Perception went virtual this week with "Caleidoscope," taking a murder case from the streets of reality to the brightly colored digital world.
The premise of a so-called "second life" played out on a computer has been used on a variety of TV shows, including comedies like The Office and crime dramas like Law & Order. It's nothing new, but the concept usually proves to be uniquely entertaining and reflective of character.
I knew creating Daniel's avatar would be funny, as was learning Lewicki created his own to look like Michael Jackson from the Thriller music video. Even Kate's rocker chick virtual version was a drastic change from her FBI getup.
But what made the hour a little more fun and unique was actually showing the virtual world like it was real. Instead of just watching the characters stare at pixels on the screen, they embodied them, accentuating the concept of this other world. It was more than just a computer game.
At the same time, it was easy to see how someone could get sucked in and completely lose track of time.
Daniel, who was resistant to the original idea, became enthralled making a real connection to another person online. And it was great to see him create a relationship that was positive and happy, even if he was only sitting in his living room.
Plus, it made for a funny karaoke scene between Daniel's leather jacket alter ego in the bar and his real self singing alone. If anything, I'm sure the actors got to have a fun time playing out their virtual selves.
I was bummed that the woman Daniel met online turned out to be the mother (in addition to also being the killer.)
I liked the chemistry between the avatar actress and Daniel, and was secretly hoping maybe they could meet up at some point. I'm not surprised that he ended up hallucinating her in the real world.
Someone who sees things and has trouble getting a grasp on reality probably shouldn't be playing on the computer in other worlds. Things can certainly get confusing.
The case itself felt a little bland, but it was less noticeable because of all of the other interesting things happening during the hour.
And will DJ Qualls be back as the FBI computer guy or was that a one time gig? He was certainly a unique character added to the mix.
As for the ending, it was good to see Daniel returned to Caroline asking for help. It may not be a romantic relationship, but at least it's a start. It was even a pretty big step for Daniel to see Paul and ask to spend lunch with him. I wonder what they were talking about in the montage at the end.
Sure, there was the standard murder, secrets and lies, but the concept of character mixed in with a little virtual fun made for a decent hour of Perception.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.