I really liked this week's episode. It was a non-arc episode, so it was smooth and uncluttered. A plot: the crime; two B-plots: Rachel and Dani/Tidwell. That's still one b-plot too many in my opinion but what made the episode especially smooth was that the B-plots both keyed in to the A-plot.
Rachel is a wonderful addition, and I like that she's the recalcitrant teen to Crew's adolescent streak - that she forces Crews to be an adult, and that she keeps him on an uneven keen (much the way he does to those around him; I'm thinking specifically of Reese). A table isn't clutter; a table is just a table. She gets round his zen, she gets round his bullshit. Rachel forces Charlie to speak directly. I have to admit that the story is lacking impetus (mostly because of the hundred other subplots that keep being waved in our face and then taken away, before we get back to Rachel) or, rather, pace, and I'd like them to pick a sub-plot and fucking run with it already, but I'm pleased we're back with Rachel. It's interesting to me that Jack Reese became so invested in the girl's well-being because the part that hasn't really been lined up on-screen is the connection between Rachel and Dani. They are always two stories: Rachel and Crews, Reese and her own life. Separated by the narrative, but linked. Because all that time that Dani was growing up, Rachel was in the picture for the last 12 years of it. The end reveal with Jack walking out on Dani's mother was a blow* (I love that Dani thought she was talking to Crews; these are partners who reveal things to one another in that half-way that they have. It kind of links back to Crews and Rachel, and telling true things to strangers). It also links back to the pilot, but more on that momentarily.
*) I'm certain his departure is a preventative act. If he's really in trouble, then it makes sense that he'd want to protect his wife from the fallout.
I liked the case - or rather, I liked the people the case brought us to, and all that isolation. This episode could have been one great big commentary on Crews' isolation, but it wasn't really because Crews, by default, is different. Life is a readjustment period for him especially since prison mindfucked him so sincerely (I get the sense that this is what the professor was aiming at in Not For Nothing - Connie came to Crews at a time when he didn't believe in his own side of the story). Alternatively, the episode could have been a treatise on Dani's experience with support programs, though I'm massively relieved that it wasn't. I liked the emotionality of the characters, though, because I feel that Crews' sympathy is one of the things that the show consistently gets right. Plus, I laughed out loud at the jokes, and some points where I probably shouldn't have been laughing. I'm okay with this episode being standard-fare for procedural dramas because it wasn't an arc episode, and so it wasn't supposed to play heavily that way.
The Tidwell/Reese story continues in an awkward fashion. I have to admit, I loved all those scenes where he wants to talk and she blows him off, and then when he echoes her thoughts on Tom's craziness. Crews is an interesting middleman here because there's no way that he doesn't know, but there's that code of silence which says: there are some things you don't talk about until they fall in to your lap. Dani herself is very good at that. I love that scene where Tidwell is all, we need to talk about the kiss and Dani - cold, brutal Dani, the one who, in the pilot, said if I don't know your name, I can't call you, can I? - says, what kiss? That sort of flippant dismissal. There are things Dani talks about and there are things she doesn't talk about. Charlie talks all the time because he doesn't want people to think about all the things that he's not saying.
Also: it's entirely possible that Crews keeps cutting Reese off because her name is misspelt in his phone directory. 'Resse'? Really?
So, the pilot. I've seen it a few times in the past fortnight - I watched it with The Sister, I capped it for the picspam, and then it was on telly last night and I tuned in for my favourite parts (whilst channel hopping to Criminal Minds, oh my). And a couple of things strike me.
Firstly, Connie turning away from Charlie in season 2 is a huge, huge blow. I know I've mentioned previously how Constance is landed with the lamest of lame duck stories after the pilot, but the real hit is how she and Charlie are separated. Do you think that no one will ever understand what we did? What you and I came through? Do you ever think that the world is now you and me in one place, everyone else in another? That's horrible.
And secondly: the code of silence. It's funny, because Dani is the one who brings it up way back in the pilot - she's the one who doesn't want the what are you in for? conversation. Charlie is very blunt about certain things (and I've said it before: that directness is very childlike in a lot of ways) but he talks so that he can control what is and isn't being said. In a sense, he talks about Dani because he doesn't want to talk about himself. Dani is a great partner for him on that first day because she doesn't want to talk to him anyway, so the pressure is off. That's not to say that she won't say what needs saying when the occasion calls for it: look, I know about your ex-wife, we all do, it's no secret.
But then Davis steps in and asks of Dani the thing that Dani doesn't want to do. But she's scared, too, in a lot of ways; she's anxious about her future. That's what Davis does to her in the pilot. So, even though she's reluctant, Dani starts in again: before the bust on Lonnie, Dani asks direct, piercing questions to Crews about all the things he doesn't want to talk about, and she calls bullshit in a way that she really has no right to do.
Then there's the drugs, and the shower, and all the things that Dani doesn't want to talk about. And Crews says, okay, we never have to talk about it. That, to me, is the moment when Dani decides, fuck it, this guy is my partner. Fuck Davis, fuck her threats. That's the moment when they truly start respecting one another's secrets.
The development of the partnership, in terms of the silence, is evident most when Charlie pushes Dani's buttons (could you picture yourself shooting him?) and when Dani doesn't break the silence, even though Crews wouldn't mind if she did (I'm thinking of Farthingale and all the times when Crews asks Dani if she'd like him to answer questions about his involvement, and Dani says no, implicitly saying I trust you; I don't need to know).
That silence or lack of it is key to their partnership through and through. Charlie is a talker, but he muses in quiet. Dani likes quiet, but she muses out loud. They both hide secrets, they're both careful about what they divulge and when, and they trust one another to an extent. And it's fragile, of course, because of Dani's father (did you really send an innocent man to prison? The economy of words she uses; the way she waits and waits and bursts; the way language is a weapon in her house, and silence is a weapon and a defence). So, you know. Everything's connected. And everything is language, too.