Shaw is back: in the first of many gruesome scenes we see her strapped to an operating table, and Samaritan medics implant a microchip in her brain. But then she escapes, hacks the chip out of her head, and alerts the Machine team. Root, of course, is first there; somewhat curiously, despite acknowledging that Shaw has just had major surgery, she hits on her, but after a few minutes it’s reciprocated. #Shoot time!
All is not well with Shaw, though; her brain appears to be fried, and her behaviour makes Reese wonder whether she is, in fact, working for Samaritan. To disprove this she helps come up with a plan to find out Samaritan’s whereabouts and capture Greer, who – more amateur surgery – has a USB drive removed from under the skin in his arm. This, Finch thinks, might be a kill switch for Samaritan. Shaw, though continues to deteriorate: first she kills Greer, then she shoots Reese, then – after threatening to kill Root – she turns the gun on herself.
Except… no, she doesn’t. At the end of the episode Shaw is revealed still to be in Samaritan hands, and what we’ve just seen is the latest in a very long line of simulations run by Samaritan, taking place in Shaw’s mind, in which Greer tries to come up with a scenario whereby Shaw will reveal the whereabouts of the Machine and its defenders. I wondered whether something was up at the start, when Shaw escaped and someone had helpfully left a boat for her to sail away on, but I’m not going to pretend that I was certain about what was going on.
The thing is, though, as I’ve said many times before, I’m really not a fan of hallucinations, dream sequences, simulations and that sort of thing, no matter how brilliantly done. So while this was probably about as good an example of the genre as you’re going to get, and the episode was in many ways a remarkable one, it didn’t quite work for me.