Sunday, November 20, 2016

REVIEW: 'Eyewitness' - All of the Lying Becomes Too Much for Philip and Lukas in 'The Yellow Couch'

USA's Eyewitness - Episode 1.06 "The Yellow Couch"

As Helen looks for the murder weapon, Kamilah pulls her into a desperate search for Sita. Lukas is on the verge of his dream sponsorship but it requires an act of betrayal to secure the deal.

Philip felt personally motivated to tell Helen the truth about what happened at the cabin at the end of last week's episode. That's a huge moment that happens at the halfway point of the season. This entire mystery starts to unfold as soon as Philip and Lukas come forward and share what they saw. The whole story takes a new shape after that information is out there for everyone to deal with. Philip came forward with a version of the truth. He told Helen that Lukas was at the cabin, saw what happened and knows where the murder weapon is. It's something Philip does because he sees Lukas really struggling with what happened that night. He's spiraling out of control and Philip doesn't want Lukas to end up just like his own mother. He wants a better future for him than that. So, he outs their secret. And yet, the show still gets one more episode out of wheel-spinning and plot complications to keep the truth from fully being outed to Helen and thus changing the course of her investigation. That may still be coming but it doesn't actually occur in "The Yellow Couch."

Philip is ready to step forward and tell the truth. He's been handling the trauma much better than Lukas has. That's because he comes from a dark and twisted world growing up with a drug addict for a mother. He hasn't had the kind of stable life Lukas has had. This is the most life-changing thing Lukas has ever experienced before. It's understandable why he is so visible shaken. Of course, his characterization remains inconsistent. Last week, he was really freaking out. He was so desperate to get drugs in order to cope with this pain. He was spiraling out of control. That's why Philip chose to tell Helen the truth without telling Lukas first. It wasn't a shared decision. So that means Lukas spends this entire episode denying it. He has to decide to tell the truth as well. Philip forces him into action even though Lukas isn't ready yet. But again, there's no perfect time to step forward as an eyewitness to a horrible crime. There's only so much trauma one can take though. Lukas ultimately does step forward but not before creating a major rift in his relationship with Philip.

But again, it's weird how Lukas is once again a seemingly normal high school student in this episode. The audience learns that he got drugs from Rose. That's only further proof that she's not a good influence on him. Of course, his father doesn't see that. He sees Philip as the problem and has no problem with Rose. Lukas is off getting drunk and high at a party at Rose's house and his father has no problem with that. Instead, he takes issue with Philip seemingly stalking Lukas and making false claims about him to Helen. Lukas doesn't want to share the truth. He doesn't have to say that Philip was there as well and that they are a couple. But that means the show has to find a way to challenge what Philip told Helen. The audience knows that this is the truth. There is no denying that. This episode approaches it as a "he said, he said" situation. Philip and Lukas both claim the other is lying. The tables need to be turned against Philip in order to elongate the plot for a full episode. It's just weird plot mechanics that allow that to happen. Apparently, Philip lied about his mother's boyfriend overdosing on their yellow couch. There's no real reason for him to have lied about that. All it does is establish a pattern of lying so that Helen no longer trusts him - again. It's a forced action for the sake of the plot.

And yet, the resulting emotion and story is really quite interesting to watch. Lukas pushes Philip away by continuing to build on his lies. Philip wants to help Lukas because they have a genuine and special connection. Philip loves Lukas. And yet, Lukas keeps hurting Philip. He claims that Philip made him steal from his father so that he could get drugs. There's only so much of that that Philip can take. No matter how much he likes this life in this new town with Helen and Gabe, it is still defined by Lukas and their shared trauma. If Lukas doesn't want to admit what he saw, then this is no longer a healthy environment for Philip. He pushes everyone away just to escape for good. He just wants to run away from these emotions. That's the action that ultimately gets Lukas to come forward. He doesn't want to loose Philip despite how awful he has been treating him lately. He's now willing to risk loosing everything just to keep him in town. It's a rousing moment when he gets that realization and races to give Helen the gun. It means next week's episode should be very interesting with the boys being forthcoming about what happened at the cabin.

Helen is also dealing with Kamilah who needs help in handling her sister's murder investigation. Kamilah can't be anywhere near the investigation. She has to let her friends at the FBI handle it. Of course, she doesn't listen. She wants to help Sita. Despite everything that Sita has done to her, Kamilah still wants to help her. Sure, she wants her to be arrested. But she doesn't want her son to end up in foster care. So, she pulls Helen into this mess in order to interfere. It can't look like Kamilah is tipping Sita off on the investigation. And yet, that's exactly what happens in the end. Again, these two characters are so weird and their relationship isn't that great. Kamilah can't be in contact with Sita and she knows the FBI is tracking her. But after Helen helps her out, Kamilah and Sita are just talking on a bridge without any worries of getting caught. Does that make any sense at all? Not really. It's just important that Sita ultimately decides to commit suicide knowing that Kamilah will care for her son. That makes sense. The execution is just extremely wonky and not that emotional despite how prevalent both characters have been so far.

And lastly, Kane starts digging into Helen's past after she decides not to close her murder investigation despite Mithat's death. It's a very expositional story. The audience learns that Helen can get very obsessive with her cases. As if that wasn't abundantly clear in the six episodes so far. Her big case in Buffalo pushed her to the brink of sanity. She almost committed suicide because she couldn't bear what happened. Kane finds that note in her box and starts planning on killing her. Helen is the last loose end he needs to deal with on this case. She is the one thing that could threaten his entire livelihood. He's worried when she may find the gun from that night. But then, Tony conveniently pops up to tell him that it was just a false report. Of course, the audience knows that's not true. Helen will be more determined than ever now because of Lukas coming forward with his new statement. She's dodged a bullet for now. But Kane really is ready to kill her if she continues this investigation.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Yellow Couch" was written by Samir Mehta and directed by Kelly Makin.
  • There's an inherent amount of sympathy towards Rose because of her situation. Her boyfriend is lying to her for a long time about his sexuality. And yet, the show is going out of its way to make her an awful person in order to get around that feeling.
  • Gabe and Philip's mother both love dancing. Helen is not good at it. Philip just likes seeing how happy it makes others. This is important information in helping build bonds between the characters. But it's also not that important at all. Very little dancing takes place.
  • That doctor sure was sharing a lot of details about Helen's past to Kane over the computer. But then again, there's no reason for anyone to doubt Kane, the FBI agent.
  • Kane breaks into Helen and Gabe's house while Philip is there. It's largely just an excuse to build tension and make the audience nervous for a few minutes. Will Philip run into the killer again? How will he react if he does? But nothing comes of it.
  • Lukas gets a sponsorship deal but he's not able to be happy about it. Now, he's realizing how this trauma is affecting every single aspect of his life no matter how great it is. 
  • Tony really just wants to be friends with everyone. He wants to be a serious part of a major investigation. There's an inherent goodness and likability with him. It's sweet but also very easy for the show to manipulate for the plot.
  • So, Philip's mother's ex-boyfriend is still alive and Philip fears this man will try breaking his mom out of rehab. Is that something the audience should really be concerned about? Or is it just about building up Philip's lies?