Those responsible for the Machine are put on trial by Vigilance while the rest of Team Machine tries to save them — in the middle of a New York City blackout.
The episode opens with one of the few funny moments when the members of Team Machine shoot out the knee-caps of Decima agents while Hersh goes for the kill shots. Reese and Shaw are disapproving and Hersh is confused by their reaction. It was a great moment and makes Hersh even more of a badass. He is an interesting contrast to our team and really shows how much Harold has influenced both Reese and Shaw.
Throughout the trial and this episode the concept of good and evil are battled with some pretty interesting angles. Is the government surveillance system evil at its core? Given that Finch did his best to give the Machine his own morality and safeguards to prevent it from taking over, maybe not. Plus, Control gave a very compelling argument about why that surveillance was necessary. She also was more developed as a real character, perhaps even a hero compared to mustache twilling villain she appeared as before now. The trial was a great venue to argue both sides of the constant surveillance, no privacy argument. The only frustration was that Collier seemed incapable of understanding Finch’s side of the conflict and the precautions he took to guard people’s privacy as much as possible. Collier’s life has been dedicated to uncovering the evil face of the Machine’s creator only to get Finch instead. Finch did not fit in Collier’s world view of a diabolical Big Brother wanting to control and strip away his freedoms. How does Collier justify spending four years of his life tracking down this mythical beast to be confronted by mild mannered Harold Finch who is just “good with computers?”
Greer was smug through the proceedings as though he did not care about either side of the argument. Considering his endgame perhaps he didn’t.
Hersh is also a character that has been portrayed as a complete villain, but faced with a bomb that would kill hundreds of civilians, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Everyone wants a happy ending, but as Hersh gets riddled with more and more bullets it didn’t look like time was on his side. He went out well, trying to save lives, ultimately failing but sometimes that’s a hero’s story too.
The big twist of the narrative is that Greer’s endgame was the creation of Vigilance in the first place. He recruited Collier personally. The clues were in last week’s episode in the tone of the text to Collier in his flash-back , and Greer’s comment to the Senator before they are kidnapped. The Senator says they need to run, but Greer says it’s too late. How did he know that? Greer was giving Vigilance their information and equipment all along. He needed a real threat he could control to force the hand of the government to give him the NSA feeds so Samaritan could come online. Here’s hoping that Control eventually figures out his game.
As for Team Machine? They are defeated soundly and the Library destroyed. At the end of the finale all they have is an envelope provided by Root and a blind spot in Samaritan’s watchful eye big enough for each of their new identities. They are scattered to the winds and alone. Oh yeah, the Machine said that “hope” was also left over. The entire premise of the show was up ended and the bad guys insurmountable. No clue how they move forward next season, but it’s exciting to speculate.