Talk about messing with someone’s mind.
What was seemingly a happy turn for Shaw soon went dark quickly as the roller-coaster Person of Interest Season 5 Episode 4 took a steep dive toward a heartbreaking end.
It was all just a sadistic simulation for the POI team member… and the 6,741th time she’d done it.
Making viewers take the simulation was an excellent choice, especially because we didn’t know it at first. It put us right into Shaw’s mindset and gave that first-hand experience of what she’s gone through thousands of times already.
Once was emotionally draining enough. Imagine having to go through that scenario over and over.
But what if or when Shaw is rescued or actually does manage to escape, how affected will her mind be after going through that simulation thousands of times? Is there even a hope for her to recover and get back to being regular Shaw, or will her real fate be similar to the one in the simulation?
We’re all hoping for a happy ending for the POI team, but that might not be in the cards for all of them.
And how tragic would it be for Root and Shaw to never actually get that chance to truly express their feelings for each other?
Their steamy hook-up scene, where both wanted to be in control, was such a big moment for the two, finally bringing them together.
But now that we know the truth, it’s a far sadder scene to watch knowing that it’s not real, even if Shaw’s mind thinks it is.
And Sarah Shahi was able to bring that kick-ass manner to Shaw again, all while illustrating the paranoia and emotion that went with her character’s descent.
You could just feel her struggling with the madness and the tragedy of knowing she was losing control, that she would kill the POI team and bring about the Machine’s end.
I certainly suspected that it was all just a dream after Reese was shot -- there’s no way the show would kill him off in just the fourth episode of the final season -- but it was crazy to see, especially with all that blood.
Yet, even having a pretty 100 percent certainty that everything was fake after that didn’t take away from the gut-punch ending as Shaw opened up to Root about her being her safe place before turning the gun on herself to prevent her from doing any more harm.
She's managed to prevent Greer from finding the location of the Machine and take herself out over and over, but how many more times can she do that before the simulation finally breaks through. I can only hope the POI team can find some way to get to her and save her, and break her away from the nightmare “Groundhog Day.”
“6,741” was a huge step up from Person of Interest Season 5 Episode 3, diving back into the bigger story and revealing a tragic truth that Shaw is still captured. And to see what's she’s had to endure this whole time? A powerful hour that thrust us right back into the dangerous and affecting war against Samaritan.
Will Greer eventually break Shaw? Will Shaw and Root ever get together for real? What will be Shaw’s fate? Sound off below, and take the escape again when you watch Person of Interest online now.
NOTE: Person of Interest Season 5 Episode 5, "Shotseeker," airs May 17 at 10 p.m.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.