B.S.O.D. Episode Diagnostic | The Machine Age | Person of Interest Season 5
Person of Interest always defied the serial procedural model through authentic tech, prescient concerns and chiefly – a singular ensemble of characters with rich relationships and backstories. The story element of the Machine churning out numbers allowed for a crime-of-the-week structure for the then typical 22 episode per season order, but the series gravitated away from that trope to focus on a grander story line, incorporating new, compelling characters who all enacted change on each other within the confines of the swiftly progressing story.
In this TV era, five seasons is an achievement of no small feat, and to have maintained its quality of storytelling throughout the run is even more of a rarity. I hope we can witness the passage of this excellent series through the gates of Netflix Valhalla, where it will live in crystal clear picture for our days to come. BUT – we still have more story to discuss until that time, so, here goes the inaugural Hollywood Redux POI Age of the Machine episode response blog series.
As we careen into Season 5, Person of Interest doesn’t show any sign of slowing down before the end of everything (if Root’s opening VO is any indication). Season 4 ended with Finch (Michael Emerson), Reese (Jim Caviezel), and Root (Amy Acker) on the run from Samaritan minions, carrying a severely compressed version of Finch’s Machine in a briefcase. The final shot indicated the Machine Team may very well go down in a blaze of glory (not unlike the series finale of Angel). Luckily, CBS ordered a final 13-episode season to give a proper sendoff to Finch’s ersatz family, Root’s VO of impending violence over images of the subway hideout in ruins, notwithstanding.
Root’s communication is directed at those witnessing this fight, who are now seemingly left at the mercy of a Samaritan-controlled world. The end is coming: the episode’s title, ‘B.S.O.D.’ references the Blue Screen of Death which accompanies the memory death of a gaming system. Though the Machine pulled through in this episode, the future looks bleak for its protectors.
The POI writers play the characters off of each other like a symphony: Implacable Reese tempers Finch’s nervous genius and plays off supporting characters like the much missed Carter and Fusco. But the writers broke the mold with POI fandom much represented SHOOT – Root and Shaw. Hints of the two actually getting together this season abound.
‘B.S.O.D.’ balances time with the ensemble well as Reese, Finch, and scramble to get back to the subway while Samaritan soldiers dog their steps. To a catchy Kills tune, Reese goes Chuck Bronson in an alley, and Finch adopts a hat disguise. Root partakes in a terrific driving sequence SUV she’s T-boned and then a shootout ensues. Root is catching up to Reese in ‘cap collecting – watch as she leans out and strategically Reeses with panache.
In usual POI fashion, there’s a beating heart propelling action: While the Machine is slowly fading in its temp housing, we flash back in time to when Finch wiped the memory of an early, precocious Machine. Finch learns through the course of the episode that memories make people who they are and the Machine is no different – the Machine (kind of literally) walks through fire to stay alive to help his friends.
It’s a bold start to what looks to be an exciting final season. Still waiting for more information on Shaw’s status and how she fits into the wasted subway station from the prologue – but there are still 12 more episodes between now and POI’s Blue Screen.
Person of Interest Season 5 rolls right along next Monday and Tuesday with ‘SNAFU’ and ‘Truth be Told’ airing at 10pm on CBS. Preview below: