Happy Tuesday, everyone! We are coming down to the end of our summer with Charlie Crews! Thank you so much for watching along with us, we’ve had a lot of fun re-discovering this series.
I’m tasked today with episodes 16, 17 and 18, today. Let’s get started!
Episode 16 starts with the “vroom-vroom” of Charlie’s beautiful car. It’s a car that always causes my husband to make happy noises when he sees it. Charlie may not be attached, but here in my house, we love a good V-8, and we ain’t talkin’ ’bout tomato juice! California is a “hands-free” state, where you need to use cellular phones in a “hands-free” mode while driving. Charlie’s not excused from following the law, though at times he might behave as such. He’s on the phone with a very professional tech support agent in a far away land. She’s doing her best to keep Charlie, and his ever-wandering conversational style, on point. Keeping Charlie on task is not an easy job.
“Man on a stick” would have been a great title for this episode, but they landed on “Hit me baby”. Though fun fact: it was titled “man on a pole” when it aired in the Czech Republic! Our victim, this episode, is Jerome Rafts, a financial adviser from the midwest, who deals in derivatives. What are derivatives? No one knows. (Funny how some subjects that have come up over this series are almost foreshadowing of some of his future roles. I bet Bobby Axelrod knows what derivatives are!) Poor Jerome has met his end after being poisoned, and then run through with a broom handle and “shish-kabobbed” to the wall! What a way to go, ouch!
Dani Reece gets poached for a special task force with the FBI during our opening scene. I didn’t really care for the scene that goes down between Charlie and Dani. I’m not sure if he was being playful, teasing her, being serious? It just kinda…it seemed a little insulting. A little condescending? Again, par for the course for how our dear Dani was treated in season 2. She leaves for her new assignment shaking her head, while careful camera angles and a clever wardrobe team try to hide her growing pregnancy.
I can definitely relate to how Sarah Shahi carried her pregnancy….sorta all over. Not one of those “basketball under the shirt” deals, like some gals. I had baby in my arms, baby around my face, a buxom busom and a bump I am pretty sure obscured my feet from pretty early on. I give her one thing, though, she didn’t waddle on camera. That had to be hard to learn! 🙂
So Charlie finds himself side by side with his old buddy and partner, Bobby. Bobby and his “cheap suit” are filling in until a more permanant temporary replacement can be found. Charlie and Bobby try to understand dirivities during a phonecall from Ted. They don’t understand it, but he did give them the tip off that dirivitives aren’t making anyone any money these days. Where was Jerome getting his money?
Charlie and Bobby interview an escort service, where they find out that Jerome certainly liked to take multiple gals on dates, and was a rather perfect gentlemen, when it came down to how he treated the escorts, and how he eventually came to request one and only one- Alexa. (As an aside-I have friends who work in sex work-this show does a fairly good job of treating sex workers kindly-at least compared to how some other shows do!! It’s all very matter of fact, with little to no commentary on the moral fiber of the workers. They are mere plot points, at times, but I gotta give it up to focusing on the work versus the sex!)
Alexa must have seemed like the dream girl- a sexy, beautiful woman who happened to love Pigeons, just like he did! What are the chances??
Well, not that great. We do find that she trained for that, from a master fancier of pigeons. He taught her everything he could, and it turns out she used that information to get close to Jerome. And that work ends up being her undoing. Using a pigeon she was given by the fancier, they stop feeding it and watch as it returns to her home-a cute little number near the beach. We find a woman who must be Alexa, holding a broom? Puttering around her home, cleaning? Oh boy. She sure does know her way around the house. She claims to be Claudia, not Alexa, and no one can seem to confirm her identity as the mysterious Alexa. She looks…different but the same?
We see Dani being screened at the FBI….the grilling starts out sharp and personal, going over her drug history, but then later veers into Charlie and her dad. What are they getting at? What kind of clearance is this? Is this job really legit?
So we’ve got three things happening here. Dani at the FBI, Bobby and Charlie tracking down Jerome’s killer, Charlie making calls to “June”, our intrepid tech support specialist, and Ted flirting suspiciously with the mysterious Amanda. There’s more twists and turns in this episode than a roller coaster!
In the end? Alexa is a professional, allright. Probably in the second-oldest profession around-in killing! She’s a hit-woman, which is where our title came from. In the end, after some Batman like maneuvering and thinking ahead, poor Bobby almost becomes another victim of her skills! But she’s not the only Batman in this episode…Charlie and his “diet soda in the gas tank” trick have prevented her get away.
And just when we think that we’ve got it all figured out? Turns out a sniper rifle, hidden piece by piece in the bird seed, reveals that Jerome was also a hit man. Capitalism doesn’t really play by the books, when it comes to the professional killer industry. It’s kill or be killed, and Jerome got played. And the market WAS better, for Claudia, if it hadn’t been for that darn bird.
It’s a happy ending for Charlie and his ride, as well, as “Deepah”, all the way in India, helps Charlie resolve his hands-free issues! He’s still got his issues, though….Deepah was only a temporary fix. Bobby, too. Charlie misses Dani, and I am pretty sure, despite her attitude, she misses him, as well.
Episode 17 opens with Tidwell missing Dani, as well. But in a REALLY strange way. His foot is asleep, and he needs someone to stomp it back to life. Charlie steps in with the dad joke(It’s gonna be up all night…..groooooaaaannnn) and then steps in with some well-placed stomping. Bobby interrupts this most awkward of situation, and invites Charlie to head to the crime-of-the-day. The writing team was REALLY into the whole twisty-turny plots, this season. This episode, titled “Shelf life”, is all over the place, before landing on the real motive. It starts with a jogger’s death on the beach. Turns out this jogger, Travis Slocum, is with the military, on leave for operation “fun and sun” with 3 other officers.
Tidwell thinks there is a jealousy angle, what with the gender make up of the group being “one pretty girl and three guys”. Sometimes he’s right, sometimes he’s wrong. This time he’s WAY off. (We do get a great impression by Charlie Crews of Tidwell…”In the United States of New York Ciy….” How does an actor, doing an accent, do an impression of another actor, with an accent. Wow.)
The 4 of them are working for a security agency, making some extra money on the side, moonlighting as private muscle for ritzy fantasy parties on planes, among other gigs. The agency sends them, and then pays them well. Or, at least, better than Uncle Sam. Turns out these 4 are also using the security agency to get close to one man, in particular. His name is Gus Wilvern, and, among many things he manufactures, he makes extremely light-weight protective vests.
After a scary demonstration of their capabilities(he shoots himself in the chest, point blank!!), he let’s it be known that a few groups of soldiers have been wearing his vests. The vests he fudged information about. His lab said they were only good for 2 years, and he changed that guarantee to 5. The military only projected the war to last 6 weeks. “Only 6 weeks!!” He cries as he’s hauled off. The 4 soldiers were looking for revenge, as one of these bogus vests got the missing 5th man in their crew, Kit, killed back in Iraq. Gus sent a hired goon(a junkie ex-soldier at that-these guys truly are disposable to him!) to take one of them out, to scare them off. Turns out it takes more to scare these 4 off, as they’ve looked down the barrel, themselves, at some tremendous violence and horror. And in one of Charlie’s “it’s all connected” moments? Charlie tied Gus and his company to a bowl of flavorless grapes he found in the ex-soldier turned hired killer’s refrigerator. The connections in this episode really stretched my suspension of disbelief. Keeping up with all these plot twists is sorta exhausting.
Mid-episode we also saw where Ted and Amanda went off to, where she could have a drink, chat, and enjoy a hand-rolled cigarette. But Ted has seen through her BS attempt to mine him for information on Charlie, and Charlie crashes their meal and chases her off. And at the end of the episode, we see her giving Charlie a very suspicious photo-Dani, and the missing and presumed dead Mickey Rayborn, standing on his yacht together. Could this be real?
The next episode, “Three Women”, sees Charlie pouring over this photo. Experts have told him it’s real, and he’s conflicted. What does this mean? Was he right to trust Dani, all this time? Charlie takes his angst to work, where he starts the day kicking a guy’s ass in a freight elevator. There hasn’t been a lot of zen, this season. Charlie is clearly finding other ways to work through his issues.
So Charlie is finding new coping mechanisms, and also has his new partner! Gabrielle Union plays overachiever Jane Seever, the woman with a 15 year plan. She’s been a lawyer, now a detective, plans to become Chief of Police, and then Mayor! She took a side track to the Olympics, running in the relay, but is on schedule. In terms of comparison? She’s the anti-Dani. She’s meticulous, well-educated, every moment of her life plotted and planned. I dunno, she kinda makes me miss season one Dani even more.
Speaking of Dani, the FBI taskforce is turning out to be something else. Turns out they want her to give them information she doesn’t have, information about her dad, about Charlie, and about Rayborn. They are showing her photos of Charlie and Mickey on the boat, and asking her to “be a cop.” Is she buying this? Is Charlie something more sinister?
The man who was on the receiving end of a Charlie Crews ass-kicking is John Flowers, an ex-con. He was fleeing the scene of a murder when Charlie caught him, and the woman murdered happened to be a woman he knew, Sally Murdoch, though he claims she was dead when he arrived. It turns out that when he did time for a robbery, he wrote to three women, hence the title of our episode. One of the woman was the dead woman. Another, a highly religious woman named Amy, a woman who never heard from John after he got out. The third woman happened to be a woman he called after his arrest, and this woman was a playwright named Nina Fiske.
Nina Fiske likes convicts, and makes them the subject of her plays. Len Lyle Hix is her current obsession, an ex-con who had three women in his life, too. Though he killed those three women, and now, according to Nina, has been on the path to redemption. Her current play is about him.
John’s crime was a jewelry heist. His partner in the crime is still in jail, and the diamonds stolen are unaccounted for. We find out that the dead girl, Sally Murdoch, wrote to both John and his heist partner, Sam. She was the court reporter for their trial. It’s all connected, once again.
But who killed Sally? John, after a brief escape, turns himself in at Nina’s insistance. John seems heartbroken over her death. Charlie doesn’t seem to be buying that she did it, and he and Jane turn their attention back to Nina and Len. Len likes to murder women, but this murder really wasn’t his style. Again, twisting and turning, the plot thickens-it was Nina. Nina wanted John back, and she thought she’d have to kill Sally to get her out of the way. And Nina, the writer, wrote it all down in her journal.
But wait, who had the diamonds? Well, they were hidden in plain sight, partly hanging off the belly ring of Sam’s “honey pot”, a woman half his age minus 2 or 3 years, at most. She was holding onto them for safe keeping.
These three episodes, and their never-ending plot twists and turns, have left me rather exhausted. I admit, I never re-watch a lot of later season 2. I don’t feel like they were some of the strongest writing in the series, not by a long shot.
Let’s not forget the fruit! We had an apple, that Dani knew he’d eat (even over the phone!). We have the bio-engineered flavorless and ageless grapes. And the pear that Charlie munched as he tried to wrap his head around the play Nina wrote.
Join us in the comments to discuss your favorite moments from episodes 16-18, and join us next week as we, collectively, wrap up season 2 with a special group post!