This episode nearly killed me.
The whole “It was all a dream thing” didn’t catch me totally off-guard. I was ready for anything. It certainly helped that I was coming off an episode of Jane the Virgin that redefined ‘season finale insanity.’ Theories that went through my head:
- The escape attempt would be unsuccessful and then would be revealed to be just the latest in a long string of escape attempts, none of which Shaw could remember.
- The escape sequence would be unsuccessful and then revealed to have happened months ago; Shaw would still be in custody.
- The whole thing was real (R.I.P. Shaw, R.I.P. Reese, R.I.P. Greer).
- The whole thing was a Machine simulation/a fantasy of Root’s/Bear’s dream.
- Part of it was real, at some point Shaw fell unconscious/asleep and started wildly hallucinating/dreaming and she’d wake up, safe and sound, in Root’s bed.
So, yeah. The show really kept me on my toes. Until they showed a promo for next week in the middle of the episode revealing Reese to be alive and running around, obviously not a) dead or b) recovering from a chest wound. That really pissed me off, honestly. Watching on a west coast schedule as I do, it’s hard enough to avoid spoilers from the internet and well meaning friends. I actually have to work at it and I do not do that work to have the show’s own network spoil me halfway through the most eagerly anticipated episode of the season! Not. Cool.
Will Shaw be back? She better be. I really was afraid she was going to die. If she had died, would it have been an appropriate end to her story? Sacrificing herself for the team would have been heroic and wrapping up the character in a single episode would mean Sarah Shahi wasn’t away from her babies too long. These factors made her “death” all the more believable. Even with the spoilerific promo, I found myself thinking oh god, is this really it? Is she really dead? I wanted so much more! For a show often guilty of tipping its hand, that is commendable.
What’s more, after these sorts of episodes, where nothing turns out to have really happened, I generally find myself annoyed at having wasted an hour of my life. Not so here. That is, of course, due to the strength of the performances as well as the writing. Gold acting stars all around, but especially to Amy Acker who, if life were fair, would have a small army of Emmys and Oscars at this point. And we finally got down to sexy times with Root and Shaw. Too bad it turned out to be imaginary. At least Shaw’s suicide was also imaginary. Take that, dead lesbian trope.
The second time through the episode, I watched for hints that all this was happening in Shaw’s mind. I didn’t spot anything beyond the obvious flickers in Shaw’s awareness. Finch, Root, and Reese were all acting completely in character and they didn’t say anything that the audience knows to be untrue. Root never did give up looking for Shaw and Finch really did believe she was dead. Is Shaw really just that good? Does she know her friends so well? Maybe her time as a spy is responsible. She knows how to read people and how to do it well. Did anyone catch anything I missed?
Bits and Pieces
I almost cried when Bear saw Shaw again.
I really worked hard to keep this review as free of shipper squeeing as possible. But, trust me, I squeed.
Root: “Fugitives can’t be choosers.”
Root: “Remember how we first met?”
Shaw: “You tried to burn me with an iron.”
Root: “Fun, right?”
Root: “I never stopped looking for you.”
four out of four simulations
sunbunny, person of interest and Bear the Dog fangirl
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- Watch this episode or the entire season on Amazon now