Synopsis for 5×11: The team all work through Root’s death in their own way, while also trying to save the President and running into a few old friends. The only one missing from the festivities is Harold Finch, who has gone off on his own quest to destroy Samaritan.
Of course, everyone mourned Root in this episode. It started with Reese and Fusco having a moment at her unmarked grave, where she was given only a number and not a true name. Fusco went so far as to comment on the injustice of it, as she deserved so much more. He also spoke highly of her overall, because while she was crazy, she had conviction. Both boys appreciated her sacrifice for the cause, but knew there was more to do, and they had to find Shaw.
Finch left the City and made his way across the country. He and the Machine had an open conversation, chatting as if she were a real person sitting beside him. Pulled off on the side of the road, pretending to fix a car, an officer stopped by because his vehicle didn’t have plates and had been reported stolen. Naturally, Finch had a new ID to throw at him and the Machine backed his play so that he was allowed to leave without a word.
He and the Machine had a discussion about the voice she’d chosen, and about Root. Finch asked her to change the voice, and she did. She acknowledged that he was mourning her death, and he insisted the Machine couldn’t understand, but she explained she did. See, the Machine had learned because of Finch how to love people. She has the ability to see every aspect of a person, every path they could take, and “isn’t that what love is, being seen?” The Machine also admitted that at the point of Root’s death, she and Root were “virtually indistinguishable.” She knew so much about Root that she could emulate her perfectly.
Shaw, meanwhile, sat perched at a park in all black and seemed rather unemotional about the whole thing. She kept feeling for the chip in her neck, no doubt waiting for it to be the end of another simulation. Reese found her there and tried to convince her that it wasn’t a simulation. Everything around them was real, Root’s death was real. Shaw didn’t want that and exposed herself to Samaritan, who was about to dispatch agents. Reese thought she was about to be captured but instead she was handed a new idea, and just like Root, she was protected for a short time thanks to the ID the Machine was able to generate for her.
They got another number, and while Shaw didn’t want to take it, Reese insisted. After all, it was the President they were being asked to protect.
The team, consisting now of Reese, Shaw, and Fusco, ended up in Washington DC. Shaw received an identification that would get her into a charity event where the President would be giving a speech. While in their hotel room, too, a familiar name came up on the news. Good old Logan Pierce, an old number Team Machine saved, was on the television speaking out about his refusal to provide the NSA with private information they had requested.
At the party, Shaw got in thanks to her invitation but Reese got stuck outside without one. He flashed a badge, hoping it would get him in, but he was stopped by secret service. Thankfully, Logan showed up and vouched for him, purchasing another extremely expensive ticket. He then gracefully ditched Reese and told him to join the party. Reese did, sort of, if by ‘join the party’ we mean ‘found a bomb waiting to freak the President out.’ Apparently someone had installed a bomb in a brick outside in the courtyard and it was set to go off when the President stepped into the building.
Thinking quickly, Shaw (having to step away from a conversation with a nice congressman’s wife) and Reese shoved the bomb into the caterer’s tent in a heavy duty fridge which managed to contain the blow to an extent. No one was injured, the President was redirected away from the party, and for the moment everything seemed fine. Though when they stepped back inside there was a threat on the television screens everywhere warning them that the next day the President would die if the surveillance state was not stopped.
Finch sat in a cafe and had another conversation with the Machine, this time about his choice to live in pain. What audiences saw was a shell of a man, devoid of his previous passion. Instead, his mind is set on one thing: destroying Samaritan. I’m calling it now, he’s probably going to end up dead.
The team captured a suspicious waiter at the scene and accused him of working with Logan, who they believed was the person behind it all. Shaw and Fusco followed the kid, after he escaped, back to his team. Shaw infiltrated the building, found their operation, but got caught in the middle of it. It turned out the congressman’s wife she’d been speaking with at the party was behind the anti-surveillance group trying to kill the President. Thankfully, Fusco showed up and the two of them managed to take everyone out.
Fusco held down the fort while Shaw went to join Reese at the scene of the President’s next speech. While surveying the crowd, another old number who was one of their first named Joey appeared and reconnected with Reese. He offered to take him out for drinks but Reese, naturally, refused. After all, he was trying to save the President. Joey faded into the background as he and Shaw tried to figure out who the shooter was going to be. It took some quick work from Fusco to figure out that it wasn’t a shooter they were looking for, but a drone. One of the drones patrolling was overridden by the anti-surveillance group and was headed straight for the President’s SUV.
Shaw got on top of a roof and with Reese at her back, managed to keep the President from getting into his vehicle. The drone hit it while they were far enough away to not get hurt, but even with the President safe, Reese and Shaw were not. The entire Secret Service was after them, and they were narrowly caught only to find Joey in a National Guard uniform there to help them get out of the tight situation. He got them both into uniform and they were able to get out and watch the President drive away.
Fusco had been cornered too, but was rescued when yes – that’s right folks – another old number showed up. Harper, from season four, flashed a Homeland Security badge and managed to get Fusco out of the tricky situation he was in by explaining his presence there.
In Texas, Finch broke into a military base in order to steal a virus he would use to destroy the Machine. The Machine cautioned him against it, stating the collateral damage would be too great. He insisted it was the only way, and then as he left asked her to use Root’s voice again. She helped him get away, first by distracting the men in uniform on the base, then by feeding him information on a man who had cornered him to get him out of dodge and onto the elevator.
Joey took Reese and Shaw to meet someone, and it turned out to be Logan. Harper showed up moments later with Fusco, and it was revealed that they had received John’s number. Apparently they had been recruited by the Machine, too, in order to help people. They’d received John Riley’s number, and therefore were able to step in an assist. Team Machine wanted to know if there were others, but none of the new trio had an answer. Maybe, maybe not, but they had more lives to save and Logan looked forward to championing the new cause.
Team Machine was not as alone as they initially thought.