Person of Interest Review: A Tale of Two Machines

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After a clever catch up that further connected the dots in Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 16, the show is clearly headed down the final stretch of episodes and not looking to slow down anytime soon.

Decima, Vigilance, the POI team,and even Root are all converging because the threat of a new machine, Samaritan, has the potential to go online. And that could be catastrophic not just for the Machine but people everywhere.

Can you even imagine two super computers going toe to toe? What would that even be like?

Where Reese, Finch, Shaw and Fusco spend their time receiving numbers and saving people, Root’s mission is much more focused. She’s trying to prevent Samaritan from being completed. And, of course, those goals often intertwine.

There’s always a chance that connecting things too much can make the whole story feel contrived, but it never really does.

And having a Machine that, in a way makes those connections feel natural, can allow something like a person of interest provide a backstory that connects to Root and her current goals, as well as that larger story. Even if the person of interest is only needed for the retinal scanner.

On some level, we’re all connected.

It was interesting to see Root slowly learn about her connections, even ranting to Finch about the chaotic world that doesn’t have that higher calling. The Machine gives her that purpose. But I loved Finch’s response about getting the Machine to care about people is what truly makes it work.

It’s wild to think Root is even more connected after having that speedy surgery, but there’s still a human side to her and Finch clearly spoke to that.

Root risked her life to save the person of interest rather than stop Decima from getting the chip. She isn’t the same as the machine she’s taking orders from - and it was good to see her shift roles if only for a moment.

Granted, as overly exaggerated as a scene can be when she’s sweeping through the hallways guns blazing with such precise ease, it’s still a lot of fun. And Root is so odd in general with her quips and smiles that you want to root for her, even if you can’t help but not completely trust her.

It’s also funny hearing her talk about everything that’s about to happen before it does, especially in that opening sequence to get “Billy.”

But it was intriguing to see Decima have certain ways to counter the Machine and they remain persistent as ever. And now with the chip retrieved, I have no idea what those dangerous consequences will be. For what purpose will they use Samaritan?

Shaw did have kind of a side mission dealing with Vigilance, but I found it interesting to listen to Collier talk about having the same goals. The two just are going about it vastly different ways.

It’s also nice to see Shaw take everyone out, much like Reese kicking and punching his own enemies during the hour. Fusco even got some good one liners in as well.

Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 17 was an exciting hour that continued to push the boundaries of the show. There’s never a dull moment as the mystery unravels, the characters entertain and the last seconds have you eager for more. Who's ready for next week?

Do you think Root will die for the Machine?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (104 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I don't get all of the complaints I read from you guys about this show, "not enough Reese, too much Root, they killed Cater, blah blah blah". This show is incredible and I am along for the ride. The show keeps getting better as the season s go by, I just don't get the constant nitpicking about every episode.

@ derek

Agreed. I enjoy each episode more than the last. I love this show!


this episode a little bit all over the place for me. i agree john in the background lately maybe he wants to make movies instead or maybe the writers want the women front and center. never saw a soft side to root befor until last night. wasn't the worst episode for me but not the best!


I wanted to laugh out loud when Collier tried to convince Shaw to join his little crusade. It was pretty hilarious, I have to admit. He had no clue that she already works for Finch and the Machine. (Though I have to ask how long it will be before someone just gives up and shoots Collier. The man walks away from way too much, all too easily.) One characteristic I've noticed that Collier shares with Greer is a total and complete disregard for the lives of his minions. It almost makes sense with Greer, since he works for a massive (evil) corporation that can afford to hire an infinite number of goons, but how many violent privacy fanatics can Collier possibly recruit?

@ Dreamrose

Yeah, way to cavalier about losing "minions". Wonder what the recruitment pitch is. Loved Shaw's line, "In the end you're just terrorists, and I kill terrorists."


Yeah, a little contrived. Root could have secured the chip and then had surgery but Decima would just get Samaritan up later rather than sooner. So the plot is pretty much a result of how many shows are left this season. I agree with a post from last week- John is taking a back seat to the women and is likely on his way out. I figure one more big death to the POI team this season- probably Root (which would be a shame although I hated to hear about her role in the slaughter of those co-workers) or John.


The plot was a little ginned up to get Samaritan on line for future episodes. The machine could have deleted Cyrus' entry privilege, notified Control, or pit Vigilance directly against Decima but that wouldn't help the series.

@ Marty

The Machine can not take independent action and delete Cyrus's entry privilege. (This is intentional on Finch's part, by the way - recall his conversation with Reese at the end of "4C".) It could have notified the ISA, but they might not have been able to act in time, or the Machine figured that Finch and Root were in a better position to act. Contrived some? Surely. Honestly, I think that the Machine would be completely justified in classifying Greer and Samaritan as Relevant threats to national security and letting slip the ISA dogs of war on them.

Sarah silva

It is interesting that Samaritan's first order of business will be to kill Root, Shaw, Reese and Finch. Lets hope it never gets completed and put into action.
It was also interesting that Root was the one who was sent to kill Cyrus and his coworkers in 2009.
I loved seeing Colin Donnell, if only for a few minutes. (RIP Tommy Merlyn).
It looks like we will be in for some exciting and interesting final episodes of Season 3.


Not enough Reese in this episode. The 2 strong female characters are too much alike in the action scenes. Despite all the drama, I found this story disappointing-- just your average dystopian B movie.

Sue ann

I think that Root WOULD die for the machine, but I don't see them having her actually do it any time soon. So I don't think she WILL die for the machine ... this season.

@ Sue Ann

i agree … the poll question is badly phrased … of course she WOULD die for the machine … she sees the machine as a child/god in need of protection … but i also do not believe she will die anytime soon … she is «right», between harold and decima/control/vigilance … too many questions still have to be asked also … and she is FUN to watch 🐶

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