The recap of Person of Interest – Season 2 Episode 21 – “Zero Day”:
In last week’s episode entitled “In Extremis”, we learned that The Machine had been hacked into. In tonight’s episode entitled “Zero Day”, we learn that Finch (Michael Emerson) only has 24 hours to remove the virus. If he runs out of time, however, he must release full control of The Machine for a minimum of 24 hours. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this episode. Read on to find out whom exactly he relinquished his control to.
Since “Zero Day” consisted of three individual plots, I’ll do my best to break down the storylines for you.
Flashback to 2010:
Three years ago, Finch met up with Nathan (Brett Cullen) to discuss his relationship with Grace (Carrie Preston). Finch mentioned that he would like to propose to Grace, but Nathan scoffed at the idea. Finch went against Nathan’s wishes, and proposed to Grace anyhow. She said yes. Meanwhile, Finch continued to lead a double life during their engagement.
Here’s a magnificent drawing that Grace drew of Finch! A very impressionistic painting:
With that said, Nathan’s friendship with Finch had already been falling apart – even before Finch and Grace’s engagement ever happened! Finch decided to high-tail Nathan into a secret building. And Finch — forgetting that he owned said building — asked Nathan how he found the building, and why he was conducting secret projects inside of it. Then, Nathan confessed to re-programming The Machine so that the “Non-relevant” numbers would become relevant. Nathan essentially tried to play God by attempting to save the irrelevant numbers. Finch – who was against the idea of converting irrelevant people to “relevant” people – reversed Nathan’s code. Little did Finch know that Nathan was one of the numbers on the “Non-relevant” list. If Finch hadn’t reversed Nathan’s code in 2010, Nathan would still be alive in 2013. (The Machine would’ve picked up Nathan’s number, and Finch and Reese would’ve been able to save him.)
Present day, 2013:
Finch and Reese (Jim Caviezel) finally received another number after 10 days of waiting. POI Earnest Thornhill wasn’t an ordinary man… he was actually a composite of three people. He was a virtual, false identity disguised as a CEO of a data entry company. With that said, all of the employees were hired online, so none of them had met Earnest in person. None of the employees had any idea that their boss wasn’t real. As they spent every working hour typing in computer code, they never thought twice about their work. If I was in that situation, I’d definitely smell something fishy going on.
Later, Finch and Reese paid a visit to said company, and found out the unthinkable. Earnest Thornhill IS The Machine. These employees are typing in the SAME code everyday…. the same code that The Machine deletes on a daily basis. When Finch was in the secret building with Nathan in 2010, Finch coded The Machine to erase irrelevant numbers as well as irrelevant information at Midnight every night. Low and behold, Harold Finch is the man responsible for The Machine’s unsightly death. He was essentially destroying its “cells”, so to speak. (This scenario is essentially the opposite of Voldemort from Harry Potter.)
Root (Amy Acker) – who has been working as a personal assistant – had finally quit her pseudo-job. She quit in typical “Root fashion” though as she pointed a gun at her boss while knocking him unconscious. Thereafter, she tracked down Finch and confessed to already knowing about this “Earnest Thornhill”.
For the duration of the episode, Finch and Root basically worked together to fight Decima Technologies – the company that created the virus. We later find out that Decima wasn’t trying to destroy The Machine after all; they were actually attempting to take control OF it.
Earlier in the episode, Finch was given 24 hours to fight off the virus; but if he weren’t able to do so, he would have to relinquish full control of the administrative section of The Machine (for a minimum of 24 hours). Whoever picks up the first phone call from a payphone… that individual would have FULL control for at least 24 hours. Then, Root & Finch fought off every Decima employee in sight, in order to take the first phone call.
With Finch and Root basically working together throughout the episode, Reese basically partnered with Agent Shaw (Sarah Shahi). As they both searched for Finch, Shaw helped Reese fight off the bad guys aka the employees at Decima. Since these bad guys had been guarding every payphone in New York City, Shaw made sure that none of them picked up a payphone. Reese and Shaw finally tracked down Finch and Root thereafter.
The 24 hours were now up, so Finch had no other choice but to relinquish full control. Root – who received a call from the nearest payphone – automatically assumed that she now had full control. This was not the case. While Root walked to the nearest payphone, Finch re-wired The Machine so that the person on the first floor of the building would have full control. Guess who happened to be on the first floor? Reese. (Root was on the second floor of the building.) I think this is the best-case scenario for Finch and Reese because REESE has full control now.
Carter unknowingly working with a dirty cop:
Carter got caught up in the crosshairs of a dirty cop (who also happens to work for HR).
This dirty cop – who took advantage of Carter’s grieving over Beecher’s (Sterling K. Brown) death – told Carter (Taraji P. Henson) that he found a lead on Beecher’s murder. Carter (who still isn’t aware that this cop works for HR) went into the field with him. While Carter had her back turned to this cop, the cop pointed a gun at her.
I’m actually very surprised that she trusted that cop. I thought she would know better by now, especially after she found out that Fusco (Kevin Chapman) used to be a dirty cop. I think she’s a bit too gullible and vulnerable at the moment because her ex-boyfriend (Beecher) died on the job. Unfortunately, she is HR’s next target.
I also thought it was strange that Fusco didn’t appear in this episode. Are they phasing his character out for next season? Will he not be a Series Regular anymore?
I’m excited to watch the season finale next week, but I’m a bit upset that the season is almost over. Person of Interest should be on all year long! This show is so good.
Thanks for reading this recap of “Zero Day”. I wonder how Reese will fare in the finale as the newest administrator of The Machine.