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Saturday 2 July 2016

BURY YOUR GAYS: If a pay phone rings in New York, did the lesbian really die at all?

by Lauren W

First off, I'm cautiously apologetic about my absence from All Things Lesbian. My absence largely stems from the fact that I have genuinely still not gotten over the fact that Person of Interest has come to an end and I was dreading writing this post. It is 100% the best show of the decade, and it will take something extra special to top it.

Secondly, there are quite obviously going to be SPOILERS in this post so please do not read on if you are planning to watch POI at some point in your life. (And I'm begging you: please watch it. It is truly genius and you will not regret it.)

Back in April, I wrote something similar to this following the whole death of Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) debacle. (Click HERE to read it).

A face so perfect it could sink a thousand ships.
The cliff notes version of my April post is as follows: all of the lesbians on TV die, Person of Interest could be our last hope for a happy gay ending, the show starts May 3rd and you should all watch it. Blah Blah Blah.

So, I intend this article to be a follow up to that, now that we know the outcome. A "Part Two", if you will.

As I've stated before, POI is not a show that saves it's MVPs just for the sake of it. The writers never shied away from killing off it's main characters and even led us to believe that Shaw (Sarah Shahi) had sacrificed her life for the team in the show's fourth season.

Alas, the TV Gods saved the bisexual sociopath in the end.

Season 5 of the show was a whirlwind: There were 2 (and sometimes 3!) episodes per week, which meant it was over before you could say "Artificial Intelligence: Modern Warfare".

And it was all going so well. Shahi and Amy Acker (Root) were killing it Every. Single. Week. Episode 4 came as a Shaw-centric episode which brought us the likes of this:

*Bohemian Rhapsody voice* Is this the real life... is this just fanfiction?
Oh, and this:

Aaaaaand this:

You can thank me later.

We saw Shaw escape Samaritan's clutches, the couple being reunited, overt flirting in the middle of a shoot out... they even held hands. (If you never watched the show, you probably won't understand why this pair holding hands killed so many fangirls, but listen to me when I say it was IMPORTANT.)

And then, the thing happened...

The thing.

I was holding out (false) hope that neither one of them would die but then Root was gone in a flash. Killed by a bullet. (Not a stray bullet, though - she swerved in front of it to save Harold. A true hero and a mighty fine Gryffindor/Slytherin cross-breed indeed).

Everyone went insane. Some die hard fans refused to watch the final four episodes that followed. Personally, I couldn't eat for three days straight after I learned of what happened.

I need to make a sidebar at this point to wax lyrical about how strong an actress Amy Acker really is. She's so versatile and one of the most (if not the most) talented actresses on television if you ask me. For the second time, she played a character who transcended and transformed into a God (the first instance being Illyria in Angel), and absolutely nailed it. The subtle nuances that you cannot help but notice when you watch her play Root in comparison to when she plays The Machine are impeccable. I can't even begin to sing her praises enough. She's a literal ray of sunshine.

An honourable mention also goes to Sarah Shahi. She really got to show off her acting chops this season and played Shaw's character absolutely perfectly. Having an Axis II Personality Disorder can't be the easiest thing to portray, but Shahi got the whole "acting with your eyes" thing on point. She really has come a long way since Carmen de la Pica Morales. If she doesn't get to play a comic book hero at some point, there's something wrong with the world.

Don't worry, Carmen. We still love you too.
Anyway, let's not beat around the bush. Root died. She was gone. But then...

In the last (ever) scene of Person of Interest, we saw Shaw wearing what we can only assume was Root's leather jacket walking down the street with Bear. And then a pay phone rang.

Of course, we didn't hear what Machine!Root said on the phone and the writers stated that they left everything open ended so that the viewers could create their own ending. But obviously, lesbians are loyal as fuck to their fictional sisters and it could only mean one thing: Root was alive.

Look at that face. Try and tell me that Root isn't alive.
Furthermore, since the finale aired, Michael Emerson (who plays Finch on the show) revealed that there was a scene in which a mysterious figure riding a motorcycle appeared towards the end of the episode, but it got cut. And who likes to ride motorcycles?

That's right: This nerd.
For me, there's no other explanation. Root lived. She faked her own death in order to "become" the Machine and hide from Samaritan until it was safe for her to return.

The whole thing made me think of that old saying about the tree falling in the forest and nobody being around to hear it. You know the one.

Well in my analogy, Root is that fallen tree. None of Team Machine actually saw her die, and just because we briefly saw her corpse means nothing in this show: Shaw momentarily died in the season 2 episode Relevance, too. Did she really die if nobody was around to see it?

So, the updated version of that old saying now goes as follows: If a pay phone rings in New York, and nobody but Shaw could hear it, did Root really die at all?

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