INTELLIGENCE REVIEWS-SEASON TWO
Another fun ep with some laugh-out-loud moments and a few good dollops of suspense and sex. Jimmy puts the smackdown on a new rival and does something really stupid with Lorna (not that female fans will be complaining much). Mary gets asked to investigate a Cabinet Minister's new boyfriend, who may be a Chinese spy, and gets a whole lot cozier with Jimmy. Meanwhile, Martin reels in Julianna's crooked Immigration officer and Ted settles into his new life as Mary's stooge--sorry, head of the OCU.
Incidentally, several Da Vinci's Inquest motifs make a reappearance. First, we get two familiar settings--the good old Ovaltine (I recognized that countertop right off--they do a good, cheap fish and chips and mushroom burger, btw) and the Sunrise Market down on Powell (cheapest produce in town). Also, the guy who played Mick's DEA nemesis in season seven of Da Vinci reappears as another cop (Canadian this time), the guy who played Brian's suborned drug-counselor snitch appears as a scuzzy Immigration officer, and the guy who played the sleazy killer lawyer in both DVI and DVCH appears as a go-between for the Prime Minister. And the two-key piano theme from "Bury My Bones" makes yet another reappearance. Finally, there's the direct use of a real street (East Cordova) that makes a lot of sense if you've ever been down that way: that area has a lot of warehouses. Always good to see Chris Haddock rewarding the locals with inside refs.
I have to admit that I wasn't getting Jimmy's "thing" with Lorna until this ep. Maybe the writers didn't, either, since in her minicommercial, they label her "The Home Wrecker". Don't get me wrong--I know Jimmy's no saint, or virgin. Who wants to see that, anyway? And it's been fun to see Jimmy getting laid. Some actors and actresses are not very good at sex scenes. There are very beautiful, famous people in Hollywood who are willing to strip off (or very nearly) and still look like plastic mannequins. Some of them are even good at their craft, otherwise. Ian Tracey is not one of those actors. Watch enough of his work and you'll notice two things: 1. Sex scenes are clearly not his thing because he doesn't do very many of them and 2. When he does do them, he's very good at them because wow, they're hot. He's very capable of taking the passion that he puts into his action and drama scenes and also channeling that into the basic-instinct scenes involving sex and food. Look at how Jimmy shovels down an omelette and then check out that sex scene in the storeroom and consider how much thought Tracey must have put into coordinating that sense of rushed, nervous energy into one coherent character. And all with no expository dialogue whatsoever.
My problem with the whole Lorna thing up until now, though, is that it's been presented as a Fatal Attraction kind of storyline. Well, Lorna is no femme fatale. She's coarse, obvious, pretty-but-not-stunning, slutty, insensitive, disloyal, passionless, cowardly and dumb as a box of rocks. There is no mystery to Lorna. The only mystery is why Jimmy didn't shuck her at the very first opportunity. She's the kind of good-time girl a guy shags once or twice and then dumps. She's not the kind of girl a guy obsesses over, risks everything he has for. Worse, the show is full of recurring female characters who could very easily be femmes fatales: Francine, Mary, Sweet, Katarina, Kristina (though the latter has disappeared this season). But I'm starting to think that there is a reason for that--put simply, Jimmy is dithering over Lorna because she is the safest option for him right now, "safe" being a very relative term in Jimmy's World. He's naturally wary of Francine (he'd have to be brain dead not to be). Sweet is very taken (in fact, I wonder if her pregnancy has precipitated some of this behavior). And Mary...oooh, now there's a potential liaison that really does make Lorna look like the safe option.
This week, Jimmy's lack of interest in Lorna combusts into something that looks a lot like obsession and, thank God, we finally find out why: Jimmy's freaking out. Remember how Mike has been looking like a shook-up bag of squirrels this season? Well, it looks as though his brother is about to pass him in the backstretch to squirreldom. Jimmy's claustrophobia and this thing with Lorna are just early symptoms.
This is something that the ep never comes right out and says, but it's there all the same. At the beginning of the ep, Jimmy finds out a rumor that there is a DEA plot to kidnap him and drag him back across the border. This plot is apparently a last-ditch attempt, since the DEA has no legal means of getting Jimmy back--no witnesses, no case, and a seriously tainted well when it comes to evidence already gathered. I don't know if the DEA has ever actually done this kind of thing. But it's an interesting-enough reversal on the practice of "rendition" (shipping terrorism suspects off to countries that practice torture so that the U.S. government can technically keep its hands clean) that I'm willing to see where they go with it before I pass any judgment. Not that anybody important really cares what I think, but there you go.
René is the one who first uncovers the plot, completely by accident. While having lunch in the Ovaltine, he runs into two other cops--one DEA and another a Canadian drug squad colleague who tells him that the DEA guy was just talking about a plot to kidnap Jimmy: "They're looking to skip the formalities." Nice. Alarm and other sorts of other bells go off in René's head and he immediately calls Jimmy. They meet at night in the alley out back of the Chickadee. Jimmy comes out smiling and hands René the season tickets he wanted last week (guess Mike passed along that request, after all). Startled and pleased, René readily gives up his important info. Jimmy then recruits him to try to cozy up to the DEA guy and confirm the plot.
Jimmy also tries to get Mary to confirm it. Mary mentions it to Ted, which naturally makes Ted very nervous. When he points out that such a plot would require "a lot of balls", Mary snarks back, "All balls, no brains, as usual" but still doesn't appear to be suspicious of Ted. Guess that storyline isn't over, though. Mary later admits to Jimmy that until the DEA tries something, there's not much she can do--aside from arrest him and keep him in protective custody, of course. "No thanks. I think I'll pass on that one," Jimmy replies sardonically.
Meanwhile, an old friend and supplier, Jack, shows up with a cock-and-bull story about how he sold the marijuana shipment already spoken for by Reardon Shipping to another buyer (who looks a whole lot like Dante's accountant, Howard Head, who appears in Ted's surveillance). He refuses to say which buyer, but Jimmy has Bob follow him. Bob also uses a young woman on a motorcycle who looks like she may have potential for later storylines. They soon find out that the buyer is a new player looking to be competition. Jimmy and Bob set up a very sweet sting on both, making sure that Jack is shaken up, but not seriously hurt. They can't afford to lose him, since they still need their connections back east in Montreal. In the process, they get both the marijuana and the money that the buyer paid for it. Meanwhile, Jimmy sells out the buyer to Mary. Mary is well aware that this helps Jimmy get rid of the competition, but for now, she and Jimmy are on good terms. They meet not once, but twice in the ep. Jimmy gives Mary the runaround about the bankers from last week (one of his many inconsistencies in behavior this ep), but gives her enough that she remains happy with him. For now, anyway. By the by, Phil Coombs shows up to announce that Jimmy's money has arrived safely in Jimmy's brand-new offshore bank, which precipitates a brief group celebration.
The DEA kidnap plot rumor makes Bob nervous, and Bob in turn is making Jimmy feel fenced in. "You're making my job harder," Bob complains when Jimmy has a mini-blow-up over Bob wanting to go out every door ahead of him. Jimmy is really feeling the aftereffects of his close call at the beginning of the season and I think that this is at the heart of why he decides to keep things going with Lorna, not to mention his other signs of reckless behavior. Well, "decides" is not quite the right word. Lorna is trying really hard to reseduce Jimmy this ep. Her technique essentially consists of dodging around Bob, whining about Francine and sticking her tits in Jimmy's face. Whatever works, I guess.
At first, Jimmy continues firm and is, if anything, even more brutally frank than last week: "I made a mistake." There's an understatement. Not least because their initial two encounters were essentially coercive sex. But later, in the middle of his coordination of the sting, and right after meeting with Mary, he follows Lorna into the beer cooler, puts her up against the wall and shags her stupid. It's one of those scenes that manage to be hotter than if the participants had taken their clothes off, because their movements can then be that much more graphic--a bit like Meryl Streep and Sam Neill's two scenes in "Plenty". It's also an interesting scene in that we haven't ever seen Jimmy act this aggressively with a woman before. Lorna is up for it (since it's exactly what she thought she wanted), but while Jimmy goes along with her attempt to control the sex for about three seconds, this time he quickly turns the tables on her. Lorna will almost certainly think that she's now got Jimmy hooked, but it looks more as if Jimmy is taking back control of the relationship, by initiating the sex this time.
Lorna had better watch herself, not least because Francine has become suspicious and keeps "randomly" running into her on the street, talking about having a "girls' night out'. But it may not be Francine who does her in. Lorna is too stupid to realize that what Jimmy is telling her is the absolute truth--that the fact that he keeps having sex with her has precious little to do with her innate hotness and a lot more to do with his increasingly reckless and erratic behavior. But then, if Lorna realized that, I guess she wouldn't be the white-trash princess from Kelowna that she is.
Meanwhile, Mary has a wee situation on her hands--seems a cabinet minister, a married cabinet minister, has a new boy-toy, a young writer from China named "Lok Shen". Shen was expelled from his own country for being a gay activist. Seems Shen may also be a Chinese agent, something that Mary subsequently confirms. Mary's boss, the Inspector General (damn, that man is fine--sleazy but fine), has recommended her to Special Investigations for the job of breaking up that little party. "It's already a clandestine, covert affair," Mary's new expert on Chinese intelligence tells her, because it's a homosexual liaison. This would make the cabinet minister greatly vulnerable to future blackmail by the Chinese Secret Service.
But the Inspector General has another agenda--he wants Mary to turn Shen into a double agent on top of breaking up his unsafe relationship with the cabinet minister. Mary accomplishes both tasks with the help of the above expert, a young Chinese-Canadian woman, new to the office, with a PhD and a go-to attitude. It was funny to see the new agent approach Shen at the Sunrise Market, and then take him to the same warehouse as Lee found himself in last season. I think that the main purpose of this storyline was to introduce her, in fact, because we see a lot of her and at the end of the ep, Mary invites her out for a drink. Oooh, are we going to see Mary do some more mentoring of young, female colleagues? I hope that goes somewhere.
Not that Mary's other underlings get neglected. Martin, for example, is establishing a very funny rapport with his surveillance colleague (kudos for all the Asian actresses getting a break on this show). The ep starts (to a nice, relatively new sittar theme) with Mary driving past a homeless woman holding a sign that declares, "They're already here." Haddock does love the odd "Body Snatchers" joke. Mary calls Martin and tells him, "Catch him in the act," meaning Julianna's nasty Intelligence officer client. Martin then tells his partner that he's going in as soon as the guy's pants are off to sneak his wallet, take a picture of his ID and get out. Martin claims that he can do it in sixty seconds. "Pants off, I'm going in," he tells her. And he's as good as his word, even having her time him. "Fifty-seven seconds!" she declares, laughing, after he successfully gets in and out.
Later, Martin approaches the Immigration officer, (named "Paul Gross"?!) on the street and brings him in for a meeting with Mary. The guy is a real piece of work. At first, he tries the sympathy card, whining that his wife is pregnant with their first child and would be devastated if his indiscretion came out. Mary is unmoved: "And I just can't resist saying: you should have thought of that before you dropped your pants." "That would have been my advice," Martin adds, deadpan. Mary then lays out the deal: she wants Mr. Gross to turn snitch, ratting out his bosses (who apparently are engaged in similar behavior) to CSIS. "Could you guarantee confidentiality?" he says. "Of course," Martin says dryly. "That's why we call you a 'confidential' informant.'" Gross eventually agrees, though not without some kicking at the traces. "I loathe you people and what you do," he snarls at Mary. Oh, so being blackmailed for cheating on his pregnant wife by engaging in command rape with vulnerable immigrants makes what he did acceptable and moral behavior. Well, that's all right, then.
Later, Mary forces Gross to get a visa for her new snitch Shen, "no questions asked". When Gross balks and demands to know why Shen needs a visa, she lowers the boom on him: "I believe I just said, 'no questions asked'. He needs a visa and he needs it tomorrow, yeah?" Shen gets his visa.
Finally, two storylines are percolating with Sweet. First, as her pregnancy progresses (and she and Ronnie are all googly), Ronnie admits to Phil and Mike that he's still married to his first wife. This "ex" was briefly mentioned last season right after the attempted shooting that Mike thwarted. Seems she's not so "ex". Now, Ronnie has to finalize the divorce quick, since he obviously wants to marry Sweet and make sure his child is born legitimate. The second storyline comes when Ronnie sends Sweet over to Dante's for a money exchange. Ted, who is now watching Dante, spots Sweet and decides to pursue it further. Oh, dear. This could get ugly. But at least it means Sweet won't be fading into the woodwork as her pregnancy moves along.
Next week: Something in the Air: The DEA plot against Jimmy heats up.
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