The show opened without its usual "You are being watched". It jumped right in with a montage. John Reese (Jim Caviezel), attached to a heart monitor, was on a hospital bed at the library after being shot by corrupt cop Patrick Simmons. Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) was sitting by him. Johnny Cash's "Hurt" began to play and I had a much harder time writing this due to the room getting really dusty. Then it showed Joss Carter's (Taraji P. Henson) ex-husband and son at her funeral, with Finch and Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi) hanging back. Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman) was there. Then there was a bar scene with Shaw beating people up and showing Simmon's picture. Then to a seedy place with money being exchanged - Simmons was getting a fake passport. The passport go-betweens were then riding in an SUV, counting Simmons' money and laughing. A big truck t-boned the SUV and Reese, who was in the truck, strode to the rear seat, where one person was still conscious. He showed the picture of Simmons. The guy, who was in bad shape, babbled something and Reese, showing about as much emotion as a robot, walked away as the SUV exploded. That was the opening. Some shows down't pack that much in an HOUR.
The episode used its flashback method of bouncing back and forth between a timeline. This time it showed each member of the team sitting across from someone at various points in time and talking about an aspect of their personality. The first was in 2010: Finch was with a therapist, after the ferry bombing that had cost him his co-partner. He wanted to talk about grief. He was sitting in a wheelchair and he said that he had lost his closest friend. They were debating the use of grief in evolution. He said he was thinking of doing something radical to honor the memory of his friend. The therapist said that he was not God and that his friend's death was not his fault. He asked if survivor's guilt would go away if everything WAS his fault.
Back to 2013. Finch opened Root's (Amy Acker) cage to give her food and she looked at him with a worried glance and offered her help again. He said it was too late. She said not for Reese. She also that there was a bigger problems at hand. Whatever the Machine was planning was coming soon. Finch's cell phone rang. It was Fusco. He met him at the burned SUV. Fusco alluded to it probably being the work of a psychopathic vigilante, prompting a snarky Finch reply: "Which one?" Fusco said Reese and Shaw's scorched earth was not good, it was making it harder to find Simmons. The guy told Reese about the forger, a guy named Yorke - which meant they needed to find him. Too late. Shaw had him hanging - literally - by his arms from the ceiling. She ignored three voicemails. Soon Fusco and Finch strolled in. It turned out Reese had gotten to him first and thrown him off the roof and disappeared. Shaw was just working with leftovers. Finch warned her that Reese's injuries were life-threatening. Quinn was the only one who knew where Simmons was coming and going. They decided to get Quinn's lawyer. The problem was, the Russians were also after Quinn as well as Reese. The lawyer was dead, courtesy of the Russians.
It looked like they were at a dead end. Or were they? Shaw then realized that she had to make Finch swallow the possible poison pill: They had to bring Root into the fold.
The next flashback was 2005. Shaw, who was a medical resident, was called in to the office for her lack of emotion after telling a family that their father was dead while eating an energy bar. Her sociopathic personality traits were called out. The man said that she was supremely bright and talented, but she was a risk; she might be bored of the job soon, since she only thought about fixing things, not healing people. She wouldn't be a doctor.
Back in 2013, Shaw was telling Finch that Root was his only option, with Finch still displaying understandable reluctance, but he acquiesced, opening the Faraday Cage that was holding Root. She came out and a cell phone rings for her. She answered it with a smirk while putting a bluetooth piece in her ear. Later, they were driving and Fusco was not happy about sitting next to Root, saying that if he had known, he would have driven to the location by himself. Root guided them to the right place in the dark by using the machine. They pulled into a desolate area. Fusco was skeptical, but Root told him information all about himself, including how he got the name Lionel. She promised that she was there to help. "Just when I thought life with you was weird enough, one of you takes it to the next level." he fumed. Root asked for a gun, Shaw declined...she then told her to turn around, with Shaw shooting a U.S. Marshal in the leg just in time.
They found Quinn's hideout - a very large hotel that had been taken over. Any doubts that it was the right place was dispelled when a car in front bust into flames. This drove marshals outside to investigate. Shaw could only smile at that.
Another flashback brought us to 2007. Reese was in a military uniform and getting raked over the coals before joining an elite program. The interviewer wanted to make sure he was tough enough to do his job. Reese replied that he had been through it already and he'd been in the program for three years. His job was to find the person who had sold secrets to the Chinese. It turned out it was the interviewer who had betrayed his country. Reese shot him under the table, with no compunction.
Back in 2013. Reese was coming for Quinn, even though he was still losing blood and looked quite haggard. He locked the doors and turned off the power. Upstairs, Quinn's bodyguard thought his men could handle the situation, but the head of HR knew that Reese can't be stopped. The scene shifted to the hallways. First he set some kind of explosive on a ceiling and then took a bag of flares and dumped them in the hallway. Quinn's protection team came downstairs wearing night vision goggles. Reese jumped some of them and then shot the pile of flares to blind night vision. Then he blew up the room to finish off other guards. Several seconds later, the main bodyguard of Quinn's was neutralized and knocked out. Reese was back with the defiant Quinn.He put his pad down for him to write where Simmons was exiting. Quinn talked about loyalty and that he wouldn't give up the corrupt cop.
Reese too that too well. He said that he kept his word. "I'm going to kill you. In 3 minutes." He told him that he knew how to kill people painlessly, but was going to forget that. Instead, he was going to make the last three minutes of Quinn's life last forever if he didn't tell him the exit.
The cavalry got to the hotel and this time, Root asked for and got two guns. Seconds later, the Russians came to the hotel entrance and the two parties shot it out, with Root being a badass with her twin guns blazing. Shaw grudgingly admitted, "OK, that was kind of hot."
Finch made his way to the room and got to a rapidly deteriorating Reese just as the three minutes ended. He was trying to talk sense into the grieving ex-military man. His strength waning as his blood continued to flow. Sinking to the ground, Reese aimed his gun at Quinn, but it was empty. They had a choice: either get Simmons or take Reese to get help. Shaw was fuming that it looked like Simmons would get away to fight another day. Quietly, Root said, "The machine never said that Reese was the only one that wanted to kill Simmons." it cut to the hotel room, with Fusco organizing the arrest of Quinn. He looked down at the pad, shoved it in his pocket and walked off.
Back in time to 2005: Fusco was in therapy and talking about a shooting. The therapist asked how he was doing, and he said that he was sleeping just fine. He was being a hardass, but then he asked about doctor-patient confidentiality. The therapist expected him to break down, but Fusco turned the tables and admitted that he tracked down the perp, who had shot an off-duty cop. He said the guy got what he deserved and practically walked out of the office whistling.
Back in 2013, Simmons was making his way to a plane. He smiled as he left the hangar. Fusco greeted him and told him he had sent the pilot off. Simmons asked if he was going to shoot an unarmed man. They fought which didn't seem like the best idea, since Simmons seemed to be in better fighting shape and Fusco still had broken fingers from the last episode. Sure enough, Simmons had the upper hand at first,. but Fusco rallied and broke his arm. Beaten, Simmons egged him on to shoot him, but Fusco was having none of it. He said that Carter had been the best thing for him and shown him that he could be a good cop. He handcuffed him and led him off to the precinct.
The scene shifted to Reese recuperating and they found Root, who apparently was free to have slipped off to wherever she wanted to go, in the library. She had decided to stay for whatever the Machine had planned. At least in the beginning.
Finally, we were in the hospital, where Simmons was under police guard while he recuperated from his injuries. He groggily woke up to find someone in the shadows. It was the gangster, Elias (Enrico Colantoni). Simmons asked him what he wanted, since HR was dead. There was nothing. But Elias was not satisfied. He wanted to collect a debt, and he admitted that he was not civilized. He liked Carter. She had been civilized to the end. and now he was going to kill Simmons. Well, he watched as his bodyguard garroted him and the final scene showed Simmons' heart rate monitor go crazy and then flatline in a reversal of how the episode began.