Person of Interest: B.S.O.D.
May 3, 2016 8:39 PM - Season 5, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Reese and Finch rush to resuscitate what is left of the Machine's source code; Root fights for her life after being targeted by Samaritan. Meanwhile, Fusco is forced to deal with the aftermath of the events that victimized Elias and Dominic.

With this Tuesday night episode, "Person of Interest" begins its fifth and final season. Twelve more episodes will subsequently air over the next few weeks, on Mondays and Tuesdays beginning at 10 Eastern/9 Central. You may also find new episodes via the CBS All Access streaming service, and catch previous seasons at Netflix.

The show has received a good deal of press attention over the past few days. Among the more interesting coverage came from Alan Sepinwall, who had long since dismissed the show and never reviewed anything but initial episodes. His take on the show now that he's streamed previous seasons: "Person of Interest was easy to write off as Not For Me in its early days, but it's Sure As Hell For Me as it gets ready to end."

Meanwhile, PoI executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman had some at-least mildly eyebrow-raising things to say to the AV Club about the new season, in addition to their ideas about technology and human society--and Facebook, also.
posted by raysmj (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 


I could believe in the overheating aspect to the Playstations, but they also said that was causing it to overclock that made me groan out loud. Other than that no real complaints and I enjoyed this episode. My favorite scene was probably when Root was in the subway car and Samaritan alerted people on their cell phones. I like it when the writers get the super intelligent computers to do something actually clever.
posted by Green With You at 8:26 AM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I started typing and realized I was just echoing what you said.

Root's opening narration certainly suggests that none of our heroes are guaranteed to survive ... Which is consistent and fitting, and turns the suspense up to 11.

I will miss this show so much. I'm grateful that CBS had the decency to let them wrap things up, but I'm convinced that their schedule changes helped precipitate its ratings decline in the first place. It wasn't a dip in quality or running out of stories, that's for sure.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:52 AM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


> but they also said that was causing it to overclock that made me groan out loud.

Since the show revolves (or did, anyway) around the conceit that there are still that many payphones in New York, I decided a while back to try to not care too much about the literal tech aspects of the plots.

I started watching this on netflix a while back and nearly gave up in season 1 because it was so formulaic that it surpassed even my love for formulaic shows (which is a great amount of love). But then something kicked in and oh, I got so hooked. So very hooked. I'm glad to see it will get a proper send-off.
posted by rtha at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


When Reese went to talk to Lionel at the station, why did Samaritan reclassify him as not a threat? Earlier in the episode both he and Root were seen as threats and it wasn't overridden by their cover identities. What changed?
posted by DowBits at 1:15 PM on May 4, 2016


When Reese went to talk to Lionel at the station, why did Samaritan reclassify him as not a threat? Earlier in the episode both he and Root were seen as threats and it wasn't overridden by their cover identities. What changed?

In the season 3 finale, "Deus Ex Machina," when it became clear to the team that they would never be able to stop Samaritan from overtaking The Machine with Research, the team's solution was to sneak seven servers into the server farm that comprises Samaritan. These servers have code in them that recognizes Finch, Reese, Root, Shaw, Casey, Greenfield and Daizo and reclassifies them as unknown nonthreats whenever they are picked up in Samaritan's feeds.

(Reference from PoI Wikia)

Presumably, when one of them is doing something that transparently rates as a threat to Samaritan and its operatives, there is a bit of conflict there that can cause some back-and-forth in how well that trick works.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:22 PM on May 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yes, it's notable that Reese flips back to being a non-threat once he is in the police station wearing his ID; presumably that triggers the override from 'Deus ex Machina'.

It remains to be seem for how long Samaritan's senior human staff, or indeed Samaritan itself, don't pick up on this.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:51 PM on May 4, 2016


but they also said that was causing it to overclock that made me groan out loud.

Me too, but then again, this is one of the few shows that at least TRIES to get it a little bit right. They needed hundreds of game consoles to make something resembling a supercomputer, which is reasonable. And they had to go to some trouble to bring them all to the HQ and wire them all together, and deal with power and cooling issues. Also reasonable.

Any other show would have just solved the entire problem by having the Hacker Character say "I'll try re-routing the code through an inverse matrix! That way the VR interface can decodify the input streams before the substream anomaly degrades the quantum pathways!"

Also, the AI was partially in control of what was happening and it probably set the Playstations to overclock to speed up the decompression, but it didn't have enough brainpower yet to think of the cooling issues. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, this is the ONLY show in my lifetime that has ever had me almost crying because a character who is an artificial intelligence with no corporeal form might die.

And the one COMPLETELY unbelievable thing was Bear waking up Harold and then bringing him a fire extinguisher. But I loved that.

Always good to see Harold's girlfriend again. Frustrating that it's just a flashback, though.
posted by mmoncur at 1:10 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well we can guess the final scene now, Bear is hooked up to an interface and the Machine is downloaded into the good dogie. (everyone else dies) Then the post credits scene has Bear at a terminal rapidly typing in code with his nose.
posted by sammyo at 4:18 AM on May 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh, I'd like that. I'll hold that in mind as they wind down the season; I'd definitely have faith in Bear to save us all after the credits roll.
posted by rewil at 9:28 AM on May 5, 2016


Good stuff. Less technobabble than one might expect, despite a lot of it being completely ridiculous from a technical standpoint, both in this episode and with the show in general.

I did like that of all the possible things to do with the AI they picked a cluster of PlayStation 3s. Never mind that the Cell architecture would presumably be unsuitable and each unit only has 256MB of RAM. At least it is the single game console that has ever been used to build a supercomputing cluster. (Speaking of which, where are all the network switches? And how did a single shot of cold air from evaporating liquid nitrogen permanently cool the cluster? And why was it so critical that something be done when the CPUs were only running at 130F, when they easily hit 185 when running Uncharted 3?) At least they didn't handwave the whole damn thing away like so many shows do.

I'm sad that season 5 will be the last, because season 4 is when shit got really good IMO. 3 was also good, but not quite there, while season 1 was kinda shit after the first couple of episodes and 2 was decent.

Another thing I found a bit amusing was how the machine's UI shows lists horizontally while Samaritan's is vertically oriented, when that is exactly the opposite of how design language has trended in real life. (I freaking hate Samaritan's UI and how they use so much in transitions now)
posted by wierdo at 10:32 PM on May 5, 2016


I could believe in the overheating aspect to the Playstations, but they also said that was causing it to overclock that made me groan out loud.

The show was alluding to frequency scaling, where more modern chipsets exploit their own multithreading to seek a "best path" to continue running under heavy heat, rather than fail catastrophically. As this was originally designed for enterprise-level systems to continue operating with reduced need for (administrative) maintenance delays, it can be presumed The Machine "discovered" some fuzzy workarounds to specific functions.

Though a quick glance under duress would cause Finch & co. to say the array may be clocking faster, it may actually be only guesstimating (more than before) at a more hampered rate, perhaps leading to a Hail Mary Pass (which would be more than a bit of a Deus ex Machina at this point) or a fateful snarl that could throw both factions into an unexpected turn, leading to the head and hands being mediated by a beating (or perhaps beaten) heart.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:22 AM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


That latter outcome, with a darker turn, would bring the show Full Circle, as The Machine would become nearly everything Finch had ever feared.

Ironically, that nightmare wouldn't be due to The Machine's prior state of streamlined efficiency, but through a GIGO operation that had built up over time through haste, neglect and presumption - the things that make us human.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:33 AM on May 6, 2016


Like others, I was kinda impressed that they knew enough to choose PS3s for this. And it was sort of funny how all the assembly, networking, OS configuration, etc was all, you know, no big deal. But, anyway, the show has always mixed a surprisingly, unprecedentedly high level of computing knowledge with really stupid and common tropes. Like how the machine tried to escape through the power supply or, really, everything about that briefcase.

I keep forgetting that Fusco still doesn't really know what's going on. Hopefully that will be remedied soon.

Bear getting the fire extinguisher was preposterous but, yeah totally awesome.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:27 PM on May 6, 2016


My issue with the PS3's was that they came from a recycling center. It's where people send garbage units that don't work.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:37 PM on May 6, 2016


The recycling center was just a front for a black market russian mob operation, lots of handy raw materials, Root's request for a new fake passport was really a feint to lull the mobster.
posted by sammyo at 12:57 PM on May 7, 2016


Since the show revolves (or did, anyway) around the conceit that there are still that many payphones in New York, I decided a while back to try to not care too much about the literal tech aspects of the plots.

When I was in Manhattan a few weeks ago I started photographing all the pay phones I saw because, you know, the machine. It got a little ridiculous when I photographed four separate clusters of pay phones in less than two blocks.
posted by stet at 6:58 PM on May 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


Here's the funny thing: I am in NYC right this very moment for vacation (going home tomorrow) and while there are fewer pay phones than the show shows, there are way more than I expected. I've basically spent the week going "Huh! Lookit that, another pay phone!" And thinking about this show!
posted by rtha at 7:38 PM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


« Older The Flash: Rupture...   |  Farscape: Kansas... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments