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Person of Interest series finale recap: 'Return 0'

Team Machine makes its last stand against Samaritan

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Giovanni Rufino/CBS

Person of Interest

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson

We gave it an A

The war against Samaritan has finally come to an end. In Person of Interest’s emotional series finale, Team Machine finally triumphed over the evil A.I. threatening to take over the world. Even though Team Machine lost one of its own in the ultimate battle, the hour ended on a very hopeful note — which was rather surprising for such a cynical series, but welcomed and very much earned.

“Return 0” picks up a few days after Harold Finch launched the Ice-9 virus, crippling Samaritan and The Machine’s core functions and throwing the entire world into chaos by destabilizing almost every system. We never see the consequences of the virus, which is disappointing (but also expected because the show probably didn’t have the budget or time for it).

When the episode starts, Team Machine is trying to find Finch and avoid being captured by Samaritan operatives. Samaritan’s goons track Shaw to Root’s grave, but The Machine warns Shaw in time and helps her escape the scene. (The Machine-as-Root also finds time to flirt with Shaw, because of course.) Meanwhile, Reese and Fusco return to the precinct and are arrested by their fellow cops, who found out Reese is “The Man in the Suit” after Samaritan tipped them off.

Instead of taking Fusco and Reese to prison, the cops drive them to a dock where they plan to execute them. Corruption is still alive and well in the NYPD, and these cops will do anything if you give them enough money. As the cops force them onto their knees, Reese and Fusco make jokes and reminisce about how they first met, highlighting how much this relationship has grown and strengthened over the years. But this isn’t the end of the line just yet, because The Machine hires snipers to take out the cops. Finch casually strolls up behind them and says it’s time to finally end this.

The Ice-9 virus defeated most of Samaritan, but not all of it. Samaritan stored a copy of itself in some air-gapped servers hidden in the vault of the Federal Reserves. While Reese and Finch head there to destroy it, Shaw and Fusco stay behind at the subway lair to protect The Machine from Samaritan operatives, who inevitably show up and rudely interrupt the pair’s great banter.

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Thankfully, The Machine gave Shaw and Fusco enough of a heads-up that they were ready to drive the subway car out of the station when the goons arrive. Jeff Blackwell manages to jump on the car before it leaves and shoot Shaw in the shoulder before Fusco knocks him out in a well-deserved badass moment. “Not bad for a guy who practices on cardboard cutouts,” says Shaw.

NEXT: Finch and Reese go after Samaritan again