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Person of Interest “Deus Ex Machina” Review (3×23)

14 May

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“This was never about winning. It was just about surviving.”

No one can definitively “win” in a world that’s constantly changing, making room for new technologies and new beliefs and new lifestyles; like Root says, one can merely survive, protecting those you love and keeping yourself safe. So, as we’re ushered into the age of Samaritan, that’s exactly what Reese, Finch, Root, Shaw, and co. have to do.

The episode starts off a bit shaky, with everything hinging upon the trial conducted by Collier; however, we quickly start to see just how the pieces fit together, how each character and event and relationship is influenced by one another. Take Collier, for example: here’s a man whose motivations and backstory have always been murky–therefore downplaying a bit his level of importance–but in these final two episodes, we see a fully developed arc play out. At first, he and his brother were victims of the system, but he was later molded into the man he is now: the patsy. His idealism and curiosity bring him down; all this time he’s believed he has the power, the control, and the capacity to be viewed as a hero, but in reality, he’s been chewed up and is being spit out.

Collier’s been used by the very system he was fighting against, the very person who he put on trial. Greer provides a nice comparison to Finch, in that while he doesn’t go about his business in a manner akin to that of Finch’s, they’re both creators, controlled at times by their own creations. Greer has Samaritan, and Finch has the Machine. Greer’s created an “old God”, and Finch’s created a “new God”. Greer relishes living through Samaritan’s presence, while Finch makes his decisions based on a genuine, human foundation.

That last point is why it’s so satisfying to see Root and Shaw develop over the course of the season. There’s still a beating heart amidst a world of wires and equipment, and that’s exemplified by their development, the way they start to allow a few more people to cross their walls. Here, we see that they genuinely value not only Reese and Finch, but also human life in general, and it’s been incredibly entertaining watching them play off of each other. Their final act together–for now–is not stopping Samaritan, but rather finding a loophole in order to save the lives of those in their group. “When everything is over, when the worst has happened, there’s still one thing left in Pandora’s Box: hope.”

All they can do is survive, and this time, they have to split up to do so, to assume different identities. As the haunting, gorgeous final montage plays, set to Radiohead’s “Exit Music (for a Film)”, we’re reminded just how strong the bonds these people share are, just how difficult it’ll be to pull themselves apart from each other. They’re surviving, but everything’s changed.

It’s a new era. It’s a new season. It’s Samaritan.

What, my dear Samaritan, are your commands for me?

GRADE: A-

SEASON GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Bear! BEAR! He’s such a good boy, what with bringing Reese the gun amidst a shootout and all, and next year, he should get star billing.

-Camryn Manheim gives a great performance as Control in this episode; I especially like how she calls Collier out on the trial process. Essentially, we have two people who’ll attempt to justify murder and other crimes through the guise of fighting for a larger cause, but who go about it in extremely different ways. They also exit the situation in different ways.

-“Some jackass told me I needed a purpose.” I’m happy they’re still touching on the central Reese-Finch relationship.

-Nice touch: the satellite is owned by Rylatech.

-I always love a good shootout, and the finale does not disappoint.

-RIP, Hersh. That was some badass, Terminator-esque shit at the end before you went out with a literal bang. I’m a bit disappointed we won’t get to see him next year (allegedly), but McGiver did a really nice job in these final few episodes.

-Library. 😦

-Favorite episode this season? I think I’m still going with “The Devil’s Share”.

-Honestly, this was one of the best seasons of television I’ve seen, made all the more impressive by the episode count and the ability of the show to sustain that quality throughout. Each mini arc was thrilling and satisfying, tying into each other effortlessly in order to set up this final arc and this game-changer of an episode. Kudos to the cast, the writers, the production team, and the animal casting department for one hell of a ride.

-That’s it for this season! We’ll return in the fall for season 4.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest

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8 Responses to “Person of Interest “Deus Ex Machina” Review (3×23)”

  1. John May 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    The episode felt very much like a series finale rather than a season finale, I wonder if they had wrote and set it up that way ahead of time just in case they were not renewed. Had they not been renewed the ending could have been tweaked with minimal effort and given a happier ending. Excited its coming back for another season though.

    • polarbears16 May 14, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

      Yeah, it did, didn’t it? It was definitely a huge shift in the story, and I’m sure it would’ve been a satisfying conclusion. So happy it’s coming back, though; the ratings should give it a few more seasons, and now, I just hope CBS doesn’t drag it on too long a la NCIS or Criminal Minds or CSI. 5 or 6 seasons would allow it to go out on top.

  2. Hepburn3 May 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Excellent show and so heart breaking.
    I truly felt for Peter Collier, his demise was kind of Greek tragic and I felt his heartbreaking when watching what he was trying to do fall apart and just part of some tragic farce.
    And now Team Machine is on the run and trying to survive, but they will do more than survive I think for now they are invisible, they know who and what they are dealing will and they will to borrow from Star Wars be the Return of the Machine, going by the season finale which was rather “The (Empire) Decima strikes back. That Greer guy is so Palpatine/Emperor smug and vile but we all know what happened to him, the machine he created Vadar was/is his demise and team Machine and the Machine and I think Samaritan will be his.
    Great review of a great show and I am stoked for season 4!

    • polarbears16 May 14, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

      I really like your Star Wars analogy! And yes, the way Collier’s story ended up was truly heartbreaking, made all the more impressive by the fact that we’ve only had two episodes with in depth exploration of the character.

      Can’t wait for season 4.

  3. Roy Sexton (Reel Roy Reviews) June 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    thanks for the add! your blog looks FABULOUS! looking forward to following you!

  4. whenforeverisover October 18, 2016 at 3:55 am #

    “Greer relishes living through Samaritan’s presence, while Finch makes his decisions based on a genuine, human foundation.

    That last point is why it’s so satisfying to see Root and Shaw develop over the course of the season. There’s still a beating heart amidst a world of wires and equipment, and that’s exemplified by their development, the way they start to allow a few more people to cross their walls. Here, we see that they genuinely value not only Reese and Finch, but also human life in general, and it’s been incredibly entertaining watching them play off of each other. Their final act together–for now–is not stopping Samaritan, but rather finding a loophole in order to save the lives of those in their group.”

    I really loved this part about Root and Shaw.

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