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Recap / Person Of Interest S 05 E 01

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Season 5, Episode 1


Reese: We'll fix it. We have to, Finch. The world needs your Machine now more than ever.
Finch: You're not the first person that's tried to tell me that, Mr. Reese.

The morning after the events of "YHWH," Reese, Finch, and Root are on the run from Samaritan's operatives, the battery powering the briefcase containing The Machine's code is failing, and Fusco realizes that someone is covering up the truth about the attack on Dominic and Elias. In flashbacks, we see Finch circa 2006, struggling with the question of whether to limit The Machine's capabilities or allow it to evolve.


  • Accidental Truth: Ingram predicted Samaritan's existence in 2006, but Finch didn't build the Machine to respond to it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    The Machine: And how will I remember you?
  • Axes at School: Root is watching school children cross the road, while fondling a Kalashnikov rifle. Moments later she's in a shoot-out with Samaritan agents.
  • Badass Normal: Root shows that even without the help of the Machine, she can still be pretty badass. She is after all a former contract killer.
  • The Big Board: Samaritan has one for a moment with Finch, Reese, Root and the Machine in the briefcase. It's as if in substitution to Finch's usual board, declaring them as the POIs.
  • Big Brother Is Watching You:
    • Samaritan has spy malware inside the firmware of recently-made computers. Even when it's discovered, people just assume the NSA is behind it all.
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    • As well as Deviant, we now have Obstructionist and Disrupter as categories you really don't want Samaritan to put you under.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Reese gets to do this twice, saving Root from Zachary, and then grabbing some liquid nitrogen to save the Machine from overheating. Finch pulls a Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind to save Reese from a Samaritan agent on the ferry pier.
  • Blatant Lies: Samaritan's FBI agent claims that Fusco's memory of a sniper was trauma-induced.
  • Blue Screen of Death: The episode is named after this.
  • Brick Joke: A man is trying to get a candy bar from the vending machine that conceals the entrance to Team Machine's lair, and the candy gets stuck. Reese has to knock him out so they can get in. After they open and close the hidden door, the candy bar finally drops out.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Detective Soriano is Back for the Dead. Nathan Ingram and Grace Hendricks also make another appearance in the flashbacks.
  • Car Fu: Root gets T-boned in the beginning.
  • Chain Pain: Injured and on the run from Samaritan with The Machine in tow, Reese runs out of ammo shortly after shooting out a padlock and chain holding a gate closed. Two Samaritan agents confront him, and he uses the chain to strangle one and deliver a beatdown on the other.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Samaritan comes up with a brand new symbol for Team Machine, since it cannot identify them thanks to their covers and resorts to manual tracking. It's solid red this time.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Samaritan has an asset pose as an FBI agent to obstruct Detective Soriano, to help sweep the Correction under the rug.
  • Cut the Juice: Finch resorts to this to stop the Machine from decompressing early onto his workstation. It all catches fire as a result.
  • Cutting the Knot: Reese knocking out the guy who was trying to use the vending machine, and later using a drill to open the briefcase after all else fails.
  • Cue the Falling Object: Finch and Mr. Reese try to get into their secret base only to discover a janitor using the vending machine that serves as the secret entrance. The janitor's purchase gets stuck in the machine. Reese goes up and knocks him out, then Finch opens the secret entrance. After they enter and close the front of the vending machine, the janitor's purchase falls out of the machine.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Root insults an omniscient AI with a raging God complex to its proverbial face. And then literally flips it off. The image is pixellated, but it's still glorious.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Reese and Root, as usual.
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: With Reese on the run and The Kills' "No Wow" playing over it all.
  • Exact Words: Fusco tries to call Reese to inform him about the IA investigation. Finch tells him that he's working on another case - while Reese is trying to force open the damaged briefcase containing the Machine through a series of increasingly violent methods.
  • Failed a Spot Check: If Soriano had examined Dominic's body, he'd have known that Fusco couldn't possibly have been the shooter - even if the rifle was the exact same caliber as Fusco's pistol, the angle of the wound would have made it obvious to a trained investigator that the shot couldn't possibly have been fired by someone at ground level. This is justified by how Soriano seems to have reached the point where he's willing to use whatever he possibly can to put Fusco away for good, since he wasn't able to last time around.
    • Hand Wave: Soriano can be heard in the background having an argument where he accuses the FBI agent of refusing to share the ballistics report.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Reese barges in uninvited on someone carpooling. They're reluctant to drive until Samaritan agents shoot out the rear window.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The camera pans across an empty subway, a hole smashed in the wall, and the floor littered with cartridge cases. Then we cut back to How We Got Here.
    • Samaritan draws a target on Detective Soriano as he walks off camera and Reese steals the viewers' attention. He "mysteriously" dies to a cardiac arrest not long afterwards.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Feeling guilty over what he's going to do to the Machine, Finch refuses an ice cream from Grace, but eventually takes it.
  • Heroic BSoD: Finch has one when he believes the Machine has been destroyed.
  • Heroic Dog: Bear brings a fire extinguisher for Finch when a fire gets started in the subway hideout.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted - the suppressed weapons Samaritan agents are using are still quite loud and their gunshots still sound like gunshots.
  • Initialism Title
  • It's All My Fault: Finch blames himself for crippling the Machine in the first place, leaving it unprepared for the inevitable creation of a rival non-Benevolent A.I.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: At the end of the episode, with the Machine decompressed, the team seems to finally be taking their gloves off.
    Root: Things will definitely be different this time.
  • Love Confessor: Root, about Shaw to Bela:
    Root: Just needed a change. Got a new job. Fell in love.
  • Made of Indestructium: Zig Zagged. The briefcase fails to protect the piezo-electric battery from the damage inflicted during Reese's fight on the docks, but the unprotected RAM chips survive being incinerated down in the Subway after Finch electrocutes himself.
  • Manchurian Agent: What appears to be a non-brainwash variant. Samaritan, ever the social expert, sends a flurry of text messages to people known for citizens' arrests, violent behavior, and security occupations on a subway train, branding Root a dangerous criminal. Said civilians and multiple law enforcement officers then promptly proceed to try to take down Root.
  • Never Split the Party: Although together for the climactic shootout in the last episode, this episode starts with Root, Finch and Reese having gotten separated during their running battle with Samaritan agents.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Once he gets Finch and the Machine to the subway, Reese insists on going out again for Root, despite Finch arguing otherwise. Then he tells Root to go and help Finch while he fights the Samaritan agents, as he needs her brains more than his brawn. However Root refuses to leave Reese.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Bela sells out Root to Samaritan.
  • No Sympathy: Reese to Fusco's difficulties. At least he has an excuse this time, as Root is still missing and he's focused on trying to find her.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: How Root gets the BFG from the cop after the subway fight.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Finch when the Machine suddenly starts decompressing onto his workstation.
    • And later Finch and especially Root when the Machine starts overheating during the real decompression.
  • Overheating: The critical decompression is bound to fail because of this, until Reese steals a tank of liquid nitrogen to cool it all down.
  • Override Command: Samaritan's latest trick is installing a backdoor into every processor of the most recent generation that allows it to see everything everyone does with this. Part of the reason Root uses a truckload of PS3 consoles to reconstitute the Machine is because they're fairly powerful individually, can be easily networked, and are from a previous generation of processors that doesn't have the backdoor, so Samaritan can't access them at will.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: It's highly unlikely that the Machine's code was compiled to run on the PS3 Cell processor's architecture, seeing as how it was created many years before the Cell processor was invented, and yet somehow it's able to run.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    Zachary: [holding Root at gunpoint] Where are the other members of your team?
    [cue flashbang from Reese]
    Root: Think you just found one.
  • Pseudo-Crisis: A Samaritan agent is close to cornering Finch and Reese near the entrance to their secret base, when he's called away for an unrevealed reason.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Zachary delivers one to Root after taking her captive.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Reese and Root play it straight.
  • Shown Their Work: Makes its triumphant return to Person of Interest:
  • Special Edition Title/In Medias Res/Doomed by Canon: The intro is replaced with a melancholic phone call from Root:
    Root: If you can hear this, you're alone. The only thing left of us is the sound of my voice. I don't know if any of us made it. Did we win? Did we lose? I don't know. I'm not even sure I know what victory would mean anymore. But either way, it's over. So let me tell you who we were. Let me tell you who you are...and how we fought back.
  • Shout-Out
  • The Social Expert: How Samaritan draws assets out of thin air to pit against Root. With text messages, it induces people in the subway to go up against Root, and later buys away Bela from her as well.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Having run out of ammunition, Root lures pursuing Samaritan agents into a warehouse being used by Bela, whose mooks gun them down.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: On Reese's advice, Fusco goes along with the FBI saying he killed Dominic in a shootout. However he keeps digging and finds an expended cartridge case.
  • Technobabble: Reese complains that "I don't speak nerd" when the conversation between Root and Finch goes over his head.
  • Understatement: Finch is "not particularly fond" of ferries.
  • Urban Legend: When Root disappeared from the online assassin-for-hire business, it was assumed she'd been taken out by the Man in the Suit.
  • Villain Respect: Zachary tells Root her impending death will be a waste of her talent.
  • Wham Episode: And it's looking like the entire season is going to be this.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Played With in that Finch in the flashbacks knows that the Machine is more than just a computer, but tries to convince himself otherwise. He has a huge My God, What Have I Done? moment after actually wiping the Machine's memories for the first time.
    Finch: You're not a human. You're a machine.
    • Finch calls the Machine "she" twice in the present.
  • Who Shot JFK?: When Fusco insists there was a sniper who shot Dominic, he's sarcastically asked if he was on a grassy knoll.
  • You Can't Make an Omelette...: Reese when pulling out the drill to open the briefcase by force:
    Finch: Mr. Reese, there's sensitive electronics inside! We need to open it, not give it a lobotomy!
    Reese: Right now, we need a heartbeat. When doing CPR, sometimes you gotta crack a few ribs.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Reese's response to seeing someone is trying to get a candy from the vending machine.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Zachary and his team take out Bela and his crew right after he leads them to Root.
  • You Owe Me: Root getting help from Bela.