As mentioned previously, "Lie to Me" is a show that, due to its nature, I'm not going to blog about every week, but tonight's episode was a pretty strong one, and I want to talk briefly about why. Spoilers coming up just as soon as I run away to that place where all the cool teenagers hide out...
"Lie to Me" showrunner Shawn Ryan told me at the start of the season that he wanted to focus on character first and the science second, and that he felt the stories would have more impact if there weren't always so many of them per episode. "Black Friday," though, managed to spend roughly equal time on two stories without one diminishing the other, and it managed to work in a fair bit of the science without it feeling like it came at the expense of the characters.
Tim Roth is still reasons #1-17 for watching this show, but it's important to develop the other characters, both as foils for Lightman and so the B-stories are interesting even when they're Lightman-lite. The Black Friday story did a good job of setting up Loker and Torres on opposite sides of the issue, and having Loker do the right thing not because he's necessarily a good guy, but because of the (mostly) inflexible moral code he's set up for himself.
The highlight, though, was Lightman taking the kidnapped boy through the looking glass, and the problem getting increasingly messy as it went along. In that way, it felt like one of the better episodes of "House," only instead of one misdiagnosis after another, we got one incorrect set of parents after another, and the final one was so damaged that the kid started to regret looking at all.
"Lie to Me" isn't a straight crime procedural, but it can be close enough that I appreciate episodes like this one that deny you the pat ending. The electronics store will still make a payout, but people are still dead and they probably should be paying more. And the kid finds his biological father, but all four living parties are all so damaged by the experience that they may never put themselves back together again - or maybe they will. (All of this, of course, depends on what kind of time, if any, the adoptive parents have to serve.)
Strong outing. Again, I don't have a lot of room in my life for standalone dramas, but episodes like this remind me why I make an exception for "Lie to Me."
What did everybody else think?