This week on the next-to-last episode ever of CBS’ Person of Interest, Harold went to great lengths to deploy the virus that would destroy not just Samaritan but also his own creation. In the end — and after seeing what the world would have been like with The Machine — was he able to execute?
Setting things in motion for Finch’s It’s a Wonderful Life journey, The Machine asks if he regrets creating Her. When he claims it is pointless to wonder, She argues that the world would be quite different if She never existed. For one, Harold and Nathan would be rich (and non-limping) government contractors, though they never built The Machine. And yet Harold would never have met Grace.
Fusco would be living a booze-soaked life as a disgraced cop who only avoided the clink by ratting on HR. And yet his would-be moral compass Carter lived, and got promoted to lieutenant. Shaw remained an operative for Special Counsel, Ms. Groves was Greer’s No. 1 henchman, while Reese… well, he saved Jessica but ultimately was turned away by her, after she laid witness to the darkness in him. As such, he ended his life.
These fleeting cutaways to “What might have been” were peppered throughout the hour, as Harold adopted the guise of a NATO bigwig to sneak into the NSA compound at Fort Meade, where he planned to release the Ice9 virus. With help from The Machine and a new number (Greer’s), Shaw and Reese were right on his heels, while Fusco had G-man Leroux sniffing around the NYPD again, after the bodies were found in the collapsed tunnel. (Leroux would eventually put a couple of bullets into Fusco at the water’s edge, only to lose his upper hand when it’s revealed that the detective had a vest on.)
Just as Harold goes to execute Ice9 with a spoken password, Greer’s goons nab him. Greer and Finch then lob heady philosophies back and forth, about Samaritan’s end game — a filtering “flood” that will elevate humanity to the next plane. To that end,
H.I.V.E. Samaritan is building an “ark” and desires The Machine as its “companion.” Harold holds his ground and insists that no such merger will ever happen, yet in doing so he lets slip that The Machine doesn’t know the password to execute Ice9. So Greer triggers a trap which locks the two men in the room, to be suffocated — because if Harold dies, so does the password and in turn the only thing standing in Samaritan’s way.
Greer succumbs to the association, but Harold is saved when — thanks to a wireless router that Reese and Shaw were led to discover inside an NSA evidence room (thanks, Snowden!) — The Machine is able to communicate the escape code to him. Afterward, he makes the choice to first help Reese and Shaw escape, before sneaking away to kill Samaritan and his creation, by verbalizing the password (which, BTW, The Machine did know): DASHWOOD.
And with that said, Samaritan begins glitching out, as Harold walks quietly away….
What did you think of the penultimate episode, “.exe”? And what might the series finale now entail?