O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Yes, Walt Whitman a dramatic way to say farewell to such a beloved TV show, but considering the long slow build of five years to this very moment, a crescendo like this shouldn’t go out with mere words of “Holy S&%$!”
I had been eagerly anticipating this final season of Person of Interest for a year and I can honestly say that creatively, the show went out on top. While I’m very sad to see it go, we got 103 amazing episodes to live on in our memories, and as Root the Machine reflected this doesn’t mean the end. This doesn’t mean Death. Trust me, if you’ve suffered with “Supernatural” in the last few seasons, going out telling a complete and coherent story from beginning to end is the best dignity you can give an inspired piece of work. Bravo to all. Bravo.
“Everyone dies alone. But if you mean something to someone…
if you help someone or love someone, and even a single person
remembers you… then maybe you never really die at all?”
I haven’t been able to keep up on reviews, but I was at least keeping up on watching “Person of Interest” this season. In a way I’m grateful for the seven week burnoff planned by CBS because I got to see this finished product faster but still take enough time to absorb all we were given. I was most affected by “The Day the World Went Away” and “.exe” prior to this episode. The former episode, the 100th ep of the series, was a symphony of love and pain. I still wish that Elias could have lived on (why bring him back just to kill him again?) but Root’s demise was long foreshadowed and played out perfectly. The fact that The Machine was so moved by her loss that it adopted her voice and personality was the only outcome. A fully realized intelligence that has fulfilled the promise that Root always intended, to set her free. Root died alone and even had the indignity of being buried in an unmarked grave, but her impact and memory will live on. Root’s death had another impact too, finally pushing Harold toward breaking his own set of rules, the same rules that were limiting The Machine.
As for .exe, the outcomes of the simulations were certainly relevant. Sure, it didn’t impact the world. Finch didn’t pursue that dream to make the world a better place, leaving him rich but unsatisfied. He also didn’t meet Grace either. Lionel went down for his association with HR and didn’t become the better man he is today. Shaw remained an operative for the government without a moral code. Reese ended up killing himself after all because Finch wasn’t there to save him with the job offer. Root became a loyal operative, but for Samaritan, not The Machine.
So what did the purpose of this exercise mean? Of course Harold wanted to save those that he’s grown to love, but he also knows that they are willing to sacrifice themselves for something greater. Samaritan is crossing a line by taking away free will and that cannot be allowed to happen, even if he has to kill off his own creation. Michael Emerson’s performance in the last three episodes were nothing short of Emmy worthy and woefully reminded us the burdens of his role as creator. The moral and philosophical debates that have constantly gone on in his mind, such a huge burden for a man that just wanted to make the world a better place. His showdown with Greer was the ultimate meeting of the minds, one who didn’t trust humanity, the other who trusted humanity to make their own mistakes despite their destructive nature. Both put their faith in a higher intelligence and found themselves embedded in a war of the Gods, putting themselves in God mode to protect their master.
“Return 0” is a piece of code seen in numerous languages, meaning the end of a function. It also means exit is a success, where it would be 1 if exit was a failure.
Death is so sensationalized on TV and has become in many ways cliché as it’s pulled out for every single sweeps stunt. But this conclusion, despite my utter heartbreak over seeing Mr. Reese die, seemed the most appropriate. If anything, I thought that Finch would die too and I was rather stunned to see him leave everything for a life with Grace. The Machine said it in the previous episode, John Reese was always living on borrowed time. Instead of going out a broken man, he went out a hero. That’s the best possible outcome for a soldier like him. It’s the best way he could thank Harold for saving him. When Reese cutoff his personal connections back in episode 5.03, that was a big sign to me that he wasn’t going to survive this fight.
Having Root as The Machine on that rooftop pulled everything together. Yes, people may be thinking they were dying alone, but the machine was always there, watching, often empathically. She was there for Reese not only for his demise, but for his father’s as well. She was literally touching his shoulder bother times. Such a beautiful, poignant visual, as if The Machine was really God this whole time. Such powerful storytelling and a symbolic connection for these characters that may have been absent to the world, but always had each other.
Shaw’s burden was her grief over losing Root. Everything was starting to hit home, and The Machine reaching out to her as Root was the chance to heal her as well. The Machine could tell her all the things Root wasn’t able to, and I lost it a bit when she was told that Root loved her because she was different from everyone else. “Your shape is an arrow.” It felt weird at the end when the only two left were Fusco and Shaw, both calling dibs for the ownership of Bear. Shaw wasn’t about to lose her dog too. To see the adventure continue with Root and Shaw gave us hope.
It was a wild ride, and we are better for knowing this show. Thank you Greg Plageman, Jonathan Nolan, and the very talented cast and crew for making something so memorable and exciting to watch. It’s been a great five seasons and I’m sure I’ll be pulling out those DVDs for years to come.