Feb 13, 2017

[TV] Person of Interest: Season 5

Person of Interest was always a weird show that struggled between it being sort of a police procedural / detective series but also a high concept science fiction piece tackling artificial intelligence. Over the course of the show they had a wide range of adventures including facing dirty cops and mobsters. But the've also had to face secret government organizations and of course a rival AI.

But all good things must come to an end and just as the show evolved into a compelling science fiction series with some pretty complex plots and ideas they announced that the fifth season of the show would be its last as well. And they really made the most of the fourth season as a way to setup the scenario for this last run.

And while I do feel bad that the show is gone, at least they were able to manage a decent enough ending that provides some degree of closure. We don't always get that from the better geeky shows.

Synopsis: Person of Interest is an American science fiction crime drama series created by Jonathan Nolan. The show ran for 5 seasons with a total of 103 episodes.

The final season begins with Reese (Jim Caviezel) on the run from Samaritan forces with the precious briefcase containing the core code of the Machine within. In time he reconnects with Finch (Michael Emerson). At the subway hideout, the examine if the Machine's code is still intact and are surprised to find it readily decompressing the moment it's connected to their limited network. However they don't have the capacity to contain the Machine in its full form and it has lost its ability to determine what day or year it is, and thus the Machine doesn't know who to trust as it only remembers that everyone in the hideout are murderers.

The other key part of the story is the continued imprisonment of Shaw (Sarah Shahi) in a Samaritan facility and their efforts to brainwash her into becoming a Samaritan asset instead. The procedure is quite thorough and it looks like they could break her give enough time. Without knowing this, Root (Amy Acker) continues to urge the team to find and rescue Shaw despite how the odds are stacked against them. Now they need to get the Machine back under control and figuring out a way to defeat Samaritan.

What I Liked: This last season brought in the best of what made this show so amazing. We had complex questions about artificial intelligence and what role man should serve in a world with AIs that can run things much more efficiently. We had multi-layers plans between the rival machines with their respective human assets merely pawns executing the will of the programs. It makes for quite the grand war but one that is happening amid our regular, day-to-day lives.

The season has a lot of great moments for all the different characters, which is fitting as this is the big finish. But I think the best big moments were naturally for the Machine, especially once the Machine decides to take on a voice of its own. It was something that became a bit of a point of stress early in the season as they tried to get the Machine back up and running and by the end of the season they finally bring this back into play. And it turned out quite well.

What Could Have Been Better: Despite this being the final season, the show couldn't avoid getting back into the whole rescuing Numbers routine. I know, it's a core function of the Machine and of course things would not be fully normal until the Numbers would start coming along once more and the team doing their part. But still, it felt like such a distraction from resolving a lot of the bigger questions of the series, especially with only 13 episodes to work with versus the 20+ they had with the prior seasons.

There's no perfect way to handle wrapping up a show, especially when you have a rather limited number of episodes to work with given a pretty epic storyline. There were definitely some shortcuts and the ending is decent but doesn't necessarily cover everything. It even comes with a bit of a deus ex machina moment but that's how these things go at the end.

TL;DR: The final season of Person of Interest isn't perfect, but it's still a great wrap-up for the show as a whole. I enjoyed it a lot and I think fellow Person of Interest fans will enjoy it too. So the final season gets a good 5 efforts by the Machine to find a way forward for its Assets out of a possible 5.

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