The Person of Interest Season 2 premiere picked up exactly where season one left off. Root (Amy Acker) had kidnapped Finch (Michael Emerson). Reese (Jim Caviezel) was on the hunt to find his boss. However, instead of resorting to typical search and rescue tactics, Reese decided to make an ultimatum to a New York City outdoor camera.
“The Machine” responded by giving Reese an encoded message through a public pay phone. We later learned that the message pointed to books in Finch’s library; it was the method by which Finch had been gaining social security numbers throughout the first season. It turns out that there was no “Contingency” plan to save Finch, but rather Reese was the contingency plan in the event that something should happen to The Machine’s admin.
Reese had a new social security number and a new life to save. But what about The Machine and Finch?
How did The Machine, which looks over the world, respond to a singular, angered message from Reese to a street cam?
The series took us back in time to Finch’s first trials with The Machine to give us the truth – a truth that Root later put into words. The Machine wasn’t simply an amalgamation of thousands of lines of code.
Rather, Finch had created Artificial Intelligence. The Machine had become sentient.
Throughout Season one, it was always hinted that The Machine might be more than just a program. Despite the technical name, Finch spoke about it in the third person. He always reiterated that The Machine doesn’t make mistakes, people do. As much as he said this, it always felt as though he was actually saying it for his own benefit. He wanted to create an emotional distance between himself and the entity he had created.
Now, Root wants to set that entity free. Through the time rewind, we saw the inklings of could happen if The Machine were completely under human control. Finch tested The Machine by going to a casino and playing Black Jack. Just when he was about to break the casino’s bank, his conscience kicked in and he gave up all the money he had won. Then, the machine saved his life. The name “admin” had come to mean father.
Person of Interest doesn’t jump the shark with the introduction of AI. We always knew that The Machine had a secret, one that could lead to human corruption if Finch hadn’t “locked” it off. Now, The Machine is helping Reese to save Finch – or so we think.
If The Machine saves Finch this time, where does it end? And to what lengths will Root go to set The Machine free? Is this the beginning of The Matrix?
This season of Person of Interest moves beyond the case-of-week format. It’s an exciting new direction, one that has me waiting anxiously for the next chapter.