Synopsis for 5×04: Shaw escapes Samaritan’s hold and reunites with Team Machine, but nothing goes as planned.
For the first time this season, the audience met back up with Shaw, currently in the custody of Samaritan and its agents. They were, as we had expected, implanting a chip in her head with the desire to control her thoughts and behaviors in order to use her as a way to bring down the Machine. Greer and Lambert seemed to find the whole thing amusing, and after the chip was implanted they walked her through some basic questions. She remained, as ever, resistant to their brand of torture, even as they attempted to brainwash her into giving up the location of her friends and the Machine.
Eventually she broke a mirror, and hatched an escape plan. They said the chip hadn’t worked, and she concealed a piece of glass in her hand as they wheeled her to the operating room to try again. At that point they didn’t care if it made her a vegetable; they’d continue trying until she either died, or they got what they wanted from her. She managed to break away, though, and used Lambert as a human shield to try and escape the facility.
With ease she got past all of the guards and other barriers, only to realize they had put her on an island. In the distance there was a boat and she swam toward it and managed to get the island and back to New York, where she found a pharmacy. She had every intention of trying to remove the chip from her brain in the bathroom, but kept having fits where her vision went in and out and she didn’t know what she was doing because Samaritan was, presumably, messing with her mind.
The next thing she needed was to draw out Team Machine. So she threatened the clerk and pretended like she was going to kill him in the hope that the Machine would give his number and the team would show up. Lo and behold, her plan worked, though Samaritan’s people showed up, too. Root and Shaw easily dispatched the Samaritan cronies and were then gloriously reunited. Root hadn’t expected to see her standing there, yet there she was.
Root got her to safety after Shaw had another episode where her brain short-circuited, and when she woke up she was in Root’s place. Even though Shaw had just been through hell, Root kissed her, and they eventually did the do right then and there. In the end they rested in bed together, but Shaw got up in the middle of the night and went into the bathroom. Her brain was screwed with again by Samaritan, and when she came back to herself she was holding a gun and an explosive.
Root got her back to bed, and the next morning got called away by John who told her that the chip that had been implanted had been a placebo. It was not something that could control anyone, let alone Shaw. Root went to meet up with him and he cautioned her against trusting Shaw, especially since they’d just gotten her back and they didn’t know what the extent of the damage was. Shaw had planted a bug on Root and showed up on the scene, frantic and upset that neither of them seemed inclined to trust her. She insisted there was nothing wrong with her, and she would prove it by destroying Samaritan.
With a bit of quick work the team was able to track back to Greer, and they captured him. They dragged him to a church, the only place in the City where nothing could get in and nothing could get out. They were hiding from a god, and that’s where they met Finch. With Greer secured in a room, Shaw insisted that he had to have some sort of Samaritan kill switch on him and eventually sliced open his arm and retrieved a USB drive. She turned it over to Finch and had a moment with him, where he apologized for giving up.
Shaw’s brain short-circuited again and she attacked Finch without realizing it. Eventually separated, Finch encouraged her to get some rest and made a quick getaway. Greer seemed smug. When Samaritan agents showed up above in the church, Reese went to take care of them while Shaw remained down with Greer. He then told her that everything was going exactly according to plan; the kill switch in his arm had been her idea. They broke her out, let her run away, because she was under their control.
She shot Greer in the head and Reese came back to get her. She explained the USB drive was a trojan horse and they had to stop Finch from plugging it in. Shaw dragged Reese into an alleyway even though they were supposed to be making their way back to the subway and had another fit. Reese insisted that something was wrong and offered to go grab coffee with her, to do anything to get to the bottom of what was going on. She eventually pulled a gun and shot him, leaving him for dead, insisting to Finch that Reese was dead because of Samaritan agents.
Then Samaritan operatives showed up, presumably to collect her. She ran from them, and Root eventually met up with her and helped her dodge them. Root insisted they needed to get back to the subway, to the Machine, to protect it and Finch from Samaritan since John was gone. Root told Shaw to lead the way and she’d watch her tail, but Shaw led her instead away from the Machine and over to the docks. She and Root had a moment, where she explained that during the brainwashing there was only one safe place she could go to, and that safe place was with Root.
Shaw, knowing she’d been turned, shot herself in the head to end it so that she wouldn’t give up the Machine’s location. It was quickly revealed that the entire thing had been one of Samaritan’s simulations. They were testing Shaw through virtual simulation to see if she would lead them to the Machine, and it had failed. Again. Apparently it was the 6,741st time she had ended her own life instead of following through and leading them where they needed to go.
They’d prep her again, put her through it all over and over, until they got what they wanted.