“What are we dealing with here, Finch?” asks Reese (Jim Caviezel). “Uncharted waters, Mr. Reese,” replies Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) as the two men have just boarded the New York ferry to avoid any surveillance from the AI called Samaritan in the fifth and final season opener of CBS’s action crime series, Person of Interest.
As the episode begins it’s pitch black and somewhere a phone rings. The screen begins to light up to show the team’s hideout – the hidden subway base – but it’s empty. No computers, equipment or the subway car are anywhere to be seen. The phone’s answered by a recording from Root (Amy Acker) that says, “If you can hear this, you’re alone. The only thing left 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 but either way if you’re hearing this know one thing…it’s over. So let me tell you what we did to fight back.” The scene then flashes back to the day after the season four finale with the team having split up and on foot. Reese is carrying the memory and battery of what’s left of Finch’s Machine in the special indestructible briefcase while being hunted by Samaritan agents. He uses his special talents, mainly arm-to-arm fighting and of course his firearm, to wound and stop the agents while making his way to the ferry to try to get out of sight from every camera in New York – all of which are now being controlled by the AI Samaritan. Just as Reese is actually losing to one of Samaritan’s thugs, Mr. Finch knocks the man out and boards the ferry with Reese after briefly flashing back to when his best friend and business partner Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen) was killed by a ferry bomb a few years ago. Reese and Harold agree that the best course of action is to head back to the subway hideout. There they’ll try to save the Machine and get it back online, even though Finch is doubtful and pessimistic about their chances.
Meanwhile, ex enemy turned ally Root is struggling to stay under the radar because Samaritan knows all her old false IDs. After she wins a firefight with two thugs the AI sends after her, Root tries to use the subway but Samaritan’s eye sees her via the cameras on the train and sends a news alert to a few passengers saying Root is a dangerous criminal. Soon Root is taking down the passengers trying to be heroes. As she walks out of the subway car, Root looks right at the security camera and says to Samaritan, “You can just call me Root, bitch.” She then steals a shotgun from a cop and heads for the hideout of an old acquaintance of hers to get a new ID for cover. While at her old friend’s warehouse, Root notices that his men are going through recycled computer equipment because they have found some malware buried in the firmware and think it’s the NSA. (Boy, are they wrong!)
At the police precinct, Fusco (Kevin Chapman) is being questioned about the deaths of Dominic and Elias. At first the FBI agent and Internal Affairs suspect that Fusco killed both men for some reason. Fusco tries to tell the two men that there was another shooter that night – a sniper who killed Dominic – but they aren’t buying it, even though it’s the truth.
Reese and Finch finally make it back to their subway hideout and Reese gets a call from Fusco telling him about the Feds and Internal Affairs investigating him. Finch tells Reese that if Samaritan is behind the sniper taking out Dominic that it will most likely get rid of any witnesses so Fusco should stop telling anyone about what really happened. Reese tells Lionel to just stay quiet and try to ride out the investigation. He also asks Fusco to look for any weird fights or altercations being reported around the city. When John gets to the police station, he finds out from Fusco that the test the FBI ran on his gun shows the bullets that killed Dominic came from his gun. The FBI agent told Fusco he killed one of the FBI’s top 10 most wanted men while he was trying to escape. He’s in the clear. Reese tells Fusco to take the win and he’ll fill him in on what’s going on later. He asks for the police info he wanted and Fusco tells him about a lady taking down three guys on a subway which prompts Reese to quickly leave the station.
Back at the subway base, Harold is trying to connect the Machine but before he’s ready the machine comes alive and begins to try to decompress itself. Finch tries to disconnect the Machine because he doesn’t have enough memory, drives, or firmware for the Machine to decompress correctly but is badly shocked in the process and knocked out. Side note: During the episode Finch keeps thinking back to 2006 when he was questioning whether to put the Machine online the way it was or cripple it by erasing its memory every night at midnight, and the moral and ethical ramifications of his actions.
It seems Root’s old friend does get her a new ID but also cuts a deal with some of Samaritan‘s agents. They enter the warehouse and kill Root’s friend and his associates. One of them tells Root that this will be the last ID she ever gets and asks her where her comrades are, meaning Finch and Reese. “You’re about to find out,” says Root as a smoke bomb comes rolling through on the floor. Yes, Reese has tracked Root down just in time to save her. Together the two gunfight their way out of the warehouse taking with them 300 computer drives to help the Machine come back online. Root turns to John and says, “I always knew you had a soft spot for me.”
When Root and Reese get back to the subway hideout they find Finch, who was saved by Bear the dog from the small fire created when he shorted out the computer, distraught and realizing he made a horrible mistake back in 2006 when he wrote the code to erase the Machine’s memory every night at midnight. Root and John show Harold the drives they took and the three comrades begin to build the master computer the Machine needs to run. They fire up the Machine and she starts to decompress but the heat from all the drives is too much and the system begins overheating. Root and Finch don’t know what to do but Reese quickly goes up to the street and borrows some liquid nitrogen. He comes back down and tells them phone and cable workers use it to cool the phone lines during construction. Reese uses it on the drives and cools them down so the Machine can complete its decompressing. The last scene shows Finch getting close to the screen of the machine with Root and John standing behind him. Finch asks the Machine if it can see him and a blinking light goes on.
Person of Interest Season 5 Episode 1 Review:
Action-packed and suspenseful, season five episode one titled “B.S.O.D.” kicks off the final season of CBS’s cloak and dagger crime thriller series with the three main characters staying just a few steps ahead of the evil AI Samaritan’s goons and reconnecting to each other and, hopefully, their beloved Machine. The episode has a fast and hectic pace to it while also starting with a very bleak and ominous tone.
The cast is flawless in their performances in roles they now own, and they continue to have wonderful chemistry together. Caviezel’s performance as Reese is, of course, perfect, with the intense look and the hilarious one-liners he delivers in character to infuse a little humor in a deadly situation much the way Secret Agent 007 does in his films. A perfect example of this is the scene where Finch and Reese need to enter their secret subway hideout but a city worker is blocking them as he tries to get a candy bar from the vending machine, which is actually the secret door when the correct code is pushed. Reese knocks him out while Finch shows displeasure about his actions and Reese simply says, “What? Sugar is bad for you.”
Michael Emerson is fantastic as Finch, the billionaire genius software tech who desperately wants to atone for his mistakes and bring the Machine – his child – back to life. Every scene with Emerson is filled with underlying mixed emotions and he portrays it superbly. Amy Acker is mesmerizing as Root, the once dangerous enemy to Team Machine and is now a trusted and loved comrade. She’s tough, smart, extremely lethal, but now also loyal to Harold and John and would sacrifice herself for them which is a huge leap for her character. Acker’s character Root and her performance add another dimension to the show and more emotional depth that wasn’t there the first two seasons.
With the Machine seeming to wake up and our heroes still being hunted by Samaritan and its agents, it’s going to be very interesting and exciting to see how Finch, Reese, Root and the Machine plan to fight back.