hedda62: Harold Finch on ecstasy, dancing (drugged finch)
Well, after following the show for five seasons I should probably react to the end of "Person of Interest"! I did like the finale - "like" is a tepid word and it's not that I feel tepid about the ending, since some of it was very moving and makes me think, and there were the appropriate explosions, but it didn't whelm me overly. Good end to the show, though, decent wrap-up to a somewhat disorganized season, and a nice lack of utter tragedy ... well, finality.

Here are my quick thoughts on how all the character arcs wrapped up, plus some thoughts on redemptive arcs and those that are not:

Root: To some extent I think the terrific idea of giving the Machine her voice dictated a rather sudden end to her human existence, but on the whole it was the right thing to do, and she did go out protecting Harold which was (especially given her Machine-ascension) just the perfect thing to happen.

Reese: And we knew he'd go out protecting Harold, and in a blaze of glory, so it was just spot-on. Especially the connivance of the Machine in letting him do it, and his final speech, and the little smile - lovely. He would have been totally broken if he'd been the survivor of that relationship - body in the East River all over again - and everyone knew that, though Harold would never have asked him for the sacrifice without making the gesture himself first.

Finch: Finding Grace again is the ending I thought they'd write for him, and I'm glad he gets to be with her, I guess - and no, I am not going to write the fic, since I've kind of done that already, except without John being dead, and it's just all too sad and I think Grace needs to seriously examine the choice of taking him back, though she certainly won't, examine it I mean. I thought the timing and the direction of that final sequence were kind of off, though of course with an ensemble show it's not as easy as, say, the ending of "White Collar," making the resurrection the final smile-and-sniff for the viewers (or at least Harold's resurrection - the Machine's is another matter). Because Harold becomes peripheral as soon as he "dies," and Shaw needs to be the last shot, and Grace was never central to the life of "Finch." I don't really think Harold deserves the happiness, but I also think he knows that, which helps a bit. More on this below.

Fusco: Very happy he survived; not so thrilled about him just going back to what he was doing before, and uncertain how he gets to do it without being, you know, prosecuted, but... *handwaves* I'm sure he gets pulled into whatever Shaw ends up doing next. Also, adored his goodbye to Reese.

Shaw: Yay, Shaw! So happy she got the last shot, the Reese-echo, and that the Machine-with-Root's-voice will be talking to her on a regular basis. More below.

The Machine: I love how much of her perspective we got in the last few episodes, and what we learned about her learning process - that her moral compass did not all come from Harold, and that she continues to absorb useful information about human values, and that she has her own (different!) ability to love and mourn and make choices. And that there's now more of Root in her than just a synthesized voice. I don't really understand how her resurrection worked, but whatever, it was cool.

Bear: I said many times that I could put up with any deaths on this show except that one, so I'm glad he survived. He could have been used better in the last season and I kept being worried they'd leave him in the subway and never come back, though I'm sure there was some escape route. Great that he ended up with Shaw and that Fusco didn't quite want that to happen. Will miss the tweets.

I thought this bit of the Plageman/Nolan interview was interesting (copied from here):

So in that last moment, for [Shaw] – and it’s terribly satisfying for us – it isn’t a redemptive, “Oh, my friend has taught me the meaning of …” No. Her friends were, in order of prominence, a fucking hitwoman-turned-fucking acolyte of a transcendent artificial intelligence, a presumed dead and missing special forces fucking hitman, and a man who had been accused of treason. This is not a person who learned to be nice.

(With regard to her killing the guy who shot Root.) (And you forgot Fusco, but he's not a paragon of virtue either. Neither is Bear, really.)

I love that Shaw comes through her arc essentially unchanged, and for that reason ready to go on and do more good in the world. This is a show about redemption, but it doesn't make that universal or obvious. Reese gets a redemption arc that's pretty much instant - like, in the first few episodes - even if we don't grasp it all until later, and then he doesn't change a whole lot, though he slips and falls a few times and has to be hauled up from darkness into light again. Root has the big one, from villainy into heroism into a share of godhood; Fusco's is pettier but perhaps more meaningful in terms of real life, and in fact he's allowed to live and act it out (and I hope he does). Harold, like Shaw, doesn't actually change that much, except that he gets physically braver and takes some steps toward emotional openness - and I think his moral compass also swings just north to northwest and not much further, and he never gets over insisting on the rightness of his own moral choices and, paradoxically, the paucity of his own spirit; he can only accept the Machine in the end because his guilt overwhelms his fear, and then he kills her off again. I think that's what was wrong about the reunion with Grace, that we just see happiness in that and not the brokenness that should result - it's like the gut-shot that is supposed to herald his death and never seems quite handicapping enough. One could also view the Italian scene as a dream sequence, of the Machine or of dying Harold, or a Dantesque parable (I am totally about Grace as Beatrice), but much as I like this idea, I doubt that's what was meant by it. Finch is a survivor, no matter how many times he says he's not, and that should be his tragedy, or at least his fatal flaw - he lets Root die for him, and then Reese, and then his Machine, and then he gets himself sewn up and gets on a plane, and it should eat at him forever.

But it should not eat at Shaw, and it doesn't, which is simply lovely. She gets the one tear and the one smile, and then she walks into the crowd she's not part of, and carries on with her job.
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