Monday, July 11, 2016

REVIEW: 'Angie Tribeca' - A Romance Novelist Questions Angie and Geils' Relationship in 'The Organ Trail'

TBS' Angie Tribeca - Episode 2.06 "The Organ Trail"

Atkins assigns a romance novelist to aid Geils and Tribeca in their attempt to bust an organ thief at a local hospital. Why? Why not? Does anything have to make sense anymore? Or can shows just do whatever they want with no explanation?

Angie Tribeca is halfway finished with its second season. The show has really been delivering on a number of levels this season as well. It's not surprising at all that TBS has already ordered a third season of 10 episodes set to debut early next year. The show is creatively strong right now. It has also just been fun to see the show embrace more serialization this season as well. Yes, each episode is largely about the case that Angie and the rest of the LAPD detectives investigate. There have been some memorable crimes this season as well. But there's also more connections between the episodes as well. It's not just Angie and Geils' complicated love dynamic. Now, Geils is dating Scholls and raising Angie's son without her. Angie is coping with the year she spent in a coma and how that is psychologically affecting her on the job. Plus, she doesn't know if Sergeant Eddie Pepper is alive or not. Lt. Atkins is preparing for retirement while also dreading the boating hobby forced onto him. And lastly, there's all that mystery with Mayhem Global that will probably become important again sometime soon. A lot is happening this season but the show is juggling all of it so well. It really is quite impressive to see the show maintain its silly and outrageous tone as strongly as it is.

"The Organ Trail" forces Angie to return to the hospital for the first time since she woke up from her coma. She has been so focused on work that she really hasn't taken the time to address what all that year in this place actually did to her. It's hilarious watching her realize she has a fear of comas. It's great to see her continuously waking up from a dream only to get scared all over again. She wanted to make a life with Geils work but that explosion took that away from her. Now, he is dating Scholls and she's left wondering about what happened to Pepper. But she is able to address one of her problems by returning to the hospital. She is able to overcome her fear of comas. She does so because the case this week is organ theft. Organs are going missing during surgeries and winding up on the black market. It's a great premise solely for the ER reunion that happens in this episode. Eriq La Salle is the surgeon during hair transplants because he has a fear of organs. Meanwhile, Noah Wyle plays a hospital administrator who is more concerned about charging his patients for as much as possible. It is incredibly disappointing that the two of them don't appear in the same scene though. That makes it less effective than the Perfect Couples reunion between Hayes MacArthur and David Walton a few weeks ago. But it's still fun because of the awareness the show has on what's going on.

But like in most episodes, the case really isn't the most important thing. It's largely just a simple investigation made more complicated by the detectives searching for the criminal. So, the anesthesiologist is the one cutting out the organs while his nurse and lover is selling them on the black market. The detectives set a trap to catch the criminals in action and are once again victorious in arresting them. That has become quite a common set up on this show throughout both seasons. The investigation stalls so the detectives go undercover to catch the criminal. It allows for a lot of absurdity while still making the detectives seem competent enough at their jobs. Sure, it's completely ridiculous that Angie poses as a patient. It's a plot point that happens to help her with her fear of comas. So she's effectively taken out of commission for a little while and even her kidney is taken from her when Geils steps out of the room. But much like the injury that first put her in the coma between seasons, the doctors and detectives are able to stitch her back up good as new while also arresting the person responsible for the organ theft.

But getting over one's fears and a return to the hospital isn't the chief focus of this episode. No, a romance novelist, Jackie Wilder (played by Maya Rudolph), joins the investigation for research for her next book. It's such a silly idea. A romance novelist has no business being a part of a police precinct. And yet, the precinct welcomes her with open arms because it allows her to analyze all the complicated romantic dynamics at the precinct. She is able to expertly read people and get the detectives to address parts of themselves they don't want to. It's an effective spoof of a guest star being able to come in to a well-oiled show and being able to see things the regular characters are incapable of seeing. It's just amplified to the extreme. So, Jackie knows Geils entire life story - including details about a tragic upbringing that no one knew about previously. She is also able to see that Atkins will one day be killed in a boating accident. That's been his greatest fear this season and it seems like it will come to fruition. But Jackie's skills are much more significant when it comes to analyzing the Angie-Geils-Scholls love triangle. She can see the history between Angie and Geils. She knows that because they are partnered with someone from the opposite sex that they must have romantic feelings for one another.

It's also just so funny to see Jackie try to pull a She's All That on Scholls and it fails miserably. She thinks she can just break Scholls' glasses and let down her hair in order to make a beautiful woman. In fact, the opposite happens. She looks even worse. Jackie believes she has succeeded and even tells Scholls about baby Angie not coming from a Canadian woman. It's surprising that that point point is already coming to a conflict. It's been the detail poised to destroy Geils and Scholls' relationship. She knows about his feelings for Angie. And yet, she's still so happy that he is actually sleeping with her. They have a family together while Angie just has herself. That's the superiority Scholls has enjoyed over Angie this season. But again, it's all built on a lie. Geils is still hopelessly in love with Angie and would leave Scholls in a second in order to be with her. But it's Scholls who breaks up with him. She learns the truth about baby Angie. All she had to do was look at his birth certificate to know Angie is his mother. And yet, Geils just takes this as a way to finally reunite with Angie. He doesn't mourn the ending of this relationship. He's just happy that he can start seeing Angie again.

And yet, Angie isn't ready to start dating Geils again. Nor is she willing to tell him why not. He desperately wants answers and she doesn't give him any. She is trying to remember if Sgt. Pepper visited her while she was in the coma. She can't remember and it is slowly causing her to loss her mind. In the end, she does get confirmation that someone named Eddie Pepper was actually in the hospital during her time there. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the same Sgt. Pepper who Angie is fantasizing about. He largely exists as a fantasy. Yes, he clearly meant something to her and the season is building to a big reveal with him. But it should be interesting to see if this is something real that could be a new complication to Angie's love life. Or if it has all been a trick in her imagination as a way to stretch out the romantic tension of the show. Either way it should be a lot of fun to see what happens next as Angie continues her search for answers.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Organ Trail" was written by Nathaniel Stein and directed by Dan Beers.
  • Jackie also starts up a romance with Tanner. He is taken by surprise by her exceptional beauty and valuable insight the moment she arrives in the precinct. He's willing to do just about anything with her. And yet, it's a relationship that ends just as quickly as it started - though he did make the cover of her newest novel.
  • The joke about Tanner likely knowing more about the black market than any of the other detectives was fantastic. It addressed the racial dynamics of the room in a very funny way - especially once Angie noted that she has a little bit of "detective of the streets" on her father's side.
  • It was also amusing when Scholls wasn't able to see after Jackie's makeover and believed Atkins' office was actually the elevator. He even plays into the conceit as well - even going so far as to make stops in this little fantasy.
  • The mayoral campaign is another big storyline this season. Mayor Perry is coming off the scandal of his campaign manager being a murderer. And now, he's trying to cure cancer - just because he wants people to openly smoke and drink again.
  • No Detective Hoffman at all this week. That's very disappointing. He is always a reliable scene stealer. Though his presence really wasn't necessary to the events of this episode at all. Though I'm sure the show could have found a way.