Legends: Preserve the Cover

Photo Credit: threeifbyspace.com
Photo Credit: threeifbyspace.com

Warning: Spoiler Alert

 Last week we discovered an incredible wrinkle. Whether they are disregarding convention or felt they could better tell the story this way. The show runners behind Legends made it clear, that they are not going to force a given story to fit within the parameters of a single episode. It may not mean much to you now, but I believe this wrinkle will go a long way in allowing them to tell the story they want to tell as opposed to the story they are forced to tell.

We start off with Richard Hubbard, the guy kidnapped last week whose been trying to live a clean new life with a new identity. His old life caught up with him and now he is being forced to create VX Gas for the bad guys. This cold open shows him doing just that. Until he sees an opening, knocks out a guy, fetching his wife and daughter, but finds a dead-end. A small army of Chechens prevent their escape.

First non-cold open scene and I am reminded of my dislike of Ali Larter. She always seems to play the same type of hardened character. However, I think it runs deeper than that. In this scene Gates (the boss) is debriefing the team. He says, “three days…” and Crystal (Larter’s character) jumps in. Like we’d forget she was in the room if she didn’t redirect attention back to her. And do I sense over acting? Everyone else is standing still, why is she walking the room like a Jerry Springer episode? In the end, it could just be that I’m overly harsh on this particular actress.

Introduce Dante Auerbach, Odum’s latest ‘Legend’. Nothing too critical. ‘Auerbach’ is looking to have a lackey broker a meeting to him closer to the Chechens. The beauty of the Legend comes in the next scene. He is to meet Polanos. He walks up to a table with a woman seated alone.

Auerbach: Excuse me, I’m looking for a Mr. Polanos?
Polanos: I’m Polanos…Anna Polanos.
(a sultry pause by Auerbach)
Auerbach: …What a lovely mistake…

Despite her resistance, Auerbach talks his way into keeping her attention. A very nice exchange that brings us more immediately into the characteristics of this particular Legend. He is a smooth talker. In this particular case, it seems like that is what is required.

With the efforts of Auerbach and the team at HQ, they were able to get a lock on Polanos’ cell and everything therein. Including a conversation with another asset to the deal. Auerbach immediately makes the decision to intercept that man and interrogate him. With an iron in place to burn him again, Auerbach convinces this chess piece to sever ties with Polanos. Which he does without hesitation.

A colleague and I had a conversation about this show prior to tonight’s episode. The focus of discussion was on the roles of Rice (Morris Chestnut) and Gates (Steve Harris). The angle that we both seemed to be in a basic agreement on is that the essential role of good guy/bad guy of these two men almost have to be misrepresented through two episodes. Let me add, that it is my opinion that this has been done intentionally by the show runners. At present, Rice is playing the investigator sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong in the greater pursuit of justice and truth. He comes off as a man destined to be a thorn in Odum’s side long-term. While Gates is pinned as the trusting boss who is firmly in the corner of the protagonist. I believe, and it’s only speculation at this point, that both of those statements will prove to be dramatically false and in no way a real representation of their character’s true self. I even used the phrase, “Gates CANNOT be trusted”. There is just a feeling there that is keeping my guard up.

Rice walks in shooting his small talk and Gates is not having it. Gates is short and uncooperative with his answers. Rice eventually turns off the charm and we have ourselves a good old fashion standoff. Not literally of course. You see this often. It is a staple of the show Justified. We cover it with current technology, take away the scenic old west, no revolvers or tumbleweeds, but if you peel back all of the physical superficial background, it is a standoff. And these two men play it beautifully. Neither one willing to give too much or concede their position.

I really do not like Mrs. Odum. That said, this scene is the first real indication of Martin Odum, the man behind the Legends unraveling. He is having a hard time recalling how he proposed to his wife. He is visibly shaky. Something is not right. And just like that, shaken and disoriented, he is able to slip right back into Auerbach in a matter of seconds after noticing Polanos calling his cell.

The “Colonel” who is the big bad we’ve been looking for has been ID’d. Furthermore, we find out that not only are he and Polanos connected, but connected on a very personal level. They have a history dating back to when she was an orphan. A serious daddy-daughter relationship, complete with intense guilt tripping.

Later that night Auerbach meets with Polanos at a swanky rooftop restaurant. They exchange small talk then she chuckles and says, “I’m learning more about you by the moment”. Cut to a couple of goons trying to hack their way into Auerbach’s condo. Naturally the first reaction is negative. The sense of impending doom that Polanos’ people are going to discover that Auerbach is Odum. But remember, this is a top ranking deep cover operative. I currently feel no such sense. Because it’s Odum as Auerbach, you almost have to concede that he’s too good to make such a mistake.

During this restaurant scene, we do get a quick glimpse into the ‘deal’. We are looking at VX Gas. It is a Russian developed process from the 1990s. So far everything stacks up. Keep in mind the end game is to recover the weapon (VX Gas) and save the Hubbards. So far so good. Then Polanos changes the subject. Then this becomes a personal meeting. Auerbach tells a story about proposing and why the marriage didn’t work. The problem with that is he seems to be crossing over stories. The proposal is not accurate to his actual real life, but I get the impression that the reason the marriage fell apart factor is from his real life. And of course, predictable or not, Auerbach sleeps with Polanos.

In a lovely twist I did not see coming, Gates pays a visit to Rice. In Rice’s home. Occasionally, a scene comes along that forces me to consider just how much I want to feed you. Considering the process of creating television, sometimes the art of it cannot be conveyed in text. The text just doesn’t do it justice. It’s the difference between giving a great script to great actors and giving it to a high school theater department. This is one of those scenes. I cannot simply describe what happens because the art is in the nuance.

Both men refusing to back down would be obvious. Both men escalating their threat position without hesitation. The question is, “are both men exactly what they say and how they seem? Or are both of them hiding something? Is just one?” On the surface it seems that Gates is protecting his asset. However, if we look deeper into the season (or even series) arc, there could be something much bigger at work here. What if Martin Odum is not who he thinks he is? Then one would have to deduce that Gates is hiding a lot. And if that is the case, you could further extrapolate that Rice is something different as well. My current hypothesis is that Rice is literally the ‘out for justice at all costs’ kind of agent. And if that is true, all Odum has to do is to prove that his virtue and motivations are sincere and Rice should immediately become an ally while I fear Gates will move steadily in the other direction.

Polanos sets up a meeting for Auerbach. He is placed in a truck with a hood over his head. What ensues was somewhat predictable. The Feds organize a raid on the area thought to be the lab for the VX Gas. Seems pretty obvious when the temperature readings are 500 times what they should be. Crystal (in head to toe riot gear/gas preventative gear) leads the team in. She finds the lab, gets a closer look and gets jumped. By Mr. Richard Hubbard. Next shot is her carrying him out. At the same time we see a Hubbard reunion, we can hear over the radio that they found no VX Gas.
Not surprising to me, 4 minutes and change to wrap up this story line and I seriously doubt it will happen. Some might be frustrated with this concept, but I for one am in love with it.

As it turns out, the intention was to take Auerbach to the Colonel and that location would be far from the lab. The Colonel begins to act sketchy and question if Auerbach is who he says he is. One of his men gets too close and Auerbach disarms him and in an instant, has an assault weapon pointed inches from the Colonel’s face. What follows we have all seen before. The dealer expects the broker (or representative of the buyer) to test the product and in turn kill an unknown man. This both verifies the product and proves to the dealer that the buyer is who he says he is. The fastest example I can think of is the moment in Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne stops being a member of the League of Shadows and starts to become Batman.

Let’s cut through any cryptic language. Auerbach does the deed. He drops VX Gas into the strange man’s eye. You can assume the man dies shortly thereafter. The Colonel says, “now we have trust”. That is a telling detail, at least for the immediate future. The bigger issue is one I will forever reference as the “Walter White watching Jane” moment. Anyone who is familiar with Breaking Bad will know exactly what I mean. There comes a time in some stories where the protagonist or even anti-hero is faced with a decision. The result of that decision could very well sway how the viewer perceives him or her. Any time we are dealing with law enforcement or the Feds there seems to be a line in the sand. Feds don’t take drugs, even to maintain their cover (see Graceland). They don’t kill people to maintain their cover. So when one of these characters is faced with a decision to save or not and to cross over that line in the sand, it affects people differently. Do you support Auerbach’s decision to cross the line an maintain his cover for the greater good or is your affection for him forever changed negatively for crossing said line? It is a junction in the story that either diminishes or enhances the story for you on a personal level. I will say that for me, at this moment, it has enhanced my experience with this show. However, I reserve the right to change my mind later.

Graceland: Six Federal Agents Walk Into A Bank…

Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The tension among the housemates on the USA Network Original Series “Graceland,” over the last few episodes has been as thick as pea-soup, as all the agents’ had secrets and personal agendas that they hid from each other. This episode saw many of those secrets exposed and possibly irrevocably damaged one special relationship. However there was positive news in the episode as well, concerning the Solano Cartel’s mole in the Los Angeles Police Department, as Lieutenant Sid Markham, opened up to undercover agent Paul Briggs and the money from his safety deposit boxes is currently unavailable for him. That development could cause the detective to get involved in the Solano’s new smuggling operation and give agent Mike Warren a chance to catch him with his hands dirty.

The episode opens on the same scene that closed the previous episode, with Briggs listening on his cellphone to the tape that FBI agent Juan Badillo recorded the night he was accidentally shot in a scuffle with Briggs. As the tape ends and the caller hangs up, Charlie walks back into the kitchen and Paul fakes finishing up a conversation. He’s visibly shaken and Charlie asks him what’s wrong, but he plays it off and tells her it was Markham saying they’d talk in the morning.

Mike sees Paige tinkering with the ballerina music-box he gave her earlier in the season and asks what she’s doing. Paige replies that she got the ballerina to spin around once more, but realized she preferred it when it didn’t spin. Warren tries to spin the last few weeks positively, talking about getting the foreign young women out of Sulla’s sex-trafficking operation, Briggs getting tighter with Markham and Solano choosing Johnny and Jakes to “smuggle” his guns and drugs over the border to the USA. Arkin, brings up Lena, the young woman who Sulla murdered and Mike burned her remains in a blast furnace to cover it up. He tells Paige that they’ll find her and Arkin tells him that she’s writing a letter to her parents and asked if he’d like to help. Mike readily agrees and they say they’ll talk about it that evening.

Briggs meets with Jakes on the beach and tells him about the tape, he believes that Markham was the caller as the call came on the phone he uses in his cover of LAPD detective Paul West. He anticipates having to take the cop down to protect himself from blackmail and gives Dale a credit card and tells him to use it to buy two breakfasts at a local diner for an alibi.

Paul drives over to Markham’s home and waits for his wife and son to leave, before he rings the doorbell. Markham answers the door all smiles and glad to see him, then invites him to the backyard so they can talk. Briggs quickly figures out that Markham had no knowledge about the tape, he wanted to bring Paul into the know about his relationship with Carlos Solano. He tells Briggs, that he first encountered Solano right after he made detective, 20-years earlier, when he busted him on a narcotics charge and the Cartel boss served a ten-year sentence. However, he had a rapport with the criminal and Solano started giving him information on rival gangs. This served a two-fold purpose, getting Markham on the map with a string of huge busts, while eliminating Solano’s competition in the bargain.

After Solano got released, the relationship continued, but Markham told Briggs that every once in a while Solano gets too greedy and needs to get slapped down, hence the reason his squad shot all the employees of the sex-trafficking operation in the previous episode. He told Paul he couldn’t turn a blind-eye to the operation and his squad killing all the employees sent Solano a message.

Paul meets back up with Dale and tells him that Markham’s not the guy with the tape and now he’s sure Warren’s got possession of it. Jakes replies that if Mike had the tape, Briggs would already have handcuffs on, but Paul responds that Warren still needs him to take out Markham and he set him up to kill the detective, then pin two murders on him. Dale realizes that Briggs wants to gun down Warren and tells his housemate he’s on his own. As Jakes leaves he sees a bunch of posted signs announcing they’ll be filming in the area he’s in for the next few nights. One conversation with the location director later, he’s got the shoot moved to right in front of the bank Charlie and Amber plan to rob.

The serving of Charlie’s grandmother’s marinara sauce usually is a time of celebration and connecting for the housemates; this time however it served as an appetizer to a screaming match, as Briggs and Charlie, Mike and Paige and Jakes and Johnny unloaded on each other with both barrels. Perhaps the only reason punches weren’t thrown was a call from Amber to Charlie, telling her about the movie shoot in front of the bank, shutting down their robbery attempt.

The crisis causes the team to work together to come up with an alternative to giving up robbing Markham’s safety-deposit boxes. Briggs suggests that they do it during the day and Charlie responds they’d need a crew to pull that off. Warren says they can be the crew and the lot of them drive over to Amber’s so she can meet them. After they are all introduced the bank robber says that they’ll be called animals from then on and produces a bunch of animal Halloween masks.

There’s some bickering between Mike and Paul over who’ll bring the money to the van, when Amber says that Paige will carry the cash. She then points a gun at Briggs and Johnny and Paige immediately draw weapons and point them at her. The bank-robber tells the agents she’s impressed with their reflexes and tells them to go home and learn the layout of the bank backwards and forwards.

Mike and Charlie didn’t want Briggs involved in the robbery, but Amber insisted that there’d be four people to cover the hostages. Briggs standing on the landing above them hears their conversation but disappears by the time they look up. Paul goes into bed alone and tries to sleep but he hears the tape being played elsewhere in the house, he gets out of bed and walks to Warren’s room, where the noise emanates from. He forces open the door and Mike closes his laptop, that had played the recording. Briggs asks Mike if he’s doing this just for fun or for a purpose and Warren responds both, he wants Markham dead. Paul tells him that he’s not a killer, but Warren responds that Briggs is. Paul then tells Mike he knows he hasn’t shared the tape with headquarters, because Warren needs him.

The two then go at it like Ali and Frazier, trading blows and kicks, with each combatant gaining then losing the advantage. They tumble over the railing to the wood floor down below, then Briggs drowns Warren in the house’s indoor pond. We start to realize it’s a dream sequence as Briggs digs a grave in the living room floor with a pick-axe and drops Warren’s limp body inside it. We get confirmation that it’s indeed a dream when Charlie appears in the room in a long black negligée carrying their baby, who was just conceived six weeks earlier. Paul wakes up in the living room with Charlie wearing the same negligée, he apparently had gone sleep-walking and Charlie takes him back upstairs.

The following morning Briggs shows up early for the heist, which unnerves Amber, but he tells her he came early to share some info. He then says that the Rabbit (Mike) has a bad reputation, his buddy pulled a job with him and the Rabbit split with the cash. Amber tells Paul that Charlie hired him and she trusts Charlie and Briggs responds that he was also hired by Charlie.

The seven pull up in a truck each wearing masks and carrying automatic weapons. They quickly subdue the bank’s security officers and bring all the hostages into a room. Johnny then takes off his mask and flashes his FBI credentials, he tells the hostages to stay quiet and calm and they’d be alright. Charlie and Amber blow the safety-deposit boxes and gather the money and Paige starts to leave the room to transport the cash, but Briggs stops her telling her to keep an eye on the bank’s security guard.

He steps out of the room and tells Warren the hostage situation’s tight and Paige can’t leave, so either Briggs or Mike needs to grab the money. Warren says he’ll get it, walks into the vault and grabs the money saying he’s taking it to the van. Amber believes Mike’s about to take off with the money and goes after him, but locks Charlie in the vault. Amber’s about to shoot Warren in the back when his phone rings and it’s the tape, causing Briggs to realize Mike doesn’t have the recording and shoots towards Amber to stop her from killing Warren and she runs out of the bank.

Out in the bank parking lot, all of Markham’s cash sits banded on tables, Briggs sees Markham arriving and tells Charlie they have to leave. Warren’s being dressed down by an FBI superior, because he never got clearance from the bureau for his escapades. Just then Mike sees Markham approaching the table his money’s on and Warren leaves the superior telling him he just needs to trust him. Mike tries to get the detective’s goat by chiding him for putting the safety-deposit boxes under his own name, while Sid counters that he’s still not wearing handcuffs.

It’s later that evening and Briggs and Charlie are in the Jeep, when she notices Paul missed their turn. Briggs informs her he’s taking her to the desert to show her the truth, when he accidentally hits a deer. He jumps out of the Jeep and sees the animal’s still alive and tells Charlie to call animal control, but Charlie tells him to drive her home. Paul says the animal can be saved, but Charlie pulls out her pistol and shoots the deer in the head killing it instantly. She then screams to Briggs that he lit the match, causing him to realize that Charlie has the recording.

She asks why he couldn’t be honest with her and she tells him she realizes he was trying to get Warren killed by Amber. She makes it clear their relationship had ended and when Paul asks her what she’ll tell their child one day about its father, she spits out the words he’s a coward and drives away in the Jeep, leaving Briggs stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Graceland can be seen Wednesday nights on the USA Network.

Tyrant: Coup Comes Crashing Down

Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX Network
Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Could a California pediatrician successfully run a country in the Middle East? As the season finale of the FX Original Series “Tyrant,” opened, it appeared that we would see the beginning of the Presidency of Bassam Al Fayeed, before the episode ended.  However, the seemingly fool-proof plan for the younger Al Fayeed brother to replace his brother Jamal as leader of Abbudin didn’t go as smoothly as Barry and his co-conspirators hoped. And what seemed unthinkable in the previous episode, became reality in the season finale.

We joined Barry/Bassam at the final strategy meeting before the coup attempt started the following day. American Ambassador to Abbudin John Tucker, tells Al Fayeed that upon his return from a fishing trip with Jamal, the President, his wife, their son and daughter-in-law, along with Barry’s mother, placed under house arrest for their own safety. Barry tells the group he’s hoping to convince his brother to give a public resignation speech, then he and his wife Leila can take their money and relocate. Tucker asks if Al Fayeed believes that Jamal’s ego would allow him to make that speech and Barry replies to save Jamal’s ego his brother would want to make that address to his people.

Molly’s “free-spirited” sister Jenna and Barry and Molly’s teenage daughter Emma, are having a spa-day, when Jenna suggests the two of them go to a local town known for their shopping the next day, before their flight back to California. Jenna’s convinced she’s not coming back to Abbudin, so her niece agrees, but stresses they have to get back to the palace by noon.

Jamal gets his brother to look at the fishing equipment he’s provided for their expedition the following day. He asks Barry which rod he’d like and his brother asks what’s the difference and Jamal responds one is black and the other’s red. Barry chooses the black one which pleases Jamal as he preferred the red one. The President’s visibly excited about the two of them being alone and at peace on the ocean the following day.

Barry gets a call from Tucker, asking him to come to the American Embassy immediately. When he arrives he’s told by American operative Lea Exley that the United States is leaving the Democracy-making business. When Barry asks her what that means, she tells him that the State Department’s decided that the coup’s unnecessary, as Tariq’s in prison and the plane explosion in the previous episode wiped out Tariq’s senior commanders. They feel that Barry can handle his brother and have dropped their support for the takeover.

Al Fayeed loses it at that point, telling Exley and Tucker they’ll still stage the coup despite American support. Exley, lists the reasons he shouldn’t including the United States not smoothing the diplomatic waters for the new regime, or provide protection for Molly and the kids back in the States. Exley then tells Al Fayeed, he’s either power-hungry or an idealist, with both scenarios causing more problems than they would solve. Barry leaves the meeting pretty much resigned to the fact all his work has been in vain, when he gets a call from his old friend Fauzi Nadal, asking Al Fayeed to meet him in front of the mosque.

When Barry arrives, Nadal gives him a speech to address the nation once he assumes the Presidency, when Al Fayeed tries to thank his old friend, Fauzi tells him that he should thank Barry. He quickly reads the speech and becomes inspired by Fauzi’s words, he calls Tucker and tells him he’s going through with the coup attempt and if the United States doesn’t help he’ll write a letter to the New York Times, explaining how the State Department let down an American trying to start a democratic government in Abbudin. He then hangs up despite Tucker’s pleas not to.

That evening Jamal and Leila have dinner with their daughter-in-law’s parents, Hakim and his wife. They’re eating Moroccan food, but Hakim’s appetite seems off, as he’s one of the conspirators in the coup to overthrow Jamal. Hakim’s a scared rabbit by nature and intimidated to join the coup by the younger Al Fayeed. As talk turns to their children having a baby in the future, Jamal invites Hakim to retire to another room for brandy.

Molly’s lying in bed, visibly frightened when her husband joins her. She tells him how angry she’s with him and his decisions and concerned about his well-being, he responds that he loves her and nothing can go wrong. Barry then gets a text message from Tucker, telling him he’ll have American support in his overthrow-effort. He tells Molly, he’ll see her and the kids in a week and the two make love.

Emma and Jenna get their pocketbooks and cellphones stolen by three local young men and they can’t pay for their bill at the café they’ve been eating and drinking at. The manager tells them he’ll call the police, but Emma convinces him to follow them back to their car and their driver will pay him and give him a big tip. Unfortunately Molly had seconds before called the driver and asked him to look for her sister and daughter, so they arrive to find the car’s gone. The manager then calls the local police.

Lets take a moment to discuss the Al Fayeed brothers, to compare and contrast their similarities as well as differences. We have basically seen the story unfold in this first season, through the eyes of Barry/Bassam, a man who exiled himself from his birthplace and did his best to deny his existence in Abbudin for 20-years. He came back home with his family to attend the wedding of his brother’s son and planned to return back to California within days. Complications set-in when their father died after collapsing at the wedding and Jamal nearly perished after an assassination attempt.

The younger brother had always blamed his father for killing many of his own citizens with a chemical gas attack, but found out from his mother that it was actually his uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, who sent out the attack orders behind the President’s back. Fearing the deviousness of his brother the military commander, the President kept the truth a secret from all but his wife. Hearing this revelation, made Barry want to carry out the plans of his father to turn Abbudin into a democracy, but felt Jamal would self-combust, throwing the nation into civil-strife. He thought he was the only man to lead his country forward, which in reality’s a pretty egotistical mindset.

Jamal had power foisted upon him at birth, raised as the hand-picked successor to follow his father as President of Abbudin, unfortunately he never really wanted the power and responsibility of being in charge. He’s far less polished than Bassam and in many ways he’s a simpler man, but don’t mistake his less professional demeanor as stupidity, as Jamal’s cunning and wise, even if he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s a man used to getting what he wants, and he always finds a way to make that occur. In reality Jamal’s like a little boy hoping that he’s loved, a feeling he never got from his father and more recently from his wife Leila. He wants Bassam as his best friend and loves his brother deeply, although he feels his brother just pities him in return.

The President was rather cryptic during the brother’s fishing expedition, however if the younger brother paid attention to what Jamal said during the trip, he would’ve realized his brother had things on his mind. Jamal said that the ocean was so clean one could swear they could see the bottom of the sea-floor, but in reality nobody’s aware what goes on just beneath the surface. He then tells his brother that he wants them both to get so drunk they tell each other everything. But Barry doesn’t pickup the signals his brother’s sending.

Jamal tells his brother that they would have been much closer had their father been a fisherman instead of the President. He then fantasizes an existence where the brothers live in a small town, with Bassam a doctor and Jamal a furniture maker and Leila and Molly were best friends. He then says his brother would be the doctor and he would make the tables for the patients to lie on. The driver of the boat tells the President they should head back to shore and Jamal asks his brother should they head for open waters and become fishermen, Bassam replies they’d never survive doing that. The older brother asks what if I told you I was serious, then they share a smile and Jamal tells the driver to head home.

Emma and Jenna are finally located, but it’s too late to make the flight so Tucker tells Molly to bring her family to the embassy. When they arrive, Tucker has yet to find out any information but he’s concerned that the TV stations were still broadcasting as Hakim should have stopped all broadcasts from the nation by then.

Tucker’s concerns are legitimate as we find out in the following scene as the brothers get off the boat and a group of soldiers march towards them. Bassam tells Jamal he’s sorry, but he did this to protect him, but stops short when he sees Tariq leading the soldiers. Jamal then chides Barry on his choice of allies, telling him Hakim confessed the plot after two-drinks. He then tells his brother that he loved him so much he would have given him the Presidency if he asked for it. He then tells Tariq to take his prisoner to the cells.

Jamal’s mother Amira comes to him to beg for sparing his brother’s life, send him back home, exile him but allow he and his family to live. Jamal then tells Amira that his brother was going to have her arrested, but she says that doesn’t matter. She begs one more time but Jamal refuses to tell her what she wants to hear.

Tucker’s found out that the coup failed, but he’s unaware if Barry’s alright. Molly breaks down in tears and Tucker holds her in an effort to comfort her, when her kids Emma and Charlie walk into the room.

In the prison’s basement, four prisoners get lined up for execution by gunfire, one of them being Hakim, who begs for his life. Jamal and Tariq show no mercy as the four are soon riddled by gunfire. Barry, directly above where the four got executed clearly hears the sound of gunfire.

Jamal meets with Leila and Tariq, who both try to convince the President to execute his brother. Al Fayeed says to his uncle that he spared his life when he thought he’d betrayed him and the General says he would have advised him against that move. Leila then says, her husband has no choice, Tariq proved you can get out of jail and Bassam proved that exile allowed him to return to Abbudin. Jamal thinks for a moment, then tells the pair he’ll inform his mother of his decision then issue the order, ending the season on a rather steep cliff-hanger.

The Musketeers: Smoke and Mirrors

Photo Credit: Twitter.com, @Musketeers_BBCA
Photo Credit: Twitter.com, @Musketeers_BBCA

Warning: Spoiler Alert

D’Artangnan: Alright, Just so I know, this whole ‘D’Artagnan the apprentice Musketeer’ thing, how long does it last?
Aramis: Well, as long as it’s funny.

In the middle of the night, just outside the Musketeer garrison, Porthos informs the others that Athos is drunk and has taken a woman hostage with the intent to kill her. Amidst the various claims of who this woman is, murderer, criminal, wife, etc she does what she should not have. Appeal to D’Artagnan for help. Then the pieces fall into place. She is to D’Artagnan? Acquaintance? Benefactor? One night stand? None of which are comforting to Athos.

Treville steps out to intervene. Athos clearing focused on D’Artagnan. As is Porthos. Aramis and Treville’s more pressing concern is to diffuse this situation without causing to harm to anyone. In an instant, D’Artagnan makes a move to disarm Athos. This results in D’Artagnan taking a bullet.

Before I continue. It’s easy to read each of our many recaps and pertinent articles as if they come in a vacuum. However, if you frequent the site as we hope you do, it should be apparent that we very much enjoy television. And therefore in many cases our affections will cross over.

I personally believe that those of us who have chosen to are experiencing something rare. I don’t mean in the history of television rare, but rare nonetheless. It has been a bit of a privilege to go on this journey of Peter Capaldi playing Cardinal Richelieu. What’s been even more intriguing as a great many of us witnessed just a couple of nights ago, was the introduction of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. The rarity comes in the experience of watching a talented actor jump between someone as self service, malicious and potentially evil as Cardinal Richelieu. Then six days later witness Peter Capaldi as magnanimous as The Doctor.

If you aren’t watching both, you really should. While Doctor Who has a certain following and may not be for everyone, watching Capaldi master the jump between the two is something everyone should witness. Also, in the sense of cross promotion, stay tuned to NJATVS routinely as a “Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor” piece will be posted in short order.

Getting back on track, the loose ends of the Cardinal’s plan are starting to unravel. And as any decent man hungry for power would, he is blaming the current situation on Milady De Winter. Their relationship feels like it has frayed beyond repair. Ultimately the goal was to get rid of the Musketeers, by death if need be. Now I think he would settle for getting this attempt on the Queen’s life out-of-the-way.

D’Artagnan never misses an opportunity to go shirtless. In the care of Milady De Winter, D’Artagnan finds the barrel of her gun pressed against his neck. She is looking for a show of loyalty. Some indication that she can trust the newest Musketeer. One thing seems apparent, saving her life is not good enough. He must end Athos’ life.

Treville arrives at the De Winter place. This is plain, direct and to the point. Athos will no longer serve next to D’Artagnan. If Treville has to choose, he chooses Athos. D’Artagnan is livid. Treville leaves and D’Artagnan looks to De Winter, “be at the square at midday, you’ll get what you want.”

Constance comes running to the Garrison to check on D’Artagnan. There is real concern in her eyes. She frantically asks questions of Aramis and Porthos. Not only does she not get the answers she was hoping for, she finds the answers that allow her to further place the blame on her own shoulders.

Aramis: Constance, why don’t you go home. If we hear anything, we’ll let you know. I promise.
(Constance trudges away)
Porthos: She’s upset.
Aramis: She loves him.
Porthos: But she said she didn’t.
Aramis: You believe that?
Porthos: He did.
Aramis: You only have to look at her. She loves him alright

D’Artagnan returns to the Garrison as he is met by Aramis and Porthos. Then Athos. Then Treville. This is shaping up to be a typical standoff resulting in a gentleman’s duel to the death. Each man is stern in his position. Then Treville says, “we’ll handle this in private”.

Next is a peculiar scene that sheds light on some background without going into too much detail. De Winter ventures out to meet an unsavory man (you may remember him as Gareth Lestrade on CBS’ Elementary). He physically more closely resembles a Johnny Depp-like cosplay from Pirates of the Caribbean who has let himself go. The proposition is simple. De Winter needs the Musketeers dead. This man has the means and the personnel to pull it off. Their previous history and his ‘investment’ in her, may complicate things.

In Treville’s office, the Musketeers stand firm. D’Artagnan and Athos share a quick exchange. Then all slowly turn to face Treville as if to receive instructions as to how this matter can be resolved or ended. And in that second or two of silence, the moment when you begin to accept that the show can no longer move forward without one of them meeting their maker, Porthos laughs. Then Aramis. In a seconds time, we went from “uh oh, this is really happening” to “those clever hooligan’s were pulling a rouse the entire time”. Well played Musketeers, well-played. After a loving embrace in the form of a group hug and some small talk about accuracy after three bottles of wine and Treville gets down to it.

Treville: Does Milady believe we have abandoned you?
D’Artagnan: Almost. There’s just one tiny detail I have yet to convince.
Athos: What’s that?
D’Artagnan: Nothing too difficult. (Look at Athos) I just need to kill you.

Elsewhere in the streets, D’Artagnan calls out Athos who is drinking with Porthos and Aramis. D’Artagnan demands an apology. Athos then suggests, or what? Then D’Artagnan does what I think a lot of us were hoping to see at some point. Walking slowly toward Athos he says as he removes the glove from his left hand, “Or…we’ll have to settle this like men”. D’Artagnan extends his arm holding his now removed glove vertically. And slaps the smug look off of Athos’ face.

Porthos removes D’Artagnan from Athos’ personal space. There is yelling. At this point they really need to sell this. Aramis says something to Athos about ‘the rules’. Athos responds with, “damn the rules” pulls out his gun and shoots D’Artagnan. He misses, but D’Artagnan does not. Or so we’re lead to believe. While he’s down, Porthos and Aramis spread pig’s blood all over Athos’ torso. Then react as if D’Artagnan has indeed killed Athos.

Naturally, this was all done so that De Winter would see. She then signals to Sarazin’s (Lestrade’s character) little errand girl. The errand girl runs off to find Constance. Playing on her emotions for D’Artagnan informs her he needs her help. Constance is delivered to a dark empty large room. Clearly, Constance needs to be out-of-the-way for whatever comes next.

De Winter and D’Artagnan seek an audience with the Cardinal. D’Artagnan outlines the severity of this current situation. He makes his request of protection and to be granted a commission in the Red Guard. The Cardinal responds unfavorably. Informs D’Artagnan that he will be hanged in the morning. D’Artagnan then put a blade to De Winter’s neck. As predicted, the Cardinal shows not affection for De Winter.

Cardinal: Well do try not to get blood everywhere…

Furthermore, the Cardinal goes on to inquire as to what value D’Artagnan has. He replies with the emergence of a letter signed by Gallagher (from the previous assassination attempt on the Queen) that implicates the Cardinal. D’Artagnan suggests the Cardinal use him as bait. Offer D’Artagnan for the letter.

As a wrinkle in the plan, the Musketeers are compelled to have a fake funeral service. From a distance, it looks legit enough. On the off-chance De Winter is watching, it needed to be believable. Closer, within the circle of Musketeers, Porthos and Aramis are essentially doing the color commentary to what Treville has to say on Athos’ behalf.

Treville: Athos was a loyal friend and a fine warrior.
Porthos: GREAT…Warrior. He was a great warrior.
Treville: A great warrior…
Aramis: And a brilliant swordsman.
Treville: A great warrior and a brilliant swordsman.
(Porthos and Aramis speak quietly to themselves)
Porthos: He’d like that.
(Aramis grins)
Treville: His death was a tragic waste
Aramis: He was considered handsome.
Porthos: More rugged, I’d say
Aramis: Well, I suppose it’s in the eye of the beholder…
Treville: May I continue?

Forgetting momentarily that this was a fictitious funeral, Porthos actually gets a little misty eyed over the prospect of losing Athos. Aramis and Porthos eventually find their way into a bar sitting next to a man hunched in a dark hat (Its Athos for those not picking up what I’m putting down).

Athos: How was my funeral?
Porthos: The Captain had some very nice things to say about you.
Aramis: Porthos even shed a few tears.
Athos: I’m sorry to miss it.

Aramis and Porthos take “the letter” to meet with the Cardinal to trade it for D’Artagnan. Aramis and Porthos banter back and forth in a lovely exchange taking verbal shots at the Cardinal while taking turns snatching the letter back. Eventually, what happens is the are able to get the Cardinal to confess that giving France an heir is paramount to the value of one woman’s life. Just about the time the Cardinal goes to his “who’s the King going to believe?” The Queen turns the corner and suggests the King would gladly listen to her.

In the woods Treville, Aramis, and D’Artagnan meet up with or intercept Milady De Winter. She acknowledges that the Cardinal has finally betrayed her, but no matter. As she believes she’s already won with the death of Athos. In the best “he’s standing right behind me, isn’t he” moment maybe ever, Athos indeed was standing behind her. Problem being, De Winter still has the Constance card to play. She all but orders all of the Musketeers (minus Treville) to show up in a particular alley at a particular time. The set up is in place.

De Winter with Sarazin’s assistance march Constance out as bait. The intended result being that those not considered Musketeers would be like shooting fish in a barrel. What ensues is a wonderfully choreographed fight sequence. Afterwards, De Winter attempts one last stand that was destined to fail. Constance runs into the arms of D’Artagnan recanting all she had said episodes before. Then in a very Musketeer way, Athos shows his benevolence and let’s her go. Never to show her face in Paris again.

At about the moment you begin to rejoice about all of the immediate story lines wrapping up, they throw one big monkey wrench into the whole situation. Monsieur Bonacieux has attempted to take his own life in response to the idea of living without Constance. Upon discovering that she has not perished, he begs her to never leave him again. Which naturally, slams the brakes on complete closure.

The Cardinal is summoned by the King regarding a matter of the ‘highest importance’. Leaving out the dramatics, the Queen is with child. The very reason the spawned the assassination attempt in the first place. Now, I’d be more than content to let you believe that good old King Louis finally got the salmon to swim upstream. But that would be irresponsible of me. Do the math. Last week, the Queen and Aramis could not keep their passions at bay any longer. Then lo and behold, she is with child. The King tried and tried for what seems like years to produce an heir. One night with Aramis and the Queen is pregnant.

The following scene was a bit of a misty one for me. Two things at work here. 1) I am a shipper by nature and am inclined for the pairings to work out, even if it compromises the story. D’Artagnan and Constance. Aramis and Queen Anne. Porthos and the widow. 2) The exchange between these two is beautiful. The Queen talking about her unborn child. Aramis talking about her unborn child as if it were not his. I don’t even think you need to be a father to feel the gravity of this banter.

Queen Anne: I’m convinced this baby will be born strong and healthy…like his father. It will be a boy, I’m certain of it.
Aramis: I pray he will have his mother’s great wisdom and judgment.
Queen Anne: And his father’s courage.
Aramis: I will watch over your son and guard him with all my strength and heart. I will lay down my life for him, if necessary. He will have no more devoted servant.
Queen Anne: Tis only what I’d expect, coming from the King’s Musketeer.

Although, I did not find the closure to all story lines I was hoping for, I am content with how season 1 concluded. They left the Constance thing open, which if we’re honest, is exactly what the show runners should have done. More importantly, I believe the final scene mentioned opens the door a great deal.

As I’ve admitted before, I cannot claim to be a Dumas or Musketeer historian. Just an enthusiast. The introduction of Queen Anne carrying Aramis’ child opens up the possibilities immensely. If they approach it straight up as described, the story has legs. If Aramis and the other three Musketeers approach things as business as usual, it will create a wonderful dynamic. What is more intriguing to me is the possibility of exploiting the Man in the Iron Mask angle.

Again, not being an expert. The question is, how does nobility see the transferral of power? What circumstance is required for power to leave the King and end up with the Queen? Is there a scenario that removes King Louis and turns power over to young Aramis Jr? Where does the Cardinal go from here? Does Milady De Winter stay gone? Many many questions to be answered in season 2 and beyond.

One thing is absolutely a certainty for me. Due to my wife and her fandom, I am well aware of the brilliance found in the BBC’s ‘Sherlock’. I have seen other shows from the BBC that in their own right are a quality product. The Musketeers, in my humble opinion, is at worst the second best BBC program available. If you’re asking me personally, I would put The Musketeers as the #1 BBC show. Ahead of Sherlock and yes, even Doctor Who.

We don’t have the time to break down the X’s and O’s of exactly why I feel that way, but rest assured it’s not just a fan boy reaction. This show is incredible. The BBC should be proud. And while The Musketeers and Sherlock only represent a small portion of what the BBC puts out, I would put both The Musketeers and Sherlock up against 90% of the shows the American Broadcast Networks put out. If this is your first exposure to BBC programming, let it be an indication that it should not be your last.

Ray Donovan: A Donovan Family Birthday

Photo Courtesy Of Suzanne Tenner/Showtime
Photo Courtesy Of Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Conor Donovan turned 14-years-old and his parents, Ray and Abby were so caught up in their own lives, that they completely forgot about it, which maybe a Cardinal Sin for a parent. When the teenager’s asked what he wants for the occasion he tells his father, he wants a family birthday party, with his three uncles, Terry, Bunchy and Daryl, along with his grandfather Micky. Ray tells his son that it maybe a problem for Micky to come as he’s restricted by parole violations, but he’ll see what he can do.

Ray’s phone rings and his new client motivational speaker Steve Knight’s on the other end telling Donovan he requires his services immediately. Ray tries to beg off, saying it’s a day for family and Knight responds for 100 grand a month in salary, Knight’s part of his family as well. He drives to the author’s house and finds out that his girlfriend Ashley’s stalker has returned and is taking pictures of her from the beach below. Donovan thought that the pervert had learned his lesson after their previous two encounters. The first time Ray made the peeping-tom dye himself green from head to toe with permanent dye. The second time, Ray shattered the man’s arm and his ankle, permanent injuries that cost the man the ability to drive a car.

Ray goes down to the beach and confronts the man, who tells Donovan that his intentions are to protect Ashley, as Knight’s hurting her. Ray, takes the chip containing the photos out of the expensive camera, then smashes it on the rocks, then tells the guy to beat it. When he gets back to the house the motivational-speaker asks for the chip, but Donovan informs him that he’s holding onto it.

Getting back into his car he finally gets Abby on the line; she’s about to embark on an affair with LAPD Detective Jim Halloran and they’re just kissing in their motel room when she tells the cop she has to take the call and steps out of the room. Ray tells her that it’s Conor’s birthday and she lies and tells her husband she’s at the bakery picking up the cake. After hanging up, Halloran tries kissing her again but she freaks out and says she has to go to get a cake, leaving the cop confused and frustrated.

Terry and Frances go to see the older woman whose the accountant/money-launderer for his brother, to talk about selling the gym so he and Frances can move to Ireland. The woman tries her best stall-tactics on Terry, but they fail and finally she tells the couple that Ray has to sign off on any deal, as he’s the majority owner of the gym.

Bunchy’s having coffee with a guy named Stan, he met at his counseling program a couple of weeks before, who gave the impression he was coming onto him at their introduction. Bunchy tells him about his date with his new lady-friend and how it got interrupted by her son unexpectedly came home from his sleep-over at a friends. Stan seems to disparage the relationship, saying it’s just one date and how much responsibility it takes to raise a son. Bunchy responds he can handle it and then Stan complains how lonely he is and Bunchy invites him to Conor’s birthday party.

Micky calls Ray and tells him that Conor invited him to his party, but if his son wants him to stay away, he’ll tell his grandson he’s sick, however Ray grants permission to keep Conor happy. The old man tells Ray he’s bringing a date and his son responds it better not be a paid escort, Micky replies he’s bringing a classy lady.

It turns out that Micky’s date’s Claudette, Daryl’s mother and the woman Micky cheated on Ray’s mother as she was dying of cancer. Daryl’s driving Micky’s car, a vintage Cadillac in perfect shape. Claudette jokingly reminds her son about the time he took the car when he was just 12-years-old and drove all over Palm Springs. Her son laughs and replies he’s always loved this car.

Bridget tries to leave the house as her boyfriend and another man have arrived to pick her up, Donovan rushes out of his house and tells his daughter to go inside and for Marvin to leave. The man steps out of his car, it’s recently released Cookie Brown, the guy that Marvin’s guardian told him to stay away from. He attempts to shake Ray’s hand but Donovan just stares at him, Cookie tells Donovan to tell his boss Lee Drexler he has some business to discuss, apologizes for the confusion and he and Marvin drive away.  Bridget tells her father she hates him as they go back into the house.

Terry and Frances, Bunchy and Stan are already at the house and Terry gives Conor his gift, a set of monogrammed boxing gloves from Terry’s gym. He tells his nephew, they’ll soon become collectors items as the gym’s name will change once he sells it.  There’s a car horn honking outside and Conor runs out to hug his grandfather, then greets Daryl and gets introduced to Daryl’s mom Claudette. Ray’s not happy to see her, but fakes being courteous.

Ray’s drinking heavily and it’s effects start to show on him as he’s glassy-eyed and slurring his speech. He toasts Conor and Abby and then Abby breaks up the room when she says it took 22-hours to deliver him. A song comes on that Micky likes and starts dancing with Claudette, telling Ray he should dance with his wife. Instead he raises his glass to Abby and smiles, while she looks back at him coldly.

Stan’s alone on the back porch when Bunchy goes out to check on him. After some small-talk, Stan tries to kiss Bunchy and Donovan stops him telling him he’s not gay. After trying to explain himself, he leaves the party and Bunchy asks Ray if he saw what happened and Ray starts laughing and says he did. Bunchy tells him he’s not gay and Ray replies he believes him but keeps laughing. His younger brother tells him it’s not funny, that Stan, Ray and he are all messed up and Donovan tells Bunchy to lower his voice. He instead breaks his sobriety, pouring himself a tumbler of booze.

Micky quiets the room as he’s about to present Conor his birthday gift, then hands him the key to his car. Abby says that he’s only 14-years-old, but Ray says they’ll garage it until their son’s old enough. The boy and his grandfather get into the car and Conor starts it up and gets giddy; however he doesn’t realize his Uncle Daryl’s incredibly hurt and angry as Micky had always promised to give him the car.

Bridget’s spent the evening closed off in her room, when Ray goes into talk to her about her relationship with Marvin. He tells her that he’s forbidding her to see him, that he hangs with a dangerous crowd and she’ll end up getting hurt. His daughter asks if he had ever loved a girl who was bad for him and he responds, that he did and she’s dead. However, he says that may have been a blessing in disguise, as after she passed he got Abby back in his life and they produced Bridget and Conor. She asks her father if Abby’s the best thing that ever happened to him and he responds that’s true. Bridget then tells him that Abby didn’t get home until 2:00am the previous night, the information hits Donovan like a sledge-hammer and he staggers from the room. The camera’s tight on his face as he makes his way back to the living room and he’s so buzzed he looks almost cartoonish. He sees Abby and tells her he’s onto her and she asks him what he means.

He soon gets into a fight with Micky and tells him to leave immediately and Terry says to Frances that’s why they’re moving to Ireland. Ray explodes and tells Terry he’s not moving anywhere and that’s when Micky informs his oldest son that his brother uses the gym as a front to launder his money. The brothers exchange some angry and ugly words, until interrupted by the sound of breaking glass in the street. The family runs to the doorstep to see Daryl destroying the car with a baseball bat while screaming the car’s his. That breaks up the party, Claudette tells Micky she can’t see him for a while. Shortly afterwards, Abby heads back to the hotel room to meet Halloran, while Bridget gets picked up by Marvin and they drive off.

With just Conor and his dad at the house, he puts the Aerosmith/Run DMC version of “Walk This Way,” on the stereo. Ray walks into the kitchen to find Conor eating birthday cake, looks perturbed at first but then starts rocking out dancing to the song and Conor soon joins him.

 The story will pick up again next Sunday night on Showtime.

The Last Ship: This Is Not The Country We Were Trying To Save

Photo Credit: Zap2It.com
Photo Credit: Zap2It.com

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The last time we spoke, I felt that we had witnessed the best episode of the season thus far. A great example of how a show can remove the set pieces, shoot only one location, and still make a compelling episode. Naturally, you need each of the other episodes to build to a point that makes last week’s episode possible. By episode’s end, we had not only the vaccine but the cure. We left the episode on the kind of high note that suggests it could have been the season conclusion. So what does that mean for tonight’s finale?

One of the more satisfying part in the first few minutes is the non-verbal moment shared between Dr. Quincy Tophet and “Bacon” as Tophet administers the vaccine to Bacon. Then we see Dr. Scott and Capt Chandler alone in a room, reflecting prior to the Captain getting his vaccination. If I was not so absolutely certain about Chandler’s resolve and dedication to his family, this is when and where the shipper in me would love to see something go down. However, in the end Captain Tom Chandler is a man’s man beyond reproach.

After watching Tex confide in a German Sheppard about his “you make me want to love again” confession to Dr. Scott, we see XO Slattery address the crew. They will be heading to Ft. Detrich (Maryland) to mass produce the cure. Their path will bring them right by Norfolk (home) and that they might even get cell service. But not to get their hopes up. “We don’t know what we’re going to find”.

As the Nathan James prepares to venture to Ft. Detrich, they make preparations to see what they’re up against. Utilizing the Key Hole Satellite imagery. We find a massive one way bumper to bumper highway traffic jam. Then we find that the lab in Ft. Detrich that Dr. Scott was hoping to use has been destroyed.

What I originally interpreted as a dream sequence was assuredly not one. We see Chandler’s entire family in a car. They are not well. As was evident in the previous scene with Grandpa Chandler frantically working the radio. The men that turn them away, are in fact the same men Mrs. Chandler encountered last episode. Full disclosure, Titus Welliver deserves to headline a show of his own. And I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the only one at NJATVS that feels that way.

Back on the Nathan James, the radio tech is listening to the cycle of audio transitions. Except this time there is a message directed at the Nathan James specifically. With a new-found need for a requisite lab to mass produce the cure, they may want to follow through on this call as they claim to have a facility they need.

While they radio the caller, the same transmission is heard by Chandler’s father. They get a communication on the ship from a “Mrs. Granderson”. If the last name isn’t enough to peak your interest, the inclusion of Alfre Woodard should be intriguing enough. As a member of what is still considered loosely to be our government and knowing the impending pandemic, in addition to Capt Chandler’s mission, this “Granderson” had her daughter (Lt. Granderson) transferred to Chandler’s ship.

The moment that follows between would-be mother and daughter reunion was something.

Lt. Green and a handful of others venture out into Baltimore Harbor to secure a perimeter to securely. Mrs. Granderson sends out a ‘welcoming party’ of local police. Titus Welliver and his boys are waiting at a safe distance. Watching this from the perspective of a rifle’s scope is a lovely device. Apparently, the locals are not very thrilled with Mrs. Granderson. The fact that she’s still breathing seems to be a thorn in their sides.

On the Nathan James, Slattery speaks with the Lt. they first met in Baltimore. Slattery inquiring as to the status of Deer Park, the last place his wife was. The news is not unconditionally good, but optimistic nonetheless.

Mrs. Granderson takes the pertinent crew to a facility. That facility in question was everything the Nathan James was not. Granderson flat-out asks if the possibility of a vaccine was real. Dr. Scott replies with, “we’ve done a little better than that”. As the tour continues they stop in front of glass double doors. On the other side are a collection of doctors in lab coats. The group is informed that they have been working tirelessly to create a vaccine that Dr. Scott already has. Then, one of the doctors looks up and makes eye contact with the CDC case. Then looks at Granderson. She nods in the affirmative. The doctor starts a slow clap as the rest of the room joins in. And for a moment at least, the men and women representing the Nathan James are celebrated for their sacrifices and work.

Welliver’s character is not at all pleased with the potential of what this means. Instead of rejoicing in the news of a legitimate cure, he is frustrated at the prospect of losing control of the city.

Chandler is granted time to use their ‘radio room’ in hopes of communicating with his family. Granderson replies with, “I think it’s about time you thought about yourself.”

Tex visits Dr. Scott in the nice clean lab. Feeling all but defeated in the game of romancing Dr. Scott, this is a last-ditch effort before he ‘heads off’. The exchange goes about as expected from Tex’ perspective considering how he’s been shot down at almost every turn. However, I expected more from Dr. Scott. In the mindset of wanting to see them together (as unlikely as that may seem) I want her to step up. Leave her comfort zone and reciprocate the ‘move’. On the other hand, I love Tex as a character and believe the show diminishes its value without Tex in the fold. So in two completely different angles, I need Dr. Scott to do something to get Tex to stay.

At the exact moment, I have lost all hope that Dr. Scott would do anything. A heartbeat after I yelled at the TV, “Oh, don’t be so British!” Tex takes control. If we are destined to lose Tex as a recurring character, he went out the way only Tex would. He stops short, says “what the hell” and pursues her trusting his animal instincts. Plants a real kiss on her, which she in no way, shape or form resists. Well played Tex, well-played.

Now there has been no secret of my affection for the Tom Chandler character. I think the character is everything a military leader is expected to be. As for the fictional element, he always seems to say or do exactly what he is supposed to. I would be fun to write for that character. That said, around the 42 minute mark, when Chandler speaks to his father, the bottom falls out. And sure, it could be argued that the situation he finds himself in would change the tone of his characters demeanor. While I grant the premise, he would not completely deviate from what he is. The writing is less than ideal in that moment. And quite frankly, required a little overacting in order to sell the line. Not trying to be overly critical but it sticks out like a sore thumb.

When they arrive at the location where Jed Chandler is supposed to be, the local police refuse to go to the new location. As it is designated for sick people. The irony being that everyone on the ground in this scene are immune regardless. Then we find ourselves in a relative Tarantino-esque stand-off. Which ends almost badly. One SUV is left. Chandler orders Lt. Green to take MC Jeter back to the ship. He further declares that ‘we are getting out of Baltimore”.

The Granderson’s sit in an office. And this ladies and gentlemen is where a new character we are lead to believe is good, reveals herself to not be so. The younger Granderson asks about looking for her friend, Sara. If we go back to the earlier episodes, you’ll remember a story that Granderson told about meeting her ‘girlfriend’ in Paris. The senior Granderson clearly does not approve. It’s a drive by of a moment but it’s there. The senior then inquires about what kind of man Chandler is. Will Chandler still follow orders? Titus Welliver is starting to look less and less like a bad guy. Maybe he has a valid reason to view the elder Granderson as the devil.

Chandler and Burk make their way to Olympia. A place referenced often as a safe haven. It is neither a town nor a safe haven. Olympia is a sports arena where they are herding the sick. The prospects do not look promising. And just then, we hear the faint but audible, “daddy?” And what you think happens, does. The warm and passionate embrace of a father reunited with his (sick) children. Then Chandler repeatedly asks, “where’s Mommy?” as he injects his children. What follows is difficult. Tom’s dad has to inform him that she didn’t make it. Even in this instance of total and complete despair, Tom Chandler finds a way to respond in the only way possible for Captain Tom Chandler.

On the ship Slattery is taking Granderson’s (senior) Lt around the ship. And he suddenly shoots one of the crew. He informs Slattery to gather the crew and drop anchor. The plan is to take all of the cure. It is becoming immediately clear how we look to season 2.

Dr. Scott is brought to Granderson. They have a civil conversation, but one that clearly pits one vs the other. Granderson believes it is her responsibility to preserve our society. She has corralled the young, smart and talented and secured them within the safety of her walls. If the virus kills off the rest, then so be it. This is any governmental contingency you’ve seen in any end of the world movie. And Granderson believes she is empowered to determine who gets saved and who doesn’t.

Earlier, Dr. Scott noticed an irregularity in the numbers provided for her. I wasn’t sure what it meant at first. They came up with a drug that is not the cure but prolongs the effects of the virus. Or so they thought. It turns out the sick are going to Olympia for help. The government (what’s left of it) is maybe making them sicker if not intentionally killing them. This just turned from optimistically looking to save everyone, to essentially discovering Nazi-like concentration camp nonsense. Trucks are seen driving payloads of dead bodies toward a plant of some sort whose chimney stacks are steadily pumping what I can only assume is ash into the air. “They are burning the bodies to power the city”.

Chandler radios to the Nathan James. Burk’s radio doesn’t make a sound. No answer. On the Nathan James, the crew is meeting on the deck. Tophet is bleeding out on the floor. Foster is knelt beside him. Slattery can’t move as there is a gun pointed on him. Chandler looks into the middle distance and says, “Nathan James, where are you?”

Well one thing is for sure, regardless of the specifics, they know how to get us to come back for season 2.

Halt And Catch Fire Renewed For Second Season

Photo Courtesy Of AMC
Photo Courtesy Of AMC

There will be further adventures of Joe MacMillan, Cameron Howe, Gordon and Donna Clark and Nathan Cardiff next summer, asAMC, ” announced that they’ve renewed their Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire” for a second season. Although the show didn’t have overall strong ratings, Network President Charlie Collier, issued a statement praising the show and the audience it attracts.

Collier said “This is a show about invention, experimentation, and the inherent risks in trying to break new ground; themes that really resonate with us as a network and attracted a passionate audience. We have a history of demonstrating patience through the early seasons of new shows, betting on talent and building audience over time. We see that opportunity here and look forward to a second season of Halt and Catch Fire from creators Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, and showrunner Jonathan Lisco.”

The creative team also issued a statement. They said “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to continue telling this story. Our series about creation, innovation, and taking bold risks wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for our partners at AMC, a network known for these very things. Harnessing the momentum of our first season, this next chapter will take the rich characters our audience has come to love in new and surprising directions.”

The series set in the “Silicon Prairie” of Texas in the early eighties, featured sharp writing and strong acting in its first season. In the season finale, the creative team behind the Cardiff Electric portable personal computer the “Giant,” had split apart, with Clark the only one of the trio still working for the company.

Graceland: The Head Of The Pig

Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

FBI Agent Mike Warren lost a battle, however he gained a better chance to win the war in the tenth episode of the USA Network Original Series “Graceland,” however he couldn’t overcome the loss to fully appreciate the position his team getting far better odds of shutting down the Solano Cartel and enough evidence on corrupt cop Sid Markham, to put him in the gray-bar hotel for an extended stay. In order to strengthen their odds in shutting down the Solanos and Markham, Paige Arkin and Paul Briggs conspired behind Warren’s back, which resulted in shutting down the Solano’s sex-trafficking operation and the death by Markham’s squad of all the operation’s employees, so they couldn’t testify against Carlos Solano, or his son Carlito.

The episode opens two weeks after the previous episode and Paige confides in Briggs that she thinks that Warren’s lying about the young Ukrainian woman Lena escaping from the compound, as all her leads have come up cold. Paul tells the DEA Agent that Warren didn’t kill Lena, however Arkin guesses the truth, that Mike’s covered up the death to keep the case open. She asks Briggs if he can help her and he replies that he can’t but his undercover persona Detective Paul West of the LAPD, might be able to aid her.

Johnny and Jakes meet with Carlos and Carlito Solano in the Mexican desert, to watch Jakes display his idea to smuggle heroin and weapons across the border to the United States, by dropping a palette out a plane and ideally floating safely to the ground via the attached parachute. The test, however falls far short of ideal, as the palette crashes to the ground and the contents get strewn across the desert. Solano, tells Johnny he’s wasted his time and he’s decided to go with Carlito’s suggestion of smuggling the contraband via cruise ships.

Briggs has tried his best to win Markham’s confidence to become involved with the Detective’s dealings with the Solano Cartel, but he’s still kept outside as Markham asks for some privacy to talk with his second in command about the Solanos’ cruise-ship smuggling plan. However, Briggs believes busting the sex-trafficking operation by stealing the case from the Feds should earn Markham’s interest and trust, so he arranges for Paige to pose as a FBI Agent the next day at the precinct.

Back at the Solano compound, Johnny tries to apologize to the elder Solano, but to no avail as he refuses to give he and Jakes a second chance. He tells the undercover agent, that Carlito’s in California, finalizing arrangements on the cruise ships. When he returns, Carlito will host a dinner for Johnny to bury the hatchet, then Solano tells him he will go home.

Markham’s second in command sees Briggs talking with Paige in the station and asks Markham who she is and the Detective replies she looks like a Fed and goes to check things out. Paul’s holding a box of walkie-talkies and Sid busts his back jokingly asking who gave him authorization to give away department equipment. Briggs starts to say he had just told the lady he was going to ask Markham for permission and Paige introduces herself with a fake name and says she’s a FBI Agent and hoped to borrow the equipment. The Detective gladly grants her permission and Paige says good-bye and leaves.

Markham asks if Paul knows what she’s working on and he tells the Lieutenant, that he overheard her mention a sex-trafficking operation run by the Solanos. Markham, pulls Paul into an office and tells him that the Feds have their own agenda and his department already has lots of evidence against the cartel and doesn’t want the Federal Agents to mess things up, so he asks Briggs to try to pump Paige for information and Paul tells him he will gladly.

Down in Mexico, Carlito’s back and the family’s having a going away dinner for Johnny. The main course arrives, a whole pig broiled on a spit, just as Carlos’ phone rings and he excuses himself to take the call. Markham’s on the other end telling the crime boss that Carlito’s running a sex-trafficking ring and now he’s got to clean up the mess. After not believing Markham at first, the elder Solano finishes the call and returns to the table, as Carlito’s carving the pig. He tells his son to put down the knife, then proceeds to beat him bloody, telling him he’s disgraced the family. He then tells Johnny that he has another chance as Solano won’t work with his son again.

Briggs and Arkin want to get Mike out of the compound before Markham’s crew raids the place, so Paige talks Warren into heading back to Graceland for the night to get a decent night’s sleep. She also tells him that she forgives him for not closing down the operation when she requested. His guilt lessened, he takes his former girlfriend’s advice and heads back to their house.

Paul calls Johnny down in Mexico and the undercover agent freaks out, fearing the Solanos will know. Briggs just wants to find out if Solano gave Johnny and Dale another opportunity, since he found out the sex-trafficking compound was getting raided. It finally made sense to Johnny, why Solano had pummeled his son and gave him another chance. As soon as he hangs up from Briggs he calls Mike to share the news and this time Warren freaks out when he hears about the impending bust.

Warren gets in his car and drives as quickly as he can to the compound, Paige sees him and flags him down and he tells her he has to save Sulla or he has no case against the Solanos. He arrives perhaps two minutes before Markham’s unit does and runs through the building searching for Sulla. Meanwhile Markham’s crew’s on a seek and destroy mission, shooting every employee they come across, whether armed or not. Mike finds Sulla and the two try to escape, but Markham finds them and shoots Sulla dead. He has his weapon aimed at Warren, seconds away from pulling the trigger when Paige walks in, saving Warren’s life.

We then witness Markham, Briggs in his guise as West and Warren give statements. While Markham and Briggs tell the man taking their statements that they did what they had to do to save the young women and themselves, while Warren tells the truth, trying to implicate Sid but gets nowhere with the man, who clearly thinks he’s delusional or lying.

Back at the house, Mike tells Paige and Paul they screwed him, but Briggs says they’re in better shape than they were 12-hours earlier, as he’s about to crack Markham’s inner circle and Johnny and Dale impressed Solano by adding a rubber life raft to the bottom of the palette to soften the impact.

Later that evening as Paul starts slicing peppers for Charlie, his cellphone rings and it comes up as “Unknown.” When he says hello, he hears the tape that Juan Badillo recorded the night Briggs accidentally, killed him as they struggled over a gun.

Graceland can be seen Wednesday nights on the USA Network.

Legends: Chemistry

Photo Credit: Seriesparaassistironline.com
Photo Credit: Seriesparaassistironline.com

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.


Tyrant: Gaslight

Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX Network
Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The ninth episode of the FX Original Series “Tyrant,” “Gaslight,” shared many similarities with the 1944 movie starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, with the same title. That film was about a man who married a wealthy young woman, then tried to make her believe she lost her grip on reality, so that he could control her wealth. Barry/Bassam Al Fayeed, tricked his brother Jamal into believing that their uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, planned a coup to remove Jamal from the Presidency, in order for Barry and his associates to orchestrate the real take-over.

Our first view of Barry’s watching him prepare for an anniversary dinner that Jamal and his wife Leila are holding for Barry and his wife Molly. After getting into his suit, he realizes that Molly’s still in her robe and doesn’t look like she’s planning on dressing soon. When her husband asks her if she’s getting dressed, she attempts to beg off from the dinner as she’ll feel uncomfortable with her in-laws as Barry’s attempting to overthrow his brother. Al Fayeed, tells Molly that it’s important for their family’s safety that she join him for dinner.

A title card flashes on the screen informing us the following events took place 24-hours earlier, as we are present at a gathering of the architects of the take-over attempt; American Ambassador to Abbudin John Tucker, US operative Lea Exley, Ziad, who’s Tariq’s right-hand man, Yussef, Barry and Jamal’s daughter-in-law’s father Hakim. They inform Barry of their plan’s to implicate his uncle, by saying he’s spreading rumors to his elite guard that Jamal’s unfit to run the nation. Then Ziad plays an audio recording of the conversation between Jamal and his former mistress Katerina, about running away from Abbudin and living on the Maldives. They’ll tell the President that Tariq’s telling this story to his elite guard in an effort to undermine him. The General and his elite guard will be heading on a three-day training mission and the plan’s to get them locked-down during the exercise.

After the dinner, the two brothers head outside to smoke cigars and Barry asks Jamal if he’s planning on joining Tariq and his soldiers for their maneuvers and the President laughs the question off, as too boring to contemplate. Barry asks his brother if maybe he should go, to have eyes and ears with the soldiers and Jamal asks him what he’s talking about. The younger brother then says he heard rumors some of Tariq’s soldiers were spreading rumors about the President and when Jamal asks where he heard such rumors, Barry tells him they came from Tucker.

Jamal summons Tucker to the palace in the middle of the night and asks him what he told his brother. Tucker’s a pretty good actor and plays it off that Barry told Jamal something the Ambassador slipped out after a bit too much to drink and that the younger Al Fayeed betrayed his confidence. However he tells the President that Tariq’s saying that Jamal and some hooker were talking about running away to the Maldives during the time the Sheik was a patient in the hospital. Knowing the story about him and Katerina’s true, he grabs hold of the bait and gets ready to get reeled in. He dismisses Tucker, but then tells Barry he believes Tariq’s out to do him in.

When Barry heads back to Molly and his bedroom, his wife tells him she can’t believe with what her husband’s planning, that he could be so at ease and comfortable with Jamal and Leila. She then tells him the thing that really freaks her out’s the fact that Barry’s so good at what he’s attempting to do; it’s as if she had no idea who her husband truly was until this defining moment.

The next morning in a private meeting between the two brothers and Yussef, part-two of the plan’s put into effect, as their father’s closest adviser tells them that the head of one of the tribes contacted him, saying that Tariq has told all the tribal leaders to meet with him. Yussef, asks if that means the tribes are no longer his responsibility and Jamal quickly reassures him that he still has his duties, but Tariq’s meeting with them for a special purpose at his request and the reason for the meeting must remain secret. Yussef thanks the President, leaving the two brothers alone and the information solidifies Jamal’s belief, his uncle’s trying to overthrow him. Barry tells Jamal, he’ll try to press Tucker for his source and the older brother grabs him in a hug, telling him he’s the only person he trusts.

Part three and the clincher took place the following day, when the brothers drove a Jeep down to part of the capital in need of severe repair. Jamal’s having a hard time coming to grips that Ziad would ever defy Tariq, but Barry responds if he doesn’t trust the Colonel, then trust his own brother. The President pulls a revolver out from his jacket pocket and tells his brother, he’s putting all his trust in his weapon.

Jamal climbs out of the Jeep brandishing his weapon and tells Barry to stay back at the car. Either Jamal’s easily fooled or the crew around him should qualify as Oscar winners, as Ziad tells the President that Tariq’s meeting with the tribal leaders are to gain him support to overthrow his nephew. When the President asks him why he supports Jamal over Tariq, he points at all the burned out buildings caused by Tariq, Ziad tells him he believes that Jamal has a plan for the future. Buying it hook-line and sinker, he ordered  Ziad to lock-down Tariq and his supporters and that Ziad was now head of the military.

Barry’s in his office at the palace, when he hears a knock and seconds later, Leila’s standing there wanting to talk about what’s going on the family and the regime. He reiterates the story and she tells her brother-in-law, that Jamal had asked her to runaway to the Maldives with him and laughed it off. She falls apart and tells Barry they are the only ones who can help Jamal, and  keep him safe.

Molly heads over to the American consulate and if she had any remaining doubts about the magnitude of what her husband’s planning, they vanished during her meeting with Tucker and Lea Exley. Exley informs the doctor that they have secured a safe-house for her in Oregon, but Molly protests, telling the operative they own a home in Southern California. The operative responds that whether Barry succeeds or fails in his overthrow attempt, there maybe reprisals against the family and they wouldn’t be safe in their home.

Jamal and Ziad are at the airport and they meet a very surprised and angry Tariq, who questions the order to deplane from the craft he had boarded. As the plane takes off without him, he watches with horror as the jet with all his elite guard onboard, explodes seconds after takeoff, bursting into a ball of flame. Ziad handcuffs his former commander and tells him he’s under arrest for plotting against the government and the General screams to his nephew that he’s innocent as he’s dragged away.

The President, Leila and Ziad sit side-by-side at a table, as Jamal addresses the nation on television, about the plane explosion. He calls the soldiers onboard heroes, then says he’s gotten information that points to the explosion being an act of sabotage. Without naming anyone, he tells his citizens that the government has arrested subjects and vows to find out exactly what purposes the saboteurs had for blowing up the aircraft. He closes out the speech, telling his nation his regime’s strong and any enemies will suffer a similar fate.

Barry’s daughter gets the report about the plane on her cellphone, as Al Fayeed and his two children head back to the capital from the Bedouin village his father grew up in. After dropping off his teens, he rushes to the room where the President’s broadcasting from just as Jamal’s completing his address. Barry grabs Tucker and tells him he didn’t sign up for what just occurred and the US Ambassador informs him that Leila convinced Jamal to blow-up the plane. He then tells Al Fayeed that what they’re doing isn’t surgery, it’s a coup.

The President clears the room, until just he and his brother remain and Barry says that Jamal called a new play in the huddle without informing him. The older brother responds, that his way’s better as it sends a message to his enemies not to mess with him, but his sibling asks how he could kill their uncle? Jamal smiles and tells his younger brother to follow him and leads him to the cell, where a beaten and bloody Tariq’s locked up.

The President asks his uncle how it feels in the cells, that he sent thousands to over the years and the General tells him that the accusations are madness. When Jamal asks him why he setup a meeting with all the Tribal leaders, Tariq told him the truth that he was trying to buy their support to ensure Jamal won the upcoming election. He told his nephew, that Barry had poisoned his mind and was manipulating him like a child and that his younger brother wanted Tariq out since the day he arrived in Abbudin. He then asked his nephew, who stood to gain if Tariq gets taken out of the equation.

 Ashraf Barhom, the actor that portrays Jamal’s an extraordinary actor, with the ability to express incredible emotion with his facial expressions and he utilized that talent magnificently in the next 30-seconds, as he silently split his gaze between his uncle and brother. Had Tariq convinced his nephew, that he told the truth, or did Jamal still have complete trust in his brother? The General however, struck a nerve when he told his nephew that Barry manipulated him like a child, the remark played on the President’s insecurities and everything else Tariq said meant nothing.

Removing his tunic, he walked into the cell spread out his hand and examined it, before asking his uncle if he had the hands of a child, then slapped him violently across the face. He then asked the same questions about his fists, before slugging the old man in the gut and in the face, then threw him to the floor of his cell. He glared at Tariq and told him if he ever slandered Barry again, those would be the last words out of his mouth and stormed away.

Barry remained behind as the old man struggled to his feet and hobbled over to the front bars of his cell, complimenting his adversary with the phrase “well-played.” He then tells Barry he was a killer at the age of nine and he remains a killer. The nephew tells Tariq that he betrayed his father and he would see him tried as a war criminal if it was the last thing he did, then turned and walks away. Tariq however gets the last word, screaming “I know your soul, Bassam. Killer! I know who you are!”

The story will pick up again next Tuesday on FX.