‘Person of Interest’: “QSO” Review

Person of Interest
Season 5, Episode 7: “QSO”
Tuesday. May 24, 2016

::In a low raspy radio voice:: Hello, and welcome to this week’s installment of “Feelings: Experiencing Person of Interest through the eyes of Alyssa.” This week’s POI is a Root-centric episode, so please stay with me as I try to keep my emotions in check, again.

I have to say, these three episodes a week of POI are killing me. Does CBS not understand that I have feelings that require a week to process before watching a new episode? I literally think CBS wants to give me a heart attack, or kill me by self-asphyxiation because I forget to breathe during this show.

This episode starts off right after the explosion with Fusco in a hospital bed and Bear by his side. Most important news, Bear is fine. Second most important news, Fusco is alive. Look, I love Fusco, but Bear is always my number one concern.

Root strolls into the hospital room

“Hey Detective! Busy day directing traffic into the river coco puffs? No? Nothing?”



Aww look at Root trying to make him feel better. Also, aww look how cute Root looks in a crossing guard uniform. Root feels guilty on many levels. She feels guilty that she is still forced to keep Lionel in the dark about the machine and she feels guilty for handing him the number that lead him to the explosion. Root tries to help Fusco out by handing him an envelope with all the items necessary to start a new life for him and his son. She looks him the eyes and in a moment of seriousness says “There is a reason that John and Harold are presumed dead.” How do they think it is okay to ask Fusco to uproot his kid and live underground without telling him why? I. Dont. Get. It.

Root can’t stay long though because she has to move on to her next mission.

One of my favorite parts of this episode is how they show the relationship between Root and the machine from both The Machine’s and Root’s perspectives. They show that The Machine really does care about Root and what she is willing to do to ensure her safety.

And the alias that The Machine to provides Root with is a ballerina at Lincoln Center (swoon).


After she finishes her performance (which we sadly don’t get to see) she heads back to her dressing room and has a long conversation with The Machine about Shaw. All Root wants is for the The Machine to tell her that Shaw is okay, but The Machine refuses. Instead she keeps re-routing shoddy radio signals into Root’s cochlear implant. She looks up at the surveillance camera in her dressing room (which is the equivalent of looking The Machine straight in the eye) and says “We need to be actively looking for Shaw’s exact location”. I love how the show cuts to The Machine’s perspective when Root is talking to her, showing how The Machine reacts, digests and computes everything Root is saying. The conversation is put on hold though so Root can save her number by strangling some guy with her ballet shoes. The creativity of the POI’s writing staff never ceases to amaze me.

Post haste, Root assumes her new alias, a butter churner in a colonial NYC museum. Utterly excited about her new station, she starts another convo with The Machine. Root calls her out for refusing to talk directly to her but everytime Root starts talking about anything of substance, the Machine puts up a wall in the way of radio interference. The Machine’s go to coping method seems to be avoidance. Maybe she should see a therapist to work on that.


Yet again her conversation is cut short, this time by a group of GhostFacers shooting a film about the haunted museum. Root had finally reached her breaking point with these meaningless errands that The Machine has her running and once the camera crew leaves she walks right up the surveillance camera and puts her foot down

Root: “I refuse to do one more mission until I know what I’m doing is going to lead me to Sameen.” (swoon)

After having Root utter both “Sameen” and “Shaw” in the same sentence to a camera, Root’s imminent danger status goes off charts. Samaritan is on its way. Root’s stunt seems to have done the trick because moments later the GhostFacer leader gets a text that reads “WKCP, UFO, Find her, run.” And run Root does, but not before quite literally buying a shirt off of a girl’s back.

Next stop, WKCP, to interview for the newly vacant producer position for “Mysterious Transmissions” a conspiracy theory talk show. Before Root is formally offered the job, Max, the host, asks her some hard-hitting questions about AI’s, or extraterrestrial life or something. I am not going to even pretend I understood the conversation these two were having. The clouds are closer to my head then this conversation. What I did understand was that Root’s radio voice is very sexy.


Root gets the job and starts screening callers to put on air when a guy named Warren calls in talking about how the Chinese government controlling Max’s mind. This Warren dude sets off Root’s spidey senses, so she calls John for some backup. But John is suspicious about what Root is up to.

Root: “Can’t a girl ask her cop friend to look up a creepy guy without getting the third degree.”

Joking aside, Root knows that John will do anything she asks if it means getting back Shaw. Once the show goes off air, Max tells Root about the side project he and Warren have been working on. Over the past few weeks Max had noticed interference in the radio waves and with the help of Warren and his cryptography training, they discovered that the interference was actually coded messages. He and Warren were planning to announce their findings on the air.

Over at the subway, Finch is watching the ongoing massacre of The Machine by Samaritan when he hears a distress code being emitted from the Samaritan computer. When he calls Root to tell her what he has discovered she finally understands why she was sent on this mission. The Machine wants Root to send Shaw a message. The Machine: the ultimate Shoot shipper (swoon). Root runs back up to the radio station and finds a Samaritan infected device to send a message to Shaw.

After Root sends the message, she decides to make a deal with Samaritan. She tells Samaritan that she will give up without a fight as long as she is brought to the facility where Sameen Shaw is being held and Max is not harmed. All she wants is to be back with her love. But, just as Samaritan is about to agree to Root’s terms, John busts in coming to Root’s rescue. Suffice to say Root is furious as John has just jeopardize what is likely to be the only chance to find Shaw.
But really, it isn’t about John trying to save the day. It is about him not wanting to lose another member of the team. Another person her cares about. And I think Root does understand that because she does not stay mad at John for very long.

Meanwhile Shaw is at the Samaritan facility, running through yet another simulation. In this iteration Sameen punches the mirror, cuts her hand with glass and is taken to a facility where she is told to kill a scientist who is working on an experiment that will destroy the world in 15 years. Before the Samaritan operative even tells her what to do, she grabs the gun, shoots the scientist and says “Point made. Can I wake up now?”

The next morning a doctor comes in and tells Sameen that the previous night was not a simulation. The scientist she shot was very much dead. At first Shaw thinks this is just another game Samaritan is playing, but after hearing the news report on the radio, seeing the bandage on her and noticing the mirror was still shattered, she realizes that last night was indeed reality. The doctor injects her with a sedative and says “Seems like you don’t know what’s real anymore.” Dear evil doctor, please die.

Luckily, Shaw has grown immune to Samaritan’s sedatives, so instead of being knocked out, Shaw is as alert as ever and attacks the doctor. The doctor tells Sameen that the only way that she is leaving the Samaritan facility is in a body bag to which Shaw replies:

“I’d rather be dead than be your Guinea pig for one more day.”

Shaw finally escapes the room and slowly slides down to the floor with her back against her cell door, pointing the syringe directly at her eye.


Just as she is about to end her pain, her suffering, her life, she hears interference coming from the radio above. She hears Root’s message [deep breaths Alyssa]. Slowly she begins to decipher the code and writes it out on her arm: 4AF… FOUR ALARM FIRE! [I am full on hyperventilating now]


Shaw’s face lights up as realizes that Root has sent her this message. Just a refresher for you guys who don’t understand the importance of this, please see the gif below


All caught up? Good, because my mind, heart and soul are all exploding at the same time. Shaw finally has something to fight for again. She puts the needle down and allows Samaritan guards to take her back to her cell. So for the record, not only is Root Shaw’s safe place, she is also her hope. Her reason to live.

Back at the subway, Root and John are listening to Max’s radio show as the decompress from their mission. They had made a deal with Max, he does not have to go underground if he promises to never ever tell anyone about the radio code he discovered. But Max was unable to keep his end of the bargain. While John and Root are listening along to the show, they hear Max reveal the secrets he uncovered and then subsequently die on air. Root is upset and frustrated because The Machine told her that the mission was over but Finch is downright furious. When Harold asks The Machine why she said the mission was over, she responds by saying Max acted on his own free will. Root supports the Machine’s assessment. Not only did Max know the consequences of his actions, but now Shaw knows that they haven’t given up on her. Harold is not having this lamenting that “A lie of omission is still a lie. And using the idea of free will is an excuse of moral attrition, I am not sure I am comfortable with where this is going.” You know what Harold, you are being a complete hypocrite. You had this same EXACT argument in Season 4 episode 2 “Nautilus” when Claire kept refusing your help. You said that the one thing the Machine can’t control is people’s free will, and so you let her go on in danger’s way. Harold, you can’t have it both ways.

At the end of the day, Root sits in a coffee shop talking to The Machine. She tells her, that she knows that she did the right thing, even if Harold doesn’t. I never in my life thought that a TV show could make me feel so emotionally connected to a computer. But alas Person of Interest continues to do it.

Other Tidbits

  1. Most important tidbit that didn’t fit anywhere else is that Lionel tells Finch that he is officially out. They obviously don’t respect him or trust him or give him any credit for all he does for them, so he is done working with the gang. He hands Harold his encrypted phone and tells him he wants nothing to do with them.
  2. When Max started his radio show off with “If anyone has mocked you for asking questions, I’m here to listen.” I am pretty sure he was talking directly to me. Do you know how many times I have been made fun of for asking too many questions? My nickname on Birthright was “Quest” because I asked so many questions. I was awarded the paper plate award of “The Grand Inquisitor” in middle school FH. And, on not one, not two, but three occasions, people have given me a question quota. Any questions that exceeded that number would not be answered.
Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa (TV Editor) likes long walks on the beach, Greek food, talking about television, watching a good sunset, and girls who wear glasses. Wait, this isn't a bio for OKCupid? Alyssa got her start recapping in college when her friends got tired of her constantly talking about TV and suggested she start a blog. The idea was if she wrote about TV she would talk about it less. Well her friends succeeded in one of their goals...she started writing about TV.

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