Person Of Interest: Choosing The Right Scenario

Photo: JoJo Whilden/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Photo: JoJo Whilden/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The CBS series “Person Of Interest,” has featured what the show-runners call a trilogy in seasons three and four. In the trilogy that took place last season, the team lost a valuable member as NYPD Detective Jocelyn Carter, died at the hands of a corrupt cop. In the second episode of this season’s trilogy, the crew may have lost another member at the hands of a Samaritan operative, although whether the character actually died, was left unclear at the episode’s conclusion.

Whether or not “The Machine,” lost one of its human operatives, this episode was incredibly complex, original and entertaining throughout, as Harold Finch’s creation went toe-to-toe with Samaritan, to save the world’s economy. The show bent the envelope of Television, showing that the creators have plenty of tricks up their collective sleeves in the fourth season.

The first thing we see are clips from news reports, from the New York Stock Exchange, that the market’s bleeding heavily, destroying people’s lives in the process. We see a crowd gathered outside the NYSE, watching the tale of the ticker, Finch’s in the crowd and Root joins him soon after. She informs Harold that the Cold War with Samaritan’s heated up and they’re attempting to control the NYSE.

As they leave the crowd, Finch notices Root’s carrying a briefcase, which she soon tells Harold contains a software fix provided by “The Machine,” the only problem’s that they need to install the repair on site. She tells him all hands are needed, but both realize Sameen Shaw can’t help as her cover got blown. Her job’s to get the security code from the head of security for the Exchange and Root tells Shaw what subway car the man will ride.

Meanwhile, back at Samaritan Control, John Greer’s chortling about the damage he’s caused and the fear he’s inflicted. His operative Jeremy Lambert calls Greer and asks if he’s concerned that this act will make Samaritan too public. Greer chuckles, says it’s part of the new world order and wants Finch and company to try to stop Samaritan, as they’ll find a very chilling surprise.

Root and Finch enter the exchange telling the security guard they’ve come to fix some of the security cameras. The guard says the cameras are working fine, but suddenly a monitor goes dark and he tells Harold to give it a shot. In reality Reese and Fusco disconnected the camera and reconnect it seconds later. Root then tells the guard they need to check the feed to make sure it’s getting back to headquarters.

Root and Harold get on a freight elevator and Reese and Fusco soon join them, they take the elevator to the floor the server’s on. They get down there and are ready to patch in the repair software, when “The Machine,” alerts Root too late that they’ve been trapped by Samaritan operatives. They take cover in the employee break-room, but the door’s soon riddled by bullets. Harold says they need a plan, Root looks at the close circuit camera and asks for a little help please. Reese says this is fine time for your machine to go on the fritz Harold, Finch responds give it a second, it’s got a lot on its mind. But the word mind comes out of his mouth in slow motion and we see the bullets hitting a coffee pot and some fruit in slow-motion, then the screen goes black.

When we return we see prompts from “The Machine,” saying:

Updating Decision Engine

Reviewing Training Protocols

Re-Evaluating Core Concepts

The Machine,” flashes back to 2003, Harold sitting at a chess table in Central Park and everything’s in slow motion, but then revs up to normal speed. A man approaches Harold asking to play a game and Finch says he’s sorry but he’s playing with a friend, the man says that Harold’s sat there alone for three-hours. Finch responds his friend’s shy and secretive and the man walks off shaking his head. Harold’s teaching “The Machine” to play chess, communicating via his cell phone. He talks about how many moves one could possibly make and “The Machine,” catches on quick, but loses the first game to Finch.

We’re back in the present and we hear, Root, Reese and Finch repeat themselves then “The Machine,” chooses scenario 336,742 and relays the info to Root. She says got it and Fusco asks who she’s talking to, she then says she and Harold will go to the server room and Lionel and John will go the other way and secure their safety, then cut the tension cord on the elevator.

Shaw’s on the subway with the Exchange head of security, but there’s a suicide bomber on the train wearing an explosive vest, so she can’t get the code. Root says they’ll have to use the old-fashioned method, shoots the scanner and the doors open. She shoots four terminal operators, the fifth runs for his life, they head into the server room.

Things aren’t running as smoothly for Fusco and Reese, as they find a squad of Samaritan operatives on either side of them, one squad headed by Martine. She and Reese exchange death threats and Shaw tries to contact John to ask him how to talk down the suicide bomber, but Reese cuts her off. She pulls out her gun and says he either disarms the vest, or she’ll put a bullet between his eyes, the guy’s about to hit the detonator when she shoots him dead. She’s arrested seconds later at the next subway-stop.

Harold hooks up the software repair and then tells Root, he thought they were done for, right then he sees Lambert and more Samaritan operatives and Harold get’s shot and dies in Root’s arms. Then we realize this is just a simulation “The Machine’s” concocted and they’re still in the room being shot at. Same conversation happens and when Harold says mind again, things go back to slow motion.

Once again we’re back in Central Park in 2003 as Harold tries to impress on his creation, the amount of scenarios it has and if it makes a bad choice, it can correct it with another move. Were back in the break-room and this time Root’s told to do things the opposite way, so Lionel and Reese go to the server and she and Harold head to the elevator. Reese shoots the scanner, shoots the four operatives and they get to server room. Fusco tries to get the code from Finch but Finch sends him a text. Reese realizes Samaritan’s on their way, so he grabs Lionel and locks him in a room for his protection. John gets shot, then grapples with Lambert who shoots him three more times. He lies on the ground smiling and produces a hand grenade taking out the Samaritan operatives with him.

Roots grabbed an axe from a fire-box to chop the tension cord for the elevator, she calls Shaw and asks her when she’s going to admit she has feelings for Root. Sameen says she’s a psychopath and has no feelings, but she finally tells Root that if Samaritan destroys the world and they’re the only two left on the planet, they’ll talk about being together. She asks Root if that’s good enough and Root smiles says yes it is as she chops the cord, then gets killed by Martine and her squad. Simulation failed, back to the room, and the whole thing starts again.

Back in 2003 and “The Machine’s” become a chess grand-master in one afternoon. It asks if Harold wants to play again and Harold says no. When it asks why, Finch says he doesn’t like the game, it comes from a period when some people were perceived more valuable than others. He tells his creation not to make that mistake with people, every life’s just as worthy as any other.

Back to the room and Root’s told they should act as a team, first install the software then escape. This time when Root says ready to roll, Lionel grabs her and kisses her passionately. She asks why he did that and he replies, why the Hell not, it’s just a simulation.

Shaw talks down the suicide bomber and gets the code from the security guy from the exchange, they enter shoot four operators and the fifth runs off, they get the software installed then try to escape. We see Martine and a group of Samaritan operatives and the screen freezes, with the prompt saying this scenario has over a 97% chance of failure, but it’s the only option that gives them any hope for survival.

This time it’s real and Root announces they’ll do it all as a team, Shaw talks down the bomber and gets the code. They walk into the room, but instead of shooting this time Root tells them they need to borrow one of their terminals and the operators run away. They install the software and the market returns to normal. We see Greer watching the news and he says well all fun and games eventually come to an end.

They attempt to escape, but Reese takes a bullet, Root calls Sameen, but she shows up right next to her. Shaw says she crawled through 50 yards of an air vent but it’s not a good escape route. They get Reese on the elevator cut the tension cord but the elevator remains still. Shaw sees an override button across the room, she says she’ll press it while the others escape, Root starts to protest, but Shaw grabs her, kisses her, shuts the gate and presses the override button. Just then Martine arrives, shooting at Shaw, Sameen gets hit and falls to the floor but she’s still conscious. The elevator goes down in slow motion with Root weeping, they see Martine stand over Shaw, who stares Martine in the face, as the elevator drops from view we hear a gunshot. Is Shaw alive, or did Martine kill her. We’ll find out next week.

The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 10:00 pm on CBS.

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