Person of Interest Season Finale: Rise of the Machine

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After an hour like Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 23, with a title such as Deus Ex Machina, nothing will ever be the same for the POI team... nor for the series itself.

Certainly, the start of Person of Interest Season 3 was a slow build, a new chapter in the saga, but one that pulled the major pieces into play and ultimately brought them altogether for the finale.

The whole concept of privacy and technology is extremely relevant today with the likes of Edward Snowden, Wikileaks and even questions surrounding the NSA and the government’s use of spying.

And both sides of the coin were played during the hour for viewers to see. Vigilance, in its attempts to put the powers of the government in check, and the government, using the Machine to take out terrorists even if that means reading a few emails and tapping a few phones.

Even Finch and Control bringing it back to the 9/11 attacks, which sort of spurred their changed perceptions of the world. Control was willing to do what it took to stop terrorists, and Finch wanted to stop violent acts from happening.

The world we live in really has changed.

But I liked that Collier at least had a chance to gain the upper hand, if only for the moment. Yes, it was all a little over the top in his trial, and it seemed more of an attempt to sort of recap something of a timeline for the Machine and its involvements.

It certainly allowed Control, Finch and Collier to express their opinions about surveillance in an impassioned way.

And I loved that Finch tried multiple times to save others (even Collier) by putting his own life on the line. He was willing to accept his own death to stay true to his own cause.

Yet, as Reese and Hersh got closer to finding the location of the courthouse (with some great help from Bear and Fusco), the clues that something else was happening began to take shape.

Because, really, Decima was too many chess moves ahead. Guess, Greer’s super calm attitude, should have been a giveaway.

His reveal that he had orchestrated Vigilance and used Collier in an elaborate scheme to prove to the government that it was necessary to give him control and allow Samaritan to go online to stop more terrorist threats was a brilliant one.

It made perfect sense, and a character such as Greer, who plays it so cool and menacing, was the obvious one to be the victor at the end of the day.

It was also good that the whole live stream with 12 million viewers was cleared up (because I didn't really buy that so quickly) and the random group of people brought to the courthouse served a greater purpose for Decima.

I have to admit I was a bit worried Finch might end up getting killed, but when the Decima agent paused after killing Collier (sorry, man, you were just a pawn) I had a feeling Reese would show up.

And he didn’t disappoint, even if it was too late to stop the bomb that “Vigilance” had set. Let’s not forget to mention Hersh, who went down trying to stop the bomb from going off. It’s something like that which really makes you appreciate how this show isn’t quite as black and white as it could easily be. An enemy of the POI team ended up helping and dying trying to do right.

Ultimately, with the trial one big ruse (and I’m glad it was, as I wasn’t sure if that would prove to be anticlimactic), the true transition of the show was about to begin.

Samaritan finally came online with the government’s approval, with Decima in control.

Root couldn’t stop it from happening, which was a nice twist, and instead managed to allow those seven servers to in effect, hide Reese, Finch, Shaw, Root and the three hackers from Samaritan’s view. They would be safe and able to bide some time.

That doomsday hour finally came, the library dismantled, the team scattered with new identities and the manipulating, seemingly all-powerful Decima ready to take its command from Samaritan.

This wasn’t a happy ending, but it was one that comes with some exciting possibilities for the future.

Did it all kind of easily fit into place by the end? Sure, but keeping the POI team from winning was a nice change of pace and one that hopefully keeps things fresh.

It’s clear that Person of Interest isn’t keen on the usual; its expanding of the mythos, elaborating on the characters and maintaining its charm and fun on top of an entertaining story, is still holding strong in the third season. It’s not necessarily the most complex, but its a compelling tale with a knack for sucking you in and having you back for more.

And I can only imagine what more we will get when Person of Interest comes back online next fall.

Were you surprised Decima was behind Vigilance?


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

Sarah silva

I am not sure what the show will be like in the fall. I do not think the name will fit the show any longer.
While I am happy that the trial was not seen by 12 million people., it means that people will not know about Finch. That gives me hope that one day our team can get back to saving lives and doing good!
I knew Collier was a goner as soon as he shot the guy at the start of the trial.
Greer is evil and it was not really a shock that he was the one behind Vigilance.
I guess I should not have been surprised that Harold was willing to sacrifice himself for Collier and Control!
Hersh was pretty funny this episode and I can not believe I liked him but I did!

@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

Is Greer evil though? While I understand where you're coming from, you surely must understand what he is trying to accomplish as well, do you not? I do not agree with what Greer is doing, but I feel at least *he* feels what he is doing is justified. Good and Evil is all perspective. I think what Greer is trying to accomplish is for the betterment of mankind, as least in his mind. Sort of connected with the whole "the needs of the many outweight the needs of the few" and how sometimes sacrifices need to be made for the betterment of the world. From when Samaritan went online, it seemed like the question he asked was for the purpose of wanting Samaritan to lead humanity through logic, rather than through emotion as our own leaders do.

@ Russ

Greer himself said that his actions would result in superintelligent beings(artificial most likely) and the elimination of mankind...Simply because the machine is being taught to treat almost every human as suspicious..Once the machine decides that human beings or humanity are all "irrelevant", it would shut off automatically..If it decides that human beings are threat to themselves and to the machine's future(if machine accepts that it is alive and hence has a future) then it would eliminate humanity...

@ Russ

Greer may think what he's doing is the right thing, but there is a fatal flaw with placing the future of humanity into the metaphorical hands of a logic-based system. A logic-based system relies on particular underlying assumptions to form the basis of its reasoning. If the answers to those most basic questions are in any way flawed or incomplete, the center cannot hold and the system breaks down. Furthermore, I find your "good and evil is a matter of perspective" statement rather disturbing at its core. Moral relativism is an extremely dangerous abyss. Where is the line? The most heinous acts can be argued as being necessary for the "greater good."

@ Dreamrose

Additionally, I wasn't saying I agree with what Greer was doing. I can just understand how someone could arrive at such a conclusion as a person of logic myself :P I'm not insane... that's what a sane person would say right? mwuahahahaha

@ Dreamrose

I meant the "good and evil is a matter of perspective" in relation to just a differing of opinion/beliefs. In addition, what is good and what is evil changes over time, depending on the populace and location. Look at the bible as an example, so much of the bible can be viewed as "evil" (or at least not "good") by today's perspectives. Condemning homosexuality, the killing of non-virgin's, birth control, slavery. All of these things are deemed fine in the bible or catholic church - but many people find the above to be ridiculous, and know better. We know now that homosexuality (at least a number of us do) is a normal occurrence, it is not evil. The owning of a person is wrong. We would have almost no people left if we killed all non-virgins prior to marriage, etc. That's what I mean, about good and evil being a matter of perspective. From Greer's perspective, I believe he feels the human race will destroy itself, if not for the intervention of Samaritan, and all that is necessary to make Samaritan come online.


Forgive my ignorance, but who were the people killed in the police station and the woman killed out on the street at the end of the episode?

Sarah silva
@ David

Part of Vigilance.


WHY and how did Control survive the mayhem? Presumably the team will find a way to get back together and fight another day, but how? I don't like Root at all and hate to see her holding and dispensing all of the cards--including the new identities---at the end. Harold should be a participant, not a hapless passenger! What about Harold's connection to the machine? What about his money and other resources? Reese, Shaw, and Finch aren't at the forefront of POI now, and I lament that!

@ Philada

I suspect Harold's vast fortunes are currently off-limits. No doubt Samaritan has flagged his numerous bank accounts for activity. Control's survival is somewhat curious, but she's not actually an active enemy either of Samaritan or the country. Harold wasn't exactly in a position to forge clean identities, being held captive as he was.


This episode was "Brilliant", the only word I could come up with, besides, "best ever" and "OMG how good is this". Everything about it was perfect. Why it didn't get five full stars is beyond me. I have been intrigued with this show from the beginning and am very excited about POI's future seasons. Oh, bring back Elias, he was basically the only one missing from this episode.


this episode was good can't wait til sept but i do have to agree getting a tad bit technical and scifi. . I would like to see it go back to just getting numbers and saving the victims


I was really hoping that the servers being implemented at Samaritan's data center were some sort of virus that would allow for Finch's machine to acquire the server farm as its own resource, or maybe attempt to impart some of the machine's morality onto Samaritan.

@ Russ

Maybe the servers will eventually allow our team of hackers an means by which to infiltrate Samaritan's systems with a virus similar to the one Finch wrote to attack the Machine last season. If Finch can crash the Machine, I certainly believe he and four other brilliant computer programmers can find a way to take down Samaritan.


The season just ended & I'm already extremely anxious for next season to begin. I do hope that the POI team will be able to regain the upper hand sooner rather than later next season though. I can do without seeing Greer in every episode or even every other episode.


Person of Interest episode Deus ex Machina proved to be a loss. A different ending could have put the show back to when it was enjoyable instead of confusing

@ Daniel Denton

So you want Person of Interest to be one of those case-of-the-week shows like CSI and NCIS, where you don't even have to use your brain and concentrate to understand what's going on, doing the same things over and over and over again...? I don't believe you are this show's target demographic, and it would serve you well to go back to watching simple shows.

@ Simon Templar

I agree Simon, you can watch any number of other shows for saving people, I really enjoy POI because a machine of this magnitude sounds amazing - I wish there would concentrate *more* on the machine and Finch's backstory. Just how sentient is it? MORE MACHINE LESS NUMBERS gogogo. Also what a change in events for the machine to suggest the gang to KILL a person, because it knew there were no other options.


I too was hoping 12 million persons had not connected into the trial. I did not know what would become of the POI if 12 million plus knew about The Machine. Greer's soldiers saving him and eventually the remaining defendents was a surprise. I had been wondering if Ellias was going to suddenly appear as a strange member of the POI team. This was the best finale to any television program I have ever watched. Can't imagine what next season holds in store....honestly...I have even tried....BUT, I really can"t imagine.


Brilliant finale............loved the references to The Prisoner in Roots closing speech.................

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