So, if you include the 'Endgame' mini-arc, these last five episodes have basically been the best the show has produced. Some might say Zero Day and God Mode both contest this, but I disagree. I've had the chance to rewatch both of those, along with the episodes from Endgame to Aletheia, and despite the high quality of the former, these last five have been flawless. Throughout these last five episodes, I have made countless predictions (most in my head, but still). I have got three right: Carter's death, Root saving Finch/Shaw/Claypool and that Rudy was the one with the Samaritan drives. That is it. This has been an unpredictable rollercoaster, and I'm sad to see it end.
Anyway, onto the actual episode. Starting with Greer, it was fantastic to have him back in the fold. Decima's presence as a major villain seemed to end when they failed to gain control to the Machine. We should've known better than to think they'd give up. Quite what Greer will do with Samaritan is yet to be seen, but I can guarantee that it will cause serious problems for an already dysfunctional Team Machine.
Of course, with Samaritan having gone online, Claypool was in serious danger from Control (the Christmas cliffhanger) and Vigilance. Starting with Control, we learn that she only wanted access to Samaritan in fear of losing access to the Machine. Having been decieved by Claypool's "tumor card" and after Root rescued Claypool, Finch and Shaw, Hersh managed to capture Root. And this is where it got brutal.
Despite having seen torture scenes multiple times on multiple shows, I should be used to it by now. Of course, shows find new ways to make me grimace. I did enjoy seeing Root be tortured though, considering she isn't exactly a nice character. Yet, I found myself Rooting (pun intended) for her, purely as Control is even more evil. I particularly loved the fact that even though she was being tortured, Root still found the whole thing funny. "You think you're in charge. It's adorable just how wrong you are." was a highlight of this episode.
The moment with the Morse Code was fantastic. I had seen some opposing views as to whether people could hear it or not, and having performed my own test, I can safely say this was a genius idea from the writers. The fact that it was exactly as Root said was a fantastic touch. I was able to hear it. The Machine adapted superbly in order to communicate with its interface, and it was a joy to watch.
Root speaking as the Machine was creepy. Until now, we've only heard her responding to instructions. It's obvious that she has opened herself to being controlled by The Machine - she wasn't lying when stating that she is the interface. The Machine is obviously protecting Control (and the only thing she loves) because she is part of the government, and it was designed to assist the government. However, if she continues to be a villain, or goes near Root again, I have a feeling that The Machine will cease to send numbers to the government.
I enjoyed the inclusion of Vigilance in this story. Their methods, however warped, are fun to watch, and the group posed a clear threat (as usual). It was brilliant to see Collier ramble on about how Claypool and Samaritan need to be exposed - not even remotely aware of Finch's creation. They are never likely to win on a show with a concept like Person of Interest has, but it's fun to watch.
Reese's refusal to return to his day job of helping people was annoying. As we expected, he has been seriously affected by Carter's death. Hell, when Jessica died, he went after her husband and spiralled into an alcohol-fuelled depression, contemplating suicide. Now, he appears to be returning to that time. This is obviously a changed Reese, as the one we've known for the past two years would most certainly not consider saving people "delaying the inevitable". There was no doubt in my mind that he would return to save Finch, but I expected him to leave again. I hope that he soon realises that helping people is a useful cause.
Flashback-wise, it was a continuation of those seen in 'Lethe'. Harold had showed off his phone hacking skills last time, but we saw his computer hacking skills here. I enjoyed seeing how his idea of helping his father had developed into hacking into the government. It was also interesting to realise why Harold has so many aliases (due to his illegal hacking), and why a lot of them are names of birds. He clearly never lost that connection to his father, even if it wasn't reciprocated.
Odds and ends:
- I still don't know who the threat to Claypool was. Was it Control or Vigilance?
- Seeing Claypool's box turn yellow was fantastic.
- If Root's two-gun approach is not featured on a weekly basis, I will not be happy.
- I am glad that Root isn't working with the team for the moment. If she is able to find out from the Machine where anyone is at any one time, chasing numbers becomes too easy.
- Reese called the Machine a 'he'.
- Is Hersh dead? He is the Person of Interest equivalent of the Terminator, so he can't possibly be.
- "It's hammer time."
Promo for an episode which will not be as good as this one (and if it is, well done writers):