Wow. The joyful undertone of major crimes and the rest of the LAPD trying to get to their friends and families for Christmas was gone this week.
Everyone on The Closer was all business on "Living Proof: Part Two," trying to solve the heinous murders of an Albanian and his two previously tortured daughters, while protecting his grandson.
When the show ended last week, so much was up in the air. Skander seemed almost villainous in the way he was being filmed and he was spewing false and unbelievable stories about the police and his family. Was a boy of his age capable of killing?
His email communication to his aunt showed he not only thought she was alive, but that someone had taken his mother and was holding her captive. Still, it seemed like redemption might be hopeless for a child who been raised with such bitter beliefs.We also had Armand's wife, Mrs. Marku, defending her family and new nephew. Her protectiveness kind of threw her under the bus. Just what would this woman do to protect her family if provoked?
It was a good guess that she was somehow involved in the crimes, that all she learned as an activist lawyer drove her over the edge, far enough to commit murders similar to those she found so unspeakable in the past.
There was a third possibility, and this one was more subtle. That Armand was not Armand at all, that he was an imposter. That turned out to be the case.
He was a war criminal who not only killed Armand Marku, but raped and tortured his sisters, resulting in the birth of Skander, a son he never knew he had. This scenario was a fleeting thought in my mind as I watched last week. Definitely not in as much detail, but that he wasn't Armand did surface. It seemed just a little too easy that he be Armand when he had been considered dead for so many years.
But it also made sense that Armand's father would be dishonored and angry if he did run away from protecting his family all those years ago. The character of Armand was so gentle and sounded so sincere that my mind found it more believable to go with Mrs. Marku or poor little Skander. I kind of feel horrible about that now. What does that say about my ability to see the truth in others? Yikes.
Apparently, when the U.S. believed the Serbs to be the victims of the warring factions, they were taught many skills, such as impersonation and stealing identities, to deal with the Albanian assaults. It made perfect sense to his wife, as she tried to come to terms with everything that was happening around her.
In a realistic portrayal, she went from wife to lawyer to victim to wife an back again. She was utterly confused and unable to process that her entire life had been a lie. Even Brenda was having a tough time sticking to the facts and keeping Mrs. Marku on the relevant path. However, this episode really focused more on the Marku family and their own realization of their situation, rather than Brenda and her team running it down.
Although the lighthearted Christmas fare that was a part of last week's episode died down, Fritz did find time to stage a robbery on Brenda's parents motor home so they thought twice about moving to Los Angeles.
When they first called her home, I just figured Fritz was used to their drama and therefore unmoved by their plight. When he showed up in Brenda's office with a bruise on his forehead, it became apparent that a little reverse Santa was in play.
The one thing I took away from this particular story of Albanians and Serbs was that I really need to study up on my knowledge of current events. It's very easy to pretend everything is hunky dory living in the United States of America. While I'm worrying about Christmas dinner and New Year's Eve celebrations, the struggles around the world are astronomical in comparison to my small footprint.
All in all, it was a good two part episode. Kind of odd for a Christmas theme, but this is The Closer. You pretty much have to expect anything once the opening credits roll.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.