Killer Women – Recap: Ballers, Shot Callers, Brawlers
Recap and review of Killer Women – Episode 5 – In and Out:
One of the reasons I find Killer Women so frustrating on a week-to-week basis is that I see shades of something genuinely fun here amidst all the police procedural rigmarole and soap opera twists that aren’t really twists at all. The case this week is a total snoozer, but it features a wonderful last act double-bluff that completely pulled the wool over my eyes. And happily so, since it’s exceedingly rare for a procedural to ever actually surprise me with the solution to one of its cases. But that’s what ends up happening with “In and Out”, a by-the-numbers story that’s rescued by its final ten minutes (even though those ten minutes include the most telegraphed and pointlessly-milked twists in recent memory). For Killer Women, improvement comes in increments.
This week’s case involves the death of NBA star Troy “T-Roy” Flynn, who walked in on a home invasion and was murdered for his troubles. Molly (Tricia Helfer) isn’t entirely certain this wasn’t premeditated, as the robbery angle seems too convenient, particularly after they haul in two would-be robbers caught in a van containing Troy’s stolen property. Turns out, they had no idea the NBA star had been murdered, and had simply discovered the van idling, empty, on the side of the road. And so the investigation turns, instead, to Troy’s wife and her two best friends, Misha and Amber. It doesn’t take Molly terribly long to discover a hidden camera in Troy’s secret apartment, and with it, footage of the affairs he’d been carrying on with his wife’s friends. In each video, he promises a different woman the world: he tells both Misha and Amber that he plans on divorcing his wife for them. It comes across as the kind of behavior people might expect from a highly-paid NBA star, but something about it seems off. Almost like he’s inhabiting a role out of some dry attempt to fit in. Molly learns from his teammates that they all frequented strip clubs, and spent money like they were under some obligation to get rid of it, Brewster’s Millions-style. But as Molly quickly learns, Troy wasn’t what he appeared to be.
Molly investigates the presence of another woman in one of Troy’s videos. In this particular video, he doesn’t sleep with the woman or make her any promises. Instead, they talk about recipes for catfish stew and trade copies of The Notebook. To Molly’s eyes, it appears this isn’t the average fling: T-Roy has fallen in love. So Molly tracks down the woman and gets the full story from her. Turns out, Troy was “a country boy at heart”, and was merely playing the role that was expected of him as an NBA star. Troy wanted simplicity, and she was simple. Hell, she didn’t even care about the money, she just wanted to be with him. Of course, that can’t happen now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still get justice for Troy. But then comes the first twist: the woman shows up at the house of Troy’s wife and blackmails them, saying she knows they committed murder, and the only way they’ll keep her silent is by paying up. The twist recontextualizes what we thought we knew about this nurse with whom Troy had fallen in love, as she suddenly seems to be someone who didn’t care about Troy at all beyond what he could provide for her financially. The woman storms off and leaves Troy’s wife and her friends bickering amongst themselves. Naturally, Molly is outside in a parked van — the house was bugged, and the entire confrontation was a bluff meant to trick Troy’s wife and her friends into admitting their guilt. As Molly listens in from the van with her team, Troy’s wife and her friends talk about having killed Troy, essentially sealing their fate. It’s such a wonderful third act twist that I basically forgave the rest of the episode, which was pretty rough going for most of the way through.
Jake (Jeffrey Nordling) is continuing to be an absolutely insufferable presence on the show, refusing to grant Molly a divorce, and getting bent out of shape when she leaves their court-mandated marriage counseling sessions early, even though their time was up. He even appears at the quinceañera of Molly’s niece, making his presence felt despite never being invited. It’s at this quinceañera that we have another subplot introduced, as Becca (Marta Milans) is pregnant and tells Molly as much, nervously revealing that she plans to tell Billy (Michael Trucco) but isn’t sure how, given his “financial concerns”. Of course, we all know Billy is up to something shady, and it all comes out in the Dan (Marc Blucas) plot, in which the DEA Agent attempts to bust the inside man of an illegal operation he’s been tracking for the better part of forever. This builds to the climax, as we see the suspect in question driving a truck through the darkness, only to be stopped by Dan’s police barricade.
The suspect is ordered out of the truck, and the show milks this reveal for as long as it’s possibly worth, and it wasn’t worth all that much to begin with. Realistically, for a show to get the most out of a twist like this, there needs to be more than just two choices when figuring out who the traitor is. It was either going to be Billy or Molly’s boss, Luis (Alex Fernandez). I guess you could argue Molly’s one officer friend could have been a candidate too, but he’s been seen so little that the twist would have had virtually no effect whatsoever. And given that it would have been ridiculous for Luis to be doing the grunt work if he were involved in the operation, that leaves only Billy. Dan, utterly stunned, orders Billy arrested; meanwhile, Becca blows out the candle and calls it a night when Billy doesn’t come home for their romantic dinner — the dinner at which she planned to tell him of her pregnancy. It all culminates in Molly waiting at Dan’s house for their planned date, before growing impatient when he won’t answer his phone. She leaves without knowing what Dan has discovered about her family, and if there’s anything to look forward to, it’s how Tricia Helfer handles the performance. She has all the tools to really sell the devastation of her brother’s choices.
“In and Out” is an episode that is mostly saved by its final act, and although Killer Women still isn’t a great show by any means, it’s actually getting incrementally better. I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time watching it, at least. And that’s not always something I’ve been able to say (although between this episode, last week’s, and the pilot, the decent episodes now officially outnumber the bad, so huzzah). If nothing else, this was a decent hour of procedural pablum.