- Title: Person of Interest – The Day the World Went Away
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Never was an episode of Person of Interest more aptly named than “The Day the World Went Away.” The series has never shied away from big moments, or shocking twists (it killed one of it’s three primary characters halfway through its run). As shocking as Carter‘s death was, however, this one cuts to the bone. The looming darkness which has hunted the various members of the team for most of two full seasons washes over them with such a force that not all will survive. Sparking the final battle between The Machine and Samaritan, the show’s 100th episode pulls out all the stops for a memorable, and heartbreaking, turn of events which will be he catalyst for the series’ remaining three episodes.
Opening with a one-way conversation between Finch (Michael Emerson) and The Machine about sacrifice and loss, you know something is coming. When The Machine’s creator makes the smallest of errors, putting his identity in jeopardy, it takes the entire team just to keep him alive. Elias (Enrico Colantoni) emerges from the shadows to offer his protection while Root (Amy Acker) and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) fight off a Samaritan hit team and Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Fusco (Kevin Chapman) fight air while trying to trace Samaritan’s assassins back to their source.
“The Day the World Went Away” is full of terrific character moments between Root and Finch discussing The Machine, Root flirting with Shaw at the most inappropriate time, and Finch’s internal battle over doing what is right versus what is necessary to survive. Then there’s that scene where Reese answers the phone and gives Shaw a knowing, tortured look. Without the need of a single word of dialogue we know their world has imploded as The Machine’s most ardent acolyte has fallen. Root is gone. Amy Acker staying on to voice The Machine in the show’s remaining episodes seems almost torturous, reminding both the characters and audience just what we have lost.
Elias’ death, putting himself between Finch and Samaritan, is tragic but acceptable. The acceptance of Root’s death, however, is a struggle. Acker’s introduction at the end of Season One as the genius hacker enraptured with Finch’s “god” was the missing piece that elevated the show to an entirely new level. The introduction of Shaw and her relationship with Sameen, doomed now never to be truly consummated (at least outside of simulations), continued to grow the show and take it in new, unexpected directions. A larger-than-life character who often overshadowed everyone else on-screen, Root’s death is a game changer. Finch’s reaction to the loss of Miss Groves foreshadows dark days ahead as her death might just prove to be the tipping point in the unseen war between two artificial intelligences for control of the world.