Monday, April 10, 2017

REVIEW: 'Angie Tribeca' - Angie Considers Retirement Until a Serial Killer Strikes in 'Welcome Back, Blotter'

TBS' Angie Tribeca - Episode 3.01 "Welcome Back, Blotter"

Angie Tribeca retires to become a stay at home mom. Show's over, right? Wrong. A trophy hunter goes missing and she's back on the case, which will definitely take nine more episodes to solve.

Angie Tribeca experimented with serialization in its second season. It did so successfully too. All of the stuff going on with Mayhem Global was fascinating to watch but never took away from the episodic nature of the show. It was a change up of the formula. But it still complimented the tone and style of the series in a meaningful way. So, it's not surprising to see the show go down that path again for its third season. In fact, it may be even more blatant with this approach this year as well. "Welcome Back, Blotter" basically confirms that this season is going to be all about Angie hunting down a serial killer. It's an homage to Silence of the Lambs. It's a potentially darker ongoing story which could present some new complications to the overall silly and outrageous tone of the show. But for the most part, this premiere does a solid job in introducing this new story.

Of course, a lot of this premiere is just exposition and setting up what to expect from the show this season. Some big guest stars show up as well with Chris Pine stepping into a Hannibal Lector-esque role while Timothy Omundson plays the first victim of this serial killer. Of course, the identity of the serial killer is being shrouded in secrecy. That sets it up as some big mystery that will more than likely have an outrageous reveal. That's simply what I've come to expect from this show. Overall though, this is a solid introduction to this new main story. Omundson is pretty great as this over-the-top guy who takes his private helicopter to pick up the newly stuffed endangered animals that he killed. All of the jokes about something bad happening to rich white people are so silly and stupid. And yet, it was easy to laugh at them every single time. It's actually surprising to these characters that something like this is happening to this guy. And yet, it is. Plus, they aren't even successful in the end. They discover the house he's being held captive but he's already dead.

The show also plays into the convention of one of the lead detectives having a close connection with the killer. Angie put Chris Pine's character away for serious crimes in the past. And now, she needs to reach out to him because he's the only person the department knows who's connected to the animal rights movement. In the grand confrontation scene, Angie finds herself in a dark basement with the killer but has absolutely no idea where he is despite him wearing night vision goggles that glow. It's a pretty amusing encounter that shows the series can still be absolutely silly even when it's focusing on the more traditional police scenarios. Of course, he is somehow able to escape instantly once the lights turn on. Plus, he reaches out to Angie immediately. That's just a solid joke at the end of the episode. The killer barely slips away but decides to call Angie immediately afterwards and she decides to play it cool as if this isn't a big deal at all. That shift is just so amusing in a very deliberate and exciting way.

Of course, this season also promises to be more introspective of Angie Tribeca as well. It opens with her retirement party as she decides to leave the force and become a stay-at-home mom. It's not surprising in the slightest that that doesn't work out. The show then gives a "rational" reason for why that kid will never be seen again. He's apparently two and a half now which is old enough to go to boarding school out of state. The show did a fine job with baby Angie last season and how the characters frequently forgot about him. He was good for a number of funny visuals. And now, the show is seemingly just addressing him now so that the audience never really needs to wonder about him again. But it's also fascinating to see Angie dig deeper into her psyche as well. It doesn't take much for Chris Pine to pull emotional revelations out of her. In fact, she goes deeper than he expected. She wonders if she can be a good girlfriend and mother if she doesn't know who she is. Of course, the series has proven her to be a great and hilarious lead character. But it's opening this new potential for her to really analyze her life and question if this is all that she wants.

And finally, there's all the bits about animals. The serial killer is targeting billionaires who hunt endangered species. He's then making clothes out of their skins and giving them to animals. The detectives see it as a way for animals to blend into society. That's just a hilarious realization they have. It's made even better knowing that the show has been doing that exact same thing since the very beginning. Detective Hoffman is a dog who no one acknowledges as a dog! It's been a great recurring story throughout the series. And now, it has the potential to be even more important than ever before. I've always said the show needed more Hoffman. That may finally be true this season. Perhaps the detectives will finally learn that Hoffman is a dog in detectives' clothing. That would make this case even more personal to them. Of course, the show could not do this as well. That would allow it to continue to be incredibly silly by giving this main story so much serious stakes while also having this other running joke that is seemingly connected to it but continues to just be a tangential thing. The show really has the potential to do anything.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Welcome Back, Blotter" was written by Kent Kincannon and directed by Rashida Jones.
  • Lt. Atkins still hasn't retired. That has been a major fear of his for a long time now. It's probably never going to happen, is it? He's just going to continually talk about it and fear that he'll die from loneliness. It's still an effective running joke.
  • Plus, Atkins is now dating again. He treats that as seriously as he does this hunt for the serial killer. Of course, his actual date seems horrifying. He treats it just like he does the job. So, he's incredibly bossy and ineffective. And yet, it somehow works. I wonder if this is going to be an ongoing romance or if he's simply going to be dating a lot of people this season.
  • It's not surprising in the slightest that Dr. Edelweiss had to face an ethics review. He's seemingly out of a job. However, it's going to be so much fun seeing him just pop up in random jobs throughout the season. He's a delivery guy here who interrupts the big moment in the case.
  • The dynamic between Angie, Geils and Scholls is still awkward because Geils always loved Angie when he was dating Scholls. And yet, it's also abundantly clear that he's still more into Angie than she is into him. He doesn't even notice when she pushes her way out of his embrace.
  • The show updating the title sequence to reflect Angie and Geils traveling to Miami is great. And then, replaying them once they head back to Los Angeles is just so much fun. The trip was so pointless but the show got a kick out of it.
  • Jessica St. Clair pops up as the wife of Timothy Omundson's wealthy character who enjoys all the things he returns home with. However, she seems to be aware that Hoffman is a dog because she's eyeing him hoping that he can become her next house decoration.