DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS!!! I will be going over ‘PERSON OF INTEREST’ spoilers in this article. I strongly advice to not continue reading if you haven’t seen the show or are not caught up on it yet.
This is an article that I have been postponing for some time. I intended on uploading it during the one year anniversary of the episode in question but I felt as if I didn’t convey my thoughts well enough. But I am postponing it no longer: it’s ready and I have said all I wanted to say – all I could say, really.
I tried to keep the title of this as vague as I possibly could to avoid spoiling the show for those not up to date on the show. Who or what is a tribute to whom exactly? I think those who have seen all five seasons know what I am referring to:
In the season five episode ‘The Day the World Went Away’, there was talk that The Machine was in need of a literal voice and it was decided that instead of giving Her a voice, She would be given the freedom to choose for Herself. Without going too much into the episode itself, the episode sees Root [Amy Acker] get shot and succumb to her injuries. The final moments of the episode sees The Machine, in honour of Root’s sacrifice, take Root’s voice as her own.
To answer my own question: yes, I do think this is a proper tribute to Root. Out of everyone in the team, Root was the closest to The Machine with Root going so far as to describe their relationship as intimate. It shouldn’t come to any surprise saying that Root loved The Machine – a feeling that was most certainly mutual. Up until this point, it was hinted at and outright shown that there is more to The Machine than lines of code and a surveillance camera; that she was alive. The Machine was just as much of a character as Finch was, or Shaw, or Reese.
The Machine had set up Finch to meet Grace, his fiancée. The Machine had called the team interchangeable and referred to Finch as father. Jonah and his team made sure that existed little to no doubt in the audience’s mind that “yes, The Machine is alive” and that “yes, she holds the team to a very high regard” and close to whatever Her equivalent to a heart would be.
The Machine selecting Root’s voice was Her attempt to honour the memory of Her friend and further cementing the fact that She is just as alive and grieving just as much as the others are.
I’d like to go over a real world outlook I have on the matter. In my experience, whenever a character is killed off from a show, they tend to get forgotten by the audience. I must admit that I can’t speak for everyone in that regard and speak from my own personal experience. A character you like gets killed off but you may continue on with the show and, in time, move on from the character. This was my experience with another character killed off from POI – Carter. I adored this character and was heartbroken to see her go. But as the show moved on, so did I and one season later, Carter never crossed my mind unless the show brought her up. Once again, this is my own personal experience and I am sure many others feel differently.
Root, however, never got the chance to be forgotten. Audience members like myself were not given the chance to forget that Root was a vital member of the show and of the team. Nolan made sure that the character stayed alive and relevant in our memories by letting us hear her voice through The Machine. I see parallels between it and another show starring Amy Acker: ‘ANGEL’, in which we saw Amy’s Character, Winifred Burkle, killed off and have her body taken over by the entity known as Illyria. The mannerisms and look of the two characters differed greatly, but seeing Amy portray Illyria kept the memory and loss of Fred fresh in our minds.
Similar situation with ‘PERSON OF INTEREST’, in which hearing Amy’s voice still, made sure that we would never forget her character or her part in the series. Seeing her portray The Machine as Finch’s hallucinations in the finale also helped in keeping Root’s loss fresh. Although, it is worth to note, that ‘PERSON OF INTEREST’ only had three episodes left after Root’s passing and I doubt she would have been forgotten in that short of a time span. But hearing her and seeing her made sure that such a scenario would never come to pass.
I’m Emily R. Saunders and… we’ll never forget you, Root.