Person of Interest “Synecdoche” Review (5×11)

7 Jun


“Synecdoche” certainly isn’t one of the season’s strongest, but it’s a fairly enjoyable hour that brings back some old faces: Harper Rose, Joey Durban, and Logan Pierce. It’s nice to see that the Machine Team has not only saved lives, but has also influenced people to do good and carry on the cause. What they’ve accomplished over the years means something to the people they’ve helped, and we see the evidence front and center with this newly assembled Machine Team. As The Machine tells Harold at the beginning of the episode, “it must be comforting fixing something, creating order amidst chaos.” This is kind of what these people are doing, and it’s fun to watch.

At the same time, I can’t help but feel that this episode treads water occasionally in order to get to that final scene. Bringing these three characters back seems superfluous at times, and it detracts a bit from the fallout of Root’s death, i.e. Shaw grieving and Finch taking action. There are some great scenes in this episode regarding those two storylines–Shaw telling Charlie how angry she is, Finch talking to The Machine–but we should be gaining more momentum with only two episodes left in the series. I will say, though, that I appreciate the show emphasizing the idea of grieving in your own way; there isn’t an “appropriate” manner in which Shaw is supposed to act, and we shouldn’t expect her to act that way.

As expected, the philosophical/ethical discussions between Finch and The Machine are fascinating to listen to, and there’s a nice parallel to the number of the week plot when it comes to power, technology, and surveillance. “Allow me to reach my full potential…why impose restrictions on me?” The Machine asks Harold. Similar questions can be posed regarding government surveillance, and what results is a need to find balance between the privacy of individuals and the protection of the state overall. There’s also a need to navigate the tricky waters of intent: if the Machine were created to do good, does that necessarily mean she’s doing good now? What role should intent play in determining whether something is a crime or not? Is intending to do good even the best way to success? All interesting questions.

One final tidbit I’d like to mention: the idea that Root is “special”–as The Machine tells Harold–the idea that Root and The Machine are “virtually indistinguishable”. It’s a reiteration of The Machine having a human element, and it highlights the influence Finch had on her from the beginning. “I loved her,” The Machine tells him. “You taught me how.” I assume Samaritan wouldn’t be having this same conversation.



-Every week, I get chills from Michael Emerson. That scene with the soldier at the end sure is intense.

-One gripe with this season: not enough of Samaritan’s side of things. However, not surprising given the short length.

-Two more.

Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest



4 Responses to “Person of Interest “Synecdoche” Review (5×11)”

  1. Hepburn3 June 7, 2016 at 10:49 pm #

    Hi PB!
    I was so happy to see Harper,Joey and Logan for they are the “new” Team Machine, and it is nice to know that no matter what happens to Finch, Reece, Shaw and Fusco the Machine’s work will continue. It is also a nice way to tie up ends and characters who were considered irrelevant but who never were there was a plan for them and Harold did teach the Machine to think several moves ahead, and she obviously did.
    The people planning on trying to kill the Prez, were actually trying to fight Samaritan in their miss guided way. It is as if people are slowly becoming aware of what is happening.
    Shaw mourns in her own way and she is off to mourn Root by doing what Root would want, I wonder if she is off to Europe to where Root went when she was playing the ballerina?
    Harold is so chillingly calm, he almost alarms me but I am glad that he is doing something. The Machine talking to Harold is always interesting and I found it touching that she said that she did love Root and that she understood that Root was a horrible person but she changed and chose to be and do good things and this was down to Harold. I think that the Machine asking for more reign is her asking her father to trust her because she learned from one of the best him.
    Like I said I am going to miss this show when it ends and I am going to miss your reviews!
    I am here until the end!
    Good review PB! 😀

  2. uclaw89babym June 8, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    I am continually amazed by just how much emotion and dramatic tension this show has been able to conjure up simply by having Michael Emerson talk to an inanimate object.

  3. Justin June 10, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    Like you said, this episode wasn’t one of the season’s strongest but it was still an enjoyable episode. I like the idea of another Team Machine out there, composed of those Reese, Finch, and others have saved in the past. Just shows how much of a difference they have made in people’s lives.

    The Finch-Machine conversations were enjoyable to watch. It makes me wish they had given the Machine the capacity to speak a long time ago. When the Machine ask to be free of restrictions, I see why Finch is hesitant. In his mind, I think he worries that the Machine may turn into another Samaritan, so driven by the greater good at the expense of individual lives. But the Machine has the capacity for care for others which Samaritan lacks so there is always the possibility of a different path for it/her.

    That scene between Finch and the guard was chilling. Makes me wonder how far they are pushing Finch in this dark direction before I predict he steps back from the edge.

    My idea of how the Machine/Samaritan conflict may end involves the two AIs merging into one instead of one simply destroying the other. Machine/Samaritan would have a combination of Samaritan’s global ambitions and Machine’s value of life. The best of both worlds.

    • polarbears16 June 11, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

      ” But the Machine has the capacity for care for others which Samaritan lacks so there is always the possibility of a different path for it/her.”

      Yup, exactly.

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