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QSO Recap

Fusco lies in a hospital bed, and the security monitor in the ceiling turns off. Root comes in, disguised as a construction worker, and Fusco says that he's not in the mood to talk. She knows about Fusco finding the bodies in the tunnel, and he wonders what to tell his superiors about why he was there. Fusco wonders who he can trust, and asks her what she knows. Root hands him a file with fake IDs so that Fusco and his son Lee can disappear, and admits that it's her fault that he's in there. She should have looked into the city planner, not Fusco, and warns the detective that there's a reason that Reese and Finch are presumed.

Out in the hallway, Reese is sitting. Root comes out and says that Fusco is okay, all things considered. He insists that the only way to keep Fusco safe is to keep him in the dark, and Root wonders if Finch still feels the same way. Finch is seated down the hallway and Root goes over to tell him that the Machine thinks that Fusco is safe. Finch doesn't believe her, and admits that they were too busy scrambling to keep up that Samaritan killed the missing people under their noses. Root says that now that they've found their footing, they can go on the offensive. She heads off on her next mission and Finch tells her to take care.

Root goes to a matinee at the theater, dressed as a ballerina, and enters a dressing room. As she goes in, she tells the Machine that she'll handle the mission but wants answers about Sameen. Vasily Mikhaev comes to the dressing room with flowers, while inside the Machine reroutes a radio signal from station WKCP into her cochlear implant. Root points out that she and Finch got the Machine up and running, and insists that they need Sameen's exact location. Vasily knocks on the door and Root tells him to come in. He mistakes her for the ballerina who is supposed to be there, Miss Durov, and offers his congratulations on her performance. She tells him that he never should have accepted the invitation to the ballet, and then knocks out a killer as he comes in. Root tells Vasily that his enemies tried to lure him into an assassination. She clones his phone and says that she may need something from him soon, and leaves.

Next, the Machine sends Root to a historical building and tells her to look for a backpack. Root demands that the machine talk to her, and the radio broadcast comes in over her implant again. The Machine assesses the risk of direct communication and considers it too risky. A ghost hunting team comes in to record a segment, and the host sets his backpack down. Root realizes that the Machine wants her to get the EMG meter, and she refuses to do a mission until she knows it will lead her to Sameen. The Machine determines that Samaritan is almost certain to detect Root, and sends a text to the ghost hunter. He reads it off and it says, "WKCP. UFO. Find her. Run." Root grabs the backpack, grabs a historical gun, and shoots a man as he comes in the door. It's filled with a blank powder charge, so Root clubs him unconscious and leaves. A woman is standing outside wearing a UFO shirt, and Root asks how much she'll take for it.

At the WKCP station, Root arrives wearing the shirt and approaches the receptionist, Bethany. The speakers are broadcasting the host Max Greene's show, Mysterious Transmissions. Bethany sees Root's shirt and assumes that she's there for the producer gig.

In the Decima base, a captive Sameen sits and stares at the mirror. She punches it and the Samaritan operatives come in and drug her unconscious. The last thing Sameen sees before she passes out is a speaker on the wall.

At WKCP, Bethany tells Root that the producer and engineer quit out of nowhere, but Max refused to cancel his show. In the booth, Max is telling his listeners that he will be there for them. Once he puts on the ads, Bethany brings Root in and introduces the new producer. They go back on the air and Max explains that his producer Susan quit because of a bank error in her favor, and introduces Root. He then asks her about where aliens can be found. Root plays along with his beliefs, saying that non-human intelligent life is already on Earth, and a satisfied Max takes some calls.

Later, Root takes a call from Warren Franco, who insists that Max knows him and wants to talk to him. Root signals Max, who takes the call. Warren insists that Chinese satellites are sending mind control waves. Meanwhile, Root calls Reese and has him look into Warren.

In the Decima base, a doctor takes an unconscious Sameen up in the elevator. Sameen cuts herself free with a shard of broken glass and knocks her, out only to find Lambert and his men waiting for her. Lambert says that they're going to take another field trip.

That night, Finch is at the station and checks in with Reese. Reese says that Fusco still won't talk to him, and asks Finch to get him info on Warren. Finch confirms that Warren is retired military and currently unemployed, and Reese tells him the radio station where Root is working. Finch listens in as Max talks to a caller about the ghost of her mother. He tells his viewers that all patterns make sense if people listen, and he's there if they need help. Max takes a break and Root asks about Warren. The host says that Warren has been calling for years and he's harmless, and he knows what they know: that the world has gotten weird recently. Max explains that Warren has been helping him with a project and plays interference on the radio signal. He heard it a few weeks ago and finally realized that it's a code. Max has figured that it's proprietary and Warren, who has cryptographic training, doesn't recognize it. Root studies the patterns as Max says that he's going to announce the discovery on the air so that his listeners can help figure out what it means. Root warns that the messages are secret for a meeting, but Max figures it's their chance to prove to the world that they're not crazy.

The phone rings and Root answers it. It's Warren, who asks to talk to Max. Max goes back on the air and Warren says that the Chinese are going to make him kill himself. Max tries to talk him down, but Warren insists that he has to. Reese arrives at Warren's address and finds the apartment door open.

Warren tells Max that he doesn't remember getting the pills that he has. Reese finds Warren's corpse in the next room and confirms that he's been dead for hours. There's a suicide note that confirms that Warren is the dead man. Root logs into the phone company and realizes that the call is coming from Warren's apartment. She figures that someone is recreating Warren's voice from digital recordings of previous codes, and they figure that Max pissed off Samaritan. Meanwhile, the voice simulation tells Max that he's next.

Lambert takes Sameen to a building and insists that only Samaritan can save the human race from itself.

Root tells Reese that Max plans to expose Samaritan's means of communication to the public. She figures that she needs to get Max out of the station, and tells Reese to stay away so he doesn't risk his cover. Root is sure that Root won't be expecting herself. Max's voice comes on the line, talking about how maybe Warren was right, and then announces that it's his last broadcast.

Max discovers that his board is down, and Root confirms that the phones are out as well. The doors lock automatically and at the desk, two Samaritan operatives confirm that a co-worker is with Max. They draw their guns and move in.

In the booth, Root tells Max that they're trying to make him look nuts so no one will be surprised when he "kills himself." She rigs a rare-earth magnet from the computer's hard drive and uses it to bypass the magnetic lock. They get out into the hallway and discover that everyone is gone. Max tells Root where the fire escape is, and she moves him out under the security cameras. As they go, Max realizes that the code is real and it's no coincidence that Root showed up. She says that he's upset a very powerful being and they need to get him off of the grid.

Lambert takes Sameen to a door and explains that inside is a woman who is working to bring an extinct species, Dr. Ayuma Kagawa, back to life. She fully resequenced the animals' genome and in 15 years, will attempt to reintroduce it into the ecosystem. Samaritan has forecast that thousands of people will die as a result, and has failed to sidetrack Ayuma's work. They only have one option left, and Lambert hands Sameen a gun. Sameen immediately opens the door and shoots Ayuma, assuming it's a simulation, and asks if she can wake up now. Lambert just smiles.

At the station, Finch confirms that the Machine clone continues losing to the Samaritan clone. Interference comes in over the Samaritan laptop even though it's in a Faraday cage, and Finch quickly shuts it down. He realizes that the cage keeps the signal from getting out, restarts the laptop, and calls Root. Finch explains that the clone is trying to connect with the worldwide network of Samaritan-infected devices. As she leads Max down the back stairs, Root realizes that it's a hidden code that Samaritan operatives would recognize. She works out that Samaritan is sending hidden messages to operation centers, and why the Machine sent her there. She puts Max in a closet, tells him to barricade the door, and draws her gun. Finch warns that it's too dangerous, but Root figure that the Machine wants her to send a message to Sameen.

At the station, the Machine tells Finch that Samaritan can't see an analog interface. He calls Reese, who is outside the radio station, and warns him to hide his identity.

The doctor checks on Sameen, who tells her that she went on her first real-time field trip. She then turns on the radio, which plays a broadcast about Ayuma being gunned down. Sameen figures that it's a trick, and wonders if she's still in a simulation. Her hand is bandaged and the mirror is broken, and the doctor sedates her.

Root goes back to the broadcast booth and gets the EMF meter she stole earlier. She uses it to determine that Samaritan has infected the printer and uses it to contact Sameen. The Machine warns her that two operatives are on the way.

Max is trying to barricade the door when a masked Reese knocks out the operatives. He then tells Max to come with him.

The Machine tells Root that Reese is there. She then sends her message to Sameen.

Sameen mutters until the doctor leans over to check on her. She then grabs the doctor and threatens to jam the syringe into her eye if she struggles. The doctor says that the only way Sameen can escape is in a body bag, and Sameen says that she'd rather be dead. she then uses the doctor's card to get out and locks the door behinds her, and contemplates killing herself with the syringe.

Root sends the message.

As Sameen prepares to kill herself, she hears the interference on the radio and recognizes the signal. She quickly deciphers it and realizes that it says "Four alarm fire": what Root said to her before she was captured. The operatives grab Sameen and drag her back to the room.

The final operative gets to the broadcast room and orders Root to surrender. She agrees to do so if he leaves Max alone and takes her to Sameen. He has no idea who Sameen is, and Root says that she wasn't talking to him. Samaritan is monitoring the entire conversation but can't see Root because of the chips she inserted into the Samaritan server. It talks to Root using Warren's voice and figures from her behavior that she's an acolyte of the Machine. As Samaritan agrees to Root's terms, the power goes out. Reese takes out the operative and Root, furious, says that she almost had Root. He says that they have to get out.

As Reese takes Max and Root out, he says that Dispatch is sending a unit to investigate a break-in. Root insists that it was her best shot at finding Sameen, and says that she doesn't need Reese's protection. She says that she got a message to Sameen with the Machine's help. Max wonders where they're going, and Reese and Root tell him that he'll have to live on the run. Furious, Max says that he'd rather be dead than leave, because he has proof that everything he's talked about is true. Root tells the Machine that they can't force Max to go. She tells Max that he can keep doing his show, but he has to lie about what happened. If Max never mentions the code then they won't have a reason to come after him. Max finally agrees.

At the hospital, Fusco is preparing to go when Finch comes in. He admits that he hasn't told Elias that Bruce is dead, and apologizes for not telling Fusco the truth. Fusco points out that if they're trying to protect him, it's not working. He says that what he's doing is his job, and Finch and Reese can't show him the respect to tell him what he's doing. Fusco gives Finch his phone and walks out.

Max goes back on the air and apologizes for technical difficulties forcing him off the air. As Reese and Root return to the station, they listen to the broadcast as Max says that he has to break his promise. He explains about the hidden code, and Root warns Reese that it's too late to save Max.

Bethany is listening and writes down the code in the interference. She then brings coffee to Max as a caller comes in and insists that he was abducted by extraterrestrials. Max cuts him off only to find out the next caller is equally paranoid. Reese figures that Max overestimated how much his listens care, and Root is relieved that Samaritan will dismiss Max as a kook.

Max starts coughing and then collapses, dead. Bethany checks to confirm that he's dead and then calls 911 and claims that Max had a heart attack.

Finch returns and Reese tells him what happened. He asks the Machine if it knew Max would die, and the Machine says that Max exercised free will. It insists that the primary mission was successful, and Reese figures that they shouldn't have trusted it. Root says that the Machine is doing what they programmed it to do. Max chose to risk his life and the Machine couldn't stop him, and now they've given Sameen hope. She wonders if it was worth Max's life, but Finch says that a lie of omission is still a lie. He's not comfortable with where it is going.

In her room, Sameen sits on the floor and fingers the barrette she took from the doctor.

Root goes to an Internet café and thanks the Machine for helping her send the message. She figures it's doing the right thing even if Finch doesn't see it yet. Root then calls Vasily and suggests that they go on a trip to his hometown. Vasily says that his father is the administrator of Zemaitija National Park, and is glad to take Root. Root has a web page up showing that Zemaitija is close to a missile silo.

Written by Gadfly on May 25, 2016

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