Monday, April 24, 2023

REVIEW: 'Perry Mason' - Perry and Della Strike a Deal That Exposes the Conspiracy Behind Brooks' Murder in 'Chapter Sixteen'

HBO's Perry Mason - Episode 2.08 "Chapter Sixteen"

As their final day in court nears, Mateo and Rafael prepare for the worst, while Perry, Della and Paul work with an unlikely ally to sway the prosecution's hand. Then, after making his closing arguments, Perry faces the consequences of his relentless pursuit of justice.

"Chapter Sixteen" was written by Michael Begler and directed by Marialy Rivas

It will be fascinating if the final image of Perry Mason is him sitting in a jail cell. That's a possibility because HBO hasn't yet made a decision on the fate of this series. It could be picked up for another season based on the creative support under new leadership this time around. This could also be the end due to a dip in ratings. It may be a completely subjective decision. This season still concludes with Perry surrendering to the police. He does so because he withheld the gun from the prosecution. He had a legal responsibility to share evidence. The people seeking to condemn his clients had the right to prepare for anything that could happen in the courtroom. Perry is still new as a lawyer. He doesn't instinctively behave with that mindset first. He's getting there. This show set out to depict his evolution to the famed character he is destined to become. Right now though, his actions result in extreme punishment. Perry and Ham had a discussion early on about the perception of justice. Perry had an optimistic take while Ham was the cynic. Even when the truth is revealed, Ham feels the pressure to imprison the Gallardo brothers because of the public attention this case has received. He has no problem making the deal himself. He is uncomfortable during Milligan's xenophobic closing argument. Meanwhile, Perry only makes his appeals to the judge and the District Attorney. He recognizes the power they ultimately wield. All he needs is time. That's what he needs to put every thread of this conspiracy together. His efforts protect secrets. He makes an appeal for whatever punishment seems fair to Judge Durkin. He accepts that punishment. He receives clarity from Ginny as well. She is willing to wait for Perry. They make a date to explore the countryside in the fall. Perry hangs a picture of him horseback riding with his son. That is what matters to him. He's warned that Della is much better as a lawyer than he is. That doesn't matter. She shares in the celebration. She is willing to treat him with whatever he wants before he surrenders. He doesn't actually need anything more than the comfort of a trusted friend. Della doesn't have to spell out the extent of Ham's blackmail to Perry. He already knows. Of course, that terrifies Ham. He doesn't believe Perry can be trusted with the intimate details of his life. Perry has proven himself to Della. He cares about her. They lift each other up in this partnership. They lean on each other. Della fights when the judge makes his ruling against Perry. The attorney accepts it. He's not torn about anything happening. It takes a moment for Della to accept that Camilla was responsible for the conspiracy to kill Brooks. Once presented with the evidence, her entire opinion shifts. She built this connection. Camilla only offered dishonesty. Della pushes back. The lawyers have the chance to fight another day. And yet, Perry ends up in a jail cell. That's not the end of the story. He makes plans for the future. It's still a potent image for what could be the final glimpse of this world.

Matteo is willing to fall on the proverbial sword to protect his brother. That was the only viable conclusion once Ham made his offer. One brother could be set free. It was entirely up to them who would serve this punishment. The sentence won't have the promise of parole either. Moreover, the public may never know the extent of the conspiracy. Instead, federal agents take over the case against Camilla and Lydell. Camilla doesn't run. Lydell does. He escapes to Japan believing he'll find refuge there. Instead, he simply emerges in a strange land where he just doesn't belong. Camilla has always prospered through isolation. People underestimate her because she doesn't fit society's mold. She collects secrets in the hopes of weaponizing them against people who potentially cross her. No one was safe. She targeted Ham. She saw that as the most influential option. The prosecution was already incentivized. Camilla pushed them over the edge. Blackmail was taken of Perry and Della too. They retrieve those secrets. That's the benefit of flipping Melville against Camilla. He has been a loyal servant for years. However, his love for Constance is more powerful than that loyalty. He worries about her health following the latest overdose. Camilla disregards that tragedy believing it's just Constance's way of gaining attention before a big performance. Furthermore, Camilla believes it's impossible for anyone to maintain their secrets in the public spotlight. Della was safe and protected when she remained loyal to Camilla. Once that confrontation occurs, then Camilla's attitude shifts to threaten Della. It may be entirely empty because of the work Perry and Della have already done. Camilla doesn't know the scope of this investigation. However, she does promise they will see each other again. That's a potentially juicy tease should more stories be told in this world. These characters come together for a specific moment. The drama increases as they each feel the pressures of a trial. Once the conclusion is found, it's easy to go their separate ways. Holcomb is no longer a consequential figure. He simply sets the boat on fire. This time it's an admission of this business being a lost cause. It no longer works without Brooks. That's true despite Brooks being the failure in his family. He didn't have the skills to build on what Lydell and Camilla achieved. They were still afraid. They feared he could jeopardize their plans. Action had to be taken. Matteo had his own personal quest for vengeance against the McCutcheon family. He is willing to suffer that punishment. That allows the rest of his family to prosper. That's what so many ultimately want. It's what Paul hopes to give back to the benefit of his entire community. It's still perilous because of the relationships he makes along the way. He is at least the active participant in those dynamics. These characters' paths may never cross again. However, they were incredibly influential to one another during this time where truly anything could have happened. Perry and Della fought to defend their clients as best they could. This ending is satisfactory to them.