"The Ecstasy and the Agony" was a classic throw-away episode. But any time you get to laugh out loud at the circumstances surrounding a murder, it makes for good television.
Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of character development, departmental movement or anything else of interest to the overall series arc, leaving for a rather flat review. To make the best of it, I'll point out some of the more enjoyable moments of the episode...
Rusty and Sharon: It seems like there are a good number of you who really don't like the addition of Rusty to the mix. I'm quite enjoying him and his smart ass attitude. He's a great foil for Sharon Raydor. They both say things with a straight face and then reply similarly and end up staring at each other dumbfounded, as if they can't believe they've found each other. Sharon's line about how to look Catholic was classic. Even if you weren't raised as such, certainly you've seen the rest of us wearing the mask of guilt.
Provenza: It was so funny to see Provenza completely put off by the idea of a life coach... until there was one in front of him. I know the feeling he has of grasping at straws to try to make his mundane existence better. He really has it so good that he's afraid to admit it. He would have hated the long-term stress of being in charge. Acting like the put out old man is more his shtick. He likes being the funny man, but I don't ever expect him to admit it.
Sanchez and Tao: This week was too light on the Sanchez. With the Israeli wife and her shenanigans, he could have come up with some great one-liners, but they were left to guest star Michael Weatherly (NCIS), who did a fantastic job of playing the flaky life coach.
I also enjoyed the exchange between Tao and Raydor when Tao said he remembered something really important from the crime scene, but he forgot what it was. The way Raydor has taken to behaving in such situations is purely her take on the character. She makes a slight tilt of her head, breathes in a bit and almost smirks before replying. To his forgetting she said something like: 'Well, come on back when you remember' and turned around and walked back to what she was doing.
It's as though she just expects the little moments of incompetency and won't let them get to her. That was not at all what I expected when she was put in charge.
Like I mentioned earlier, the episode was a throw-away. The case was almost slapstick in the way it was handled by the accused and next of kin, but it was fun. The wife of the deceased couldn't have cared less that her husband was murdered because she was making sexy with the life coach anyway. After all, who in the Hell wants to move to Tulsa and would anyone really believe a family of Israelis to be the McDougalls? That was one of the moments I laughed out loud.
I'm quite pleased the writing team from The Closer has taken full control over the remaining cast and retained their sense of humor. Sometimes it's just fun to let your hair down and live in the moment.
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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.