The season 2 finale! Easily on my top 5 of POI season finales (geddit? ’cause POI has only 5 seasons, and all its finales are fucking phenomenal!).
‘Zero Day’ and ‘God Mode’ act as two parts of the same episode, and we left the first part off with the following:
The Machine makes a call to both John and Root, who are now both on god mode with her. A phone threesome, if you will. Carter is framed as a bad cop who shoots people for no reason, Harold reluctantly teams up with Root to save the Machine, and Shaw and John are left to following them around like very attractive and skilled puppies.
I have watched the whole show before, so SPOILERS MIGHT HAPPEN. Big spoilers will be blanked out but references and irrelevant spoilers are going to be out in the open.
 An agitated, injured Harry limps into the library and asks his daughter:
Did you know?
Cryptic cold open is cryptic.
Like good ol’ Beibs would say: what do you mean?
Root answers the call from the Machine, and gets instructions on where to go to next. John answers the call, and gets instructions of people to shoot. It’s so cool how he knows what the Machine means when she gives him clock orientations, because he knows his role here: to clear a path for others. And follow Harry around.
Root doesn’t like being followed, though, so she asks how is it that John knows where they are.
Harold: I don’t know.
Root: I wasn’t asking you, Harold.
This will become a line Root throws at people, and I love it every time.
Shaw has no idea what’s going on with that phone call, so she just shoots whenever she sees people that look like they could use a bullet.
Harold ditches his glasses (and therefore his tracker), so John asks the Machine where his Daddy is, but gets no answers. They get a car though, so that’s something. They also get an irrelevant number they need to save ASAP.
Sameen: And the whole “prevent the AI apocalypse” thing?
John: You like a challenge, Shaw. We’re the good guys, which means we have to do both.
These two lines pretty much spell out for us the direction the show takes from now on: the procedural case-of-the-week will still be there but it leaves room for larger story arcs, ’cause an AI apocalypse is brewing.
On their way back from saving a random guy, they need another car. And I need a moment cause this is the scene that made me fall in love with Sameen:
 Hersh catches some guy before he suicide-bombs a ferry. Of course the guy is middle eastern. We can’t have nice non-racist things anywhere.
Carter is at the precinct getting questioned about the guy he shot, and Terney walks in, pretending to be nice. Now, we already know he is HR, but Carter doesn’t, and boyyyy does she discover that in a brutal way. Terney threatens her, threatens Fusco, threatens her kid, and when she agrees to ‘take it’ (gross, I know), he calls her a good girl. I want to punch this guy all the way to fucking Australia. She clones his phone (boss ass bitch bitch bitch), though, and discovers HR is planning to kill Elias tonight. She seems very concerned by this, considering the last person to threaten her life *was* Elias. He is a fairly loveable crime lord, though, it’s true.
The Machine sends John back to the library, for clues, or something. Shaw is sad that Bear is not there (another one of my favorite relationships!). She questions Finch’s motives, but John has faith in him, even after Ominous British Man revealed Harold was responsible for the virus.
The Machine points to a book, which points to a safe, which has a bunch of pictures of people. People they saved, people they tried to… Jessica?! Oh shit, John didn’t know Jessica’s number came up at some point.
Shaw: You knew her? *John nods, teary-eyed*
Cared about her? *John blinks*
Is she alive?
This is heartbreaking, and I really like that they’re both very stoic, and they barely know each other here, but they speak a very similar language, training-wise and emotional-range wise, and this is very big bonding for both of them. They’re precious siblings, we need to protect them at all costs.
They also find a map with three locations circled out, which are all secure federal sites for nuclear something-somethings. They figure one of them has to be where the Machine is located.
 Nathan informs Harold that he’s quitting his own company and is going to tell the press about The Machine. (Okay but, what fucking good would that do?! Besides calm his fragile lil’ guilt brain a little..?) Harold tells him that he’s been looking into people connected to The Machine, and they’re all dead or disappeared now. He thinks the government has had them bumped off, that the would do the same to Nathan if they knew he was meeting a journalist. Nathan begs Finch again for the irrelevant list, suggesting they can help them together.
Harold: I’m not trying to help them. I’m trying to help *you*.
Oh Harry, if you just opened the goddamn list one second and saw who was the number for the day..! But really, it’s interesting to see how ridiculous the idea of helping the numbers seemed to Harold, how much of the heart of the operation that Finch now runs is really all Nathan.
Root and Harold are in Central Park now, where they find one of the engineers who knows where the Machine is located. Just as he is about to tell them, one of Hersh’s (who has been trying to get to Root before she “compromises the program”) men shoot him dead. They try to shoot Harold but Root shoots them first. Nobody touches her future BFF!
Harold gives in and tells Root where the Machine is.
 Hersh is still interrogating the dude about his plan for bombing this particular ferry. When told the plan, he shoots the translator and drugs the bombing dude.
Shaw and Reese realize Portland is where they need to go, but they have cops chasing them along a highway. Shaw points out that unless the Machine gives them a way out, she is shooting her way out. Shaw is clearly growing on her brother, and this scene is out of a fucking Bourne movie, but Shahi is way cuter than Damon:
Bless everything about this scene, to be honest. Mayhem Twins shenanigans!
Elias is taken, by Terney and one of the Yogorov brothers, on a ‘prison transfer’, which is code for “killing you off where no one can hear” in some parts of town. Terney tries to talk shit and Elias calls him a worm, and then just before Terney pulls the trigger, someone shoots both him and Yogorov in the shoulder, and smacks them in the head. They take Elias to a van.
Surely it’s his righthand man or something, right? Maybe John had some time in between things? Nope!
It’s Joss ‘Queen of My Heart’ ‘Boss Ass Bitch bitch bitch bitch’ Carter! And don’t worry, Elias does point out the irony in her of all people saving his ass.
Enrico Colantoni’s acting is beyond amazing all the time, but in this scene in particular too.
And this is such a great line Carter just crossed, and a wonderful character development ramping up. When this show gets Chaotic (the alignment), it gets chaotic for everyone. No precious cupcake left untouched.
Root and Harold arrive at the nuclear plant and Root could not be more excited.
Root: Time to meet God, Harold.
Yeah, okay, Root.
They open the door and there it is… sweet sweet nothing! An empty room with no Machine anywhere!
Where did it go? Root is very, very not pleased. It’s all very confusing for everyone at this point, but Harold tells Root that she wanted to set the Machine free, but he already did.
Root is in shock, her voice is shaking, she is heartbroken.
Harold: Mrs Groves…
Root: My name is ROOT!
Seriously Harold, you have already pissed her off. Just put your ego aside over her name basically being Admin Lord and call her her goddamn name.
Before Root can shoot Harold, Shaw arrives and shoots Root in the shoulder.
 Harold decides to join Ingram near the ferry to talk to the journalist. Why would he do that? Who knows.
Special Counsel gives the order to Hersh to use the ferry bomb guy to bump off Nathan Ingram for wanting to talk to a journalist.
So the relevant side picks and chooses which terrorist attacks to prevent and which ones to conveniently use? And they can’t come up with a better, quieter way to get rid of *just* Ingram? What kind of BS is this?
Harold finally explains things clearly to his husband: He had locked himself out of the Machine a long time ago, but he realized that he needed to teach the Machine to protect itself. He knew someone would try to disrupt his lil’ daughter, so he made sure they did it with his own code. He hid a virus within a virus, is the gist of it. And if you translate the codes in the blue screens of death, they all have meanings relevant to the Machine knowing how to fight back. Some of it is explained here, some of it you can look up yourselves.
Harold purposely left John behind in this because of the possibility of him not making it out alive, and John’s potential to keep going with the numbers. My heart..!
(Not satisfied with this explanation on the laptop? Too bad, so sad. You’ll have to wait till over halfway in season 3 to know more.)
The alarm at the empty room rings. It’s Hersh! And Special Counsel! Who now know Finch exists! Harold tells them the Machine moved itself and now controls itself. Oh boy.
Special Counsel: The numbers. Will they continue to come to us?
Harold: That will be up to the Machine.
Well that’s not scary, particularly for a government entity that likes to be in Control (get it? cause the boss’ code name is Control! har har).
 Get ready to have Feelings. Harold is severely injured after the bombing, realizes Nathan is dead, and that some hit men are on the lookout for anyone Nathan could have been with. Grace walks in, and Harold quickly realizes he is putting her in danger by simply existing near her, so he gets up, barely able to stand, and hides, while Grace sees Harold’s stuff in the pile and sobs. The camera work, acting, and score make this scene super intense. We all feel their pain as Harry quietly exits the room, leaving his fiancee to think him dead.
Finch barely drags himself to the library, where we get the flashback from the start of the episode: did the Machine know?
He opens the irrelevant numbers list, and sure enough, there he is: his best friend. He stares in absolute horror as the list gets deleted at midnight, and we all sob.
It’s interesting that Nathan is marked as non relevant even though it was a bomb that represented a threat to many. The Machine probably knew the threat came from the relevant side, just like when Shaw’s number came up. But the people the relevant side kill any other day don’t come up. Which can only mean The Machine is making judgment calls about her human agents’ choices! Very interesting.
Control calls Special Counsel. And Control is a “ma’am”! This will become relevant later. She asks to speak to Hersh, who then, stoic as usual, shoots these other dudes who were there, and aims the gun at Special Counsel. SC fucked up big at his job, and he knows it. What does he say to his imminent death? “Fair enough.” Fair enough indeed! Goodbye, Special Counsel.
After all is said and done, John and Harry take Bear for a walk. Finch apologizes for the unintended awful consequences his code and the virus may have had on John, and for not explaining anything before.
John: You lost a friend. You did what you had to do.
You see, the whole season finale looked like it was setting up a falling out or something between Harold and John, which would have been a waste of time, and a cliche. Instead, and more logical to both their characters but in particular John’s (who better to understand difficult choices and horrible consequences? who better to see a good heart anyway?), he understands, knows Jessica’s death was not Harold’s fault, and is as sure as always in their mission and friendship.
We also learn John gives away 90% of his salary to charity. Who’s a good boy?
The question remains though, what will the Machine do now that it’s been “set free”?
Same as always, pretty much: The payphone next to Harold and John rings; Hersh notifies Control of contact made by “Research”.
But the Machine is not the same as always (hey, I said “pretty much”).
Root mindlessly walks the aisles of the mental institution where Harold hid her. The phone next to her rings.
The Machine: Can. You. Hear. Me?
And the faintest, creepiest, best little smirk forms in Root’s lips.
See y’all next season!