|Episode Overview||Summary||POI||Cast and Characters||Crew|
|← Season 4 Person of Interest — Season 5 (Flashbacks in parentheses)|
|501 “B.S.O.D.” (Finch)||506 “A More Perfect Union”||511 “Synecdoche”|
|502 “SNAFU” (The Machine)||507 “QSO”||512 “.exe” (Multiple simulations)|
|503 “Truth Be Told” (Reese)||508 “Reassortment”||513 “return 0” (The Machine)|
|504 “6,741”||509 “Sotto Voce”|
|505 “ShotSeeker”||510 “The Day the World Went Away”|
Root goes undercover at a radio station to protect the host of a conspiracy theory show who stumbles upon information that could get him killed. Also, Samaritan’s agents try to convince a member of the team that their goals are noble.
Origin of the Title
QSO is an amateur (ham) radio (or "Q") code used when one operator is making initial contact with another operator. The receiving operator typically responds with a greeting and a signal strength report before a longer conversation begins. Q-codes, like the better known ten-codes (10-4) used by citizen's band radio operators, are used to convey information using brief phrases. Once used widely by maritime, law enforcement, rescue, and aviation personnel, their use is now largely confined to military and amateur radio operators.
Main Plot Points
- Root starts out as a prima bellarina saving Vasily Mikhaev from assassination, then she is transformed into a docent at a Colonial home as the Machine guides her to the POI and ultimately helps her in the trail of Shaw.
- Person of Interest: Max Greene, the host of a late-night radio talk show centering on paranormal phenomena and conspiracy theories. Root becomes a producer on the show.
- Shaw is seen still being tortured, and although drained and exhausted, she is still fighting back. However, she begins to give up hope and plans to kill herself.
- Shaw is taken on a real field trip this time and thinking it is a simulation kills a research scientist.
- Root is able to use the background radio static to get a message to Shaw and, with the help of the Machine, saves her from suicide and sets her escape plan in motion.
- The Machine leads Root to the POI, Max Greene, rather than sending his number the usual way, via the telephone.
- The character Max Greene may be based on Art Bell, an American broadcaster and author known as one of the founders and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM. Bell began as a rock disc jockey before transitioning to late night talk during his tenure at KDWN-AM in Las Vegas. Over time, his show evolved into a call-in discussion of conspiracy theories, paranormal phenomena, the occult and related topics, with Bell selectively allowing callers on the air. Much like Greene, Bell never embraced the beliefs of his guests, but rather gave them a forum for their views. In the late 90s, Bell was America's highest rated talk show host.
- The Funtenna Hack  is referenced by Root as an explanation of the communication tactic Samaritan is using. The method was presented at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas in 2015, and works by turning an infected device (such as a printer in this case) into a transmitter via the uploading of a malicious program. The resulting vibrations, or messages, can be picked up by AM radio antennas, bypassing all conventional network security.
- The Fermi paradox describes the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates, such as the existence of extraterrestrial life.
- The POI asks Root about the Technological Singularity. A singularity in science is where the laws of the universe breakdown as in the case of inside a black hole. A Technological Singularity probably was first used by Ray Kurzweil, a genius, who wrote the book "The Singularity is Near," which predicts a point in history where technology advances at an exponential rate until it becomes perpendicular on a graph representing an infinite and uncontrollable technological growth.
- The colonial house where the Machine sends Root is the Morris Jumel Mansion at 65 Jumel Terrace in Washington Heights. It is the oldest house in the neighborhood which was declared a national historic landmark in 1961, and later turned into a house museum. It was built in 1765 by Roger Morris, a British military officer, and served as a headquarters for both sides in the American Revolution.
Bloopers and Continuity Errors
- Samaritan shows Fusco's hospital room number as 512A when he is actually in room 314.
- When Finch reads out Warren Franco's address there's nothing to be seen on his computer screen suggesting Franco's address or status of employment.
- During the scene in the Colonial Museum, the ghost hunters' rucksack can be seen in the CCTV camera shot, before the ghost hunters arrive. In the next shot, it is gone again until the ghost hunters enter.
- The thylacine is a real extinct animal resembling a small tiger that became extinct around 1900. It is unlikely to be a threat to the environment as it is no more dangerous than a coyote. Other benign animals, however, can impact an environment. In addition, it is unlikely that any animal that naturally existed within the last thousand years could do any more harm than was done when they existed.
- When Max goes off air for the first time in the episode after Root arrives, the commercial that follows is for the Coronet Hotel, the hotel where Reese and Finch protected a maid and Hersh tried to kill Reese, in “Booked Solid”.
- Root's ballet costume indicates she danced the role of Odette in Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake."
- The manila envelope Root gives Fusco contains fake identities and flight tickets on Zephyr Airlines, the same airline Reese flew in “4C”.
- Fusco's hospital room number is 314.
- Samaritan displays a message: "Secondary Objective Complete" after observing an interaction between Shaw and one of the doctors at the Samaritan facility. Presumably, the objective was to make Shaw truly unable to discern between reality and simulation.
- There is a plot point that originates in this episode that, as of the end of the series, has been left without explanation. Vasily Mikhaev, the number Root saved at the beginning of the episode makes plans with Root (who he believes is a ballerina) to take her to his hometown Plateliai, Lithuania--including Zemaitija National Park where his father is an administrator. More notably, we see Root reading about the Dvina Missile Silo. After discussion of this trip, Root raises her eyebrows at the Machine in her webcam. As of the end of the series, it is unclear what the Machine's interest in the Dvina Missile Silo was, or if Root and Vasily ever went.
- The code that Root sends to Shaw means "four-alarm fire", which is part of the quote of Shaw: "But, you and me together would be like a four alarm fire at an oil refinery." (“If-Then-Else”)
- "Some army we've got, huh?" (Root, to Reese)
- "Marry me." (Vasily Mikhaev, after Root saves his life by strangling an assassin with ballet shoes)
- "No more roundabout instructions. Quit being a wimp and talk to me! ... I refuse to do one more mission until I know what I'm doing is going to lead me to Sameen." (Root, to The Machine)
- "Can't a girl ask her cop friend to look up a creepy guy without getting the third degree?" (Root, to Reese)
- "Left her alive? Bit worn down are we?" (Lambert, to Shaw) "Just bored. You people need to get more creative with these simulations." (Shaw)
- "Just because people tell you to shut up doesn't mean you have to listen. The things you believe, the patterns you see--they're coming from somewhere." (Max, to his radio audience)
- "He knows what you and I both know... the world has gotten pretty weird lately." (Max, to Root)
- "Spoofed a call location, stole a mans voice--" (Reese, to Root) "...then faked his suicide? I think Max pissed off Samaritan." (Root)
- "Point made. Can I wake up now?" (Shaw, to Lambert, not realizing she's not in a simulation)
- "The Machine wants me to send a message to Shaw." (Root)
- "4A... 4A. Four alarm fire. Root." (Shaw, upon receiving Root's message, only seconds before she intended to end her own life)
- "I wasn't talking to you." (Root)
- "Explain to me. What the hell were you thinking offering yourself up to those guys? You keep going off half-cocked like that, you're going to get yourself killed." (Reese, to Root)
- "I almost had her, John!" (Root, to Reese about Shaw)
- "Seems we temporarily may have matching gaits, detective." (Finch, to Fusco)
- "After everything that's happened, you and John still can't show me the respect of telling me what the hell is going on. I'm done." (Fusco, to Finch)
- "The Machine can tell us where to go, who's in trouble, but we still have free will." (Root)
- "A lie by omission is still a lie." (Finch)