Jul 16, 2020
Minority Report: Vega Gets a Death Shirt
Previously on Minority Report: …Wait a minute, this episode has no “previously on” clips. How the heck am I supposed to know what happened previously?
Well, this is it. This is the final episode of Minority Report… that I’ll be recapping before I move on to another show. Though with its CW-like ratings, I’m sure the actual final episode of this show will be airing soon. And naturally, with cancellation all but assured, the latest couple of episodes have finally shown an uptick in quality. Unfortunately, this show still can’t seem to muster up the energy to be anything more than inoffensively mediocre.
Our episode begins with a flashback to the Sprawl in 2048, with a caption telling us it’s “eight months before Precrime.” It’s a rainy night as we see a cop walking the beat and whistling while he works, and a conspicuous zoom-in shows he’s wearing a name tag that says “Vega” so he’s presumably our main detective’s father, who we previously learned was killed when she was young.
He pulls out a pocket watch that will be significant later, then hears a noise, goes to investigate, and ends up with a gun pointed in his face. Shots ring out, and Vega’s dad is killed. Then a menacing guy in a hoodie walks away, but of course, this show being what it is, we know Hoodie Guy will almost certainly not turn out to be the killer.
Along with the previouslies, they’ve also cut out the opening credits this week, so there’s no introductory spiel from Vega explaining the premise of the show. Have they completely given up on getting new viewers up to speed, or are they just trying to squeeze in more commercials to make up for the awful ratings? I’m guessing it’s a bit of both.
Cut to present day. Agatha is appearing in Arthur’s apartment via holo-phone, and she shows off the government’s plans for “a new containment system” that her late friend Charlie stole in the previous episode. She’s certain that the “Defense Intelligence Agency” wants to take the precogs back so they can stick them into this new and improved milk bath and predict national security threats, not just local D.C. murders. And she reiterates that according to her vision, Vega will be the one to “betray” them.
Cut to morning at Vega’s house. Her mom has dropped by unexpectedly because it’s Vega’s birthday, but Vega wants to avoid the whole topic. Unfortunately, as soon as she gets to work, Dash is right there to wish her a happy birthday and give her a freakishly huge bouquet of flowers.
Later on, Akeela explains to Dash why Vega isn’t feeling the whole birthday thing: she and her father share the same birthday, and today only reminds her of how he was killed 17 years ago. Vega ruefully notes how Precrime was up and running just a few months later, and if only they had started sooner, they might have prevented her father’s murder. That’s when Dash reveals that actually, Precrime was in beta testing for a year before they officially began preventing crimes, so it’s likely that he and the other precogs had a vision of her father’s murder.
Before they can discuss this further, Lt. Blake comes along to introduce Henry Blomfeld, Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and you know this guy is up to no good because he’s played by Reed Diamond, who was Daniel Whitehall on the last season of Agents of SHIELD. Blomfeld is particularly impressed with how many homicides Vega has been preventing under the new Hawkeye program. He invites her to meet with him down at the DIA, but Vega looks over his shoulder and sees that Dash’s early warning smartwatch is going off, so she excuses herself.
And now we’re back again at Wally’s place, seeing Dash’s vision on the wall and collecting all the clues. There’s some sort of spinning arrow/globe logo, a gun being fired, someone falling into a coffee table, and blood on a Washington Redclouds jersey. Vega notices that it’s a vintage 2019 jersey, which is the year the team changed their name (which is an…optimistic prediction), and a jersey like this is almost impossible to find these days.
Before they go check out this lead, Vega asks Wally about the year that Precrime was in beta testing. Wally talks about how it was a year of verifying the precogs’ visions and not being legally allowed to stop any murders before they happened. “Worst year of my life.” Vega wonders if recordings of those visions still exist, but Wally tells her it’s highly unlikely.
Dash and Vega head back to the station and ask Akeela to look into who purchased a 2019 Redclouds jersey lately. Akeela calls this “very funny” and talks about how trying to keep a “birthday surprise” is now impossible with a precog around. They’re confused until Akeela reveals she actually bought Vega a vintage 2019 Redclouds jersey for her birthday. This means, of course, that Vega is this week’s murder victim.
Dash tells her to “burn that jersey” as he goes to see Arthur, who’s his usual dismissive self. So Dash punches him in the face (the hell?) and says he’s “not in the mood for glib today!” Arthur already knows Vega is going to be killed, but refuses to help. He shows off the schematics for the new containment system, and he’s in agreement with Agatha that Vega will be the one to sell them out. And actually, this means that Dash’s vision of Vega being murdered contradicts Agatha’s vision, which would make for an interesting plot development in that (just like in the movie) they’re seeing different versions of the future, but nobody mentions this.
At the station, we get a rare funny moment where Akeela is racked with guilt over buying that jersey. “I got you a death shirt for your birthday!” They get back to the case and analyze that globe/arrow logo, and Akeela knows it’s the logo for “Revive,” an “inmate rehabilitation” program headed by a woman named Dana Winter.
Akeela pulls up all the inmates in the Revive program, and they eventually pinpoint a “Sprawl gang leader” who was once arrested by Vega. There’s body-cam footage of Vega taking the guy down with a judo arm lock. They assume he’s the future murderer so Vega wants to go confront him, but Dash suggests that going to see him might be “what gets you killed!” But Vega’s not worried because the guy’s in prison surrounded by guards, and she already took him down once.
And then Dash makes a point of saying he’s been trying hard to remember his vision of her father’s murder. And… he doesn’t remember it at all. Well, that was helpful.
Down at Revive, they get the grand tour from Dana Winter, who shows them that the inmates are being put to good use as…customer service representatives, answering calls on large video screens.
Also, Winter reveals that here at Revive, they have glass cases full of reminders of “past victims” and “past crimes.” This ends up being the most bonkers aspect of this episode, in that a prison appears to be displaying random objects from crime scenes that should probably be in an evidence locker somewhere.
They meet up with that gang leader, who’s not important at all after this scene. But he does supply the punny title (“The Present”) when Vega asks if his fellow inmates know how he was arrested, and he says that “People here just care about the present, Detective!” He’s led away, but then he knocks out the guard and attacks Vega, who uses the same judo move to take him down again.
So now the gang leader will presumably be thrown in solitary, and everyone acts like it’s case closed. But given all the useless red herrings we’ve endured on this show and the fact that we’re less than halfway through the episode, I think we know better.
As they’re heading out, Vega walks past those glass display cases and spots her father’s pocket watch (it’s got some sort of engraving of horses on it). She realizes her father’s killer is somewhere in this prison, and she knows that trying to track this person down is probably what’s going to get her killed.
She needs access to those beta Precrime recordings, and later on, Wally tells her they might have them at the DIA. Vega remembers her convenient invitation to meet Blomfeld and decides to take him up on the offer.
Down at DIA headquarters, Blomfeld tells Vega and Blake they have evidence that a “terrorist attack is imminent” and he thinks it might be the same people who “took down the Monument,” so I guess that explains why the Washington Monument looks different now. He says they keep seeing chatter that involves the name “Memento Mori,” which is Latin for “Remember you will die,” which I’m sure will be incredibly important in episodes I won’t be writing about.
Blomfeld says that Hawkeye is their best chance at stopping the attack now that they’ve given up on Precrime. He laments that they wasted the precogs on stopping local murders and then the year after Precrime ended, 4,000 people died in the “bombing on the Mall.” Hmm. You think that would have been mentioned before as a pretty good rationale for starting up Precrime again.
Blomfeld starts to leave, but Vega asks him about those beta Precrime recordings. He’s taken aback, because the beta testing phase of Precrime was top secret. Vega confesses she’s interested in those recordings because her father was murdered that year, but alas, Blomfeld says those archives were destroyed.
And so she goes back to Wally, who says those memories are still in the brains of the precogs and he might be able to retrieve them using “BIMR”, or “Brain Imaging Memory Recall,” which requires a special type of MRI-like machine. And oh, look, Wally just happens to have one of those machines in a secret room in his house. But the catch is, those memories were formed as “part of a symbiotic neural link” between Dash and Arthur, meaning Arthur will have to take part in BIMR as well. Dash says there’s no way Arthur will help, and he finally tells them about Agatha’s vision.
Vega goes and tracks down Arthur at some illegal poker game. He gets up and excuses himself in a foreign language, and I could swear he’s speaking Klingon. Vega assures Arthur that she would never betray Dash or him to the government, and eventually she convinces him to help retrieve the vision of her father’s murder, basically by looking at him with sad puppy dog eyes. Arthur grumbles, “Only because it’s your damn birthday!” Yeah, this is super dumb. Arthur is convinced that Vega is going to sell him out to the feds, so why in the world would he get involved in a case that could help prevent her murder? This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of her without having to get his hands dirty.
She takes him to Wally’s place, and this is apparently the first time Wally has seen Arthur since Precrime ended. Arthur is just, “You’re the guy who used to do my nails,” and putting on his typical detached demeanor.
Wally gives Dash and Arthur mouth guards as he straps them into the BIMR machine. To help them locate the vision, Vega has provided home recordings of her dad. In one of them he’s whistling, and the sound triggers their memories. There’s a huge explosion of light like the Ark of the Covenant just got opened, and they’re finally able to pull up the vision of Vega’s dad being murdered. And the vision is just sort of projected in mid-air in front of her. Not sure how that’s happening.
Vega sees the guy in the hoodie, but of course, he’s not the actual shooter. The real shooter turns out to be…Dana Winter, head of the Revive program! Well, she was in one scene, so that would only make sense. But these seem to have been darker days for Winter because she looks all strung out in the vision.
At the station, Akeela looks up Dana Winter and sees she was convicted on drug possession charges, which somehow nobody noticed before. Vega’s plan is to get Winter to confess to the murder, and if that doesn’t work, get her to try to kill Vega like in Dash’s vision and then take her down for attempted murder. It’s risky, but it’s the only way.
She goes to Winter’s house to confront her while Dash stays in the car for no apparent reason. Vega shows Winter the pocket watch and calls her a murderer. Winter says the woman (meaning herself) who killed Vega’s father was a “junkie” who was so hopped up on “neuroin” that she “did something terrible.” Vega gets really pissed off (mainly because Winter is talking about herself in the third person, apparently) and shoves her into a coffee table, just like in Dash’s vision. Oddly, Dash continues to just sit in the car, watching it all unfold via the video feed from Vega’s contact lenses.
Vega pulls a gun on her, demanding she confess, but Winter talks about how she has a family now, and a son, and she’s changed. And then she finally explains why she killed Vega’s dad: someone hired her to do it.
Suddenly, Winter’s young son shows up, confused by the situation, and he’s holding a gun on Vega. And guess what? He’s wearing a vintage 2019 Redclouds jersey. Dash immediately figures out that the kid was really the victim in his vision. Which would also mean that Vega was the murderer, but of course no one brings that up.
Eventually, Vega talks the son into putting down his gun. Did having foreknowledge of the murder even prevent it this time? I assume Vega would have done the same thing even without knowing about Dash’s vision.
For some reason, Dash decides this is the right moment to come charging in. They question Winter about who hired her to kill Vega’s dad, but Winter is of course sketchy on the details. All she knows is some men came to her dealer, a guy named “Lycon,” a.k.a. Hoodie Guy (who just so happens to be a character who briefly appears in the movie, selling Clarity to Tom Cruise while lifting his sunglasses to show he has no eyes). Afterwards, Vega takes this information to Arthur, who promises to look into it.
The final scene has Vega going home and giving her father’s pocket watch to her mother. Vega says absolutely nothing, so it’s unclear what her mom thinks has just happened, but she breaks down crying and hugs Vega and says, “It’s over!”
It seems this show is finally trying to do something beyond the rote murder mystery of the week, and I must admit, there’s a good chance I’ll keep watching until the bitter end (I made it this far, why give up now?). But it’s too little, too late, and slightly better stories can’t make up for the hopelessly bland lead actors this show is stuck with. While it was a decent enough concept for a TV series, based on the ratings for the pilot this show’s fate was probably sealed before it even aired. Farewell, Minority Report, and now it’s time to move on to something hopefully more interesting.
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