‘Person of Interest’ Season 5 Episode 12 Recap and Review

Person of Interest Season 5 Episode 12 Jim Caviezel Photo
Jim Caviezel as John Reese and Sarah Shahi as Sameen Shaw in ‘Person of Interest’ (Photo: John Paul Filo ©2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc)

“I think Finch is going to kill Greer or die trying,” says Reese (Jim Caviezel) to Shaw (Sarah Shahi) about their employer and friend Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) who’s been able to stay off the grid and out of reach from Samaritan’s watchful eye in season five episode 12 of CBS’ crime thriller, Person of Interest.

While Finch makes his way to the NSA to unleash the Ice-9 deadly computer virus to take out Samaritan, his Machine uses their travel time together to show him some simulations of what his life – and the lives of his friends – would have been like had he never built the Machine. The first simulation focuses on Finch’s best friend, Nathan, who up with the idea for the Machine after the 9/11 attacks. He’d still be alive and their business would be very successful, but Finch would never have met the love of his life and would always feel he missed the opportunity to do something “meaningful” by not creating an AI for the DoD.


At the same time Finch is traveling to Washington D.C., back in New York Fusco (Kevin Chapman) is dealing with the news that the NYPD has discovered the missing bodies in Queens. Special Agent Martin LeRoux is back at the precinct and questions Fusco about what he knows about the discovery since he had an evidence board hidden in the conference room. The Machine shows Finch in a simulation that Fusco would have turned out a drunk and dishonorable ex-cop who informed on HR to save his own skin. The only positive is that Detective Carter would still be alive and now a lieutenant.

Reese and Shaw get a number from the Machine and realize it’s the number to Greer’s alias. Reese is positive Finch is going to try to kill Greer and the Machine is giving them the number to find Finch. Their search leads them to a deserted building used as a cover by Greer. But thanks to a few other numbers, which are coordinates and a room number given to them by the Machine, Reese and Shaw figure out that Harold is at the NSA.

At the NSA’s headquarters Finch has been able to get past the first line of defense by posing as the driver of the French NATO representative. Once past the main lobby security, Finch will lose contact with the Machine due to the building’s security measures and not allowing electronic devices inside. Before Finch goes past security, the Machine shows him a simulation of what would have happened to Shaw without its existence. Turns out Shaw would have stayed an assassin for the government and most likely be the one to eliminate NSA analyst and whistleblower Jacobs Pitts (Henry Peck), a number Reese and Finch helped back in season one who discovered the existence of the surveillance machine. Finch can’t help but focus on the fact that at least Shaw would have been spared the pain of having lost Root. Seems Harold is determined to blame himself and his Machine for everything bad that’s happened to his friends. After getting past the retinal scan, Finch is able to get to the server room and upload the virus. Just as he is about to activate it with the voice-activation command, he’s stopped and captured by some Samaritan operatives.

Just outside Reese and Shaw find a way to sneak past security by hiding in delivery trucks. They slip into the building taking out two military personnel to borrow their uniforms as cover. Reese and Shaw are able to make their way to the NSA’s evidence room and find a wireless modem that was used by Edward Snowden, which they will need later.

Meanwhile, back in New York Fusco gets knocked out by Agent LeRoux and wakes up in the backseat of a car, handcuffed. LeRoux is an operative of Samaritan and he’s the one responsible for all the dead bodies in the underground tunnels. LeRoux tells Fusco not to worry, that he will kill him with the same gun and bullets as the others making it look like he got too close to the killer and died a hero.

Finch is taken to Greer (John Nolan) who’s inside Samaritan’s command center and once again Greer is all about trying to convince Finch to join the dark side and together they will create a new and controlled world. Samaritan wants to link up with Finch’s Machine and work together to create more ASI’s. Greer tells Finch it’s useless to fight and that he’s only stalling the inevitable which is ASI’s dominion over mankind. Finch refuses, saying his Machine was created to serve and help humanity and that Samaritan’s world is one where humanity has lost its free will. During this chess match of the minds Finch accidentally reveals that his Machine can’t activate the Ice-9 virus without his okay. So Greer – being the true AI fanatic that he is – locks himself and Finch in a room and tells Samaritan to remove the air from it, something that will kill them both.

Fortunately, Reese and Shaw – who are being hunted by Samaritan agents after being discovered in the evidence room – have already activated the wireless modem in time for the Machine to connect to Finch’s phone. She sends him the code that will unlock the door and let him out. Finch asks the Machine how it was able to connect to him and she reveals, using Root’s voice, that Reese and Shaw are in the building and asks, “Aren’t reunions nice?” The Machine tells Finch that he has a choice to make to save his friends or activate the virus. To help him she shows him another simulation, this time showing what would have become of Reese without the Machine’s creation. Turns out Reese would have saved his true love Jessica from her abusive husband but she would have pushed him away after witnessing his dark side. Reese’s dead body would have been recovered from the East River. Finch tells the Machine to take him to his friends.

Reese and Shaw are at a dead end with Samaritan agents closing in when Finch tells them via their ear pieces to take them out and get ready to shoot. Finch has the Machine send a painful sound through the communications, causing the Samaritan agents to fall to their knees so Reese and Shaw can shoot them. Finch tells his two friends to get out of there and the door opens showing Finch on the other side of it. Reese, Shaw, and Finch head to the exit and Harold turns telling them to go on ahead. Reese and Shaw let him know they are not leaving him behind just as more of Samaritan’s operatives show up. During the fire fight Reese saves Shaw’s life and Finch uses the chaos to go back to the server room to activate the virus. Harold tells his Machine the world she showed him of her never existing wasn’t necessarily worse or better – just different. The Machine shows Finch one more simulation which reveals that Greer and Samaritan would still have come into existence and worse become even more powerful and controlling over mankind because Finch and his Machine weren’t around to fight it. To make matters even worse, Root would have become a loyal follower of Greer’s.

Back in New York by the river, Leroux has walked Fusco to an abandoned area where he plans to kill him. Fusco turns to face LeRoux and the corrupt agent shoots Fusco in the chest. LeRoux walks over to Fusco’s body lying on the ground and goes to shoot him again when he’s kicked by Fusco and overpowered by the seasoned cop who takes away the agent’s gun and tells him what an idiot he is for not checking Fusco for a bullet-proof vest. Fusco holds LeRoux at gunpoint, deciding if he should kill him to stop him from coming after his friends and family or let him live.

Finch gets to the control center and Samaritan tries to tell him not to go through with his plan of stopping it. “My Machine, her purpose has been constant, to protect and save humanity. It’s what she’s doing now,” says Finch just as he puts in the password and says thank you to his Machine which will also be destroyed by the virus. It’s an emotional moment as Harold is forced to sacrifice his Machine, his child, to save mankind as well as demonstrating how the Machine, which knew activating the virus meant its own destruction was willing and fought to protect humanity over its own survival. As Finch activates the virus, Samaritan’s screen begins to cut in and out.

Person of Interest Review of Season 5 Episode 12

Suspenseful and emotional, season five episode 12 of Person of Interest titled “.EXE” sees the end of one of the major villains of the series as well as begins the end of the show. The stand-out performance once again goes to Michael Emerson as Finch who, even though he has become more determined and calculating than ever to stop Samaritan, has not lost the love and admiration he feels for his friends and his Machine. The scenes where he sees the simulations of what would have become of the people he cares about if the Machine had never been created are both surprising and powerful. Most disturbing is the revelation of how Root would have become a loyal disciple of Samaritan and would never had grown to care for Harold, John, Fusco, and Shaw.

With both AIs appearing to being erased by the virus and Greer dead, here’s hoping the rest of Team Machine will be able to escape what’s left of Samaritan’s loyal agents and find a way to get out of this alive.

GRADE: A-

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