It’s a short walk from the bridge to the diner. They file down the sidewalk like a sort of strange, silent parade. Harold leads the way, John at his elbow, keeping pace a purposeful half-step behind. Shaw and Root follow next, walking side by side, eyes continually surveying for threats but always returning to pause on the other before beginning their scan again. Lionel brings up the rear, something between relief and pride stirs warm in his chest as he joins the expedition.
The booth is technically a bit cramped with five but it feels comfortable.
A short while later, Finch moves his mug of hot tea out of the way of Fusco’s animated gestures, as the detective mocks the obscene number of creamers Root adds to her coffee. For her part, Root smiles silently like he’s giving her some sort of compliment, as she picks at her plate of biscuits and gravy. Shaw finishes off her side of bacon before moving on to Reese’s (“looks like you don’t need it” she adds poking the bit of pudge near his navel) and slurps her coffee loudly while she eyes her next target.
Besides Finch’s eggs over medium and Lionel’s corn beef hash, there are 4 other orders of pancakes on the table. Shaw doesn’t bat an eyelash at the fact that everyone just seemed to want pancakes for some reason- she just helps herself.
Ever since I ran out of episodes to
watch, I’ve had the chance to think back on the ones I’ve already
seen, and I came to a certain conclusion about “Death Benefit”.
That’s the one where the Machine gives them the number of the
congressman whose actions will lead to Samaritan coming online. Now,
in the show, the numbers that the Machine gives them are all people
who will be at the center of some violent premeditated crime, though
they never know whether the number is for the victim or the
perpetrator of said crime. Essentially the Machine just gives them a
nudge in the right direction, and then leaves them to figure out the
rest and decide for themselves what course of action to take. In
“Death Benefit”, after finding out the part that Congressman
McCourt will play in Decima’s plans, the team comes to the horrifying
realization that the congressman is the victim and they themselves
are the threat, and that the Machine has essentially given them a
kill order. They don’t go through with it, and the incident leads
Finch to lose what little trust he had in the Machine and storm off
for an episode.
I’m pretty sure they were wrong. I’ve seen people make the
argument that the Machine was at least giving them a choice between
killing him or sparing him, because she gave the number to all of
them instead of just to Root, who definitely would have gone through
with the murder if it had just been up to her. But I would argue that
the Machine didn’t consider killing him to be an option any more than
Finch did. McCourt’s actions as a corrupt deal-making politician were
what enabled Decima to bring Samaritan online, which led to god knows
how many deaths and assassinations at the hands of Decima’s
operatives. So McCourt wasn’t a victim at all; he was, at least
indirectly, the perpetrator.
In spite of this, I don’t think the
Machine wanted to kill him. I mean, remember that her method for
dealing with Root was to lead her by the hand through a redemption arc. So my headcanon/theory is that
the Machine simply didn’t know how to deal with this problem; if she
had, she would have relayed instructions to Root like she always
does. But by giving McCourt’s number to Finch, she wasn’t giving a
kill order; she was essentially saying “I don’t know what to do
about this, Dad. Please help me figure something out or a lot of
people are going to die.”
Basically Finch threw a hissyfit and
temporarily ragequitted over a misunderstanding.