Jul 30, 2017
Minority Report: Dash's Aim Is Far From True
Previously on Minority Report: Vega got Dash a job as her civilian partner and even revealed Dash’s secret to Akeela. Wally gave Dash a smartwatch that will alert him whenever he’s about to have one of his visions of a future murder. Meanwhile, Agatha forcibly “recruited” an embezzler named Charlie to learn more about the government’s plans to put the precogs back in the milk bath.
Well, those who have been following this show have probably heard the news that FOX has reduced its episode order from 13 down to 10, which is bad news for Minority Report no matter which way you spin it. The only real question now is whether Fox will actually air all ten of those episodes or pull the plug sooner than that. Either way, I don’t think many will be surprised (or disappointed) to learn that I won’t be continuing these recaps for much longer. But on the positive side, I’ve already decided which show I’ll be recapping next, and I’ll be starting on those within the next couple of weeks. Watch this space!
Ironically, this week’s episode, “Fredi,” is probably the show’s best so far, in that it contains a few moments of actual emotion and drama. Unfortunately, they aren’t enough to salvage an episode that turns out to be yet another bland, paint-by-numbers murder mystery. What’s weird is that this episode even features a slightly novel twist, but almost nothing is made of it; I didn’t even notice there was a twist until I watched it a second time.
The episode begins at Arthur’s place, where a shirtless Arthur is making out with a random woman in her underwear and shoving his face between her boobs. Anything to keep people from immediately tuning out after Gotham, I guess. But they get interrupted by a visitor at the door, and it’s Dash. Arthur lets him in as he tells the woman, “Sorry, Anoushka. Apparently it’s always brother time these days.” And I’d say that just about sums up the series as a whole.
Dash is here to talk some more about Agatha’s vision, where she sees Vega being involved when the precogs get put back in the milk bath. He wants to tell Vega, but Arthur warns him against this because she might be the one who “sells us out.” What’s more, Arthur won’t be helping out Vega anymore, because he fears that doing so might be sealing their own fate.
After the opening credits, we’re at Metro PD headquarters, where Lt. Blake addresses all the new civilian Hawkeye analysts, telling them tomorrow they “officially hit the streets.” So I guess when Dash helped Vega stop a murder in the previous episode, that was an off-the-clock thing?
Akeela comes up to Dash and Vega and admires Dash’s “vintage ‘48” watch, but he blurts out that the watch is actually a device that warns him when he’s about to see a murder. Vega cuts him off, since this is obviously TMI, but at least it gives us more exposition about the watch.
Vega is about to clock out and go home, but Dash’s watch goes off, prompting Vega to turn serious and say, “You need to go to the bathroom.” Is this a watch that warns him about a future murder or a watch that warns him about a future case of the squirts? Because let’s face it, both of those would be equally useful.
Meanwhile, on the (surprisingly densely populated) remote island, Agatha and Charlie are meeting up in a diner. She’s got a package with instructions for him, and she’ll give him his embezzled money back when he finishes the job. Charlie suggests he might kill her instead, but Agatha spooks him by predicting ahead of time that the local sheriff is about to walk in and order a meal, which of course comes true. She warns him that she’ll always be “a step ahead” of him, so Charlie takes the package and leaves to do her bidding.
Cut to Wally’s place, as we once again see Dash’s latest murder vision projected on the wall. There’s a dog, a gun, a statue getting splattered with blood, and a bloody bracelet flying off a woman’s arm. Akeela shows up, and Wally freaks out, and Vega’s all, “Wally, I told you Akeela was joining the team!” The team? What are they, the Preemptive Justice League?
Wally somehow knows all about Akeela’s life and background, and wonders how a “Sprawl punk who tattooed her face to fool facial recognition cameras” ended up as a cop. And thanks to that clunky line of exposition, we now know the secret origin of Akeela’s face paint. I mean, “tattoo.”
Vega brings the discussion back to the future murder. Wally is able to identify the breed of dog in the vision as a “Czechoslovakian vlcak,” and Akeela instantly has a list of everyone in the city who owns one. Among them is a guy named Cayman Bello, and Vega asks, “Cayman Bello? Of the Bello family?” Well, that would only follow, I think. It’d be a bit strange if he were Cayman Bello of the Lipchitz family.
But of course, Cayman Bello comes from a wealthy/powerful family, and his mother was a senator, and now Cayman is one of “D.C.’s top philanthropists.” They pull up a picture of him, and it seems he’s the murderer. They can’t see the victim’s face, so Vega once again says they need to go see Arthur, but things shockingly deviate from the formula when Dash says he can’t do that and pretends that Arthur is “out of town.”
Instead, they’ll have to go scope out Cayman Bello in person. And they’re in luck, because he’s throwing some kind of charity function tomorrow and Akeela is able to use her techie genius skills to get Dash and Vega on the guest list.
Vega and Dash go to the charity function and split up, and Dash checks out a statue and pulls out his sketchbook to see if it matches the statue in his vision. He gets approached by a dark-haired woman who asks if he’s an artist. They have an instant connection, and she introduces herself as Fredi Kincaid. She says she works for Cayman Bello’s foundation. They shake hands, and she’s wearing the bracelet from Dash’s vision, so she must be the murder victim.
Cayman walks past and complains about the music, wanting Fredi to put on “something from this century.” The song currently playing is “Alison” by Elvis Costello, which will unfortunately be a recurring motif here. Vega overhears Cayman and says to Dash, “Okay, so he hates good music. Noted.” Sorry, but people who listen to Iggy Azalea should not be throwing stones.
The next day at the police station, Vega, Dash, and Akeela talk about doing surveillance on Fredi, but Dash wants to “go undercover” to keep an eye on her. Vega thinks Dash is doing this specifically because he wants to ask Fredi out on a date, and yet both she and Akeela seem totally fine with this and decide to hook Dash up with a “wire.”
After a shot of a building with “Bello Group” signage, we find Dash in the lobby on his undercover assignment. He’s been given his own pair of high-tech contact lenses, and he’s overwhelmed by all the information streaming into his eyeballs until Akeela and Vega, who are monitoring the video feed coming from those lenses, tell him how to shut it off.
Dash then sees Fredi in the lobby and approaches her to ask her out, wondering if she’s free tomorrow “for meals… or beverages!” Fredi finds his awkward demeanor charming and invites him to accompany her to a barbecue at Cayman’s house.
Meanwhile, Charlie is having a meeting with Arthur. He explains that Agatha sent him here to procure a new identity with a “high security clearance,” and he’s hoping for the “family discount.” He dumps a load of cash on the table, and Arthur agrees to help. And since it’s the future, this scene also reveals that Barack Obama will one day be on the 500 dollar bill.
At Cayman’s house, Fredi introduces Dash to Cayman and his friend Whitman Cho, who derisively refers to Dash as Fredi’s “intern.” Vega, listening in, goes, “Whitman’s a dick.” Huh, I didn’t know you could call somebody a “dick” on primetime broadcast TV these days. Or maybe you can’t, and given this show’s ratings, nobody actually noticed.
Dash spots the dog from his vision, and then Cayman finds out what Dash’s full name is and wants to know if he’s Dash Parker “of the Virginia Parkers?” Dash says he’s not sure, and the guys chuckle at him. So Dash fires back with a lengthy spiel about his “drug addict mother” who died before she could give birth to him, and how he was put in an “incubator,” and how he spent his childhood in “foster care,” and thus he’s “not sure if the name comes from Virginia, but I’ll look into it!”
This shuts Cayman and his friend up, and Dash walks out. But he already knows Fredi is going to run after him. They decide to ditch the barbecue and go hang out in the “Sprawl,” the poor part of town where Tom Cruise got his eye transplants in the movie.
Dash asks Fredi how she came to work for Cayman, and she explains he was a friend of her sister. Dash wonders where her sister is now, and Fredi replies, “Depends on what kind of god you believe in!” Which is just an idiotic way of saying she died, and then Dash learns her sister’s name was Alison. Yes, just like the Elvis Costello song, and no, this is not a coincidence.
Alison died of a drug overdose, but Fredi is convinced that Cayman and his friends were responsible. Dash realizes that’s the reason Fredi is working for Cayman. “To find proof!”
Later, Dash is at Vega’s house, and they talk about how Dash has never seen a murder more than three days in the future, so it must be happening tonight. Dash says that makes sense, because tonight is the night that Fredi is going to “confront Cayman with the proof” that he’s responsible for her sister’s death. And as a matter of fact, Dash has promised to help get Fredi past Cayman’s security system.
And that’s pretty much where this episode’s plot goes off the rails. Basically, we have a woman who’s decided to go vigilante and investigate her sister’s death and confront the suspects; she’s even unknowingly enlisted an undercover cop in helping her break into a suspect’s house; and Vega just nods her head like this is the most normal thing in the world.
Dash says he knows “a guy” who can help them break into Cayman’s house, and that guy is of course Arthur, who is apparently this show’s go-to character for anything even remotely shady. Arthur refers Dash to a guy in the Sprawl (again writing down his name on the back of a business card), and Dash and Fredi go see the guy and give him a glass with Cayman’s DNA on it. He proceeds to use a “tissue printer” to create an exact replica of Cayman’s eyeball, which they’ll of course be able to use to get past various retinal scans. Fredi is so grateful for Dash’s help that she starts making out with him on the street.
Next, they’re at Dash’s place. Fredi is asking about Dash’s childhood “in the system,” and he starts confessing things about how he grew up. Vega is listening in and terrified that Dash is going to confess to being a precog, but he keeps things vague enough to where she doesn’t catch on. But for perhaps the first time in the series, there’s some genuine acting going on in this scene, as Dash gets emotional about the horrors of being a precog and doesn’t want it to all be for nothing. Fredi gets emotional and doesn’t want her sister’s death to be for nothing, either.
While this is going on, Akeela’s been researching the case of Fredi’s sister Alison. She’s found no record of anyone named Alison Kincaid, but she did track down an “Alison Carrigan” who died of an overdose, and whose sister is named Ricki Carrigan, not Fredi. Also, it turns out one of Cayman’s friends suspiciously died of an overdose right after getting a visit from Ricki/Fredi. Vega realizes that Ricki/Fredi doesn’t actually want proof, “she wants revenge!”
Vega heads down to Dash’s place to convince him to call things off, telling him, “You just slept with a killer, Dash!” So, uh, did Dash turn off the lenses while they were having sex, or was Vega watching the whole time? Dash doesn’t believe Fredi is a murderer “because I know killers,” and also, “I know her.” Vega leaves, and Dash decides to pull out his earpiece and lenses and go off the grid.
Meanwhile, Charlie is using his new fake identity to sneak into the “Defense Intelligence Agency.” After some minor trouble getting through a security checkpoint, he’s soon at a workstation researching the “Photonic Containment System,” better known as the milk bath.
And then it’s back to Fredi and Dash as they break into Cayman’s house using the 3-D printed eyeball, and Dash asks her where the “evidence” is that she supposedly came here for. But surprise, there is no evidence, and she’s just here to force Cayman to confess at gunpoint. Oh, and it turns out she did in fact drive that other guy to commit suicide by overdose. So much for Dash “knowing” her.
Fredi goes into Cayman’s bedroom and locks Dash out. Inside, she confronts Cayman and starts playing Elvis Costello’s “Alison,” saying, “She said you used to play it for her!” She then asks if Alison ever mentioned having a sister. “Ricki? Fredericka?” So, after making a big deal of “Fredi” being some sort of sinister assumed name, it turns out Fredi’s name is actually Fredericka, and at one point she was also known as Ricki. That’s a bit underwhelming.
She pulls a gun on him, and then they both hold for a couple of beats so we can hear Elvis Costello sing, “Alison, my aim is true.” You see, it’s clever, because she’s currently aiming a gun at him.
Back from break, Dash is trying to figure out how to get inside the bedroom. That’s when he sees Cayman’s dog go through a high-tech doggie door. Presumably, Dash squeezes through the doggie door right after him, but we unfortunately don’t get to see that.
Inside the room, Cayman refuses to confess, so Fredi shoots him in the leg, splattering blood on a statue. They have a struggle and her bracelet goes flying off. Then the dog barks, thus providing all the clips seen in Dash’s vision. Dash then shows up and talks Fredi out of killing the guy, because he’s seen other people make the same choice and he knows it never works out for them.
He finally reveals that he works for the police, and using his precog skills, he knows that more cops are on their way here now. But he still sees the good in her and gives her time to get away. She kisses him one last time and takes off.
Vega comes charging in with several officers in camouflage, and Dash plays dumb about where Fredi is. But it seems Vega is actually here to arrest Cayman, because Akeela discovered some needlessly convoluted evidence that proves Cayman was with Alison at the time of her death.
In the aftermath, Vega tells Dash he was “too close” to this. Which is putting it mildly, considering he just allowed a violent criminal to escape from the police, but I guess it’s all in a day’s work for the Metro PD. Judging by previous episodes, I’m not entirely sure there are any actual rules or regulations governing the conduct of Metro PD officers.
Finally, Charlie is giving Agatha the info he looked up about the Photonic Containment System, and Agatha gives him the rest of his money. But it seems he’s also figured out this all has something to do with Precrime, and now he knows that Agatha is one of the precogs. Let’s not be hasty here; we haven’t fully disproved the witch theory yet.
It seems like he intends to blackmail her with this information, but she says that won’t do him any good, because the “US Marshals” are coming for him right now. He starts to run out of the diner, but Agatha tells him to go out the back entrance instead. Naturally, this sends him directly into the path of the Marshals. He yells out, “Bitch!” Cut to a self-satisfied Agatha walking out of the diner to the sounds of gunfire, and presumably that’s the end of Charlie.
So, um, I guess this was the “best” episode yet, in that there was actually a scene or two of real drama. But overall, it’s still a pretty dull episode, with way too many stupid plot contrivances. I mean, the whole thing hinges on a character doing tons of illegal things, with an undercover cop helping her out, and that cop’s partner just shrugging her shoulders the whole time. Also, is it just my imagination, or did this episode completely gloss over its big twist? For the first time, the person they thought was the victim is actually the murderer, but absolutely nothing is made of this.
I suppose there are signs here that this show could improve, in the sense that any TV series could potentially improve given infinite time on the air, but Minority Report clearly doesn’t have that luxury. And while there will be some kneejerk blaming of Fox when the axe eventually falls, I think this show has earned its cancellation all by itself with hopelessly bland episodes like this one.
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