S4x09 – Sniper (PT 2)
Well, easy come…easy go. Part 2 of the saga finds the unit reeling from the unforeseen events at the end of the previous episode: like Dr. Olivet inexplicably being married to a sniper and the lovable Lt. Jasper of QRT showing up near the end of the episode to be subjected to a pissing match with Bayliss, who we all know to be so damn fabulous when the pressure is on and careers are on the line.
Chicken fried fail does not even begin to describe the departmental fuck ups and ass covering Olympics going on as everyone puts aside hangman for a hot new dance – the finger pointing waltz. It’s a game I’ve mentioned before, involving having enough palm to cover one’s own ass while ensuring a finger or two free to point at someone else, preferably someone less liked than you.
Meanwhile in Missing Persons, disgraced bigot Roger Gaffney is having himself a great day and it’s about to get a whole lot better for that assclown in the coming episodes.
I can’t go another second without fangirling out over Darnell Martin, the fantabulous screenwriter/director and uh…oh, THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO DIRECT FILM FOR A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STUDIO – I Like It Like That – who demonstrates exceptional command of the script, actors and plot in this seeming derail of events. The introduction of a second sniper seems cheap – even for broadcast television, but in Martin’s capable hands, it reminds us that H:LOTS is always about subverting tropes more than reinventing them. In my mind there is nothing wrong with utilizing tropes if folks are adding further commentary on them, which is exactly what happens in this episode. As with many things in life, finding the culprit is generally the beginning rather than the end of the journey.
Gee and Russert
For once the Brass isn’t crawling up Gee’s ass in search of a nugget to extract and parade around the department as evidence of his incompetency. I’m sure it’s quite a comfort as several more victims turn up dead from a sniper’s bullet. This proves to be quite the trick for their previous suspect, who oddly enough is dead. Thanks to shoddy case fashioned out of the cloth of her Playtex 18 hour bras and tied together with a strand of her blond hair, Captain Russert is busted back to Detective – pending a departmental review and decision by Col. B as to the crappiest assignment would best force her out of the department. When one has the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear Russert allowed herself to be another pawn in the BRASS’s game of “Fuck with Giardello” which ultimately has destroyed her own career, while leaving Gee’s no more scathed than usual. Fortunately, Gee is not one for, “I told you so.” He did try to warn Russert before she took any of her promotions to watch her back and to keep her ass fully covered at all times. Previously, I mentioned the missteps Russert took while trying to assert herself to Gaffney (The City that Bleeds) and no doubt that was the fateful event setting in motion her spectacular reversal of fortune. But in my book, Russert comes out ahead as she stays true to the work and even uses her demotion and her shame around it to bring down the sniper. Isabella Hoffman shuts this episode down completely.
Pembleton and Bayliss
Bayliss is still trying to reconcile the cluster fuck of fail surrounding the apprehension of the sniper suspect in the previous episode. Never mind his red names turned to black and he’s more or less redeemed himself as far the department is concerned. Bayliss is all about accepting a gift horse and immediately demanding its dental records. Still there’s a sniper to catch and for Pembleton this means he’s got to go to Mary’s office and demand she go home and hide under the bed. Mary and Frank (Pembleton) go a couple of round asserting their positions while trying to drag Bayliss into the middle of it. Eventually Frank opts to save his marriage by rearranging the furniture in Mary’s office. Seems like a reasonable solution.
Howard and Munch
Sgt and Munch are having a time of things while out chasing down clues and leads. Munch proves overprotective and skiddish as they review autopsy notes and retrace the crime scenes. Munch flips out when a car backstops or something and eventually take both detectives and the audience back to the events of “The City That Bleeds”. Munch tells Howard he can’t deal with them being on a first name basis given that he spent the better part of that dramatic episode trying to wash Howard’s blood off his shoes. Munch and Howard have never had this conversation before so its use here was incredibly powerful. It is a wonderful way to provide a sense of closure to the audience and a clever way to cement Howard’s new status as Sgt in a real and concrete way. As always impeccable work by Melissa Leo who plays Howard with a light touch, but by no means in a light manner.