Monday, April 24, 2017

REVIEW: 'Angie Tribeca' - Tribeca and Geils Go After a Star Athlete in 'Brockman Turner Overdrive'

TBS' Angie Tribeca - Episode 3.03 "Brockman Turner Overdrive"

When a beloved college badminton star is the suspect of a hit-and-run, everyone turns a blind eye, because, as we all know, L.A.'s a badminton city. But not Tribeca and Geils, who find "fault" with the case and won't "let" it go.

In last week's episode, I wondered if every episode this season would somehow revolve around Tribeca's hunt for The Hunter. That was the main story of the first two episodes. Tribeca was hunting a serial killer. The hunt took her throughout the country searching for clues to his identity before he struck again. Of course, she was unsuccessful in stopping him. But she did learn his identity. That was important information to have that only strengthens Tribeca's obsession with him. But would that obsession affect the other cases she's working on? That was unclear. This is the first episode of the season that has absolutely nothing to do with The Hunter. He's not even mentioned at all. Tribeca and Geils stay in Los Angeles for a completely new and unrelated case. It's a structure the show has done in the past. The second season had a lot to do with Mayhem Global but it still had the time for episodic adventures as well. If the show became completely serialized, it probably wouldn't work all that well. So, it's nice to know it still plans on doing these kinds of episodes.

Of course, "Brockman Turner Overdrive" is a little wobbly as an episode because a couple of the early bits don't really work well while the conclusion does and should have been expanded even more. Angie Tribeca is a great show but it's humor can still be very hit-or-miss. That was a quality from the very beginning. Some bits are simply going to land better than others. That's the price to pay for this kind of absurd and silly tone. And yet, this episode still has some strong and interesting ideas to it. It's a fantastic visual to see a bunch of dead bodies on the side of the road following a car accident. A truck carrying a bunch of cadavers for medical research was hit. That's why there are bodies on the road. No one was actually hurt in this accident. That's just an amusing concept for a story. It's able to have that fun and compelling visual while still being a small enough case where it's unclear if the person responsible will actually face any charges.

This episode gets into college athletes and the systems that lift them up to make them seem like they can do no wrong and get away with anything. Apparently, Los Angeles is a badminton city. So, any badminton athletes are saints who can't be punished for anything. It's an amusing joke because badminton isn't a popular sport that people obsess over. Here, the show changes things by having everyone in love with this guy. He's as popular and beloved as the leaders of football, basketball and baseball. No one believes he could have gotten into a car accident that injured someone because he's a star athlete who gives to charity. And yet, he did. He test drove a car and crashed it. He didn't think he would have to deal with any consequences because that's the life he's lived. Everyone simply gives him all the answers because they love what he does in the sport. All of this is a strong concept for an episode of this show.

But again, some of the beats in the initial investigation don't really work. Most go on for too long. It continues to be great to see Dr. Edelweiss in various random jobs throughout the city. Now, he shows up as a car salesman. And yet, the show is perhaps a bit too conventional with the jokes about how car salespeople always take forever and have to ask their managers for approval before offering good deals. Those are jokes that have been seen elsewhere. Of course, Tribeca and Geils aren't trying to buy a car. They are trying to identify their suspect. It's just a little too lackluster. The same can also be said of the bit where Tanner attacks a phone and it hurting the person on the other end of the line. Again, it's a familiar concept that takes a bit too long to actually get to it. It's funny to see the detectives in an interrogation room interrogating a suspect when the suspect isn't actually there. But it was just a little too long without a purpose.

Of course, everything once again become absolutely hilarious when the story shifted focus to Aaron's trial for fleeing the scene of a crime. Most of the time this show focuses on the police investigations. Tribeca and Geils are good at their jobs. So, they typically find enough evidence to convict the culprits immediately. Here, things are less certain. It allows the show to provide more humor about the legal system. That's a fascinating environment to set a story in this show. It's a concept I wish the series ultimately did more with. It amounts to a fantastic montage and that's about it. It's hilarious to see all the various players in this courtroom setting get involved in this case somehow. Nearly everyone is on the stand at some point and Atkins even shows up as a piece of evidence. Plus, Hoffman is responsible for illustrating the events of the trial. That's great. And finally, it's meaningful that Geils is the one who ultimately gets Aaron into confessing his guilt. So largely, this isn't that big of an episode for Tribeca. But it's nice to see Geils as a great detective as well who can work well without Tribeca by his side. He knows how to get criminals to break too.

However, Tribeca does have a fairly minor subplot in this episode as well. It's still a running thread this season that she's uncertain in her relationship with Geils. She doesn't know if there's a future to build on with him because they want different things out of life. She's content as a detective. She's happy with her life right now. Meanwhile, he's planning for the future. He's creating a much bigger life for them as a couple. He may even take the lieutenant's exam. It would certainly be surprising to see Geils replace Atkins as the lieutenant of this precinct. Tribeca is largely the one in charge. But it could be fitting to see him get promoted as well. Of course, that's under the assumption that Atkins will ever actually retire. That's been a fun recurring joke throughout the series that has yet to come true - even though he's dating again so he can share his misery with someone else. In the end, Tribeca seems to agree that Geils would make an excellent lieutenant. So, it seems like she accepts that things are going to change in her relationship with Geils. She has to grow with them if this is something she wants. It's still just unclear if there is actually a future with this main couple though.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Brockman Turner Overdrive" was written by Mat Harawitz and directed by Dan Beers.
  • It seems Scholls' gambling addiction is going to be a recurring story this season. It all started last week in New Orleans when she kept losing at blackjack. And now, she's had a full-on relapse. She's not hiding it well. Both Tribeca and Tanner overhear. But it probably won't change anything for her moving forward.
  • It's fun to see Tribeca go to therapy. She's a character who really needs it but doesn't actually believe in it. She sees no value in taking about her problems. It's amusing that the therapist - played by Randall Park - is able to guess everything she's feeling but ultimately gives her anti-depressants to address her issues.
  • Atkins has started dating again. And yet, he has seemingly already met his match in Annie Mumolo's Beth. He can never turn the lieutenant side of his personality off though. Plus, it's funny to watch as work literally defines everything about their date as well.
  • It's nice to see Michaela Watkins return as the District Attorney who is always overzealous and willing to give the detectives whatever they want. Even she doesn't want to prosecute this guy because of how important badminton is in this city. However, she ultimately does and wins the convinction too.
  • The news coverage of the trial is fun as well. When Aaron is being interviewed, it comes across as sports commentary where the guy evokes God and prays for a win. When it's Tribeca's turn, it's like a Hollywood red carpet where she has to pose for a glam cam. Of course, both interviews go well too which is a little surprising.