Thursday, April 9, 2009

Life - Recap & Review - One


Original Air Date: April 8, 2009

Brittany Wells – Associate Staff Writer

Where the heck is Dani Reese?

Is this the last episode of Life we’ll ever see?

And on a less important note, what is with all these numbers in the titles of episodes?

All these questions – and more about the conspiracy surrounding Charlie Crews – got answered in what was a spectacular season, if not series, finale to one of the most underrated shows on television.

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[photo: NBC]


  1. Where the heck is Dani Reese?

    Is this the last episode of Life we’ll ever see?

    And on a less important note, what is with all these numbers in the titles of episodes?

    All these questions – and more about the conspiracy surrounding Charlie Crews – got answered in what was a spectacular season, if not series, finale to one of the most underrated shows on television.

    We open with…Roman Nevikov. Man, that is not something I want to see right off the bat. After he shoots the camera guy in a very clever middle finger to the series’ psuedo-documentary structure, he grabs the camera and wanders around a lot until he goes to see Reese, who he’s got tied to a chair. She snarks at him awhile. I love the fact that Dani doesn’t just become “the hostage” in this episode; she’s still a fully realized character and part of the storyline. He tapes her telling Crews that he wants Mickey Raybourn.

    But Raybourn’s dead, right? At least that’s what Crews and Tidwell think. But that doesn’t change that they are going to save Reese. As the LAPD brass swarm and take over the investigation, Tidwell switches phones with Crews so he can’t be tracked, and lets the detective escape. You know, Tidwell is growing on me. At the FBI, Agent Ray and two of her agents are murdered by a hitman, who then goes after Agent Bodner at his house. Seever calls Crews to warn him about the FBI shooting, and Charlie correctly deduces Bodner is next on the hit list. His solution to this? Drive his Grand National thru Bodner’s garage door, hitting the hit man in the process. Coolest crash sequence since Jack Bauer driving a bulldozer on this season of 24.

    Speaking of people that are growing on me, Agent Bodner is at the top of that list. I used to dislike him, but this episode gives him some really funny lines and some character depth. We find out he’s been married 20 years to a woman he still loves, who used to be his partner at the FBI. How sweet. Said wife drives a minivan, which Bodner and Crews borrow to escape the chaos before the cops get there. Another one of the reasons I love this show: it’s probably the only show on TV where you’ll see heroes mounting a rescue mission in a minivan. They deduce that if Raybourn is still alive, he’d still be needing medical treatment for his cancer, so they go to find his doctor, who eventually tells them Raybourn wasn’t sick, just stockpiling his blood…which one might do if one was trying to fake his own death.

    Also growing on me is Seever, who may still be a bit of a Mary Sue but at least is willing to put herself on the line to help Charlie and Dani. She and Stark meet Bodner and Crews in a fast-food parking lot – and Stark has that bigger gun Charlie wanted. This is a Big Freaking Gun. Crews tells Bodner he must not have known his friend Tom Seybolt – aka Rachel’s dad – if he didn’t know that Tom was dirty. Meanwhile, Dani finds out she didn’t know her father after all – according to Roman, he didn’t disappear – Roman killed him. I always thought his disappearance was a little weird.

    Ted tells Charlie that there’s been no activity on any of Raybourn’s accounts. While Bodner and Stark act as decoys for the cops, Seever and Crews try to figure out how Raybourn could be alive without any money. Amanda tells him that he funded five homeless shelters, one of which he was never seen at – so no one would know his face. They go there and find him, and begin to press for details. Seever’s memory comes in handy, as she remembers from the Seybolt case file that they found an application for a cab license in Tom’s desk. But if Tom was dirty, why would he need a second job? Then it dawns on Charlie: maybe he was clean. Maybe they were leaning on his friend, to lean on him. They wanted him to run their money laundering operation. And when his friend pushed back, he and most of his family were killed. As the final pieces slot together, Charlie realizes just how deep things went. Raybourn confirms it, and not surprisingly, he’s left alone in an alley with Charlie…and then picked up by the cops, along with Seever. Raybourn tells the cops Seever saved his life, earning her a promotion that she’s later warned is only because like Charlie before her, Raybourn wants her in his pocket. Seever’s finally faced with the flip side of ambition.

    Stark is passing word to Roman through Russian hookers that Crews wants a swap. Instead of giving Roman Raybourn, he says that he now knows all that Raybourn knows, and offers himself for his partner. Reese is shocked that he would sacrifice himself for her, especially when Bodner informs her that the extent of Charlie’s plan was merely to get her out of Roman’s hands. In the car, Charlie crushes Roman’s windpipe and kills him. Just. Like. That. He then convinces Roman’s goons to let him go – so while the goons burn the SUV with Roman inside, Charlie is picked up by Reese and Bodner. He has his answers, most of them anyway. It’s time to move on.

    And Ted? Well, Ted has his, too. Amanda has told him Olivia is in Spain, and in a burst of courage, he’s decided to pick up and go there after her.

    So now, we pretty much know a lot of things we’ve been asking. We have rescued Reese, and we think we know what happened to her father. We know who really killed Charlie’s friends, and why. There’s even an intimation that Charlie and Dani love each other – in a platonic sense anyway. If this is a season finale, it will be interesting to see where they go from here, as all the characters have clearly grown and changed, and some have done all they can. If this is a series finale, I certainly can’t complain, because now we have closure, and hope for the future. Either way, it was definitely an amazing hour of television.

    What do you think? Did it all pay off for you the way it did for me? Sound off below.

  2. I really really liked the finale. If it's one thing 'Life' is good at, it's this. I love how the characters have grown and changed and how the episode ended where the series started with Crews and Reese because for me, far more than the case files and the Conspiracy its the relationship (however you want to take it) is the heart of the show and I love that the focus was on that.

    Seever and Bodner have grown on me too... unfortunately, Tidwell has not and I would sooner wish he be suspended or something. I'm just not that impressed with his skills and his introduction left a bad taste in my mouth that no matter how much they try to improve his character will always well... make me want to help him walk off a cliff.

  3. Isa,

    I feel you on Tidwell. I like him now that he's actually doing things, and not there to just be a jerk/sleep with Reese. I think that was my problem with him, was that his character was all about jumping into bed with her and didn't really get a lot of development. The more I think on it, I'd rather have him than Lt. Davis. She wasn't bad, but she did seem kind of stiff.

    I'm really digging Bodner, but I'm pretty sure that his part in the story arc is done. I don't know what else they could do with him. Seever I think is just temporary with Sarah Shahi's pregnancy, but at least she stopped being a Mary Sue.


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