Now that's what I call a BADASS episode! Everything I love about PoI rolled into one neat, super-dark, ultra-cool package! The dark atmosphere, quick editing, intelligent plot, characters with motives yet to be determined, converging in the plot, events moving too fast for us to predict, great action scenes, no-nonsense vibe. I admit I was skeptical about Sarah Shahi joining the show, afraid that she wasn't PoI material, or that it was a move on the part of CBS to introduce a love interest for Reese. She put all my fears to bed from the first sequence, and not only did she manage to impress me but to make a huge fan out of me! I absolutely love Shaw's character and hope we get to see a lot more of her in the future! A female character kicking ass like that, and being even more cool, detached and tactical than Reese, what's not to love?
Reese and Finch weren't as present in this episode of course, but I didn't have time to notice! And it was nice to have a female character in the spotlight like this, not to mention that Shahi maintained the interest intact from beginning to end. The Shaw vs Root scene was simply epic! It was a clever move and as is mentioned in the poll above, it's all about the story not just the characters. This episode offered some major advancements in plot and character development, and this was served by this dynamic introduction of Shaw. Nothing amiss there.
Loved the wink towards the direction of John le Carre and his Smiley books, naming the head of the government operation "Control" - had me a little nostalgic about cold war espionage novels and films. I think we are going to meet Control, but of course P2 wouldn't reveal his/her identity so soon. It may be a person inside the official government, a Secretary of State or even someone from the President's direct environment, so he wouldn't appear like that in a public event. We didn't learn anything new about Root's motives, we already knew she wants to gain access to the Machine's physical location. But we know that people inside P2's environment aren't too happy about what's going on in there, for instance the real Veronica who tipped off Cole. And we know how the government operates with regard to the Relevants, they send compact teams of agents to complete missions without one team being in contact with the others, or knowing the true objective of the mission. They have obviously gotten out of hand and using the Machine to fulfill their personal goals or push their agendas. We are being set up for a grand finale this season, with the participation of Shaw, Root, Hersh, P2 and perhaps even Elias and Stanton's mysterious employers - should I hope for Julian Sands making another appearance? Fingers crossed!