Monday, August 11, 2008

In Plain Sight, "Stan By Me": Mary's off the hook!

Spoilers for last night's "In Plain Sight" coming up just as soon as I find out where Brandi buys her luggage...

We're now one episode away from the first season finale, and I still have no idea what kind of show "In Plain Sight" wants to be. Some episodes (the better ones, not coincidentally) focus on what life might actually be like for either a WitSec Marshal or a WitSec subject, but others dwell on formulaic murder mysteries, or annoying family drama involving Mary's mom and sister. And as we come to the end of season one, it feels like the latter type of episode is seriously outnumbering the former.

Having Mary kidnapped and held hostage could have made for a really strong episode -- Mary McCormack was sure game to play Mary's terror and her drive to figure out a way out of this nightmare -- but tying it into the mind-numbing Magical Suitcase Full O' Blow(*) sucked away most of the tension.

(*) Not only is it apparently waterproof, but it now seems to wind up in Brandi's possession no matter what she does. I thought I was paying close attention last week and I still have no idea how the hell she got it out of the motel room with the scary junkie family. Nor do I really care.

The problem, I think, is that the writers (or the network/studio execs) feel like there has to be a mystery or thriller element to most of the episodes, which means there have to be dead bodies and bad guys and the like. But unless they want Mary and Marshall to seem really bad at their jobs, very few of these cases can wind up having anything to do with their witnesses' former lives, which in turn means that most of the action each week could be featured on one of dozens of other series.

Maybe the daily life of an actual U.S. Marshal in the WitSec program is interesting and exciting enough to support a weekly drama series. Maybe it isn't. I have no idea. But either the "In Plain Sight" producers have researched it (as much as the Marshals will allow them to) and discovered that it's not, or they're too conditioned to tell the same kinds of stories we get on every other cop show, and that's unfortunate.

What did everybody else think?

11 comments:

Kendra said...

I had really high hopes for this show. I love Mary McCormack and really wanted it to do well.

It has basically become my filler show, I watch MadMen and tivo this and watch it when I feel like it.

I did watch it last night, since I was up late and was really disappointed. I thought we would have much more Mary than we got. I thought there was so much more they could have done there.

I think the show needs to dump the family and it pains me to say this as I like Cristian and regroup for next season if there is one.

Last week I thought we were given a little glimmer of hope with Jason Wiles and thought well this could be interesting if they play this right. But no instead we get more of stupid Brandi and the magical bag of meth.

And really, Spanky can get all the way back to NJ track down Chuck, kill two FBI agents and not go after Brandi, when he was right there in Albuquerque and clearly knew where they lived.

It was an Ehh episode for me. Thought it would be much more interesting with the kidnap.

amasea said...

I agree, they could have done a lot more with kidnapped Mary than they did, perhaps a two-parter with all kinds of psychological drama, but now they've blown that potential plot for a long time to come (after all, how often are US Marshals kidnapped?).
Speaking of, it's a piddly little point, but I'm fairly sure the job is "Marshal" and the name is "Marshall," rather than the other way around.
I'll be curious to see how they resolve this season-long plot. If they did it right, next season there'll be psychological fallout from the series of events they set up this season, and not just a new MacGuffin.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Speaking of, it's a piddly little point, but I'm fairly sure the job is "Marshal" and the name is "Marshall," rather than the other way around

Sigh... Much like Omar/Marlo on "The Wire," it's one of those inevitable transpositions that I make all the damn time. Fixed.

AG said...

I think it's hurting my head to... just a second... (*click* *click* *click*) banish In Plain Sight from my DVR. But there, it's done. Mary McCormack's a marvel, but the ep last night was just depressing; I signed onto this cruise for "hope he calls!," not the current damsel-in-chains nonsense. All the folks who suggested that the family storyline would eventually drag this show down were, alas, on the money.

Nuala said...

Eh,since they set up the suitcase of blow early in the season, maybe they felt they had to follow through with this nonsense.

I hope that the first episode of the second season opens with Mary driving back from the airport, having sent both Jinx (apparently her legal name, since it was on her sheet) and Brandi on a 'round the world tour.

Anthony Foglia said...

Not only is it apparently waterproof, but it now seems to wind up in Brandi's possession no matter what she does. I thought I was paying close attention last week and I still have no idea how the hell she got it out of the motel room with the scary junkie family. Nor do I really care.

I caught last week's episode Sunday--and by "caught" I played it off the TiVo while I caught up on the news. The second time Brandi went into the junkie's motel room (to give the baby the teddy bear) she uses the excuse that she's bringing a sample for Spanky.

Andrew Johnston said...

I like the show a whole lot, but it's become increasingly hard to forgive some of the leaps it takes--this week, Chuck was (a) all set up with a WitSec profile in about five minutes over the phone by the FBI, and (b) somehow transported from New Jersey to New Mexico in less than 24 hours by the bad guys (presumably not by plane; can you imagine crooks escorting a prisoner via air these days? McCormack, Weller, Ben-Victor and the dialogue will keep me coming back, but a good bit of the rest of the show really needs to be rethought.

Ed said...

I couldn't care less about this show anymore. Next week will be the end of it.

(They took off The 4400 for this?)

But hey, Lesley Ann Warren looks great and unless they had a Chinese stunt singer, she still has pretty good pipes too.

dez said...

(They took off The 4400 for this?)

Crap, they did!?

If there's any way they can jettison Jinx and Brandi and keep Raph, that would be fine with me. BTW, Brandi did all that setting up and turning in of the drug dealers in one day? She's a go-getter, she is!

Anonymous said...

Dude, you review the whole season and leave us hanging on the final episode?

Can we get a post?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dude, show some patience! Dude!

Finale review.