Person of Interest: s05 e01 – B.S.O.D.


[beep] If you can hear this, you’re alone. The only thing left of us is the sound of my voice.

I don’t know if any of us made it. Did we win? Did we lose? I don’t know. I’m not even sure I even know what victory would mean anymore.

But either way, it’s over. So let me tell you who we were. Let me tell you who *you* are… and how we fought back.

It begins at the end, the very end, twelve long weeks from here. Root’s voice, in darkness, coming from a telephone message to an abandoned, almost destroyed Subway. No equipment, no people, a demolished wall… no train. Then we pull back to start the full story of how we got from, here to there. And where there is.

BSOD stands for Blue Screen of Death, that fatal error screen that suddenly screams out of your laptop. I didn’t know that before starting to watch this episode so I didn’t know its appropriateness to this episode. Originally, this was not broadcast until almost a year after the final episode of season 4 and though it starts almost immediately after that, it doesn’t fel like it. There’s a massive urgency to everything and this is because the name of the game is now survival. Reese, Finch and Root are classified as Enemy Combatants, assassins and death squads are tracking them, the Machine is a set of RAM-chips in a damaged briefcase and can offer no aid let alone protection. Run rabbits, run.

Manwhile, Fusco is investigated by IAB  Detective Soriano (Ned Eisenberg) and FBI Special Agent LeRoux (David Aaron Baker) on suspicion of killing Dominick and Elias. He idn’t, we know that, but nobody believes him about the rooftop sniper, Reese asks him to pay this down and an FBI ballistics report that LeRoux won’t let Soriano see, ‘confirms’ it was Fusco’s gun: he stopped  major crime figure fleeing custody: he’s a hero.

He also finds the sniper’s casing on the rooftop afterwards. And the dissatisfied Soriano, re-classified by Samaritan as an ‘Obstructionist’, dies of a heart attack. We understand that it wasn’t natural.

But what of Reese, Finch and Root? And the Machine, compressed into a supposedly indestructible briefcase whose battery has been damaged and is dying. The first two team up and make it back to the Subway after a couple of adventures: a trip on the East River Ferry brings flashbacks to Harold of Nathan Ingram’s death and the vending machine that, Batman-style, conceals their access to the Subway is being serviced. Reese drives forward, obsessed with restoring normality, getting back to the Numbers. But once ‘home’, the problem of saving the Machine arises. And they are too late and they don’t have the equipment…

Root’s on a different path, much more of a chase sequence, that leads her to an old client who really doesn’t get what’s going on. He thinks it’s a better deal to sell her out to Samaritan. Is there no honour among thieves any more? Because everyone knows from Second One that the price he’ll be paid will be measured out in lead, not gold. Still, John’s here for the deus ex machina rescue, but Root wants to take a little souvenir back with her: 300 games consoles.

Finch’s though is the loneliest path. He has to try to save his child. There are flashbacks, to 2006, steps in the creation of the Machine or rather reservations and limitations leading to the dumping of all the Machine’s memories every night. Nathan protests the step, warning that if Harold doesn’t create the first free and unhindered AI, someone else will. Grace Hendricks tells him to follow his heart. The Machine in its last moments, reminds him that losing its memories is the same as the ‘death’ of Harold’s father, longer than its 25th Anniversary of the death of his body, but rather when the Alzheimers took his memories. Alea jacta est: the die is cast.

And in 2015, Finch tries to save the Machine by reviving its batteries. It gets iut, it tries to decompress but there is no room Finch pulls the plug. But 300 games consoles can be wired up to create a super-computer big enough to house the Machine. Finch apologises to her, saying that he would not make certain decisions the same now. It comes on-line. “Can you see me?” he asks.

More next week.

7 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s05 e01 – B.S.O.D.

  1. We knew that season 5 had been filmed, but CBS was keeping shtum about (or, more likely, hadn’t decided) when they would start airing. I and a number of people in a FaceBook PoI group wrote to CBS politely asking them to schedule it, and eventually they did.

  2. Apart from one random episode of season 1, which I dom’t remember but didn’t impress me, I started watching PoI after season 5 had started. I burned through season 1 in seven days. After that it was a race to try to get to the last episode before it was broadcast. I missed it by three days, which I spent avoiding going anywhere near anywhere that might contain a spoiler. happily, I made it.

  3. “B.S.O.D.” [5×01]
    Written By: Greg Plageman and Tony Camerino
    Directed By: Chris Fisher
    Originally Aired 3 May 2016

    This is the strongest ‘Person of Interest’ season premiere. Conceptually, narratively, and on its technical merits. I really liked ‘The Contingency’ and ‘Panopticon’, but this is on another level. The main characters being in dire straits helps keep the tension high throughout, and the way it’s shot and composed (minus some weird CGI stuff with the gun fights) is a big improvement over the already high production values of previous seasons. Overall, this episode just never stops delivering everything you could want from a ‘Person of Interest’ episode: action, character bonding, real-life references to technology (the US Air Force used PS3s to build a supercomputer in 2015) and flashbacks that deliver musings on the relationship between man and machine. What’s not to like?

    Grade: A. I guess the only problem is how exactly Reese found Root and did the typical ‘saves the day from out of nowhere’. That starts to lose its edge after a show plays that card a few dozen times. Other than that…..I loved it, as usual.

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