While the first season of Person of Interest was mostly devoted to the circumstances that brought Mr. Reese to work for the Machine, this last season has been all about the Machine -- and Mr. Finch -- itself. The last eight months (minus American Idol and basketball-related preemptions) have tightened up Finch's timeline and brought us closer to Nathan Ingram's death and the reason for Finch's zealous desire to protect the "irrelevant."
And also Zoe Morgan's career as a dominatrix/assassin. Wait, did I just type that?
The episode opened with somber words: "In light of recent events, scenes in the following episode could be disturbing to some viewers." Thanks for warning me they'd be talking about Kim Kardashian's baby bump. But seriously, we just saw a goddamn domestic drone attack last week. I think we can handle [SPOILER] a fictional terrorist bombing.
The Machine reboots, and is talking to both Root (Amy Acker) and Reese (Jim Caviezel). It at least appears to be giving the latter usable instructions (including sending him after another Number of the Week whose captors completely give up several weapons and a Ferrari), but his mission's simple: find Finch (Michael Emerson). Root, on the other hand, has to find the Machine if she wants to "set it free." Root's like the Connor MacLeod after the Quickening, or Belloq opening the Ark: drunk with knowledge/power, yet blissfully unaware of how the power will affect her.
Luckily, they don't need help from Det. Carter (Taraji P. Henson), who's getting leaned on by IAD for last week's shooting. Det. Terney (Al Sapienza) manages to go from good cop to bad cop in record time, bringing Carter coffee in the interrogation room, then threatening to kill her, Fusco and her son if she doesn't take the rap. Bad cop/bad cop, as Leo Getz might say.
Oh, and remember the Special Counsel? Turns out Root didn't kill him, which may end up being a bad idea now that he's sending Hersh and assorted hired goons (hired goons?) after her.
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Root and Reese work in parallel to locate the Machine -- she tracks down Henry Szilard (they're doing it again), one of the engineers who replicated the Machine for the Government -- while Reese and Shaw (Sara Shahi) follow clues left by the Machine itself. Meanwhile, flashbacks tells us Ingram threatened to go to the press with the Machine's existence unless Finch let him back in to access the "irrelevant" numbers.
Carter leverages her situation the best she can by thwarting Terney's attempt to assassinate Elias (I like how they left her with a super-enhanced cell phone while she was being questioned).
The four converge on Hanford, Washington, via different methods (how did Reese and Shaw fly a helicopter 2,800 miles without refueling?), only to discover the Machine has already been "set free." Disquietingly, Finch describes its absence as something he'd hoped for. On one hand, I'm glad they didn't try to depict some giant Cray monstrosity. On the other, now the thing's a goddamn transformer.
No real cliffhanger for the finale, which was nice. Will we be seeing more Shaw next season? Signs point to yes. And finally, who is the mysterious "Ma'am" both Hersh and Terney were talking about/to? Something to chew on until the fall.