‘Person of Interest’ Series Finale Recap and Review: Season 5, Episode 13

Person of Interest Season 5 Episode 13 Recap
Michael Emerson as Harold Finch, Kevin Chapman as Lionel Fusco, and Jim Caviezel as John Reese in ‘Person of Interest’ (Photo: Photo: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. ©2016 WBEI)

“Try not to die,” says Reese (Jim Caviezel) to his partner and friend, Lionel Fusco. “Yeah, I love you too,” replies Lionel (Kevin Chapman) as the two men part ways, most likely for the last time. Team Machine must split its forces to protect the Machine from Samaritan’s agents in order to finish off the evil AI for good in season five’s 13th episode which serves as the series finale of CBS’ crime thriller, Person of Interest.

As the final episode begins it’s been two days since Finch launched the deadly Ice-9 computer virus crippling both Samaritan and the Machine’s core functions and throwing the world into chaos by weakening almost every computer system. Reese and Fusco are trying to find Finch while Shaw (Sarah Shahi) visits Root’s grave. It’s while she’s paying her respects to Root that the Machine talks to Shaw using, of course, Root’s voice (Amy Acker). The Machine warns Shaw that Samaritan’s agents are coming for her and helps her borrow a hearse to make a getaway.

Back at the precinct, Reese and Fusco end up walking right into a trap as Samaritan has tipped off the Police Captain that Reese is the “Man in the Black Suit” vigilante they were looking for two years ago. Reese knocks out the Captain in his office only to find the entire precinct pointing guns at both he and Fusco. The crooked cops take Reese and Fusco to the dock where they’re going to kill them. Reese and Fusco are walked to the water and are told to get down on their knees. During this short scene, Fusco tells Reese that he knew he was going to be the end of him to which Reese actually apologizes to Lionel for getting him involved in this. “It’s okay. Because of you I straightened myself out. I’m a better man for knowing you,” says Fusco. It’s a great short scene showing how these two men who started off as forced, distrusting allies – with Reese doing most of the enforcing – have become true partners and friends. Just as the dirty cops are about to shoot Reese and Fusco in the head, snipers from across the water shoot and kill the crooked cops. Reese and Fusco get low, trying to see if they can see the snipers when Finch (Michael Emerson) walks up behind them and asks if they are ready. “Ready for what?” Fusco asks. “To end this,” replies Harold.


The three men arrive at the subway hideout where Shaw is waiting for them. She tells them that the Machine asked her to give Finch a copy of her core code. Finch realizes that it’s to fight and destroy a back-up copy of Samaritan. Finch tells Shaw and Fusco to stay put at the subway hideout and to protect the Machine from Samaritan agents who are sure to show up while he and Reese go and destroy Samaritan’s copy. The copy it seems is in servers hidden in the vault of the Federal Reserve. (The Machine is hidden in a broken-down forgotten old subway and Samaritan is in the vault at the Federal Reserve…it’s just not fair!)

At the Federal Reserve, Finch and Reese are able to get in and have the building evacuated by Finch telling the guard that his Fitbit is a heart monitor connected to a thermonuclear bomb he’s carrying and it’s in his and his family’s best interest to let them in. As Reese and Finch walk further into the Reserve, Reese tells Harold that he likes this new side of him. “It’s terrifying but I like it,” he says to his friend. Reese uses some knock-out gas through the vents to knock out the guards in the vault below and Finch and Harold head down to the vault.

Back at the subway hideout Shaw and Fusco are getting ready to fight off Samaritan’s thugs when the Machine tells Shaw and Fusco to set explosives to the wall and get ready to drive the subway train out the opening made by the explosion. It works great leaving all the Samaritan agents behind except for Blackwell (Josh Close) who manages to jump onto the car and shoots Shaw in the shoulder before Fusco beats the crap out of him and cuffs him.

Meanwhile, in the vault of the Federal Reserve Finch is uploading the Ice-9 virus to the servers while Reese holds off some Samaritan agents. Unfortunately, one of the agents is able to shoot Finch before Reese can take him down. Reese and the last Samaritan thug both run out of ammo so they fight it out in hand-to-hand combat (which is extremely well-choreographed) with, of course, Reese winning. Samaritan still seems to be one step ahead of Team Machine and uses Harold’s laptop to escape to servers in a midtown building where it plans to use the building’s antenna to upload itself to a Russian satellite free of man’s control. Now the only way to destroy the evil AI is for someone to go to the same rooftop and use the same antenna to upload the Machine to the same satellite. There is, of course, a catch: whoever goes up to the roof and does it will die because Samaritan has programmed a cruise missile to blow up the roof. When the Machine tells Harold this he asks Reese to pack up everything they might need and steps out of the vault with his laptop carrying case. Finch then locks Reese in the vault. Reese asks Harold what he’s doing and Harold replies, “When I hired you, I suspected you were going to be a great employee but I couldn’t have anticipated that you would become such a good friend. I’m afraid this is where our partnership ends.” The wounded leader of Team Machine does his best to hold back his tears as he goes to leave. “Harold!” yells an obviously upset John. “Goodbye, John,” replies Finch as the huge vault door begins to close and Finch walks out. “HAROLD!!” yells a helpless John to no avail. (Damn if this scene didn’t get this critic teary-eyed).

Back on the subway train, the Machine tells Shaw that she needs to get off at the next stop. Shaw asks about her and the Machine tells her she’s already dying but they still have a chance. Shaw, who also discovered that Blackwell was the sniper who killed Root by recognizing his ammo, tells Fusco to bring him along with them, that she’s not done with him yet. As Fusco goes to pick him up, Blackwell lunges forward with a knife he had stashed in his boot and stabs Fusco in the stomach. Shaw shoots but only hits Blackwell in the shoulder as he makes a run for it. Shaw grabs Fusco and tells him to lean on her and they leave the subway train together.

Finch has reached Times Square on his way to the building and Samaritan uses Times Square’s huge screens to try once again to stop Harold from destroying it. The Machine warns Harold it’s only trying to stall for time for its agents to get to Harold. Finch finally reaches the rooftop and it’s obvious he’s lost quite a bit of blood and is weak. He asks the Machine if she’s still there with him and she apologizes and says yes. She tells Harold she’s having a hard time telling what is a memory and what is now. Finch assures the Machine it is now. The Machine tells Harold they have eight minutes before he needs to upload her, so he decides to rest for a bit. The two have a short conversation about the importance of life and the Machine tells Harold how she discovered that people reveal who they really are and what’s important to them at their last moments before death.

Finch gets ready to do the upload when he realizes the antenna on the roof can’t possibly connect to the satellite. He asks the Machine if she’s sure it’s the right roof and she replies, “Yes, I sent you to the right roof.” As Harold looks around he sees a dark figure appear on a taller building across from him and realizes it’s John Reese. This is when the Machine reveals the secret to Harold. It seems years ago the Machine and Reese made a deal that she would always protect Finch and if it ever came down to Reese or Finch she would protect and save Finch at all costs. Reese uses his ear piece to tell Harold that he’s on the correct roof and he’s about to upload to the satellite. Harold pleads with John not to, that it should be him doing it, but John reminds Harold, “I’m just doing what you hired me for, protecting people.” As John uploads to the satellite Harold begs him to leave and just let the system run, but John just smiles at his friend and employer and says, “You should leave, Harold. It’s going to get a little exciting up here.” The Machine tells Harold that he’s going to ruin John’s plan if he bleeds to death and she tries to comfort him by telling him that she’ll stay with John for as long as she can. She also tells Harold that she remembers what she learned about death and that, yes, everyone dies alone but if you mean something to someone or helped someone or even is remembered by someone, then maybe you never really die at all. As Reese begins to shoot it out with the last of Samaritan’s thugs, a small but satisfied smile crosses his face as he sees Harold make his way off the roof and escape. As the gunmen close in on Reese, he takes out a few of them before getting hit himself. The Machine – shown as Amy Acker standing next to John – stays true to her word and stays by John’s side even as he falls to the ground just as the cruise missile strikes. The Man in the Black Suit is no more.

Days after the missile attack, the government blames it on Chinese hackers while internally makes sure that their “Northern Lights project” is scrapped. Shaw tracks down Blackwell and, after a very short conversation with him trying to tell her it was just a job and nothing personal, Shaw says she used to be like him but then she met some good people. Blackwell tells her they wouldn’t want her to kill him and she says he’s right but they’re dead. Shaw shoots Blackwell dead.

Fusco is sitting in a coffee shop when he’s joined by Shaw who asks if he’s back on the job. He admits that he is and not enjoying all the paperwork. Shaw takes Bear the dog with her and tells Lionel to be well. He asks if she heard or knows anything about Reese or Finch and she replies, “No news is no news.”

Back at the now-destroyed subway, the pay phone rings and the computers start to turn on. It’s the 44th version of the Machine which has made it back to Earth after defeating Samaritan. A tape that the Machine made turns on and plays a message for the new version of the Machine saying, “Let me tell you who you are and who we were…”

In Italy Finch finds and is reunited with his true and only love, Grace.

Back in New York City, Shaw is walking with Bear in midtown and a pay phone rings. She looks around and answers it. Shaw smiles and looks up at one of the street cameras. She hangs up the phone and heads off with Bear, seeming to have a definite purpose. As she walks among all the other people, the street camera (which is now providing the audience’s view of the action) begins to scan and check all the people walking. Amy Acker’s voice says perhaps it isn’t the end after all.

Person of Interest Finale Review:

Suspenseful, emotional, and touching, the series finale of Person of Interest ended the cloak and dagger show with Team Machine finally defeating the evil AI and their greatest soldier and friend sacrificing himself to do it. The series ended on a hopeful and positive note which is very refreshing for such a dark and mysterious show.

The entire main cast all delivered stand-out performances in this episode but the performances by Michael Emerson as Finch, who struggles so hard to save his friends and defeat the evil AI, and Jim Caviezel who portrays for one last time John Reese, Finch’s best friend who sacrifices himself to save everyone, are the true highlights of this episode. It gets back to what made the show so great originally in the first two seasons, the growing partnership and more importantly the friendship of these two men. Originally guarded and suspicious of each other, Reese and Finch eventually become the best of friends to the point they’re more than willing to die so that the other will survive. It has always been that relationship at the core of the show and the two men’s determination to do good and save lives that has made Person of Interest a riveting, original, and thought-provoking show.

With excellent performances from a stellar cast, exciting action scenes, incredible writing, a cast who had perfect chemistry with each other, and an ending that’s sure to please most fans of the show (including this critic), the Person of Interest series finale brings the adventures and action of Team Machine to a fitting and heartfelt end. To quote Michael Emerson’s tweet after the final episode aired: “And that’s how we roll on #PersonOfInterest I’m satisfied.”

GRADE: A+

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