Monday, July 14, 2008

Flashpoint - S1E1 recap

We open with a highly-volatile hostage situation. Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni – not clearly identified by his character’s name “Sergeant Greg [Somebody]” until more than three-quarters of the way through the episode) is trying to control the situation. There are snipers on the rooftops. Flashpoint flashback to two hours earlier: Ed - a manly, bald, handsome sniper - is arguing with his wife: a fellow cop’s retirement party vs. her parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Sorry, Ed, but I think you’re in the wrong by picking the cop; as wise Sergeant Greg will tell you later, a cop retires every week but it’s your family you’ll go home to when you retire. Regardless of what I think, Ed leaves – doing a little Gilbert & Sullivan duet (I have no idea which) with his buddy so that his wife at least smiles. That was nice. When Ed gets to HQ there’s all sort of chit-chat establishing the main characters’ relationships.

This team camaraderie is interspersed with the soon-to-be hostage taker (a sad-faced middle aged man, possibly Russian) searching for a woman – his wife? – who is a maid at one of the office building downtown. He finds her; she’s afraid of him; the situation escalates and he ends up shooting her. As the man tries to leave the building, a cop confronts him and he ends up grabbing the hostage we saw in the opening sequence. Back at HQ, there’s more character-establishing and banter until they get the call about the hostage situation. Meanwhile, at the airport, some young pretty blond dude disembarks. The Flashpoint team arrives on the scene downtown and the snipers disperse. The working theory is that the man is Croatian, not Russian, and they try to find a translator.

The blond dude hears about the incident over the radio and asks his limo driver to take him there. I think he’s a new team member, there to shake up the Flashpoint team. The snipers get into position. This recapping is WAY easy with so little dialogue. The blond dude arrives on the scene as the forensic psychologist shows up; the shrink thinks that the hostage is not going to make it – Croatian guy is totally sane and totally pissed off. The chick sniper (Amy Jo Johnson - whoever that is [Edit: she's the original pink Power Ranger ... holy crap!]) gets stuck in the bowels of her skyscraper and can’t find the route to the roof. Sniper Ed, however, has a clear shot and is just waiting for the go-ahead.

Sergeant Greg tries out some Croatian negotiating with some over-the-phone assistance from the translator – but it’s not helping. Here’s the thing: at no point do we ever learn why Croatian guy is so upset – there’s a lot of Croatian being shouted but no subtitles and SPOILER we never ever find out what set him off. This diminishes the impact for me somewhat. Sgt. Greg gives Sniper Ed the go-signal but just then Croatian guy’s son runs up. He tries to talk to his dad – but it’s not helping. Sniper Ed gets the go again and fires just as the son darts out towards his father. I gasped and jumped right there, sure that the son was going to be killed by mistake – but no, this is too mainstream a show to kill the son. The Croatian father is killed; the son and the hostage are fine, if totally shell-shocked. Sniper Ed is badly shaken at the close call. Everyone stares at him accusingly as he comes out of the building. Now there has to be an investigation to be sure this incident went by the book.

The blond dude tries to chat up Chick Sniper about the incident and everyone ends up drawing their guns at him – they’re all tense. The commanding officer clears things up: blond dude is Sam Braddock, new Flashpoint team member. “Nice post-incident reflexes, team,” snarks Sam as he walks off. Back at HQ, Ed’s lawyer walks him through the investigation, which seems to be fairly routine, then the shrink wants Ed to talk with her about the incident. He's a tough guy, however, and not into sharing his feelings. Later, Ed does some target-shooting. Still later, Ed goes to the retirement party and all the cops there show him plenty of support. Sam gets introduced to the team and thus we get confirmed names for Sgt. Greg and the chick sniper, “Jules.” While they banter, Ed feels left out and alienated – just as the shrink predicted. Sgt. Greg checks on him; Ed says he’s fine. But we all know he’s not, don’t we?

The episode ends with a trite music montage and we see: Croatian son saying goodbye to his dad’s body; beer-drinking Jules doing some home repair work alone; Sam reminiscing about his Special Ops buddies and wondering how he’ll ever fit in with the new team; Sgt. Greg signing off on today’s incident report; and Ed coming home and hugging his son tightly while his wife watches, love in her eyes.

Yeah, this is a standard-fare procedural show but which looks to be adding in more of the characters’ personal lives than the successful procedurals do (see Law and Order, early CSI). Also, I just expect more out of my television these days: the writing was pretty ho-hum. Like with Burn Notice, I’ll watch again – mostly to see if Enrico Colantoni gets any more airtime – but I don’t think I’ll recap it.

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