Warning: Spoiler Alert
Something’s been missing from the fourth season of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” it took me until moments before the network aired the fifteenth episode, entitled “Q&A,” for me to figure out exactly what that missing ingredient is. The answer is “hope,” something that’s been in short supply on the show this season, our heroes rarely end an episode, this season with a decisive victory. Many episodes, such as this one end in what Harold Finch referred to as a draw.
Rival Artificial Intelligence System Samaritan’s emergence, has put the POI team on the run since season three concluded. It’s impeded the team’s mission, to either save or stop the numbers “The Machine,” provides for them and they’re totally clueless about whether their friend and colleague Sameen Shaw’s even alive. (Shaw is alive, although she’s held captive by Samaritan, apparently a special project of Samaritan’s Administrator, John Greer.)
Although the team’s down to a skeleton crew of Finch, John Reese and NYPD Detective Lionel Fusco, their resources were split even further, as Reese and Fusco watched over the latest number, while Finch got involved with a young woman he tried to dissuade from joining Samaritan, earlier this season.
Our first scene takes place at the headquarters of the planet’s hottest search engine, Fetch And Retrieve. Reese’s moonlighting for extra money, under his guise of NYPD Detective John Reilly, working security for the firm. Finch’s there to attend a meeting with the company’s head of software Calvin Mazer and the young woman whose the company’s CEO. Apparently they’re interested in bringing on Harold’s other identity, college professor Harold Whistler aboard for some special products.
It turns out that both men are in the right place at the right time, as the latest number a young woman named Anna, works for Fetch And Retrieve, helping design the company’s voice activated search engine they call VAL. Harold syncs cellphones with the young woman and Reese monitors activity, while Harold has his meeting.
She gets a text message from a man named Alek, asking if she’s set for 9:00pm that evening. She sends back an unenthusiastic response, causing Reese to think she’s in an abusive domestic relationship. Meanwhile, Finch on the way back to their headquarters after the meeting, sees a new leaflet for the Nautilus scavenger hunt, that Samaritan used to recruit Claire Mahoney, the young woman Harold tried to convince not to join Samaritan earlier this season. He rips the poster down and takes it with him study it further.
Anna’s quite distraught over what appears to have been a system malfunction with VAL that cost a user his life. The user wanted a suicide hotline and VAL sent him a series of articles on easy and painless ways to take your own life. She speaks with her associate and friend Naresh Gupta and he dismisses it as a fluke, a one time occurrence that will never happen again.
Harold intently studies the Nautilus poster, he realizes the phone number given are coordinates, but he suddenly becomes aware that there’s an embedded image in the picture. The image’s a message saying, You Were Right, he realizes it’s Claire contacting him and the coordinates are where she wants to meet. He tells John he’s going to have to handle Anna without him, suggesting he might want to bring Fusco in to help.
Reese follows Anna after she leaves the complex, down to a warehouse type building, a guy opens the door when she knocks, tells her to hurry in. John can’t enter the door, but finds another entrance and he’s in the middle of a crowd waiting for an MMA fight. It’s two women, one’s a redhead and the other fighter’s Anna, Reese realizes the bruises he saw on her arms aren’t from an abusive boyfriend, it’s from her matches. Anna’s the aggressor from the start and she kicks the spit out of her opponent, quickly taking the match.
Harold gets to the meeting place, softly calls out Claire and she pops up freaking out saying they’re searching for her. Suddenly we hear a shot and Mahoney gets hit in the shoulder, Harold moves her out of the line of fire and soon the shooting stops. Finch tells her they’ve got to take care of her wound.
Reese goes to check out Anna’s house, where she lives with her sister Jill, what John finds out when he searches the house, is Jill’s suffering from cancer and is receiving chemo treatments. He speaks with Finch who tells him that Anna went to college on a judo scholarship, which likely lead to her joining the MMA circuit in New York. Unfortunately New York State, bans MMA competition, so the matches are held secretly and organized crime, profits from the gambling on the fights.
Harold hacks the camera system in a mortuary, then treats Claire there. She wakes up and starts telling him he was right about the company she works for. They say they’re out to make the world a better place, but she found out all the information she’s gathered for them has led to deaths of ordinary people. She said a man named Charles Wynn was poisoned in the hospital, right after his granddaughter entered the world.
Finch tells Claire about Samaritan, that it’s an Artificial Intelligence System, that’s attempting to reshape the world according to its wishes. Claire pulls out a flash drive, she says just before she ran off she took the flash drive filled with source code from someplace called Samaritan. When she realizes Harold has the cameras on a loop she says that the two of them can use the source code to defeat Samaritan.
Anna’s walking down the street when a vehicle stops and two big men emerge wearing ski masks, grab her and put a black hood over her head. Reese suddenly appears and says he doesn’t think the lady wants the ride, removes her hood and starts beating on one of the guys. Anna takes on the other guy and they jump back in their vehicle and take off, she starts trying to hit John when he says look at me don’t you recognize me? She stops and says the security guy from work, he flashes his shield and tells her he’s a cop.
Lionel and John question her and she tells them about the victim of VAL and wonders if that has something to do with her attack. Reese asks why she’s so interested in this incident, she replies a few months ago someone close to her asked the same question to her. If that person had asked VAL instead of her, that person would have died, John realizes she’s referring to her sister Jill.
Lionel gets a call from Finch asking if Fusco could look into the official death records of someone. Lionel says no problem and asks Harold the name, he replies Charles Wynn. Finished with his call he goes back to Mahoney and she asks him if he’s checked out the flash drive yet and he responds no. She says lets plug it into your laptop and check it out. Harold suddenly asks her what if she’s a spy for Samaritan and the flash drive will actually release a virus giving Samaritan all his info as well as his friends. He says he checked out Charles Wynn, the only man by that name that died in the tri-state area, died in a car accident after suffering a heart attack.
She says the poison caused the accident and the Medical Examiner didn’t find the poison, due to believing Wynn, who had a history of heart trouble suffered a heart-attack. He didn’t look for the poison. She then tells him he’s leaving her there to die, she reached out to him as he was the only one who told her not to take the path she did. He told her when they first met she was incapable of killing. Harold replies, that was before I lost someone close to me recently and I won’t lose any others. She plays on his sympathy and wins back his trust.
Anna thought her friend Naresh got fired or possibly killed, but Fusco finds him in his own office. He made a call to his superiors, reported VAL had a glitch and they appreciated his gesture so much they promoted him. Lionel tells Gupta, that those same people are looking to hurt his friend Anna, or worse, then convinces Naresh to help him look for possible problems with VAL.
Fusco calls Finch tells him they’ve come up with a document and they’re sending it to him. Harold studies the document and calls back Fusco and Naresh and says the source code got tampered, VAL now directs clients to paid advertisers for Fetch And Retrieve. Naresh checks it out and realizes Finch’s correct, he and Fusco go to break the news to the CEO.
Harold’s laptop shows an image of a security guard who just entered the mortuary and he sees blood on the keyboard down in the lobby. Finch says he’ll soon be there and they need to do something. When the guard enters the room he sees nobody, Finch sneaks up behind him and knocks him out with a vase. He then opens a coffin that Mahoney hid in and tells her they’ve got to leave.
Claire starts giggling saying she never realized he’s that resourceful the first time they met. No wonder that Samaritan’s after him and wants to silence him. Then she says you’re quite a man Harold. When he turns around to ask how she knows his name, she has her pistol aimed at him, saying she really blew it. She then tells him she’s taking him to Samaritan.
Gupta and Fusco tell the CEO about the problems with VAL’s source code, she asks if he’s sure and he says there’s no question it’s gotten tampered with, he’s curious who did it. He gets his answer seconds later as the head of software Calvin Mazer walks into the office with three big guys holding guns. He tells Naresh and the CEO he called an audible as he knew she’d never approve the plan. Suddenly Reese and Anna enter from the back door, each taking out a gunman and Fusco knocking out the third.
Claire takes Finch to a school and says welcome to Samaritan, they step inside and it’s a charter school for impoverished children that Samaritan built. This is how they’re making the world better, by working on projects like these. She pleads with Harold to join Samaritan and help them achieve their goal, the bell rings dismissing the students and Finch asks what if he says no? Four gunmen come out to answer Harold’s question. He says while he’s impressed with the school, he can’t help but wonder, if Samaritan shot Claire to convince Harold, what lengths would they go to, to reach the children. Claire nods to the gunmen it’s time to leave and the six walk onto the porch of the school. We hear gunfire ripping through the air, then all four gunmen fall dead, we then see a familiar face and realize she’s responsible for it all.
Root says it’s nice to finally meet you Claire, then shoots her in the arm, Claire drops her cellphone and runs into the school. Root says let’s get you out of here Harry and takes him back to headquarters. John’s there when they arrive and asks Root’s back? She responds only for eight seconds then grabs a metal valise and leaves.
The last scene’s back at Fetch And Retrieve as John Greer has a meeting with the company’s CEO. He tells her he’s sorry to hear about their recent setback, but perhaps they can move even further by working together.
The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 10:00 pm on CBS.