- Title: Person of Interest – Zero Day
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Infected by Stanton‘s (Annie Parisse) virus, The Machine has gone silent for ten days before delivering Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch (Michael Emerson) the number of a CEO of a data company whose employees spend their days reinserting reams of code into a system for no apparent purpose. After investigating the man, who no one has even met, Finch begins to suspect he is an invention of The Machine as a way to fight back against the virus. Realizing that Decima Technologies, a private intelligence organization headquartered in Shanghai who created the virus, is looking to control rather than destroy The Machine, Harold has no choice but to work with Root (Amy Acker) to save his creation from falling into the wrong hands, especially when she threatens to hurt Grace (Carrie Preston) if he doesn’t agree to her terms.
With the virus forcing The Machine to crash and force a hard reboot, Decima stakes out every payphone in New York City for a single phone call which will allow the person who answers it complete control of the The Machine once it comes back online. As safeguards go it’s a little more circumspect than Finch is known for, but it does allow for an intriguing final scene as both Root and Reese answer the call leading into next week’s season finale. The episode also returns Shaw (Sarah Shahi) who breaks Reese out of prison to help her find Finch and Root. In their search Shaw and Reese encounter Greer (John Nolan) who imparts some wisdom to John about his friend and the origins of the virus which is taking down The Machine.
With others busy no one is able to help Carter (Taraji P. Henson) who is framed for killing an unarmed suspect when Detective Terney (Al Sapienza) removes the suspect’s weapon from the crime scene before more officers arrive on the scene. The episode also includes flashbacks of Finch asking Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen) for advice, his first trip to the library, and his discovery of what Nathan’s quest to save as many as possible from the irrelevant list (which foreshadows the event which will forever change Finch’s perception of The Machine and the list).
The importance of Carter’s storyline gets marginalize due to the several other big events in the episode and the return of not one but two of the series most popular recurring guest-stars (and two actresses whom I adore). Aside from the race against the clock, the episode imparts some important points of interest so to speak. We see Harold propose to Grace, and in striving to make sense of the reason behind The Machine’s false identity, Finch confesses his choice to force The Mahcine to continually dump its core personality every night, and how his invention found a way to work around that little problem. Root is unable to hide her disgust for his actions, but that doesn’t stop her from continuing to use The Machine’s creator to set his invention free.