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H:LOTS – S05E15 – “Valentine’s Day”

November 30, 2010

Xena bless, Mr. Clark Johnson! This episode has more ins, outs and whathaveyous than is normally the case and his deft direction wrangles in all the seemingly unrelated threads is truly explosive episode! Maybe it’s easier if I just run down the various threads.

  • Mary and Frank Pembleton seek therapeutic healing from the Grand Dame of daytime television Linda Dano!!!
  • Bayliss and Kellerman investigate a series of bombings with a terrifying connection to Luther Mahoney and a previous case.
  • One of Brodie’s classmates is killed in an apparent suicide, but Brodie knows there’s more to the case than meets the eye, except he can’t get Munch (the primary) to see things his way.

The episode starts at crime scene where Brodie is supposed to be filming, not interfering, except he knows someone involved with the case. Well at first Brodie gives the impression the two are friends, but once the action switches to Brodie interacting with a deliciously truculent NEIL PATRICK HARRIS (win) things get a bit more complicated and exciting. Munch dismisses Brodie’s assessment of the crime scene, which forces our normally timid Brodie to tattle on Munch to Howard. This isn’t to suggest that Brodie’s meddling is without merit; it is. As usual, Munch’s tendency towards laziness is not condoned nor supported. Howard’s on his ass like chalk on a pool cue.

Meanwhile Mary and Frank shift uncomfortably on the buttery elegant sofa in Linda Dano’s posh therapy digs, while trading accusations and passive aggression. Dano has always been underrated in my book; she holds her own with acting titan Andre Braugher, bringing a different sort of acting elegance to the scene. Dano is restrained, a bit cheeky and lets each line of dialog swirl around her mouth before gracefully exiting from her lips. And what Dano can’t do with her eyes! I’m not even talking about her preternatural command of mascara or eyeliner. I don’t know what their off screen relationship was like, but Dano and Braugher have mad chemistry, yo. Can they get talk show? Who do I have to see about that? This should go without saying, but Dano’s got screen presence for days. Well played, Tom, Debbie, James and Julie (the producers)! Well played!

The only bummer about this episode – and it’s more of a good news/bad news situation – is the paucity of Clark Johnson, who is behind the camera this go round. “Valentine’s Day” is exactly the kind of episode that showcases Lewis’ brand of humor and wit. We do get a few brief and very amusing moments with Lewis, as he tends bars at the Waterfront, but I wanted more Lewis! In addition, Howard (Melissa Leo) gets some choice one liners and a lot more to do this episode and I’m always happy with that. My favorite Howard moments of the episode include her response to M.E. Cox’s lament about getting a speeding ticket on her way to the bar. As Cox orders a drink, Howard remarks, “Yeah, afterwards you can go out and drive some more.” Leo’s deliver is pitch perfect. How much do I love Leo’s portrayal of Sgt. Kay Howard? A bunch! In fact, the entire scene at the Waterfront is classic H:LOTS charming banter.

Poor Bayliss and Kellerman! They’ve stumbled onto a doozy of a case! A series of unconnected warehouse bombings has morphed into something Lewis would term, “a stone cold whodunit.” A first glance the victims do not seem to be related and the motive is unclear. After some rigorous shoe leather detective work, Kellerman figures out the motive, the victims relationship to each other, which of course leads back to one Luther Mahoney. Moments later, Bayliss realizes both Cox and Lewis will be collateral damage if the bomber’s latest package is not found and quickly diffused.

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