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.

Person of Interest: s02 e20 – In Extremis

Two stories. Three, if you read between the lines, the lines of coded data that flicker very briefly across each image from the Machine’s surveillance feed, for a subliminally longer time each time.

The first story is a Number, Doctor Richard Nelson (Dennis Boutsikaris), brilliant, passionate, life-saver. Not perfect, but a good man. And a dead man. At a ceremony to honour his elevation to Professor Emeritus, under John Reese’s nose, he is poisoned with polonium, which destroys the body from within, very painfully.  Why was he poisoned? Because the Doctor let slip some insider information to the trader who’s wormed his way into friendship and racketball opponent. A hedge fund firm made $9 billion on that piece of information, $9 billion and an SEC investigation that goes away if Richardnelson goes away.

Nothing can be done to save Nelson. But Reese guides him along the trail to confront thebillionaire who, without the least concern, not even when face to face with his victim, ordered him murdered. Vincent Cochran doesn’t care. Until his nose also begins to bleed, after being served with a scotch. By John Reese.

The second story is an ally. Cal Beecher receives a Police funeral, at which Simmons in present. A furious Fusco confronts him, threatens to take HR down. But HR intend to take Fusco down. From Rykers, the former Detective Azzarello sells Fusco to IAD for the murder of Detective Stills. Lionel didn’t do it, but he’ll go down for it. There are flashbacks showing how Lionel was pulled into the web by his ‘buddy’, Jimmy Stills. He refuses to give IAD anything, no matter what Detective Soriano (Ned Eisenberg) throws at him. Carter’s concerned, until Fusco admits to having been a dirty cop, before her, before their friends. She’s a good cop, to whom the word is, once a dirty cop, always a dirty cop. Fusco’s going down. Come daylight, they’re digging at Oyster Point with corpse dogs. They’ll find Stills’ body, that’s all they need.

But the grave is empty. Someone’s removed the body. Fusco shows no reaction, just calls from his badge, shield and gun back. Elsewhere, at Rykers, someone’s chess-partner ensures former Detective Azzarello recants his accusations. Carter asks his restored partner to look at a case she’s pursuing for fresh leads: it’s Cal Beecher. Then she leaves, with Bear on a lead, leaving muddy footprints.

The code has grown more noticable throughout. Reese and Finch were too late to save Richard Nelson, just like they were too late with Bill Szymansky and Cal Beecher. The storm is here, the virus is moving, the data  is corrupted and so is the system. The feed breaks down, the code turns red.

The system shuts down. There are more than Numbers at stake now.