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Person of Interest - Season 2 - Is The Machine Alive?

My favorite new drama of the 2011-2012 season was Person of Interest. Seemingly another procedural at the already procedural heavy CBS, this procedural is more than meets the eye. Created by Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams it is very grounded per Nolan, but has a distinct science fiction edge per Abrams. As you would expect each episode revolves around a case, or in Person of Interest's world a social security number. Not knowing whether the person of interest is either victim, perpetrator or both, each episode is like a puzzle that has to be solved.

What makes this show more than just another procedural are the characters that inhabit the Person of Interest world. Each characters has his or her strengths and flaws. There is no black and white, just shades of grey. But one character in particular is what I want to highlight, as it looms over every episode. The Machine. 

At first glance it's 'just' a supercomputer, able to handle enormous amounts of video, audio and internet feeds. As it makes connections between objects, people and locations, you become aware how monstrous it must be in size. Even the tiniest connections are being made, something a normal person wouldn't be able to do, as seen in the episode ''Wolf and Cub''. 

The show teases us constantly about what the machine really is and as the show goes on it hints more and more at the machine being an AI. An artificial intelligence, fully aware and capable of making it's own decisions. As seen first in the episode "Ghosts" the machine can be taught things. As Finch it's teaching it how to track persons of interest, later on in the episode Finch teaches it the difference between relevant and irrelevant. 

This of course leads to a discussion between Ingram and Finch about the moral implications of whom is deemed relevant and irrelevant. By this time Ingram was already seen by the machine as a potential threat revealed in a flashback in the episode "Super" where Ingram is shown by Finch how the machine works. Later in the season's penultimate episode ''No Good Deed" Ingram is shown putting in a back door in the machine, in case it ever were to be abused. He did this even after Finch refused. What coincides with this is the date, 2009, Ingram was killed in 2010. While I realize there it never was explicitly stated or shown, I believe the machine orchestrated Ingram's death. After deeming him a threat and later when he tampered with the machine itself. 

There is more evidence to this, as the machine is shown to be fully aware of it's surroundings and has the ability to preserve itself. Earlier in the season Reese and Fusco are following Finch, to learn more about him and the machine. When the machine is aware of what they are doing it views them in red, commonly only associated with potential threats. In other words it is thinking on it's own. On how Reese might be a threat at this point, not knowing whether to take immediate action or monitor him further first. As the season progresses Reese is later viewed by the machine in green, it trusts him. He knows about the machine and is considered an asset by it, like Finch is. 

Another thing that happens at the end of the season is that the machine adapts to it's circumstances. In the episode "No Good Deed" Finch is called on a payphone by the machine to receive the next number. Then in the finale "Firewall'' Finch is kidnapped and Reese adresses the machine directly through a camera. The machine is than evaluating it's options before calling Reese on a nearby payphone. What it will have to say to Reese is anyone's guess at this point. But I know I can't wait to see what is next on this fantastic show! 

I hope you enjoyed my first article here at Spoilertv.com if you wish you can contact me in the comments below or follow me on twitter: Pascal219 There will be a lot more to come! 

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