Episode 3.4 - "Confession", by Terry Cafolla
Moment we've all been waiting for, people. ;) First of all, let me just say that I'm going to touch on my favorite parts of the episode, which are MANY. But in general there was so much flailing that I probably still won't catch it all. We'll play catch-up in the comments.
- We've seen so many stills of the opening scene where Matt arrives on the crime scene that I almost feel like it was anti-climactic! Still a great intro, though, and quickly supplemented big-time by the scene where he has to tell Pete's wife. Her reaction when she sees Matt's face... every cop's wife's worst nightmare. Gutting. :(
- Awww, and Matt doing his best to distract Pete's son when he wakes up. "How's my little striker?" Gutting x 2.
- Love the pace and dialogue as Ronnie and Natalie exhaust every possibility and Matt continues to rule out the uglier ones - I'd compared the contrast between Matt and Ronnie's demeanors in "Samaritan" and "Honour Bound" before, but this is much more a companion piece to "Honour Bound" in that sense because this is personal for Matt the way Jimmy Valentine was personal to Ronnie. (Of course, it's different in that Pete was innocent so Matt's instincts were correct, but still... it does impair a bit of his purely-objective detective's eye for a while.) Also, small side note, I love that Natalie flies off the handle about Pete having taken a weapon w/out signing for it - mentioning kids who might get a hand on it. That's the mum in her talking. <3
- Again, Ronnie's experiences when he was drinking inform the case in that he realizes Pete's heavy drinking was to drown away some kind of pain. (I tell you, I love this team of writers for really using what we do know about the characters to constantly inform their work.)
- Such a touching, sad scene when they're back at the house and Mel is talking about Pete's behavior. "What did I think he was worth?" - you can see where Matt's having a hard time hearing it because he didn't know any of this was going on. (Jamieeeee... we're 10 minutes in and you're just killin' it. *applause* :D)
- "No one calls me Matthew anymore." OH DAMN. The gloves are off. *fist-pump* (Also, love Ronnie's double-take of that line.)
- "Maybe he's a fan of CSI?" - oh, LULZ. I'll probably drop a few more amusing lines before this is done, but I'll make the point now: Terry Cafolla's a master of working in humor when the material is generally grim. It never rings false, somehow it just works. Love that he drew the straw on this episode! (Also, w/ regard to the Catholic Church vs. child abuse matters, he's from a Catholic background himself so he totally gets it.)
- "Well done, Victor, thank you!" Nearly died laughing when Ronnie swiped that cuppa out of someone else's hand. XD
- "Well I guess that shows how little you really knew him, Matt." OUCH. First of all, I love the actor who plays Harry, he's fantastic. (Particularly when he crumbles on the witness stand later.) Also, again, great subtext regarding how Matt compartmentalizes his pain moreso than any of his friends; even if he wasn't one of the kids who were abused by Nugent, he's no doubt got experience in compartmentalizing from an early age because he was physically abused by his dad. Also, being a cop, it's part of the job and he's definitely committed to his job. Not to say that Pete wasn't, but some people have an easier time of it than others. The fact that Harry calls him on it here, though, is a real wake-up call, not only in this regard but in his general habit of seeing things very cut-and-dry, black-and-white. That's such a central part of his arc here, and it plays out both in the writing and in Jamie's performance beautifully.
- Ronnie playing bad cop when questioning the first officers on the scene: Bless ya, Ron! Taking some of the burden off Matt. (Who is really, really trying to hold in his frustration at this point.) Also, when the cops come clean about disturbing the crime scene and why - the look on Jamie's face when Matt realizes he was thinking so hard about disproving suicide he didn't realize what suicide would mean for Mel and the kids' compensation. Gah.
- How much do I LOVE Ronnie going behind James's back and getting Alesha to help them work out an angle? COPPERS STICK TOGETHER. <3 (Also, Alesha sacked out on the couch and her first word on waking is "PTSD!" You go, girl.)
- "You know, tomorrow is Saturday. I like Saturdays!" NEVER ENOUGH GEORGE. XD
- Interesting that there's a moment where Matt's dealing with his anger at Pete for committing suicide by calling him a coward. He may still feel that way in the end, but he's still a ways from fully comprehending what his friend was dealing with. (Oh, but he gets there. And he starts by being so supportive of Harry in getting him to testify, and then in court.)
- "What do you do that winds these people up?"... "Oh, you know. Breathe." Bahaha! ZING, two points, Steel.
- The character of the priest who speaks for the Cardinal is so interesting. dramaturgca and I were chatting and realized he's a lot like the less aggressive defense briefs who are just doing their job, ugly tho it may be at times. Massive points for him being written as far from a mustache-twirling villain, he's just carrying out orders.
- "Detective? I need your help." Ohh, BAD IDEA, Father Nugent. Well, OK, he ends up getting what he came for, but damned if you can't see Matt holding back the urge to throw a punch every single second during that scene. (And the "I have a confession to make" red herring was GREAT. Also for a second I went "Hang on, how did I ever miss a picture of a CAT on Matt's desk?... oh, no, wait, there's a glass full of Jelly Babies, too. It's Ronnie's desk." LOL)
- "Your observations are based on files and heresay, aren't they, doctor?"..."No more than your observations of a man, Mr. Ripley." ZING, two points, sassy Scottish psychologist!
- I don't have much to say about the scene between Matt and Mel on the park bench other than it's lovely and heartbreaking. Yeah. *sniffle*
- More Cafolla gushing... love that he worked George's "Remind me never to play you at poker" line in one scene straight into "You play high stakes, Mr. Steel" from the priest in the next. Poker references book-ending the CHUNG!-CHUNG! Love it.
- Absolutely LOVE that James won't budge an inch when Ripley tries to talk him down on the plea.
- Nice call-back to the Matt/Alesha scene in "Samaritan" when she tells him "I'm not broken" after he asks after her well-being. No, Matt, you're not damaged goods either. No matter how painful, we live and we learn and we're stronger for it.
- Jeez, where do I start with the courtroom scene? Other than Jamie NAILING THAT SCENE TO THE WALL. XD I mean, sure, this being a Bamber comm we expected greatness but really, inarguably his best work on the show to date. An excellently written scene where we really get to see Matt's conviction holding up and convincing the jury, in turn. His natural ease with confrontation and unwillingness to back down just sticks the case's landing beautifully, and there's so much authentic fire in Jamie's performance. (Naturally, there's the urge to compare it to Lee's big witness stand moment in BSG, isn't there? Heh. But again, nice to contrast the two characters; Lee could always give a great fight if he had to, but he generally preferred not to, it was a last resort. With Matt, even though it's rough going in, once he's on the stand there's no hesitation whatsoever.)
- But even if he stood his ground at the time, some of the words that were hurled at him are going to stick. Gawwwd, that last scene. Easily my favorite scene in the show so far - for the amazing dialogue, for how amazingly Jamie plays the anguish, for Ronnie's steadfast supportiveness. For, yet again, a perfectly pitched injection of humor. ("I lost an entire decade to cheap whiskey. Luckily, it was the 1980's." RONNIE FTMFW!!! :D ) Love that Matt admits to it being a long, long time since he went to confession. (Kind of suspected as much since he grudgingly admitted lighting a candle for the dead boy in "Buried.") But now's definitely the time. Gaaaah, the last shot. Head in hands. Who wants to give DS Devlin a cuddle? Line starts behind me. ;)
Okay, I've rambled on far too long, I hope I left some of you something to discuss. PLEASE... discuss... discuss away like your life depends on it!