No offense to Kelli Giddish, but the best part of this episode is Annie getting nearly blown up. Not because I dislike her, but because you can’t tease the audience with arguments over how reckless she is without seeing some consequences. Her absence also gives the other cast members, especially the underappreciated Cole Hauser, a chance to take center stage…to some extent.
This episode starts off running, literally, as the team is in pursuit of two different suspects. Jimmy and Luke capture their man, but Annie and Marco’s guy decides to jump onto a boat with Ben Crowley on it. That’s somebody I could have done without seeing again. Annie feels the same way, as she unloads on Marco for not jumping onto the boat. This causes the parents to fight, as Jimmy has issues with Annie’s behavior, and he’s tired of the effect it has on everyone else. You and me both, Jimmy.
While this is going on, a guy named Carson Puckett (Dollhouse alum Enver Gjokaj) is leaving a bomb in a coffee shop that kills a woman’s fiance and another man, and he does not care. He once took a crowbar to a coworker’s face. Ouch. (Memo to the Chase graphics team: please correct your improper spelling of “Gainesville.” As a University of Florida booster, I feel obligated to point out the typo.) Annie promises the woman that she’ll catch the man who killed her fiance, and thanks to information given to her in that conversation, discovers Carson is a member of an anti-government militia group. Isn’t he lovely?
The Marshals go up to the militia compound in search of their fugitive, even though it means crossing the armed militia leader and some of his friends. The leader has no idea what Carson is up to, but does say Carson has a short fuse. “Anger was the philosophy,” he explains of the former member. Wow, if even the leader of an anti-government militia group thinks you’re nuts, you must really be mental. Annie deduces that Carson was only interested in the group because he could be taught how to build bombs.
Annie and Jimmy track down Carson’s ex-girlfriend Tracy. It wasn’t a good breakup, because she sent him hate mail and had to change the locks on her house. The only saving grace is that Daisy says Carson didn’t put the bomb together as well as he could have, meaning there was less damage done. Yet why does he feel the need to blow things up all of a sudden? Luke pulls the report from Carson’s DUI, and is surprised to find that he wasn’t drunk when the cops pulled him over. At the same time they’re trying to get into his unsettled head, however, Carson is making another bomb.
The Marshals roll up on the convenience store where the bomb threat has been called in. There’s no bomb there, so what’s his next target? Carson is in the parking lot of a gym, blowing that up, too. Apparently he has a thing against a guy in a red sweatshirt.
Going through Carson’s old mail courtesy of his ex-girlfriend, Marco finds a medical bill from a clinic where one of the victims worked. The victim was his doctor, but only for one visit, and the doctor refused to treat him thinking that he was drunk. Carson’s work contact on said medical forms was the guy in the red sweatshirt that he just blew up at the gym. There’s only one person on his paperwork still alive, a man named Craig Wilson who’s at an outdoor market talking to his wife. Thankfully for him, the Marshals arrive before Carson can blow him up. Annie spots Puckett in the crowd and, like usual, tries to run after him. This time, the bomb stops her. I bet she wishes that she’d listened to Jimmy. I’m just glad that she is knocked down off her high horse.
Unfortunately, that lasts all of two minutes. Annie still gets to break the case open, even from the hospital. (And don’t get me started on Crowley’s cameo appearance in the room during her CAT scan.) She has a sudden epiphany, then Jimmy gets a text from her cell phone with the case-breaking clue: Carson may be going blind after working on a toxic spill cleanup overseen by Wilson. Would it have killed the writers to let someone else figure that out?
Luke and Jimmy lead the Marshals in trying to find Wilson’s daughter, who was headed for a school trip. Daisy finds a bomb under one of the buses, and heads to defuse it herself, because in case you forgot, she is the tactical expert on this show. (She ignores Jimmy just like Annie does, which must make Jimmy feel great about his status amongst his colleagues.) With just seconds to go, she defuses the bomb. However, they still don’t have Carson in custody, leading a very angry Jimmy to interrogate Wilson for answers. Once Wilson realizes he almost got his daughter blown up, he comes to his senses.
Carson is setting yet another bomb in a train yard, and he’s headed for downtown Houston.
Once the Marshals arrive, however, it ends pretty quickly; Jimmy throws the bomb into an empty train car to keep everyone out of harm’s way, and Luke shoots Carson in the side of the head. It’s a job pretty much well done, with no more loss than usual. Luke and Daisy share a drink, and Jimmy gets to glare as Annie and Crowley leave the hospital together. He’s feeling betrayed, and I understand that, because I sort of feel betrayed by this episode. It wasn’t at all as great as I thought it could have been.
I give credit to the Chase writers for not overextending their hand; they gave us two episodes of arguments over Annie’s reckless behavior, and then showed us the consequence of her actions. There wasn’t just empty talk. I allowed myself to get excited when I saw the synopsis for this episode, thinking that not only would her character be brought down to earth, but the other, underused characters would be allowed to take precedence for a night.
However, that’s not really the case. Annie isn’t knocked out of commission until close to the midpoint of the episode, and even though she’s had a minor concussion (which I doubt would be so minor under those circumstances, having had several of them myself in much less strenuous situations), she’s still the one who gets to figure out the clue that breaks the case open, and we still have to cut back to her. The writers don’t let someone else make the breakthrough. They’re not confident enough to let Annie be off-screen and devote the screen time to the rest of the cast. Instead, we have to deal with her complaining about not working and her apparent “will they, won’t they” with Crowley. Frankly, I feel as if we could have given Kelli Giddish a few well-deserved days off (she does most of her own stunts, so you can’t tell me she wouldn’t appreciate a break) and the episode would have been better off.
That said, what we did get of the supporting cast was great to watch. Cole Hauser is always a delight, showing that he’s capable of taking the lead role from Giddish where necessary. Jesse Metcalfe’s Luke is perhaps finally growing out of the “rookie” persona. I think the real winner was Rose Rollins; with Daisy often relegated to a small role, how many people remembered that she’s a tactical expert? Yet we got to see her flex those muscles here. (Although when Luke started telling her she was crazy, I admit that it did sound a bit like deja vu.)
I do like Kelli Giddish, but Chase could benefit from a little less emphasis on her, before it turns into The Annie Frost Show. Too many other shows have accidentally marginalized their main cast, and it’s never a good thing. If Chase was designed as an ensemble show, it’d do well to start being more of one, because it could be a very good one.