The numbers never stop coming, not even when Team Machine has to grieve.
“Synecdoche” picks up very soon after the events of the tragic 100th episode. Reese and Fusco are standing by Root’s graveside lamenting the fact that they can’t even give her a proper burial. Their conversation really reveals just how much Root, a.k.a. Coco Puffs, meant to them and how much they will miss her.
Unfortunately, everyone on Team Machine isn’t being as open with their feelings. I’m looking at you, Shaw. Reese finds her hanging around the playground she took Root to in the simulation. Root’s death has really shaken her to the core, although she won’t admit it, and she’s decided that she’s tired of this simulation. So, she runs into the view of a camera to turn herself over to Samaritan and start a new simulation, but then a messenger carrying an envelope from Ernest Thornhill (The Machine’s defense mechanism) stops her. The envelope contains her newest cover identity, which she’ll definitely need because The Machine calls a nearby payphone to give them their latest number: The President of the United States.
Meanwhile, Finch is stuck in the middle of Kentucky because his car broke down. At this point, he’s not enjoying The Machine using Root’s voice to speak. “I don’t expect you to understand the loss of Ms. Groves,” he says coldly. But, The Machine does understand because she grew to love her — because Finch taught her how to love. In fact, Finch can’t conceive of The Machine’s grief because he doesn’t know it felt for her to experience Root’s death over 4,000 times as she worked through scenarios to save her life before she died.
Their conversation reminded me of how Finch was worried about the fact that she imprinted on him when he first built her. Since then, he’s tried his hardest to deny The Machine’s humanity, but now he (and us to some extent) can’t really do that anymore. The Machine does feel loss. Moreover, this exchange also makes us reconsider the events of “If-Then-Else” and how many times she watched her primary assets die.
With their new number in hand, Team Machine heads to Washington D.C. to cover a fundraising gala that POTUS will be attending. There, Reese runs into Logan Pierce (Jimmy Simpson), a POI from season 2 who runs the social networking app Friendczar and has been resisting the NSA’s requests that he turn over user data. While Reese catches up with Logan and searches the venue for anything out of place, Shaw meets Tracey Philips, the wife of a senator, and starts discussing POTUS’ controversial surveillance policies.
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However, that enlightening discussion is cut short when Reese finds a Semtex bomb right before POTUS makes his entrance. There’s no time to diffuse it before the timer runs out, so Reese and Shaw seal it in a heavy duty fridge and let it explode in there. When they return to the main ballroom, the terrorists responsible for the bomb broadcast a message on all of the TV screens declaring that POTUS will die tomorrow because of his illegal surveillance systems. Reese and Shaw notice a suspicious looking waiter sneak out and Logan Pierce looking suspicious in the corner.
“A former irrelevant number is about to do some relevant damage,” Reese says.
NEXT: What is Finch is planning?