Monday, July 18, 2016

REVIEW: 'Angie Tribeca' - Angie Goes Searching for Answers About Sgt. Pepper in 'Boyz II Dead'

TBS' Angie Tribeca - Episode 2.07 "Boyz II Dead"

Geils and Tanner investigate the mysterious death of a reunited boy band member, while Tribeca finally meets with Sgt. Pepper. Why? Seemingly, he's connected to Mayhem Global, but what is Mayhem Global and why do they keep bringing it up?

Angie Tribeca is the lead character on Angie Tribeca. She's the character always pushing the narrative forward. She's the main focus in every episode of the show. But does she need to be? Will things stall if she's not driving the action in an episodic investigation? Does she need to have an important role in each case? Or does she simply need to be involved in a story that works even if it has nothing to do with the episodic interests? "Boyz II Dead" isn't the first time Angie has been sidelined from a case. In the first season, she was forced to take some time off. And earlier this season, she was put on desk duty. But both of those times, she was in stories that had so much value and connection to the police precinct and the life she has as a detective for the LAPD. In Season 1, she got to spend time with Bill Murray and realized she's married to her job. And earlier this season, she got to have a lot of fun while being handcuffed to her desk. "Boyz II Dead" feels like a transitional episode for Angie's season-long story. She's not important to the main case. She gets answers about Sgt. Pepper but that largely feels like plot setup for what's to come next this season. So does that make this an off episode of the show?

It's common for police procedurals to mix up their partnerships from time to time. Yes, it's important that the male and female leads are the ones often leading each investigation. But it's so helpful to see the leads interacting and investigating with the other members of the precinct as well. It's nice to see Geils and Tanner lead the charge with the latest death. A boy band group has reunited but one of the members is killed by a t-shirt gun in the middle of a show. It's a wonderful opening sequence for the episode. The sequence of the t-shirt gun malfunctioning and eventually cutting PT Cruiser's head off is cheap. But that only adds value to the show. It's this horrifying moment played for comedy because of how absolutely ridiculous it is. It's silly that he points the gun at himself. It's even more outrageous that it has the power to sever his head completely. But it's still a death the detectives need to investigate. So they are on the case. This time though it's without Tribeca.

So, can Geils and Tanner lead the episode without it feeling off and lame? Yes, that is completely possible. They are strong characters on the show too. Sure, it would be great if Deon Cole got more to do. But he's had plenty of wonderful moments that have made Tanner a fascinating part of the show. He doesn't steal scenes as much as Detective Hoffman does. But he's a perfect foil when Angie and Geils need to bounce off of another human being. Plus, he is given something to do in this episode. He's the detective who has to go undercover in order to solve this case. The investigation has gone cold after the band's creepy manager and obsessive super-fan are cleared. Like so many other times, Tanner has to infiltrate the band to see who had enough access to the equipment in order to kill. It's fun that the show imagines him as this great singer and dancer who could be in a band. It's just disappointing that the audience doesn't get to see the moves that impressed the manager so much. It's a fine sequence. It's just missing a little something.

That can be a criticism for the overall case. The show is obvious having a lot of fun with it. It prides itself with casting real-life boy band members in the roles for the story. Joey McIntyre, Chris Kirkpatrick and Aaron Carter are three of the four members of Boypocalypse Wow! And later on, Joe Jonas shows up as a cop delivering coffee to the lieutenant and detectives as they ponder if anyone in the department has the skills to go undercover. All of these are solid jokes that play off of the audience recognizing these familiar faces. And yet, the story doesn't seem to dig any deeper than that. It's all surface level amusement. It's the show taking pride in itself and its concept. But it's not really informing the audience anything new about them. They don't really change or learn anything from this case. The season-long stories are basically the same at the end as they were in the beginning. Yes, it's interesting to see Tanner and Scholls making out over the corpse. That's what Scholls and Geils used to do. But it's still a story about Geils awkwardly handling his breakup with Scholls while still having a lot of feelings for Angie. Angie is just a minor part of this story. But she pops up just enough to reaffirm that things really haven't changed at all this week.

Angie isn't an important part of the investigation because she decides to take a personal day to track down Sgt. Pepper. First of all, it's surprising that no one thinks it's weird that Angie has taken a personal day. Tanner is just surprised that they even get personal days to begin with. But Angie is married to the job. It must be important that she's choosing not to come in for the day. And yet, no one is really curious as to what's going on with her. Big things are happening in her corner of the world. But her fellow detectives don't seem to care at all. They value her when she shows up. Without her there, they are still able to get work done. Geils solves the case without Angie's assistance at all. That makes him seem very competent and capable at his job. He doesn't need Angie even though he is obsessed and in love with her. He drops everything in order to be next to her whenever she's in the room. Her presence has that effect on him. But when she leaves, he's capable of being a great detective with the rest of the guys at the precinct. He's not concerned about Angie. That's odd considering he wants to get back together with her. He doesn't know why she doesn't want to start dating again. But that curiosity isn't important at all.

And yet, Angie's story is important because it reintroduces Sgt. Pepper to the narrative. He has long been an important part of Angie's life. Before Geils he was the man she loved most. He disappeared under mysterious circumstances and she moved on with her life. And now, she's forced to confront the truth about Sgt. Pepper and the role he has played in the actions of this season so far. Angie has so many questions for him. He is able to answer all of them by kissing her. That's a fun twist that allows the show to avoid answering any of the obvious questions about why he has been so cryptic this season. It's just important now that he's back and will be a major influence on Angie. She learns that he is the man in charge of Mayhem Global. He was behind the hack of the LAPD. It's all in order to get the mayor out of office because he's the worst criminal of them all. Of course, Angie is able to argue against every point that Pepper makes about Perry being the mayor. It's pretty funny actually. But it's just setup for Angie falling out of love with the criminal justice system. The murderer in the Boypocalypse Wow! case is able to get away with it by pleading insanity in a court of law. He's not being punished for this horrible crime. And Angie is the only person who cares about how broken the system is. That's going to be a key character development moving forward. But here, it's all introductory without providing much enjoyment for the overall episode.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Boyz II Dead" was written by Sean Lavery and directed by Matt Sohn.
  • All it takes for Angie to find out where Sgt. Pepper is hiding is to visit Diane Duran in prison and then just go to the woods. It's that simple. Of course, he was in the bathroom when she found his cabin. So, she had to enter all over again. That should have happened onscreen too.
  • Even the over-the-top silly beats of comedy aren't that creative in this episode. Angie handing over all of her dangerous weapons is a joke done before. Diane getting a call for phone sex didn't really work. Geils cooling off the jets with the manager was just lame. And Angie going back-and-forth on discovering Pepper's things didn't have an effective ending.
  • Though it was pretty funny when it was suggested that the boy band members have their roles and they can't escape them. Skylar is the pretty one. PT is the bad boy. Denarius is the ethnic one. And Chad is the one who may or may be funny.
  • Not a big week for Lt. Atkins at all. He just merely existed for the detectives to tell him ideas and he listened. He has a joke in the end about Tanner possibly getting tickets for the band's reunion tour later in the year. But that was just too straight-forward.
  • So, are Scholls and Tanner going to become a couple now? They were making out after Geils warned Tanner that things could be really weird between him and Scholls. But it felt like a punchline instead of something that could be meaningful for the remainder of the season.
  • Where has Detective Hoffman disappeared to? He's absent again this week.