It is of vital importance that if you haven’t seen this episode that you don’t read this recap at all. I would hate for you to have it spoiled like some of us unlucky people had it spoiled last night. I actively avoid Twitter from 7pm PST ’til after the show is shown here on the West Coast but last night someone who frankly was very rude, decided that everyone in a private Facebook group needed to know what happened, even before the East Coast had seen the episode. I often say that if you want to avoid spoilers don’t go online, but this group has a strict rule set which this person just completely ignored because he felt the rules were stupid. And that is rude. Luckily in the end he was completely wrong about his spoiler, which I’ll be explaining why his observation of what happened was completely incorrect.

The episode started off where we left off, with the crash of the stock market. They explained why a economical crash in the United States could have world wide implications which I think was great because I feared some people may have been watching and not understanding the significance of financial ruin and Samaritan’s plan.

Root reveals though that they had figured this might be something that Samaritan would do and there was a fix already. Only problem, it has to be installed in person for it to work. So she takes Finch (who apparently is needed to install the fix, but I’m not entirely sure why), Fusco, John and herself to the Stock Exchange to install it. Shaw is left behind to work the numbers that come up in the meantime.

Apparently the Stock Exchange has its own network that is separate to any network that either The Machine or Samaritan can access. I imagine this is for safety reasons for the trades. So Finch and Root have to allow The Machine access to these networks, which is easily done. Once The Machine gets full access it realizes that Samaritan had predicted that the team would be there to try to stop it from what it was doing, and that they were set up, in a trap.

A shoot out begins and the team takes refuge in a break room. We won’t analyze why the guys chasing the team never entered the break room and rather just stood outside emptying their weapons into a door. I guess the writers wanted to do cool slow motion shots of food being shot and what not.

So while the team is hiding in this break room John begins to question if The Machine can help them. Finch says to give it a second, and I think he was being quite literal and hopefully most people understood that, that what followed was The Machine analyzing the options within a second.

Lets take a side break here. Fusco had to have been thoroughly confused during this scene or once again playing dumb. Several times Samaritan was referenced as well as The Machine and although he didn’t seem to understand what they were going on about, I think he knew full well and for whatever reason he’s not letting on. I just can’t believe that Fusco hasn’t figured it out yet.

Before we get a glimpse into The Machine’s solution processing we flashback to when Finch is teaching The Machine how to play chess. The first lesson is that you will make choices that may not always result with the outcome you wanted, and that in order to achieve the outcome you want, you make choices going forward to fix the previous “wrong”.

Scenario number one was probably what most everyone would have thought would be the best route, although it turned out to be one that was unsuccessful. Harold and Root went to the server room to install the fix while John and Fusco go to the elevator to get it working. And while Shaw isn’t there with the team she is an important part to the solution.

There is a man riding the subway that has a much-needed code to the server room. Without this code they will have to break in which will alert Samaritan to what’s happening and lessen their chances of getting away. Major problem is a man who has decided that his financial ruin is too much is on the train and he’s going to blow up the train to take out the broker who lost all his money.

Shaw decides instead of talking this man down that she’s going to threaten him and finally just shoots him in the head. This though results in her arrest and her being unable to obtain the code from the other man. This code proves very important for the scenario.

Because of Shaw’s inability to obtain the code, Root has to break into the server room which then alters Samaritan to where they are, although technically they already knew where they were going due to their actions earlier when they took out two Samaritan thugs and Greer had seen that his agents were down.

Martine was sent to the escape route, since they know the only real way out is the elevator, while another smaller group is sent to the server room. In the end Finch is shot and dies while John and Fusco are confronted in a hallway. The Machine deems this possible course of action a failure due to the fix not being installed and the teams lack of survival and resets.

We did get to enjoy those a few back and forth remarks between John, Fusco and Martine though.

Once again we flashback to The Machine learning to play chess where Finch explains the importance of sacrifice, that sometimes not everyone can live in order to survive and that The Machine will have to make those choices.

Scenario two has The Machine deciding to flip the “teams” from scenario one. John and Fusco to install the fix and Root and Finch to go to the elevator. Oddly enough this solution does actually go better in the beginning, because Samaritan isn’t alerted to the teams movement as soon since Fusco pretends to be one of the Samaritan agents. The only thing that doesn’t work once again is Shaw is unable to obtain the code and is arrested so John has to break into the server room, which alerts Samaritan. And because Fusco isn’t exactly the most tech savvy of the group things get out of control fast. What I enjoyed the most about this scenario is that The Machine knows John very well. Instead of allowing Fusco to die in an effort to install the fix, he throws Fusco out of the room basically and sacrifices himself in a grand way. This scenario included Root giving a big speech to Shaw about her love for her and trying to convince Shaw that they belong together. It’s Root’s goodbye to Shaw we find out while she tries to cut the wires on the elevator to release it. The scenario ends with no fix installed and most of the team dead so The Machine deems it not a good solution and resets.

Scenario three keeps the team together. Where the best of both scenarios can work to hopefully have a positive outcome. In the end the possibility of success from this scenario is only 2% though. It’s low, but it’s better than the other scenarios. This scenario was shown in a quicker manner, which I found interesting. The Machine had Fusco kiss Root, which was funny, a bit of a break from the serious nature of the show. Then it went about dialoguing the team by stating the type of remarks they would make rather than actually producing them. In this scenario Shaw is successful at talking the bomber down and obtains the code, which is what makes this the most successful scenario than the others. The Machine decides that this scenario is the best and that’s where we finally begin watching reality.

What’s interesting is that The Machine seemed to consider Shaw’s involvement done after she obtained the code, which was something Finch had talked about in a flashback, that sometimes while playing chess you’ll not see everything which can sneak up and hurt you.

So the team runs through the scenario and it goes well up until they need to get to the elevator. John gets shot and we find also that Root gets shot but she’s still standing. The likelihood of success plummets to near zero until Shaw shows up. And she alone makes the likelihood of success jump up.

Everyone gets to the elevator but it’s stuck and won’t go for some reason. There is an override button across the hall that Shaw is pretty sure will release the elevator and she sacrifices herself so that the team can get away. Of course not before giving Root a kiss.

We see Shaw get shot at least two times but she manages to release the elevator and the team gets away. The episode ends with Martine getting ready to shoot Shaw in the head, but as the show closes Shaw is still alive on the ground.

Why do I point that out? Because no one is dead until you see them dead. Now it’s very much so possible that Shaw will end up dead. Sarah Shahi hasn’t been on set since the filming of these episodes (because she’s pregnant after all). But this doesn’t mean she’s dead. And by the preview that’s what the writers want you to believe as well. That Shaw wasn’t actually killed but rather taken, and it’s very much so a possibility that Samaritan would see Shaw as useful to drawing out the team. They will come to get her, it has to know that. So there is always hope that she will survive this mess.

There is the possibility that somehow Samaritan will also turn Shaw, and that she may not come back for most of the rest of this season and will show up as a “bad guy” later. I mean there are many possibilities that all result in her being alive. Or she just could be simply dead. But that hasn’t been confirmed yet.

So I won’t be mourning the death of Shaw until I see a body, that’s actually dead. Until then she’s alive and the possibilities of what is happening to her are endless.

I enjoyed the flashbacks with Finch. It’s interesting to see how hard he worked to get The Machine to a point where it choses life over who it deems most important and trying so hard to convince The Machine to not protect him over everyone else. Although in a manner The Machine has listened to him, it’s also completely ignored him in that regard. 

What was even more interesting is that Finch described exactly what I think will be Samaritan’s downfall. Samaritan is playing a game, plain and simple. It sees no importance in people beyond how they benefit it. So in the end I think that this will be its downfall. People will turn on Samaritan, and I have a feeling I know who that person will be, and in the end, Samaritan’s lack of care for those it recruits, it’s inability to recognize that humans are not pieces on a chess board, is what will have it be destroyed. That’s why The Machine will win in the end, because The Machine understands every person’s worth, and cares.

So once again John is shot. That poor guy just never gets a pass. I worry about Fusco and whether he’s been exposed or not. I think he still may be fine. Next week looks to be a good episode too and it’s the conclusion of this trilogy. I can’t wait!