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H:LOTS – S06E04 – “The Subway”

March 23, 2012

Written by: James Yoshimura
Directed by: Gary Fleder

This is THE episode. Even if you’re not a fan of H:LOTS – though if not, why are you here reading recaps – no doubt the episode entitled “The Subway” is probably familiar to you. The iconic episode was the subject of its own documentary and is considered by some to be one of the greatest episodes of the series. Whenever H:LOTS discussions come up inevitably someone will ask me about this episode. I feel obligated to lavish praise upon it for its powerful, poignant story telling, its gripping performances and its masterful blend of comedic and tragic elements. Yes, “The Subway” is a great episode.

It is everything great television should be. However, in the H:LOTS canon, there are episodes – particularly season four’s brilliant Hate Crimes – I feel explore the theme of mortality and the randomness of horrific events in a much more nuanced and satisfying way. In the big scheme of things, “The Subway” is clearly one of the greatest dramatic episodes in broadcast TV history. But does it tackles its themes anymore poignantly than the often overlooked and equally as wonderful season seven episode “Zen and the Art of Murder”? Not in my opinion. To be clear, that’s high praise. H:LOTS was always solid and often brilliant. The fact “The Subway” doesn’t count me as a rabid fan, takes nothing away from its brilliance.

In addition to a compelling story – man pinned between a subway car and the track wall with only an hour to live – the performances deserve every bit of praise heaped on them. I mean who doesn’t love watching master thespians Andre Braugher and Vincent D’Onofrio acting as hard as they can for the better part of hour? Carefully written, confessional scenes between the two eschew all the hallmarks of cheesy dramatic writing and instead strive for something that is both poignant and unsettling. Make no mistake; there is not going to be a happy ending for any of the parties involved. The crime is senseless, random and devoid of a tidy resolution. D’Onofrio’s Lange is not a sympathetic protagonist and the perp has his own set of complicating circumstances.

On a more personal and possibly shallow note, “The Subway” is also notable for being the first appearance of the terminally dishy Kyle Secor in GLASSES. Once again, Tim Bayliss has changed up his look. The internet seems confused as to whether or not Mr. Secor requires vision correction, but he turned up on an episode of White Collar sporting some cute nerd glasses so I’m just going to assume he wears them in real life. Though I swear I remember thoroughly researching this issue back when I’m was in the throes of my Secor obsession.

As mentioned earlier there were some comedic moments in this otherwise series episode, but unfortunately they didn’t quite work for me. The partnership of Lewis and Falzone suffers by comparison to Lewis’ previous partnerships. The chemistry between Lewis and Falzone just isn’t there. Well, Lewis is always entertaining, but with Falzone as a straight man the scenes threatened to swerve dangerously close to two drink mininumm territory. Lewis and Falzone were tasked with locating Lange’s girlfriend (which they didn’t) in order to allow the couple their last moments together, which naturally would result in her being traumatized the rest of her life. Certainly, the task at hand required a little gravitas. Okay, maybe it was good they didn’t find her otherwise audiences would have been deprived of the most heartbreaking moment of the episode: Lange’s girlfriend unknowingly jogging past the scene of her boyfriend’s death.

Can I get a Florida Evans’ Damn DAMN DAMMMMMMNNNN!!!?

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