Thursday, October 31, 2019

REVIEW: 'Stumptown' - Grey's Criminal Past Compromises His Bond with Dex and Ansel in 'Bad Alibis'

ABC's Stumptown - Episode 1.05 "Bad Alibis"

Despite being ordered by Lieutenant Cosgrove to take time off, Hoffman enlists Dex's help to investigate a case. Tookie's culinary skills come in handy at Bad Alibi. Dex stresses over an interview to become a certified PI.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of ABC's Stumptown.

"Bad Alibis" was written by Manuel Figueroa & Jordan Heimer and directed by Brooke Kennedy

Dex is now officially a licensed private investigator in the state of Oregon. She finally gets that approval at the close of this hour. It's a celebration for her. It means the origin story nature of the narrative is over with for now. She pursued this profession mostly because it presented itself as something she was good at and could provide her with a steady stream of work. It's a way to keep her busy that may help her process everything she has gone through in her life. Of course, she is still going through some pretty dangerous and traumatic stuff right now. Ansel is put in harm's way here because of Grey's criminal connections. Dex trusted that Grey would do anything to protect her brother. She trusted him completely. They make such a relaxed and strong family unit together. But now, all of that changes because Dex learns the extent of Grey's criminal past and just how capable it is at rearing its ugly head once more. That may not change a whole lot in the end. She punches Grey and may no longer trust him as much as she used to. However, the Bad Alibi may continue being a place she frequents. Ansel will probably still work there. He operates without the knowledge that Grey put him in danger. Ansel knew something was wrong and knows exactly what to do in that kind of situation. He absolutely has agency in this world. But it also creates a situation in which Dex once more has to fight her way out. She has to use her combat skills in order to protect the people she loves. She is personally motivated to help Hoffman when he seeks her help in finding Grey. He too has become personally obsessed with this case. He needs to find the convict he put away after he escapes from prison. He believes he understands this criminal mastermind better than anyone else in the city. His actions place him under review on the force though. His actions compromise the amount of respect Lieutenant Cosgrove may have for him. Of course, everything ultimately works out in the end. Cosgrove raised some legitimate concerns and was aware that Hoffman was never going to take a vacation to Hawaii. He is too invested in the outcome of this case. Dex has that same personal connection. She needs to prove that Grey is fine. He isn't though. He is forced into doing yet another job for a man he is indebted to. He put all of his money into the Bad Alibi. He is reinventing his life in the hopes of creating something better and more stable. And yet, he is once again forced to bust open a safe for Wallace Kane. He ultimately has the burden of deciding who will die if he does not comply with this order. Sure, the audience knows that Dex and Hoffman are on the case. So, it's unlikely that anything too consequential will occur. As such, this hour isn't as exciting or cohesive as some of the previous ones this season. Dex is busy feeling sorry for herself because she believes she has failed her interview to become a licensed private investigator. She doesn't know the first thing about running a bar either. Ansel and Tookie appear to be having the most fun in that environment. That allows some levity into the proceedings as the rest of the hour is very serious. However, this entire adventure may only force stronger character drama into happening in the future. Dex and Grey have been strong friends for awhile. And now, that has changed. That may not last in the long run. He will more than likely win her trust back. She has plenty of other concerns as well like putting a business together and dealing with the PTSD she still suffers from. Meanwhile, Hoffman is back on the job and celebrated even though he was right on the edge of wanting to kill Kane for what he did to his former informant. All of these details have the potential of creating more fulfilling characters. The show just has to follow through on those ambitions.