There’s a cat, trapped in a box with something lethal. There’s a 50% chance the cat’s been killed but until you open the box there’s no way to know, one way or the other. Quantum physics says before you open the box the cat isn’t dead or alive, it’s both. But nothing kills that cat.

The Great Glitch Roundup

Here is a summary of Shaw’s glitches in 6,741, presented in the following format:

Number-Timestamp. Action immediately prior to glitch | {fugue actions} Action immediately after || Outcome.

01-02:22. Lambert’s induction script.

02-05:52. Shaw removes bandage | Shaw smashes mirror || Escape.

03-10:40. Shaw attempts to remove chip | {bloodied hands} Shaw calls Customer Service || Teams summoned.

04-13:05. Shaw subdues Samaritan agents | {distracted} Shaw stands down || Rescued by Root.

05-14:15. Shaw greets Root | {collapse} Root catches Shaw || Rescued by Root.

06-22:30. Shaw touches bandage | {semtex+gun} Shaw yells at self || Comforted by Root.

07-31:39. Finch removes USB drive from laptop | {struggle with Finch} Shaw apologizes || Team wary.

08-34:05. Greer confirms kill switch | {dead Greer} Shaw & Reese start for Finch || To The Machine.

09-36:05. Shaw lies to Reese about kill switch tactic | {woozy} Reese changes plan || Reese leaves.

10-36:45. Reese leaves | {dead Reese} Shaw lies to Finch || Shaw flees.

11-38:50. Root says “you lead the way” | Shaw starts to confess || Root says “it can wait ‘til we’re home safe.”

12-39:00. Root says “home safe” | Shaw takes them to roundabout || Shaw ends simulation.

Cursory Observations:

The general function of the glitches was to push Shaw toward the specific goal of revealing the location of The Machine (and to correct her behaviour when she deviated from the script).

Simulation 6741 pushed Root as Shaw’s primary point of support.

The more Shaw exercised ‘free will’ (e.g., removing the chip herself) the bigger the glitch.

Some of the glitches (e.g., #4, #7, #10) were ‘reverse psychology’ tactics; that is, they pushed Shaw toward the ultimate goal by making her do things that a) were seemingly contrary to that goal but b) were really in the service of making her open to suggestion/help… while maintaining/reinforcing the “Samaritan Evil, Team Machine Good” ruse.  In other words, they were sophisticated, doubleplusungood mindfucks.

The glitches came with increasing rapidity toward the end (ostensibly because Shaw was making more decisions and thus needed to be nudged more often).

Shaw really is going to kill Samaritan and its people very hard. Probably.

What did Shaw know

… and when did she “know” it?

We can safely say that by the ‘Qatar roundabout’ scene Shaw knows her mind is not in the real world — that she is dreaming or hallucinating or otherwise mentally compromised somehow.  The larger question is: When, exactly, did she realise this?  Furthermore, when did she begin to suspect?

At the end of the scene before, Root says, “It can wait until we’re home safe."  Shaw immediately glitches, grips her gun, grabs Root, and says, "Follow me."  Shaw then proceeds to take them to the roundabout — which is seemingly in both Qatar and New York ("ZONE B CAM 06”).

SHAW: I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know who’s controlling this.

ROOT: We’ll work through this, but first I need to get you to safety.

SHAW: But nothing’s safe. Do you know where we are? What they did to me? The torture? I told you I couldn’t escape it.

Shaw’s 'anymore’ suggests she’d been maintaining a ruse (or trying to, given the glitches) for some undetermined amount of time. Shaw also alludes to the earlier conversation with Root.

SHAW: All the scars are from before when I worked the relevant numbers with the ISA. Samaritan’s torture was more psychological.

ROOT: And you never broke.

SHAW: When I was training with the ISA they taught us if we were ever tortured to take our mind somewhere else, someplace safe.

ROOT: Where did you go?

SHAW: Nowhere. The training was bull. There was no safe place. No escape.

Back at Qatar…

SHAW: I told you I couldn’t escape it. But when things got to be too bad there was one place I would go to in my mind. Here. With you.

Thus Shaw reveals that she knows she is mentally compromised, that she knows she has done all of this before (even if she doesn’t remember it all clearly), and that she had tried to tell Root all of this the night before.  This gives new meaning to Shaw’s somewhat non sequitur “I couldn’t stand you when we first met, but you wouldn’t stop bugging me” and her suspicious look when she left bed.  It also explains why the simulation immediately triggered a glitch to get Shaw back on track (“come back to bed”).

I’d go further and say that Shaw may have suspected mental shenanigans as early as Root’s first come-on, as evidenced by “I’m not really in the right mindset for any of this.”  Samaritan overplayed its hand.  I have to wonder whether in prior simulations Root was less Mata Hari and more trusted confidant, which is why Shaw had felt comfortable taking her to the roundabout.

I imagine if we plotted simulation number against amount of time until termination, we’d get a bell-shaped curve, such that in early runs Shaw caught on quickly, in the middle she stayed in a fairly long time, but now Samaritan may have reached the point of diminishing returns.  I feel even more certain that Sameen Shaw — hurting, scarred, and extraordinarily emotionally resilient — will use what she’s learned to destroy her tormentors.