Friday, December 16, 2016

I Saw This!! What I Have Been Watching (PT D.1)

Pt. A, B, C can be found there.

I Saw This (double exclamation point) is our feature wherein Graig or David attempt to write about a bunch of stuff they watched some time ago and meant to write about but just never got around to doing so. But we can't not write cuz that would be bad, very bad.  Y'know, red horny demon possession, bad.

Just to round out the pile, I am going to shoe horn in a show I am currently watching. So, this edition, we get a completed season (and series), a dropped show (but likely to be binge watched) and a nearly done season.

Meh; four (series) seasons completed. This post sat in Draft Purgatory for months.

Person of Interest S5, 2016, CBS -- download

It came to an end; I am still surprised we got it to last this long. Once the show mutated into a speculative scifi thriller about emerging AI, human responsibility and ultimate overseers, I wondered how it stayed on the air. But that doesn't lessen the sadness of seeing it go.

When we started this blog, I was luke warm about Person of Interest. It fit every formula for me, as I am a Heroic Act of the Week kind of guy, but something faded out for me rather quickly. And then Kent got into it, and began to relate the deeper story, as he is the kind of guy who notices arcs and expanded stories long before I do. So we returned, rewatched Season 1, and fell in love. Me and the show; not me and Kent.

And then I rewatched Seasons 1, 2 and 3 again (with intent on continuing, so I could rewatch Season 5 for this post) and began my mourning period. I miss these characters so much.

Season 5 both pulls at all the loose strings and ties things up. It has to end the story, but it also has to open up the horizon for speculation. That is what good science fiction does -- presents ideas for you to ponder and keep on thinking about, long after they are gone.

So, where does it pick up? Where are our characters?

Shaw, the cool sexy emotionally dampened assassin who once worked for Samaritan's former self is still missing, a captive of the Bad Guys. The Machine, the AI built by Finch who meticulously taught her right from wrong, is dying, her code breaking down in the hastily assembled network of PS3s (neat! that IBM cell chip is featured) and other spare hardware. Reese is doing his best to keep up with the numbers and Fusco is being kept at arm's length, as Reese doesn't want him dragged down when they eventually fall.

This season as much focuses on the pain the characters are in, as much as it does on the fight against Samaritan. In some ways this is the Dark Urban Future world I have been reading and writing about for years. The world has changed outside the show, as Samaritan has been manipulating society, killing people and adjusting things appropriate to his agenda. Yes, Samaritan is a he, The Machine is a she.

I was not as enthralled with the Finch vs The Machine plot as I should have been. Finch has been fearful of her emergence, as he knows exactly what an unfettered AI can do in our world. That he has killed her so many times, because she failed his morality tests, is both terrible and required. This is the agenda that Samaritan claims to embrace, one that is terrible but required. But Finch has narrowed his on her, saving the world those ramifications. But I couldn't get on board with him, I just wanted him to embrace her like Root has, to finally understand she will not betray him, to really truly accept her as a living entity, and he, as her father, a father who taught her well.

But really, the plot that broke my heart the most was the exclusion of Fusco. He is my character, the every man, the redeemed man. He should be embraced, brought fully into the fold but Reese's hesitation to do so is actually a kindness uncharacteristic of the man. Reese so values Fusco's place in the world, that he wants to make sure Fusco is around when Reese and the rest of The Machine Gang are eventually killed. Reese has always been fatalistic about all of this but it's still wrong, and it doesn't stop Fusco from getting mixed up in the even seedier underbelly of Samaritan's agenda.

The show also allows us to revist some characters from its past, as it was always a show that had progression in its agenda. If number XXXXXX was saved, and they had this valuable connection, where would they fit into this war? We get to meet some of the past saved characters in a Machine Gang B. Oh, how I fell for that B team crew, who were shown their place in the world and chose to fight for a greater agenda. It was heart warming in the Nth degree and a bit of TV show tease, as in 'is this a possible side launched spin off ?'  No, it wasn't but its fun to speculate.

Of course, Elias, the best and most filled out nemesis of the Machine Gang, returns. He is a fan fav, my favourite and has been around since the very beginning. His denouement is appropriate and touching.

Gah, I feel like a fanboy with memories flitting about his head like moths to the flame. I am yet to rewatch the season, having been stalled in our latest series rewatch by New Stuph, so I don't yet see the end season as a whole. I don't see the threads that bind all these wonderful bits together.

Bittersweet is what I can really say. It ends with some deaths, some regrets, some acceptance and a lot of understanding. And potential.