Monday, April 3, 2023

REVIEW: 'Perry Mason' - Perry Figures Out How to Defend His Clients While Paul Compromises His Values in 'Chapter Thirteen'

HBO's Perry Mason - Episode 2.05 "Chapter Thirteen"

As the Gallardos' trial nears, Perry attempts to negotiate with the DA. Rafael and Mateo recount the real-life consequences of the McCutcheons' Los Angeles expansion. Later, the pursuit of a lead lands Paul in danger, and Perry makes a convincing demonstration in court.

"Chapter Thirteen" was written by Niko Gutierrez-Kovner and directed by Marialy Rivas

When the day begins, Perry has no clue how to present his case. He is defending people he knows are guilty and the prosecution refuses to negotiate a plea deal. Perry would much rather embrace the joy of something new after a night with Ginny. And yet, she inspires him to devote his time and attention to the case. He knows there is more to the story. He simply doesn't have the time and resources to uncover it while the trial is ongoing. Big revelations can happen at any time. All it takes is one thing to go right. So much is revealed. Milligan tells the jury Brooks McCutcheon was a beacon of hope for the future of Los Angeles. He was destined to bring more prosperity and development to this thriving metropolis. That wasn't true at all. It's a convenient story built on what his father accomplished. Lydell has radically transformed neighborhoods. The Gallardo family was forcefully removed from their home to make way for McCutcheon Stadium. Lydell basks in the glory of that final project. Perry broke into the track just like Rafael, Mateo and Sofia did. Perry did so without having lost anything. For the teens, memories were destroyed in service to the ego of a powerful businessman. They hoped to build new memories. They still had the opportunity to flourish because they were together. And yet, Rafael and Mateo lost a sister in the fire. Rafael was left with a permanent scar highlighting the horrors they've endured. No one has empathy for their plight. Instead, the world is conditioned into seeing them as monsters. Every outlet possible derides their character and makes them out to be guilty. They deserve death for their crime. Perry ensures they know consequences are inevitable. They agreed to kill a man. However, it wasn't their idea. They simply benefitted from someone else's lethal desire. Someone wanted Brooks dead. Rafael and Mateo took the job because they had a personal connection to the McCutcheon family. Of course, Brooks had nothing to do with the stadium construction. He was punished simply for having his last name. That was what motivated Rafael and Mateo. They sought to provide for their family. And now, they are in the spotlight. They are the only people being blamed for Brooks' death. Perry creates a rousing moment in the courtroom by proving the fingerprint on Brooks' car was planted. He knows it was likely done by the police. He doesn't have the proof for that. Perry increasingly explores these tangents to make this case a much larger conspiracy. And yes, this story touches upon the development of the city and the forces that have far-reaching effects through their actions. He doesn't have the proof though. He needs that in order to sell the story in court. Right now, everyone is more enticed by the prospect of Rafael and Mateo proclaiming their guilt live on the radio for all to hear.

Ham offers a plea deal. That's a startling development. It tells Perry and Della that a powerful force is trying to manipulate an immediate conclusion. People don't want the truth exposed. That's a possibility so long as the trial continues. If the deal is accepted, then that becomes the truth. That's what is accepted as factual in the public record. Perry convinces the brothers to keep fighting. He just needs a name to investigate. That forces Paul to compromise his values. He was already betrayed by Strickland. He aims to make that right for Mr. Perkins, the loan shark. The stories conveniently cross paths as the middleman who paid the brothers works for Perkins. Paul is simply forced to be the one to beat him into submission. He wants to stop after gathering all the information he needs. A man was trying to save his wife from her addiction. Paul has enough details to keep investigating. The case isn't neatly wrapped up because this guy knows the truth. Instead, everyone involved has to remain careful with every action they take. They are all constantly being watched. In fact, it's impressive how that one figure always lurks in the shadows. Someone is guiding Perry and his allies in the right direction. It could all be a misdirection as well. Perry is a defense attorney battling a system of powerful forces. They have long entrenched reaches that offer so much access and influence. The Gallardo brothers have never felt that themselves. Meanwhile, Perry wants to escape. He has to settle for just enjoying time with Ginny. That flourishes without disrupting his ability to represent his clients. That's simply what he has to do. She gives him permission to be direct. Perry must be bold in order to make an impact. His pursuit of the truth only leads others to question if they are good. Plenty are willing to deceive and fool others into giving information they otherwise wouldn't have. Milligan is hoping Strickland can spy on Perry so the prosecution learns how strong the case against them is. Ham knows not to underestimate Perry. Milligan is slow to realize that. He is certain in his convictions. He won't accept anything but complete victory. That's the way for him to advance in his career. Meanwhile, Paul fears he has lost himself because he assaulted a man to make things right with Perkins. Clara doesn't know the extent of what he had to do either. Paul's word wasn't good enough. He hopes that it would. Perry and Della trust his investigative skills. They can't protect him from the darkness of this world. They live in it as well. Their happiness serves as a distraction from how awful they can be too. Della has fallen in love with Anita while continuing to string Hazel along. That's such a minor plot that the audience could have forgotten it. Instead, its resurgence allows the viewer to be more critical of Della. She strives for happiness. She deserves that. She also happens to be hurting people along the way. Her actions come at the expense of others. She's committed to her path professionally. She has clarity there. Things are looking up personally. They are just clouded and complicated by her actions.