Dec 14, 2020
Minority Report: Being an Alpha Male Is Now a Crime
Previously on Minority Report: Dash is a precog who did nothing but watch people get murdered for a decade, and Det. Vega’s a cop who’s “tired of picking up the pieces”—together, they fight crime! They learned about the “Hawkeye” program, which is “predictive policing based on hard data” instead of trivial things like psychic visions. Speaking of which, Agatha had a vision of the precogs getting forcibly drafted back into Precrime, and she knows Vega will somehow be involved.
We get a view of the highway in future DC (which is evidently called a “magway” due to the levitating cars), while we hear that “How you like me now” song from every movie trailer. A couple is in a car, and the husband is engaging in insane, risky behavior: he’s actually driving his car himself. The wife is nervous and wants to go back to “driverless” mode, but he floors it.
Just then, they get a transmission on the dashboard from a Metro PD officer saying that, on behalf of the Hawkeye program, they’re designating him an “orange level threat to public safety” due to his current erratic behavior. His license and legal rights have been suspended, and the guy pounds on the dashboard and screams, “You can’t do this to me!” And on that less than impressive cold open, we go to the credits.
At Metro PD headquarters, all the officers are gathered around as Det. Blake and some woman from “Central” explain that they’ll be taking part in the “Hawkeye pilot program.” Basically, this means they’ll have computers analyze security footage and other data to determine who’s a “risk to public safety,” and then they’ll closely monitor them. But the woman from Central insists, “This is not Precrime!” It’s just… preventing crimes before they happen. Completely different.
Vega speaks up, saying it’s a bit stupid to target people just for acting weird. Blake responds by saying that as part of the program, some officers will be “partnered with civilian analysts,” and to her annoyance, he thinks Vega is the “perfect woman for the job.”
And now Arthur and Dash are out riding bikes together in the woods. Dash suddenly brakes just before a jogger darts out in front of them, but Arthur takes a tumble. Arthur knows he had a vision of that happening, and Dash says a line I can’t believe someone got paid to write: “You know, sometimes being a drug baby has its advantages!”
Arthur reminds us that he can only see names, and in fact, he knows the name of the jogger. Dash asks if he got her number too, and Arthur just smirks. They sit down, and Arthur takes out what looks like breath strips with the marijuana leaf logo of “Hart’s Totally Baked Goods” (as seen in the pilot). He casually pops an edible in his mouth while saying he enjoys taking “the edge off,” another reminder of our inevitable future of legal recreational drug use.
He asks about the detective Dash has been palling around with, and wants him to be more careful around her. Dash thinks he only sees the worst in people, but Arthur says he should, because “there’s a worst in everyone dying to get out!” Then Arthur does the trademark Precog Wince and goes, “Like your new friend, Mr. Messero.” Dash doesn’t know anyone named Messero, and that’s when he jerks back and gets a vision of a future murder. The murderer is the same guy who was speeding in the intro, and Dash sees him on a backwoods road getting into a fight and stomping a guy to death.
Back at Wally’s place, they’re once again pulling the vision out of Dash’s brain and projecting it onto the wall. And this time, they’ve got a name from Arthur, but Wally already recognizes the future perpetrator as Mark Messero, the “chief creative officer” of a technology company called Narcissus.
Vega calls Akeela and has her analyze a still photo of the victim. She identifies him as Trevor Maloney, and somehow knows he’s in town training for a bicycle race. Akeela also sees that Mark Messero was just flagged by the Hawkeye program for “high risk behavior,” so now a Hawkeye unit will be able to track his every move.
Vega tells Dash to come to work with her and apply to be one of those “civilian analysts” needed by the Hawkeye program. “We’d have a real cover!” But Dash is freaking out at the prospect of going back to Metro PD headquarters, because it’s the same place where he was hooked up to machines in the milk bath. But supposedly, Wally was the only person who ever saw the precogs up close, leading to the dubious notion that Dash won’t be recognized when he goes back there. Dash points out he doesn’t even have a “legal name,” but Vega reminds him Arthur is an “identity thief” and can hook him up.
And now we get a repeat of Agatha’s vision from the stinger of the previous episode. Agatha and Arthur are soon having a phone conversation, I think, even though all we see is the two of them standing in different rooms and talking to the empty air. Maybe they’re having a psychic conversation?
Agatha describes her vision and how she sees Det. Vega present when they’re put back in the milk bath. Agatha thinks the government wants the precogs back for some sort of “secret program,” and they need someone on the “inside” to help them out. And she apparently won’t have trouble finding someone, because as Arthur points out, she lives on “the island of misfit toys, full of people running away from the government.” So I guess that island isn’t nearly as isolated as we’ve been told repeatedly. Agatha probably lives somewhere in Jersey.
Cut to Arthur at an outdoor restaurant, where he gets served a… skewer of burnt insects on a bed of dried fruit? That’s my best guess. Vega and Dash are here looking for his help, but this time it’s to secure a fake identity for Dash, who reveals he wants to work for the police. This causes Arthur to almost choke on whatever he’s eating. He refuses to help, but then Vega says she knows Arthur is using his precog skills to illegally make money at off-track betting, and so blackmails him into helping out.
Now we’re at Vega’s home, where she and Akeela are relaxing over wine. Vega finally confesses that she’s working with a precog. Akeela gets all fan-girly and asks what he’s like and wants to meet him. Vega says that Akeela will in fact be meeting him soon, because she’s the one interviewing people for that Hawkeye “civilian analyst” job. This makes Akeela terrified, because apparently letting precogs work for the police is a fireable offense.
Back on the island, Agatha is paying a visit to her neighbor Charlie. And after the stock footage in the pilot, this is the second-closest thing this show has given us to a Tom Cruise cameo, because Charlie is played by Tom’s cousin William Mapother (he had a bit part in the movie, although I doubt he’s meant to be the same character). Agatha asks why he moved out here, but thanks to her abilities, she already knows why: he embezzled $1.7 million from his former employer. Charlie replies that he’s starting to think what people say around here must be true: Agatha is a “witch.” Because clearly, that’s the most logical explanation. He angrily walks away and she already knows he’s heading for his safe.
Back in DC, Dash is looking nervous about walking back into Metro PD headquarters for the first time since his precog days. Soon, he’s in an interview with Akeela, who’s also nervous. His fake name is “Dashiell Parker.” Akeela is still worried about getting fired, but she gives him the job anyway.
And now, Vega and Dash are officially teaming up as they head to Narcissus to meet Mark Messero. A virtual receptionist greets them, and we see that the slogan of Narcissus is… “puts the ‘I’ in team”? Is that meant to be a joke? The receptionist tells them to follow the blue arrow that materializes on the floor, and I guess the future is going to be just like those Fidelity investment commercials.
They end up meeting some executive named Eli Winford because Mark Messero isn’t in today. But thanks to Hawkeye, Vega already knows all about Messero and how he was driving on the magway, and how he bought a gun, and how he threatened a co-worker, etc. Eli Winford assures her Messero wouldn’t hurt anyone, but she remains unconvinced.
So they go to Messero’s house, and on the way up to the door they check out a hover-bike parked out front. Dash knows it’s not street legal and they stopped making these decades ago. They see the front door is open, and Vega uses the thermal setting on her contact lenses to peer inside and see Messero and his wife having what appears to be a physical struggle.
Vega bursts in, only to find out—surprise!—they were actually having sex. Messero is enraged about being under Hawkeye surveillance. “Now I can’t have sex in my own house with my wife!” But Vega knows he has a “high tolerance for risk,” adding, “If you were in your 60s, I’d call that a midlife crisis!” Because again, it’s the future, where we all live to be much older. Vega shows them a photo of future victim Trevor Maloney, but they both claim they’ve never seen him before.
Back on the island, Charlie is finally opening his safe, only to find his big bag of embezzled money is empty. So he grabs a gun from a toolbox and marches out, and I guarantee you will completely forget about this subplot by the time the episode circles back around to it.
After a completely time-wasting meeting between Dash and Lt. Blake, Dash and Vega pay a visit to Messero’s therapist, Dr. Emory, who’s using TMS, or “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation,” to heal damaged brains. They question him about Messero, but Emory says he can’t reveal any private information. Alas, Messero being flagged by Hawkeye overrides all doctor-patient confidentiality. Dr. Emory gets angry about now living in a “police state,” and I have to say, Vega seems oddly pleased about being able to violate Messero’s constitutional rights with impunity.
Eventually, it comes out that Messero got a promotion a year ago and was “paralyzed with fear,” so Emory used TMS and “fine-tuned his brain.” He says he saved Messero’s career, as well as his marriage after his wife had an affair.
Naturally, they think Messero’s wife is having an affair with the future victim, but that’s another red herring, because they question Messero’s wife and she doesn’t know the guy. She then says her husband went for a drive (his newer cars have all been disabled by Hawkeye, so he took one of his “classics”), and finally they realize that Messero and his victim are going to run into each other in a chance encounter on the road.
Vega says there’s no way they can get there in time. Dash says, “Unless we don’t take the road.” And as you might have seen coming, the two are now riding Messero’s hover-bike through the woods in a particularly lousy green-screen effect.
Sure enough, Messero and the future victim have just had a car-vs.-bicycle road rage encounter. They fight, and just as Messero is about to stomp his head in, Dash shows up and tackles Messero. Vega arrests them both.
And now Dash and Vega are back at Wally’s place, having drinks as they read about how Messero was placed on “indefinite leave” from Narcissus after his arrest. To celebrate their first “official win,” Wally has a gift for Dash: it’s a bracelet that uses body temperature to detect when he’s about to have a vision. When that happens, it will buzz and light up and give him 30 seconds to slip away. The bracelet goes off as soon as Dash puts it on, and Wally thinks it’s malfunctioning. But nope, Dash is getting another vision right now.
This time, he sees Messero despondent about being fired, leaving a suicide message for his wife, and then hanging himself. They’re all confused about how he can be getting a vision of suicide, because according to “Dr. Hineman” (yes, she was seen in the movie), the precogs can only pick up “the quantum fallout of two forces clashing: a murderer and a victim!” Essentially, precogs can’t see suicides, and so despite appearances, this has to be a murder. Except, according to this episode, precogs can see joggers about to jump in front of them and also use their powers to bet on horse races, so why is seeing a suicide so unbelievable?
Vega goes to stop the suicide while Dash tracks down Arthur at some fancy restaurant. Once again, Arthur refuses to help, but this time, he finally reveals Agatha’s vision about Vega. He says “they’re coming for us” and Vega is going to “betray” them. But Dash refuses to believe this and just wants a name. Meanwhile at Messero’s house, Vega shows up just in time to pull him down from hanging himself.
Soon she and Blake are interrogating Dr. Emory. It turns out he used the TMS treatment to screw up Messero’s brain and make him “self-destruct.” Vega shows him the suicide message and pretends that Messero actually did kill himself, and that Emory is now on the hook for murder.
Vega wants to know who put him up to it, thinking it could be a rival or someone on the Narcissus board that wanted his job. This is followed by a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene where the police (wearing camouflage, for some reason) show up at Narcissus to arrest Eli Winford, because that guy who was onscreen for thirty seconds was totally the killer, you guys!
Blake and Vega meet with the Messeros to tell them all charges against Mark will be dropped, but he’ll still need therapy to fix his brain. They thank her, but she says, “Don’t thank me. Thank… Hawkeye!” Down in the lobby, Dash tells Vega and Akeela that being back in this building will take some getting used to.
And now we’re finally back with Charlie and his gun. He intends to kill Agatha, but she already knows what his escape plans are, so she explains to him in gory detail exactly where and how the law will catch up to him. She says he has nowhere to run. Charlie puts down the gun and asks what she wants, and she just smiles.
So basically, nothing interesting happened at all this week. It almost makes the previous episode look like fun in retrospect, and believe me, that episode wasn’t fun by any stretch of the imagination. This show has already turned into every other bland police procedural on TV, with each episode filled with pointless red herrings and potential suspects until a character who appeared in one scene is inevitably revealed to be this week’s killer. Here’s hoping Fox lives up to its show-killer rep and puts Minority Report out of its misery soon.
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