Lie to Me Season Finale Review: A Confusing Mess

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I'm torn on the season finale of Lie to Me.

For the most part, we've seen some amazingly written episodes this summer. Conversely, we've also suffered through some rushed and fractured episodes. I'd classify "Black and White" as a mixture of both.

Black and White Scene

There were so many confusing steps in this week's story that I'm still confused over many parts of it. I think the only way to be fair on the review is to actually break down some of the points.

We started by suddenly learning of a friend of Lightman's named Julie. We later discovered that Julie wanted to be more than just pals with the doctor. Sadly, she is killed. Gillian pointed out that she (and all of us) has never heard of Julie but that Lightman is clearly grieving over. I guess we were supposed to ride along with Cal on the sadness express about his friend. Unfortunately, we only saw her alive for about two minutes, which gives us no connection to her.

However, it was not a surprise that Lightman picked up her crusade against a crooked councilman name Anslinger because she apparently died trying to get evidence that would show he had paid someone to kill a retail developer named Cook. As always, Lightman was akin a dog with a new bone and would not let go of it.

Anslinger is an ex-cop who is a councilman and possibly the next mayor of Baltimore. He invites Lightman to use all his skills to see if he is hiding anything. Evidently, Lightman doesn’t find anything as he sent Ria to get Julie’s files from the paper she worked on. However it was Eli who brought the files back for some reason. I could not understand why there was some sort of unrelated, unspoken, and undefined weirdness with Ria over the files, or was it suppose to be weirdness of Eli. It was never made clear.

Meanwhile, Bernard is on the war path with Lightman’s whole operation. Additionally it has been expressed in previous episodes that Lightman likes to get under Bernard’s skin and give the man back some grief. This is always fun to watch. Roth does this so well.

On the flipside, Lightman has never seemed to care if the FBI is around or not, so why would Reynolds follow him to some unknown destination? Especially since it only resulted in him being shot? On top of that, he was wearing a wire to try and get Bernard to back off of Lightman. How was wearing a wire going to convince Bernard? It just doesn’t connect other than it will be part of why the FBI goes away.

Back to our main story: after a very rushed confrontation setup by Lightman and Gillian between Cook and Anslinger, (again, for no reason I could figure out), Lightman laid it out for Cook. It was like a bad case of Clue, seeing Cal pull the answer from nowhere that Cook had been setting up Anslinger this whole time. To add madness to the confusion, the only piece of evidence Lightman had to prove his theory was a DUI that Anslinger had given Cook years before.

Incredibly enough, this DUI photocopy was enough that Cook admitted he had committed Julie's murder and tried to frame Anslinger about it was because Anslinger had stolen a girl from him the night he got the DUI. Wait... what?  Cook is a millionaire and Anslinger is a Councilman and all of this is over a girl that neither of them even knows anymore.  Really?

The only redeeming quality of the episode was Emily. It was great to see that Emily is living up to being 17 and scaring her dad to death over the topic of sex. This portion of the episode was like the calm center in a hurricane of deception, intrigue, and confusion.

Lie to Me returns on November 10 with new episodes that I can only hope are more straightforward in their storytelling. Return to TV Fanatic then for more in-depth reviews of Cal and company.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I thought I was the only that was confused by this episode! Seriously. This episode was a horrible way to end the season. HORRIBLE. I've enjoyed the summer half of the season but this was not a good episode for lots of reasons. The best part about this episode was Emily's story. I love Cal and Emily's relationship. I hear there's more drama coming for Emily and Cal next season.


Definitely confusing and some continuity issues... Right before Cal and the FBI visit the Councilman, there's a view of the presumed Baltimore statehouse... BUT the statehouse they show is really in Boston (I live in Boston so I know), and the Massachusetts state flag is flying to the right of it...


I don't know if this episode was confusing as much as it seemed staged and unsatisfactory. I'm guessing, by what I've seen during the hiatus, that Lie To Me was trying to figure out what it should be to be successful (and as you said there were some great episodes which I would call part of the process - Gillian became more of a character and less of a sidekick, the daughter developed a personality, and the interplay, etc. of Ria and Eli). All that's well and good and a "process" that suggests more to come. This episode seemed to me to be thrown together at the last minute ignoring the other elements of episodes already in the can (or whatever the current phrase) in order to deal with a decision on the FBI guy/connection. As to what was confusing (or to me contrived) was "Julie" to start with. It was like Writing 101, not only presume a backstory, but use that no one (including viewers) knows about it as part of the backstory. Only ... Cal doesn't need to be emotionally invested on a personal level to have taken up the reporter's cause with fervor. With Anslinger and Cook, some of the stagy elements that were part of the "Lightman team using the science," were the Baltimore cops -- such as Ria doing the I'm-not-lying-in-a-murder-investigation bit because she'd concluded they'd followed the snitch there (leaving Eli to go get the papers, so that Ria can conclude that getting them was too easy), or Gillian and Cal suggesting the cops in Cal's place was staged to convince them that the cops were working for Anslinger ... finally resulting in the bad case of Clue, the whole thing being a manhood issue (and not really about a woman neither of them was in contact with anymore -- sort of like Morty in Undercover Blues). The FBI conflict was really what the whole episode was about ... so they wedged that in where they could. I love this show and look forward to the next set of episodes (but have to admit I like the first season pretty much the best where there were fewer side stories and more getting at the truth!

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Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 22 Quotes

Lightman: Emily has lost her virginity.
Gillian: Lost it?
Lightman: Well misplaced it, you know.
Gillian: Lost works, how do you know?

Emily: Why aren't you at work?
Lightman: I am an adult, I keep my own hours.