I wasn’t going to review this, there are plenty of shows that I have been watching that just didn’t deserve an individual look, or at the very least, I didn’t think I had anything very interesting to say about it. However, in light of what happened, not so much during the season, but after it was over, I think I need to say a few things about what Person of Interest has turned into and why that has ultimately led to it’s likely demise. So here goes my take on the fourth season of this once fantastic show.
I loved the first season of Person of Interest, the idea that even if there was a machine out there keeping an eye on everyone for the government, that an intrepid group of people could use that machine to do good and maybe fight against the powers that be a little bit from the shadows. Person of Interest was never, at least at the beginning, playing the full paranoia card. Yes, Finch built a machine that the government used to watch for terrorists or others intending to do evil to the American public. Then in the second season, the government started getting more controlling. It had never known where the Machine actually was, it got numbers, just like Finch did. At the end of the second season, the Machine moved itself to avoid being taken by the government. Starting in the third though, they started to go full paranoid with the rise of the Samaritan storyline, where the builders of Samaritan wanted to wrest control of everything from the government and that’s really where I started to lose interest. I hate dystopian storylines with a passion. By the time season four rolled around, I really didn’t care anymore. Oh sure, I liked Finch and Reese and the rest, but it was no longer the story that I loved, it was an authoritarian government trying to step on the good guys and this ultimately evolved into a war between the two machines, with Samaritan trying to stamp out Finch’s Machine. I saw a slight glimmer of hope at the end because the Machine had stopped being a big player, it was just a fight against Samaritan, a fight I saw nothing interesting in. At the end of the season, they recovered the Machine and even though it promised to be a long, hard road to recovery and parity with Samaritan, it was possible.
Right up until they announced that Person of Interest would only be getting a half-season in 2016, presumably to wrap up storylines before cancellation. I get it, season four did very poorly in the ratings and the season finale was one of the worst rated episodes the show had ever had. Most people, like myself, really had no interest in watching the war of the computers. The mythology had stopped being entertaining. We all liked the number-of-the-week shows more than the heavy mythology shows. Unfortunately, it didn’t need to be that way, there was no reason to introduce Samaritan at all, and even if they wanted to, there was no reason to make Harold’s Machine so weak and pathetic. There was no fight, it was a bully kicking sand in the face of a 97-pound weakling. The Machine was a character in the story, a hero, doing things that it wasn’t really designed to do, working behind the back of its employer, to help people. But as time went on, it stopped trying to help people and most of the cases revolved around Samaritan or that stupid crime gang warfare nonsense. I never cared at all for Elias and I absolutely hated Dominic and thought the whole thing was pointless. We also had the issue of Sarah Shahi’s pregnancy, after which she announced that she was taking at least 2 years off from acting, necessitating Shaw’s quick exit from the show. I think they mishandled that badly, they should have said she died and if she wanted to come back later, they could have come up with some reason why she wasn’t really dead. This chasing her around, knowing that she’s not coming back, is just absurd.
I’ve had some pretty vociferous disagreements online with those who liked the Samaritan storyline but I guess who won because Samaritan spelled doom for the show. It wasn’t a series that people really liked after it went full conspiracy cuckoo. The ratings plummeted and now they have 13 episodes left. No, they haven’t officially cancelled the series but the writing is on the wall. If anyone wants to save Person of Interest, they have one shot. I hope that, like a lot of other series, they don’t totally waste it.