Spoilers for the pre-strike finale of "Life" coming up just as soon as I give away my Accord...
Yes, this is three "Life" posts in three days, but I can't help it if NBC schedules two episodes over that span, or if Damian Lewis was so insanely good in this episode that I felt compelled to put some of my thoughts on the show into column form.
I don't know that a lot of the plot logic of "Fill It Up" holds under close inspection -- If Jack Reese's goons are cleaning up loose ends, why leave the girl alive? On what planet is any of Hollis' confession admissable in court? On what planet does Crews not lose both his job (for enough infractions to give TPTB license to boot an embarrassment) and his settlement money (for violating Hollis' civil rights in every way imaginable)? Why would Jack Reese want Hollis in charge of the Seybolts' daughter, except as a stunning plot twist for the last act? -- but damn if Lewis didn't hold this fragile enterprise together for an hour through sheer force of will.
In the moment, watching each scene, I believed Charlie Crews to be capable of anything, both emotionally (I would not have been the least bit shocked had he killed Hollis) and physically (I was not the least bit surprised that he was able to kill two men while trapped upside down in the second of his three cars in this episode). Lewis makes me believe in both the hard and soft parts of Crews' fragile psyche, the guy who can prepare himself for a suicide mission to find Hollis and the man who could lend the girl enough willpower to make it until the paramedics showed up.
There's a danger in this kind of show, as with "House," of the star being so much more magnetic than everyone else in the cast that scenes without him become dull, but I didn't mind Charlie's partners, past and present, on their snake hunt through the marijuana jungle. Part of that was the series' continued gift for oddball imagery, and part of that was the fact that they were talking about Crews the entire time, in the same way that any "House" scene without Hugh Laurie always involves the other doctors complaining about House.
(I do wonder, though, about what purpose Stark serves whenever the show comes back. In the early going, he was a red herring for the murder conspiracy story, but this episode pretty much cleared him of that; whatever shady attitude he displayed in the early episodes can be pinned to his discomfort and shame at having to see the partner he sold out. Aside from being the token uniform at every artistically-framed crime scene that Crews and Reese investigate, why does the show still need Stark?)
What did everybody else think? Was the resolution to the murder mystery (if not the larger conspiracy) satisfying? Are the ongoing freedom of Reese Sr. and the whereabouts of the girl enough to keep you interested in the arc stuff? Do you think the show even still needs an ongoing mystery arc?