Monday, March 27, 2023

REVIEW: 'Perry Mason' - Perry and Paul's Opinions Shift After New Evidence Dramatically Changes the Case in 'Chapter Twelve'

HBO's Perry Mason - Episode 2.04 "Chapter Twelve"

When Paul's explosive discovery blows a massive hole in Rafael and Mateo's story, Perry begins to question his clients' innocence, while Della doubles-down on the case.

"Chapter Twelve" was written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler and directed by Jessica Lowrey

Everything changes the moment Paul tells Perry and Della about the gun. Their entire understanding of the case shifts. They need confirmation of the truth from their clients first. Afterwards, Perry races to Ham in the hopes of working out a plea deal. He doesn't want Rafael and Mateo to receive the death penalty. Avoiding that fate is the best victory he can obtain at this point. The prosecution isn't offering it. They have all the evidence to prove their case. They view Perry's offer as one of desperation. He's being ridiculed in the press. And now, he finds evidence that further signifies his clients' guilt. Paul agonized over whether he should tell Perry about what he found. He was willing to throw the gun in the ocean. He opted against it. He had to weigh whether this was information Perry needed to know. Perry could either knowingly defend the guilty or be blindsided at trial. Paul decides to trust his partners. Della takes the gun and locks it in the office safe. They aren't sure whether they are required to share this evidence with the prosecution. They have to look up the legal standard. They are locked in on this path. Rafael and Mateo confess when confronted. They detail a struggle they had with Brooks. That resulted in his death. They had to kill him. They needed the money. They were desperate. However, the confession doesn't line up with the evidence. That detail bugs Paul. He was willing to condemn the brothers just like the rest of the city. His mentality shifts from the confession as well. It's a different reaction than what Perry has. Instead, Paul is motivated to dig deeper for the truth. That means returning to the Hooverville to explore just how many resources Rafael and Mateo actually had. Apparently, they rented the same gun every single day. They took it to shoot bottles in the hills. They were seemingly wasting money on a trivial activity just to blow off steam. That doesn't line up with the desperation they claimed to feel when they stumbled upon Brooks. The audience receives another crucial clue. Their family is given directions to a secret stash of cash. It's a blessing to potentially help them prosper. It may not save Rafael and Mateo from this dire fate. It's money the family needs. They have to provide for themselves. This will help. It provokes more questions. In fact, no one has a true understanding of how people are financing their lives. The gambling boat has rapidly lost business. It doesn't make sense to Holcomb. He knows Brooks must have had a secret deal that brought more money to this venture. He wants to understand it. It's not with the intention of exposing the criminal scheme so the police can make arrests. He's corrupt and looking for a way out. This city loves the McCutcheon family. However, they are all involved in shady business deals that crush anyone who stands in their way.

A shift is certainly developing with Perry. He cracks a joke when Della returns from her weekend in Palm Springs with Anita. He breaks into the McCutcheon racetrack with Strickland and delights in taking the prize-winning horse for a lap. He invites Ginny in when she checks on him after he punches a fellow father at Teddy's school. Perry has always been a volatile man. He lives in a very grim show with nary a joke. That makes it notable when behavior differs. It's not original for a show to depict its protagonist falling into a depression and seeking the pleasure of a sex worker to feel something again. That's not the tactic deployed here. Perry doesn't want that even though he's incredibly distraught. Ginny has become a welcome and surprising addition to his life. It's unexpected when she's on the ranch as Perry tries to teach his son to ride. Teddy just needed the proper tools. Once those become available, it was an enjoyable experience for him too. Perry wants his son to be tough and fight back against the bullies targeting him for who his father is. And yet, Perry takes it much more personally than Teddy does. Lydell has the influence to get all the local newspapers to bash Perry. It's not good enough that his own media empire is doing so. It's relatively easy to do as well. Perry is targeted because he has the audacity to defend his Mexican clients. Rafael and Mateo are deserving of a strong defense. The system should have to work hard to convict them. It shouldn't be an easy process to send someone to jail or to their deaths should that be the ultimate sentence. That's how the city operates though. They expect swift justice. This story shouldn't continue to loom over the town. It's better to look for the next exciting development. Ginny notes how she loves Los Angeles as a city with its eyes on the future. It's not hellbent on remaining firmly in the past. Of course, that makes it easy to avoid accountability for the sins of this community. Lives have been destroyed. Perry is in danger of being included in that. He strives for something better. He's motivated by this case. He's enraged by the deceit. That changes how he must operate. He doesn't have the same comfort Della and Paul have. They rely on their romantic partners. That support is keen. Della also receives guidance from Camilla. The businesswoman helps Della voice her frustration with Perry while declaring her vision for her career. She wants to be more respected than any man in the legal profession. She wants that recognition. Perry is a convenient tool to get to that destination. And yet, she also feels things just as deeply as Perry does. They are humans with empathy for the plight of those trapped in the system. She was powerless to stop Emily's death as well. She imagines it too. It's overbearing. She still has that means of escape. That balance is pivotal even as the stakes of the story only grow more dire and extreme.