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S03.E02: Bad Faith

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"Things are about to get interesting."

Well...is it, or are the writers just being hopeful?

Last season we supposedly had the drama with a city accountant who forced SWAT to deal with budget cuts. The plot talked big but it didn't really deliver a whole lot- the accountant was never seen after the quarter mark, Deacon's "money issues" storyline fizzled at the end and, though Jim Street desperately needed a redemption arc (which succeeded), it felt like a foregone conclusion that he'd rejoin SWAT.

This season?

I hate to rag on someone's employment, because I'm an optimist at heart and I know everyone needs a job and the vast majority of people do try really hard.

Plus I like to think Amy Farrington is a nice woman and at least has the acting chops to be considered for a role in Hollywood.

...but...I gotta say...

They replaced Stephanie Sigman with her?

I mean, Sigman had more presence and charisma in her left pinky than Farrington's entire performance thus far.

It gets even more grating when you see her next to Patrick St. Esprit and Shemar Moore because then you see the wide gulf in acting talent on screen.

I do hope she gets better but so far...not a great start.

Plus, her character seems like a retread of that accountant we had last season- yet another "city type" who's only role is to provide "city drama" to the team.

Sure, she's also a detective, and her character is billed to be one that has contacts all over the city which should be of use to SWAT (giving the writers a lazy easy way to create leads)...but she's not under Hicks' command, so she's definitely there to play "the city" and give Hicks headaches.

Which makes me wonder why they couldn't have just made her character a straight up replacement for Captain Cortez. Hicks doesn't need another character to play off of to provide "city drama"- the writers can achieve that with a few well placed lines by Hicks and a recurring character, at best.

What S.W.A.T. really needed was a character who could do the actual police work of an investigation, similar to the role that Jim Brass played on CSI. I get that perhaps the show is worried this might leave the actual SWAT members with not as much to do, but there's only so many times you can buy actual SWAT members conducting interviews and interrogations as well as "knowing a guy" to have a convenient lead.

I realized I've written so much without actually commenting on the actual episode. Well...this episode sure sounded like one to set up future stories, so I have to comment on that.

Plus, this episode really didn't leave me much to talk about.

Great to see Rebecca Wisocky (best remembered to me as Brenda Shettrick on The Mentalist) on my screen, and she did wonderfully as the cult leader (you know, maybe she should have been cast as Lynch...).

...but, other than that, this was your regular "paint by the numbers" cult and cult storyline, with a bit of a twist that the kidnapped girl was actually in on the cult (though the show telegraphed it a bit too much by hitting me over the head with how much she pleaded with her mother to get her out...classic "swerve" tactic).

I also had to wonder about some of the mechanics of the crime. Janitor smuggles in guns by using his mop bucket? I use that exact same mop bucket at my work...no way you're hiding guns and ammo inside that bucket. Which of course doesn't answer the question about how he got the guns and stuff inside the hospital in the first place.

Unless security there is lazy...which does actually happen...but still.

All this is a corollary to what really ailed the episode, and that's this show getting away from what worked. Moore and his production team deserve all the credit in the world for recognizing that what is going to make this show work are the characters, and they've done a bang up job building great characters who have great stories to tell.

There's nothing in a police procedural that hasn't been done before, so there's no point trying to "reinvent the wheel". Even there, what keeps people coming back are characters they care about.

No one wants to watch a bunch of robots execute the plot.

So, when the show fails, it fails because it didn't do enough to make the characters and their plights interesting. The SWAT guys were essentially robots tonight, the cult people never went beyond the usual characterization that they're manipulative con artists and the kidnapped daughter subplot was just a lazy attempt to give the case added weight.

There was nothing tonight like the personal drama in "Hunted", the character development Hondo went through when he chased the Korean drug lords, the interesting dynamics at play in "Pride" or even the silliness that was on display in "Patrol"...stuff that actually got you invested in the characters and/or the case.

Hopefully this is just a one-off and the show will be back on track next week.

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On 10/14/2019 at 2:59 PM, thewhiteowl said:

@Danielg342, agree the plot was thin. It seemed a placeholder episode. And the Guatemalan lady didn't even seem interested in a food truck.

I don't even think she seems to understand what Luca was doing, which is the sadder part.

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