Minority Report – Mr. Nice Guy – Ep 1×2 Review

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Here we are, episode 1×2 of Minority Report. “Mr. Nice Guy” is reporting for duty. Hold on, it’s not who you think it is.  I’ll get to that shortly.

As with most new shows during season 1, growing pains will be evident until characters smooth out the rough edges and the production team finds full rhythm together. That said, this episode is fast, slow, lazy, creative, surprising, and expected.  In other words, a mixed bag worth your patience and watching.

A stark contrast to the frenetic energy between Detective Vega and Precog Dash, the opening sequence is a slow tender heartbeat.  We are transported back into the last day of the Precrime unit in 2054. Wally, their caretaker, is visited by an unnamed DIA agent there to dismantle the unit.  Wally’s obvious devotion and feelings for Agatha, Arthur, and Dash is surprising to the agent. Wally only sees humanity in the three as should we clearly. They are people who need to be prepared for the outside world. He clearly cherishes them and worries for their futures.  Wally describes each of them to the agent. “Agatha becomes the person whose future she predicts. It’s like she leaves herself. Arthur’s mind is an antennae pulling in names, facts, information. Made him one manipulative little kid. Dash sees the horror. Imagine being an eye witness to murders you can’t do anything to stop.” An emotional set-up  to reinforce they are flesh and blood humans, not technology. A good thing too, since it is terribly eerie seeing them as floating biotech.

Flash forward into 2065, Dash plays chess simultaneously with four opponents in the park. Someone needs to get him a social interaction life coach. I was pleased to see the fourth opponent being a rainbow dreaded punk rock type young woman. Cool people like that never go out of style in any decade.  Of course he has a vision episode and seizes on the ground for a few minutes before running away to the onlookers’ dismay. Wally has to find a way to tame the vision seizures. This is seriously calling attention to him.

While Dash is suffering, Vega and Blake appear to be in a shootout with several perpetrators. They chat it up for a minute about music. She likes Beyoncé. The classics. A nod to remind us of who we are in time, while keeping us in their present. Clearly she has no desire to be a team player with him, as she yells for him to cover her and runs off gun blazing. Feeling proud of herself for killing all cinco (5) of them, Blake coolly walks up and says “You forgot about seis (six).”  He shut her down. Out of the sim they come. Vega knows how to be arrogant and self-righteous even when she is wrong.  At some point, these two are going to have a knock down drag out fight. The elephants in their relationship need to be cleared.

As they walk through the visually impressive and tech heavy police department, the other shoe drops. The case she solved with Dash is under a microscope. Two suspects killed and no body camera footage. Blake is rightly highly suspicious of her claiming to work solo. Now paranoia is creeping in, Vega asks Akeela what she’s been asked. She is covering Vega’s back as her friend. Though she wants to know the truth, Vega refuses to tell her what really happened for safety.

Dash is lit up like a Christmas tree with Wally’s homemade vision recording device. They’re trying to get more information about his latest vision. Vega is freaked out and going on about the possibility of being found out and getting thrown in jail. Wally’s response is perfection as he snarks back about what will happen to Dash if she slips up, “……like enslavement, lab tests, vivisection, but I-I know, a slap on the wrists by your superiors would be a real boohoo.” Wally cleared all the surveillance video of Dash from the Rutledge case. Wally’s retort to Vega hoping it wasn’t as easy as he made it sound to do is, “Whatever helps you sleep detective.” Smart, witty, and loyal. Wally is the guy to depend on. He also has the best lines thus far. He’s going to be one to keep an eye on for fans to quote.

Unable to gain much information from his vision except for the club wristband and funky silver shoes, Vega says “If only we had another Precog.” Way to pressure Dash to have Arthur to fill in the necessary blanks. This is Vega’s idea of being careful? She’s a cowboy. She’s a character that sometimes says one thing and does another.  Her heart and head are in dissonance. There’s going to be trouble in her future to be sure.

The transition to Arthur meditating on a yoga mat while experiencing the same vision, highlights the difference between how his gift works versus the physicality of Dash’s.  Arthur appears to get off easier with something similar to a clinical distancing. He can see it as statistics on a page. He doesn’t feel the emotions or the anguish of the victims.

Sibling rivalry and superiority are all over Dash and Arthur’s meeting. Arthur bluntly states, “If you’re planning on stopping every murder in the city, you really should consider costumes.” He is one to love to hate and then love again. A tough cookie Arthur. He pokes further, “How did it feel killing someone?” Dash ignores his ploy. Their history as Precogs gives Dash the sense of responsibility to use his gift to stop crime, while Arthur feels he has more than paid his dues. They are two sides of a coin. Good deeds and opportunistic leverage. Arthur tries to be unfeeling and selfish, but he loves Dash. He wants to protect him. He has a soft core surrounded by a tough outer hull.

This is where it gets sticky – as a form of payment, Arthur wants Vega to obtain an old case file for him without reading it.  A test perhaps. An unsatisfied Dash says, “Go to hell” before leaving with the case file number.

Then Dash gets it from Vega who essentially tells him to simmer down and she doesn’t trust him in the field. She thinks he needs to process his actions. He killed someone and that makes him unreliable. He tells her he needs to act. He’s done after ten years of watching and being unable to do anything. Her heart leads and they make a plan to crack the case. She is flip flopping in one scene. This character has demons in her. He is an answer to what ails her. She needs him.

In the club she warns him to do nothing alone, hands him a “sick stick” (Taser) to use in emergency situation only.  They get their bracelets, a microbiome analyzer that when bumped to another bracelet tells you the odds of compatibility. “Romance is dead,” she proclaims, recalling what her mom used to say about dating. It used to be texting and swiping pictures. For fun, she bumps her bracelet with Dash. When it shows a 51% compatibility she scoffs. Vega is so 2015.

In a throw away scene, awkward Dash spots the silver slippered victim and prematurely sick sticks her brother before Vega shows back up. Of course he is going to use the weapon improperly. Moving on. SQUIRREL. Vega spies the moving tattoo symbol seen in the vision.

A non-sequitur to the next morning at Wally’s after staking out “the killer” part of the night. Tyson Cole is the quintessential smarmy pick-up scientist. Vega wants to keep tabs on Cole, using the would-be victim as bait. Dash dislikes this plan. Wally pipes up, “She’s right. It’s not the good old fascist days of Precrime, when we could arrest a man for something he hadn’t done yet.” Without missing a beat, Vega responds, “We have to catch him in the act.”

Adding to the choppiness of the episode we see Dash speaking to Agatha on the cool yet creepy sim phone. Do we need to know she still doesn’t like what he is doing?

So much time is spent on staking out and trying to entrap the maybe killer Cole. The episode gets almost comical in its repetitiveness.

At some point in the staking out, Dash simply offers up thoughts to Vega from the Precog peanut gallery. Agatha thinks Dash is putting them all at risk and Vega is using him. Arthur thinks Vega is hot and Dash is an idiot. Pretty much sums it up. She is unimpressed.

Then we stumble into Dash’s best quote of the episode, “Maybe he’s waiting on a booty call.” Vega is speechless for the first time.

They have so much time on their hands, Dash confesses he felt nothing when he killed Rutledge, just numbness. He’s seen 700 murders in every imaginable way.  Here’s the gem of a bonding moment. She confesses feeling the same way, “And you just keep thinking to yourself if I can just stop the next one, the numbness will go away.” Common ground found. Adding these layers to their “partnership” and friendship is good writing.

Back to the maybe killer, Tyson Cole. He’s the definition of a red herring character. He is arrogant, overly confident, clever, has the moving tattoo, and wrote the dating rules book. He makes Vega’s eyes roll. When she tries to use herself as bait to get picked up by Cole, she spectacularly fails. “Who sent you to bait me, Ms. Bell?” She’s shut down while Dash quotes Rule 8.

After spinning their wheels much of the episode, she gets smart and decides to get Arthur the case file for information. But first she has to irritate her boss by blowing him off yet again when he tries to tell her about the new program coming on line, Hawk-Eye. Again, she is asking for trouble.

Akeela helps her find the cold case of the record. The case file is for Moira Arkadin, who died of an overdose, but the doctors managed to save the twins inside of her. A-HA you guessed it, Arthur and Dash. Since Vega read the case file against Arthur’s demand, he says he trusts her because she is willing to bend the rules. “Ever since the day the doctors cut us from our mother’s womb, I’ve looked out for my brother.” Though he and his brother disagree on many things, he will never allow anyone to hurt him.  A threat. He ultimately holds up his end of the bargain, but says without blinking, “he can already tell we’re going to do great things together”.  He is a loaded character.

The episode has had so many dead-end turns that three-quarters in and we’re still waiting to find out the victim’s name and who the killer is. So much time spent on build up this last quarter is rushed and clumsy.

Back at the club, they find the would-be victim, Blanca Garcia, at the bar with Tyson Cole in the crowd. Blake shows up to see what Vega is working on and whines about her being angry since he became her boss. They sit down for a drink after she says she’s doing a cop friend a favor.  Awkward Dash is back in play, he sidles up to Blanca at the bar then insults her by calling her a 7. It’s painful. We’ve all had a friend that couldn’t be left alone socially. Vega promptly cuts her time with Blake short. More suspicious behavior. She runs after Dash who scared Blanca off and into a cab with Tyson Cole. Following Cole to his house, they confront him, jigs up. Tyson is not the would-be murderer.

The episode is nearly over and they are watching the vision again. Time management, dear writers.  Vega I-spies chopsticks in a reflection. IT’S THE BARTENDER. I noticed creepy bartender earlier, did you? Quick, they have to wrap this up with 8 minutes left. Hurrying back to the club, the bartender is already assaulting Blanca Garcia, who went back to the club to retrieve her forgotten purse. Mr. Nice Guy to rage. He’s angry after she blew him off over and over for guys like Cole.

The short of it, they find Blanca badly beaten, they pursue Harlan in the darkened club. At the right moment, Precog super powers activate with Dash telling Vega to shoot the glass behind the bar in 3, 2, now. Down goes Harlan without him being killed. Way to go partner.

I don’t normally mix in play by play recap in my reviews, but this episode proved challenging to pull out the top few and bottom few standouts scenes. A battle of detritus to meaty content.

The one notable theme I want to point out  to end this lengthy review, is that of protection. They all desire to protect one or more among them. That is a theme worth fighting for and sticking around the series to see how it shapes up.

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Minority Report airs on Mondays at 9 pm Eastern/8 pm Central on Fox TV.

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Des Andrews