Man, it sucks to be an assistant district attorney in Cuesta Verde. That’s the impression I got when I viewed One Man’s Death. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it means you will have unrealistic sexual relations with the female population of the city, all of who were apparently models in their past life, but it will probably mean you are a corrupt son of a bitch and will face certain death, hence the title of the episode. So, someone’s love dies and it’s up to the lady friend to get to the bottom of what seems to be foul play. But how do you punch up that classic story a little? You involve two lady friends, duh.
The episode opens with people bumping uglies and before I go any further, I want to add that all I could think about during this was the damn headboard that kept on smacking up against the wall. I mean seriously, move the bed further away, put a pillow in-between but c’mon people, if this were real life, the girl would have complained by now and forced the guy to fix the problem, then an argument would ensue and then he would probably be watching Cinemax on the couch as she cuddles up to her Fifty Shades of Grey book. Anyways, we come to find out that these two lovebirds are having an affair, because someone’s wife just called looking for him. Todd (Daniel Capellaro) is the Assistant D.A. and he has not been faithful to his wife. He has to attend to her and leaves his mistress Janelle (Sadie Alexandru) with the promise that things will end with his wife, that they “had a good run”. Obviously we are all yelling at the screen “bullshit” but whatever, it’s only minute four in the episode so this obviously will not bite anyone in the ass or leave things hanging at all. Apparently there have been some things happening at work and he seems a skittish and says change will be coming for them and everyone else. We like to refer to this as foreshadowing because lo and behold, a chain smoker is waiting outside to warn him about the dangers of cancer. Or drive him off a cliff.
With that, we get Lilith for her obligatory appearance explaining that it is probably not wise to keep secrets in Cuesta Verde. Especially if you keep them from both your wife and your mistress. Rookie mistake. We pick things up back with the wife Susan (Jes Macallan) as she is interrupted in the shower to receive a death notice from the police, namely Det. Janet Wright (Angels and Demons).
She is obviously distraught, but probably is going to be real pissed because some random woman has crashed the wake at the house. Come to find out, both woman have a few things in common other than wearing inappropriate dresses to a wake. Turns out that Janelle needs help to find the murderer and the best hope would be his wife. Of course the wife is just super pissed she showed up because she knew exactly who she was, and Janelle just loves to drop truth bombs such as ‘I’ve been with him for 2 years’ and ‘I was with him the night he died’ so she gets slapped, and rightly so I might add. But she is convinced that their man was taken out because he was too close to figuring out something. So they decide to join forces find out who is responsible for the murder.
Turns out during their brainstorming session, they arrive at a name: Joe Hallenback. (Obviously someone loves The Last Boy Scout, because that was Bruce Willis’ character.) This time, it’s Casper Van Dien playing a private investigator with some information about Todd’s work. While snapping a few photos, he gets his bell rung due to Janelle interrupting a booty call (seriously, Janelle, your timing suuuuckkkks). Susan and Janelle interrogate him into giving up the information he has on Todd. Remember that D.A. that came up on Susan earlier in the wake offering seemingly fake condolences? Looks like he is getting paid off and might have something to do with Todd’s disappearance. So after (mildly) threatening Joe to get information, the girls devise a plan to break into the D.A. Robert Burke’s (Drew Waters) house to get revenge. Also, this Joe Hallenback is not as tough as Bruce Willis. The way he reacts to a getting a gun pointed at him you would think he just pissed himself ala ‘Bill Paxton in True Lies’. But it’s a nice quick appearance for Van Dien because I love Starship Troopers so I will root for him because he never got to Zegema Beach. He just seems to have fun with it and I like these actors appearing what seem to be cameo roles because they just look like they are having fun.
Anyways, so this plan involves Susan having to strut her stuff for the D.A. because:
1.) he made a pass at her before
2.) she has yet to have a sex scene in the episode so she’s due.
Janelle gets her Archer black turtleneck on (seriously), and decides she is going to use that distraction to sneak in and get into the safe. Of course, she gets caught (only Archer can pull off a black turtleneck anyways) and let us face it, she deserves to be caught because she walked into a room with plastic all over the floor. Does she not watch Dexter? That’s a red flag lady.
Again, seriously? You didn’t notice this? #facepalm
Of course I want to stop there because there’s a few twists at the end and I want to get to the review portion of this article. This is an okay episode. I hesitate to call it mediocre because I see elements of good acting (I dug the reactions of Jes Macallan upon hearing more about the affair on the first encounter with Janelle, just felt like realistic responses despite the unrealistic conclusion of becoming Thelma & Louise), music, the set ups and how it is shot…but it just does not connect. Maybe it is because I think Janelle is thrown into each situation and I don’t believe she uses her head at all, or that she often has zero purpose there. I think the pacing of the episode was extremely fast, which worked against the episode because Janelle ends up in a room then the story unfolds. Her character just walks into the room and just Forrest Gump’s her way through. Basically, it is almost like she is not a part of the story at all, that she just happens to be there and the other characters are forced to set the stage and give her a way to arrive from point A to point B. She has no real impact on the audience or the storytelling at all. We are forced to rely on someone monolouging in the end because the story needs to unfold quickly, and that shouldn’t be the case.
Overall, the episode felt rushed in a way that maybe, with more time or editing or whatever, the character Janelle would be someone to root for or get behind in her quest for justice. Instead, I feel that we are treated to an episode that may not be necessarily bad, but just run of the mill without any attempt to make us remember it.