Hey guys, that Person of Interest finale from last night was off-the-chain good. SO GOOD. How glad am I that I watched this show even though it's on CBS and somewhat follows a procedural formula? "Firewall" was just about perfect in every sense, inundating us with babes, suspense, gunfights, twists, and so many great one-liners from Reese—all the things we love about Person of Interest. Everyone else, take note: "Firewall" was EXACTLY what a season finale is supposed to be.
And what I especially loved was that it was all done in the context of a "normal" episode. There was no big to-do about the finale being a special episode or steering away from the normal formula like other serialized series tend to do when they realize there's so much left to wrap up. It was just a very, very, very good episode of Person of Interest that started out like every other episode: with a number.
This time that number belonged to a hottie, a psychologist named Caroline Turing (Turing... that should have been a dead giveaway of the big tweeeest) who was played by the always-welcome-on-my-screen Amy Acker (Angel, Alias, Dollhouse). Because Turing was privy to a wealth of potentially damaging information, one of her clients wanted her dead and put a hit out on her. It could have been the Ponzi-scheming lawyer, the city official who was sleeping with his intern, or the cocky prosecutor who threatened her during one of their sessions. And that's about as simple as this episode got.
While Reese went about protecting her from the dirty cops of HR who were hired as hitmen, the Feds started closing in on Reese after surveillance picked him up. That started a heart-thumping chase through a New York high-rise, which included a near helicopter-jacking by Reese. (What I would have given to see Reese hotwire a chopper and fly away with jets in pursuit.) But alas, an army of FBI agents arrived via the rooftop where the helicopter was parked, and the walls began to close in on Reese and Turing, with HR was in pursuit from below and the FBI squeezing him from above. With Carter, Fusco, and Finch helping Reese, the Feds using all available means to track Reese, and HR using their man on the inside of the FBI, it became a game of cat and mouse and whatever eats cats as Reese ducked into corners and got ambushed in elevators. Not a shot was fired, but it was as thrilling a sequence as any Person of Interest offered us this season.
One of the best scenes came in the middle of the chase, when Carter cornered Fusco in the john because she suspected him of ratting out Reese to HR. That forced Fusco to tell Carter the truth about his work with Reese and Finch, the "professor looking" guy, and it was one big "Oh, you too?" moment that I've been waiting for. But my favorite part was the way Finch handled it when he called, saying, "Hello detectives! I understand you'll have some questions but we're somewhat short of time." Spoken just like a professor.
After that, the dynamic of everything changed. Now we had Reese on his own, with Finch feeding him information; Zoe (oh, did I mention that Zoe was back in the fold?) doing some recon; and Fusco and Carter sending texts to Reese. The one-and-a-half-men operation that we've come to love became a full-fledged team effort, and something about it felt so right. This was a team crafted over twenty-something episodes with patience, and it paid off. If there's one thing Person of Interest has been so good at all season long, it's been pacing. Well, that and Reese being badass every week, even when he's on crutches. But even with more minds working toward the same goal, nothing could prepare them (or us) for what came next.
During a sweet shootout in the lower-level parking garage in which Fusco and Carter served as the cavalry (yes!), Reese let Turing head to safety. And waiting to carry off the damsel was Finch, who was parked outside. His car door opened and the chick hopped in. Except it wasn't Turing, it was Alisha Corwin (did I mention SHE was in pursuit of Finch this whole time?). Of course she had issues with the Machine and wanted Finch to shut the thing off, arguing invasion of privacy, God complexes, and stuff like Nathan Ingram's murder. Finch was all like, "Step off! The Machine didn't kill Nathan! And the machine is totally cool as long as it's not abused." The conversation also relayed a lot of what Person of Interest is really about: Technology is good! Technology that is abused is bad! But as long as it's out there, it will be used for both good (buying an MP3 of Kriss Kross's "Jump" when a party needs to be started) and bad (seeing penises that belong to politicians). Person of Interest wants you to handle your iPhones, laptops, and social media profiles with caution.
Elsewhere, Reese, Fusco, and Carter were in hot pursuit of HR grunts, but Reese had everything covered because he had the foresight to use HR's own munitions against them and blew up their car. It was badass.
But that was far from "it." A knock on Finch's car window and BAM! Alicia was shot in the brain. Shot by Turing... or should we say Root, our old hacker friend from many, many episodes ago who we knew would spring up again. This big twist was very reminiscent of the time Reese was unknowingly protecting Elias, and though I should have known better, I fell for it. Root—get this—put the hit on herself in order to draw out Reese and, more specifically, get to Finch. That's hardcore. Guys, I think I'm in love. She wants in on the Machine, and now she has the only person in the world who knows how to get in.
That left Reese alone, and in the final scene that wore out the edges of our seats, Reese looked straight into a surveillance camera and told the Machine that it's going to help him get Finch back. And the Machine responded. A payphone rang, Reese picked it up, and we cut to black. I think it would have been funny if we'd heard that screechy modem/fax sound, but I guess Jonathan Nolan didn't get my note.
"Firewall" was a spectacular finish to what has been an incredibly surprising first season of Person of Interest. The episode didn't seek to answer all questions, but it satisfactorily took care of some bad guys AND raised the stakes for everyone involved with plenty to build on for Season 2. THAT'S how you finish a season, kids.
– Lots of great lines from Reese! "I promise, I will let you know when it's time to panic." And the bumper-sticker-friendly "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not trying to kill ya." And the capper, after blowing up a car with his new teammates Fusco and Carter, "We should all grab a drink together sometime."
– Always great to see Reese shoot for the leg.
– I guess this means Finch's schoolboy crush on hacker Root is over? Or does this make it even more intense?
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom