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'Persons Unknown' Series Finale Recap

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 29th 2010 2:02PM
Persons Unknown(Season 1, Episode 13 - 'Shadows in the Cave') Shortly before 'Persons Unknown' ended, I tweeted this:

"Oh, for God's sake." #PersonsUnknown

NBC, I think, lied to us a little bit, didn't they? They promised us that "at the end of the summer, all of our questions will be answered," or something like that. But this wasn't a series-ender, it was a season-ender! Nothing really got resolved.

Sure, we got a lot of answers and we know what's going on, but this didn't end the story, it was actually the start of a potentially intriguing second season.

I can sense fans across the country gritting their teeth. That probably started with five or six minutes left in the series, when our group woke up in the damn hotel again. You knew where this was going, an ending that really wasn't an ending, and you probably exhaled in exasperation. It's not that it wasn't a "good" ending -- it would have been a terrific, even logical, season one cliffhanger -- it just wasn't a good series ending, especially since we were promised closure. The network seemed to go out of its way to tell us that because they know that we've been screwed over before.

Or maybe they just said that so we'd watch it.

It was a juggling act, that's for sure. We actually got a lot of answers and kinda knew what was going on -- the Madame Director, that mysterious board, the prison camp, how it was all an experiment, Janet's mom being involved, etc -- but at the same time this episode not only didn't give us closure, it actually started the whole series over with the same group of people (and some new people, like Mark). So they set up a second season of the show, one that looked rather interesting, with two different groups, Kat and the ambassador in the prison, etc, but we all know it's not coming. Ever.

This doesn't affect my enjoyment of the series as a whole. It's not like the show ended in a confusing fade to black or a scenario where it was all a dream or something like that. The characters are alive -- even Tori! -- they're just in places that give us no closure. But what a second season it could be! Half of the group (Joe, Mark, a bunch of newbies) back in the town and half of the group (Janet, Charlie, Blackham, Erika, a robotic Graham, and Moira) on some giant ship in the middle of the ocean with the original concierge. A "Level 2" that makes the whole thing seem like a video game.

So I didn't completely hate the finale. It made me believe that a second season of this show was actually possible, something I didn't believe when the show began. I just wish it was a season-ender and not the end of the story.

More thoughts (and questions):

• How exactly did the gang get separated after the van crash, Janet in San Francisco, Graham on the table, and Erika and Moira in Morocco? Seems like some jumbled continuity there.

• How did Blackham know the name of Charlie's wife, and why was it brought up in the last episode?

• Why did Mark and Kat run when they saw Gomez and the cops? You would think he'd trust Gomez at this point.

• I did like how Mark and Janet finally saw each other. It reminded me that she didn't even know this whole time that he was trying to find her.

• Why did Janet go home? Sure, she wanted to get back home and see Megan, but wouldn't you assume that both the secret organization and the police would go there first to look for her? But they never did.

• How exactly did everyone end up back at the hotel and on the boat? They seemed to completely skip over that rather important point. Maybe they were going to cover that in the second season.

• I'm not sure I understand the title of this episode.

How would I have ended this show? Glad you asked. Since it was very clear weeks and weeks ago that NBC wasn't going to renew the show, I would have gone back into the editing room and cut off the ending. If they couldn't reshoot a scene or two I would have just had it ended with the revelation that the gang had staged the murders, escaped, and had convinced Gomez and others what was going on. They didn't even have to show the bad guys being "defeated," they could have just shown the gang alive and their story being believed. There would have been more story to tell, sure, but it still would have been satisfying, a la that alternate ending to the original 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' where Kevin McCarthy convinces the authorities about the alien invasion.

I think fans would have liked the ambiguous ending a bit more if we weren't promised answers all summer. But we were so it just wasn't satisfying. Still, overall, a fun, clever show, with the promise of a cool second season that could have been.

What did you think of the finale?
It was great, just like the rest of this show.318 (12.5%)
It was OK, but I was expecting more closure.1135 (44.5%)
I'm never trusting another TV show again.1096 (43.0%)


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darklightx23

what i get from this show-

-The program, it to me is a training exercise. To weed out the "good" and "bad". From what was sais each of the perticipents had something the company saw was a asset to them. Each of the guests had something about them to make them a good canidate for the "experiment" SPOILERS FYI

(i dont remember names to bear with me) Sargent- a soldier turned merc and killed for money after being misled as towho and how his team died.
The Doctor/mental patient - Killed her mother and (was it father) a man after the man took advantage of her at night and her mother saw and did nothing.
anyway they all had a personality trait, or flaw that "the Program was designed to test and exploit as to get the result it wanted...and whats that result?
MORE SPOILERS
In my opinion-I have seem movies such as Killing Room in which they use MK-ULTRA U.S. Government mind control experiments that were outlawed in the 1960’s due to unethical practices. It was used to eventualy wear down the mind and make a "slave" of the person, doing whatever was said of them, said to be like "mind controll". In that film it was said they were used to be suicide bombers against our enemies. I beleave the program is doing this, using theese methods to make obediant workers to use as they please, and to do what is needed to continue the program and make it larger. what i dont understand is exactly what theese people will do, some can be used as workers in the Institute, one guest was "killed" but later was the head of a department, soldiers,fisherman, i dont know. But whatever it is its to further streangthem the company and make the Program stronger.

At the end of the killing room, all but one of the 5? i beleave is alive, thinking he had escaped running down the hallway into an exit door, but finds himself in a room with a man tied to a chair with the PA system saying " welcome to lvl 2"

thats what got me, in the movie it was4-5 lvls that they had to get through, but the audience thinks each level is a metaphore for each person who had to be killed. So reaching lvl 4 ment being the only one alive.
Unknown Persona seems to have 10 lvls, and Joe is the only one in years to have the potential to get there, im guessing the Director herself has gotten there and is why shes in a high ranking position. I don't beleave the guests are in a computer program. That just leads my mind too far, there are meny ppl who are in or visit the town to make me belave its a simulation, the taxi drivers, the Blue Men, how the reporters got into one of the towns (we hear there is at least 27 of them) and get physical evidance of there being humans there. along with the survivor from there being questioned with no signs of being in the "white Room"( Joe was shaved head,even eyebrows and stuck with tons of needles) the survivor was normal as can be..kinda

this is my guess at some of the stuff, but i can see holes in it and its what I think. i feel bad that we couldent know for sure

August 24 2011 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jarromo2006

I watched this show from beginning to end and although it had an intriguing premise, this show became a huge disaster. Thirteen episodes was much too long for such a dissatisfying ending. The cheesy dialog, the out-of-nowhere plot twists and manufactured emotion destroyed what little intrigue this show had at the start. As for all those believing there was supposed to be a second season, if true, then it is a bigger failure on the part of NBC because when they did the solicits, they clearly referred to this show as a "summer miniseries". NBC majorly screwed up with this series

September 19 2010 at 3:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kaz

ugh. the only reason I watched this horrible acting and writing through to the end is because I thought I'd get answers and finally be done.

I sure hope there's no second season so we can all begin forgetting about this show.

I agree - I want those 13 hrs of my life back...

September 10 2010 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Krista

OK. I for one was completely furious at the finale. I was singing the praises of this show all season. I told everyone that I thought summer mini-series' were a brilliant idea, then this crap!!! And this is just my emotional, postpartum hormones talking, but it disgusted me that they took her away from her daughter again. Almost physically makes me sick. I'm gonna have nightmares about being separated from my son now. Thanks alot NBC. Hope you're willing to pay for my therapy now you jerks!!!LOL

September 08 2010 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Howell

Having seen the finale and all that happened in it I am convinced they have been planning for a second season for a long time if not from the beginning.

The first evidence is the DVD box set cover of the show which is displayed with the sale item on lots of ordering sites on which (the box cover) the words 'the complete first season' are clearly visible. If the show was intended to be a single season shouldn't read 'the complete mini-series'?

The second piece of evidence (in my mind at least) is the appearance of Robert Picardo (best known as Star Trek Voyager's holographic doctor) as a member of the secret society, a part I'm sure they wouldn't have cast with such a beloved actor if it weren't going to be expanded into a full role at some point.
If the part is not to be developed it makes little sense to cast an actor such as Picardo in the role, if for no other reason but to save a few dollars.

A second season may be forthcoming but don't be fooled by the makers when they state there intention was only for a mini-series.

As for NBC they want to be really careful they don't pull this stunt of lying about the scope of a show again or too often as it is inclined to make viewers very angry!

September 08 2010 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tezzieg

if anyone can shed any light on the following, I'd appreciate it!

- what, exactly, is the purpose of the 'experiment' in the first place?

- why did they show us the board meeting in the final episode? since it went nowhere in the plot.

- what 'commitment' did Janet's mother make? presumably to this 'Institute' - (see question 1!) What is this Institute trying to explore, anyway?

Honestly I think a lot of these TV writers are just plain LAZY! They just throw out some story threads, as if that constitutes a satisfactory ending. How annoying!!!
-

September 07 2010 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Telman

Did anyone notice the name of the ship at the end? It translates to "Lost Souls". Were these people dead all along?

September 07 2010 at 12:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Heather

I have tried to process this show over and over again, but I don't think I quite understand it.

One theory is that the "program" is training people for a Big-Brother type thing. They are putting people through the program so that they can be leaders for the potential utopian society that they hope to create. they are starting with a smaller community, and going to build on to it more and more until they have enough people to take over the world (sounds dramatic). My theory was that the program felt that these particular people had something to offer, and that's why they were chosen. Then we find out that Janet's mom had something to do with her disappearance, and that one blonde from the beginning's dad was apart of her disappearance too (which brings another question--the show showed that she died in that fountain, then later she was a nurse when Joe was being tortured, then she was the night supervisor thing...doesn't make sense!)

I thought the show was really good, suspenseful, etc. But the ending disappointed me. There were only new questions created, none answered. Ugh.

September 06 2010 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thomas

So.. what happened to Mark`s girlfriend? Was she left for dead? ;o! DID SHE DIE!?! shes my favorite character. she cant die D"; noooo!!

September 06 2010 at 3:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gaspacho

Knowing NBCs history of pulling the plug on series without warning, the ONLY reason I watched this show was it was called a MINI-SERIES!! So how could there not be resolution???

September 05 2010 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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