Warning: Spoiler Alert
A man and his family are driving and get pulled over. Seems pretty routine. Until we discover that the cops are not real cops. With the father figure in the back of the cruiser, a different cruiser pulls up offering assistance. The man in the back pounds on the car window and yells, “they’re not real cops”. Then one of the not real cops shoots the real cops. Then the not real cops drive away, one driving the not real cop car and the other driver the car with the wife and child.
Martin Odum finds his way to the shrink. Probably as part of a required evaluation by the Bureau. As one would expect, he is ducking in and out of the questions. In a separate room, Crystal and her boss Gates watch on a video feed. Crystal is still trying to force Odum out of her task force. She continues on about not being able to control her operative and Gates uses the phrase “request a transfer” as an official and polite way of saying, “there’s the door”. The beauty of this dynamic is that if push comes to shove, they would pick Odum over Crystal.
After the evaluation, Odum is met at the coffee dispenser by Gates. They converse about the funeral, autopsy and death of Bobby. Bobby was the techie on the team that Odum had run security footage to get an ID on our mystery man in the green jacket. Bobby was killed by a man in a green jacket. There is absolutely another much larger story line at work here. A pursuit that Gates is not as of yet away is being pursued.
The man from the cold open is delivered to a drab room with a couch that looks 10 years passed its expiration date. Back at HQ, there is a meeting taking place with all of the pertinent characters except Odum. Come to find out, our kidnapped man is a former Russian national involved with arms manufacturing. Some of the weapons (VX Gas for example) has been moved to the black market. He is being held by what we are lead to believe are Chechen Mafia. The FBI rep inquires about any “legends” that might be in play with the Chechen Mafia. This is the part where we assume Odum has one.
Side Note. I’m generally not to critical of personal appearance choices. A man wants to go from Don Draper to Grizzly Adams, I’m fine with it. However, Tina Majorino (the girl from Napoleon Dynamite) who is sort of cute in a little sister sort of way going from professional cute last episode to a full on Bieber on steroids is a bit much. I can’t imagine how an employee of a law enforcement/espionage organization would even allow her in the building looking like that. She looks like she lost a bet.
Troy, another operative on the task force has a CI that gets him into a Chechen run club. The club is a front to launder money. Troy will resume his identity and drop in. See if there is anything that can be learned from an angle he’s already spent time developing.
The Chechens bring the kidnapped man his wife and daughter. The typical concern and worry is displayed. The Chechen jump in and out of Russian and English. The man in question tries to maintain his story and eventually the Chechen says something that grabs the man’s attention. Then he responds in Russian. As the typical American wife would do, she immediately looks to her husband in an angry way and demands to know who he is. Curious as they have a daughter who is at the very least north of 10 years old. The history is a little deep to jump the “who are you” platform so quickly.
Interesting that it took 77 minutes of show time before we are introduced to Agent Rice, played by Morris Chestnut. Easily the fourth most important actor in the billing. As it turns out his character, Agent Rice, also works for the bureau in the transportation crimes division. Odum asks Rice for some under the table assistance in ID’ing the man in the green jacket who was stabbed on the subway platform last week.
The plan for Richard Hubbard (the kidnapped man) is to resume his former Russian vocation and build the VX Gas ‘weapon’ the Chechens are looking for. After saying they would not hurt the wife and daughter, Richard is shown on a tablet screen that his both are shackled and on their knees with knives at their throats.
Odum, Troy and Crystal drop in on the Chechen club under the disguise of conducting business. Once behind closed doors, the man who greeted them downstairs demands they leave. The cover is gone and we are left with a Russian CI and three ‘cops’. Troy tries the more polite way to probe for answers. When that doesn’t work, Odum steps in and tries to speak a language the CI would be more receptive to. They engage in a quick game of Russian roulette. Odum pulls the trigger three times in a row before the CI squeals.
They follow the lead given by the CI. Once the video feed is up, Gates believes the man (Dmitri) is the cop from the dash cam who pulled off the kidnapping. Bringing Dmitri in will only slow down the process, so Odum throws out a more direct plan that involves Troy, Crystal, himself, Dmitri and the aforementioned club.
After that meeting, Gates asked Odum to stick around. Bobby’s computer had some files that were for Martin Odum only. Gates, inquires as to why Odum doesn’t trust him to share what’s going on. Odum eventually tells him the gist of the situation with the man in the green jacket. Even goes so far to tell Gates that the man told Odum that “there is no Martin Odum, you aren’t who you think you are” and further explained that Martin Odum is just another Legend. Gates looked his operative in the eyes and very quietly and directly said, “What McCombs (man in the green jacket) said, don’t mention that to anyone else in the office.”
Outside at a snack cart, Odum walks up to get a cup of coffee. Agent Rice follows to grab some tacos. Their snack choice is really not relevant. Rice wants to share more info on the McCombs murder. Appears there was eyewitness video. Now while Rice has less than half of the info that Odum does, this particular dog is on the scent now. Rice informs Odum that he “does not drop the ball”. I’m starting to get the impression that for the immediate future, Rice may not be the character I was hoping he’d be. But we’ll have to see how things move from here.
Richard gets thrown back into the holding room where his wife and daughter are. He has been beaten further. The whole right side of this face is almost swollen closed. His wife again asks what they want. He responds with a quick and painless answer. Both explaining his former identity and what they want, while at the same time putting her mind at ease as to why he deceived her.
Side note. I would really like just once, for Ali Larter to play a character whose dominant characteristic is not the ‘you do it my way or else’ type of character. She always seems to draw roles where she is adamant about whatever, until she is proven wrong and normally by then its too late anyway. I generally don’t like Ali Larter in anything. That said, it’s not her fault. Every since Varsity Rules, it seems she always plays the same character. She plays that character well, but it in no way is endearing or sympathetic to me. She may be very good, she just always plays roles that I want to fast forward through, so far Crystal Quest is no different.
Crystal and Troy are introduced to Dmitri while Martin sits at the bar. They unexpectedly move upstairs. With Crystal and Troy upstairs separated from Martin and no visual feed back at HQ, I have the feeling this is going to go badly. One thing is certain, Crystal has no objection to employing her sexuality in order to gain leverage. First the stripper and now getting fresh with Dmitri in order to lift his cell phone.
Martin notices two large unsavory men walk in with determination in their eyes. As soon as he realizes they aren’t meant for him, he ventures upstairs. The two men arrive upstairs before Martin does. They immediately open fire on the room hitting the CI and Troy (believe it or not, I thought they’d keep him around for at least a few episodes). They clean out the entire room. Then they move to the bathroom where they believe Crystal is. Before they can get in, Martin takes them both out. Crystal stops to check Troy’s vitals, but he’s been long gone. They take out two more men coming up the stairs then get out of dodge.
Apparently, Agent Rice’s boss is a big stickler for red tape and protocol. He submitted a request to put surveillance on Martin Odum, an active agent. She denied the request before Rice was able to properly convey his angle. Regardless of his motives or early evidence, she did not care. It’s clear that Rice does not play well with others and definitely is not keen on turning over his work for another department to take credit for. He also doesn’t share his boss’ affection for protocol. After she denied his request he made a call and told someone to go ahead, that she “granted the request” as he said she would.
I seriously cannot get past Maggie’s new hair. It circumvents anything happening in the plot.
On a rooftop Gates and Odum meet. They are running out of time. There seems to be a minimum of time off an undercover job required before going in again. Martin suggests that he needs to go under or they could lose the family if not the larger threat. Gates asks for the legend.
Odum: Dante Olabach.
Gates: Dante Olabach? The Lord of War.
(Gates turns and faces the opposite direction)
Gates: Ok Martin, let’s do it.
Earlier in the episode, Martin breaks some dishes when his wife questions what he’s doing and how it will affect their son. He breaks some dishes and that’s that. Now he and Aiden are returning from a day out including a new set of dishes. Aiden goes in the house and his wife starts in again. “Are you going undercover again? This is going to kill you.” Then she turns inside.
Rice is already following Odum. It takes about two turns down the street for Martin to notice. Rice gives chase, but to no avail. He find’s Odum’s car abandoned by a storage facility.
What follows is a glorified set up for the next episode, but is not the promo for the next episode. This scene is Gates outlining the Dante Olabach legend. And even going so far as to say, “sit back and watch, this is his show”, thus removing anyone including Crystal from stating an objection.
. . .
There is a very interesting thing happening in modern television that I personally enjoy. I, believe it or not, am not a fan of 24. I think the cast is great but the format is too much. Each episode is one hour in the span of a day. I also dislike anything (while it’s never a deal breaker) that follows a predictable procedural timeline. Episodic story lines that follow a typical blueprint and are always concluded by episode end. Which is why Murder in the First was so interesting. They didn’t solve a case every week. They took all the of the weeks to work through one case (more or less).
This brings me to tonight. In episode one of Legends, we saw a beginning, a middle and an end. One case solved in one episode. However, episode two reaches its conclusion without bring closure to anything. Two episodes in and they have removed any sense of predictability. I wondered how they could introduce a new ‘legend’ every week and keep it interesting. This is how you do it. They didn’t replace the week to week timeline with a season long timeline. They replaced the episodic timeline with one that cannot be calculated. The best thing about the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie from 2009 was that everyone who had any perspective from previous versions was that “Abrams just completely rewrote the timeline”. It creates the freedom to do anything and go anywhere regardless of what convention would like to dictate. After the first episode I like Legends. As of this moment, they have my undivided attention. Stay tuned, this show could be much more than we anticipated.