Let the conspiracy commence!
To be fair, it's not a conspiracy when the facts back it up, now is it? Half of Shooter Season 3 Episode 2 dragged as far as the Jimmy Poole/ Earl Swagger background information and flashbacks were concerned, but by the end of the hour, Shooter had me invested in this investigation.
In a revelation that shocked no one, Bob Lee finally confirmed that his father was killed, not by Jimmy Poole, but by a sniper! Is it Shooter unless the season's big bad is a sniper? I think not.
I know back in the eighties ballistics and forensics weren't nearly as advanced as they are now. Some small-town police force wasn't getting its CSI on. I completely understand that.
What I don't understand is how anyone could fail to notice that the gunshot that killed Earl came from a distance. You don't need to be a gun expert to hear the difference. I mean, science, my friends.
Bob Lee made a show of replaying that cassette tape over and over again, but it was clear from the first playback that the gun used was a rifle. I can't believe Sheriff Brown missed that after all of these years.
Sheriff Brown: Just what are you saying?
Bob Lee: I'm saying Jimmy Poole didn't kill my dad. There was another shooter.
Am I the only one who finds Sheriff Brown to be a bit suspect? There's something off about him. He always comes across like he's holding back secrets or something, and it wouldn't surprise me if he played a role in some part of this.
He wanted Bob Lee to drop the case too fast. Initially, it didn't come across as a concerned family friend looking out for Bob Lee's well-being. It came across as someone who had something to hide and didn't want Bob Lee to dig too deep.
Julie wanted Bob Lee to drop it too. Julie, babe, Bob Lee doesn't drop a damn thing. You know this.
It's still annoying that Julie slipped into the "nagging wife" trope. What does Julie have going for her when she and Mary aren't in harm's way? Not much.
She also has a pesky habit of talking too much. I know Sam is close to the Swaggers, but did he need to know right off the bat that Bob Lee was looking into Earl's death? After everything Julie has experienced in the past two seasons, you would think she wouldn't be as forthcoming with information. Maybe that's an unfair nitpick.
Bob Lee's latest quest and that revelation will undoubtedly mean that the other Swaggers (and Julie's sister) may be in harm's way sooner rather than later, so maybe she'll have a stronger arc as the season progresses.
It's a good thing Bob Lee's investigation into his father and Jimmy picked up midway through the hour. The first half of the hour was like wading through sludge. The flashbacks to Jimmy robbing the bank were well shot but dull, and Bob Lee's confrontation with the Poole family was only mildly better.
Although, I'm grateful he freed the dog from those brats, and I hope there is follow up to the young girl showing signs of physical abuse.
So now we have to figure out how Jimmy Poole ties into Red Bama Junior (or I guess Red Bama Senior), the butchery, and Atlas. They're all interconnected, right?
Red Bama is a bit squirrely, and as we saw by the end of the hour, he scares easily. He made a few attempts at thwarting Bob Lee, but he was intimidated by Swagger after that visit and ready to skip town. He's not the scary one nor is he threatening; his father is.
The cover-up of Earl's death runs deep. I mean, they went so far as to switch headstones to cover their tracks. That is pure insanity!
Red Bama Junior doesn't concern me in the least bit, but Tom Larsen 2.0 does. Something tells me he's more than just some lackey. He seems the type to get his hands dirty, and it was freaky how he was keeping tabs on Bob Lee like that.
The A-story wasn't the strongest, but the B-plot with the espionage team has my undivided attention. It was infinitely more entertaining watching Isaac, Nadine, Patricia, and Harris working together.
Poor Harris. He has officially been drafted into this ragtag team of spies. He did not sign up for this shit.
He, Isaac, and Nadine already have a fun chemistry that gives off some classic buddy-cop vibes. Think Riggs and Murtaugh with Leo Getz. Fun times.
I thought he was going to pee himself when he got arrested and hauled in for digging through Hayes' files. Nadine talked him into it and assured him he would be fine, and suddenly he's in cuffs. Fortunately, it was all part of the plan.
Harris: If you don't mind, I'll sit this one out.
Isaac: Fine by me.
Nadine: If we're not back in ten minutes, you're on your own.
Harris: Love you too, honey.
The car trip to Carlita's house was amusing beyond belief between Isaac being the "bad spy" who doesn't hide the fact that he would kill Harris if he had to (that's how little he gives a crap), and Nadine playing the just barely "good spy" and Harris' on-again-off-again paramour.
The term of endearment Harris threw out there after Nadine told him he was on his own if she and Isaac didn't come back had me snickering.
The biggest reveal on their side of things was far more exciting. They all are on an Atlas kill list including a woman named Carlita who works for the Department of Agriculture. Who is Carlita, and what did she do to piss Atlas off?
After the flashbang went off in her go-bag, the conclusion is that she used to work for Atlas. It sounds like she was in a similar position as Solotov.
Isaac: You made the cut list.
Harris: What is this?
Gregson: This is a kill list.
Nadine: Surprised you're on it?
Gregson: Surprised I'm fifth.
Speaking of Solotov, I hate that he was killed off so early in the season. Not only did we miss out on an epic team-up between Solotov and Swagger, but we missed out on Solotov working with Nadine and Isaac.
Can you imagine if all of them worked together to kill Atlas before Atlas killed them? That would have been epic! The badassery of that entire team would have been worthy of a gosh damn spinoff!
I know, he's gone now. No worries, I'll get over it ... eventually.
I'm not saying the B- team stole the hour; I'm typing it instead. The entire hour could have been about Team Baddies & Badasses accessing those files and discovering that kill list, and I would have been content.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy my man Bob Lee playing badass detective and those work-out scenes, too. I enjoyed both, thoroughly.
What did you think about this installment? How are Jimmy, Red Bama, Earl, and Atlas connected? Am I being too hard on Julie? Shoot your shot in the comment section.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.