If you haven’t seen this episode please don’t read this.
I enjoyed this episode. It really was a lot better than last weeks.
I found the interaction between Root and Harold very nice. The writers during the Nerdist Writers Panel stated that fans are very forgiving of characters, especially those who had done “evil” even to our own favorite characters and I think Root is a prime example of this. And now it seems that Harold has come around as well. Recognizing the good in her, even though I think she freaks him out a bit.
What I found most interesting were the flash backs and showing just how dangerous AI can be. They don’t have a moral code, at least Harold doesn’t seem to believe so. Even though he taught the Machine to “be moral” Harold seems to think that once the code altered, once it protected itself, that any code he built in it for the Machine to do right and wrong went out the window. I think after his experience with building the Machine it’s understandable that he’d have a hard time trusting the Machine and it’s “moral code” because he’s going based on it trying to kill him before.
It’s almost like the Data scenario in Star Trek with Lore. Where Dr. Snoogn (sp?) built Lore who had emotions and then went evil because he had no real moral compass, he did what he wanted and didn’t care. So they “destroyed” him and built Data who was stripped of what the Dr. believed caused the evil behavior, his emotions. Just like Harold “crippled” the Machine to make it do right instead of wrong. But in Star Trek, Data did find the emotion chip and although there was concern the he decided to install it and see what would happen, believing his experiences with the crew and others would shape his moral compass rather than make him bad like Lore was. And he turned out okay, because that’s what shaped his moral compass, not the programming to never do wrong, but rather his understanding of human behavior and right verses wrong.
And I like to believe the Machine learned human behavior, learned to care and understand how society works and the importance of people in general. Samaritan never was taught this. It just has an objective, which I’m not completely sure we’ve figured out yet, and it’s willing to do whatever it takes to complete it’s objective. The Machine doesn’t work that way. Sure it has an objective, but it’s objective is that no one comes to harm, good or bad. Also it seems to care a great deal about Harold, which I think Root was trying to get across to him. Yes it’s an AI that at one point tried to kill him, but he taught it well and shaped it well, and it learned what it needed to in order to not go around being evil. Because even when asking the team to kill the Senator, it wasn’t doing so to protect itself, it was doing so to protect Harold. Oddly enough this is what I think the entire point of what the Machine is doing. To make sure Harold lives. A child protecting it’s father.
Anyhow this entire concept and process for Harold is very interesting to me and I can’t wait to see if the Machine will talk to Harold and where it will go from there.
Reese’s therapy sessions were interesting. First I truly think sometimes the writers call out their own writing, recognizing that normal police officers don’t shoot people that much. So they use this fact almost in a way to tease the way the series is written but also really get into the reasons behind why Reese does what he does. Frankly I was holding back tears when he talked of Carter and helping people because if he doesn’t, who will?
I do have one complaint, robotic Samaritan woman. She’s like the woman from Terminator (the most recent one). I don’t understand this lack of emotion, this robot way of working that these “bad ass” operatives work under. Do I expect her to show a ton of emotions, of course not. But I think them being a bit more human would be more appropriate. I think they almost write characters this way to make it harder for the audience to attach to them. It’s easy to hate someone you aren’t emotionally attached to.
What exactly did Root want Harold to tell Shaw if she didn’t make it? We can all guess. We’ll all probably be completely wrong though. Because that’s how the writers are.
I think this episode was the beginning of Harold really deciding he’s going to win this war, not just survive it. So it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
On a side note, the preview for next week hilarious. This episode kind of teased about John’s tendency to shoot a lot of people, and next week they are going to tease about the way he talks. I love it!
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