It's been ten days since the machine has provided a number, which means Carter has had ten days of dead bodies piling up. Finch discovers that a company called Decima is responsible for the virus which is causing these problems of inconsistency. The machine finally does dispense a number, it belonging to Ernest Thornhill, whose business of late has been buying up pay phone companies. As Finch and Reese track Thornhill, who they have yet actually to see, they find out some important information about him and exactly why the machine dispensed his number. But also aware of that fact is Root, who, using her own brand of persuasion, convinces Finch that they need to work together to battle Decima and the virus. Reese becomes aware that Root is back in the picture, he who gets some help from an old acquaintance in tracking Finch and Root. Their competing goals will all come to a head at midnight Eastern time, when the virus is scheduled to do its job. Meanwhile, Carter, in conjunction with ... Written by
Did You Know?
The machine's "name" of "Ernest Thornhill" is most likely a nod to the classic Alfred Hitchcock film "North By Northwest." In the POI episode "Zero Day," Finch and Reese learn that the machine gave them the number of a "Ernest Thornhill," a person they soon realize does not exist. In "North By Northwest," Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, who is attempting to track down a man named Kaplan, a person Grant's character eventually learns does not exist. Furthermore, "North By Northwest" was written by screenwriter Ernest Lehman. See more
If the Machine figured out Decima was trying to hijack it, it must have created Thornhill as a defense mechanism. But why?
It's just a machine, Ms. Groves; and it's malfunctioning.
It's a life, not a machine, Harold.
References North by Northwest