Airdate: Sundays at 10/9c on A&E
Now I get why real estate agents are all about location, location, location. I mean, where else besides The Glades could a Boy Scout troop on a nature hike encounter the remains of a wild boar—complete with remnants of a zipper and a human finger—except the Florida Everglades? I may have complained about the writers missing the opportunity to showcase the geography in episodes past, but they gain ground with “Swamp Thing,” (finally) striking a balance between the romantic arc and the crime-solving draw that has made this show appealing.
We’ve seen what each member of the FDLE brings to the table in previous cases, but the team wouldn’t be complete without the often-sidelined intern, Daniel (Jordan Wall). Daniel ingratiated himself to the team last year and became an invaluable forensic asset this season with his unceasing energy and uncanny ability to store knowledge. In “Swamp Thing,” that knowledge happens to be about wild boars, of all things. Much to Carlos (Carlos Sanchez), the M.E’s. chagrin, Daniel is practically giddy when they’re forced to ‘autopsy’ the boar remains out in the field—and later are forced to track boar scat to find its feeding ground, searching for any other human remains.
Daniel even taste tests a blade of grass (inciting a grossed-out shudder from Carlos…and me) from where they found the boar, and discovers the body had been covered in high-fructose corn syrup. Guess the reports are right; that stuff is harmful to your health…and is apparently also used to attract boars to completely ingest dead people. Yuck. And also, a clue!
Meanwhile, Detective Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) has his hands full with a case that quickly becomes more than how a wild boar got its tusks on a human. This is one of the aspects of The Glades I’ve always enjoyed: the onion effect. The stories they show us aren’t clean-cut, ‘bad guy kills innocent victim’ cases. The boar victim is a former Marine who has a penchant for trophy hunting. Happy to have a work-related reason to contact Callie (Kiele Sanchez), Jim takes her into the Everglades more as a Florida native and guide than a forensic nurse.
With the investigation as a backdrop, Jim and Callie finally have it out about what they are to each other. Their discussion quickly turns into a refreshing argument revealing it’s not their pasts (meaning Jim’s former girlfriend and Callie’s ex-con husband) holding them back from being something more. Jim looks shaken and stirred by Callie’s admission that he might have been the love of her life, but he’s understandably frustrated by her bob-and-weave tactic of approaching the subject, only to slip free of actually confronting it. So frustrated in fact, he is distracted enough to be literally swept off his feet when he steps into a snare trap. Whoops.
Suspect number one, a swamp rat named Ben Forey (Rodney Rowland, whom I remember from a short-lived show called Space: Above and Beyond), rescues Jim from the trap but Jim doesn’t let his gratitude get in the way of questioning the man about his obvious animal poaching and access to the swamp. However, as this is The Glades, we can’t just have one suspect. So, with Daniel’s help, Jim finds suspect number two, a restaurant owner named Robert Landry (Don McManus), who is apparently known for his too-sweet biscuits.
The episode highlights the fact that for all his quirky habits (I mean the man is always eating, crime scene or no), Jim is a savvy detective and quite protective of his team, as evidenced by his warning to Carlos and Daniel about Forey. Though seemingly fixated on Forey, Jim can’t shake Landry’s fake southern smarm and possessive grip on his Columbian fiancé (who turns out to be at the heart of this case). The writers cleverly plant clues throughout this episode leading to multiple possible conclusions.
But the true motive for this murder is a surprise. As is the uneven breath and wave of emotion that briefly shadow’s Jim’s expression as he facilitates the reunion of two sisters affected by a senseless tragedy fueled by greed and arrogance. I really enjoy watching Jim shift from a guy who doesn’t realize he still carries the stench of dead boar on him to a man whose heart needs to bring peace to a tortured soul before doing his job.
And…apparently I’m not the only one because at the close of the episode, Callie agrees to start a new conversation with Jim, rather than picking up where they left off when they were discussing their relationship, which has Jim’s face settling into a smile. They still have quite a few issues to resolve—namely the fact that Callie is still married. I think we may have scrabbled through the painful will they or won’t they process to at least get everyone back on even ground.
However, if next week’s previews are any indication, even ground isn’t much safer for Jim than where he was before.
Tune in to The Glades, Sundays at 10/9c on A&E. For more information on the show, visit http://www.aetv.com/the-glades/.
All photos © 2011 A&E. All rights reserved.
© 2011, amanda. All rights reserved.
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