Episode 2 - Cakewalk
28 March 2012
Synopsis: The police and press get wind of what Lights did to the dentist and come calling. Lights wants his money from Hal Brennan. Hal comes to see him and suggests that if he deliver a bribe for him, the whole thing will disappear. Meanwhile Daniella discovers that Lights may have pugilistic dementia and worries about him.
The Good: The attack on the dentist spawns good consequences here as Lights spends the whole episode trying to distance himself from the rumours. Rather like in Breaking Bad Lights learns that the only way to cover up a criminal act is to get more deeply involved in crime itself. Brennan asks Lights to deliver a bribe in order to make the dentist situation disappear but it leads to the death of a greedy underling. The bakery employee attempted to have his cake and eat it (ha!) by stealing the bribe back and ended up with a bullet in his head for his trouble. It will be interesting to see if that murder now gets linked to Lights.
I liked the authenticity of the boxing scene where Lights tries to help school one of his father's promising fighters. Neither man got a serious upper hand over the other and the action wasn't overdramatized. It was also a nice demonstration of why Lights would rather be in the ring, where his talents are fulfilled, than anywhere else.
Daniella's worries about pugilistic dementia makes sense though are fairly one-dimensional at this point.
The Bad: For the second episode in a row Lights smashes up something at his office. We get the point that he can be a thug, could there have been another way to show us that? The fact that the same corrupt police officer was asked to handle both the original questioning and the car theft was awfully convenient.
The Unknown: So far the show is very much built around Lights. He appears in practically every scene which is both good and bad. While it keeps the narrative feeling constantly relevant, it also makes the other characters seem less important and consequential. I doubt the show can keep that up for the whole season without suffering.
Theresa for example isn't well characterized here. She is already suspicious of him because of the fight announcement and now she is noticing that the money isn't being handled as well as it once was. Yet despite this she offers up an alibi for the police as soon as he needs one. Then later on when he misses Katie's recital with a pathetic excuse she makes no apparent fuss. It was difficult to tell much about her from these two instances. Does she have a history of irritation with the police which might explain the hasty alibi? Or has he been so trustworthy that for now she would help him implicitly? Or was it just patchy writing that led to her having to swallow so many lied in one episode?
Conclusion: The show is still finding its feet so I'm happy to ignore a few bumpy moments here if things get smoother.
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