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thewhiteowl

S04.E14: Reckoning

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Gosh, I wish this Imperial Duke saga would just end.

For one episode baddies, they may have cut it.

For baddies who are recurring for what are now- at least- five episodes they're now well past their expiration date.

I've said it many times before about why the Imperial Dukes are just horrible bad guys. They're one-dimensional and lack any kind of humanity. I'm not saying we have to feel sorry for them- far from it, because how could you feel sorry for people like that?- but we need to know more about them than just "they're racist POS".

Something like how each member has a story of being a victim of "social justice warriors", which explains why they hate so much. Hate just doesn't appear out of whole cloth, and you certainly don't join a murderous cult on a whim. You do it because you have a deep-seated reason, reasons that should be explored.

Instead, the show just tells us that these guys are "evil SOBs" who are "so dangerous" they could "destroy the whole city". They're just boring villain-bots placed in the episode just so SWAT would have someone to chase for the entire hour.

Yawn. They might as well run a SWAT training video instead, because that's pretty much what this exercise was.

This episode only gets a "D" because there may be something with Lee Durham, plus the subplot of Norah Fowler being recruited for a basketball game had its charming moments.

Oh, and Leroy vs. Hondo has gained another wrinkle. Though when Darryl asked Hondo about why the shop still needed cameras...well, I don't know why Hondo wouldn't just tell him they're smart to have anyway because, well, "you never know". Even though Hondo is right about short term solutions sometimes breeding longer term problems.

So, there are four episodes left...chances are, the Dukes' saga will occupy the season finale, if not simmer for the rest of the season. It's here where I hope the show resists a WWE-type swerve and have Deacon join the Dukes...that would just be too lazy, and the character would be irreparably harmed by it.

Besides, it's a better story to have "the white guy" remind the Dukes that while they may have (in a twisted sense) a legitimate gripe about "virtue signaling" and those who go too far screaming "racism", engaging in racism themselves doesn't solve the problem. It only makes it worse.

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P.S. What was the whole saying that Durham told Deacon? I can't find it on Google anywhere.

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48 minutes ago, Danielg342 said:

P.S. What was the whole saying that Durham told Deacon? I can't find it on Google anywhere.

I just deleted it, but I don't think it's a real saying. I believe Deac said it's similar to what the Imperial Dukes say.

So...okay! I now understand why Deac had the discussion with new guy. At least they've taken it to a deeper level.

I did twig to something and felt that new guy might be racist/have certain tendencies to act like a macho dick. Suspicion confirmed.

It was just the way he agreed with Deacon. I felt like they were on different pages, but that Deac said the right thing in the right way for new dude to think they were of the same mind.

I did like that Darryl listened to Hondo at the end. It was getting a bit old with him seemingly brainwashed by his dad. 

I'm not all that happy that the Dad/Hondo feud seems to be ramping up rather than simmering down, but I am glad that Darryl isn't shutting out Hondo.

They really do know what these rac*st punks actually say. They nail that part. 

I don't think that it will get personal/we'll know the real reason why they do what they do, until they catch the top bad guy. Right now, they're dealing with foot soldiers who merely repeat the party line. That's what they do. Drill these ideas into their heads, until that's all they can spew. They have no thoughts of their own. So, in that sense, I think they've succeeded in showing us what mindless puppets these guys are.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Sweet Tooth said:

I don't think it's a real saying. I believe Deac said it's similar to what the Imperial Dukes say.

"Walk the path with dignity pure in body and spirit".

That's the saying (rewatched it to hear it again), and you're right- the show made it up. Just wish Deacon didn't mumble it when he repeated it if it was supposed to be such an important clue.

9 minutes ago, Sweet Tooth said:

I don't think that it will get personal/we'll know the real reason why they do what they do, until they catch the top bad guy. Right now, they're dealing with foot soldiers who merely repeat the party line. That's what they do. Drill these ideas into their heads, until that's all they can spew. They have no thoughts of their own. So, in that sense, I think they've succeeded in showing us what mindless puppets these guys are.

I have no problem with them being mindless foot soldiers- I expect that. However, the show has yet to ask why any of those recruits would bother with the recruitment process.

They should have introduced Durham before the Imperial Dukes saga began. Sprinkle in a few clues, have him try to surreptitiously recruit Deacon for the cause. Perhaps- using the old Criminal Minds trick- Durham injects himself into the investigation to steer SWAT away from him. Anything more than just introducing them as mindless villain-bots. Doing it all now just feels like "too little, too late".

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I've only seen the first half.  Please don't tell me that Durham is going to be a bad guy!  I thought he was developing a good friend rapport with Deacon, and I like that actor.

Tan and Luca out interviewing a witness was a good way to use Luca outside of the HQ setting.

It was cool that Chris got to take out that shooter at the beginning of the episode and that she's still able to focus at the job in spite of her recent issues. 

After finally being able to see the rest, I think the Imperial Dukes storyline was kind of an odd mismatch of ideologies.  I get what they were going for with the "Q" analogy.  However, the gas attack idea is more line with actions of a government, such as Assad gassing civilians in Syria.  It just seemed improbable to me that a group that included a third grade teacher and a headhunter would be sophisticated in the workings of cyanide gas and also have the ability to obtain that stuff.  The more likely outcome in such a scenario is that they would get flagged for buying large amounts of toxic gas OR they would accidentally kill themselves with it.

I thought it was way too easy for Tan to get the password to the internet forum.  They would have needed a professional hacker.  SWAT cannot be experts at everything.

Edited by nittany cougar

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8 hours ago, nittany cougar said:

I've only seen the first half.  Please don't tell me that Durham is going to be a bad guy!  I thought he was developing a good friend rapport with Deacon, and I like that actor.

Okay, I won't tell you.

HA. I had the opposite vibe from him. I smelled hinky right away with how he agreed with Deacon re: cancelling the police. I didn't like him on sight. I just felt he was up to no good.

And I was worried Deac wouldn't see it, so I'm glad he figured it out sooner rather than later.

9 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

have no problem with them being mindless foot soldiers- I expect that. However, the show has yet to ask why any of those recruits would bother with the recruitment process.

They should have introduced Durham before the Imperial Dukes saga began. Sprinkle in a few clues, have him try to surreptitiously recruit Deacon for the cause. Perhaps- using the old Criminal Minds trick- Durham injects himself into the investigation to steer SWAT away from him. Anything more than just introducing them as mindless villain-bots. Doing it all now just feels like "too little, too late".

Shows always take two approaches to the big bad.

1. Have them know who he is right away, but they're unable to catch him. He taunts and does horrible things to them, but he's Roadrunner

2. Build up this nameless/faceless individual without us ever seeing him. Make him the boogeyman. He's "out there somewhere." 

They've gone with option 2.

And maybe, now that you bring this up, it could be they chose this direction, because he's someone we already know, and he is trying to steer the investigation. A lot of times they don't reveal an identity if they want to shock you with, "He was there the whole time."

But yes, the mindless bots works for one episode, but if they keep capturing them, and all of them have the same spiel, it will get really old, really fast.

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I knew Durham was trash a couple of episodes ago when he was talking about how Erica might not have been killed if Deacon was leading the team. I knew that was a subtle shot at Hondo, but unfortunately I think there is a part of Deacon that resents Honda and there will be a conflict. Deacon is already super pro cop hopefully that doesn't turn into something else.

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2 hours ago, mommalib said:

I knew Durham was trash a couple of episodes ago when he was talking about how Erica might not have been killed if Deacon was leading the team. I knew that was a subtle shot at Hondo, but unfortunately I think there is a part of Deacon that resents Honda and there will be a conflict. Deacon is already super pro cop hopefully that doesn't turn into something else.

Hondo and Deacon already had a heated argument over the topic in S1's "Hunted". It felt settled then but maybe this isn't something you ever really "settle". I don't know- I'm not sure how much the narrative will gain with that story decision.

40 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

So happy they introduced a White Supremacy plot for a change.

Have you met Karen and the Cancel-Mob?

 

I'm not getting into the debate. I'm just going to hold firm on the idea that an antagonist- or any character, really- are far more interesting when they have believable reasons for what they did and/or doing.

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1 minute ago, Danielg342 said:

I'm just going to hold firm on the idea that an antagonist- or any character, really- are far more interesting when they have believable reasons for what they did and/or doing.

I totally go with that.

Another point: You're standing peacefully in the corridor of a hospital. A cop rushes up and says "May I help you?" Why not just say "No, you can't!" and continue to stand there?

 

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1 hour ago, Danielg342 said:

Hondo and Deacon already had a heated argument over the topic in S1's "Hunted". It felt settled then but maybe this isn't something you ever really "settle". I don't know- I'm not sure how much the narrative will gain with that story decision.

I'm not getting into the debate. I'm just going to hold firm on the idea that an antagonist- or any character, really- are far more interesting when they have believable reasons for what they did and/or doing.

Yeah I remember that conversation between Hondo and Deacon and it's always seemed like Deacon accepted things and I hope that's the case.

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14 minutes ago, mommalib said:

Yeah I remember that conversation between Hondo and Deacon and it's always seemed like Deacon accepted things and I hope that's the case.

I mean, I'm sure Deacon probably will never get over being bypassed. That's always going to sting. Hopefully the show remembers that Deacon is smart enough to know that he wasn't bypassed because Hondo politicked but because Hicks was politicking. Hondo himself told Deacon that he believes Deacon should have had the job.

8 hours ago, Sweet Tooth said:

Shows always take two approaches to the big bad.

1. Have them know who he is right away, but they're unable to catch him. He taunts and does horrible things to them, but he's Roadrunner

2. Build up this nameless/faceless individual without us ever seeing him. Make him the boogeyman. He's "out there somewhere." 

They've gone with option 2.

And maybe, now that you bring this up, it could be they chose this direction, because he's someone we already know, and he is trying to steer the investigation. A lot of times they don't reveal an identity if they want to shock you with, "He was there the whole time."

But yes, the mindless bots works for one episode, but if they keep capturing them, and all of them have the same spiel, it will get really old, really fast.

...and Hollywood wonders why they can't write a compelling Big Bad.

The problem is that, typically, Hollywood writers love the idea of a Big Bad but hardly ever do the work to properly flesh them out. They feel like they can "make it up as they go along" when that's the wrong way to formulate a character. I've always believed that even if the audience doesn't know everything right away about the Big Bad, the writers at least should.

It's less prevalent with Option 1 than it is with Option 2, though Baddies that fall under Option 1 do tend to have this happen.

As it relates to the Imperial Dukes, it appears that the writers thought the best way to bring the issue of racism and policing to the forefront was to create this terrorist group of white supremacists. Not a bad idea in principle but they haven't been developed beyond "they're racists and they killed a recurring character we barely met but are supposed to mourn".

Maybe in 1990, or 1980 or 1970 that would have been enough, but in 2021- when that story has been told in some form over a thousand times- it's time to start mixing things up a little.

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4 hours ago, mommalib said:

Yeah I remember that conversation between Hondo and Deacon and it's always seemed like Deacon accepted things and I hope that's the case.

 

3 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

I mean, I'm sure Deacon probably will never get over being bypassed. That's always going to sting. Hopefully the show remembers that Deacon is smart enough to know that he wasn't bypassed because Hondo politicked but because Hicks was politicking. Hondo himself told Deacon that he believes Deacon should have had the job.

I think the Durham read Deacon correctly, just not for the reason that he thought.

In other words, I think there will always be a part of Deac that knows he should be leading if everything didn't go down the way it did, and Hicks felt he had to politic his way out of it. When Durham said that, you could see there was a little bit of guilt on Deac's face that the guy was reading his resentment correct, even if, again, not for the right reason.

3 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

The problem is that, typically, Hollywood writers love the idea of a Big Bad but hardly ever do the work to properly flesh them out. They feel like they can "make it up as they go along" when that's the wrong way to formulate a character. I've always believed that even if the audience doesn't know everything right away about the Big Bad, the writers at least should.

They botched this up HORRIBLY on one of my favorite shows, The Mentalist, when they realized they had to reveal who Red John was, and they didn't know who he was. The person they chose was not an interesting character, and it fell flat. The show survived, but that was a HUGE letdown.

I've seen it done right. More often it's once they lock up the character and have to go back to them on occasion. But if you want a good Big Bad, usually you kind of like a certain part of them. Like on Prodigal Son, you know Martin is a serial killer, but he's not just portrayed as someone who constantly mocks the good guys. He's a three-dimensional character, and you almost forget about that whole killing thing, until sometimes, you see that side of him, and it's a bit terrifying. But they only show it for a moment, and then it's gone. That's how you do it. 

3 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

As it relates to the Imperial Dukes, it appears that the writers thought the best way to bring the issue of racism and policing to the forefront was to create this terrorist group of white supremacists. Not a bad idea in principle but they haven't been developed beyond "they're racists and they killed a recurring character we barely met but are supposed to mourn".

The thing is, they have the rhetoric down pat and paired it nicely with the whole "Q" nonsense. They've done an excellent job with that.

But yes, at some point it does have to go beyond the rhetoric and get down to WHO HURT YOU? Because usually when someone starts this kind of movement, they have a burning need that drives them.

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35 minutes ago, Sweet Tooth said:

They botched this up HORRIBLY on one of my favorite shows, The Mentalist, when they realized they had to reveal who Red John was, and they didn't know who he was. The person they chose was not an interesting character, and it fell flat. The show survived, but that was a HUGE letdown.

Red John has always been my cautionary tale. A lot of potential that got wasted because Bruno Heller admitted he didn't know who he was until midway through S4. That's not the way to write a Big Bad.

36 minutes ago, Sweet Tooth said:

I've seen it done right. More often it's once they lock up the character and have to go back to them on occasion. But if you want a good Big Bad, usually you kind of like a certain part of them. Like on Prodigal Son, you know Martin is a serial killer, but he's not just portrayed as someone who constantly mocks the good guys. He's a three-dimensional character, and you almost forget about that whole killing thing, until sometimes, you see that side of him, and it's a bit terrifying. But they only show it for a moment, and then it's gone. That's how you do it. 

I think Martin worked because there was an instant connection to him, as he was the father of the protagonist who was desperately not trying to be sucked into his world. It's much the same way that Leroy vs. Hondo works- they may not have the same familial connection but the bond is almost the same.

36 minutes ago, Sweet Tooth said:

The thing is, they have the rhetoric down pat and paired it nicely with the whole "Q" nonsense. They've done an excellent job with that.

But yes, at some point it does have to go beyond the rhetoric and get down to WHO HURT YOU? Because usually when someone starts this kind of movement, they have a burning need that drives them.

Maybe part of it is that I just feel that white supremacists are kind of passé as antagonists at this stage...they're what Arab terrorists were in the 2000s and 1990s and Communists and Neo-Nazis were before them. Been there, done that, kind of thing. Once you've seen one type of extremist group you've seen them all.

So I tend to think if you've got extremists of any stripe- be it white supremacists, environmentalists, religious, incels, feminists, "Antifa", libertarianists, etc.- you've got to do more with the characters other than talk about their beliefs. You've got to at least "get personal" and delve into why they harbour those beliefs in the first place, because that's more interesting.

There's a movie from 1999, Three Kings, that had Mark Whalberg, George Clooney and Ice Cube. I don't remember much of it except for one scene where Whalberg's character, a U.S. soldier, is being held captive by an Iraqi terrorist who forces him to drink oil. I'll always remember the terrorist screaming at the soldier, asking him, "do you know what it's like to have a bomb dropped on your baby's crib?"

It's a stunning visual, but more importantly it gave the terrorist character a lot of depth. I'll never actually sympathize with a terrorist, but at least I can see where this guy's coming from.

The Imperial Dukes? They might as well be robots. Hopefully things pick up in the next few episodes.

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17 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

Red John has always been my cautionary tale. A lot of potential that got wasted because Bruno Heller admitted he didn't know who he was until midway through S4. That's not the way to write a Big Bad.

And he used Simon Baker as RJ's voice, which didn't help matters, in the end.

17 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

I think Martin worked because there was an instant connection to him, as he was the father of the protagonist who was desperately not trying to be sucked into his world. It's much the same way that Leroy vs. Hondo works- they may not have the same familial connection but the bond is almost the same.

Yes. And he's also genuinely funny and loves his kids. He saw the other stuff as a hobby. It wasn't his entire personality, like you said.

17 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

There's a movie from 1999, Three Kings, that had Mark Whalberg, George Clooney and Ice Cube. I don't remember much of it except for one scene where Whalberg's character, a U.S. soldier, is being held captive by an Iraqi terrorist who forces him to drink oil. I'll always remember the terrorist screaming at the soldier, asking him, "do you know what it's like to have a bomb dropped on your baby's crib?"

It's a stunning visual, but more importantly it gave the terrorist character a lot of depth. I'll never actually sympathize with a terrorist, but at least I can see where this guy's coming from.

The Imperial Dukes? They might as well be robots. Hopefully things pick up in the next few episodes.

I totally get where you're coming from. There's something you learn in writing, which is that the bad guy never sees themselves as the bad guy. There has to be a deep-seated, personal reason they do what they do. Even if someone is straight-up cray-cray, they have their own reasons, based on their own version of reality.

I'm hoping that we meet the Great Leader sooner rather than later, and that he's more interesting than a cardboard cutout. Because the longer they drag this on, the more frustrating it will get.

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This thread was an interesting read.   Thanks to everyone who posted.

I'm going to switch gears for a bit and comment on Daryl and Leroy.   I was never happy with the addition of Daryl as a recurring character but I do enjoy Leroy.  I like the actor and think his scenes with Hondo are well done.  I can't say the same for Daryl.  I don't think the young actor is believable and I hated the Daryl's custody woes storyline.   The day to day of the SWAT team is far more interesting.   Hopefully, we'll see Leroy make a go of the auto shop and watch his relationship with Hondo improve and  I wouldn't mind Daryl getting shut out of that storyline.  

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