Person of Interest Recap - S05E06&07 - "A More Perfect Union" + "QSO"

This week, nothing is the same.

S05E06 – A More Perfect Union

Throughout this episode there was a feeling that this is the last time the show is going to be this lighthearted. That’s not to say it’s only going to be doom and gloom from here on out—the writers and producers know better than that, and there are going to be moments of levity in the future. It’s just that while the episode is interspersed with subplots hinting at an imminent turning point—which does begin at the very end, but we’ll get to that in a second.

The main plot is set at a wedding, and while I liked the mystery, the best part was seeing the lead trio—Finch, Reese and Root—in new roles and a new setting. It gave us Reese pretending to be a stripper cop while pretending to be an actual detective. We got Finch singing in an Irish accent. And, most importantly, it gave us Root saving the day while riding on horseback like a knight in shining armor, and then riding off with this week’s damsel in distress (a family photographer who accidentally stumbled on the crime of doping racehorses). I’m actually surprised the show hasn’t done a wedding episode before, as it feels like a perfect fit.

But as fun as the A plot is, it’s the subplots that’ll be more important going forward. First off, we return to Shaw. She has undergone thousands more identical simulations since we last saw her, as Samaritan is still trying to get her to reveal the team’s location. This time around Samaritan and Greer take a new route, with Samaritan still considering her its potential asset. They take her on a field trip, throughout which Greer shows her people who according to Samaritan, will cause countless deaths with their actions. And Samaritan is in position to prevent them, instead of just reacting to catastrophes. It’s an interesting and tempting idea—until we discover it’s all part of another simulation. It’s becoming harder and harder for Shaw to tell what’s real and what’s not.

Meanwhile Fusco continues his investigation, and with a new case given to him by Root (along with Bear), he finally finds out what happened to all those missing people. As everyone probably suspected, they’ve been killed by Samaritan—and hidden in an underground tunnel, which is set to be demolished by a mob-run demolitions company. Among the bodies are the man Fusco was investigating and Bruce Moran (Elias's friend), both of whom were investigating the fact that said demolitions company was contracted by someone other than one of the Five Families. And the bad news for Fusco? The demolitions begins this very instant.

S05E07 – QSO

Thankfully, Fusco survived the demolition of the tunnel—but ends up in a hospital room for the duration of the episode. And he’s officially had enough. He won’t talk to Reese and later chews out Finch over their decision to keep him in the dark. Finch claims they wanted to protect him, which is a hollow explanation after he almost died thanks to not knowing what he was up against. In the end Fusco winds up quitting the team and going out on his own. Luckily, even if he continues digging, he and his son have a shot at survival, provided by Root—who feels guilty over sending him on that case, and I suspect would gladly tell him what’s going on if she could. Instead, she provides him with an exit strategy—two fresh identities he can use to get off the grid.

The main plot in this episode is centered almost entirely around Root and her search for Shaw. After going through several identities, she finds herself in a producing role for a conspiracy nut radio show. The show’s host accidentally discovered weird static on the airwaves, sending what he assumes are undecipherable messages. Root guesses this has something to do with Samaritan, which will be very unhappy about someone learning something about it and will send its operatives. Sure enough, the host’s cryptologist buddy is killed and his death is set up as a suicide—and Reese discovers his body while the host seems to be still talking to him and trying to convince him not to end his life. As Root surmises, the killed person’s voice (who was a frequent caller for the conspiracy show) is simulated by Samaritan, using his own words to create an illusion of a living person speaking. And then it does the same thing with the host, while sending its operatives to kill him. Root saves him and that’s when Finch calls her with news. He has found the transmissions, while monitoring the ongoing failed wars between the clones of the Machine and Samaritan. Those sounds are transmitted by every electronic device infected with Samaritan’s malware in an attempt to contact other devices. Root realizes she can use that to send a message to the facility where Shaw is being held.

Meanwhile Shaw is at her wits' end. She’s taken on what she assumes is another simulated trip which is meant to glorify Samaritan’s oversight. This time it’s a scientist trying to bring the thylacine, an extinct marsupial, back to life. Shaw, in an attempt to cut the simulation short, shoots her—except this time, all of this was real (as astute viewers would pick up, noticing this is the first time we saw Samaritan watching her trip immediately after checking in on Root’s ward). After she finds out, and realizes she no longer has any idea what’s real and what’s not, she makes an actual attempt at an escape. But after months of imprisonment she’s in too weak a state to actually go through with it. And as she contemplates just ending it—Root gets through with her message, giving her renewed hope.

Root herself is attempting negotiations with Samaritan, giving herself up on the condition she goes to the same facility Shaw is being held. Those are cut short after Reese’s arrival, who later chews her out over that idea. On the plus side, they saved the conspiracy nut host who promises to stop talking about the signals he discovered.

A promise that he breaks pretty much as soon as he gets back to work—he’s too hungry for validation and recognition. And Samaritan’s operative kills him.

Finch is angry at Reese and Root for just leaving him alone—but he’s furious at the Machine that allowed him to be killed. It explains itself by saying the primary objective (contacting Shaw) was achieved, and the reason it allowed the host to die is that it allowed him an expression of free will. Finch and Reese are most decidedly not happy about what is going on with the Machine. Meanwhile Root is excited—she now has a clue how to find Shaw, and she and the Machine seem to be working on a plan to get her. A plan that involves going to Žemaitija National Park in Lithuania—and more specifically, to the nearby Dvina Missile Silo.

We’ll see where all this leads next time. Until then, we have a new Bear Moment of the Week— Sandwich Bear!

Dominik Zine is a nerdy lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.