Mark Watches ‘Person of Interest’: S01E23 – Firewall

In the twenty-third and final episode of the first season of Person of Interest, I can’t. I still have to deal with four more seasons, and I can’t. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Person of Interest

What a ride. WHAT A RIDE. Y’all, this is one of the very best first seasons I have ever experienced, and I say that while admitting that it’s got flaws. Half the time, the writers didn’t know how to deal with Joss Carter, and there were a couple of strange plot lines here and there. I don’t want to ignore those things, and I do have a complaint about one character’s fate.

At the same time: good fucking god. The writing here is masterful, combining multiple plot lines spread over the season, one hell of a con, and the emotional terror of claustrophobia. Seriously, this episode would not be as tense as it was if it didn’t involve Reese and Turing trying to escape from a hotel where HR and the FBI are both converging to take out either party. I LOVE STORIES THAT PLACE IN A SINGLE ROOM OR BUILDING, THEY ARE ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. On top of that, the events that transpire in “Firewall” are a mystery: Why was Caroline Turing being targeted by HR? What the hell did she know?

LET’S DISCUSS.

Carter and Fusco

ABOUT.

FUCKING.

TIME.

Part of the reason “Firewall” is so satisfying is that despite that the audience is deliberately fooled, the writers still care to finally push forward a plot that was absolutely necessary. If we’d gone into season two and Carter and Fusco still didn’t know about one another, the dynamic would have gotten stale. But it also fits that it’s within this episode that Carter finally confronts Fusco about her suspicions. As she tries to navigate the complication of being in that FBI task force room, watching as the agents get closer and closer to Reese, she realizes that she can do something about the insidious nature of HR. Her decision to follow Fusco out of the room is absolutely in-character for her, as was her confrontation of him. Carter trusts her instincts, and she’ll choose what’s ethical or moral, even if it makes things complicated or even endangers her.

I JUST FEEL SO EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES. They both know! They can cover one another within the NYPD!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN THEM NEXT.

Alicia Corwin

It’s a lot easier to do critical analysis of something that’s complete, and I know I’ve run into this issue time and time again. It’s unavoidable given what I do; all I have is the story at hand, though, so I have to work with what I’ve got. It’s possible that Corwin, while dead, might still play a part in future Person of Interest stories. But killing her off here might be a poetic tragedy, a way of showing us just how ruthless Root is. Of course, we already knew that from “Root Cause.” Look what Root did last time! She killed off Matheson to get rid of a loose end, so killing Corwin means nothing to her.

Yet there is zero closure for this character, and it seems she was killed off to keep Finch’s secrets in the past. Surely there was another route for this? We never really got to learn anything about Alicia, and now she’s gone, further collateral damage of Root.

On the Run

Usually, it’s easy to see how I was tricked by a plot twist, but I cannot find a single clue here. Yes, Zoe was able to determine that the logistics of the payment to HR were fishy, but until Root’s signature appeared on the computer in her “office,” I truly don’t think there were any signs that Caroline Turing wasn’t real… except her name. TURING. Okay, that is obvious to me now. Otherwise? Y’all, this was a masterful con, and it’s one the Machine figured out… sort of. Was the use of Caroline Turing’s number a hint? A warning? I HAVE TO ASK THIS SORT OF THING NOW, OKAY???

I was also wrapped up in the unbearable suspense of watching Reese try to save Turing. The plotting, the pacing, the camera work, THE ACTING: everything comes together and culminates in a non-stop nightmare. We get to see the best of Reese, Carter, Fusco, and Finch as the four of them conspire against TWO organization to sneak someone out of a heavily-guarded hotel. Y’all, that moment where the FBI are ready to enter the hallway while HR is planting a bomb… HELP ME, IT WAS TOO FUCKING MUCH. Somehow, this show managed to come up with so many uniquely terrifying sequences, and that’s amazing to me.

Root and the Machine

It feels obvious to me that Root wants something that relates to The Machine. This was such an elaborate set-up, but its goal was to isolate Harold Finch. Root designed a scenario that would separate Finch from his partner and leave him vulnerable. And this did exactly that! So, Root found out about the Machine, right? Or is this all payback for what happened in “Root Cause”? I suspect that Root wouldn’t be that petty, so… what’s going on?

However, there’s a much more important development in this episode, and it’s perhaps the biggest twist of the show thus far. Reese’s decision to address one of the surveillance cameras as if it is the Machine felt like a metaphorical demand more than anything else. He was frustrated that he and Finch had been played for fools so completely. So he voiced that frustration to one of the cameras, and I figured the episode would end there. Finch’s kidnapping was a big enough twist for a finale, right?

And then that mothafuckin’ phone rang. I know it’s not outright confirmed, but that has to be the Machine, right??? Which… does that imply sentience on the part of the Machine? Can you communicate with it? Is it part AI? WHAT THE FUCK, HOW CAN THAT BE POSSIBLE, DO YOU REALIZE HOW HUGE THIS IS????

I’m so glad I get to start season 2 this week. This would have been unbearable to experience in real time, y’all. What a show!

The video for “Firewall” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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