Air Date: 17th November 2011
Cast: Todd Lasance, Hamish Michael, Ella Scott Lynch, Andrea Demetriades, Indiana Evans, Marta Dusseldorp, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Jeanette Cronin, Peter Kowitz, Daniel Lissing
Synopsis: The deception that Tatum crafted for Connor that Richard is gay crumbles away, resulting in far from ideal results for everyone involved. Erin is given an apparently simple robbery case, yet manages to peel back layers to find something much more sinister. Ben has a female defendant representing herself in his next case, and manages to blur the lines of professionalism as only he can.
This episode uses the technique of starting the episode with events that occur at the end of the episode to create the “how did things escalate to this point” atmosphere, a technique used all too often in the last decade. It was fresh back when shows like Alias pioneered it almost as part of its regular episode format, but for me, it was ill-used in this case. Seeing Connor arrested for battering a man in an alley indicates he of course was given reason to lose his temper. The cause for this can only be all to obvious, as the season has been crafting this event almost since the first episode. Hence, all sense of surprise when it finally happens is lost.
As indicated above, Richard’s relationship with Lisa is the straw that overloads the straining deceit. Connor catching them in a next to naked romantic embrace makes the situation absolutely unequivocal for him. The rage he exhibits is completely justified, and the performance given by Lissing is phenomenal. Enough to counteract the overacting of Lisa, whom is hurt believing Richard to be gay now, but her flying off the handle seemed to me a little to over the top, without giving him a chance to explain given the conflicting evidence at hand. Had Lissing’s performance been able to stand alone without the pre-emptive opening scene, I feel the episode would have been stronger for it.
The other weakness of the episode was when chance was taken to once again exhibit Ben’s lothario nature. As always, after a great character moment and performance from Lasance in one episode, this week he is lumped with once again being a total prick. This is becoming so regular as to become predictable, and does little for the characters overall story arc. The fact that he would romantically link himself with a witness representing herself in the defence is stupid to the point of career suicide, and actually contradicts the character’s own keeping a distance stance that he preached to Richard in an episode where the latter got too close.
There are other strengths to save the episode though, beyond the performances of Michael and Lissing. Erin’s case is a fascinating escalation from the very simple to very convoluted, yet remains intensely interesting, with a moment that escalates it to the area of incredible by the end of the episode. Scott Lynch has been guilty of overdoing the hysterics in the past, yet her performance of fear and anguish by the end of this episode is more than just believable, but wrenching to watch.
It is a shame that this was not a more even episode, given some of the incredible stuff that it contains, and the strength of the episodes of the past few weeks. Hopefully, there is a full return to form next week, with only two weeks left to the season in particular. This series deserves to go out on a high, not just limp through to the end.
3 stars out of 5