While Finch (Michael Emerson) helps an estate investigator (Kirk Acevedo) look into the questionable death of his foster brother (Michael Esper), tries to track down Root (Amy Acker) who has kidnapped Shaw (Sarah Shahi) in order to enlist her help for a mission for The Machine which has come to understand the need for self-preservation and has chosen the two women to help keep it safe against an imminent threat.
Finch’s search takes the latest number to an abandoned storage unit left as a trap by a member (Leslie Odom Jr.) of a privacy-obsessed anti-government group that without Reese’s timely arrival would have killed them both. Shaw and Root’s blind leading the blind, both unsure about where their mission is leading, takes them to a CIA black site and a prison transfer the pair hijack to get into an even more restricted prisoner interrogation site where the cases of both Finch and Root collide.
In the episode’s B-story Carter‘s (Taraji P. Henson) partner (Brian Wiles) gets a rude awakening as to the way HR works when Simmons (Robert John Burke) forces the kid to bury an old friend who was skimming on the protection money due to the group. The events, added to Carter’s blackmail material, are finally enough to shake the man’s loyalties and divulge some useful information about HR’s relationship with the Russian mob. Although the mission is successful the bad guy gets away, and The Machine’s soldiers are still no closer to understanding just who Vigilance is or what possible future threat the secret organization may offer to The Machine.
Shahi and Acker are immensely enjoyable together and “Mors Praematura” offers us a glimpse of what a Shaw/Root spin-off (something I’m still hoping for) might look like. The structure of the episode, The Machine using two separate teams to achieve cooperative but distinctly different objectives, is entertaining but also worrisome for Finch who decides to keep Root locked-up in the library until he can figure out the proper course of action. Root’s warning, about Finch possibly incurring The Machine’s wrath by going against her wishes is intriguing. If The Machine had to choose between them, who would it choose?