‘Trojan Horse’ is a super enjoyable case of the week episode with hidden depths. The number, Monica Jacobs, is quite interesting, but what’s more interesting is everything that happens with major players like Elias, HR, Ominous British Man, and Sameen Shaw. A cutie leaves us for good, and another cutie hints at staying for longer.
CW: POC death
I have watched the whole show before, so SPOILERS MIGHT HAPPEN. Big spoilers will be blanked out but references and irrelevant spoilers are going to be out in the open.
Elias and Finch are still playing chess, in case you were wondering. I know I was. I love their scenes together, and ‘Trojan Horse’ opens with them discussing Elias’ future, and how the Russians and HR are closing in. Elias hints at the fact that he doesn’t know who the head of HR is, but that that’s the real enemy.
Elias: Don’t count me out just yet, Harold. Might have a few moves left.
Yessssss Elias, I am rooting for you, babe.
Harold and Finch have a new number, but it’s Harry’s turn to be out in the field. Where is John? Tracking an old number, apparently. Who could that be?
Well, my wife, of course. John followed her to Michael Cole’s parents house, where she wanted to set the record straight on what happened to their son. That’s what John would’ve done too, but they both know she can’t do that without putting them in danger, with the government. They have so much in common, these two former assassins. I can’t wait to talk about their sibling love as it progresses.
John: A friend once told me, in our line of work, we walk in the dark. Doesn’t mean we have to walk in it alone.
I am having all the family feels.
Now for more family feels: As you may remember, Szymanski was just killed by HR, and Carter is not talking to Beecher, because his informant just got her friend bumped off. Which is fair.
Carter asks Fusco to look into it, so he confronts Cal about the set up on Szymanski and his involvement in all of it, and warns him to stay away from Carter. Yesssss Fusco you tell em. You mess with the queen of my heart, you mess with all of us cinnamon rolls of the world. Even though Cal wasn’t *trying* to mess with anyone, but how were we supposed to know.
We then follow Beecher at a park where he is meeting up with… PLOT TWIST! Alonzo Quinn, the head of HR. Mother of heck, you exclaim! Not so fast though, because, PLOT TWIST! Quinn is apparently Beecher’s godfather, who gave Cal the tip on Szymanski out of the goodness of his heart, or that is what he’s making it sound like. Poor Cal, getting played by HR’s boss without even knowing. And poor all of us, ’cause shit’s about to get nasty with this storyline.
Next stop on Beecher’s determined path to disaster, he visits Elias, who is playing chess against himself, it looks like. Or daydreaming that his
boyfriend chess partner Harold is sitting in front of him, who knows. Elias tells Cal he is asking the wrong questions (which is true), and that he probably knows things he doesn’t know he knows (which is also true). Szymanski wasn’t dirty, Cal got played by HR, and Cal might be stepping on some dangerous toes.
Elias: Word of advice? Choose your next move wisely, or it’s going to be chosen for you.
Why is Elias advising good cops? Why is he cooperating at all? Because he is a precious cinnamon roll, and some mark this as the moment Elias clearly flips from villain to good guy. I disagree about these pure motives. If he helps good cops who are hunting HR, and HR is brought down, that’s good news for him. So, hate to break it to y’all, but this could be a cinnamon roll Heel-Face Turn type reveal, or it could also be a self-serving move by an excellent chess player.
Some HR-paid criminal tells on Beecher meeting up with Elias, so Simmons suggests shipping him off to work far away. Quinn decides it’s time to kill him. Even Simmons is fucking appalled at the thought of bumping off his own family, and our very own cutiepie. How dare.
So… I like this episode’s number but, (un)fortunately, we don’t have that much space for her. Monica Jacobs is a high-up tech company person. Someone is out to get her, for getting too close to some pretty big stuff going on inside her company. First it appears she found spies from the Chinese government, which is true. What is also true is that they weren’t the only ones using the company’s technology to spy on people.
Just as Harold is consulting with John, somebody else storms into the library. Sameen Shaw! Turns out, assassins on the run don’t appreciate being followed and crept on, so she decided to return the favor. Finch is not giving up on his recruitment efforts, which we all appreciate, but Sameen isn’t a fan yet.
Shaw: You think I should have a hobby. Now what would that be? Hanging around a derelict library with you, your poorly socialized guard dog, and Bear, here?
Finch: Bit of a come down from saving the world, I guess, but we have our moments.
Shaw: And what’s your end, Harold? Is this your hobby, running a halfway house for retired assassins?
Sameen’s line kickstarts the running gag of (mostly Root and Shaw) calling John very unflattering nicknames that get him confused with Bear, which I adore. And it’s just such snarky and dry dialogue, but full of potential for greatness and team work!
Harold apparently hacked the CIA to make up a record of Cole being an agent, and leaked info about his death being a heroic covert operation death. That’s great lengths he went to to get Shaw on our team, so, go Finch! As Shaw looks like she is thanking him with her teary eyes, she spots a photo of Root on the wall.
Shaw: Our conversation was cut short. But we seem to have so much in common.
Oh you mean she wants to burn you with an iron and you would very much love to let her? I guess that’s a thing in common.
And Bear seems to be fond of Shaw! He could’ve totally barked and bit her ass off, but he knows a BFF when he sees one. Bear knows, and approves.
In trying to get evidence on Monica Jacobs’ innocence, they need to get inside the company that already fired her and wants to sue her. Who does Harold enlist? Well, Bear, of course. No one better to get inside a building, run faster than any guard, and, thanks to orders given to him via radio, scare the shit out of them. Bear is such a good boy. Yes he is.
Reese is also a very good boy. I know it’s cheesy but watching him fight really well, with a straight face like he’s almost bored, and defeating everyone, is very satisfying.
They discover one of the people behind all the spying is one of the owners of the company. The operation is spying on most of the country, and it’s not exactly China doing this. So who is it, then?
It’s Ominous British Man!
(Un)Welcome back! Ominous British Man reminds the company owner of “their agreement”, and ominously says “it is time”. Time for what? For the guy to off himself, apparently. What? Why? What the hell? I know, I know. And it’s going to become A Thing. We still don’t get a name for this shady guy, but we have a name for his company! Decima Technologies. We also learn that the virus Kara uploaded was designed specifically to target The Machine. *INTRIIIIIGUE*
In the end of this particular plot, the truth is leaked to the press about the spies, and Monica gets a job offer from IFT (the company Harold built with Nathan).
Back in the precinct, Fusco shows Carter a recording of Beecher asking Elias about Szymanski, which means Cal wasn’t in on it. Fusco warns Carter about the minefield her boyfriend might be walking through, and by association, she might want to be careful about too. So Carter calls Beecher to catch up soon over a drink, and he agrees to meet her after he finishes a job.
But then… Gosh, I really don’t want to rewatch this, or write this. Harold gets a number and asks Carter to get ahold of Beecher immediately, but it’s already too late. Fusco gets a call for an officer in distress at the address where Cal is. When Joss gets there, he is already dead.
There are two tropes at play here, one of which I had not thought about this way until this rewatch. My first reaction (beyond sadness) to Cal Beecher getting killed was frustration at a show that doesn’t have a whole lot of black characters, and it kills a major one here, and others later. A silver lining and different angle to it is that his death and what follows is a gender-swapped ‘women in refrigerators‘/ ‘disposable women’ trope. Usually in this trope, a female love interest is killed pretty much for the sole purpose of a redemption / revenge / angst plot for the male protagonist. In this case, it’s a male love interest whose death propels a woman baddass and her determination to end corrupt cops forever. At the same time, 1) Did it have to be a black man? Did it have to be the end of black love? and 2) (MAJOR DEATH RELATED SPOILERS FOR MID-SEASON 3) we all know how that ends for Carter, and how that in turn can be argued to be in favor of Reese’s arc. So, really, one could make the argument that the whole thing was to fuel a white man’s angst arc. I am not saying I agree with this argument 100%, but it is a valid and infuriating one.
Next up, Fusco is in major trouble (and we get major character depth time with him), the Decima Technologies virus approaches zero (as you may have noticed from the increased number of blue screens in this episode), and John makes a call that the POI fandom has feelings about.
*** A note on the Machine detecting this week’s number:
From everything we know about how the Machine works, we know that it sifts through records of every and any kind, detects threats to people’s lives, and warns Finch. Seems simple enough.
Except when Harold and John receive Monica Jacobs’ number, all the bad guys had planned for her was to fire her, to discourage her from looking into things further. It’s only later that she looked further and almost got herself killed. So my theory is that the Machine is using a lot more human behavior prediction than Harold lets on, or maybe even acknowledges. It doesn’t just sift through records, it sifts through past human behavior to predict future action, and this knowledge pushes a lot of AI thoughts forward in the show. I dig it.