Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: By Any Means 1x06

Original Air date Oct. 27, 2013

That. Was. An Intense. Finale.

Earlier this week I’d read an interview with Elliot Knight about this week’s episode. He said it was intense and darker than the rest of the season, but I didn't believe him.  I mean how intense could it be, really?  Oh I was but a sweet summer child.  Afterward the episode I had to get up, walk around, make some tea and just sit for a second.  I tried to write, couldn't.  I tried to start a different show. Couldn't.  Now I think I can finally get on with it (melodramatic much? amirite?!)

To set this up we have drug dealer and violent sociopath Jamie Cain.  He is always able to get out of convictions for lack of evidence or because no one is willing to testify.  He has just been released from prison after witness tampering and now has plans to release a new drug onto the streets.  It’s a deadly drug aimed at teenagers and children.  He’s a bad bad man.  Helen wants to call in Jack, but she’s waved off with a flimsy excuse of red tape.  She goes to Jack anyway.  Get Cain, but this time there is absolutely no safety net.  If anything goes wrong they’re all done for.  Jack and the team accept their mission and set out to find when and where the new drug shipment is coming in.  They aim to catch him red-handed. 

Charlie discovers he has a personal connection to this particular case.  He recognizes Cain’s girlfriend, Robin Tyler, as the little sister of an ex-girlfriend.  She is only seventeen.  Jack convinces Charlie to approach her with the intentions of using her as a mole.  If they can put Cain behind bars then they can get her away from him.  With trepidation Charlie finally agrees as long as Jack can promise Robin's safety.  Everything goes wrong.  Cain brutally murders Robin and beats Charlie within an inch of his life. 

The team is finished.  Helen is finished and Jack and his team dissolved.  They disobeyed direct orders and a teenager is dead now because of them.  Jack, Jess and Tom Tom can't walk away just yet.  They're going to finish the job for Charlie.  The team uncovers Cain’s informant within the police department and raid the drug delivery.  That’s when Jack and Cain come face to face.  Jack has a decision to make.  Take him to the cops and roll the dice on whether or not they’re able to secure a conviction this time.  There’s not much evidence and there are no witnesses.  Charlie might not make it and if he does Cain will see to it he retracts any statement he makes.  Or?  Jack can stop Cain for good this time.  In one of the most intense moments of the series Jack repeats his mantra “It’s a grey area.” The screen fades to black and collectively we all hold our breathe as we listen for a single gunshot. 

There's a saying... well really its more like screenwriting 101, but if you introduce a gun into a story it has to go off.  At point or another someone has to pull the trigger.  Jack has pulled his gun at least twice every episode, and I don't think he's ever had to pull the trigger (feel free to correct me on this).  Subconsciously, I think that tension has built up over the past season because of it.  We've all been waiting for him to finally pull the trigger.  This was the moment and at least for me, I think it added so much to the tension in the final scene. 

I still haven’t heard word of a second series.  If this is the end, than this is a bloody fantastic way to do it with a bang (sorry couldn't help myself).  The team doesn't know if Charlie is going to live.  We don’t know if the team is disbanded for good and there's no telling what is going to happen to Jack now.  This was just a great episode.  If all the episodes had been up to these standards than… well I really wish this show had 12 episodes.

Favorite bits from the episode: 

  • Getting a glimpse into the team’s “normal” days.  The days where they’re catching bail jumpers with creative schemes.  Whether it be showing up for a date or to collect a fake inheritance.  The guy in the beginning was such a douchebag that I threw up victory arms when Charlie and Jack slid into the booth and I yelled like I was a sporting event at “oooh small print. It’s a killer.”
  • Discovering just how deep Jess’s violent streak runs.  Charlie trying to convince her that you have to “warm up” like a traffic light goes from red-amber-green for things such as these.  These, being hanging a man over the side his apartment building (and then leaving him there).
  • Tom Tom laughing at his own jokes. CrackAir with a drug trolley, “We take you higher”.
  • Jess scolding Jack because he never lets anyone properly threaten him.
Jess: "This poor man, he’s trying to threaten you.  At least have the common decency to hear him out”
Jack [to drug dealer] : "Sorry. Go on." 
Drug Dealer: "wuh?"
Jack: "*sigh* Mr. Cain will be very angr- *Jess smacks him* what I'm trying to help him."
  • The fight scene between Jack and Cain.  That entire scene with Jack and Cain.  I've watched it a thousand times and it never stops being crazy intense.  You could just see Jack visibly shaking with rage.  Then Cain’s face as he comes to the realization of who he's standing across from.  “You are a cop? Aren’t ya?” Warren Brown I salute you sir. 

In conclusion:  It had the laughs and then it punched you in the gut with everything it had.  Show?I applaud you.  Also award for best use of a show’s title in an episode goes to this episode right here. 

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