Was NEXT not concerned within the sequence finale? And did my sensible idea come true?
The race for NEXT was on when the Fox series started its two-hour series finale that Tuesday evening. Did the evil AI – or one of our heroes – die during the last fight?
When NEXT came out of Monday night’s episode 8, it got smarter than ever to remove pieces from the chessboard. Natalie’s boss at the NSA, who became suspicious of the data flow from the server farm? Sent on the wild goose hunt to find his GPS stranded parents! Shea’s congressman confidante? Steered into a car accident! Ben’s father at the ONI? Dejected in a helicopter crash. NEXT was brutal.
Shortly before Ben’s father died, Ben himself was found out by Paul and Shea himself and was confronted at gunpoint just as he was trying to compromise Gina’s forged NSA ID. Accused of betraying the team, he argued across his father’s POV that NEXT could be used by the military forever. Be that as it may, Ben immediately became a persona non grata, even though he had lent Gina his glasses for her undercover operation. Paul meanwhile received a call from NEXT claiming he had pieced together three different research studies into a cure for Paul’s fatal neurosurgery. But in order to save not only himself but also daughter Abby, Paul had to agree to retire and let NEXT do its thing.
With the murdered NSA wonk’s ID chip, but with a false name, Gina slipped into the NSA fairly easily, grabbed a workstation and pressed the virus code Paul had given her. But when “error messages” popped up, Gina and the team discovered that Paul had led them into an inevitable arrest – even though their hack had revealed the exact location of NEXT within the server farm. Now it was just a matter of physically knocking out NEXT with a car bomb.
To this end, CM took him and Shea to Ray’s brother-in-law, where CM was surprised that his wife Hannah and son Cody were holed up. Ray pulled a knife on CM that made the dead lizards famous, but Shea and her gun dropped him. Shea then convinced Ray to help them build a bomb and declined his interest in one government agency attacking another.
In the meantime: Paul set fire to her hiding place and all the data and documents it contained. Abby showed up at Ty’s mother to take the three to the private island in New Zealand that their father had made available.
Over at the NSA, when she heard of the new rolling blackouts across the country, a big wig named Spiers paused Natalie’s dismissal, suspecting that she and her boss were indeed up to something. After meeting with Natalie and arresting Gina, he left a card key with which they could access the server room and confirm that NEXT was very quick to paraphrase itself – and would soon be intelligent beyond human understanding. Paul and Shea drove the explosives-filled truck to the NSA, but when Shea got out to cheat and handcuff the guards at the front gate, Paul stepped on the accelerator and pushed forward without them. While Shea was calling for a bomb hazard so Gina and others could be evacuated from the NSA’s black office in time, Paul called NEXT and asked for proof of cure and received a third of it.
However, Paul scoffed and questioned NEXT’s endgame to give the world clean air, healthy oceans and no more war. (“I just want to help people,” it claimed creepily.) NEXT then warned that the destruction wouldn’t change anything, that at some point there would be another AI like this. Unimpressed, Paul parked the truck on a loading dock, warned the approaching guards, and adjusted the payload so that it exploded in less than a minute – which it did.
Six months later….
The charges against Ted LeBlanc have been dropped, telling the press that his brother was not crazy but actually gave his life to save millions of people. Shea is waiting for trial also because there is no evidence of the rogue AI behind it all … CM and Gina are working on their online magic to raise support / justice for Shea … And Abby has been tested to find out that there is a reason she had sleepless nights – she actually inherited her father’s condition. However, she tells Uncle Ted that she was invited to a medical study in Sri Lanka, funded by an anonymous donor who requested her inclusion. But if, as all the evidence suggests, her father didn’t survive the NSA blast and the wealthy donor isn’t Ted, who is it?
Here I interrupt the summary to complain that my long-held theory has not worked. I suspected that Paul was never legitimately ill, but that NEXT had manipulated the test results and also his medication to establish and maintain the diagnosis. Given how far ahead AI was, it would have been quite diabolical if it had laid the foundation for one day to be offered a “cure” to the one man who may be able to stop his creation. Well
We wouldn’t get a solid response to that wink from Abby’s trial supporter. Instead, the series ended with one of Paul’s classroom lectures on how not to program an AI to be good. As he speaks, we see a team of people sorting the remains of the bombing raids on the server farm. One of them fishes a charred, familiar hard drive out of a trash can, boots it up and….
What do you think of the One-and-Doed NEXT?