Person of Interest
Season 5, Episode 4: “6,741”
Monday May 16, 2016
To start off, I just want to say, one of the things that I love most about recapping is that it gives me the chance to express and put my feelings and thoughts about my favorite TV shows into words. But on the flip side, when an episode is so amazing that I have a million thoughts and feelings about it, the prospect of putting all of them into a legible recap is both daunting and anxiety-inducing. And Monday night’s episode of Person of Interest “6,741” was one of those episodes of television. So please, bear with me as I try to harness all of my thoughts, thinks, and feelings upon feeling about Monday’s episode and try to produce a coherent recap.
“6,741” could not have started off with a more striking image; a surgical room light reflecting off of Shaw’s eye.
It reminded me of the opening shot of Lost with the extreme closeup of Jack’s eye suddenly opening. Sameen is currently under the “care” of Samaritan operatives who are initiating Phase 2 of their grand plan which begins by inserting a mind control chip into her brain. Next, creepy Stewart comes into the room, inserts a needle into her arm and then remarks to a comatose Sameen about how both her eyes and grey matter are beautiful and then makes a slurpy noise with his mouth along with a zombie joke. Is this guy a contestant on some “How awkward and creepy can you be” show hosted by the evil creepy douchebags of the world? This guy has no right to even be in the presence of the badass awesomeness that is Ms. Sameen Shaw.
A British douchebag places an intersect-esq pair of glasses on Sameen as he asks her a bunch of question which elicits no brain activity from Shaw. Shaw is such a bad ass spy that she is able to control her brain waves during an interrogation. He then plays a game of “Dead or Alive” by showing her pictures of important people in her life, but nothing. Only when he shows pictures of Scooby gang does he get a rise out of Shaw who’s only response is “Did you come up with this game all by yourself or did it tell you to bore me to death?” YAASSSSSS!!! SHAW. IS. BACK!!! Doesn’t look like that mind control chips is working too well for you Samaritan, does it?
The next time we see Shaw, she is sitting in front of a mirror, staring at her extremely well toned arms as well as examining the wound left from her earlier brain surgery.
All of a sudden she smashes the mirror and takes out four Samaritan lackies before they inject her with a sedative. But come on, do these guys really think they can stop Ms. Sameen Shaw? Sameen stabs the nurse with a shard of glass, plays her own game of ‘Dead or Alive’ with the British douchebag by pouring poison in his mouth then taping it shut, jumps a fence to escape the Samaritan torture center and is home free only to realize she is surrounded only by water. The despair on her face is palpable.
That is until she sees a dinky boat which is her ticket back to “The Greatest City in the, GREATEST CITY IN THE Wooorrrllddd… work work.” Sorry Shaw, you have been gone for 9 months which means you have to wait an extra 150 years to get yourself a ticket to Hamilton.
The first thing Shaw does when she gets back to the city is find the closest pharmacy to get the necessary tools to perform self brain surgery. Pair of Scissors? Check. Lighter? Check. Okay seems like you are good to go Shaw, this will almost certainly turn out well. And well it does, because as soon as she starts removing the stitches with her “sterilized” scissors her vision is clouded by an overflow of light and random images. When she finally is able to refocus, she looks in the mirror to see her hands are covered in blood. She exits the bathroom to an eerily empty store and asks the clerk Bobby Jackson to borrow his phone to report that she is about to kill murder said Bobby Jackson, but not before she gets him to help her clean off her hands.
And, you know, it is the little lines here and there that really reminded me how much I miss Shaw. Like how amazing is this line by Shaw:
“Stop, stop wetting yourself. Alright, I’m not really gonna kill you I just need to make it look good.”
Just as Shaw had planned, the ASIs picked up on her very obvious breadcrumb and followed up on the murder tip. Even though Samaritan gets to the scene first, Root is right behind ready to save the day and her girl! The Shaw and Root reunion made my heart grow 4 sizes. The music in the background, the loving looks, (reel it in Alyssa, reel it in…) but this is all cut short when Shaw experiences another migraine and collapses.
When Sameen comes to she is laying on a line of seats on an empty subway with John and Root standing above. Remember when Shaw was performing self brain surgery a few minutes back, well that was like a fucking hermetically sealed bubble compared to her new operating room… a NYC Subway Car. Root strokes Shaw’s face, and tries to comfort Sameen by discussing their first encounter:
Root: “Remember how we first met?”
Shaw: “You tried to burn me with an iron.”
Root: “Fun, right? Maybe you’ll like this too, but it’s probably gonna suck.”
In Root’s own way, that is totally a comforting statement. Shaw passes out from the pain and this time she wakes up in Root’s apartment. (yup, ROOT’S APARTMENT) and the gang is there to greet her, but most importantly Bear is there! The only reunion I have been looking forward to more than Shaw and Root is Shaw and Bear. Bear just makes everything better.
Shaw wants to get right back into action, and take down Samaritan, and lashes out when Harold says the should slow down and make a plan, responding with, “Yeah, because action isn’t really your thing. Did you even look for me?” Mic. Drop. On that note, Harold, John, and Bear leave (why did they take Bear?!?!) so Root can take care of her girl.
Here comes the part where I am going to try really hard to not make the rest of this review just a Root/Shaw Shipper love letter, because this is finally happening.
When the boys leave, Root looks into Shaw’s eyes and says “I never stopped looking for you.”
Root moves in for the kiss, an advance which Sameen dismisses. After telling Root that she “really isn’t in the mindset for this” she turns on her side and Root sadly walks away. I have to say, I can’t really blame Shaw at all, and I was a bit surprised at Root’s forwardness. She just had Train Brain Surgery, it is understandable that she is not in the mood.
But, who am I to know what Shaw is thinking and feeling because, in the next scene, Shaw comes up behind Root and just goes for it. And man, do they go for it. I am not sure how to say this in a way that isn’t creepy, but them hooking up was basically exactly how I imagined it would be: super physical and aggressive but also sweet and loving. The only thing that made me really uncomfortable was that is was really rough, AND SHAW JUST HAD BRAIN TRAIN SURGERY. Besides that, it was pretty awesome.
But it doesn’t just end there, after their massive plate and glass shattering sex, while the two are laying in bed caressing each other, Shaw opens up to Root about the torture. It is such a touching moment because Shaw doesn’t open up to people. She dismisses uncomfortable feelings and tries to ignore them, but there in bed with Root, she is able to feel vulnerable. Finally, Shaw says, “I couldn’t stand you when we first met, but you wouldn’t stop bugging me” and goes in for another kiss. Swoon.
After Root falls asleep Shaw heads to the bathroom and while looking in the mirror she has another migraine/flashback. This time when she comes to she finds herself holding a gun and a block of C4. There are many scenes in this episode that show what a spectacularly amazing actress Sarah Shahi is but for some reason this scene really stuck out to me. Shaw is staring in the mirror, yelling at her reflection to “Get out of my he..” and then there is a knock at the door. She stops herself mid-word and collects herself while standing in front the mirror before putting the weapons in the drawer under the sink and having Root take her back to bed.
Shaw wakes up to an empty bed, but not to fear, Root is just on the phone. She calls Sameen “baby” swoon and leaves to pick up some breakfast aka Meet John at the local diner. You know that mind altering chip that was removed via Brain Train surgery, it was actually a placebo. John tries to get Root to see that there is a possibility that Shaw may have been turned, but Root is having none of it. Shaw, who heard the whole convo via a bug she placed on Root, is having none of it either, and decides to take matters into her own hand. She is going to destroy Samaritan, and the first order of business is to alert them of her exact location.
I think it is important to say here that from I think the scene that Shaw wakes up in the subway car, until this very moment, there has not been a single commercial. It was intense to say the least, and for one of the very few times in my life I was begging for a commercial break so I could finally let out a breath.
Back to the show, Shaw’s plan works, and about a millisecond later, they are raiding Samaritan’s lair. They capture the evil John Greer, and bring him to the basement dungeon area of an old NYC church, but unfortunately Root gets shot in the process. After a short interrogation, Shaw finds and removes a USB from Greer’s arm which they assume is a Samaritan kill switch. When Sameen is left alone with Greer and he convinces her that escaping, implanting the USB drive in his arm, and Shaw capturing Greer was all a plan hatched by Shaw. Samaritan broke her months ago and that kill switch she gave Harold, it is not a kill switch, but it is a beacon that will lead Samaritan straight to the machine. Finally Shaw shoots the asshole straight between the eyes and she and John go to warn Harold to not plug-in the drive, but it is too late. While heading back to the machine though, Shaw keeps having flashes and when John questions her about them, she shoots him dead and tells Harold that Samaritan did it.
Root leaves Harold and the machine to help Shaw and tries to convince Shaw to come with her back to the subway. But again Shaw resists. Instead she leads Root to a playground, and pulls her gun on her. Roots tells her that she if she wanted to kill her she would have done it already, but “Somewhere in your sociopathic heart, you know we belong together.” Root will keep Shaw safe, as long as they just head back to the machine. To which Shaw replies:
“But nothing’s safe. Do you know where we are? What they did to me? The torture. I told you I couldn’t escape it, but when things got to be too bad there was one place I would go to in my mind. Here. With you. You were my safe place.”
ROOT IS SHAW’S SAFE PLACE! Let me repeat that one more time. ROOT IS SHAW’S SAFE PLACE!
And then, instead of shooting Root, Shaw shoots herself to end the pain. And as she looks into the playground, images swirl around in her head, and the shot cuts back to the Samaritan lab, where Shaw has just concluded Samaritan’s 6741st attempt to find out where the machine is through placing Sameen in a simulation. And since attempt number 6741 ended again with Shaw killing herself instead of revealing the location of the machine, Greer has the technicians start it all over again with simulation number 6742.
I have to say, that was one of the best hours of television I have seen on network tv in a really long time. And not just because of the highly anticipated Root/Shaw reunion, which was very important for many reasons, but I think it was really powerful to see Shaw’s strength and vulnerability. Being tortured didn’t break her, it made her realize she needs people. She needs John. She needs Harold. She needs Bear. But most importantly she needs Root. Root is her safe place, which is kind of amazing to hear her say out loud because it is always Root who is expressing her feelings, never Shaw.
So I hope that was readable, and I will leave you off with a few other thoughts I had about the episodes:
- I really love how this episode used shots of Sameen looking at herself in a mirror. There were three distinct scenes which are of Shaw’s reflections from a mirror. On a second viewing, I wonder if they used that to symbolize Shaw watching this from the outside the whole time.
- Um way to screw the pooch CBS and air a commercial for the next episode which shows John alive and kicking RIGHT AFTER JOHN GOT SHOT AND BEFORE THE EPISODE ENDED. I get that it was pretty obvious that this was not reality, but I mean you basically spoiled yourself during the show.
Person of Interest airs Mondays on CBS.