Summary: Flashbacks reveal that Ingram is planning to reveal the Machien to the public. Finch goes to meet him, but Hersh has Ingram killed in a bombing. Finch fakes his death to keep Grace safe. God mode powers allow Reese and Root to have direct contact with the Machine and it helps them kill the Decima people. Root escapes and destroys the tracker in Finch's glasses when the Machine identifies it. Reese and Shaw go hunting to find Finch and rapidly take care of some POI cases on the way. Hersh frees Special Counsel and searches for Root. Root meets with a man named Lawrence who is the only man left who knows where the Machine is. However, he is killed by Hersh and his men who also try to kill Root. Reese arrives to save them but Root and Finch escape. Both crews discover where the Machine actually is and they head there. Root gets there first but is surprised to see the Machine is gone. Finch reveals that he already set the Machine free and it is now gone. Reese and Shaw arrive and get Finch back, while Root is shot in the shoulder. Special Counsel arrives and is surprised that the Machine is gone. After a message from Control, Hersh kills Special Counsel. The Machine independently contacts Control, Finch and Root.
The Good: This was a wonderful and fun finale. There was constant suspense, a rapid pace, exciting action and some great plot twists. This worked very well as a finale and left me both satisfied and itching to see more.
The episode starts off perfectly. There is no patient start following the end of the last episode as everything opens with a bang. Root and Reese take no time to start experimenting with the Machine and we get a tremendous action scene as Root and Reese basically gain wallhacks due to the influence of the Machine. It's unique, creative and fresh, making the action present in this episode much more engaging than what we usually get. The god mode powers are really creative too. I loved seeing things like Root "customizing" her wallhacks, Reese using the Machine to find a car they can steal, and Root getting new prescription glasses for Finch. It's a ton of fun and is very enjoyable to watch.
Speaking of fun, the POI cases in this episode were simply wonderful. They were so short and sudden, and both made me laugh out loud, especially the wedding one ("congratulations"). Some of the comedy in this show can be damn good. I also enjoyed Reese explaining to Shaw that they have to save everyone because they are the good guys. It was a funny line and also another nice nod to "Lost" fans.
Reese and Shaw were a ton of fun together, and I'm all for seeing them partner up more frequently. They played off each other well, created good comedy, and they work as a proper badass duo. I love the crazy action hero stuff that Shaw brings to the table just as much as I enjoy Reese's reactions to her. Their quest to recover Finch was engaging and it was easy to root for them.
Their chase for Root was fun and I enjoyed how everyone came together with Lawrence. Having Hersh and his crew nearby trying to kill Root created some tension and I found myself unsure where the story was heading. Eventually Root did get away and that led to the great twist that Finch has set the Machine free (more on that later). It was a great twist, and provides a dramatic change to the way the show works going into season 3. We also got another great coming together scene that was packed with tension.
The fate of Special Counsel was a fantastic moment. It appears that he wasn't only manipulated by Root but by the Machine as well, which impersonated his voice and secretly moved itself. Now as punishment, the person above him, this mysterious Control, has sentenced him to die. It's perfect justice to see him killed by his former allies after he has sentenced so many people, like Ingram, to die the way he did. His final words of "fair enough" are perfect and present him as more of a character than anything he got before. Even though he is dying, he still firmly believes that they are doing the right thing.
The ending scene was a fantastic conclusion. We were left unsure whether the Machine would ever contact anyone again, but suddenly the phone rings next to Finch and Reese. But not only them, it also contacts Control and Root. This is such a big moment because this is the Machine choosing to contact these 3 groups, and the possibility of what this could mean (see: The Unknown) is fascinating.
What kept this episode together were the outstanding flashbacks. Ingram's eventual fate is so tragic and it's heartbreaking to see Finch lose his best friend just as he started to come around to his ideals. What's even worse is when Finch is forced to leave Grace behind and fully commit to the Machine (see: Best Moment). Overall, these flashbacks were constructed wonderfully. Both Ingram and Finch's characters made sense and we ended up getting an excellent story arc showing what led to Finch ultimately making the decision that the Machine has to be set free. The reveal is strengthened when you realize that it explains why Finch sold the laptop, and that it also concludes the long-running arc surrounding Finch's backstory. I also really appreciated the way that Hersh's odd flashbacks tied into Finch's in a very sensible way. It was a great way to reveal who was responsible for Ingram's death.
The Bad: Carter's story is a total flop and it really weighs the episode down. The episode starts off poorly with Terney inexplicably giving Carter a generic villain monologue. Why was he so frustrated with her about everything? Would he really get so angry to reveal everything to Carter because she suspects HR? Plus, the main leverage he had was that Carter trusted him, so why ruin that? He threatens to kill Carter, saying he doesn't want to do it, but that makes no sense since Terney had attempted to kill her in the last episode, plus now that she knows about him, she can't possibly be left alive. HR killed Beecher, so why not Carter?
Carter saving Elias didn't work for me. The storyline came out of nowhere and I couldn't think of any reason that Carter would want to risk her life to save Elias. Furthermore, would the police really just let her go and save Elias when she is under investigation for murdering an innocent? What's worse is that the story isn't resolved. I was intrigued by the possibility of a Carter/Elias conversation, but we never get it. Their story just ends in really weak fashion.
So no Fusco in this episode, huh. That's disappointing.
There were a few small gripes about the main story. While the POI bits were funny, they felt too easy, especially considering how tough POI stories have been in the past. The big exposition scene about Lawrence didn't work for me. The show really rushed Reese and Shaw coming to the conclusion and they lost organic dialogue as a result. As a final nitpick, why didn't Root ask Special Counsel where the Machine was? Obviously he knew its location.
The Unknown: Who is Control and what will her role be?
What is the Machine doing now? Where is it? Why did it contact each of the 3 groups? We know that a number arrived to Control. Is it contacting Root and Finch for different reasons? Will Root get god mode again? Perhaps she will get numbers too? How about Reese and Finch? Will they get god mode or numbers? Or something else entirely?
Best Moment: Finch having to hide from grace to prevent her from being in danger was absolutely heartbreaking. The fact that Finch has to go through this mere moments after Ingram's death is awful and it is easily one of the most powerful scenes in the show so far.
Character of the Episode: Finch.
Conclusion: This was a great season finale. Even though the Carter story failed, the rest of the episode was awesome with plenty of fantastic moments, gripping twists and an explosive climactic feeling that resonated through the episode. This was a fun end to the season as the show continues to get better and better.
Season 2 was a certain improvement over season 1. It had some weaker episodes for sure, but as a whole, there was much more good than bad. The commitment to long-term stories helped out a lot and gave the season a lot more momentum than the first season ever had. Things like the Donnelly and Stanton storyline were extremely fun and provided some memorable moments in the middle of the story. Add in the bookend Root storylines and we have a much more complete story going on this season when compared to the first. The POI storylines were written much better too (for the most part). As a whole, the stories were funnier, paced better, written better and they were often connected to some larger multi-episode storyline in the same episode. But the season was still far from perfect. The episodes are too inconsistent in quality, the dialogue can be hit or miss, some storylines fall flat and other stories are impossible to invest in. The show still has a long way to go, but now it is starting to show its full potential, and I hope that in season 3, we can see the best of what this show can do on a more consistent basis.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.