Stockholm syndrome. Congenital analgesia. Superhero justice?
Perception Season 3 Episode 2 was an hour that seemingly introduced the killer of the week, only to continue on the journey and take so many sharp turns that it would be hard to imagine the final outcome, let alone the actual killer.
Which in some respects is a good thing because it keeps you interested enough to want to see where Daniel, Donnie and Kate’s case leads them - but it can also feel a bit ridiculous by the time the story gets to the final arrest (or arrests in this case).
We go from murder in the court room... to accusing a cop of the killing... to the new suspect winding up dead... to a superhero legion’s involvement... back to the sister of the prosecutor who was killed. Three deaths, two killers and the one man who can ultimately connect all the dots: Daniel Pierce.
I wasn’t really a fan of the whole superhero angle to the hour, or maybe it felt silly to try and take a man who dressed up as “The Ghost” seriously. It was over the top as was his costume, so it kind of took me out of his over eager confession. Or maybe, I’m too much of a Batman fan to give The Ghost a chance.
Instead, I enjoyed the obvious theme of pain that was key to the hour. Not only did we get to learn a bit about the prosecutor and her sister having a condition that prevented them from feeling pain (the show does a great job of exploring those types of elements), but it also involved some of Daniel’s pain of losing Miranda after Perception Season 3 Episode 1 and the possibility that he might not be able to attain what Donnie and Kate have.
It’s great to see characters like Max and Paul show their support and love for their friend, even if it does involve put-put and croissants. It makes a scene like Daniel opening up about his paranoid schizophrenia to a total stranger that much more of an impactful moment. To hear him talk about wanting to push others away, to feel a certain loneliness, must be a difficult feeling that others can only begin to understand. Even seeing Max get a chance to hear his friend talk about it added to the moment.
It’s that exposure of character, especially with Eric McCormack helming the role, that keeps you coming back for more of the zany adventures of the series. Even with the craziness and often unbelievability to the cases, there’s some solid, real human moments.
It’s something like that which can turn a mere class lecture into a reflection on the characters and the episode as a whole, and it’s something that continues to stand out for the series.
Seeing Daniel and Paul play a round of mini golf, and with an extremely well placed putt, was the right touch to close out the hour on a positive note. You want to see Daniel happy, and taking on something he says he doesn’t want (but really does), makes it even better because he does have those friends there for them.
At the same time, Donnie, too, got a great moment of the hour on top of his usual courtroom or law antics. It’s easy to see the positive chemistry between Donnie and Kate, and yes, they’ve been together before. There is something fun about them almost playfully talking about that “thing” throughout the episode, but it’s Donnie’s speech about doing the wedding right and not taking it for granted that stands out. He wants to change things and make them better so their relationship does last. And I’m glad that he was the one to do so. He’s not backing out, he’s stepping up and showing how the two should make their wedding, and really their relationship, special. And hey, who doesn’t need a new blender.
If anything, scenes like that are just another good reason why Scott Wolf has been a great addition to the cast.
It is interesting to note that this particular episode was directed by Eric McCormack, and I really enjoyed some of his choices for the hour. Shots like focusing directly on Daniel’s face while he tried to figure out the connections with the pictures or him walking past his hallucinations, even Natalie in the kitchen, was a great touch. There wasn’t anything I would considering jarring or out of place, and of course, in those character moments, I felt sucked right in. It was a solid job with some nice style choices, and I'd be interested to see him take on directing again.
After all, he probably gets along really well with the actor that plays Daniel. Or so we might think...
While the case did seem a bit all over the place, there was enough intrigue to try and guess where it was going in that fun kind of way. But it's the characters that really shined in the hour, especially Daniel and Donnie, offering up some intimate moments that make you can't help but like them even more.
Do you think Daniel still has feelings for Kate?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.