Once again, this episode gives us a nice look at the emotional center of one of our new characters, while introducing another interesting concept regarding alternate, parallel worlds and the ability to pass between them. Unfortunately, unlike last episodes cat and mouse game with a reasonable lack of resolution, this episode is much less consistent and a bit too easily “fixed”.
Steve Maeda’s last offering was last season’s “Vienen”, which suffered from the same problems as this episode. On the plus side, the basic concept is very strong and certainly interesting, with lots of potential for future implication. Well, it would be if 1013 took a more unified approach to the continuity as a whole! Speaking of continuity, Maeda once again weaves in elements from the past to inform the present situation, always a nice touch.
The general weakness of a Steve Maeda script tends to be a lack of depth in the characterization, but more to the point, slight lapses in logic along the way. Characters tend to act as the plot demands, and while there is an attempt to make these actions more or less true to the characters, it’s not always the case.
In terms of the plot, there are some small problems that I think were necessary to make it more dramatic, but threw off the overall logic of the situation. For instance, the explanation that Monica gives for switching of the two Doggetts is necessary for the final twist at the end, but it casts doubt on the timing of the events in the first act. The switch was supposed to have happened at the moment that other Doggett (which I’ll call “Doggett 2”) stepped into “our” world. However, the entire scene with Monica has to take place after Doggett 2 is shot, because there would have been no reason for Skinner or any other agent to be right on the scene until after someone (Lukesh?) called in the shooting. The teaser is staged specifically to show that once Doggett 2 steps through, the cop cars behind him are no longer there; he is alone in the alley with Lukesh. Which means, unfortunately, that our Doggett should have disappeared long before he ever gets to Monica’s new apartment.
Later, after Monica is trying to figure out what happened, it doesn’t take long for her to catch onto the idea that the wounded Doggett 2 is from a parallel dimension. Having watched the episode a couple times, it is remarkable how quickly she comes up with that explanation. I’m assuming that we are supposed to believe that she is following her trusty intuition at this point, but it comes across as a little too easy. In the same way, Doggett 2 buys into the idea far too quickly, though that might be his fatalism kicking in. At any rate, it is hard to complain about Doggett 2’s characterization, because in a convenient twist, we have no way of knowing how different Doggett 2 is from the one we are used to seeing.
The ending is also a bit too fast, not at all capitalizing on the chaos that Lukesh could have caused in the search. Instead, there is the convenience of having Lukesh lose control of his sanity as the noose tightens. I suppose this works, if you take the point of view that Lukesh never thought he would get caught and saw his crimes as the ultimate fantasy. But once again, it is very close to taking the easy way out.
I was interested in the general application of Lukesh’s gift, as it seemed to be a little inconsistent as well. Most of the episode suggested that his ability to cross between worlds was location specific…he led Doggett 2 into the alley at the beginning, and he also walked to the same spot at the end of the second act. But then there were hints that he could do it anywhere, like in the apartment building in the teaser and in Monica’s apartment at the end of the final act. Location specific crossings would make much more sense to me.
There was also a bit of exploration into how Monica feels towards Doggett. Some might have cringed at the more tender moments, but I’m not so sure that this was a bad thing. For one, it follows from the offhand comment made by Professor Kobold last episode. Also, it makes sense from the perspective of their shared history. She has already been shown as feeling responsible for leading Doggett to a more healthy outlook, so it follows that she cares for him deeply for similar reasons.
His amusement at the beginning of the episode could mean a lot of things. He could be taking her flirting in stride, or on some level, he could appreciate the fact that she cares for him. I don’t see those feelings being returned at this stage of the game, but certainly, he has to be aware of them. The tenderness in his voice at the end speaks to the level of their friendship, the depth of his concern over her suddenly clingy behavior, from his point of view.
That said, Monica’s affections for Doggett come across as very realistic. In a casual setting, she is far more open about her affections, doting over him even. When surrounded by their colleagues, she is less obvious, but still very straightforward. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that she cares for him. The only real question is how much, and that is where the subtlety comes into play.
Another interesting relationship is the professional struggle between Skinner and Follmer. When it was just a matter of Kersh looking over his shoulder, Skinner could get away with a lot of questionable actions. But as we see here, with Follmer on the same level and able to keep a much closer eye on matters, he runs a much greater risk. I have no doubt that Follmer was assigned to the case because someone, likely Kersh, expected Skinner to play fast and loose with the rules of evidence.
Follmer’s characterization is very strong here, and a lot less annoying than in the season premiere. In this episode he is portrayed as coolly competent, but very politically aware. He definitely sees Skinner as a potential threat to his own career, despite Skinner’s status as persona non grata. Still, he is very good at his job, even if his ethics are in question. It is obvious that he is willing to use his past with Monica as a bargaining chip, even though it is equally obvious that he is only interested in her in that capacity.
All in all, not a bad episode, but not quite as good as it could have been. If anything, it felt as though this episode needed to be about another act or two longer, or less time wasted on Lukesh and his mother. But at least it gave us some insight into Monica Reyes, a character that I happen to see a lot of potential for.
Some other thoughts:
- It almost seemed as though Doggett 2 and Reyes 2 were working for Follmer in the teaser…an interesting difference.
- The killing scene of Reyes 2 was extremely well done, and was an immediate shock to the system.
- Still, someone needs to tell 1013 that a person with their throat slit seldom has the time or chance to let out a scream like that!
- I mentioned it before, but having the cop cars no longer behind Doggett 2 just before he is shot was a nice touch. I missed it the first time through.
- My wife (half Polish) was thrilled to know that Doggett is a fan of the Polish Sausage! (I think that came out wrong…)
- Oh, nice touch to have Doggett know, presumably from his years on the NYC beat, that corner stand food is a class unto itself!
- Nice touch with the reference to “Beyond the Sea”, even if it really had nothing to do with anything. It gave more weight to Scully’s otherwise light involvement.
- Why not offer Monica the same residue test Lukesh was offered?
- Robert Patrick did an amazing job of acting…Doggett 2’s range of emotions shone through, even with that extremely limited ability to move. Every scene with him was gut wrenching.
- “1st time wanted a little prick”…HA!
- I have to say, if that were my mother, I would probably turn into a psychotic killer too!
- I understand that Scully might have been personally involved with the case, in terms of reaction to what happened, but why was she brought into the case beyond that? Her present position at Quantico would seem to preclude that.
- Not to mention the fact that she has a young child at home, and probably shouldn’t be volunteering to chase people who can appear out of nowhere anyway…
- Oh, wait, that’s right, Ma Scully is more than willing to take care of William for days on end, so I guess it’s no big deal!
- All right, I know this is going to be said by others, but damn does Doggett have some massive hands!
- Another great RP moment…the extremely subtle quivering of the muscles in his cheeks after the respirator cuts off. It might have been the discomfort of the neck brace, but it really looked like an effort on RP’s part to depict Doggett 2’s inability to breathe. Never mind that look in his eye…powerful stuff.
- I may not like Follmer much, but that was one hell of a kill shot!
- As much as the ending may not make sense, it is a nice spin to have Monica remember the whole thing. Even if 1013 will never follow-up on that plot point…sigh…
Overall, this was an episode with a very interesting concept, and it had the virtue of giving us a solid look at Monica Reyes. Hopefully this will win over some of her more vocal critics. But there were little inconsistencies and conveniences that rubbed me the wrong way, and because of that, I cannot say that it was as good as some of the other episodes thus far.
I give it a 6/10.
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