Monday, April 17, 2017

REVIEW: 'Angie Tribeca' - The Detectives Head to New Orleans Based on a Hunch Tribeca Has in 'Murder Gras'

TBS' Angie Tribeca - Episode 3.02 "Murder Gras"

Tribeca has a hunch that the trophy hunter hunter has struck again, this time in New Orleans. It's all gators and gumbo as Tribeca heads to the Big Easy in hopes of catching the killer before he strikes again. But everything is not as it seems to be, though that depends on what you thought it seemed like.

Last week's season premiere of Angie Tribeca revealed that this season will see Tribeca hunting down a serial killer. It's a case that she has already become obsessed with. She's already hunting for clues all throughout the country of where The Hunter will strike next. "Murder Gras" makes it clear that this case will take the detectives to many different locations this season. That is wonderfully reflected in the title sequence which undergoes minor changes in each episode. Last week, it was significant that Tribeca and Geils went to Miami for a brief moment. This week, everyone goes to New Orleans to investigate a case that only has a tenuous connection to The Hunter but Tribeca has a strong feeling about it. It's the kind of irrational reasoning that works on police procedurals. So now, all of the characters are suddenly in a different but very familiar environment investigating a case that will ultimately bring them back to Los Angeles as well. It's absurd but the specificity of it all continues to be quite compelling.

In the premiere, the show left the identity of The Hunter a secret to the characters and the audience. It was just important that he was always multiple steps ahead of the investigation. Tribeca was only beginning to realize what was truly going on in this case. And now, the show has actually put a face to the killer. It belongs to Rob Riggle. He pop up as a New Orleans police detective named Fontaine in this episode. But it's quickly revealed that he is the killer that Tribeca is obsessed with. It's a smart and necessary thing for the show to do. It would get tiring after awhile for the various cases of the season to only get so much resolution because Tribeca and company are investigating a masked killer who always gets away. Knowing his identity will allow the story to be even more inventive. Of course, he doesn't really have a name. So moving forward, he'll be referred to as The Hunter because that's the nickname that Tribeca gives him in this episode.

Of course, the big reveal with The Hunter is executed in a very amusing way as well. It's clear that as Tribeca and Geils dig further into this missing person case that something is going on with Fontaine. At first, it just plays as a territorial rivalry between him and Geils. That's a fantastic visual especially once Tribeca becomes involved in it as well. The two continuing to butt heads even though Tribeca is literally in between them is excellent. But once Tribeca and Geils interview the person who made the report and he said that no detective had ever asked him questions, it was clear Fontaine was involved somehow. It's still surprising that Tribeca's gut was actually right about this case being connected to The Hunter. It shows just how great she is as a detective even though she's focusing more on the hunt than maintaining her relationship with Geils. But the reveal is just so silly and absurd in a way that works incredibly well. The visual of Tribeca looking at one name through a mirror to see a completely unrelated name is amazing. Plus, this story confirms that the detectives are kinda dumb as well. They have pictures to go along with these aliases that The Hunter is using. Both are very similar. And yet, it still takes them forever to put all of the pieces together.

And yet, The Hunter is able to get away. The detectives believe they have him trapped in a hotel where he is keeping the trophy hunter. It's a big confrontation where the getaway vehicle crashes into multiple trees. It's hilarious that the detectives don't really have to do anything. Their sheer presence is enough to cause this chaos. But the vehicle is being driven by a dead man who couldn't possibly have pulled off this stunt. So once again, The Hunter is able to slip away into thin air with no one noticing what happened to him. So, the hunt will continue as Tribeca only gets more determined to take him down. This story has worked incredibly well in the opening two episodes of the season. And yet, I also wonder if it's too all-consuming of the show? Will every case this season somehow connect to The Hunter? It would make sense and allow the show to keep going to different places throughout the country to try and stop him. It will continue the show's embrace of serialization. However, it would be fun to see other cases as well which would force Tribeca to put her obsession to the side. She would struggle to do so and that would complicate the case. Doesn't that sound fun and interesting? I hope the show does that. Her gut can't possibly be right all of the time.

In addition to the obsession with The Hunter, the season is also focusing on the future of Tribeca and Geils as a couple. A lot has been said of the fact that Tribeca and Geils are in completely different places at the moment. Geils is all in on their relationship and wants to build a future with Tribeca. Meanwhile, Tribeca is unsure of what she wants in life. She's becoming obsessed with this case in order to avoid figuring out her feelings for Geils. Because it has gotten so much attention in these opening episodes of the season, it should be fascinating to see if the show follows through on them being a doomed romance. It could be a confirmation for everything that has been apparently wrong between them for a long time. Of course, all of this talk makes it seem inevitable as well. That gets boring after awhile. So hopefully, the show finds a way to keep this dynamic interesting and engaging. It can be a lot of fun when the two of them aren't just failing to communicate how they are feeling in the moment. The show could be doing more with them. But it's certainly setting up for something big to happened between them at some point during this season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Murder Gras" was written by Shepard Boucher and directed by Ira Ungerleider.
  • It's absolutely hilarious that Jere Burns plays the lieutenant at the New Orleans police precinct as well. It's so clearly the same set the show always uses but decorated just a little bit different. It's a fun visual that should hopefully become a fun recurring joke this season with the detectives traveling all around the country. The Atkins family tree could turn out to be very big.
  • This season continues to utilize Detective Hoffman very well. At first, it seems as if he'll be stuck on a train during this whole adventure in New Orleans because he's afraid to fly. And yet, he does show up eventually. Seeing him on a crowded train, faxing an entire book and winning at the casino are just great moments.
  • Scholls makes her way to the Big Easy as well. There's no reason for her to make the journey. She just wants to share her news in person. Plus, it's great that it's just her and Tanner at a blackjack table and he keeps winning while she keeps losing. That gambling problem isn't going to go away any time soon.
  • It would have been great if Tanner's arm changing shape and size was a recurring joke throughout the episode. He's bit by a snake. It gets large and then really tiny. But it goes back to normal after awhile as well.
  • The back-and-forth on how people in different parts of the country refer to the same thing with different words is amusing. It probably doesn't have the material to be a major part of the story whenever Tribeca and Geils go to a new city. But the differences between "bathroom and restroom" and "sun up and dawn" are great.
  • Of course, Geils doesn't believe in voodoo. He thinks it's all magical nonsense. That's what makes it so funny when another detective does it on him and he doesn't even realize what's going on. He pulls scissors out from his neck like it's nothing!
  • The people of New Orleans are surprised and afraid of how aggressive Tribeca is as a personality. She is simply acting like her normal self. And yet, they recoil in horror by how forceful she is in her handling of this case. It's not that big of a deal but it is to these characters.