Life with Charlie Crews: Season Two, Episodes 1-3

Welcome back, everyone! It’s Tuesday, and we’re spending all our Tuesdays this summer with our favorite fruit-chomping LA detective, Mr. Charlie Crews!

Alternate universe boy band album cover
Alternate universe: boy band cover photo

When we last saw Charlie, he was celebrating his full exoneration. His case and conviction had been previously overturned, but the doubts had still lingered. If not Charlie, then who? Well, through diligent detective work, Charlie spent season one tracking down the answer- Kyle Hollis. We left him dragging Kyle through the squad room, and then enjoying a fruit cup, alongside his partner, Dani Reese.

new phone who dis?
new phone who dis?

What I left off was the cliffhanger ending-episode 11 of season one ended with one doozy of a twist. The damsel in distress, the darling brunette, the devoted but caught-in-the-crossfire daughter of Kyle Hollis, was none other than Rachel Sebold. Yes, the daughter of Tom, the remaining member of a slain family. She was not only in the house when her parents died, but also through some twist, Kyle felt compelled to atone, to be “cleansed” by the fire and take responsibility for the girl he orphaned.

And we found out, through a phone call from Jack Reese, that Rachel was in Jack’s care. The last remaining witness, an innocent victim still in this whole debacle-injured and in the hands of the enemy, stolen from the hospital and taken to who knows where!?

Well shit.
Well shit.

So here we are. It’s a fresh start, but also a continuation. The writer’s strike had cut our first season short, and also caused the exodus of the writing team from season one. You can see and feel the shift, in many ways. They picked up where the others left off, yes, but I feel like the handling of some of the characters suffered, but others flourished.
We have a new Captain at the station- a transplant from the East Coast, Captain Kevin Tidwell. He’s played by Donal Logue, who seems to be an expert when it comes to playing skeevy yet lovable slime-balls. He’s rough, he’s sloppy, he’s got several ex-wives, but underneath all that he’s a rather great cop. His instant infatuation with Dani made me feel VERY uncomfortable.

Like this photo is everything wrong with Dani Reece in season 2
Like this photo is everything wrong with Dani Reece in season 2

I think that could kinda sum up my feelings on how Dani was treated this season. We all know that things had to change, toward the end of the season/series, as she was pregnant. But I feel like this writing team really un-did all the strength and character she had. I feel like she definitely become a side kick to Charlie, and wasn’t given anything really outstanding, as far as moments go.

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The new season kicks off with some familiar elements: Charlie eating his beloved fruit(oranges, probably from his own grove!) while riding public transportation(darn you, Charlie, get a car-but just don’t get attached!). He finds technology that he’s failed to encounter since his release(automatic sinks!) and displays his ability to be a little less than scrupulous(he didn’t even count to three-he shot on two!!). While he searches for the missing Rachel Sebold during his free time, on the job he and Dani are on the hunt for a connection between people found in numbered trunks.

LIFE -- "Find Your Happy Place" Episode 201 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sarah Shahi as Dani Reese, Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews -- NBC Photo: Trae Patton

People are being put in these trunks and left to suffocate in the sweltering LA heat. Charlie’s attention to detail soon draws the pieces together-folks who are finding their happiness, their success, are disappearing. One deranged kid is at the center of it all. He’s got major mommy issues, a bedroom full of morbid “souvenirs” of his crimes, and a collection of smiley faces! Charlie catches on quick, John is dropping bodies across the city in a smiley face pattern-and it sure is making him happy! They find a missing bride with probably only moments to spare.

LIFE -- "Find Your Happy Place" Episode 201 -- Pictured: (l-r) Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews, Brent Sexton as Bobby Stark, Sarah Shahi as Dani Reese -- NBC Photo: Byron Cohen

Episode two of season two starts off with a brutal crime-a man is tied to a chair, beaten to death. A devoted and hard working family man, poor Max Horta met a horrible end, all in an effort to protect his daughter. A nasty group of spoiled, rich brats are responsible.

Plant evidence? That’s so east coast. In LA, we start fights.

While the investigation plays out, Charlie keeps up his search for Rachel, squeezing Kyle Hollis, who sits in prison. Kyle isn’t talking to Charlie, but he’s obviously speaking to Jack Reese. Jack, in turn, puts the screws to poor Ted. In a move to threaten Charlie, he goes after Ted, threatening to frame him, to put him back in prison. How would Ted do in prison, without Charlie? No one wants to find out.

The least odd of oddcouples ever.
The least odd of oddcouples ever.

What Charlie does want to find out is where Rachel is, and he returns to a youth hostel he visited previously, and finds her hidden in a secret room. He invokes the words of Kyle Hollis, and convinces Rachel to come with him, since “the fire” sent him to get her. It’s a sad moment, when you think of the scary, religious brainwashing Rachel was probably subject to. Did she know Kyle did it? Did she ever figure out it was him, while he was raising her? Did he ever confess to her?

She's gorgeous, I get it.
She’s gorgeous, I get it.

With Rachel safely in Charlie’s care, he tries to break through her silence. He enlists the other person she may remember from her childhood-Charlie’s former wife, Jennifer. Jennifer tries to jog Rachel’s memory, but only seems to jog her own memories about being with Charlie. A tender moment of hand holding becomes passionate kisses, which becomes bodies entangled in the back seat of her husband’s car. Ultimately, she cannot go through with it. Her former life, the one with Charlie that she was robbed of, is calling to her, but her current reality and the life she has built with her new husband, calls louder. Charlie is left frustrated and really bemoaning his lack of a car-mostly for the backseat!

Pictured: Charlie Crews in better, car owning times.
Pictured: Charlie Crews in better, car owning times.

Max Horta’s murder is solved through some tricky police work, pitting one member of this wolf pack against the another. Together the pack was strong, with their charismatic and well connected alpha at the head of things. But each member buckled, one by one, and ultimately rolled on Patrick Bridger as he rolled on them. There was no loyalty in the end, with Patrick giving his muscle, the “beta dog” in his pack an overdose of steroids, but then his “clown”, the guy that made him laugh and hooked them up with party spots, rolled right back on him. And his lady? Well, she needed to get away from LA, and get away from Patrick and his toxic behavior-she was on her way to Paris. Even their $500 an hour therapist rolled on them all, in the end.

What's the Bechdel Test?
What’s the Bechdel Test?

Episode three, I admit, is one of my favorite re-watches. I probably re-watch this one just as much as I re-watch the season one finale. It’s goofy, and twisty and silly and fun. A cancer researcher is frozen dead by a canister of liquid nitrogen, which was switched out for the oxygen tank he normally used to stay awake for extended hours in the lab. After an unfortunate run-in with an overly curious Charlie Crews, the doctor is left shattered in pieces.

Once again, the writers seem to have made Dani not only a side kick, but an ever-present source of tail for the characters to chase. The captain keeps up with his skeevy comments, and too-long leers, and he’s not the only one. The owner of Brenford Laboratories, the pharmaceutical company Dr. Auerbach worked for, uses the only pick up lines he knows- a desire for a specimen of her un-medicated perfection. Blood or urine, whatever she prefers. What a strange bird. I guess a guy will use whatever lines he knows. Maybe that worked in medical school? “Hey baby, wanna be in my study?”

Dr. Auerbach had his own questionable past, when it came to women. His former assistant, Deborah Lee, broke off her professional and personal relationship with the doctor in a spectacularly dramatic fashion. Could his murderer be his former lover, was she out to get revenge? A note from her, found shattered in the doctor’s lab coat pocket, was a good lead-but where was she? She had vanished.

“Ban animal torture” was sprayed on the walls. Its the name of an animal right’s group who targeted Dr. Auerbach’s work. Was it them? They are radical, they disobey the police, but in their campaign to “protect life” would they really take one?

Charlie’s newly acquired Maserati probably doesn’t have a big back seat, but he swears he will not become attached. One attachment he can’t seem to let go of, his ex wife Jennifer, proves a major distraction. In some sort of disastrous attempt to be honest and “do the right thing”, Charlie asks Jennifer’s husband for permission to sleep with her.

look at me when I am talking to you, Cruise.
look at me when I am talking to you, Cruise.

Charlie. God dammit.

The struggle is real.
The struggle is real.

Don’t you hate it when a show you loved the first time you watched it turns out to be filled with misogyny and sexism, upon re-watch? Aaah, the dangers of being “woke”. At least Charlie stopped when Jennifer said stop, this season. Season one’s “kiss”(aka: sexual assault) has always bothered me. I am sure the writers meant that to be sweet, somehow, but it was anything but. Charlie was fresh out of prison, where he probably took what he wanted when he wanted it….so it was sort of in character. But I don’t think that was in the writer’s mind’s when they wrote that scene. Aaah! Ok, sorry. Feminist rant over…for now. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ok, so Charlie earned that punch in the face from Jennifer’s husband. And the slap from her at the end of the episode.

He had it coming.
He had it coming.

Between those things happening, so much unfolds. The leader of “ban animal torture” turns out to be the missing Deborah Lee, living under an assumed name, atoning for the crimes she committed while working for Dr. Auerbach. Of course she becomes a suspect, but her alibi prayer vigil holds up, with videotaped evidence. The scenes with these animal activists feature lots of fun critters, and most prominetly a chimpanzee named “Bamba”, who shares bananas with Charlie, among other monkey business.

At the precinct, Charlie spots Constance. She’s been given a position with the District Attorney’s office. And suddenly, for whatever reason, she’s now unable to recall the part of Kyle’s confession that named Jack Reese as the mastermind. Charlie doesn’t push-he knows that Jack also has Constance in a precarious position. There’s no telling what he has on her, how he’s managed to get her to betray Charlie. The plot thickens!

Dramatic photo!!
Dramatic photo!!

Charlie returns to the lab to investigate, to spend time at the crime scene to help inspire his mind. He accidentally breaks a bottle of chemicals, and inhales the fumes. He turns to Deborah Lee for help, and while she says he should be fine, he might start experiencing “psychic disturbances”. Jennifers start appearing everywhere he looks. And just in time to have a meeting with Ted’s perspective job at a college! This is no way to act as a reference…as each person in the room slowly turns into Jennifer.

A janitor who found the body soon becomes the prime suspect, and seems to be the perfect criminal. He lied about Deborah Lee being in the lab, he was treated horribly by Dr. Auerbach, he lied about his alibi…he had means, motive and opportunity. And then the clincher-he’s seen trading drugs from the study for something in an envelope. Corporate espionage! But all is not as it seems.

The janitor, Abel Bustamante, has been skimming medication, but not to sell to competitors. It turns out his own son is sick with a rare type of cancer. This medication was working, but he was caught stealing it. Dr. Auerbach’s current assistant, Jill Abraham, catches him in the act, but convinces Bustamante to be her fall guy. She promises to keep the medication coming, as long as he plays along. But Bustamante kept his own counter-blackmail. He found the calculations Jill made to calibrate the nitrogen tank to kill Dr. Auerbach, and stashed the note for safe keeping. When the detectives realized he didn’t do the deed, but was covering for someone else, he turned over the evidence.

Turns out the study was a bust, and Jill’s carreer was up in smoke. 7 years of her life wasted to a failed study, and she wanted revenge.
There’s a happy ending, in the end, as the detectives have the killer, and they “lose” the pill evidence, handing it over to Bustamante instead of letting them languish in a police evidence room.

A not so happy ending is in store for Charlie and Ted, for although the dean of the college understood the wild circumstances that left Charlie unfit for their previous meeting, Jennifer crashes the meeting and delivers the aforementioned slap to Charlie, and gives his ass a chewing for asking her husband if they could have sex.

You've had it coming for a long time, bro.
You’ve had it coming for a long time, bro.

Sorry, Charlie.

source: rubenerd.com
source: rubenerd.com

Fruit Count: oh my, the new writers like the fruit thing. So we opened with an orange, of course the itty bitty cute kumquat, and also an apple in there(with bonus protein worm), and the monkey-delivered banana!
Join us all down in the comments-we wanna hear from YOU! What do you think of the direction the show goes in season two?

6 thoughts on “Life with Charlie Crews: Season Two, Episodes 1-3”

  1. for some days I watch LIFE, what a great actor!
    I think that without “KEANE”, producers, looking BOB, Forsyte and Life, have really been able to take Damian for Homeland!
    In these three series, one can see all facets of talent Damian! Joy, sadness, grief, and the strength of character !!
    Damian’s great!

    1. Thank you, Monique! We think he is great, as well! And he has GREAT fans like you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for always stopping by to comment, we love your feedback.

  2. Wonderful kick off to Season 2! This summer is so delicious with Charlie!

    I agree with you that Dani is not what she used to be in Season 2. She is more of a side kick than Charlie’s equal. And it’s a shame because Charlie and Dani are perfect together. They cannot be more similar in some ways and they cannot be more different in others and their relationship dynamics makes the show. Yeah I think Sarah Shahi’s pregnancy played a role there that her role had to be reduced somehow but they did not really elaborate it that Dani does not come across as deep as she used to in Season 1. I think the writers’ strike — even though it happened in Season 1 — doomed the show after all.

    Ah I love your 2008 version and present version, too! I would also call myself a feminist. And I am never okay with Damian characters (or any character) when they do wrong with women! Brody hurting Jessica (even though he had his own demons… but still…) or Bobby when he ignores Lara as he makes his decisions… Or Henry VIII… But I just cannot get pissed with Charlie. Probably because I could never bring myself to like Jen. There is no way I can believe that my husband killed his friend. And I just cannot believe Jen believing that about Charlie and moving on with her life. That is probably why, even when Charlie did wrong with her, I just could not get pissed with him. And I could never completely understand why he still wanted her. Maybe because he did not have a closure with her and just needed to sleep with her one last time?

  3. Great wright up Hollie. Season two was not without its problems. I did notice while doing my own reviews the fact Charlie seemed to be the one discovering most clues and answers. Still, it has its good moments and I love episode 3 as well. Charlie shattering the victim was hilarious and just so him.

  4. I devoured season one, but am iffy about season two. The feel and style were different. Season two lacked focus and was disjointed. It felt like a puzzle that’s missing some pieces and the mismatched pieces were forced together. As much as I like the comedic elements injected by Tidwell, I didn’t care for the removal of strong female characters. The captain is gone with no explanation. Dani lost her edge. Constance drank the koolade, so to speak. Charlie’s unrequited advances on Jen from season one was humorous. She had moved on with some regrets and remorse. Jen’s waivering and leading on in season two made her unattractive. I don’t know what to think about the Rachel angle. For now, her presence neither add value or detract from the flow of things. Writers’ strike stinks. I’ll wait and see how the rest of season 2 pans out.

    1. I think you say it all in the end: Writers’ strike stinks! You are right that the writing changes big time in Season 2. I LOVE the comedic elements of the show, and not just Tidwell, but Charlie also brings in hilarious moments and I love it that Damian has this opportunity to show the brilliant comedian in him that we have not had the opportunity to see otherwise! I would have loved to see more of Constance in a substantive context (I rooted for Charlie and Constance love story!) but I admit I never liked Jen — my least favorite character in both seasons.

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