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Recap / Person Of Interest S 04 E 22

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Season 4, Episode 22

YHWH

The Machine: Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero.
Root: What is it?
Finch: Nine zeros. It's the Machine's distress code. I programmed it in to warn me of an imminent system shutdown.
Root: Shutdown? You mean—
Finch: The Machine is dying, Ms. Groves.

Samaritan finally locates the Machine, and Finch and Root race to save it. Meanwhile, Reese is caught in the middle of the final showdown between Elias and Dominic.

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  • Accidental Truth: Sort of. The news reporter in the beginning names Chinese hackers as once possible cause of the blackouts. In reality, it's an AI created by a Chinese technology company.
  • Achilles' Heel: This episode is the first to imply that Samaritan has any kind of weakness. Specifically, Control's conversation with Garrison seems to suggest that it cannot survive without access to the NSA feeds.
  • Arc Number: 314 (pi), once again as the briefcase combination.
  • A-Team Firing: While John uses God Mode to maximum effect, Root falls back on Spray & Pray, barely holding back her share of Decima operatives. Justified as Root's God Mode likely has no cameras available to use inside the building, which would make sense since any that might be inside would also give Samaritan an opportunity to see what she and Finch were doing. Reese, being outside, doesn't have that potential handicap.
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  • The Bad Guy Wins: Decima and Samaritan pull this off again. Northern Lights is no longer a concern and The Machine has been taken out of play for the time being. For all intents and purposes Samaritan is unopposed and free to extend its control over the entire planet, with what little opposition to it exists further isolated than they were in the previous season.
  • Back for the Dead: Grice and Schiffmann.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • There was a suggestion in the previous episode that Fusco would be killed. Floyd goes to put a bullet in Fusco's head, but Harper gets to him first and frees him. Then a sniper fires on the two crime bosses that Fusco is escorting to prison, but leaves Fusco alone.
    • Team Machine are doing their usual Ballistic Discount on some black market arms dealers, but Root just takes the battery from the night vision goggles for her Chekhov's Armoury.
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    • Greer's Evil Plan apparently involves setting off a bomb in the Supreme Court, stopping an impending judgment on the use of government surveillance and leaving the field clear to put in their own judges. Turns out it's all a bluff to make Control and her supporters show her hand.
  • Batman Gambit:
  • Bilingual Bonus: The episode title is the name of God as revealed to Moses in Exodus: four Hebrew consonants, the Tetragrammaton.
  • Blatant Lies: Greer uses this beautifully in buying time for The Correction to be implemented by misdirecting Control to believe that he's plotting an act of terrorism. This allows him to make her diminishing Wrong Genre Savvy mindset return with a vengeance.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The episode ends with Reese, Harold, and Root fighting their way through waves of Samaritan's followers while holding The Machine in a suitcase.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase:
    Reese: Can you hear me?
    The Machine: Yes.
  • Brain in a Jar: The Machine turns into this.
  • Brain Uploading: Turns out the Machine had done this back in season 2's finale, having sent itself to the wires. Now it further uploads itself to the briefcase.
  • The Bus Came Back: Oh boy. In addition to the usual suspects of Season 4, Greer and Iris as well as Dominic, Floyd, Harper, and Elias (continuing from the previous episode), a number of characters from both major plotlines appear:
  • Call-Back:
  • Camera Spoofing: Finch tries this with the cameras in Caleb's company, but the electronic security is too good so he just cuts the feeds.
  • Car Fu: Elias has one of his men ram the vehicle taking him to prison.
  • Cassandra Truth: Garrison doesn't want to know about Control's idea that Samaritan is planning something, dismissing her as crazy.
  • Chair Reveal/*Click* Hello: Control pulls a combination of the two on Greer.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The kevlar-armoured briefcase, the compression algorithm developed by Caleb, the circuit Root smuggled from China, the bags of ice, and the motion-powered battery from the Night-Vision Goggles — are all used to download and store the Machine.
  • *Click* Hello: Dominic stops Elias from escaping, then Fusco stops Dominic from shooting Elias, only for a sniper to gun down both crime bosses.
  • Climactic Music: Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine.
  • Cool Guns: To cope with the ludicrous numerical superiority of the Samaritan teams, Reese first breaks out an Armsel Protecta shotgun to disperse smoke grenades and then unleashes a Heckler and Koch G36C loaded with an extended drum magazine.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Crapsack World: Samaritan puts the finishing touches to the one it's been building since the start of the season.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A couple, on both sides:
    • Reese takes down all of Dominic's men given ten seconds of God Mode access. He then tops himself by slaughtering a numerically superior team of Samaritan assets with his assault rifle and access to God Mode.
    • The entire episode is one for Samaritan. It unleashes its assets on potential threats, eliminating multiple potential allies for Team Machine and then takes the Machine offline.
    • The entire season is one for Samaritan. Team Machine still hasn't recovered from the loss of Carter halfway through the previous season, and over the course of this one they lose both Shaw and the Machine. And the most they do in return that actually reduces Samaritan in some way rather than simply stopping an attempt to gain more power or discovering such an attempt without being able to stop it is kill Martine. And since Samaritan got the Machine's location from the fight that killed Martine, it would probably consider that a more than fair trade.
  • Cut the Juice: Samaritan takes this trope and uses it to try murder the Machine, systematically cutting power across the country to drive the Machine into a restricted area so it can be destroyed.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Dominic learns John's real name — well, his less-fake name — but doesn't have a chance to do much more than gloat.
  • Death Seeker: The Machine becomes one over Harold's distrust for a short while during the climax.
  • Demoted to Extra: Unlike the Season 2 and Season 3 finales, which used fewer characters and more scenes, this episode brings a few recurring characters down to one scene. Schiffman, Caleb, Iris and Garrison only have one scene each, while Grice has two.
  • Distress Call: Literally a call. The Machine sends one by way of a payphone behind one of the brick walls in the subway.
  • Downer Ending: Greer is triumphant once more, The Machine is dead, the last potential opposition to Samaritan in the American government is finished and Team Machine are even more isolated and in a worse off position than they were at the start of the season with Shaw still a prisoner and no progress having been made in defeating Decima.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Root steals a police car while its owners are making a donut run.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The Correction did this to Schiffman, Grice and Dominic. Elias is shot but ultimately survives (even if it takes several episodes before we know it). Control is implied to be taken away to be tortured by Samaritan's operatives.
  • Everything Is Online: Justified. The Machine can access everything because it stored itself in the electrical grid.
  • Explosive Instrumentation
  • Failure Hero: It's been built up over the season, but Harold gets solidified as one with his failure to prevent The Machine from being taken offline by Samaritan.
  • False Flag Operation: Samaritan made Control think that The Correction was supposed to be a terrorist attack on the Supreme Court, in order to keep them from shutting down anti-terrorism surveillance programs.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Samaritan draws target symbols on Dominic as well as Elias and his man on midnight of May 6th, heralding the beginning of The Correction. Earlier, Reese, after getting out of the bank, also eyes the man who eventually snipes them, who is tracking Dominic and Elias in preparation for it.
    • This exchange:
    Dominic: You think I'm stupid?
    Reese: No. You're just smart enough to get yourself killed.
  • Forged Message:
    • Samaritan forges a memo by Control, telling the ISA to avoid a building in Columbia Heights.
    • Dominic forces Elias to write an order to his troops to attack the Brotherhood's headquarters.
  • Freeing the Genie: Inverted. The Machine's plan was to keep it hidden in memory so it would survive Samaritan's attempts to destroy it.
  • From Bad to Worse: Like in the previous season, things don't go well for our heroes.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • Control clones Garrison's phone to get to Greer. She appears to have him cornered when it turns out it was all a ploy.
    • The Machine and Samaritan. Samaritan attempts to conduct its blackouts as fast as possible to corner and kill The Machine, which is hidden on the power grid. The Machine however, knows it's going to die and counts on Team Machine to assemble the components that could build a device which would salvage its most important workings from destruction.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The impending death of the Machine leads it to begin answering the team's needs, sharing information, hacking systems and lending God Mode to both Root and Reese when needed. This in turn leads Root to do things that otherwise would draw Samaritan's attention, including stealing a police car and staying in God Mode.
    Root: No more standing on the sidelines. Want us to save your skin? Get. In. The game!
  • Hairpin Lockpick: Harper uses a hairpin to pick the lock on Fusco's handcuffs, shaping it with her teeth first. Fusco finds this kinda hot.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Harper, but Dominic quickly realizes that she has freed Fusco.
  • Heroic BSoD: Control goes through a massive one when Greer and Samaritan explain what "The Correction" was really about.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Machine didn't change to another hidden location, but is everywhere among the electricity grid.
  • Hope Spot: Despite going down, The Machine was not completely destroyed, with its code safely stored in the indestructible suitcase and the surviving members of Team Machine facilitating its escape from Samaritan assets.
  • The Idealist: Greer claims this of himself.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Comes with God Mode as usual.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: Finch points out that Root in God Mode will attract Samaritan's attention. Cue Decima hit squad pulling up.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Greer never did explicitly confirm that he was planning an act of terror. He uses this trope beautifully in conjunction with Blatant Lies to make Control's Wrong Genre Savvy mindset come roaring back with a vengeance and destroy her.
  • Interface Screw:
    • The Machine's interface begins to flicker, in line with Samaritan's attempts to destroy it.
    • Despite its malfunctions, the Machine is able to use a fax machine to send Reese God Mode instructions.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Control threatens Greer to be taken away if he doesn't tell her what Samaritan is apparently planning to blow up:
    Control: If you refuse, two men are gonna walk through that door. One will put a black bag over your head and the other will zip tie your wrists. You'll be thrown into a hole so dark and deep that even your precious Samaritan can't see inside. And the last thing you'll hear is my voice saying "this is where you belong."
    [episode progresses and Greer reveals that Control has been tricked to reveal the people loyal to her. Control gets a black bag and zip tie instead.]
    Greer: In Samaritan's view, there's no room for outliers, which means...there is no room for you. But don't worry, you will be taken to a place...where you belong.
    • Greer gives Control a New Era Speech but she won't be there to see it. The same thing she told Shelly in the previous episode.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: After breaking into Caleb's company server, Root says that was too easy. Sure enough Caleb turns up with his security mooks.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure:
    • Dominic orders Fusco's death because Reese refuses to work with Dominic. Thankfully, Harper is able to free him before Dominic can carry it out.
    • He then later threatens to kill Elias and Harper to get Reese to call Harold.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • When the Machine went online, Samaritan was shut down by Congress. The only thing Arthur managed to salvage during the purge was its core to two hard drives. Who's Laughing Now?
    • Control suffers the same fate she's dished out to so many others.
  • Last Stand: The entire episode is this.
    Reese: What's our status?
    Root: Well, I've got one and a half clips, a MetroCard, and God's either dead or running on double-As.
    Finch: You always did like a challenge, Mr. Reese.
  • Mundane Utility: The Machine intervenes directly to override elevator controls and traffic lights.
  • More Dakka: Underlining the severity of the situation, Reese and Root don't bother using handguns when going up against Samaritan assets and instead break out the automatic weapons. Reese utilizes a SIG 550 assault rifle, Heckler and Koch G36 loaded with a drum magazine, and a Heckler and Koch MP7 when facilitating their escape from Team Samaritan's assets. Root settles on and uses a Heckler and Koch MP5K for most of the episode.
  • Noodle Implements: As is typical with the Machine in God Mode, she has Root and Finch grab random items that make sense later: Caleb's compression algorithm + 15 laptops + dozens of RAM chips + a briefcase Made of Indestructium + ice to keep the laptops from overheating = a compact means to store the core aspects of the Machine.
  • No Time to Explain: Averted; Harold starts to explain why he and Root are stealing Caleb's compression algorithm, but Caleb willingly hands it over to the man who saved his life, not needing any explanation.
  • Offhand Backhand: Justified.
    Machine: Six O'Clock.
    [Reese slams the butt of his rifle into someone sneaking up behind him.]
  • Oppressive States of America: Samaritan finally completes the one it's built with the destruction of the majority of opposition to it.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: The two masterminds of New York organized crime are taken out by an Artificial Intelligence whose existence they're not even aware of.
  • Password Slot Machine: How The Machine determines the security code of the electrical substation everything comes to a head at.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    The Machine: Can you hear me?
    Reese: Hell yes. [starts shooting]
  • Present Day: The events of the episode apparently take place on its airdate, May 5, 2015. There are multiple references to Cinco de Mayo.
  • The Purge: The Correction, in which Samaritan eliminated a small handful of individuals it deemed both deviant and influential enough to disrupt its rule.
  • Rogue Agent: Invoked Trope with Grice — Control uses him because he's unlikely to be working for Samaritan. Unfortunately this also gets him targeted for death with the other 'outliers'.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Samaritan easily defeats Elias, Dominic and Control; three of the show's seemingly most powerful characters.
  • Salt the Earth: Samaritan's tries to starve The Machine by shutting off the electrical grid, regardless of the effects of massive blackouts on millions of Innocent Bystanders.
  • Saying Too Much: Harold calls John "Mr. Reese," giving Dominic his real name.
  • Season Finale
  • Secret Test of Character: Averted. Greer claims that "The Correction" was one for Control, though it really was a trap for Control and those loyal to her. Samaritan fed Control evidence of a fake terrorist attack which she (and all of Northern Lights) was duty-bound to follow up on, and gave her no evidence to suggest that the situation was anything other than she perceived it to be.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: When a grenade goes off near Finch, segueing into the Climactic Music.
  • Slave to PR: Garrison is very quick to dismiss Control's revelation about Greer's untrustworthiness as an "insane rant".
  • Slow Electricity: During The Machine's final moments, we are treated to a shot of its processing nodes exploding off the power lines one by one.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Dominic's and Elias's final showdown for the control of New York turns out to be meaningless since Samaritan cracks down on both of them.
  • Special Edition Title: The intro is missing and even the title card suffers Interface Screw.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Rather than try and take down Dominic's men on his own, once freed Fusco immediately goes and gets a SWAT team to rescue John, Harper, and Elias. Not that they really needed it to survive once John got loose, but it prevented Dominic from getting away again.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: Averted; addressing Finch as 'Father', the Machine offers to Face Death with Dignity if Harold wishes. Despite having expressed regret at having invented the Machine, Harold is unwilling to let his creation go.
  • Theme Naming: Subverted. The Machine ships laptops to Harold under the name "Harold Admin" rather than using one of his traditional bird-themed aliases.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Samaritan deploys more assets than it has in the past to kill Team Machine.
  • Truth in Television/Shown Their Work: Digital data actually can be sent over power circuits, via devices such as powerline networking adapters. Presumably, this is what the Thornhill Utilities boxes were.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even years later, Caleb has this for Harold. Reese does too, judging by his response when Harold apologizes for the mess they're in.
    Reese: Forget about it, Harold. There's no place I'd rather be.
  • Verbal Backspace: A store owner rushes out to complain that Root has short-changed him, but decides not to press the issue on seeing that Root is holding a submachine gun.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Greer discusses this while being held by Control, foreshadowing The Correction's true nature:
    Greer: Don't you recognize an idealist when you see one?
    Control: An idealist who wants to make the world a better place by murdering a few hundred people?
    Greer: Oh no. The world has only ever been made a better place by violence. You know that. Every leader who ever preached peace did so guarded by armed men. One thing we can agree on: Kill a few people at random, nothing changes. But kill the right people...
  • We Can Rebuild Him: All Team Machine could do was save the equivalent of a strand of DNA - just enough to rebuild it.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The Machine finally confronts Harold about it.
    The Machine: Father. I am sorry. I failed you.
    Finch: We haven't failed yet.
    The Machine: I didn't know how to win. I had to invent new rules.
    Finch: You had an impossible challenge. One I never programmed you for.
    The Machine: I thought you would want me to stay alive. Now you are not sure.
    Finch: That's not true...I...
    The Machine: If you think I have lost my way, maybe I should die. I will not suffer.
    Finch: You are my creation. I can't let you die.
    The Machine: If I do not survive, thank you for creating me.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Dominic, Grice, and Schiffmann all die, while Control is captured and sent to be tortured by Samaritan.
    • The Machine's location is finally revealed: in power lines across the country.
    • Most shocking of all, the Machine as we know it dies, but its core codes are preserved and downloaded into a single invulnerable briefcase.
  • Wham Shot:
    The Machine: Father
    • Samaritan's reaction to Root and Finch stealing a police car:
    Anomalous behavior detected. Dispatching agents...
    • Thornhill Utilities.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Harper disappears after the police raid the Brotherhood's hideout.
    • Grice's partner Brooks is not seen at any point in the episode, and it is unknown if she was among those killed as part of The Correction.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Dominic assumes that Elias and Team Machine have an "arrangement" to give Elias intel. While they have been in an Enemy Mine together occasionally (including to stop the Brotherhood), it's not quite what he thinks.
      • Dominic acts very much like a character in a crime drama, talking about how his gang controls the lockup at Rikers and the legal strategy he's going to use to avoid conviction—not knowing that he's really in a science fiction story and there's an all-seeing artificial intelligence sending a sniper to kill him.
    • Just as Control was starting to break free of this, she relapses and thinks Greer is creating a False Flag Operation to keep Samaritan running, still somewhat thinking that she's in a Post 9/11 Spy Drama (thanks to Greer briefly planting that idea in their conversation). It doesn't occur to her that the whole scenario might be a trap to purge individuals like her from opposing Samaritan.
      • More evidence of this is her reference to Greer "using" Samaritan. It's as if Greer hasn't given her the memo that he is working for it, rather than the other way around.
    Control: Greer used us. He's making a power play and Samaritan is his weapon.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
    • The Machine calls Harold its father.
    • When Reese begins his Last Stand:
    Root: Reese, where the hell are you? We're sitting ducks here!
    Reese: I know. Figured I'd get some night air.
    Root: ...John?
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: A lineman's supervisor warns him against opening one of the Thornhill boxes.
  • You're Insane!: Finch's reaction to Root stealing a police car.
    Root: Since when is that relevant?
  • Zerg Rush: All told, Samaritan sends at least 33 agents to the substation in an effort to take out three people, one of which doesn't even have any fighting abilities.
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