As the best show on CBS will return very soon let’s talk about the best episodes of each season.
Person of Interest usually has strong season premieres and The Contingency proved that. Finch and Root were still on their road trip, Reese had his first encounter with Bear (yay!) and the hilarious Leon, and this episode also sets up the role the government played in the second season. I loved how the showrunners didn’t make a rush job out of Finch’s situation and instead opted to make it last multiple episodes. Often enough the cliffhanger of a previous season is neatly resolved during the following season premiere and things go back to normal fairly quickly. Especially with episodic shows. Not with Person of Interest. Speaking of episodic, this also marks where this show decidedly moves away from the episodic format and becomes more and more serialized. And it is for the better. The Contingency was a strong episode of a strong season with even stronger episode that followed.
“One day, I realized all the dumb, selfish things people do… it’s not our fault. No one designed us. We’re just an accident, Harold. We’re just bad code. But the thing you built… It’s perfect. Rational. Beautiful. By design.”
Bad Code was a brilliant follow up to the Contingency. It showed us Root’s backstory, tells us more about the people who Nathan Ingram sold the machine to and further develops the relationship between Carter and Reese. We see Root lure Denton Weeks to his mistresses’ apartment where she brutally interrogates him, then pretends to be knocked out to let Weeks and Finch talk. When Finch tells Weeks that the machine is somewhere in Salt Lake City Root comes back and kills Weeks. She takes Finch to the train station where Reese, following a hint from Finch, rescues his friend but Root escapes. I really loved seeing more about the resourcefulness and ruthlessness of Root. She was a very interesting villain in the beginning. Her backstory was tragic but not in the way you would expect. Bad Code made it a super strong start of a super good season.
“We’ve managed to perfect the apple–a genetically modified version that never goes brown. And yet, we still haven’t upgraded human beings. The human race has stalled out, Harold. And from what I’ve seen, most of it is rotten to the core.”
Wow, just wow. Even after re-watching this episode for the first time in a while it’s still an amazingly awesome episode. Jonathan Nolan’s directorial debut is filled with everything a near-perfect episode needs. The episode focusses on Shaw and Cole, a team who take out the relevant numbers. When Cole digs a little too deep into where the numbers come from and if they are correct, the organization working with the Machine send a team in to kill them. Cole is killed but Shaw survives with the help of Reese whom she shoots. Later Shaw is taken by Root and interrogated but Root is interrupted by another hit team and leaves. Reese saves Shaw again and takes her to Finch. She declines their help and goes after Special Counsel. She meets with them and shoots the agent who betrayed her but protects the program itself. She is allowed to leave but is drugged with poison by her mentor Hersh. She is saved by Reese and Finch again with the help of Leon and she accepts Finch’s card this time if not his help.
Zero Day/God Mode
It happens often that the penultimate episode of a season is better than the season finale. That’s one of the reasons why I very much believe in season finales being two episodes. Unfortunately those doubleheaders to end a season seem to be going out of style. I have no idea why. Person of Interest never had one but the stellar second season did end with a penultimate episode and a season finale that not only go hand in hand but also where equally fantastic. Root coerces Finch into helping her find the Machine to protect it from Decima Technologies after the nefarious corporation planted a virus inside the Machine. Said virus forced the Machine to go into God Mode which means that whoever answers the pay phone the Machine calls to will be admin for 24 hours. Decima wants this, Root wants this and Special Counsel wants full control over the machine. In the end Finch, Root, Shaw and Reese found out that the Machine has moved itself and no one knows where too. Root ends up in a mental institution but receives a call from the Machine after having been admin for 24 hours. Special Counsel starts receiving relevant numbers again and Team Machine receives irrelevant number again.
In flashbacks we see the heartbreaking story of Finch and Nathan. We of course knew he was dead but we did not know how exactly. He wanted to do something with the irrelevant list and was going public when he was killed by Special Counsel. Finch was also there at the ferry bombing which is the reason for his permanent injury. But the saddest moment was seeing Grace arrive at the makeshift hospital after the bombing looking for Finch. That moment when she finds the book and things he is dead. Damn. I had a lump in my throat. I had forgotten how strong season 2 was. Person of Interest is truly a remarkable show and highly underrated.
“No. You don’t get to talk to me. I’m true to what I am. Like my friend Mr. Yogorov here. I killed his father, he kills me. Fair is fair. But you, you’re a– you’re an oath breaker. You’re a worm.”