Category Archives: General Geekery

The Wolverine Movie Review

The highly anticipated “Logan” is currently playing in theatres and gaining high praise left and right. I have yet to see the movie, but I thought I’d prepare myself by watching and reviewing Hugh Jackman’s previous solo outing as the character, “The Wolverine”.

A little disclaimer before the review: I will keep this review – as well as my future reviews – as spoiler free as possible in case you have yet to see whatever it is that I am reviewing. If I do intend on discussing spoilers, I will give a warning beforehand, and with all that out of the way, onto the review.

To keep the plot vague, “The Wolverine” is the story of Logan set after the event of “X-Men: The Last Stand”. We see a beaten, broken Wolverine, who is haunted by the events of “The Last Stand” and thus refuses to return to his killer, Wolverine-like ways, only to find himself pulled into another conflict, one involving his past and something of a familial feud.

Let’s start with what I enjoyed about this movie. First off, the obvious is Hugh Jackman. In my opinion, he has never done wrong by the character. Even in horrendous movies such as “X-Men: Origins”, Hugh still gave us a solid and enjoyable performance and “The Wolverine” is no exception. He has truly made this role his own and knowing “Logan” will be his final outing is truly heartbreaking.

Hugh’s portrayal of the character and the writing put into him in this movie is an interesting one to say the least. As stated earlier, this movie takes place after the events of “The Last Stand” and Logan is haunted by the events of that film; particularly by an event that transpired in the climax of the movie. He feels guilt for his actions and has an arc of sorts dealing with him needing to come to terms with what he had done – an arc which also involves his struggle with mortality, or lack thereof. In many instances it is stated that Logan wishes to die due to his actions in “The Last Stand” – a wish that cannot be fulfilled given his instant healing factor.

Another thing I enjoyed about the movie is the setting and cinematography. The Japanese setting is a beautiful one and the shots of it prove that much. One of my many gripes with “X-Men: Origins” is the insane lacking of visual appeal in that movie. It’s not a well shot movie and, in my opinion, that is not the case with “The Wolverine”. It’s not mind blowing by any means, but it is certainly a sight to behold on more than one occasion.

The action sequences as well are a spectacle in their own right. Fast paced and with little to no dull moments in them. If you want to see Wolverine go berserk and creative with his claws… I would suggest seeing “Logan” instead. But for what it is, “The Wolverine” does a solid job to quench your thirst for some Wolverine action and there is plenty of it to go around.

To dabble more on the technical side, I have to mention the soundtrack. This is something I’ll do occasionally in my reviews: talk about the soundtrack as I am something of a junkie for music composed for movies, shows, and even some games. With that said, I don’t have much to say about the soundtrack to “The Wolverine”. It’s decent for what it is, certainly pleasant to the ears, but forgettable. Not bad by any means, but none truly stood out… save for one track, which you will hear early on in the movie and during a few key moments here and there throughout the movie.

The movie is far from perfect, however. I’d like to put this one nitpick out there: the dialogue. Overall, the dialogue in this movie is solid and the comedic lines are well delivered and got me laughing. My minor gripe is directed towards some of the lines of exposition. While most were on point, a few missed their mark. I can’t say if it was the delivery or the writing, but a few of these lines did fall flat. This is a minor gripe, however, and does not take away from the experience. It’s also likely that I am alone and no one else shares my viewpoint on the matter.

A major issue I have with it is the tone. Overall, the movie takes itself in a serious light with hints of humor sprinkled throughout. The characters and story are taken seriously… when the character of Viper is not on screen. I have nothing against the actress who played this role, but neither her performance nor the writing served the story very well. Like I said, the characters were, for the most part, taken seriously and were portrayed well. Which is why Viper’s over the top nature was distracting and took me out of the movie. If majority of the movie was in line with “Batman Begins”, then Viper was straight out of “Batman Forever” . She served no purpose in the overall plot either and only existed to bring Wolverine to an even playing field.

Sadly, the uneven tone was more prominent in the climax of the film. I won’t give anything away, but the final ‘boss fight’ didn’t feel 100% appropriate to the tone the movie had going for it throughout majority of its run-time. Entertaining, sure, but not completely honest to its overall tone.

All in all, the faults I mentioned don’t take too much from the movie. Overall, it’s an enjoyable film with entertaining action sequences and well thought out chapter for Logan. It’s one of the better X-Men movies, a movie that I definitely recommend, and it will give you a Wolverine fix in anticipation for “Logan”.

So, About That Long Site Hiatus…

20160823_063113Pretty Landscape Alert: An Albuquerque sunrise (Fall 2016)

If you are a first-time visitor to Geeky Voyage: I welcome you to my lil’ geeky spot on the Internet, and I hope you enjoy the articles that we (my writers, and future writers) have published on here. We have many more articles planned for the future, plus new features that I’ll be excitedly sharing here over the next few months.

For returning Geeky Voyage visitors: I apologize for the long hiatus (since June 2016 – I know!). Blame it on a missing-in-action muse and 2016 beling one hell of a chaotic year. I’m sure most of you understand. That stupid muse of mine has returned from her extended vacation and has promised to play fair and not leave me again for a while.

What does that mean? There’ll be new articles posted here within the next week, as well as some videos and panel write-ups for a convention that I’m attending this weekend: ClexaCon. I’m so, so excited to be attending this year because there are so many great ships being represented this year, but my favorite will be in attendance: Shoot from Person of Interest, or rather their portrayers. Yes, Root and Shaw fans – Amy Acker (aka someone every fan should meet) and Sarah Shahi will be at the convention. You can check out more info about their appearances, as well as many other popular F/F ships on the con’s website.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making some changes to the site. I’ll be adding a newer-ish logo, there’s going to be a site facelift, and there are a few published articles that I’ve written that I need to update. I promise not to make too much of a mess..

If you have any content that you’d like to see appear on this site, are a creative type (music, movies, TV, etc.) that would like to showcase some of their amazing work, or would like to write and get endless kudos and a tiny bit of exposure for you’re writing (this site’s slooooooooowly growing), please feel free to drop me an e-mail anytime or tweet me: geekyvoyage@gmail.com or @sylentmari (Twitter). Comments, feedback, sarcasm, punny jokes, and more are accepted. This is a fan-driven site and I would LOVE to hear from more fans who might be interested in sharing their interests or talents with the world.

On to future articles!

Maribel Martinez, aka Sylent Mari
Editor of Geeky Voyage

“Can You Hear Me?” Introduction by Emily R. Saunders.

Can you hear me? Of course not, but thank you for stopping by. My name is Emily, but I like to go by 4AlarmFire as a reference to my favorite show (PERSON OF INTEREST). I’m a television addict, fangirl, casual gamer, and a writer. I’m also a koala, but that’s another post for another day.

Most of my writing tends to fall under the horror genre, but I don’t necessarily limit myself to it. Urban fantasy, mystery, and the superhero genre are all genres I have tackled at some point or another. I’m currently working on a romance/drama novel along with my usual horror/fantasy stories on the side. Being the fangirl that I am, I also enjoy writing fanfiction every once in a while, and have only just made an account on fanfiction.net (you can find me under 4AlarmFire). I haven’t uploaded any fanfics yet, but I have a few in the works.

I can’t, ironically, put to words just how excited I am to be writing for this wonderful site, or how thankful I am for being given the opportunity. I have a good number of articles in mind, a few of which are near completion.

I initially intended on reviewing PERSON OF INTEREST here and now, but typing this made me realize that I have a lot on mind when it comes to this show, so much so that I am unable to put all of them in one article without making it overly long. Instead, I’ll be going over bits and pieces of the show in future articles, review them accordingly, and occasionally talk about shows that happen to pop up on my radar.

Now, with all that said, I just want to thank you all so much for stopping by and giving this article a read. I’m really excited to contribute to this site, and I hope you all enjoy what I have to offer.

**SPOILERS** Person of Interest “A More Perfect Union” Recap and Review

Not dissimilar to “6,741“, “A More Perfect Union” starts with Shaw still in Greer’s custody, though the number of simulations have now climbed to 7,530―7,530 times that Shaw killed the others and herself instead of Root.

Unusually, the number Finch receives actually belongs to a marriage license so there’s even more educated guesswork than usual regarding who the victim/perpetrator is. As entertaining as watching Finch, Reese, and then Root crash a wedding was, the most important parts of this episode were Shaw’s scenes with Greer. You can almost begin to see things from the Samaritan side when Greer points out the egregious actions of criminals only seeking to make a profit from human suffering.

My number one reason for being such a huge Person of Interest fan is because of its portrayal of morality. I can see things from each character’s point of view and the antagonists often raise good points about not just other characters, but about relevant, real-world events.

Though “A More Perfect Union” was definitely one of the more light-hearted episodes of the season, things are still a long way from being plain sailing for our team. When Reese, Finch, and Root all sit at their table together and watch the happy couples dance, you can see how their faces bemoan; quite obviously because they can’t be with their lovers. It’s subtle, but brilliantly pertinent.

The episode also re-introduces the mob element picking up from “ShotSeeker” with Moran growing ever-suspicious of just what exactly is going on. His suspicions naturally go hand-in-hand with Fusco’s near identical viewpoint, which I thought could possibly mean an unlikely alliance on the horizon.

Creepy Samaritan kid makes a return too, telling Shaw that there is no other way [other than joining Samaritan] and he even brings up how Root is what she considers pretty. As it transpires, all of the scenes of Shaw outside of the Samaritan facility were all simulations.

Another important scene in the episode is where Fusco and Bear investigate the tunnel set for demolition. Inside, Fusco discovers the corpses of the missing persons, including Krupa and Moran. Just as he decides to leave, the demolition begins, trapping him and Bear inside. It’s quite the cliffhanger to end the episode on, but as I’ve already seen them both in upcoming promos (both a blessing and a curse), I already know that they’ll make it out alive.

I enjoyed every minute of the episode and it was great to see Fusco play another important role. His banter with Root at the precinct was a massive highlight for me as up until then, they hadn’t shared a scene together this season. As I was discussing with a friend recently, I’ve always thought that Fusco is a highly underrated character and I love how this season has elevated his importance. The scenes with Fusco and Shaw did feel disjointed, but as with everything in this show, the scenes are small pieces of a large puzzle waiting to be completed.

**SPOILERS** Person of Interest “ShotSeeker” Recap and Review

Opening with Reese trying to track down the latest number at the Real Time Crime Center, “ShotSeeker” could almost be mistaken for a number of the week episode. Except that there’s a twist; the number, Ethan Garvin, is an NYPD analyst for a system called ShotSeeker―which, if you didn’t know is actually modeled after ShotSpotter, a real system.

While out watching his son’s hockey match, Fusco gets confronted by an old friend of Carl Elias, Bruce Moran. Moran is looking to investigate Elias’ death, unsatisfied with the police reports. He threatens Fusco’s son – something that spurs Fusco even further to find out exactly what everyone’s been keeping from him later on in the episode.

At the subway, Finch has a laptop locked away in a Faraday cage. Root accuses him of locking her out of The Machine because of her copying the Samaritan malware (back in “Truth Be Told“) but Finch insists that it’s more akin to locking Samaritan in. Finch used a code from the laptop to incubate a mini version of the ASI and did the same thing to The Machine, which allows them to engage with one another in a series of controlled simulations. The purpose of this is so that The Machine can probe Samaritan for weaknesses.

As Reese investigates Garvin, he sees him harassing people in the apartment, looking for a woman named Krupa. After he goes into her apartment and shoots, Reese steps in and Garvin explains how he heard three gunshots from her apartment and believes she has been killed. It is then revealed that the president of Feed The Globe, a program to end world hunger, filed a missing person’s report on her.

Fusco goes and confronts Reese about Moran, expressing how angry he is about being left in the dark now that his son has been brought into it. In typical Reese style, he tells Fusco he’ll deal with it later and leaves Fusco to sort out the situation with Garvin.

Most of the episode leads you to believe that J.D. Carrick, CEO of Harvesta is the one who had Krupa killed. The evidence seems almost insurmountable, but as we all know, nothing is ever as it truly seems. Root and Finch eventually crack it and discover that Samaritan was behind it all along. What Root said about how Samaritan could have done it to assume control of the global food supply particularly stood out to me and my curiosity is stronger than ever as to how far exactly Samaritan is going to go. Once again, we see just how far her character has developed when she says that they can save a life instead of doing what Samaritan wants. At heart, Root is always going to be a cynical misanthrope, but she certainly isn’t the seemingly cold-blooded assassin she was introduced way back in season 1 as.

The key points of this episode aren’t so much to do with the number (though the addition of ShotSeeker was certainly interesting), but rather more about The Machine VS Samaritan and the return of Elias. Although The Machine monumentally got its proverbial ass kicked, this doesn’t necessarily spell doom and gloom. The Machine has just been rebuilt from ashes and has much to learn, but even the Machine we saw before for 4 seasons was constantly evolving and learning. Samaritan might seem like the victor at the moment, but The Machine just hasn’t found the right scenario. Fusco’s suspicions are stronger than ever and while he’s investigating Krupa’s file at the precinct, Samaritan labels him as a ‘potential obstructionist’ which means that it’s more than likely he will land himself into a serious amount of trouble. As he is so used to his reality and rather stuck in his ways as we saw in season 3’s “Provenance“, I’ve always had doubts about whether or not he would even believe the others about The Machine and Samaritan. However, my opinion has changed after seeing his determination in this season to get to the bottom of the decrease in murders but rise of suicides and missing persons. I truly think that if he does find out (which seems increasingly imminent) he will simply just brush it off as how it explains a lot. I also particularly liked seeing the familial aspect of the relationships come into play again in this episode; Fusco was a lot less snarky with Reese, the mob for obvious reasons, and Root’s genuine concern for Reese was a surprising twist.

I, like many fans was delighted to see the return of Elias. The mob aspect of the series has always been particularly engaging and seeing how deeply Samaritan has affected them was, although unsurprising, certainly an exchange I enjoyed watching between Elias and Moran. I’m positive that this isn’t the last of Elias and I would love to see him work with Team Machine in the battle against Samaritan.

 

**SPOILERS** Person of Interest 5.07 “6,741” Recap and Review

If you thought that you had Shoot feels from “If-Then-Else“, then allow me to introduce you to its meaner younger cousin “6,741“. Due to how many thoughts I have on this episode, this particular write-up is going to be more review than recap.

Beginning with an ominous heartbeat sound and a brown eye shooting open, you can probably guess who this episode is about: none other than our beloved Persian sociopath, Sameen Shaw. Out of all of the episode synopsis’ I’ve read over the months, this was the episode I had been most looking forward to.

While Shaw is being tortured by Samaritan operatives, a slightly more disoriented version of her theme plays and a small chip is gruesomely inserted into the side of her neck. As that happens, the terrible twosome, Greer and Lambert compare Shaw to a dog and mention how she killed six of Lambert’s men in the last nine months. Phasing out to Samaritan’s POV, she is labeled a ‘potential asset’. Moving onto “phase two”, as Greer calls it, Shaw begins to get brainwashed by an extra creepy operative.

The images used in the brainwashing sequence are particularly important. Some of what I found was: a woman shown from the side wearing a hoodie blowing smoke (possibly Shaw herself?), sunsets, scenes from what appear to be from her childhood including a roundabout, and Team Machine. These images are spliced up and used during nearly all of her subsequent breakdowns in the episode. Major props to the team for the excellent visual effects and dizzying ambiance they used.

After the brainwashing, an unresponsive Shaw is interrogated by Lambert. From this one-sided exchange, we learn that he knows that they have decompressed The Machine and are hiding it. Shaw stays silent, even when he brings up a childhood memory of her puking from spinning on the roundabout, which made her angry and how she did it from sunset to sundown. This links back to what she told Gen way back in “Razgovor” regarding how she claims to only really feel anger and nothing else. Lambert tries further getting a rise out of her by showing her photos of people she knew, including Team Machine. In delightful, quintessential Shaw fashion, she dryly asks him if he came up with the game by himself or if it [Samaritan] told him to bore her to death. She then proceeds to quietly threaten him, promising that the first thing she’s going to do once she gets out of the straps is make him bleed. This threat is issued with a smile on her face, obviously. Clearly, the chip didn’t work so Greer asks Samaritan what to do next. Samaritan tells him to put a new chip in her.

The next scene shows Shaw sitting on a chair opposite a mirror, staring at her battered reflection. She touches the place on her neck where the chip was installed and something takes over, causing her to smash the mirror with the chair and then attack operatives while growling like an animal. Shaw is soon sedated, but not for long because once she’s awake, she attacks the operative who sedated her, shoots Lambert with the operative’s gun, drags him in with her, and then shoots the camera. Not finished yet, she forces him to swallow benzodiazepine (a psychoactive drug) and tapes his mouth shut. Once out of the elevator, she shoots several operatives and epically, she escapes, stealing a boat in the process.

When she’s in the back of a cab, it’s clear that there’s something not right and she’s experiencing elevated levels of paranoia. She leaves the cab, goes to a pharmacy and before stealing some supplies, she cuts out the camera feeds. In the bathroom, she begins pulling out her stitches, only to have a breakdown. With blood on her hands, she makes a call at the pharmacy, threatening to kill the young man working there, Bobby Jackson (whom she not-so affectionately nicknames “Milhouse”). Obviously the call was done to attract the attention of Team Machine, which worked because almost as soon as a now unarmed Shaw was cornered by an operative, Root showed up and saved the day. The look on Root’s face when she sees Shaw for the first time in nine months is haunting; worried, relieved, and shocked all at once. Every single facial expression that Amy and Sarah pull in this episode proves their calibre as actresses. Before this episode, I would always say that Sarah’s best acting was as Dani Reese in Life―I take that back.

Perhaps the best thing about “6,741” isn’t necessarily what’s shown on screen, but rather what everything represents. The episode is possibly best described as like a poem: you can take it at face value and enjoy it enough, but once you peel back the layers, you begin to understand just how pertinent and meaningful it is. For instance, Shaw didn’t just picture her and Root having sex 6,741 times; she committed suicide for Root 6,471 times. You’ll recall how in “If-Then-Else” Shaw told a man to die for something he loves, she certainly took her own advice. Root and Shaw have been my ultimate ‘ship for a long time now, but this episode has outright spoiled other pairings for me. The fact that Shaw was willing to kill Reese (and likely Finch later, too) and even herself instead of Root speaks volumes about how she loves her more than life itself.

I can’t talk about this episode and my love for Shoot without mentioning the infamous love making scene. Personally, I thought that it was executed brilliantly with how it was the perfect blend of comedy and rawness. The somewhat unfitting music and smashing of plates and glasses represented to me how much of their relationship is built on two unlikely, explosive women who aren’t afraid to tease each other. Then you have the brilliant wrestling of dominance, which in my opinion didn’t represent much other than their bedroom preference. I have always seen Shoot as a relationship that is very much built on an equilibrium with how both can take care of themselves, are highly skilled, and never try to dominate the other. The scene, though undoubtedly steamy was also subtly awkward, which again, I think is completely fitting for the two (Root herself is an interesting contradiction of gracefulness and awkwardness all at once and Shaw, though someone who carries herself well can be awkward with her lack of tact). It’s also important to note that this is the first and at the time of this post, only sex scene on Person of Interest.

In many ways, the episode is highly overwhelming. I had a feeling throughout it that things weren’t as they seemed due to how Shaw escaped a bit too smoothly and how Finch and Reese seemed particularly sterile. What the simulation allowed us to explore, though, was Shaw’s rich, internal world. She’s generally fairly quiet and prefers to speak through her actions and although there are plenty of actions in the episode, we get more of a feel for her interpretation of the others:

  • When it comes to Root, Shaw viewed her in a way that proves that she knows Root better than she even knows herself. Everything that Root did was completely true to her character. Shaw clearly likes her pet names (considering that Root called her “sweetie”, “baby”, and her “beautiful girl”). Interestingly, we saw Root’s place or at least, Shaw’s interpretation of what Root’s place would be, for the first time. I always wondered where Root actually lived or if she just motel/hotel surfed. Considering that everything else Shaw perceived about Root was accurate, I’d say that it’s probably an accurate assessment of her residence.
  • With Finch, Shaw is still uncertain about him. She accused him of having not looked for her and he admitted that he thought she was dead and was sorry. Although that was definitely in character for him, he still behaved somewhat sterile and I don’t think that’s completely true to him. Finch is highly logical, but isn’t callous by any means and desperately tries to do the right thing. I have felt particularly bad for him this season because in almost every episode, he has apologised.
  • Reese seemed the most out of character to me. He was borderline robotic and though he likely would have his reservations about what side Shaw’s on, I’m not sure he’d be quite so frosty, especially to Root. Over time, Root and Reese have developed a fairly decent rapport. Reese has generally sided with Root in looking for Shaw too and him and Shaw have a sibling-like relationship going on (hence why they’re referred to as “The Mayhem Twins”). In the simulation, Shaw perceived him as someone who doesn’t trust her and is out to get her. The Reese/Shaw dynamic is one I’ve always appreciated because while they’re cut from similar cloth and are viewed in similar ways by The Machine, they’re still engaging, unique characters in their own right.Many of the feelings I mentioned above link back to earlier in the series where Finch was still extremely cautious of Shaw’s volatile behaviour. Perhaps Shaw still thinks that Finch sees her that way, even though she has evolved into someone who doesn’t just do it for the mission, but actually helps out of a genuine desire to. The desire was always present considering that Shaw tried to train to be a doctor and served as a Marine, both of which are highly benevolant jobs. She claimed that she joined the Marines because she was better at killing people than fixing them, but I think it was something deeper than that; a pure desire to serve and protect.

So far, “6,741” has been my favourite episode of the entire series, beating the seminal “If-Then-Else“. My mind is still blown, even though I watched the episode over 24 hours ago. Since watching, I have done nothing but mull it over in my mind and appreciate just how much work really goes into this series thanks to the involvement of a stellar team of actors and crew. Now I’m really looking forward to Root and Shaw’s real reunion and how Shaw will fit in with the team again. I found it extremely satisfying seeing Shaw shoot Greer and I would love nothing more than to see it happen for real. But as this is Person of Interest, I never expect anything more than a quality 40-something minutes of television.

Side note: if you’re confused about the numbering of this piece, it was the 7th episode shot, but the 4th episode aired.

**SPOILERS** Person of Interest 5.03 “Truth Be Told” Recap and Review

Departing from the highly serialised “B.S.O.D.” and “SNAFU“, “Truth Be Told” harks back to the more procedural days of Person of Interest and is a Reese-centric episode.

The thing that immediately struck me was the new opening with narratives from Finch and Greer. This isn’t the first time such a method has been used (“Root Path“), but it’s still quite an interesting change. The Person of Interest Wikia has it transcribed with Greer’s dialogue in bold:

“You are being watched. The government has a secret system, a system you asked for, to keep you safe. A machine that spies on you every hour of every day.You’ve granted it the power to see everything, to index, order and control the lives of ordinary people. The government considers these people irrelevant. We don’t. But to it, you are all irrelevant. Victim or perpetrator, if you stand in it’s way we’ll find you.”

Aside from being glitchy as hell, the graphics are similar to that of season four’s but slightly upgraded. All of the shots of the characters are the same and it is still seen from Samaritan’s point of view, identifying them as “primary threats“. The intros have always been something I have greatly admired from an aesthetic point of view and this doesn’t disappoint. Props to the sound team for distorting the music too and giving it a creepy cyber effect.

After the intro, the episode flashbacks to 2010 with Reese and Stanton at the CIA, tasked with a mission from their boss, Terence Beale, to go to Afghanistan to investigate a guy who was suspected of making dealings with the Taliban.

Jumping to 2015, Iris is waiting for Reese to show up for their impromptu date at a pirate themed place. He’s busy on a mission while she tries phoning him, duh. Eventually, he casually answers and not long after, he meets with her and her parents.

A nice and casual conversation takes place between Finch and Reese regarding the date. Reese figures that most of The Machine (or as he calls it, “The Machine 2.0.”) bugs seem to have been sorted out. On the other hand, Finch claims that while The Machine is being reliable with its delivery of numbers, it’s still being frequently unreliable with the processing and delivery of other information. He then shows Reese a sheet of binary code from The Machine which he writes off as an error. Finch gives Reese the number: Alex Duncan, who works in security systems management.

Dressed as a mail courier, Root joins Finch and comments that not all of her identities can be bears or brides―great references to season four.

Undercover, Reese meets with Duncan and keeps eyes on him, only to see that Beale has found Duncan and is taking him for investigation.

In another flashback to 2010, we see Reese and Stanton undercover on the CIA mission in Afghanistan, meeting with the suspect and beginning their investigation.

Back in 2015 and it is completely apparent that Reese’s shadowy past has now caught up with him. He is left with a serious risk of blowing his cover and needs to tread extremely carefully.

At the delivery depot, Root calls Finch about the mysterious tracked packages from electronic companies and she suspects that Samaritan is behind it. I have a feeling that this will likely link into future episodes; nothing in Person of Interest is random, after all. In true Root fashion, she delivered a beautifully sarcastic smile and a shake of her head to another delivery guy checking her out. Bless.

While Reese tries to rescue Duncan, a large shootout follows. As they get away, Beale recognises Reese. Ruh-roh.

Another short 2010 flashback following where the last one left off and the suspect maintains his innocence.

In 2015, with Reese and Duncan, the latter claims he wasn’t looking for state secrets, but rather for information on his deceased brother, Paul.

Finch comes to assist Root, where he notices a body on the floor in the van, asking her if he’s dead. Not dead, but unconscious; Root had knocked him out as he kept making unwanted advances on her. Her and Finch work on finding the malware from Samaritan and Finch quickly manages to copy the code. Once he has left and the sleazy guy wakes up, Root sweetly asks if he’s okay and what happened. My precious, psychopathic cinnamon roll is at it again, y’all.

In an exchange between Reese and Duncan, Reese lies about not having any siblings (you may have noticed how in “SNAFU“, The Machine showed he has a sister, Sophie). Duncan confides in Reese, telling him about how Paul had pretty much raised him because their dad was busy in the army. Reese establishes a semi-heartfelt connection when he says how his was, too. Duncan explains how Paul died in service but they wouldn’t say how other than heroically and that it was  all classified. Later, Duncan found out he wasn’t much of a hero and was under investigation for treason.

Excellently, Reese then puts the pieces together and remembers that Paul was the guy who him and Stanton investigated. A flashback immediately follows, showing Reese shooting Paul dead.

In Times Square, Finch then hacks the CIA database, attracting Beale’s attention in a rather epic way. Obviously he leaves without leaving even a single trace.

At the subway, Root and Finch discuss how Samaritan’s malware is also a form of spyware: it connects its host to Samaritan and then once active it attempts to access all the files in that infected device and send all of that information to Samaritan. As if that’s not worrying enough, Finch says that it actually has more advanced functions that he hasn’t yet been able to decipher. Root tells Finch she was able to solve the binary that The Machine had sent him, which turns out to be a poem by Emily Dickinson about change and metamorphosis. For those who are interested in reading a brilliant breakdown of the poem, read this as it helps add even more context.

Reese realises that the CIA operation, known as “Desert Rain” was being conducted off the books and without congressional approval. Therefore, when Duncan looked up Paul’s records, the CIA assumed he was trying to dig up information about the operation. The CIA turn up again and Reese gets knocked out by Beale and taken into a car.

In the car, Reese lies to Duncan and says that they questioned Paul and left because he was innocent―Beale also confirms this.

Back to Reese and Finch and Root says she got fired for safety violations. Without Finch’s knowledge, she ran the malware on an isolated system as she interpreted the poem as The Machine wanting them to let the malware run its course; a change. Through doing this, Root discovered that the malware is replicating itself and overriding the laptop’s existing code, working towards something. As you’d expect, Finch isn’t thrilled at this. Root shuts him down by insisting that taking risks is important to (in this order) find Shaw and stop Samaritan, because they have already lost.

Beale finds Reese (who already made him three blocks back) out and about. Smoothly, Reese threatens him that if anything happens to Duncan, he and his associates will make the Desert Rain operation details go public. They develop a quasi rapport, ending with Beale ensuring him that the CIA will still think that John Reese is dead.

In the final flashback of this episode to 2010, Kara talks about how they don’t get to have normal lives and how you can’t miss what you never had. Personally, I felt this was particularly relevant to Team Machine also.

Reese and Iris go on a date again and Iris tells him how she’s noticed Reese’s long hours, random cuts and bruises, and blood on his shirt cuff at lunch the other day. After commenting that she can read him better than just about anyone else has, he tells her he can’t have a normal life. They then depart.

With Reese watching her as she walks away, he is interrupted by his phone ringing with Finch calling him and telling him that they have a new number. The episode ends with Reese walking away alone.

Although this episode in many ways was reminiscent of the more simpler storytelling in the early seasons, it was elevated by the effective flashbacks and Root and Finch still setting up further plotlines by working on the Samaritan situation together. A huge highlight for me was seeing the new intro as I had been speculating on what it might be for a while (I had figured Greer might have some involvement). I didn’t find this episode quite as engaging as the previous two, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and will likely re-watch it again before next week’s episodes.