Person of Interest: The Day the World Went Away
May 31, 2016 8:24 PM - Season 5, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Finch's cover is blown due to a fatal error, which leads to an escalating series of encounters with Samaritan's operatives.

The tense, action-intensive episode (with not only an apparent homage to Heat, but music used in it for the homage scene, unless I'm horribly mistaken) marked No. 100 for PoI. Before it, show co-creator and producer Jonathon Nolan had this to say to fans, according to TV Insider: "We're really sorry."
posted by raysmj (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They damn well should be sorry! Breaking the hearts of every Shroot shipper in the world like that and adding another entry to the wall of dead lesbians. I was really hoping even right up to that last second that the sniper guy would recognize Root from the burglary job and decide not to kill such luck. And to top it off they killed off Elias, too. I am certainly very sad right now, so I guess they got what they wanted.

I will say that monologue of Finch's in the police interrogation room was phenomenal. Michael Emerson is brilliant. Doesn't fix my broken heart though! :(
posted by mstokes650 at 8:59 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Well. Fuck.
posted by rewil at 8:59 PM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm noticing the outrage on Twitter (which is what Twitter does now, is for) about the dead lesbian thing. I suspect that other deaths are ahead, for this is the prototypical Anyone Can Die show in end-crisis mode. Also, this will be the first show to have a lesbian merge with an AI at death, after talking about life after death in a serio-comic existential way during a shootout in broad daylight in a crowded area (one upping "Heat" there), just prior to the show's going pitch dark.

Still processing all this, though. This show...
posted by raysmj at 9:18 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Fuck indeed. I have been bracing for the impending slaughter, and I'm glad they started with Elias rather than Root or Shaw, but it's still heart-breaking. I didn't lose it until The Machine started speaking with Root's voice, but that did me in.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:21 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

My reaction to this episode in a nutshell:


Elias's death affected me way more than I thought it would, maybe because I've been waiting all season for things to get really, really bad, but also, these last couple episodes have made me love Elias even more than I already did. So yeah, that one was pretty tough.

But Root. ROOT. I just...

I know the premise for this show is "We're all going to end up dead," but all things considered, up until this episode, the only main character they actually killed off is Carter. Of course, I expected that to change, which is why I've been holding my breath through every single episode this season.

I was really hoping we could at least hold off on the massacre until the last episode, maybe second to last, to start killing off the main cast. Of course, the foreshadowing was strong with this one. I expected Elias to go out first, so no surprise there, but seeing it coming a mile away didn't make it hurt less. And as soon as Root started going off on her metaphysics tangent, I knew it was coming, but still... there was a lot of ugly crying and hyperventilating and cursing the powers that be.

I guess at this point, the real question is, will anyone survive? Other than Bear, that is. But seriously, are they really going to kill everyone? Because I'm not ready. I'll never be ready.

I can't believe we only have three more episodes left.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:45 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Okay, I really wanted to try to do more coherent commentary, but I'm still too broken from this episode to do much other than link to this Amy Acker interview about this episode, which got linked to over on AV club.

I haven't finished reading it, but one thing I hadn't thought about, mostly because I'm still in shock, is that initial Root voiceover that starts the first episode of Season 5 is actually the Machne with Root's voice. That kind of blew my mind, even though it makes total sense after the events of this episode.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:32 PM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]

I accidentally opened this thread just a few minutes into the episode. The only thing that registered before I stopped looking was rewil's "Well. Fuck." so I knew something very bad was about to happen. When Elias died I was hoping that was all for now (Enrico, nooooo!), but with the episode only half over at that point I had a terrible feeling there was more to come, and the foreshadowing was indeed heavy for Root.

Also, this will be the first show to have a lesbian merge with an AI at death,

Well actually...

after talking about life after death in a serio-comic existential way during a shootout in broad daylight in a crowded area

...okay, nevermind. Anyhow, I have to go cry some more.
posted by Pryde at 10:35 PM on May 31, 2016

Yeah so I have been busy and was not able to watch last Tuesdays double header, so I caught up tonight by watching the last four episodes in a row.

I'm feeling a bit overloaded at the moment. That was too much to digest in one sitting and tonight's episode at the end of all of that... hell's bells.

Underneath all that intellect, you’re the darkest of all of us. It's always the quiet ones we need to be afraid of. I just hope I’m not around the day that pot finally boils over.

Yeah I guess you were right, Elias. And you dodged that particular bullet. So to speak.

I don't know what the fuck to expect after the way tonight ended.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:35 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

I absolutely expect from her speech that part of the ending will involve (possibly also dead) Shaw going into a simulation full or part-time where she gets a happy ever after with Root and the rest of the dead Team Machine as eternal ghosts in the AI.

So from Root's perspective, she's not dead, she just changed platforms.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 2:35 AM on June 1, 2016


I do think Harold will be left standing though, just because that will be worse than going out with his friends.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:06 AM on June 1, 2016

That sucked, although the idea of a "science heaven" is pretty amazing. I think that if the machine is using Root's personality as well as her voice, the most likely person to survive is Shaw.

This is the person I was most sure was going to die (if anyone did) and the person who is best equipped to continue on working for the machine, so makes good sense.
posted by humans are superior! at 8:44 AM on June 1, 2016

Fuck. I'm going to miss Root.

OTOH, the Machine speaking for itself with Root's voice is pretty amazing.
posted by homunculus at 10:32 AM on June 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

Prediction: Reese will die in the last episode. Only Finch and Shaw will be left standing. Shaw will be the new numbers protector.
posted by Pendragon at 1:21 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

And Fusco survives, of course. Almost forgot about good old Fusco.
posted by Pendragon at 1:23 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

That moment where Harold answers the phone and it's Root and in the first millisecond you go, "Yay!" and in the second millisecond you realise and you cry.
posted by tracicle at 1:25 PM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

No I think Fusco is next. Reese will be the last. I thought Shaw would go between the two of them but it makes sense that she's left alive with Harold to carry on.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:34 PM on June 1, 2016

Now I want the Machine to decide to name itself Illyria.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 1:43 PM on June 1, 2016 [6 favorites]

That moment where Harold answers the phone and it's Root and in the first millisecond you go, "Yay!" and in the second millisecond you realise and you cry.

I somehow managed to guess that it was going to be the Machine using Root's voice before Harold even picked up the phone, so I was spared the whiplash of this emotional roller coaster. Not that the episode wasn't a big enough emotional roller coaster already.
posted by Green With You at 11:15 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know what the fuck to expect after the way tonight ended.

Expect pain. And destruction. And so much pain. I figure whatever goes down in the final three episodes, when it's all said and done, I'll just be sitting there ugly crying listening to "Hurt"* on repeat.

But since apparently I'm a total masochist, I've forged ahead with my POI rewatch marathon. Let me tell you, watching the Devil You Know (S4E9, Dominic vs Elias, when Scarface dies)...well, I was okay for awhile because I got so caught up in the episode that I almost forgot about the events of this episode, but then towards the end of Devil You Know, when Elias is talking to Finch...fuck me.

I'm not ready for the end. At least CBS is finally back to spacing out the episodes a week apart, because I'm going to need some time to recover before the next round.

In the meantime, I think I might go out and get some black nail polish in honor of Root.

*Johnny Cash cover, naturally.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:26 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Actually, one probably far fetched idea I had for the finale:

What if somehow the Machine could take Samaritan out of commission without killing it, and then it could retrain it to be a force of good, not evil. Sort of like what the Machine did for Root, and Harold did for the Machine. After all, Samaritan didn't know any better. Harold spent years teaching the Machine, guiding it. Samaritan was just booted up one day and told to go do its thing.

And maybe Shaw could help. I wonder if all her time spent in those simulations could give her some insight or maybe even a connection to Samaritan. Maybe Sameen and Samaritan will merge, and then RootMachine and Sam-aritan could live out their days as two happy little AIs.

Meanwhile, Finch and Reese can move upstate, get a nice house and a couple of acres, and raise a family of Belgian Malinois puppies, because sure, what the hell. And Fusco will stop by for Sunday dinners, and he'll make lots of wise cracks about how he's the only guy who ends up sitting at a table with an ex assassin, a reclusive billionaire, and two AIs who won't stop flirting with each other (after all, RootMachine and Sam-aritan will have their own place settings/computer monitors at the table, obviously).

Okay, somehow I went from legit plot prediction to crack fanfic in the span of a couple paragraphs. Oops. I guess this is a sign that I should probably start working on that happy ending fix it fanfic before I'm paralyzed by the inevitable apocalyptic showdown ahead.

I just don't know how they're going to wrap this up in three episodes. Stupid CBS. I just wish Netflix (or anyone else) had been willing to pick up this show.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:10 AM on June 2, 2016 [7 favorites]

Well at least there's the perfect setup for the open to season six if it is picket up by netflix:

Black screen, gunfire, explosions, snarling which turns into nice doggie licking sounds and Shaw opens her eyes to Bear nuzzling her with the team around the simulation/hospital bed. Season five was just another sim!!
posted by sammyo at 3:49 AM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Jesus christ I never thought a show like this would make me cry like this.

In this ep, it started when Root and Shaw are having their existential conversation during the shootout and I was kind of laugh-crying because it's so ridiculous and sublime, and then Elias, and then when Harold answers the phone and the voice is...

Yeah. Goddamn.

But since apparently I'm a total masochist, I've forged ahead with my POI rewatch marathon. Let me tell you, watching the Devil You Know (S4E9, Dominic vs Elias, when Scarface dies)...well, I was okay for awhile because I got so caught up in the episode that I almost forgot about the events of this episode, but then towards the end of Devil You Know, when Elias is talking to Finch...fuck me.

I am also doing a rewatch, and just finished the final Carter arc and oh my god.
posted by rtha at 10:26 AM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am also doing a rewatch, and just finished the final Carter arc and oh my god.

Yeah, that's been one of the hardest arcs to watch/rewatch. Great TV, but so brutal. This was the first time I'd been able to bring myself to rewatch the third season. I was really devastated by Carter's loss, even though in retrospect I can see how it made sense for future story arcs.

And on that note, I just finished watching If-Then-Else (one of the best POI episodes, if not the best) and Ctrl-Alt-Del. Aside from being devastating, it also got me thinking a bit more about Control who may or may not be alive. Possibly she's off somewhere being run through simulations too.

While watching Ctrl-Alt-Del, I was thinking some more about Control. I wonder, if Finch et al could find her and rescue her from whatever dark hole she's locked away in (assuming she's alive), maybe after everything she's seen and been through with Samaritan and Greer, she might actually be willing and able to be a huge asset to the team. Perhaps, if Samaritan is destroyed, especially if the Machine survives, she could be the perfect person to help overhaul from the inside the way the government handles terrorist threats. And with the new, unfettered Machine watching over and helping, possibly there could be a way to still help the government thwart terrorist attacks without resorting to constantly assassinating people.

Who knows if that could actually work, but I'd like to imagine that's a path that could be explored. After all, redemption is a central theme to this show, and Control, for all her faults and crimes against humanity, does seem like a good candidate for redemption.

Another thing that would be interesting is if one path to defeat Samaritan is by revealing all of these secrets that have been kept from everyone. That's probably even trickier, and I don't know if there's a way to do that and keep the Machine alive, but it's certainly something to consider. I wondered if they weren't hinting at that somewhat when we saw Root and Finch resolve the threat against a number by publishing that research about the alternative food supply.

Also, after rewatching the original SamriKid vs RootMachine conversation, I'm really, really looking forward to the Machine and Finch destroying Samaritan.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, dammit, they only got together in the simulation a couple of episodes ago. I was so hoping for them to have some sexytimes after Root had been pining for so long.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:59 PM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, when we're in Professor Whistler's office, I totally expected Root to read over the paper and point out that the student had been plagiarizing and then be able to quote what publication she plagiarized from.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:01 PM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

(well, okay, to be fair, Shaw had been back for a week at the start of this episode. It's entirely possible she and Root spent most of it in a marathon debriefing session. Sexy, sweaty violent fun debriefing.)
posted by rmd1023 at 6:19 PM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Headcanon says well of course.
posted by rtha at 6:53 PM on June 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

This one was just devastating. I picked up on Root's foreshadowing but thought she'd have more time. And the phone call ...

I'm glad we have Fanfare and similar sites, because no one I know watches PoI, and they wouldn't understand my intense feelings during this end run.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:47 PM on June 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm glad we have Fanfare and similar sites, because no one I know watches PoI, and they wouldn't understand my intense feelings during this end run.

Yeah, I would be dying if I didn't have some sort of outlet for all my feelings about this show, which is probably why I can't stop posting to this thread.

And on that note...

It's crazy how much this season ties into previous seasons, in particular season 4. I mean, it makes sense because this is all part of the Samaritan arc and this has always been an impressively well thought out and tightly crafted show, but still.

Even if you don't have time to rewatch all of the fourth season, I would highly recommend re-watching S4 E17 ("Karma") after seeing this episode. It's the one about the therapist vigilante, and it's where we see the flashbacks to Finch and his aborted attempt to get revenge for Nathan's murder. Seeing Finch with the FBI guy already brought that season 4 episode to mind (along with his response to Grace being kidnapped), but now on re-watch, I see how these two episodes tie together even more.

In the flashback scenes in Karma, we see the Machine label Harold as a threat, just as it appeared to do in this episode (although we still only have Reese's word on that; I feel like it could go either way since Samaritan did send out Blackwell to shoot Finch). There are also multiple points where the Machine rings payphones as Finch passes by on his revenge mission, but she can't say anything yet so there's just static on the other end of the line. And then when Finch stares down one of the surveillance cameras, and we get the Machine view as he says, "I haven't given you a voice, so you have nothing to say," I just got chills, because now we see the Machine finally get its voice, and the first thing it does is call Finch.

Of course, this also ties in to what Elias said a couple episodes ago about how Finch is the darkest one of them all, and there is probably a lot of truth to that. I think someone in the AV club comments (or maybe some other comment board) compared Finch to Dumbledore, and it's actually pretty apt. The smarter and more powerful you are, the more damage you can do, but that makes them fight even harder to keep it at bay. And now I guess we're about to see what happens when Finch unleashes his dark side.

Seriously, guys, THIS. SHOW. I just can't even.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:35 PM on June 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

So I was just watching the official extended trailer for season 5 (warning for potential spoilers in the clip, though it doesn't seem to reveal much). It's interesting to watch now that we've seen the first 10 episodes. Much of the trailer has shots from the already aired episodes but there are a few notable shots that come from stuff that we haven't seen yet.

And on that note, in Season 4, Ep. 19 "Search and Destroy," Finch says, "When the time comes for me to pick up a firearm, all will truly be lost." (episode transcript) So...yeah.

I'm vacillating between eager anticipation of the coming episodes and absolute terror.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:14 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

The scene in the interrogation room where Finch seems to be talking to the FBI dude and talks about coming to a decision and killing (the whole monologue is incredible) and when the agent interrupts him he says "I'm not talking to you" is such a callback to early Root, who says exactly that a number of times.

I think my favorite line of this ep might be where Root, driving Harold away from the bad guys, says something like "Give me the big gun. And a hair scrunchie," and the delivery is so perfect. Amy Acker, is there no end to your awesomeness?
posted by rtha at 5:37 AM on June 3, 2016 [5 favorites]

No. Science has conclusively determined that there is no end to her awesomeness. Among other things, she also manages one of my favorite pratfalls in modern film, in "Much Ado About Nothing"
posted by rmd1023 at 6:04 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love this show, but I keep wondering where Samaritan gets its unending stream of henchmen from? I mean, the ex-con turned house painter turned sniper? The dozens of nameless dudes? The entire office full of temps or whatever who all interpret funky radio signals and clear out on command. I mean, did I miss an episode where they explained this? Coercing an ex-con is one thing, but...
posted by axiom at 8:13 PM on June 3, 2016

I love this show, but I keep wondering where Samaritan gets its unending stream of henchmen from?

So I was actually just thinking about that. (Binge watching season 4 has given me a lot to think about apparently.)

For example, Martine always seemed like some sort of robotic killing machine. And seriously, they have so many people to do their bidding, and they're all pretty "disposable" so they need to refresh the supply pretty regularly.

I was wondering if that brainwashing/programming/simulation stuff they tried with Shaw had been used on other people too. Maybe they took people who already seemed like they would be open to this mission and had some or all of the skills necessary, and then they did their thing with them to convert them to the mission of Samaritan.

Of course, that wouldn't be necessary for everyone. There are people like Greer or Claire (or Root if she had put her faith in a different "god") who are just willing to do whatever is asked of them. And then there are also some people (like Blackwell) who are willing to just take orders and not ask (too many) questions.

But then there's everyone else. We know Samaritan did experiments as it tried to learn about humanity (like that small town it took over). It wouldn't be too much of a stretch* to think that a lot of these people went through some sort of "programming" before Samaritan put them to work.

Or maybe there are just a lot of sociopaths/fanatics for hire out there.

*Well, at least in the sci fi TV universe that POI operates in.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:59 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Okay, I've got an alternate idea for the ending for the show:

Let's say Reese dies. (I really really don't want this to happen, but, hypothetically.)

If Reese dies and Finch lives, then Finch should get to go off into the sunset with Grace. After everything he's been through, if he loses Reese and Root, then he should get to have his happy ending with Grace.

Meanwhile, Shaw will go back to the library (now that Samaritan is dead, naturally), and Shaw and RootMachine will go back to saving the numbers. Also, since obviously they had to break into some Samaritan facility to take it down, while they were there, Shaw stole the equipment that they used for the simulations. And so, when they're not busy saving numbers, Shaw can slip on her simulation goggles, and she and RootMachine can have simulated sex and simulated cuddling in bed together and simulated feeding each other breakfast, etc, etc.

And Bear will spend his weekends and evenings with Finch, and he'll split his work days between helping Fusco, who's now running the precinct naturally, and helping Shaw/RootMachine.

Okay, apparently all my theories turn into crack fanfics. Oh well.

(I actually really thought Shaw and Root would be the two left standing, but if we can't have a Shoot happy ending, at least we can have a ShootMachine happy ending.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:41 AM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think our house painter-turned-sniper shows us how at least some of the cannon fodder gets recruited.

Will the young boy who is the Samaritan avatar make it out alive? Will one of the machine gang kill him? From a storytelling standpoint, I'm guessing it won't be any of our folks who kill him.

And I love the idea of a Shoot/Machine happy ending. :)
posted by rmd1023 at 8:02 AM on June 4, 2016

Samaritan is also presumably really good at multi-tasking, so it's trivial for it to be recruiting far and wide simultaneously.
posted by Pryde at 5:50 PM on June 5, 2016

"I have played by the rules for so long..."
"Not from where I'm sitting."
"No, not your rules. You work at the behest of a system so broken that you didn't even notice when it became corrupted at its core. When I first broke your rules, a sitting president had authorized assignation squads in Laos, and the head of the FBI had ordered his men, you to conduct illegal surveillance on his political rivals. Your rules have changed every time it was convenient for you. I was talking about my rules. I have lived by those rules for so long, believed in those rules for so long, believed in them for so long, believed if you played by the right rules eventually you would win. But then I was wrong wasn't I , and now all the people I care about are dead or will be dead soon enough. And we will be gone without a trace. So now I have to decide. Decide whether to let my friends die, to let hope die, to let the world be ground under your heel all because I play by my rules. But I'm trying to decide. I'm going to kill you. But I need to decide how far I'm willing to go. How many of my own rules I am willing to break ... to get it done. "
"Look, you wanna add threatening the life of a federal agent to your file, I will draw up those charges right now. No waiting is required."
"I wasn't talking to you."
speaking of season 4 - "I have only two modes ... Calm, and furious. It's a rare person that sees the latter and lives to talk about it." S4E03 "Wingman"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:49 PM on June 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

As a former professor, my favorite part of this is Reese screwing on his silencer saying "You failed" to the grade grubber.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:39 AM on July 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

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