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S03.E19: Vice

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I’m confused about Chris and her couple. I thought she had decided to break with them several episodes back

ETA: Wait, that’s Captain Jessica. Is this a repeat? Weird

Edited by DanaK

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The TV guide description was for 'Vice', but this was a repeat from -- I think -- last season. If they had to show a repeat I wish it had been one from earlier this season.  I missed a couple of episodes. 

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1 hour ago, BooksRule said:

The TV guide description was for 'Vice', but this was a repeat from -- I think -- last season. If they had to show a repeat I wish it had been one from earlier this season.  I missed a couple of episodes. 

This isn’t the first show these past few weeks that has substituted a repeat for a new episode. Probably to stretch out the dwindling inventory

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22 hours ago, DanaK said:

Wait, that’s Captain Jessica. Is this a repeat? Weird

Yes. Last night was a repeat- instead of "Vice", we got "Rocket Fuel" from Season 2. A good episode...but not new.

Supposedly next week will be "Vice". We will see. This show only has three more new episodes to go for this season, so I guess they will space them out. The only episode S.W.A.T. couldn't tape was the finale.

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This one was really hard to grade.

On one hand, we had a pretty rudimentary case that followed S.W.A.T.'s usual formula- amped-up pace, lots of things happening to increase tension (and ensure you're not paying too much attention to what's going on...) and everyone talking with those heightened voices to give you a sense that this is really an important case, everyone!

Oh, and lots of guns, fast driving and fist-fights...because we can't have a show about a military-themed police unit without bullets, burned tires and (metaphorical) blood flying everywhere.

This time, the show tried for the "personal" angle by having Tan be the target, and, to his credit, David Lim did bring it tonight selling Tan's frustrations and peril. Even though the episode played out like many other "teammate in peril" episodes that feature on so many different shows, Lim gave you a reason to be invested in Tan's, so credit to him.

We also had another incident where Hicks- and now the rest of the team- are questioning whether or not they can trust Piper Lynch. I want to be optimistic about this storyline but it feels awkward, and let's be honest- there's only two ways this story ends: Lynch actually is trustworthy or she isn't.

...and then what do you do with the character? Lynch hasn't been well developed and she's had almost a season under her belt.

Mind you, the writers did turn one dimensional characterization- Street and his shady impulsiveness- into a peach of a story, so there's hope Lynch may not be lost after all.

Then there's Chris' storyline with the Deputy Mayor's son and...well, I want to be invested in it but that has "this won't end well" written all over it and I'm not confident it'll be a riveting storyline. Because too many other shows have done it before and Chris seems to have done this way too many times.

So there's that part of S.W.A.T., the kind of "stuck in a formulaic rut, needs something to inject some life into it" thing that it's been doing all season.

...and then there was Hondo. Perhaps they should have devoted the episode- or an episode- to Hondo's storyline tonight, because it was pretty interesting and layered, ripe for development. Credit here to Shemar Moore, April Parker Jones (who played Hondo's sister Winnie), Rochelle Aytes and the writers for conveying so much with so little time. Just to sense the Harrelsons' struggles with dealing with what Daddy Hondo did to them and how it's affected their relationships and- worse- seeing Daddy happy again when they can't sort out their own happiness is intriguing stuff. Perhaps we've not all been in exactly the same situation as the Harrelsons but we can all relate to the feeling.

I'll wait and see how it unfolds, but so far the story is starting off well. I just hope Hondo doesn't just give Nichelle those "magic words" and everything is all right again- something like this should take some time to heal.

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18 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

We also had another incident where Hicks- and now the rest of the team- are questioning whether or not they can trust Piper Lynch. I want to be optimistic about this storyline but it feels awkward, and let's be honest- there's only two ways this story ends: Lynch actually is trustworthy or she isn't.

The way I saw the Lynch thing is that, as far as she and the woman were concerned, what she did was to save that woman's life. The team is rule-oriented, because in their job, they kind of have to be. I think that's why Lynch said they wouldn't understand why she did what she did.

I think that they were trying to do to her what you said they did with Street. Make her more three-dimensional. 

So, she's not seen so much "dirty" as someone who is willing to break rules in order to get the person.

I'm betting something like this will come up again, and we'll see what happens from there.

How much does Tan make? Because that was quite a rock he had there, and he just shrugged it off and said he'd buy another one, as if it was his favorite t-shirt. 

The Hondo thing was interesting. To tell her AFTER she arrived that he wasn't going. Just shrugging it off as if it was no big deal. I liked his sister calling him out on his own BS. I don't know what the fallout from this will be, but I suspect Hondo is about to be forced into maturity.

Him still resenting his father, even after all of the work they've done and how their relationship has improved, was interesting. Hating to see him happy. That was a really cool angle to take. Admitting he wanted him to still suffer.

18 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Then there's Chris' storyline with the Deputy Mayor's son and...well, I want to be invested in it but that has "this won't end well" written all over it and I'm not confident it'll be a riveting storyline. Because too many other shows have done it before and Chris seems to have done this way too many times.

I am NOT looking forward to this. There's going to be blowback on her and the team. This will drag out, and yeah, "not end well." Or it will end well, but the path to getting there will be aggravating and agonizingly drawn out.

So many shows have had the personal grudge with a powerful person who makes everyone who works with whoever has pissed off the powerful person, miserable.

The worst one for me was House, when he pissed off a policeman who for months, pretty much t0rtured him and everyone he worked with. It was exhausting and not at all entertaining, and it dragged on for a really long time.

We've barely scratched the surface of what's sure to be a long and painful storyline that I'll probably wind up fast forwarding through.

P.S. On a purely shallow note, when Tan was worried Bonnie would think he was a monster, I'm like, no, she's probably thinking, "DAMN, was hot!"

Now, to be clear, I'm not a fan of violence of any kind, at all. I don't like watching fights or people being sh0t, but the way he sprang into action on instinct to protect that restaurant full of people was almost like watching ballet. 

I was glad when at the end, she commended him on just that. I would have been pissed if the woman was like "Ewww. Now you're icky!"

Edited by Sweet Tooth
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That everybody would fall in line to protect some relative of a deputy mayor is about as fantastic as Street's high speed chase to report to duty. A deputy mayor is nothing, even one on the potential list to run for Mayor. The D.A. on the other hand has to face voters and Officer Alonso already has enough evidence to wreck his day.

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On 4/23/2020 at 1:13 PM, Sweet Tooth said:

I think that they were trying to do to her what you said they did with Street. Make her more three-dimensional. 

So, she's not seen so much "dirty" as someone who is willing to break rules in order to get the person.

I wonder if that kind of character can work on a show like this. S.W.A.T. has been pretty clear that in their universe, the law is paramount and no one flouts the rules and procedures. Maybe it could be a way to "punch up" the show a little bit by introducing a story or a storyline that reminds these "RULES!"-minded police officers that sometimes to do the right thing you have to break the rules- or in this case, the law, but then I wonder about the tone the series will take.

Corruption does begin with a slippery slope.

On 4/23/2020 at 1:13 PM, Sweet Tooth said:

How much does Tan make? Because that was quite a rock he had there, and he just shrugged it off and said he'd buy another one, as if it was his favorite t-shirt.

Hopefully Bonnie's the type that will accept a pop can lid as a ring. Arguably, if it's "true love" she shouldn't care if Tan can get her another expensive ring- it's the thought that counts.

On 4/23/2020 at 1:13 PM, Sweet Tooth said:

Him still resenting his father, even after all of the work they've done and how their relationship has improved, was interesting. Hating to see him happy. That was a really cool angle to take. Admitting he wanted him to still suffer.

Family always wrestles with the emotions. You can have family members who are truly awful people and aren't the kind you'd ever want to help, like Hondo Sr....but they're family, so you feel obligated to help anyway, even if it won't do you any good.

Hondo feels like he can't win, and I know how that feels.

On 4/23/2020 at 1:13 PM, Sweet Tooth said:

I am NOT looking forward to this. There's going to be blowback on her and the team. This will drag out, and yeah, "not end well." Or it will end well, but the path to getting there will be aggravating and agonizingly drawn out.

It'll be as Pyrrhic a victory as there ever was one, and for what? Some cheap drama? It really feels like lazy writing.

I do think this ultimately goes down to the fact that the writers still don't have a feel for the stories they should write for Chris. They had Hondo and Deacon figured out, as well as Luca, who's always had that "SWAT is in my blood" storyline. They eventually figured out Street with his stories with his mother, getting back on the team, Molly and Nate, all part of a larger storyline where Street is maturing before our very eyes. Tan came late to that party but it seems like there's something with him and Bonnie.

I also think the show is trying to build Lynch+Hicks ("Hynch"? "Licks"?).

What has worked for Chris? She was supposed to be the dog operator, but aside from the school shooting episode and the episode where she said goodbye to Champ, we never saw that.

Then there was whatever that storyline was with the "throuple". All that did was amp up Chris' angst and deliver some drama between her and Annie, before petering out.

We've also had various one-off episodes where Chris deals with feminist issues or has to deal with her family, as well as those odd times where the show tried to make "Chris+Street" a thing (and maybe they still are).

...but nothing has stuck. If you want to talk about a character that's been poorly developed and has gone nowhere, you don't need to go much further than Christina Alonso.

Which is a shame because Lina Esco has done a marvelous job with her character, but it doesn't make up for the fact her character just seems to be in a rut.

One that I don't think this current storyline will get her out of. Unless they're using this storyline to write Esco out of the show (I hope not), what's the purpose of the storyline? To give Chris some more angst because she's (yet again) bitten off more than she can chew? To give Chris a "heroine moment" that will give her some fame before she goes back to being a regular SWAT officer?

It's not like there's a promotion waiting for her or something.

So I'm not looking forward to the conclusion.

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2 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

 

What has worked for Chris? She was supposed to be the dog operator, but aside from the school shooting episode and the episode where she said goodbye to Champ, we never saw that.

Then there was whatever that storyline was with the "throuple". All that did was amp up Chris' angst and deliver some drama between her and Annie, before petering out.

We've also had various one-off episodes where Chris deals with feminist issues or has to deal with her family, as well as those odd times where the show tried to make "Chris+Street" a thing (and maybe they still are).

...but nothing has stuck. If you want to talk about a character that's been poorly developed and has gone nowhere, you don't need to go much further than Christina Alonso.

Which is a shame because Lina Esco has done a marvelous job with her character, but it doesn't make up for the fact her character just seems to be in a rut.

One that I don't think this current storyline will get her out of. Unless they're using this storyline to write Esco out of the show (I hope not), what's the purpose of the storyline? To give Chris some more angst because she's (yet again) bitten off more than she can chew? To give Chris a "heroine moment" that will give her some fame before she goes back to being a regular SWAT officer?

It's not like there's a promotion waiting for her or something.

So I'm not looking forward to the conclusion.

Chris wasn't supposed to be the dog handler. She made it to Metro Division as part of a K9 search team. Then later promoted to SWAT. Their being the ultimate tactical team thus get all the glory. Think of regular Navy SEAL teams versus DEVGRU or Delta Force compared to other Army Special Forces detachments

Edited by Raja

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The early promotional material for S.W.A.T. said Chris was the leader of the K-9 unit, which the show later dropped.

Much how early promotional material said Mumford's first name was Jeff, which later became Jack.

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4 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

The early promotional material for S.W.A.T. said Chris was the leader of the K-9 unit, which the show later dropped.

Much how early promotional material said Mumford's first name was Jeff, which later became Jack.

I remember the first season where Officer Alonso wore  a Metro K9 patch instead of Metro SWAT patch on her uniforms and a sort of origin story episode showing her a as a Metro K9 search team dog handler. It played  sort of their first woman to make SWAT story line, In flashbacks she from another Metro platoon, K9, as she was mentoring another female SWAT candidate. It wasn't as in our face "first" like with Michelle Rodriguez in the Samuel L. Jackson movie but then this version of SWAT  came around about 5 years after the US female soldiers being freed from restrictions  and no longer banned from ground combat units

Edited by Raja
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19 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

 

Hopefully Bonnie's the type that will accept a pop can lid as a ring. Arguably, if it's "true love" she shouldn't care if Tan can get her another expensive ring- it's the thought that counts

Insurance, guys. Jewelry isn't covered under most home or renters' insurance, so you purchase it at the time you make a major jewelry purchase. No jeweler of any repute would let you leave without that. 

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20 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

I wonder if that kind of character can work on a show like this. S.W.A.T. has been pretty clear that in their universe, the law is paramount and no one flouts the rules and procedures. Maybe it could be a way to "punch up" the show a little bit by introducing a story or a storyline that reminds these "RULES!"-minded police officers that sometimes to do the right thing you have to break the rules- or in this case, the law, but then I wonder about the tone the series will take.

Corruption does begin with a slippery slope.

I think this is why all of the guys had a really strong reaction to her bending the rules, whether it got them the results they wanted or not.

Lynch is a person who wants a good outcome, and is willing to bend the rules to get it, while the guys are not.

I really do think it's why the stressed so hard at the end about the maid asking Lynch if she put it to the guys the way she'd just put it to her (aka, saving her life), and Lynch stated that they wouldn't understand. She knows they're rule-followers, because their lives depend on it, whereas she feels she has more leeway.

Agreed that this will be a future source of conflict in styles that will come to a head. It could go either way. The guys realize sometimes you have to bend the rules, or Lynch realizes that by bending the rules, she's actually hurting more than she's helping. We'll see.

20 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Hopefully Bonnie's the type that will accept a pop can lid as a ring. Arguably, if it's "true love" she shouldn't care if Tan can get her another expensive ring- it's the thought that counts.

I don't think Bonnie cares at all, but Tan seemed insistent he would buy another ring that wasn't associated with the shooting. So, while she may not insist on it, I believe Tan will be getting one.

But regardless, tossing off three month's worth of salary because something bad happened the day he was going to give it to her, seems pretty weak.

However...it did set up some future Street drama, re: who he gives that ring to, because you know dude's going to dig through the trash for it.

20 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

...but nothing has stuck. If you want to talk about a character that's been poorly developed and has gone nowhere, you don't need to go much further than Christina Alonso.

They're working too hard on making her "the woman." I think the reason the guys have had better storylines is because they're more generic. 

The problem I see with Chris is that her identity seems too tied to the other characters. Like, when they did that fake thing with Street, she was just forging ahead, with little regard for herself.

I think that's Chris's theme: Making decisions that in the end hurt her.

But in this case, she was ready to drop it until Hondo convinced her otherwise. 

She has this strong crusader streak, which is fine, but it seems more willy-nilly. Whatever way the wind is blowing, she'll take up that cause.

We have something similar going on in SEAL Team, only it's done better. The young buck who had something traumatic happen and has taken up the cause.

It helped that we saw the triggering moment when his focus changed.

Like, we see Hondo's family, so we understand deeply where he's coming from. Same with Deac.

Perhaps the problem is that Chris' connections aren't concrete enough, except with Street.

20 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Family always wrestles with the emotions. You can have family members who are truly awful people and aren't the kind you'd ever want to help, like Hondo Sr....but they're family, so you feel obligated to help anyway, even if it won't do you any good.

Hondo feels like he can't win, and I know how that feels.

The thing is, he HAS won on so many fronts. As a matter of fact, he's done such a good job healing relationships, he's upset it's worked so well. He's mad at himself for mending fences and making a happy daddy. All of this is because of him. It worked, and now he's pissed about it. 

I understand that as well.

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12 hours ago, Raja said:

I remember the first season where Officer Alonso wore  a Metro K9 patch instead of Metro SWAT patch on her uniforms and a sort of origin story episode showing her a as a Metro K9 search team dog handler. It played  sort of their first woman to make SWAT story line, In flashbacks she from another Metro platoon, K9, as she was mentoring another female SWAT candidate. It wasn't as in our face "first" like with Michelle Rodriguez in the Samuel L. Jackson movie but then this version of SWAT  came around about 5 years after the US female soldiers being freed from restrictions  and no longer banned from ground combat units

Season 2.11, "School"- the flashback episode about the school shooting- showed her in her K9 role. I thought that was a S1 episode but I was wrong.

As far as S1 is concerned, I don't really recall much of well, anything about Chris, so maybe you're right about her wearing the K9 patch that season. The storyline about her helping the female SWAT candidate was in S2, during Street's redemption arc, and we never heard from the prospect again.

1 hour ago, Sweet Tooth said:

Agreed that this will be a future source of conflict in styles that will come to a head. It could go either way. The guys realize sometimes you have to bend the rules, or Lynch realizes that by bending the rules, she's actually hurting more than she's helping. We'll see.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes. I could see the show opting for some kind of mixture of the two choices- Lynch's rule-bending initially causes issues with the team, but then they realize that Lynch got it right. Perhaps there's later "an understanding" between Lynch and Hicks that if the team has to break the rules, it's under exceptional circumstances and Hicks has to approve it first- because it's his butt on the line if it goes awry.

1 hour ago, Sweet Tooth said:

They're working too hard on making her "the woman." I think the reason the guys have had better storylines is because they're more generic. 

The problem I see with Chris is that her identity seems too tied to the other characters. Like, when they did that fake thing with Street, she was just forging ahead, with little regard for herself.

I think that's Chris's theme: Making decisions that in the end hurt her.

That does seem to be Chris' ongoing issue- go headstrong into things only to see it backfire spectacularly against her. It's an interesting character trait, but I don't know how much longer they can keep up with it.

At some point, she'll need some character growth and not get so reckless. Maybe there's a glimpse of that with her interaction with Hondo but I don't think it goes far enough. At one point, she'll have to learn there are some fights you just can't win.

As far as her being "the woman"...I think they've tried not to make that a big part of her storyline but it keeps cropping up. The reason why those moments stick out is because the writers haven't developed Chris as a character like they have with the others- that is, Chris is still searching for her "identity" whereas the others aren't.

It probably does, I'll agree, with Hollywood's inability to write female characters well. Hollywood either tends to write a "man with boobs" or someone who makes "being a woman" their core identity- there's never really an attempt to write a character who happens to be a woman, has a "generic" motivation but understands things from a woman's perspective. Chris, it seems, mixes the "man with boobs" character with the "I'm a woman!" character, which helps explain why her characterization is such a mess.

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6 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

As far as her being "the woman"...I think they've tried not to make that a big part of her storyline but it keeps cropping up. The reason why those moments stick out is because the writers haven't developed Chris as a character like they have with the others- that is, Chris is still searching for her "identity" whereas the others aren't.

It probably does, I'll agree, with Hollywood's inability to write female characters well. Hollywood either tends to write a "man with boobs" or someone who makes "being a woman" their core identity- there's never really an attempt to write a character who happens to be a woman, has a "generic" motivation but understands things from a woman's perspective. Chris, it seems, mixes the "man with boobs" character with the "I'm a woman!" character, which helps explain why her characterization is such a mess.

I'm an editor, and I can tell you it doesn't only happen in movies and TV.  I'm always watching out for how people write the opposite sex. I agree that sometimes in an effort to make a female character "bad-ass," they mean "male traits." It's a bad trap to fall into and seems to be what's happening with Chris.

It could also be with Deac, Hondo, and Street that the main issue that makes them more interesting is what happens outside of the team. Deac has his religion and his large family he has to support. Hondo has the family issues. Luca has his bloodline to live up to. Street has the messed-up mom. And we've gone into their lives and explored all of this thoroughly. It's been all show, almost no tell.

Chris has talked about her story, but we haven't seen it playing out in who she is.

What was Chris' one and only issue outside of SWAT? Yeah, her unorthodox relationship. From the beginning, we all knew it was a temporary thing, and now it's over. Maybe if it had led her to kind of "discovering" herself, it could have been interesting, but it's been dropped with very little fallout or fanfare. 

They're trying to make Chris more interesting with team-related stuff, such as the interview she had to give, and now this.

We get it. Chris is a crusader. But her constantly tilting at windmills just gets exhausting after a while . I even think Lynch at this point is more well-rounded. I totally know what she's about. Even when people are screaming and going crazy around her, she just calmly sails forward.

More importantly, Lynch knows who she is. She hasn't wavered on her core character.

I think she has been steady on but yet sees things from a female perspective. She's able to hold her own against the guys without screaming or throwing her weight around or being faux "tough." They yell at her, and she just looks them in the eye with, "Not my problem" and walks away.

I'll admit she wasn't one of my favorite people, but she's growing on me. 

6 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

It'll be interesting to see where this goes. I could see the show opting for some kind of mixture of the two choices- Lynch's rule-bending initially causes issues with the team, but then they realize that Lynch got it right. Perhaps there's later "an understanding" between Lynch and Hicks that if the team has to break the rules, it's under exceptional circumstances and Hicks has to approve it first- because it's his butt on the line if it goes awry.

That would be a nice outcome.

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2 hours ago, Sweet Tooth said:

We've gone into their lives and explored all of this thoroughly. It's been all show, almost no tell.

I think that's the heart of it- Chris has been almost all tell, no show. It's hard to get invested in her struggles when we don't see them on screen. The "throuple" storyline was the closest we got, and even there, the show did a lot of telling.

2 hours ago, Sweet Tooth said:

I'll admit she wasn't one of my favorite people, but she's growing on me.

Me too. Amy Farrington is still not half the actress that Stephanie Sigman is, but she fits in with the cast better and her character fits better with the storylines they're telling and the dynamics they have.

2 hours ago, Sweet Tooth said:

That would be a nice outcome.

I can already picture the scene- Hicks and Lynch are alone in Hicks' office and Hicks tells her, "if you want me to trust you then you gotta trust me. Maybe when you're a Detective on the beat you can pull stuff like this but when you involve me and when you involve my team, that's not just your a** on the line it's our a**es as well...and I can't have someone who jeopardizes the careers of my team, let alone mine! So the next time you want to pull something like that, you gotta run it by me! Understood?"

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4 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

I can already picture the scene- Hicks and Lynch are alone in Hicks' office and Hicks tells her, "if you want me to trust you then you gotta trust me. Maybe when you're a Detective on the beat you can pull stuff like this but when you involve me and when you involve my team, that's not just your a** on the line it's our a**es as well...and I can't have someone who jeopardizes the careers of my team, let alone mine! So the next time you want to pull something like that, you gotta run it by me! Understood?"

As far as I'm concerned, this has already happened.

Speaking of another character who's really grown, Hicks has turned out to be a well-rounded character.

 

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