Person of Interest: Synecdoche
June 8, 2016 5:20 PM - Season 5, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The team needs to unravel a conspiracy when the president of the United States becomes the next POI; Finch considers drastic action to combat Samaritan.

*Finch takes a road trip to steal a computer virus.
*Reese, Shaw, and Fusco go to D.C. to save POIPOTUS, and receive unexpected assistance from 3 former irrelevant numbers now working for The Machine - eccentric mega-rich Logan Pierce (S2 ep 14), ex-soldier & ex-robber Joey Durban (S1 ep 3), and former grifter Harper Rose (S4 episode 16).
posted by oh yeah! (14 comments total)
I think they dropped the ball with this episode by their choice of bad guys.
posted by andrewdoull at 5:46 PM on June 8, 2016

Not sure what to make of this episode. With so little time left in the series, it seemed like an odd choice to spend it on a new Machine B-team. Was it fan-service by the writers to bring back some former POI's (in which case, golden opportunity missed to give us one last Leon Tau appearance)? Was it a way of obeying CBS's 'stick with the procedural # of the week format' directive? Are they trying to back-door pilot for a spin-off? And how can The Machine have the resources to direct other teams, weren't the dedicated identity-masking servers and their arial-antennae-based shadow network the only things keeping our Team Machine safely hidden? (They do seem to have dropped the severity of Samaritan's threat-level this season though, not sure that Finch should be able to take a road trip without getting mobbed by Samaritan agents since his cover was blown last week, so, whatever, I guess.)

Loved every moment of Shaw though.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:47 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maybe they introduced DC POI to give us hope after all of the original team gets killed off in the season finale?

I did miss Leon and Zoe, but I know at least Zoe's on another show. No idea what the other actor's doing though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:05 PM on June 8, 2016

Yep, Ken Leung's also on another show. Man I miss Zoe though, I hope they figured out a way to get her back on for at least one episode this season.

I wasn't totally sold by the explanation they posited: "Oh, Samaritan thinks the President of the USA is irrelevant." (Really? If the President of the USA is irrelevant, then literally any individual human is irrelevant. Which may indeed be Samaritan's perspective at this point, but I feel like it's hard to justify having all these teams of [human] anti-terrorism Samaritan agents in that case; what do they actually do when they're not hunting Our Heroes? Then there's the fact that I find it hard to believe that Samaritan wouldn't care about the specific surveillance legislation they kept talking about all episode, or these apparently well-connected anti-surveillance crusaders.) But at least they did make an effort to at least address why Samaritan might not be intervening, unlike last week. My headcanon explanation, more in keeping with the Samaritan of last season, would be that Samaritan calculated that our team would intervene, narrowly prevent the assassination, and get caught by the Secret Service, and that the near-assassination would build sympathy for the President's pro-surveillance agenda and erode sympathy for the anti-surveillance terrorists. And since all that works great for Samaritan, it decided not to intervene.

I liked the B team, but I always like it when shows bring back people from much earlier one-offs later on. (Farscape's "Liars, Guns and Money" comes to mind.) Harper Rose in particular always seemed like a character that was being set up for some future payoff. I didn't get a sense of backdoor pilot from them, but I definitely do think establishing them sets it up so that it isn't necessary for any of our heroes to survive the finale.

not sure that Finch should be able to take a road trip without getting mobbed by Samaritan agents since his cover was blown last week

I think if he sticks to driving old crappy stolen cars on insignificant backwoods roads, which seemed to be his MO, he's okay, or at least okay enough that the Machine can actively cover what tracks he's leaving. The Machine's obviously been rebuilding its strength over the last few episodes, as well.
posted by mstokes650 at 6:46 PM on June 8, 2016

The Machine has gotten rather chatty since taking on Root's voice, hasn't it? Not that I'm complaining.
posted by pmurray63 at 7:35 PM on June 8, 2016

I got the impression that Harold had taken the restrictions off The Machine? That The Machine was able to suddenly hugely outreach to a lot more people without the restrictions.

Also - we didn't see the outcome of his AI vs AI battle. He was doing a simulation within his rules when Root was alive. I can't believe he didn't go for the virus without first running a simulation where he had the virus modification first and/or took the restrictions off and saw that it meant The Machine was able to beat Samaritan. He wanted to win with a hobbled AI because he knew already that he could win if he unhobbled The Machine.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:27 PM on June 8, 2016

I was also hoping for Ken Leung and was saying the other day how I'm surprised there haven't been a lot more cameos in their last season (my expectations are way too high after Justified and "Parks and Recreaction" had amazing final seasons in the same year). Turns out I barely remembered any of these returning numbers.

A return of Zoe would be nice, though.
posted by Gary at 8:27 PM on June 8, 2016

I agree that this felt like a setup to make us wonder if everybody was going to die. It could be that they only wanted to revisit some characters that we had long expected would show up again and not leave plotlines dangling, they dealt with The Voice earlier this season so now they show us what the curious billionaire that made Harold nervous has been up to as well.

But it really felt like the entire point was to let us know that everybody can die taking down Samaritan and The Machine can still go on doing what Harold was trying to do while he was alive. We shall see. Knowing this show it might take the A Team and the B Team to get it done and they might all die. Heh.

The Rootchine/Harry interactions were the best part of the episode.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 10:18 PM on June 8, 2016


Yeah, I think "the restraints off" means that among other things, Rootchine can talk to him directly in whatever voice she wants to instead of having to do the vocal equivalent of a ransom note.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:44 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Machine has gotten rather chatty since taking on Root's voice, hasn't it? Not that I'm complaining.

I think, judging from what it said this episode, that it didn't just take on her voice - it's simulating Root's personality (to 99.9% accuracy) as well. And Root did love to have chatty conversations with Harold at the worst times.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:30 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

"They really don't teach you SpecOps guys anything, do they?"

I've been thinking about Reese and Shaw's career paths.
Reese has a pretty standard infantry -> Rangers -> Green Beret -> SAD, then Finch. Shaw was a medical student .... and at some point is in the ISA? Which is technically an army unit? And worked for Hersh, who worked for Control, heavily implied to be NSA?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:14 PM on June 10, 2016

Maybe they're going to need more folks for the finale and brought them in to introduce them now? It makes me think that it would make a great pivot into a sort of Global Frequency sort of thing, with various members dropping in and out as needed for a given mission.

What ever happened with the secret hacker group Root was setting up north of NYC? (NH? Canada?)
posted by rmd1023 at 1:28 PM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Logan Pierce's exit from the benefit was ludicrous.

"Welp, that unexplained assassination attempt on the prez five minutes ago a sure was a bummer! Valet, get my car, I'm outty!"

No. That is where the place goes on lockdown and everyone gets detained and interrogated for 14 hours.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:51 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Did no one else Ice Nine? In Vonnegut's book Cat's Cradle, Ice Nine is what destroys the human race.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:34 PM on July 20, 2018

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