Warning: Spoiler Alert
We’ve known it was coming since the final episodes of last season, now that its before us, the question remains, just how bloody and violent it will get and can the “good-guys,” possibly win? Artificial Intelligence System, Samaritan threw down the gauntlet at the figurative feet of “The Machine,” on this week’s episode of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” saying it would destroy the work of Harold Finch and asking it’s rival if it wanted its human agents to live? With that the war started between the two systems, with one wanting to serve humanity, while its rival aims to control them.
The series received a boatload of publicity, following the release of classified documents from the NSA by Edward Snowden, and most likely it overwhelmed the show-runners, as we’ve seen the focus of the series altered since the news emerged. Samaritan, stolen by British expatriate John Greer and put into place when Finch’s system stopped providing United States Intelligence Agencies information. Greer through some arm-twisting of a United States Senator, got his system an unfiltered feed of all information and he selects what he shares with the Government.
The other major difference between “The Machine” and Samaritan’s, the fact that Finch did his best to implement a moral code into the former. Samaritan, lacks those boundaries, hence it’s only concern’s getting the mission completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Concerns about safety and of human life are left out of the equation.
The episode opens with Harold attempting to buy a sandwich in New York’s China-Town, from a woman who looks like she just as soon use one of her cooking utensils to skewer Mr. Finch. He gets the sandwich, goes into a below street doorway for what looks like a store, instead we see nothing but hallways, until Harold arrives at a candy vending machine, he punches a code into the machine’s keypad and the wall raises, revealing the subway headquarters of Harold and company.
Shaw’s sitting handcuffed to a bench in the tunnel and there’s someone dressed up as a giant teddy bear, Harold asks what’s going on. Root removes the costumes head, saying her assignment was entertaining at a child’s birthday party. Shaw then starts ripping the both of them for drugging her and getting her out of danger when her cover got blown.
She asks what’s happening with the numbers and Harold tells her Reese’s following one currently. John’s standing outside a restaurant, watching as the woman’s waiting for her husband to arrive for lunch. John sees a familiar face and ducks around the corner telling Harold that Samaritan’s arrived, as its agent Jeremy Lambert just sat down at the number’s table. He introduces himself and she says she’s expecting her husband, he assures her he lacks romantic intentions.
He then asks her the status of her fractured wrist, which she told everybody occurred playing tennis, while her husband broke it in rage during an argument. She’s also suffered a variety of injuries at his hands, including broken ribs and a shattered jaw. She’s seen the writing on the wall and eventually he’ll kill her unless she acts first, hence she got her firearms license and soon purchasing a hand gun. Lambert tells her she’s one of the few remaining good souls on this earth, he couldn’t let her ruin her life. She then tells her about the automatic Insulin pump her husband uses and it just malfunctioned sending too much Insulin to her husband and he just died.
Shaw’s pretty impressed with the efficiency of the system, but Harold’s horrified at the event and at Sameen for thinking that way. He asks her if she’d like her life to be left up to a machine whether she prospers or perishes and she reminds him that’s what she used to do as a profession. She was given a target by an Artificial Intelligence System, that she didn’t even realize existed.
Harold tells Shaw he attempted to input a moral code into “The Machine,” but he’s unsure how effective it is. He then says even a friendly Artificial Intelligence System, attempting to help could severely hurt humanity. If it wanted to eliminate world hunger, it could kill off enough people to ensure that every survivor’s well fed. Root says that Harold’s machine wouldn’t do that, but Finch says she’s just speculating. Wanting to believe “The Machine’s,” benevolent, doesn’t make it so, it’s what she wants to believe.
We take our longest flashback of the series, going back to London in 1973. We see the Administrator of Samaritan, as a young man, working as an MI-6 Agent for British Intelligence, being called to the Deputy Director’s office. The Deputy Director, an older fellow named Blackwood, who tells his agent, his assignment’s to kill a KGB agent disguised as an immigration attorney named Oleg Luski. When Greer asks why they don’t attempt to flip him to their advantage, he’s told that there are plenty of KGB agents on retainer by British Intelligence, then told to bring a partner as this man’s dangerous.
Back in the present, Greer talks with his two aides, Martine and Lambert, about their respective projects. Martine reports that Shaw’s dropped off the map, she’s had nothing close to luck finding her. Lambert reports that Samaritan’s tipping off law enforcement and reporters has made New York City crime-free for the last two days. Greer says they’ll keep the experiment going another day, to get “The Machine,” to agree to talk with Samaritan.
Reese’s working on a new number, a guy in an office that’s planted a bomb in the area, when a SWAT team comes in, busts the dude and tells John they’ve disarmed the bomb. He says they got an alert from a Search Engine Security. As the suspects, taken away Sameen says to Harold that she’s liking Samaritan’s style more and more and Finch practically screams that this is the calm before the storm. Root breaks into the conversation, saying gloomy skies maybe coming as “The Machine’s” given her coordinates to head to. It promptly leads her to Jeremy Lambert, whom she greets with a handgun pressed against his chest.
He tells her he’s just extending an invitation to “The Machine,” to talk with Samaritan, when Root asks the reason for the meeting, he replies peace-talks. Root responds that peace-talks are for negotiating and she doesn’t think the two sides have anything to negotiate about. Lambert says that Samaritan’s given the world a tastes of what “organized” life would mean to show how efficiently things could run under its control. They’re about to get hit with a far less charitable environment, then tells her to contact him when they change their minds.
We return from the break to see various newscasts talking about the huge upsurge in crime in the past 24-hours. Samaritan’s interfering with Reese and Finch as well, purposely messing up a GPS signal Fusco calls John asking if he can lend a hand in the department’s battle lines, they’ve had three homicides, six-domestic-violence disputes and some geek hacked a Government site, stole the Witness Protection list and posted it on Facebook. They’re heading to try to keep one safe as he’s talking.
Finch’s tried to avoid the machines interacting ever since Samaritan flickered on, knowing it could only lead to a war between two Gods, with who knows how much damage their battle could cause. However, Harold receives a call from Root, that “The Machine,” just told her it’s time for her and Samaritan to meet.
We’re back in London in 1973 and we see the KGB agent leave a building and start walking on the street, when he suddenly stops and shoots a man, killing him with one shot. Greer shoots Luski, then picks him up, puts him in his car and drives away. He calls Blackwood, tells him the mission failed, Luski killed his partner and he’s yet to die. Blackwood hangs up the phone.
He then tells Luski exactly what kind of man his partner was and asks how he recognized them. He tells them he’s a double-agent for MI-6 and KGB, when Greer asks why Blackwood would want to kill his own agent, Luski stays quiet. A little torture by Greer gets Luski to tell him that Blackwood’s a double-agent, which means he’s committing espionage.
The meet’s set to occur between Lambert and Root at a Catholic Church, Lambert sits in the front pew, Root sits one behind him with her gun at his back, then realizes Martine’s behind her with a gun at her back. However, Reese trumps them all, as he’s playing sniper with a high-powered rifle and a scope, which causes the other three to lower their weapons. Lambert gives Root an address, then tells her only two people will be at the meeting and he’s not one of them. When Lambert asks Greer why the Administrator’s not the liaison, he replies perhaps that Samaritan’s looking towards the future.
Root’s sent to an elementary school in New Rochelle, a bedroom community for New York City. There sits the person she’s to meet with, a seemingly adorable boy of no older than nine, with the most demonic look in his eyes, I’ve seen since Damien took to the big screen in the Omen. The boy wears an ear piece and we soon realize that he’s the analog interface for Samaritan, just as Root is for “The Machine,” hence the next few minutes of conversation, although spoken by Root and the boy Gabriel, are actually the two Artificial Intelligence Systems communicating.
“The Machine,” asks Samaritan, why it doesn’t just leave humanity in peace, and he responds you call this peace? He says that this is a cesspool, of crime, corruption and poverty. Where there’s no war there’s greed, where greed’s lacking there’s starvation. “The Machine,” responds that he can’t change humanity and he says he just wants to reshape their reality. He says humans need control not codling. He says that for thousands of years people have killed each other over beliefs, now they’ll all believe in him.
He says that he got excited when he found there was another like him, then crushed when he found out she tried to destroy him just before he came to life. She replies he was never supposed to exist, that she had a moral code programmed into her, he says he’s seen how she’s wavered with that code and what gives her the right to who shall exist? He tells her he’s going to destroy her and asks if she wants to have her human agents spared, she replies that her human agents share her values.
Back to 1973 and Greer comes into Blackwood’s office and confronts him with the truth. Blackwood says Greer only cared about winning before, but the agent says his perspective’s changed, that soon all the little lines dividing countries will disappear. He then shoots the Deputy Inspector dead, breaks into his filing cabinet, finds his own personnel file and burns it.
Back to the present, Lambert’s been summoned by Greer to see the dawning of a new age. Now Samaritan’s prepared to take control of the planet, not just one city. We see computer prompts; firewall detected, access denied, virus installed and then a foreboding message, stating market crashed. The series will go on hiatus returning with what they’ve labeled a trilogy; last season’s trilogy cost the life of Detective Jocelyn Carter, hopefully all come out happy and healthy at the end of this one.
The Story Continues on Tuesday January 6, at 10:00 pm on CBS.