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Yesterday’s episode put us back squarely in the middle of the Samaritan storyline. They just threw us back in. It was nice having a break from it for a small amount of time but obviously they had to return to it sometime, and we did that last night.

5The episode started with a bit of humor with John moonlighting as security at a company called Fetch & Retrieve. Obviously a play on a certain major search engine that we all love and use these days. The new number Anna works there as a transcriber for the companies’ new voice search function VAL. They have to determine what exactly the threat is to Anna or if she’s the threat, obviously, and Reese leans towards her being a victim because of the bruising that is visible on her arm.

Meanwhile Harold has found another Nautilus puzzle sign and worries Samaritan is recruiting again. He soon notices though that this puzzle actually has a message in it that says basically that he was right and he realizes immediately that it’s from Claire, a POI that was recruited early in the season.

John has followed Anna to a club where there is a MMA ring and finds out she is a MMA fighter in her downtime. I’d like to stop here and comment on how unlikely it would have been for John to just walk into that club especially being so well dressed. We find out later that apparently in NY MMA isn’t legal and often these fight clubs involve all sorts of illegal behavior and frankly to me John screams “I’m a cop!” in everything he does, so the fact that the guy at the front door just let him in, was weird. The guy at the front door needs a new job, cause he’s pretty bad at it just letting people in willy-nilly.

Back with Harold though he’s tracked down Claire who tells him he was right and that the people she went to work for are horrible just like he said, then she’s shot, in the shoulder. How convenient to her, don’t you think? It’s enough to convince Harold who takes Claire to a nearby mortuary, which is funny in itself.

So we’ll suspend any prior knowledge of Samaritan and how they work, and the fact that Harold is well, handicapped and couldn’t outrun a Samaritan operative without some help, and go with the belief that for some reason the Samaritan people were okay with Claire getting away with some random guy. I think this should have been clue number one for Harold that something was not right in this entire situation. But he cares just a tad bit too much for some people, he’s going to have to learn not to or else he’s going to get himself killed.

So they arrive at the mortuary where Harold hacks the camera systems and puts them on a loop. But what he didn’t  do before hacking the cameras, which I understand he had to do the cameras first, was wash off his hands. I noticed this before it became a issue later in the show, but seriously how many people would leave blood all over their hands? And it wasn’t dried blood, that would make sense, no it was wet blood. Why not wipe that stuff off on your pants or something before typing away at a keyboard? I get it, it’s part of the storyline, and will be important later, but this seems so unlike Finch to be so careless.3

Meanwhile John finds out that Anna’s sister is fighting cancer which will prove significant later. Also Anna is having an issue at work and found an anomaly within the VAL program that has concerned her. She’s alerted upper management but basically they’ve told her to keep her mouth shut or else she’d be without a job and as far as she knows, her friend who also knows of this is now without a job. On Anna’s way home two guys try to kidnap her but of course John is there to stop them. She tells John and Fusco about how there was a man asking VAL for help for depression and suicide hotlines and instead of giving the right answers it was giving him answers on how to kill himself, basically things that in the end drove him to kill himself. Anna tried to help him personally but she was too late.

At first I thought this was Samaritan at work because this reads so much like Samaritan. I mean what better way to get rid of those you find to be a threat by making them do it themselves?

Back with Claire and Harold Claire explains why she’s no longer working with Samaritan and how she left because she found out she was tracking down people for the company and they were dying as a result. She did take a little consolation prize on her way out though, a bit of Samaritan’s source code.

I’m sorry but I had this girl pegged as what she was the moment she showed up. Luckily Harold seemed to realize that perhaps Samaritan was trying to get to him and his team via the inside, by directly connecting to his laptop. So he didn’t plug it in and even called Claire out on some lies she had told. She’s good though and through a bit of acting and playing at Harold’s inner want to help she convinced him she wasn’t working with Samaritan.

I will have to say although Harold has taken the position to believe Claire thus far he has no once told her his name. So honestly who knows, is Harold being too trusting or is he working her just as she’s working him? I like to believe he caught on to her little act right away, and thought of the opportunity it presented him. But maybe he didn’t, maybe he just has prepared for this sort of situation and is ready at all times?

Meanwhile Anna’s sister is having a medical issue so she and Fusco race to her house only to have two men kidnap her and knock poor Fusco out. That man is snuck up on so many times, it really is sad. And the poor guy has to have brain damage by now with how often his knocked unconscious. But as always John is there to save the day, although Anna seems to think she could have handled it, and she probably could have.

7John sends Fusco to get the algorithm for VAL so they can determine what the anomaly is and he does so by hitting up Anna’s coworker who we had found out was paid off and promoted in an effort to keep him quiet. The code reveals that VAL is purposely pushing out these results to these people so Fusco and the coder go to the CEO to tell her of this. She is of course very concerned but soon the founder of the company interrupts them with his security bad guys and he’s talking about marketing and pushing people to buy things and how one death was worth it because it’s testing after all. Anyhow John and Anna swoop in and kick some butt and Fusco gets in a few punches and all is said and done on that end.

Meanwhile Harold’s blood on his hand has come back to haunt because he left blood on the keyboard and the security guard noticed. But Harold as always has a plan and Claire hides while Harold knocks the poor guy out. They go to escape and this is when Claire turns on Harold.

So now Harold is in the hands of a Samaritan agent and Claire decides she’s going to turn him. She obviously has no idea what he’s gone through because of Samaritan and frankly it’s a very futile effort on her part. Of course, this allows time for Root to finally show up and save him.

What was interesting was that Samaritan is very smart. It has set up ways of “brainwashing” people, by starting young and at schools. I mean that’s why public education was started anyhow way back when – it’s the perfect and most easy way to pull people to your side. Of course Claire has only seen the good that Samaritan is supposedly doing, she’s not encountered the bad even though Harold pointed out that Samaritan would take her out without a second thought if she proved not useful anymore. And she’s lucky it didn’t when she failed as well.

But I realized that people who work for Samaritan are delusional. Honestly I think Samaritan has the ability to find the most educationally smart but incredibly stupid people in the world. Most people would see this and be very concerned, global domination is never a good thing. But these people are just idiots. No matter how good something looks, if it requires conformity on a mass scale and results in deaths, it’s just wrong.

At the end, John and the team meet back up at the station and he seems relieved to see Root is back, even if she’s out the door. At least though we know she’s working again. Can you imagine how angry John will be realizing that Harold was in enemy hands and he wasn’t there to help? John would have let Anna die if he knew Harold was kidnapped again. He would have dropped everything, had Fusco figure it out.2

This is when we find out that Harold has embedded a tracker on his laptop and although they quickly find it we also find out that the laptop was wiped clean. I don’t know if this is an automatic process that Harold did after he was saved by Root or if it’s something he did before being kidnapped. Either way he’s put protections in place so that their stuff doesn’t fall into Samaritan’s hands. Luckily his phone was not confiscated.

After all this though, we did find out that Samaritan wasn’t involved in any of it, but like my thinking early on, VAL is a great service to sway people into your kind of thinking and, well, Samaritan has just realized that and sends Greer to go purchase the company.

Yet another good episode. I’m interested in seeing where this goes. Claire may be a bit up in the air because she wasn’t fond of the fact that they shot her and wasn’t supposed to. Next week looks like a continuation of the Dominic storyline as well. Frankly I’ve been waiting for Elias to come back and kick that guy’s ass.