Mar 7, 2018
Minority Report: Dash Learns the Fine Art of Seduction
Previously on Minority Report: Can you see… murder? Future cop Lara Vega was tired of cleaning up after the fact and wanted to stop murders before they happened, so she teamed up with former Precrime precog Dash, even though his fellow precog Agatha warned him that they’re not supposed to interfere. With the help of Dash’s twin Arthur, they stopped a bio-weaponized pigeon attack, but Dash was force to kill the suspect. Meanwhile, Agatha was having visions of Precrime repossessing the precogs and putting them back in the milk bath.
Episode 2 opens with a flashback to (per the caption) “the last day of Precrime,” as Wally, the precogs’ caretaker, meets with some government stooge about what will happen to the precogs after they’re released. The stooge is surprised to learn the three have names, and I’m pretty sure this flashback was only thrown in to give us exposition about the precogs (Agatha “becomes” the victims she sees, Arthur is like an “antenna” pulling in names and facts, and Dash “sees the horror”), because nothing that happens here gets referenced again.
Cut to the present. Well, it’s still the future. It’s the future present. Dash is in a park playing chess against multiple people and using his precognitive abilities to beat them all handily. This includes a girl with blue and purple hair who complains she didn’t even get a chance to make a move. And in the movie that this show is allegedly based on, the precogs only had the ability to see murders, but it seems here they have the ability to see pretty much anything that’s about to happen, as long as it moves the plot along and/or sets up a gag.
And now Dash doubles over as he gets another vision of a future murder, where a man ties up a woman and attacks her with a knife. As he runs off, someone tries to tell him he forgot his “winnings,” but Twilight Sparkle Girl goes, “Shhh!”
After a brand new title sequence where Meagan Good’s voiceover explains the premise of the show, who the precogs are, and how they were held for six years “against their will” by the government, we find Det. Vega and her boss Lt. Blake in some sort of post-apocalyptic hellscape doing battle with what appear to be Mad Max cosplayers. And the entire time they’re blowing people away, they’re having a casual conversation about current pop music, and how Vega still listens to Beyonce, which Blake refers to as “oldies,” because in case you forgot since last episode, it’s the future.
Vega then uses the thermal setting on her lenses to locate their adversaries, and she has a smile on her face as she shoots them all one by one. Blake then informs her she missed one, as another attacker jumps out of a window and shoots her in the head. And as you may have already guessed from their lighthearted demeanor and the way this scene plays out like a first-person shooter, this was all a big holographic training simulation and they’re both currently inside high-tech hamster balls.
If I ruled the world, I think I’d outlaw all “training sequence” fakeouts from movies and TV now and forever. I don’t think a scene like this has actually surprised an audience since the opening of Wrath of Khan 33 years ago, and as this scene shows, it’s almost always a cheap way to shoehorn in some “action” when it clearly isn’t warranted by the plot.
As they leave the training room, Blake reminds Vega he’s been cleaning up her “mess” from last week’s case, where both suspects ended up dead. And now the “feds are asking questions,” because they think she had help, and Blake has his suspicions, too. Akeela, our Police Science-y Girl (and yes, that is her official title), also has her suspicions, because she knows the forensics don’t match up with Vega’s story. Vega says she can’t tell Akeela what really went down because she’s protecting her.
And now Dash is back at Wally’s place, again using his homemade neural interface to project his visions on a brick wall. Vega shows up, and they check out his latest vision, where all they have to go on is the victim’s distinctive pair of silver shoes, a spinning moon/star symbol, and an armband from a singles bar called “Club Alpha.” With no other leads, they once again decide they need Arthur’s help. I sense a formula developing.
Dash goes to Arthur’s office, and Arthur prods Dash about how he killed someone in the previous episode. But Dash only wants the “pieces of the puzzle” that Arthur has about this week’s crime, and Arthur gets the closest thing this show has had to a decent line with, “If you’re planning to stop every murder in the city, you really should consider costumes!”
Arthur, on the other hand, is all done with saving people for free. Now he wants “leverage,” and in exchange for the info, he wants Vega to go pull a specific Metro PD case file and bring it to him. But Dash turns this down, because that would mean breaking the law. So for those keeping track, he’s cool with Vega falsifying a police report about a double homicide, but peeking at personal data is a bridge too far.
Without any other options, Vega and Dash go stake out Club Alpha, where everyone’s wearing holographic arm bands that strangers can tap together to instantly determine how sexually compatible they are. Two guys tap arms, and the armbands tell them they’re 91% compatible, and also to “get a room,” so they take off, and you have to wonder how a club stays in business when people only stay long enough to tap armbands and then go off and bone.
As they wait in line outside, Vega warns Dash not to go “rogue” like last time and hands him something he can use in an emergency: It’s a “Sick Stick,” another obscure callback to the movie, which is a baton that causes people to instantly vomit, which I think was only used one time in the movie.
The two get armbands and tap theirs together, you know, just for fun, and discover they have a 51% compatibility score. Clearly, this is to set up the future possibility of a romance between our leads, if the show lasts that long (the show will not last that long). And we haven’t had a reminder it’s the future in a while, so Vega mentions how in her mom’s day, hooking up was much better because “People used to actually text and swipe pictures! There was interaction!”
They order drinks from a bartender (who stirs drinks with a pair of chopsticks), and Dash makes eye contact with a woman who turns out to be wearing the same shoes as the victim. She starts to leave with some guy, so Dash runs up and hits him with the Sick Stick, causing him to puke all over some other guy’s shoes. Dash tries to tell her he was going to tie her up and kill her, but she reveals that “he’s my brother!”
And all that just blows over, I guess, and now Vega spots a guy who she thinks is the killer, because he’s got that spinning symbol on his wrist. See, in the future, tattoos can be animated gifs. The next morning at Wally’s place, they learn the guy is famous, or least famous for “a guy who still writes books.”
His name is Tyson Cole, and he’s a pickup artist who writes about “unlocking the secret of seduction.” Dash already has a copy of his book, which has that same spinning logo on it, and I guess in the Minority Report future, every book will be a single, scrolling sheet of paper.
They have their suspect, but Wally points out it’s not the “good old fascist days” when they could arrest the guy for a crime he hasn’t committed, and so they have to catch him in the act. (But apparently pushing a man off a ledge to his death for a crime he hasn’t committed is perfectly fine.)
In his apartment, Dash has another holographic “phone call” with Agatha to remind us she exists. She says he must be “haunted” about killing someone. She also warns him that “that detective” is just using him, but Dash refuses to believe it.
And now Dash and Vega are back at Club Alpha, staking out Tyson Cole, and there’s some vague explanation for why he’s at this club every night. Dash has been reading Cole’s book and is now quoting “rules” from it like, “If it’s trust you want, look in the mirror.” As they spy, Dash notes how Tyson is being a “total neg,” which means turning down a woman to damage her self-esteem just to make her want you more, and for a moment I thought that was futuristic slang, but no, it’s actual present-day pickup artist terminology. Vega tells Dash to “trash that book.”
They follow Tyson home, and Vega uses the thermal setting on her lenses to ascertain that nobody else is in the house. So essentially doing a warrantless search on somebody’s home is fine, but looking at an old case file is way out of bounds. Vega says there’s no victim with him, and Dash suggests he might be waiting on a “booty call,” and Vega just gives him a look, and arrgh, this dialogue is so dumb; nobody’s going to be saying “booty call” in the 2060s. Nobody’s saying “booty call” now, or has been at any point in the last 15 years.
As they continue their stakeout, they have a bonding moment where Dash confesses that when he killed that guy, it “didn’t feel like anything.” He’s seen hundreds of murders, and he thought being at the scene of one would be horrible, but he’s bothered because it had absolutely no emotional impact on him. And that would make two of us.
Next, they attend one of Tyson Cole’s seminars on how to seduce women, and if you’re expecting a Tom Cruise-in-Magnolia-esque “Respect the cock” rant, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. He just makes ambiguous statements about falling in love with yourself, etc., and everyone cheers. Vega suggests that instead of waiting for Tyson to pick up his victim, she should be the one to get picked up instead.
She intercepts him outside, asking if he’s “Tyler Call” and pretending not to know anything about him. He says she’s cute for using a “negative opener,” but thinks this is some sort of scheme to get him into bed and “sell the VR streaming rights to live, first-person sex with Tyson Cole.” He shoots her down and leaves, and Dash is there to quote another rule: “If you sense desperation, walk away.”
So now they’re completely out of options, and Vega decides to finally go get that case file in the hopes Arthur will help them out. While at the station, she gets cornered by Blake, who’s ecstatic to share the news that their precinct has been selected as part of a “pilot program” for the “Hawkeye” system, which you may recall from the previous episode is mayoral candidate Van Eyck’s plan for “predictive policing” using old Person of Interest reruns, and this is really just a setup for next week’s episode. Does this mean Van Eyck became mayor since last week, or is someone else jacking his system?
Finally, Vega brings that case file to Arthur, and she already knows it describes a “neuroin addict in the Sprawl” who died while giving birth to “twin boys,” so presumably the woman is Arthur and Dash’s mother, which Arthur already knew. This may have been some sort of “test” to see if Vega would do what he asked, though Arthur never confirms it. But he does finally give up the victim’s name: Blanca Garcia. And for some reason, whenever Arthur makes a prediction, he has to write it down on the back of one of his business cards. No idea why.
Dash and Vega return to the club and quickly track down Blanca Garcia. Dash wants to go over and tell her to leave so she won’t get murdered, but Vega reiterates that they need to use her as bait to catch Tyson.
Dash completely ignores her and walks up to Blanca while she’s talking to the bartender (the same one with the chopsticks, remember?). Dash starts using some of Tyson’s pickup techniques on her, like saying there are too many fives and sixes at this club and she’s at least “a seven.” Blanca immediately figures out his game. “Are you negging me?”
She gets disgusted and leaves, and Dash thinks this is mission accomplished. But then it turns out Tyson is leaving at the same moment, and he and Blanca end up sharing a cab, which means Dash is partially responsible for his vision coming true. Which would seem to indicate the future can’t be changed, except we already know it can be, so I guess the future can only be changed when the plot requires it.
Dash and Vega eventually get to Tyson’s house, and Vega flashes her badge and demands to know where Blanca is. But Tyson says she got out of the cab halfway through the ride. So they realize he’s not the murderer, and they rush back to Wally’s place to watch the vision again. This is when it finally occurs to them that the symbol they saw isn’t Tyson’s tattoo, but rather the cover of his book. And then they spot chopsticks in the background, which can only mean that the bartender at Club Alpha is the murderer.
Blanca has gone back to the club because she left her purse behind. The bartender goes to hand it to her, but instead looks her up and down with an obvious “this seems like a good time to kill you” look. After commercials, he’s got her tied up in the back room, and he’s pissed off that every night she goes home with guys like Tyson instead of “nice guys” like him. And if only the actor were wearing a fedora in this scene, that would have been the perfect touch. She tries to fight back, and he picks up a knife.
Vega bursts in and gets into a gunfight with the bartender, who shuts off the lights and forces Vega to activate the night vision setting on her lenses. But then he hits her with a spotlight or something, which blinds Vega, and now it’s up to Dash to get a psychic vision of where the killer will be standing so Vega can shoot in his general direction without looking. She takes down the suspect, and only now starts to think that maybe having a psychic around might be useful.
We’re back at the park, where Dash meets Twilight Sparkle Girl, who wants to play chess again, thus proving Dash doesn’t need the advice of scummy pickup artists to meet women. And finally, we close with Agatha’s vision of the precogs getting taken and put back in the milk bath. But there’s more to the vision: She sees Vega’s face and hears her say, “All right, let’s put them in.” Agatha’s eye snaps open, and we end with her lying in bed. So it would seem Vega will somehow be involved in them being drafted back into Precrime… though something tells me this is another fakeout.
Last week’s pilot was somewhat promising, but based on this mediocre follow-up, Minority Report the series is likely doomed. This episode’s plot is about as dumb as anything you’ll see on a CSI spin-off, and I have no idea why they brought in the whole pickup artist angle. Maybe the writer lurked in some Reddit forums and learned about women-hating “nice guys” who attempt to find solace in the whole “seduction community” and thought it would make for an interesting, controversial story premise. But any spark of an idea that may have existed here has been watered down to the point where you wonder why they bothered. The end result is a pretty banal hour of television, airing at precisely the time this show should be doing everything it can to engage new viewers and grab their attention. Given the abysmal ratings for the pilot episode, following it up with a lighthearted, romantic comedy-style episode was probably the worst thing they could do.
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