Except for the sub-plot with Root, alert via the Machine to the knowledge that Hersh was closing in on her trail to tidy things up and that she had better advance her plans for leaving the Secure Mental Facility to which Finch had delivered her, which she did with extreme ease, even down to obeying the Machine’s instructions not to finish him off, this was pure Season 1 Number of the Wek. Less even than that, really, for there were not even flashbacks to give us a glimpse of the wider story.
The Number was Ian Murphy, a rags-to-riches of a young man who came from nothing but who, with the aid of a $100,000 inheritance, made himself wealthy by canny investment in successful small businesses. Ian’s a lady-killer in the old-fashioned version of the phrase, constantly dating women, playing the chameleon to suit their wishes, obsessively building files on them: the classic stalker. and as one of his girlfriends is missing and another he’s interested in is dead in a car accident, we are looking at Perpetrator.
But, in a switch we should have expected, Ian is actually a Victim. He’s been baited witth three ladies dressed sexily for a hot Club, Shaw, Joss and a welcome reappearance from Zoe Morgan. He’s picked up Joss. He’s being the slightly-too-perfect boyfriend, Fusco and Reese are covering her back, Shaw’s got a sniper rifle on him and is bored waiting to kill him. And two street punks walk out of the dark with guns trained on him.
The story’s simple. Ian’s ‘inheritance’ was no such thing, it was a pay-off. Ian met heiress Dana Wellington at college, they fell in love, she got pregnant and her Master of the Universe father Bruce, one of these rich bastards who think they can control everybody, gave Ian $100,000 to get out of Boston. And he told Ian Dana had had an abortion.
Straightaway you knew that was a lie. Dana was dead, Iaan had attended the funeral, Vruce had kicked off at him right royally: why else would he want Ian dead if not to stop him legally claiming his grandson and heir, Alex, the ‘son’ of Dana’s elder sister and her husband.
So our crew turned themselves temporarily into a Scooby Gang to thwart the scumbag millionaire, but somehow the plot fizzled out, unexpectedly. Alex’s Birth Certificate was obtained by blackmailing a doctor way offscreen and somehow that was enough to frustrate Mr Wellington’s plans to place young Alex in a London Boarding School the next day.
There were a lot of good elements to this story. It began with Reese and Shaw on ‘date’ in a boat on a rowing lake, with Shaw determined to have the oars. Our dark-haired beauty is establishing a very warm relationship with our doggy friend, Bear. And the immediate warmth and humour of our trio of ladies, out to enjoy themselves and let everyone know it, was worth the episode alone.
But, except in Root’s small corner, which did not interact with anything else until Finch arrived in the last minute, aghast that she’d gotten away, there was nothing to do with the series. We’re into the third season now, the rock is rolling, we are four episodes away from the midpoint of the series as a whole and you could have cut this episode out of the run completely and no-one would notice any gap because there is no hole that this story fills.
I’m hypercritical this morning because I’m suffering from an eye infection, so I may have been harsher on this episode than it deserves, but I want the show to be nothing but ongoing from here, for every part of it to point in some way towards the events that build upon each other, not to stand off to one side and smell the roses, especially if it can’t adequately end its sidebar tle when it does so.