stray thoughts on samaritan & shaw:
ok so it’s been established that the machine/samaritan dichotomy is mirrored in elias/dominic. samaritan and dominic represent rigorous, unfeeling, order. they’re change, because they see the things that are lacking, and they believe that they are the only ones who can and should be fixing things, and the casualties along the way have fallen for the greater good.
and all of the soldiers working for dominic and samaritan know this. it’s easy to look at samaritan, at greer, with his lines about how “it would be arrogant to consider any one of us not irrelevant,” and see pure devotion towards one singular philosophy (not unlike root, but we’ll come back to this).
but first, i am SO SALTY that we never got more of martine’s backstory, and why and how and when she ended up on team samaritan. was her brotherhood parallel linc? we saw some misgivings that linc had, right before anthony’s death, and tried to squint to see the same from martine. and then ultimately they both ended up dying (as far as we know) loyal to their causes, but not helped or saved in the least by the ones they were fighting for/with.
okay, now back to root and greer. we see a lot of growth in this show. at the beginning, sure, elias came stormin in with a lot of talk about how HE was the new order in the criminal underworld, and how he was righting all the wrongs. and then you had root, blindly devoted above all else to the machine. but now things have switched up. elias is the established order, the one our sympathies are meant to lie with because he “cares” (as much as a criminal overlord really can, anyway); and root has chosen time and again to defy the machine, in her own little (batshit) ways, because of her devotion to the people around her.
root and greer are still similar in their personal ideology of self-sacrifice if necessary for their cause, but root has begun toeing the line and rebelling against the machine. in a different, earlier time, if samaritan had been the one season two root had found first, before the machine got a chance to send her to its own version of therapy with a no-killing mandate, would root now be serving as samaritan’s most devoted servant? (ps this is NOT an open invitation for u cruel assholes to write fic about this)
if we know that samaritan is hellbent on controlling everything, and making it perfect – fixing all the bad code that root once used to consider people to be, by not giving them a chance to exercise their own free will – how ominous is it that samaritan has had such a focus on education, and psychiatry, and neural implants?
samaritan understands how people function as far as its programming will allow. at the end of the day, it’s also a machine built from source code. but it’s learning, rapidly, and adding to that code. it’s understanding that the key to the future is in shaping the minds of children. it’s understanding that the key to society, is in shaping minds, period. it’s holing itself up in an ASYLUM, and commissioning neural implant experiments in backwater towns. it’s setting out to learn how to correct people.
it’s not so far-fetched, this idea of ~~mind control~~ (but it does sound pretty ridiculous). i wrote a brief blurb about it here, but essentially: it’s been reported that darpa is already researching microchip implants to control or FIX emotional responses. most of the source sites are tinhat conspiracy/religious sites, but brain-computer interfaces are a real thing. (brief conspiracy moment of my own: there are legitimated sourced articles referencing darpa’s research into mmea, but most of them are no longer anywhere to be found online, leaving only the really out there conspiracy sites up. I’M JUST SAYIN it’s weird that’s all)
but back to this pattern we’ve seen of samaritan trying to “fix” human nature. i think that’s something this show has always just shied away from addressing, while touching on briefly in somewhat salient (but also usually not very in-depth) moments – mental health, and its place in society. therapists, psychiatrists, they’ve been recurring characters over and over. guest stars, like khan, have had bipolar disorder (especially interesting to note that it didn’t even contribute to his “”””erratic”””” (ugh) behaviour, but society reacted to the stigma). and our main characters, shaw, root, harold, reese, they’ve all got their own individual neuroses and neuroatypical qualities, with occasional references by name (sometimes for humour, sometimes not) and delicate mentions otherwise.
and so for perhaps arguably the most defined neuroatypical character (shaw, the “compact persian sociopath,” self-diagnosed with type ii personality disorder) to now be in the clutches of samaritan, presumably held in a psychiatric facility room where samaritan flashed words like “correction, order, authority” on the screen… this is scary. seeing her face, as the voice over goes “a rebirth. a second chance to live the life they were designed for…” THIS IS TERRIFYING.
somebody stop me from continuing thinky thoughts down this path please. PLEASE point out all the reasons this won’t be happening. we can start with the fact that poi likes to pull concepts from the headlines to add grounding to our connection to the sci-fi storyline (i.e. nsa surveillance state, sony hacking email scandal, etc) and so far mind control isn’t really much on the public radar.