M.I.A. juggled several stories, again effortlessly, and provided answers to some, opened up new avenues for others, and showed us that the world keeps going, despite a terrible loss of both the physical and emotional kind.
Shaw is alive, being held by Greer, and may return one day, but who she will be and when that day arrives is anyone’s guess.
Root is utterly disillusioned by the Machine and walks away, a walk that both Reese and Finch have taken before her, so there’s little doubt she will be back, but her journey of self-discovery is underway in a new direction.
Reese has come to grips that his overriding mission is to save people, and he can chalk up the kidnapped woman as a save, which will help a little with the bitter sting over the loss of Shaw – a loss he does not attribute to the Machine.
Finch, while mourning the loss of Samheen, as well as still recovering from his own sense of betrayal from the Machine at the end of last season, no doubt has re-found his commitment to the Machine and the destruction of Samaritan after realizing what it is doing, and has done, in Maple, New York.
Samaritan, unlike the Machine, was not encoded with anything close to a moral compass; whereas Finch spent countless hours teaching and instilling the value of life into the Machine; likely why he felt its orders to kill the Senator last season so difficult to comprehend, and overcome. Samaritan is very good at the game of chess, as we’ve seen thus far this season with its Nautilus games and rigging of elections to get the right people (players) in the right spots, but it lacks comprehension of how humans work, so it invents an experiment to learn. Samaritan makes things perfect, seemingly, which gives it valuable information, and then it begins to add in new factors, including death, to continue the education. No one should be surprised that that learning includes killing simply as a means to understand. Remember, Samaritan has no moral code; it only seeks to be in control, and with no competitors. It is utterly cold. It will turn on Greer should it find that the best move to make in order to control the ‘board.’
M.I.A. tied up the Shaw storyline, at least for us viewers as we now have confirmation that she is alive, while the rest of the team remains in the dark as to her fate. Samaritan pushes forward with its world domination plan (or whatever it is, but it’s clearly not good). Fusco joins up with a PoI from earlier this season, and the two end up handling what is both a police matter and an ‘irrelevant’ matter. They made a great team, and I enjoyed watching Fusco do his job while at the same time processing the loss of Shaw without any of the rest of the team around him to share that grief with, while simultaneously trying to keep Reese’s cover intact.
It is a testament to this character and his journey as he remains completely in the dark – and much of that is due these days to his willingness to remain unenlightened beyond what he needs to know to get the immediate job done — to the Machine and what Finch and Co. do and why they do it, but he remains utterly loyal to all of them. He came the closest he’s ever been to learning about the Machine and Samaritan in these past few episodes yet remains thankfully uninformed. He is in a sense a picture of most of humanity who go about their daily lives oblivious to what is really going on around them. There is a real war out there, folks, and most have no idea, nor do they even want to look if anyone were to point them in the general direction.
Root, the most ardent supporter of the Machine, its first absolutely blind follower, has now lost the faith. She believed the Machine utterly infallible, even as she knew how difficult things had become with Samaritan online. Still, she had absolute faith that it would lead her to Shaw, but in the end she discovered that same Machine has ordered her to stop. While Samaritan’s order of STOP to control was laced with deadly intent, the Machine’s was more of a plea as it repeated its message over and over and over again, as if it were begging Root to stop. Root has lost her way. No doubt she will find it again, as Reese and Finch did before her. What it is that helps her find her way is part of the journey that she, and we the viewers, will take.
I enjoy these character arcs for they deepen the character and, in the case of Root, make her more relatable. While I’ve enjoyed this character immensely, and Amy Acker has much to do with that enjoyment, seeing her lose her confidence and then find it again will soften her, deepen her, color in various shades that make her more interesting than this overly confident, witty, independent persona who waltzes in and out of episodes with aplomb and snappy one-liners. Seeing her falter in her confidence and lose some of her self-assuredness will allow a deepening in understanding of just who she is. We’ve walked this road with Reese, Finch, Carter, Shaw, and Fusco – and they all have much more to tell, no doubt, but now it’s time to walk it a bit with Root.
PoI being what it is, though, it is unlikely to wallow in the morass of her emotional pain. We’ll dip our toes into it from time to time while other things move on; for we know, the numbers never stop coming, and Samaritan is unbowed in its relentless forward momentum. I love how this show balances so many items and never seems to drop a single one. We’ll get emotional moments, thus the show is a soap opera (or drama as they are called in primetime) as well as the numbers of the week, making it a procedural, and then we’ll have Samaritan continuing to disrupt and dog our heroes every moves, thus it is a serialized show, and throughout it all there will be one-liners and zingers reminding us that it is also a touch of comedy.
We have three more episodes after this in a row before another break in March. I know these breaks get tiresome, but that’s what we have to contend with when the season is well over 30 weeks in length and the show only produces 22 to 23 episodes. For now, I’m enjoying four in a row with PoI.
Until next week, thanks for reading, Elle2