I've written twice before about CBS' Person of Interest, which just wrapped up its inaugural season with a stakes-raising cliffhanger. I speculated - and hoped - that the show might both continue its subversive storytelling and further explore the nature of "the machine," the computer that watches over the world of the show. Those wishes have been granted.
While earlier episodes offered only hints that the machine has some degree of self-awareness, the final seconds of last night's finale made it explicit: with Mr. Finch kidnapped, Reese makes a direct appeal to the machine by speaking to it through a street-corner surveillance camera. We see the machine's point of view, with an ominous "operations compromised" alert. Seconds later a pay phone near Reese rings, and Reese picks it up, presumably about to speak directly to the machine...but then of course the season ends.
Earlier this year I asked if another J.J. Abrams production, Alcatraz, might be the next Lost. That show ended on a cliffhanger and wasn't picked up for another season, but oddly enough I don't mind; Person of Interest is far more - well - interesting. Fortunately Person of Interest has done very well in the ratings this year and will be back for another season. I'll be watching.