Where I thought parts of the previous Reese-lite episode worked, I found most of "Shelf Life" to be either dull or, when it came to the conspiracy arc, confusing.
On the confusion front, I thought I was paying close attention and I have absolutely no idea how or why the obnoxious military wannabe helped Charlie and Ted get over on the film noir insurance investigator, and the pleasure of seeing Damian Lewis play opposite his wife again wasn't enough to overcome my dumbsquizzlement.
Meanwhile, I feel like these two episodes where Crews was paired with Stark were a missed opportunity. Because he spent so much of the abbreviated first season as a red herring for the conspiracy, and because he's been off to the side so much this season, there hasn't been much opportunity to see him and Crews dealing with each other without the shadow of Stark's possible guilt hanging over them. I think they could have delved a little deeper into how Bobby feels about having given up on his partner, or just the awkwardness that comes from Bobby having lived a life for the 12 years Charlie was away, or anything with more weight than the brief reference to Charlie watching home movies in his head while he was locked up.
I don't know how much of these scripts were written before the producers knew they'd have to put Sarah Shahi off to the side for a while. But obviously, some rewriting got done, so there was a chance to put more of that material in. Instead, Stark goes back to uniform, Crews gets a new temporary partner next week, and the show will likely be canceled before there's another chance to give these two some extended screentime together. Ah, well.
Finally, since William Atherton was technically credited as a guest star, and appeared for all of two seconds in the surveillance footage of him with Reese, does that mean I need to continue with my pledge to include an Atherton-related '80s movie quote? So continue to quote I shall, once again returning to the bottomless well that is "Real Genius" (and if you haven't rented that movie by now, I don't know what to tell you), with Atherton as Dr. Jerry Hathaway talking to the mother of young genius Mitch Taylor:
Mrs. Taylor: Dr. Hathaway, I saw your program on radioactive isotopes last night, and I've got a question.What did everybody else think?
Jerry Hathaway: Yes?
Mrs. Taylor: Is that your real hair?
Jerry Hathaway: Tell me something. Is Mitch by any chance adopted?
Mrs. Taylor: Why, no!
Jerry Hathaway: Amazing.
Mrs. Taylor: Isn't it?