Edward continues to try to figure out, without the agenc knowing where he is of course, who really killed his parents and where they’re hiding, Henry has to deal with a rather large purchase his son has just made, and Tom’s wife is the victim of theft and assault, so Raymond goes undercover as Tom to investigate.
Episode 7: Down Rio Way
Full Episode Online: NBC Official Site
Kill or be killed
Henry finds himself wandering down a long hallway, approaching the man who was responsible for the death of Edward’s parents, wondering if he has the guts to pull the trigger, knowing that to kill this man is the only thing Edward really wants. We cut away from the scene to find that Raymond has lost track of Edward at the LA International Airport. Mavis informs Trumbull of Edward’s disappearance, but then, hello! Edward is in the backseat (how he got there without Trumbull noticing is anybody’s guess – including most likely the writers’) and tossing Trumbull’s phone out the window, a gun smacks against his temple. Edward yells at Trumbull for lying to him that his parents’s killer was actually dead, and we flash back on a scene long ago, when Edward first signed up for the program, and Trumbull lying to his face about the kill. Back in the present, Trumbull won’t deviate from his story that Edward’s parents’ killer was killed in Minsk in 1989, but of course, because that just don’t sit will with his don’t-take-shit personality, Edward doesn’t believe him, so he boots Trumbull from the front seat and drives off with the car. It’s found later by the agency, and Mavis suggests that they wipe Edward/Henry’s memory, so that then the missing secret agent will more easily traceable due to Henry’s complete ineptitude most of the time, but Trumbull vetoes the idea.
The writers continue to think the side story of Mary and Tom/Raymond is interesting by giving Mary someone to have run over so that she can weep to Tom/Raymond worriedly. Trying to find out who she ran over, Raymond goes undercover as Tom, posing as her husband and doing an absolutely terrible job as he acts all suspiciously and non-affectionate and hateful toward her – disgusted with her plainness – which is odd, because Raymond had been worried that he wouldn’t be able to fool her – so why is he doing such a shitty job, and seeming like he’s not even trying? Hm, could it be those pesky writers again? Naaaawwww. So he finds a few leads and discovers that his wife could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to a couple of random thugs from Raseda assaulting her and stealing her jewelry. Raymond heads on over to the thieves’ house and procures the jewelry through a few creative maneuvers, then heads back to Tom’s house to inform his wife that he has found her jewelry and that the dog she hit (she doesn’t fully recall the incident) is gonna be okay.
Row row row your boat
Infiltration is necessary in any covert op (I’m sorry I had to spring that age old cliché upon you), so that’s where we find Edward, on a rooftop, surveying a luxurious boat complete with armed goons patrolling – bang bang bang, they’re all on the ground, intermittently cut with a phone call from Henry’s wife about how their son is thinking about buying a car and needs Henry’s approval. Back on the boat, Edward appears before the man he’s been searching for – to find that he’s not the man he’s been searching for (What? Another false lead? No way!). So he goes to the dude who gave him the faulty information and plants a bullet in his chest. Isn’t it interesting how Henry never pops up when Edward is on these extended secret missions? Yeah, I thought so too.
Mavis debriefs Henry of Edward’s behavior and how he must act like Edward during Trumbull’s investigation. Trumbull gives Henry full disclosure on the matter – including the man who actually killed his parents – Garza, who will be down in Rio De Janeiro to witness the birth of his kid. Hm, how convenient –another generic exotic locale in which Edward and Henry can experience the usual dramatically stunning conflict involving guesswork as to who will switch when. Let’s see if Henry pops up at an inconvenient time or if Edward does the same.
What do we need? More power!
Back at the house, Henry gets all discombobulated when he finds out his son has purchased an old muscle car to do some work on and spruce up, a decision of which he does not approve at all. (Once again, surprise surprise.) he gets all worried about his upcoming mission, too, so he has to talk nice with Dr. Norah, who says, “don’t worry, baby, it’ll be okay” and then Edward sucks his thumb and goes to sleep and we pop in Rio De Janeiro a couple of scenes later, where, hey, lookie here, Edward hasn’t shown up, so guess who has to worry about killing Garza? Norah gives him a telephone instructional on how to use his gun, and off he goes to meet up with the Henry from the beginning of the episode, walking down the hospital hallway clumsily, fumbling with his gun and wondering whether or not he has the guts to kill him. He nearly shoots him, but Garza merely says something to him in Spanish, beaming at his newborn baby, and Henry walks off, defeated, unable to finish the job. Back in the hotel room, Edward listens to Henry’s video voicemail explaining the situation, drinking vodka and smoking cigarettes, of course still eyebrow-level pissed off, especially because he wasn’t able to do away with the dude himself. But aha! Out of the darkness pops a plot point, whispering in Edwards ear, “You should have killed me when you had the chance.” A swift punch and a sickening crunch of broken bottle in Garza neck and Edward’s parents’ killer is no more. Once Trumbull has been informed of the success of the operation, he leaves Edward to his own devices to head back to the park to talk to his informant, and once he’s realized that the informant has been lying to him about certain information, he shoots him dead, and walks coolly off through the flock of pigeons pecking the grass hungrily.
I hate to say it, but this time around the show (and Slater, amazingly) do a pretty job of making us sympathize with Edward – finally he has some sort of life and heart other than his constant high see drive or perpetually pissed off attitude – he cares about his parents, and Slater does his best to make it word in the character’s eyes and face – though it doesn’t always, there are glimpses, and it will make watching this episode more rewarding for those viewers who have been waiting for Edward to develop a personality that isn’t just bitching and whining. The whole Tom/Raymond thing is getting really, really, really, really old, I think next time the show comes on I’ll sing Christmas carols through their scenes. The stuff that’s added with Henry’s son is cute, but not competently done enough to be worth much – the parts with the family always seem under-fed – the action/secret agent aspect of the show is clearly the focus. But despite these couple of high points, “My Own Worst Enemy” still remains laughably bad, and the main problems with the show only get worse as we go along – namely how bad the writing is at creating instances for Edward/Henry to switch personalities that don’t feel contrived specifically to create more tension, drama, or a longer story. That, and the laughably bad dialog loses some of its charm after awhile – now you just want to smack someone who says something idiotic, even if it’s the writers’ faults and not theirs. Ah well. By the time the show is over you can bet it will have lived up to its own title.
aka MBRD – check out his blog here.