. Finch's sadness and regret is easy to see and the way he channels that and turns it into desire for vengeance is completely understandable and a very logical step for the character to take. In the end, this whole episode built up to this moment and I'm very excited to see what Finch does next.
Lastly, I really liked the way that Finch ended up getting his cover blown. Having him visit the place where he and Grace had their first date felt like a genuinely human moment. Before embarking on the final war with Samaritan, Finch allowed himself one moment to appreciate his life, and that one moment caused all of the mayhem in this episode which resulted in him losing 2 very close friends.
The Bad: A few odd things didn't work for me. The show has been extremely inconsistent with how covers are blown. I thought for sure that Reese's cover was blown multiple times in previous episodes, but for some reason he can just keep using his detective Riley alias. So when Finch's cover gets blown for something so small and trivial, it doesn't make sense to me at all, and it makes less sense how Samaritan can so easily keep track of him when it was so easy for Team Machine to lose Samaritan in earlier episodes.
Root destroying that car in such a cartoonish way didn't really fit the episode. I've grown to enjoy the show's cheesy action scenes since they are very clearly done in a way to sort of mock the trope, but I thought the addition of a parody action scene in one of the most intense episodes of the series was a poor idea. The sudden and convenient removal of the minigun threat, coupled with the ridiculous idea of Root shooting at it with pinpoint accuracy while driving a car really didn't work for me at all and it made the main characters seem invincible in an episode which had made a point of removing all plot armour from every character. Add in the laughably bad explosion at the end of the scene, and it really took me out of the episode for a couple of minutes.
Having Elias come back to life only to die a few episodes later was odd and it didn't make his return feel very important. I presume this only happened because of the cancellation so I can forgive it. Plus, the writers used his character perfectly after his return so I can say that it definitely wasn't a waste of time.
I'm not sure if I missed anything, but how can Finch talk to The Machine directly through cameras? Isn't Samaritan listening too?
The Unknown: What is Finch going to do next? Does he have any plan to attack Samaritan? Where will he go to be safe? How are Root, Shaw and Fusco going to find him?
Best Moment: Finch's speech was an outstanding moment. Michael Emerson is fantastic every time I see him, and I think this was his best work in this show. Every line was delivered with the perfect amount of anger, regret and sadness and I think that made it so much easier to really understand Finch's emotions throughout this scene. This was the perfect way to mark Finch's transformation from a weak, kind-hearted guy into a vengeful monster.
Character of the Episode: Finch for sure.
Conclusion: This was an incredible episode. So much was accomplished in this episode without anything feeling rushed which really impressed me. Two major deaths, a shocking but believable character transformation, and epic cliffhanger and an outstanding pace. This episode had it all, and because of that, I think this was the best episode of the show so far and I don't think it will be topped.
Summary: Reese captures the next POI, Easton, and discovers that he is being blackmailed by The Voice. The Voice ends up trapping Reese and Fusco in the precinct and they discover that he is trying to kill somebody in the facility. They learn that this person is Amir, who knows the identity of The Voice. Finch and Elias investigate together and find The Voice's base, learning that The Voice is actually in the precinct. The Voice is actually Easton who kills Amir and escapes. But Finch and Elias find him and Elias kills him. Meanwhile, Shaw returns and encounters Root who brings her back to the crew. Reese finally tells Fusco about The Machine.
The Good: The return of The Voice is fun, and it's nice to see one of the forgotten characters from early in the show get some pay-off by the end of the series. The story surrounding The Voice is very strong and it made for some very good drama. After the lockdown happened, the tension was there throughout the episode, and before that, the episode was dominated by mystery and intrigue. It's a nice build-up to the climax with escalating stakes and there ended up being some really good moments to set up the big twist at the end.
I really enjoyed Elias' involvement in this episode. He is so much fun and I really wish he was given a central role like this in more episodes. His interactions with Finch are fun, his mob boss persona allows for him to solve some problems that are very different from the problems that our main characters solve, and his ruthless nature makes him unpredictable and fresh as part of the team.
The few scenes we got between Shaw and Root were very good. I liked the continuity from "6,741" with Shaw referencing her simulations where she couldn't bear to kill Root. I love the idea of Root choosing to kill herself in response to convince Shaw to stop, showing that Samaritan wasn't able to properly convey all of Root's emotions in the simulation. It seems that not all of humanity can be predicted by AIs.
The ending of the episode was nice and seems to set up for the show's endgame. The five main characters are finally back together again, and all of them are aware of the stakes of the war they are about to enter. The ending suggests that the real battle is going to begin now, and I can't wait.
The Bad: Unfortunately, this episode didn't work at all as a part of the overall story. The individual story with The Voice was fine and I had fun with it, but the big developments that happened here all fell flat for me.
There were many things that I was disappointed by in this episode. One was Shaw's escape from South Africa being skipped entirely. How did she get from there to Mexico? Did Samaritan not give chase? How did she evade all of the cameras? How did she survive? It would have been ideal to see more of her efforts to return to the crew. I suppose I have the cancellation of the show to blame for the rushed nature of Shaw's return.
Speaking of rushed, I was extremely disappointed by Shaw's reunion with everyone. There was hardly any reaction and I was really confused by the lack of emotion. It badly detracted from my emotional reaction to Shaw's return, and it made the moment feel almost useless. It's a far cry from the reunion scenes from "Lost" which were emotional and memorable every single time. Additionally, it's poor to have Shaw's return be the C-story in an episode instead of it being the primary focus. It downplays the importance of the moment.
Fusco learning about The Machine was similarly rushed. There is very little focus on Reese and Finch choosing to bring Fusco in, which is poor because there was so much time dedicated to explaining why they couldn't bring Fusco in. Why did they change their minds? The answer is that I don't know, and that shouldn't be how I feel after characters make a crucial decision. Additionally, Reese actually telling Fusco about The Machine is skipped entirely which is a terrible move from the writers. After building to this big moment for 5 seasons, it feels cheap to just skip it.
I also didn't like the Easton twist. It felt too convenient and easy of an twist without enough foreshadowing. Furthermore, it made The Voice into as bland and generic of a villain as possible. He monologued, conveniently escaped and failed to be particularly threatening.
I thought Root's scene when she was watching Stone was really bad. She didn't have anyone to talk to so she just randomly spilled out all of her thoughts for us to hear. The scene was rushed too and wasn't allowed the time to visually show us what had happened. Instead, Root simply tells us what happened. A more skillfully crafted scene could have gotten the same point across without any dialogue, and it also would have been a little longer to have some time to breathe.
The Unknown: Is Shaw actually normal? Will we see any side effects from her time with Samaritan?
What did Fusco think about The Machine?
Best Moment: The final few shots of the crew standing together was nice.
Character of the Episode: Elias.
Conclusion: This episode had its fun moments but I was disappointed overall by the overarching story which usually doesn't happen in this show. Most of the developments were rushed and that ruined some moments that I was really looking forward to. I hope this is just a bump in the road for the show's climax.
Summary: The next POI is James Ko who has gone to a hospital. He has the flu but then he suddenly dies, leading Reese to believe that there is a virus outbreak. Finch eventually discovers that the outbreak is caused by Samaritan in an attempt to kill a doctor and a nurse who know too much. Meanwhile, Fusco goes to Elias and tells him of Moran's death. In exchange, Elias helps Fusco and leads him to Jeff. Samaritan sends Jeff to kill the doctor and nurse and he manages to infect one of the two with the virus but Reese chases him off. Fusco arrives to help and he is also infected. Root is able to get an antidote for everyone infected, including Fusco. Fusco asks for anew partner and moves to a different position. Finch confronts Elias for his actions but Elias warns him that he needs to include everybody in the war. Shaw escapes from confinement and kills Lambert.
The Good: Shaw's escape ended up being pretty satisfying. She got to say some of her typical badass lines as she knocks out everybody in her way. I thought the hidden tunnel was a nice nod to "The Shawshank Redemption" and it was a sensible way for Shaw to be able to keep track of reality. Since her tunnel was still there, she firmly believed that she was in reality. Her murder of Lambert was really satisfying, as was her turning Lambert's words around on him by telling him to wait until he wakes up.
Fusco and Elias had a brilliant side story. Both of them had been sidelined by Finch, Reese and Root and they ended up following their own agendas as a result. The team's concern for both Elias and Finch and their insistence to keep them in the dark has resulted in some unexpected actions being taken against them. This leads up to a pair of surprisingly emotional conversations at the end of the episode as both Elias and Fusco own up to their actions and force both Finch and Reese to face with the potential consequences with keeping them in the dark. I'm interested to see if these conversations are able to sway Reese and Finch's standings on keeping Elias and Fusco in the dark.
The POI story was pretty fun and I enjoyed it overall. The Samaritan involvement was predictable but it worked and created a ton of drama during the episode's climax when things started to be revealed at a rapid pace. It was fairly exciting and it neatly paid off of the patient set-up throughout the first half of the episode.
The Bad: How did Shaw dig that hole without anybody noticing? We needed to see Shaw setting up her escape and I think that having her escape be given as a surprise really detracted from the effectiveness of her plan. Furthermore, why weren't more men hunting her down? She was only encountered by Lambert which was really poor. Surely Samaritan would send more men to ensure that its valuable subject doesn't actually break free.
This episode took a long time to get going. The virus outbreak wasn't a very exciting story and things were pretty dull as the virus was built up. Additionally, the early scenes with Jeff were a snooze since I'm not that invested in his character. Too much of this episode had a slow burn build up without very much to keep me engaged. After getting used to the break-neck pace that this show usually has, this change in pace feels pretty jarring.
I thought the hospital could have done a much better job containing the virus. Little things like not distributing masks among everyone and not isolating those who were showing symptoms of the virus really irked me. Also, it's ridiculous that Fusco and Jeff could get into the quarantined area so easily.
The Unknown: Who are Sam's friends? Is Sam going to be a threat? Or was he just a fun side character? Also, was Shaw's escape actually a simulation? The directing suggests it was actually real but could that be another red herring? After being tricked twice, I'm cautious of what I'm watching.
What does Elias mean when he says Finch is the darkest out of everyone? Is he right about this? Will we see Finch lose it in a later episode? Perhaps he will snap if Reese dies. I'm very intrigued by this idea and I really hope that the show can competently build Finch to a snapping point if this is the direction the story is heading.
Best Moment: Finch and Elias' conversation was really good. There was some nice conflict exploration as Elias attempts to convince Finch to use all of his assets as the story seems to heading towards Finch bringing Elias and Fusco into the fold while also letting The Machine run without any restrictions.
Character of the Episode: Elias.
Conclusion: This episode was a slow starter, but a lot of good conflict ended up being explored by the episode's end. In the end this is a good episode with some ups and some downs, but it's an overall good time.
Summary: Fusco recovers from his injuries but he is still kept in the dark by everyone. He decides to quit helping Finch if he isn't told what is going on. Root goes undercover as a radio host when she presses The Machine to give her a way to help Shaw. While undercover, Root discovers that the POI, Max, has discovered a secret communication system that Samaritan has been using. Max is now a target since he wants to make this information public. Root hijacks it briefly and sends a message to Shaw who is now struggling to differentiate between simulation and reality. Samaritan speaks with Root who attempts to make a deal with it but Reese cuts off the communication, not wanting Root to give herself up for Shaw. Max makes his own choice to reveal the communication system anyways and The Machine, Reese and Root let him do so despite Finch's horror. Max is killed by a Samaritan agent.
The Good: This was a really strong episode. The focus around Shaw made the story feel important and there were definite stakes involved with Root attempting to find a way to contact her. This element made the POI story much more interesting, and I thought that the Root and Reese pairing worked really well for this episode too. These background details provided the perfect canvas for a good episode.
And the actual POI story was pretty clever and refreshingly different. Having the fate of Max center around The Machine's understanding of free will was perfect and it gave us a surprisingly dark twist to end the episode when Root and Reese leave Max to get killed by Samaritan anyways since he chose to take a risk knowing that he would likely die.
Episodes centered around Root are always a lot of fun. The opening scenes of the episode with Root constantly on the run with The Machine reforging her identity over and over was very informative on how the system works, plus it gave us some fun action and comedy with all of the crazy stunts that Root pulled.
Shaw's storyline was also quite good. I think that Shaw being unable to figure out if she is in the real world or not is entirely plausible seeing how frequently she has been in a simulation. It also makes Greer's test from a few episodes back more logical, since it seems likely that he was testing to see if Shaw could determine if she was in a simulation or not. It's become clear that Shaw's time being experimented on has changed her drastically and it remains to be seen if she can even fully recover from the mental torture she has been put through.
I thought Fusco had a very nice rant with Finch once again as he got pushed past his breaking point. After nearly dying for a his friends, it's understandable that Fusco would call it quits when they still refuse to tell him the truth.
I really like that the show finally acknowledged that Samaritan can hear just about any conversation. This was a feature that was established right when Samaritan went fully online but it was hardly addressed at all until now. I do wish that it happened earlier since it is really annoying that we have been given a season and a half of Reese, Root and Finch casually talking about Samaritan loudly and in public, and this contradicts that in a big way. But, I think that the addition of Samaritan being able to hear does add to the tension by a lot and I sincerely hope that the show keeps this additional drama for its final 6 episodes.
The Bad: Fusco quitting reminds me of when Carter quit. It's inevitable that he is going to come back so I don't think that there is much drama in that regard. The show has to be careful with what is done with Fusco in the next couple of episodes.
Max was a bit dull and he felt way too one-note to be particularly interesting. I also thought that he took the huge change in his life remarkably well, and I think there should have been much more for him to do as he reacts to the reveals around him.
I was confused by the need to protect Reese's cover. I thought that his cover was blown long ago. How did it just come back? He didn't change his identity like Root did so why is keeping him consistent with detective Riley such a big deal? Surely Samaritan can openly detect him now that it has learned that John Riley is also John Reese.
The Unknown: How will Elias react to Moran's death? Will he go against Samaritan or continue to play it safe?
Will Shaw be escaping soon? How? Will she be the same as before? How long will it take her to recover? What will be her role in the story?
When is Fusco going to learn the truth? I think it's inevitable that he learns of Samaritan soon.
Best Moment: Root sending the message to Shaw and saving her from suicide was a powerful moment. I also really liked the callback to "If-Then-Else", though I did have to look up the meaning of "four alarm fire". Sometimes the hints can be so subtle that I miss them, but I definitely think it's a good thing in this case. It makes sense that Shaw would still remember some of the last words that Root said to her.
Character of the Episode: Root.
Conclusion: This episode was well thought out and it told a fresh, new story. I enjoyed this.
Summary: The next POI case directs Reese and Finch to a wedding. Root joins them and they soon resolve the case. The photographer Maggie is being targeted after she took a picture of something she shouldn't have but Reese and Root save her. Fusco continues investigating Samaritan and hears of a plan to demolish a tunnel. Fusco investigates the tunnel and discovers all of the missing people, including Moran and Krupa. He is caught in the tunnel when the demolition happens. Greer lets Shaw out into the world in an attempt to get her to switch over to team Samaritan. However it's all a simulation again but Shaw seems more convinced in favour of Samaritan's cause.
The Good: I thought the POI story was nothing special but it was easy enough to watch. There was a lot of humour, some fun character moments and some decent examples of drama. I particularly liked the dance scene with Finch and Root which led to some good continuation of their conflict over what to do with The Machine. Also Finch's hilarious Irish accent and singing was a guilty pleasure of this episode. Just dumb fun.
Greer and Shaw's story was really strong. It was great seeing Greer attempt a different approach to break Shaw and I thought his idea of showing the benefits of Samaritan made sense. It put Shaw on the spot and forced her to consider abandoning her friends and joining the righteous cause. The simulation twist somehow got me again and it also made Greer look more competent as he wouldn't dare risk taking Shaw out into the world without keeping her restrained.
Fusco's investigation appears to have put him in a world of trouble. He discovered all of the missing peoples in a great scene and it became evident that Fusco is beginning to suspect a major threat is responsible for everything he has been involved in. Then, Fusco appears to have tragically been caught in the demolition of the tunnel and it remains to be seen what his fate is. I don't believe he is dead but he may have ended up in the hands of Samaritan.
The Bad: The POI story is mostly dull with forgettable characters, predictable twists and very little of note happening during the story. After so many previous episodes connected with an overarching story, it's very disappointing to get an episode that doesn't do this and it ends up being notably weaker than the other episodes as a result. It may not be as poorly written as some of the show's worst episodes, but it is still a very dull episode.
The episode had a very hokey feel to it and most of the episode relied on comedy to make up for the lack of tension. Unfortunately, the execution isn't great and we are left with a hollow, tension-free episode which is not what I want to be watching in the final stretch of the show. With so many big threats in the show, I want the stories to be focused on them and I don't care much for bland POI cases when the story is in the endgame. I'm fine with character development and scenes to reflect on how far the characters have come, but the episode should be centered around these aspects rather than some meaningless POI case.
The Unknown: What is Fusco's fate? Will Samaritan have control of him now? Or can he find his way out?
Will Shaw actually betray Team Machine? Her resolve doesn't seem quite as strong as it was before. Still, I don't quite see her selling out just yet.
Best Moment: Fusco calling Finch after finding proof of a large powerplay being put in motion only for him to be punished for delving too deep.
Character of the Episode: Fusco again. He's been great this season.
Conclusion: This was a disappointing episode that did next to nothing for the story at all. I hope that this episode is just a single weak link and that the show can get back on track for its remaining 7 episodes.
Summary: The next POI is Ethan who works for something called ShotSeeker which detects gunshots around New York City. Ethan investigates the apartment of Krupa who mysteriously went missing. Ethan believes that there were gunshots fired there but ShotSeeker ignored them. ShotSeeker is being used by Samaritan so Ethan is being targeted by Samaritan. Fusco and Reese work to help him but Reese is kidnapped by Moran who wants to know who killed Elias. Root and Finch acquire a hard drive and use it to make Samaritan stop targeting Ethan. Reese and Finch are forced to reveal that Elias is actually still alive since Fusco pulled him out of the car and saved his life. Fusco is aware that Finch is keeping him in the dark and investigates Krupa on his own, putting him on Samaritan's radar.
The Good: I liked a lot of this episode. Ethan's story is pretty solid and it becomes interesting the moment we see the familiar face of Jeff tailing him from across the street in a van. It immediately becomes clear that Samaritan is responsible for this case, though I had guessed this beforehand anyways. Either way it works, because knowing Samaritan is involved always increases my interest in the case.
Moran's return is a welcome side plot and it gives some consequences to The Correction since there is some logical follow-up on what happened to Elias. But what is more surprising is the reveal that Elias is still alive and seemingly has a role to play in the story now. I feel like an idiot for not guessing that he was extracted by Fusco, but I really like this development and it seems that Elias will be getting a better conclusion this season. It appears that he is now aware of Samaritan and could be a valuable asset in the upcoming war.
The Finch and Root storyline was pretty fun as ever. I like the idea of Finch training The Machine by pitting it against Samaritan. It continues the story of Finch being hesitant to arm The Machine, and I think that this storyline is building up to Finch being forced to make a big decision regarding The Machine. Root seems to be all for it, but Finch is the only one who is afraid of what The Machine may do with its power. There was another great scene with these two where Root got to convince Finch to sacrifice an advantage over Samaritan to save a life. It's surprising to see Root be the one conveying this message, but it really goes to show how she has changed as a person from spending so much time with the morally correct Finch.
Fusco's story of becoming more aware continues as he investigates more into Samaritan. So far this has been one of the best storylines of the season, and I'm really excited to see what will come from Fusco being targeted by Samaritan. Furthermore, Fusco had some great scenes where he mouths off to Finch and Reese for keeping him in the dark. Fusco isn't an idiot and I like that he is confident enough to express his observations and do some investigating on his own. He has come a long way from the man he was in season 1.
The Bad: This episode had way too much going on. There were multiple side plots to accompany the main story and that meant that very little had a chance to really stand out and hit me emotionally. The main storyline in particular suffers for this as I never really cared for Ethan, or Mary, or Krupa. Furthermore, I thought the plot was way too convoluted considering the short amount of time it was given and I found myself having a fairly hard time following along with the many dumps of exposition. It felt more excessive than the amount of exposition I'm used to getting from this show, which is really saying something. Simplifying this story a little bit could have gone a long way to making it more enjoyable.
I was really disappointed with the lack of emotion during Elias' return. I was expecting to see something more from this scene: gratitude from Elias perhaps, or any other emotion. Instead it was solely played for surprise which robbed it of being as good of a moment as it could have been. Additionally, I was annoyed that Elias had apparently learned about Samaritan offscreen. This is an important development that could have a lot of emotional resonance for Elias, so I think we deserved to see him learn about Samaritan.
The Unknown: What is Jeff's role in the story? He was given some time here to be more of a character so I think it's fair to assume that he will do something in the story.
What will Fusco discover in his investigation? Will Samaritan send men after him? Could Fusco be the POI in an upcoming episode?
Why did Samaritan target and kill Krupa?
Best Moment: Fusco venting at Finch over the phone because he knows that Finch is withholding information was great. Little character moments like these were missing throughout most of the episode and that prevented it from being great.
Character of the Episode: Fusco.
Conclusion: This was a good episode and it had a lot to like, but I felt like it could have been executed better to have more emotion.
Summary: Greer places a chip inside of Shaw's head. Shaw eventually stages an escape and successfully gets out but she is fragmented mentally from the chip. She orchestrates a trap to get the attention of Finch, and reunites with the crew. They remove the chip from her head and Root and Shaw have sex. However, the crew doesn't trust Shaw, frustrating her, plus her mind is still fragmented despite the chip being removed. Shaw calls Samaritan and they hastily form a plan. The team captures Greer and get the Samaritan kill switch from him. But it's a trap and Samaritan locates Finch's base and The Machine. Shaw kills Greer when he reveals that the whole thing was a set-up and Shaw is theirs. Shaw and Reese go to save Finch. Shaw's mind fragments again and she kills Reese. Shaw meets up with Root and can't bring herself to kill her. Shaw kills herself. However, this is all revealed to have occurred in a simulation as Samaritan attempts to break Shaw and get her to give away the location of The Machine.
The Good: It shouldn't come as a surprise that an episode that dedicates its entire runtime to Shaw is excellent. Like most shows, "Person of Interest" has been at its best when focusing on a single story ("Terra Incognita", "Relevance", and to an extent "Prisoner's Dilemma").
Shaw's story here is terrific and Sarah Shahi did a wonderful job with the role. We get to catch up with a beaten up and mentally unstable Shaw who has escaped Samaritan. The story is immediately engrossing with high stakes, high interest and the feeling that we are watching something out of the ordinary. I've consistently praised episodes of this show for these same reasons, so what is it that makes this episode so exceptional? I think the answer lies in Shaw herself. Along with an interesting plot, this episode shows us something unique from Shaw as she battles herself throughout the episode. Her random seizures were pretty terrifying, and her confusion and fear when she acts abnormally are quite scary. These moments build tension wonderfully and they give us a nice look at Shaw's character when she is faced with doing things that she wouldn't want to do like killing Greer, Reese and then Root. We learn more about her devotion and dedication from this episode, and it's genuinely heartening to see her fighting so hard to not give in to Samaritan even after going through this simulation almost 7,000 times. When given this exposition, it's very easy to understand why Shaw seems so tired and mentally drained throughout the episode. I imagine that after every simulation Shaw loses more and more of her fighting spirit. It's damn impressive that she has lasted this long and it says a lot about her character and the bond she has formed with the team.
The exploration of Shaw's paranoia in the episode is pretty interesting, and it leads to some very good moments. I really liked the scenes of her trying to avoid Samaritan, such as the bits inside the taxi. I also thought her plans were very good. I particularly liked how she was able to draw Root and Reese to her as it was both clever and fitting with her badass personality. Better yet are the subtle parts of the episode where we see Shaw losing her mind, trapped and helpless while still trying to maintain her tough exterior. Her actions are strange, and even unhinged at times and that not only makes the episode more exciting and dramatic, but it also raises concerns about Shaw's character and how Samaritan may have changed her.
Then we get to the wonderful ending twist. It may not have been the most surprising twist (I predicted it when Shaw killed Reese), but it was still very effective as a storytelling tool. A TV show doesn't need high stakes and constant plot movement to be effective. It just needs to tell a story. Even though the twist results in every scene of this episode accomplishing practically nothing for the plot, there is a concise story being told here, one that is powerful and affecting and I think that's what really matters. The twist doesn't kill the episode, rather it corrects some of the plot-related issues I had with the episode by making it clear that this is an episode that cares more about character instead of plot.
Reflecting on the episode is so rewarding since many of the problems I had end up being hints/foreshadowing for the twist reveal. For example, at I thought this episode had weird dialogue for some characters, a very rushed plot and a lack of detail about what was happening. These actually ended up being very deliberate hints. The weird dialogue seems to stem from the fact that this is Samaritan and Shaw's interpretations of the characters rather than the actual people. The rushed plot comes from the fact that all of this is happening in Shaw's head. Of course every plan she comes up with will work smoothly, regardless of its flaws, because the execution of the plan is taking place in her head. I also loved the subtle hint of this since the trick Shaw uses to bring Root and Reese to her is actually the exact same thing she did to capture Greer. Shaw has never been particularly clever so it makes sense that she has to resort to the same trick twice.
Root and Shaw's big scene also fits as subtle foreshadowing. Their scene is so awkward and overly-dramatic, coming off as more of a fantasy than an actual moment. Yet that is the point since we eventually realize this is all in Shaw's head. It's not a case of Shaw doing something out of character so that the show can force a sex scene, it's instead Shaw indulging the feelings that she holds in the back of her head. Plus it allows the writers to go with the hilariously dramatic plate-breaking throughout that scene which was pretty funny. As a side note, it's funny to think that the Samaritan agents have seen Root and Shaw have sex thousands of times by now.
The best parts of the episode were Shaw's triad of kills. The first, the killing of Greer, was a pretty spectacular moment. The two of them had a wonderful conversation that escalated the drama hugely when it was revealed that Greer had orchestrated everything. It was a perfect Greer moment, the likes of which we haven't seen in a very long time. Furthermore, it gave us the surprising twist where Shaw has an outburst and murders Greer. This moment works so well because it is unexpected and it nicely sets up the idea of Shaw being used, but more fascinatingly, it plants that very idea into Shaw's head. Next up was Shaw suddenly killing Reese, which pays off of the idea of being a double agent being placed in Shaw's head. You can evidently see Shaw's fear throughout the entire sequence between her and Reese, and the cold-blooded killing is shockingly effective, even considering the fact that this moment was where I realized that everything was likely a simulation. Somehow the episode still got better though as Shaw's next test was killing Root. This scene between Root and Shaw was extremely sad and powerful, showing Shaw's willpower while also confirming that Shaw does care about Root, and by extension the team, more than herself.
The Bad: I wish the episode had spent more time on the reunions between Shaw and the rest of the crew. I understand why they were cut short now, since they weren't actually real, but I still think that there should have been more of a reaction from Finch, Root and Reese when Shaw suddenly returned. as it stands, Shaw's return ended up being an awkward part of the episode that didn't have the same emotional resonance as the rest of the episode.
The Unknown: Will Shaw break before she is rescued and reveal The Machine's location? Also, did Shaw actually break before this, or did Greer get all of his information from this simulation?
Were all of Shaw's memories int he simulation genuine or were those planted in her mind as well? Is ther actually a chip in her brain? Did her memory of the playground actually exist? How about her memories of being tortured?
Best Moment: Shaw admitting that Root was her safe place to go to when she was being tortured is really powerful and Sarah Shahi killed it.
Character of the Episode: Shaw of course.
Conclusion: This was outstanding by every definition of the word. This was a unique experience that managed to remain very interesting, suspenseful and emotional throughout. I think this is the best episode of the show so far.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.