“Can you consider the possibility that you’ve been lied to?”
The name “Control” implies, well, control, and that’s exactly what we saw with the character prior to this episode. She was resolute and powerful, and when she wanted to get something done, she did it; even if she had to carry out 853 murders, she did so because that’s what she believed her country asked her to do. She did so because that’s what she believed she had to do in order to remain in power, to keep her country safe. Right from the beginning of “Control-Alt-Delete”, however, we start to see that pedestal of control slowly being chipped away at, and we see her efforts to reprimand Mr. Travers nonchalantly brushed off by the man. Simply put, Control is not in control anymore.
Of course, that doesn’t stop Control from trying. For example, the answer she receives to her question–“What’s our source material?”–is “Our source material is that Samaritan is never wrong”, yet she attempts to reassert herself by asking her question again. We can tell that she’s so used to people taking orders from her, and Camryn Manheim does an excellent job throughout the episode of conveying the tension and anger bubbling up inside Control. It’s understandable, as here comes Samaritan, a force to be reckoned with, something that can withhold information and crash the stock exchange and keep people in the dark. And through this storyline, the show once again questions what it truly means to be human.
This discussion is centered around the scene in which Root, Reese, and Finch talk to/tase Control as she’s tied up and sitting in front of them (this, of course, is the result of Reese being a badass with a rocket launcher). Earlier in the episode, we saw Control’s daughter with her in the car, and that becomes a major through line over the remainder of the hour. Here, Root really drives home the daughter angle, and she states that “even a mom who kills people for a living is better than no mom at all”. She also talks about how Shaw cared about people even though she was a sociopath and about how she herself is “not the monster [she] used to be”. As we see, the central focus here is on the ability to change and connect and care, and it has always been one of the major ideas espoused by the show amidst the wave of technology.
As Finch is talking to Control, he says that “each loss is unbearable”, but when it’s someone you know, it hurts even more. Here, we’re reminded of Control’s earlier statement about 853 threats to national security being dead because of them, and the show once again puts emotional connection up against apparent callousness. The interesting thing, though, is the fact that Control herself is most certainly human, just as someone like Grice is. As a human, Control wants to feel in control; she wants to feel connected to something, and that’s why she constantly goes on about her country. Yet, while she may be aligning her employers and her country, in the end, the two may not be as similar as she may think. In the end, she’s being lied to, and she’d rather not accept that because she believes that adding to that kill count is what’s saving her country.
Then, we arrive at the final scene. She walks over to the wall and swipes her finger along it, and the paint comes away. She realizes that something’s up, and she considers the possibility that she’s been lied to. And as we cut to black, we see the face of a woman who, because she realizes that she does not have control, may perhaps be ready to regain it.
– “Pleasure to meet you.” “It’s not mutual.”
-Control tells her daughter in the beginning: “I don’t want you playing all that violence.” And what does she do for a living? Kill people. Perhaps this reflects her attempting to distance personal from professional, and that would once again underscore the humanity that is still present.
-I absolutely love how the show can switch perspectives on us with such skill. In this episode, the Machine team members are the relentless pursuers, and it’s fascinating to watch.
– “I’m the head of security, lady. Do I look like a janitor?” Nice tie in there at the end to the Finch-Control conversation.
-The Control-Decima stuff is a bit iffy for me now. She should’ve suspected something with Decima and the drives and research 2 being Samaritan.
-I have to say: Brooks is very, very attractive.
-Amy Acker can be terrifying just by simply staring through that chain link fence. Really stark contrast to last week’s flirtation with Shaw.
-There are some ideas about accountability that play out through the episode as well. For example, who’s responsible for Yasin Said getting away and who’s responsible for taking him down and who can be responsible with Samaritan presiding over everything.
-The same can be said for Michael Emerson. “You foolish woman. You don’t understand that you’re not in control of anything. You’re the clean up crew. You’re the janitor.” “Speaking of janitors, here come a few now.” “You say that like we weren’t expecting them.” Every so often, Emerson brings out the Benjamin Linus in him, and as always, it’s a pleasure to watch.
-I agree, Fusco. As much as I respect the Red Wings, they do suck. Go Hawks.
– “Evasive maneuver!” *Reese’s rocket launcher says no*
-Yay, Bear sighting!
-See you again on February 3rd! Tuesdays are getting crowded now; we have this, Parks and Recreation‘s final season, New Girl, and Justified‘s final season.
Photo credit: CBS, Person of Interest