Synopsis for 4×15: Not everything is as it seems when the team tries to protect a young woman working for a Google-like company. Finch gets dragged off into a side mission as Claire, the Nautilus winner from earlier in the season, steps back into his life, claiming to be on the run from Samaritan.
This week’s Person of Interest brought around an old storyline from the beginning of the season. There was a flashblack to Claire, the young woman from Nautilus who had been brought under Samaritan’s protection. She’s still in the game somewhere and viewers needed to be reminded of it.
Jumping back to the present, Reese and Finch infiltrated a Google-like company called Fetch & Retrieve, where the number of the week works. Finch was a guest while Reese had been hired on as a security guard in order to keep an eye on the young girl the Machine tipped them off to. Her name is Anna, and she’s a programmer at Fetch & Retrieve, working on the next biggest project: VAL. VAL is a program very similar to Siri in that she is a virtual “assistant,” able to look up things online through voice commands.
Unfortunately, Finch was distracted away from the case when a missing dog poster caught his attention. Turned out it was another coding game, much like the Nautilus game. In the phone number was GPS coordinates and in the picture was an embedded message: you were right. Distracted, Finch let Reese know he’d be on his own for a bit while he attended to this other issue. Again, as with most of the episodes this season, there’s a division in labor. Half the team ends up following a trail related to Samaritan while the other half tries to save the number of the week.
Reese noticed some bruises on Anna’s arm and assumed that she was being hurt by a boyfriend who appeared to be harassing her via text message. However, after following her to meet him after work, Reese discovered she wasn’t being hurt after all. She was an MMA fighter, engaging in Fight Club style underground fights. Anna was good at it too. After investigating further, though, Reese also discovered that her sister, Jill, was being treated in their home for cancer.
Finch followed the coordinates and, surprise, met up with Claire. She didn’t look well and spun a tale to him about how she realized just what Samaritan was doing. Samaritan had killed people and she wanted no part in it. She needed help and he was the only one who could help her. While they stood in the darkness, Claire was shot in the shoulder and Finch sprang into action. He did what he always tries to do, save her. They ended up hiding away at a nearby mortuary.
Anna’s plotline thickens when it is revealed that she had found a strange anomaly in the VAL program. A man had ended up committing suicide because of results he’d gotten when he asked VAL for a suicide hotline, or how to tell if he had depression. The links that had been submitted to him were links on how to kill himself, or how to end his life peacefully. The return results led to him taking his own life before Anna could reach out and check on him. When she pushed the anomaly up to the CEO she got into trouble, told to mind her own business lest they get caught up in a lawsuit.
As the pieces came together in Reese’s investigation, Finch had to explain to Claire exactly what Samaritan is. As he did, she pulled out a jump drive she claimed had a chunk of Samaritan’s source code on it. They could use it to stop Samaritan. Thankfully Finch was relatively suspicious when a big gift like this is presented, wrapped and ready to go. He left Claire to go do some digging on his own about the man’s death that supposedly led her to forsake Samaritan.
After nearly getting abducted, Anna finally let Reese into the situation. He took her to the police station, where she told him and Fusco about the whole ordeal and everything that had happened. She was told to remain at the station, where she’d be safe while Reese went to run something down, but after he left she received an alert from her sick sister’s medical bracelet. Apparently EMTs were in route and she had go get there as soon as possible.
Naturally it was an ambush, and Fusco got knocked out. Anna was taken this time, but as her captors drove out to a deserted area to kill her, she was able to break free from her bindings. She took down both of her attackers and Reese showed up at the last minute to get her out of the car and get her to safety. I always appreciate a character that can hold her own, though, and Anna is a downright badass.
Finch presented Claire with some information about her story that didn’t match up, but her response convinced him she was really trying to help him stop Samaritan. They were forced into action when a security guard showed up at the mortuary and Finch was unable to look at Samaritan’s source code right then and there. As they were making their getaway, Claire revealed her true colors. She’d been working for Samaritan the entire time and was tasked with convincing Finch to become an asset. She took his phone, his laptop, and led him off to show him what Samaritan looked like.
Anna’s story comes to a head as Fusco forces her former coworker to look up information about the man who’d killed himself. They take the information up to the CEO of the company who is confused, until the Chief Technical Officer showed up with hired guns to take out anyone who had realized his scheme. What he’d done was program VAL to return results that would “weaken” a buyer. For example, if someone was suicidal then results would come back to make the client more suicidal, before ads would pop up for anti-depressants. This way they could create a market for their advertisers.
In the end, the bad guy goes down and everyone is safe. The story ended there rather anticlimactically, but what happens next was really interesting.
Claire took Finch to a school to show him what Samaritan has been doing. Apparently, the AI had figured out how to better educate and created a charter school in order to educate children. In a final plea, she asked Finch to join Samaritan, and in turn join the revolution to create a better world. Finch refused and was going to be taken to god-knows-where, until Root showed up and capped some people. It was good to see her after not knowing exactly what her decision had been.
Finch and Root got away safely, but to wrap up the whole episode we checked back in with Samaritan’s people. Claire reported back apologizing for not bringing Finch in and was commended for her dedication to the cause. Greer then attended a meeting with none other than the CEO of Fetch & Retrieve to discuss a partnership in the light of the company’s current scandal. Samaritan is extending its reach and it isn’t going to be pretty.