At the start of the episode almost everyone is accounted for. Finch, Shaw, and Claypool are being held by Control and Hersh, who are about to start killing them unless one of them reveals the whereabouts of Samaritan; Reese and Fusco, as a result of their brawl, are locked up in a police cell thousands of miles away, and unable to help. Root, though, still has her two guns, and comes busting in; everyone gets away, but Root herself is captured, and thereafter interrogated by Control, who wants access to The Machine. What Control doesn’t realise is that Root herself is the interface.
And meantime Claypool – occasionally playing up the mental confusion caused by his brain tumour – has taken Finch and Shaw to a bank, where the Samaritan discs are stored in a vault. But Vigilance is after them, and the FBI – led by Hersh – is after them. This leaves Shaw with the apparently impossible task of getting Finch, Shaw, Claypool, and the Samaritan discs, out of the vault past two hostile groups. Finch counsels her that the situation calls for subtlety: “I urge you to consider what Mr Reese would do”. “Brood?”, replies Shaw, who is also unimpressed by Finch comparing her and Reese to, respectively, a hammer and a scalpel. “There’s a time for a scalpel and a time for a hammer. It’s hammer time.” And indeed it is: Shaw finds a way in, by which time Claypool has destroyed the discs to stop them from falling into the wrong hands. (Although the Samaritan story by no means ends there.)
As well as the usual examination of the surveillance society, this episode returns to one of Person of Interest’s recurring themes, with a fair amount of philosophical debate about The Machine. To Claypool, The Machine is more or less human (and male), and he tries to convince Finch that he is essentially his, Finch’s, child. For Root, though, something even more transcendent is going on; eyes shining beatifically, she describes The Machine (which of course she regards as female) as “my power, my friend, my reason for being”. And later, The Machine will speak through her. This can only be regarded as theological. It may be that Person of Interest is trying to say something about our future – indeed, our present – relationship with technology, perhaps wondering whether an increasingly secular society will create new gods. Or whether these gods will create themselves.
Needless to say, whatever interpretation you choose to put on it, this is pretty ambitious stuff for a network show. Fortunately, lots of people get shot as well, making ‘Aletheia’ another triumph on every level.