The Machine has a relevant list, an irrelevant list, and now – as we learned through Root in this episode – it has a necessary list.  Necessary to what?   To whom?  Time will tell.  While the Machine only gives numbers out for the relevant and irrelevant list, requiring those who receive those numbers to investigate and handle the situation, it appears that the Machine is a bit more – shall we say – hands on with its information to Root.  Now, I do not believe the Machine to be having actual conversations with Root, as in:  How are you today, Ms. Crazy Lady?  Did you rest well?  But, I do believe it gives her more specifics than Finch and the shadowy Control.  For instance, Root knew to plant a weapon under a specific bench for emergency purposes, and she knew that there would be a collision in the vicinity of a certain statue.  Clearly the Machine gave her some details.  What they were I have no idea.  But it is fun to speculate.

We had three storylines carrying on throughout this episode, two of which meshed, while the third continues its slow build.  Fusco made an all-too-brief appearance – really, Nolan and Plageman?  You have the immensely talented Kevin Chapman – who makes an excellent ambassador for this show, – and all he does is tell Reese that Shaw and Root are up to some bad stuff?  That’s it?!  I cry foul!  FOUL!  There, that will teach them something.  🙂

I wasn’t able to watch this when it aired, having worked late that night, so I caught it on Wednesday.   Thus, I was already a bit spoiled – having been unable to stay away from some comments on the episode (I’m weak!) – and knew that the Machine ended up sending both Root/Shaw and Finch/Reese after two trails that would ultimately merge into one.  Still, as Shaw arrived in the CIA van at the very intersection Reese was already at for the showdown at the end, and the camera gave a slow motion pan from Shaw’s POV and she saw Reese sitting there, I felt a surge of energy knowing that things were about to get violent:  impact indeed.  Calm, cool and collected as ever, neither Shaw nor Reese blinked as they passed the other, merely whispered out the other’s name and then went after their quarry.  It was a great moment as the two story lines collided. 

That Machine is pretty clever.  Makes me wonder just how smart it is.  Does it congratulate itself when it succeeds in a given mission?  That is, the mission that it gets Root to succeed in.  See, Root is basically the Machine in action.  With the relevant and the irrelevant lists, the Machine is merely an observer; however, with Root, it was clearly the orchestrator.  So, who is right, Harold or Root?  Is the Machine going to be angry that Harold has locked Root away with no access to ‘her’ or is that precisely what it wants as it figures out how to integrate Root into the mix?  And which mix is the better one for Root to be integrated with?  The Machine wants to survive.  Control and Harold clearly want the Machine to survive.  So, with Vigilance once again face to face with the Man in the Suit, and Collier aware that Reese is – well – persistent, he’ll be organizing to come at Reese again, and by proxy, the Machine.  How long before Vigilance latches on to the existence of Control?  How long before the Machine’s very survival is at risk?  How much better can this season get?  (Hint, more FUSCO!)

So, perhaps Root is right where the Machine wants her.  She’s warm, dry, and will be well-fed.  She can read and be safe and comfortable, and I’m betting that it won’t be too long before the Machine finds a way, or a need arises, that requires Root’s particular skills and she will be back in contact with her beloved Machine.

As for HR, well, Carter is wasting no time in gathering her evidence.  Now that she has Laskey under her control, she can track their movements with greater ease.  Laskey, similar to Fusco, has a side that makes me sympathetic.  He really is naïve and thinks that payments of cash are purely for loyalty.  Nope, son, payments are for protection.  Miss one, make an error, and protection is withdrawn – permanently.  Brian Wiles did a great job at showing the absolute shock and horror Laskey felt as he buried the man he’d known for a long, long time.  He is just beginning to understand how fundamentally evil HR is. 

Still think you’re a goner, Officer Laskey.  Your kind of zeal is the kiss of death, no matter what that zeal is directed at.  Szymanski had that kind of zeal regarding the mob, HR took him out.  Donnelly also had that kind of zeal regarding not only HR but the Man in the Suit, Stanton took him out.  Laskey, not sure who is going to take you out, possibly Simmons, possibly you try to truly redeem yourself and take a bullet for Carter, but I’m pretty sure the actor who plays you was one that got a phone call from Nolan and Plageman announcing your PoI Badge of Honor:  Congratulations, you are joining the ranks of Brennan Brown, Annie Parisse and Michael Kelly!  No, really, it is an honor!  

Great moments abound in this episode:  Root and her apples and her taser; Finch pondering if Shaw tasered herself – not beyond the stretch; Reese and his fireman’s ax.  Oh, the set designers had a good time with this one, so much to look at.  Thank you, Helen Shaver, for allowing the camera to take it all in.

Another solid outing of PoI.  Next week brings us Elias, gotta know that it’s going to be good!
As always, thanks for reading, Elle2

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