I also think Reese is very sweet here. I think he probably doesn’t have quite the faith that Root does (which makes sense, as it’s not the love of his life he’s chasing), but nor is he of Harold’s doubters’ party; he’s holding into some hope there. But in this conversation what he’s really doing is trying to make sure he helps Root keep up her faith because he knows she needs it, and he needs her to have it. Honestly, between this conversation and the moment later when they were rescuing the Shaw decoy (I’ll mention it when I get there), Reese endeared himself more to me this episode than he had in maybe years.
Throughout the entire narrative thread that belongs to Murders R Us (because their names both start with R! I KILL ME), Root just has no time for anyone’s shit, and if it were all less heartbreaking it would be hilarious. Chief of Police wants to play grab-ass? He’s going in a suitcase, consequences be damned. (“Coy isn’t really my thing, either,” SAMANTHA OH MY GOD.) (p.s. does “Oh, this doesn’t weigh a thing, don’t mind me” count as coy if you’re hauling a grown man in a body bag up a flight of stairs?) Doctor looks fishy? Kick in his front door. Factory head isn’t giving up useful answers? Drill her hand. Guards won’t clear out? Shoot the shit out of them. Sameen isn’t where she’s supposed to be? DESTROY EVERYTHING.
That moment was genuinely terrifying, almost entirely due to Amy Acker’s acting. I knew, of course, that Shaw was going to be alive one way or another, but Root didn’t. It’s not a coincidence that Delia Jordan was in a room-within-a-room; she was another Schrödinger’s cat, and that ward was her box. Root was entirely correct that literally up until the moment that Delia turned over and asked to go home, she was Shaw, because she wasn’t anyone else. How could the characters or we have imagined there’d be more than one person in such a situation?
Reese, leaning hard on his superhero side, responds to this by rescuing Delia (and eventually being entirely prepared to take unknown number of bullets for her—this was the other endearing moment). Root, well:
I can’t find a screencap or gif that really demonstrates the degree to which she laid waste to that factory (also, that was a lot of armed men for a skeleton crew, I’m just saying), but basically she went full Terminator and it was both awesome and incredibly sad. Root spends the entire episode fraying thinner and thinner.
By the end—when they’ve made valuable moves against Samaritan and saved some good people, but not found Shaw—she is absolutely at her limit. Root is standing on a sidewalk just staring into a surveillance camera, begging The Machine for answers. Her desperate state culminates in an incredible scene with Harold (the two of them are always wonderful together) in which Harold keeps trying to get her to let go of Shaw (LOL HAROLD NO) and she keeps insisting she needs answers. She needs to open the box, whatever may be inside.
Her refusal to accept The Machine’s silence is pretty revolutionary for her. She has gone from unquestioning obedience to what looks like it might be flat-out rebellion—a progression that is, of course, in interesting tension with Reese’s statements to the head of Maple’s factory about how those who follow orders without question are responsible for the consequences and deserve what they get. This is fascinating—WHERE IS ROOT GOING AT THE END??? WHAT IS SHE GOING TO DO?!—and also it supports my assertion from a few weeks back that The Machine isn’t so much the love of her life as She is her adoptive mother. Shaw is the love of her life. Of course we don’t know yet quite what “Goodbye, Harold” means, or what the Machine’s plea to Sierra Tango Oscar Papa will mean for Root, but it’s hard not to read the end of her story in this episode as a clear choice of Shaw as more important than The Machine’s direction. That is huge.
Some odds and ends:
This may be my last recap ever for this show, unless things take a drastically unexpected turn. If that turns out to be the case, I just wanted to say it’s been really fun doing this with you guys! Prayer circle for Silva to get a girlfriend TOOT SWEET.