Sarah Shahi returned to CBS’ Person of Interest for the fourth episode of Season 5, setting the stage for classic Shaw badassery… some softer(-ish!) moments between her and Root… and then two instances of jaw-dropping bloodshed.But was all not quite as it seemed?
Seeing as Shaw has killed six Samaritan guards in the past nine months, we open with Greer having a chip implanted into the base of her skull, as part of a plan to tame her into a usable asset. When a one-on-one with Lambert has dissatisfactory results, she is penciled in for another implant — but she faked being drugged, muscles her way past the guards and gets away via an unattended boat. Once back in New York, she swings by a pharmacy to borrow the phone and make a call that basically announces to both Samaritan (and The Machine, if she is alive) her location. Shaw fends off most of the arriving Samaritan toughs, but one gets the drop on her is about to go for the kill when he himself is felled — by Root. Cue a “not very friendly homecoming.”
After Root performs on-the-fly removal of the chip (in a moving, “caked-with-rat crap” subway car), Shaw is brought to Root’s digs, where the team is divided about whether she can be trusted, given what Martine once said and the duration of her captivity. When Shaw’s abrupt attitude toward Harold’s failure to look for her sends the men packing, Root assures her, “I never stopped looking for you.” Root goes to “thank” Shaw for saving her life back at the Stock Exchange, but Shaw isn’t in the right mindset… until a few hours later, when she can’t sleep, and shares with Root her skepticism that they’ll both make it out of this alive. That leads to 60-plus seconds of two alpha females swapping “the lead” as they finally consummate their long-simmering feelings, with Shaw ultimately lifting Root upon onto a table, sending plates flying and crashing, blouse buttons popping… and so on. The coupling is followed by some pillow talk, in which Root shares her more fervent-than-ever desire to turn Samaritan into an Atari, as punishment all the pain it has caused her love.
Later, Shaw makes a ballsy play to “take the fight to Samaritan,” by drawing out some of their goons and even nabbing Greer in the process. They take the Samaritan honcho to the basement of a church (“the best place to hide from a god”), where they discover in his arm an implanted USB drive. On it, Harold believes, is “kill switch” code that undo The Machine’s evil twin. But in “actuality,” Greer taunts Shaw, their ruse is going exactly as planned — that the implanted USB was her idea, that she was allowed to escape, that the “kill switch” is in fact a beacon to alert Samaritan to The Machine’s whereabouts. Greer assures Shaw that the blood will be on her hands when she murders “all of her friends,” words that agitate her until she puts a bullet in the old man’s bean.
Later, walking the city with John, Shaw confesses the circumstances under which she killed Greer, and he senses she is not herself. John suggests that have a coffee and talk things out, but Shaw instead is compelled to shoot him in cold blood — and she does. Then, with Samaritan goons on her tail, Shaw is pulled to safety by Root. Shaw cops to killing Reese, and then opens up about how during the worst of her captivity, Root was her “safe place,” the thought she would turn to to stay cool.
“But not anymore,” Shaw adds. “I can’t control myself… The only thing I can control is this,” she says as she turns her gun on her own head, and ends her life.
Because as the hour ends, we realize that almost all of the above merely took place in Shaw’s mind, as the Samaritan techs took her through a simulation, hoping that she would lead them to The Machine’s location. (The “good” news? This time, she took an extra hour to “kill” Greer.) But now, Greer orders her to be put her it again… for a 6,742nd time.