Airdate: Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 10/9c on A&E
There are some finales that just get it right: enough of an open end to keep you wanting more, but not so much of a cliffhanger that you’re cursing the hiatus for weeks on end. “Breakout” is just that. And it blows the formulaic approach of The Glades out of the swamp. The sophomore season started shaky but picked up speed and found its stride mid-way through, ending strong.
When two kids find the body of a security guard while ‘canal dragging,’ Detective Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) and FDLE’s Medical Examiner, Carlos Sanchez (Carlos Gomez), get to work. Meanwhile, Captain Manus (Michelle Hurd) is transporting a prisoner back to jail with the aid of a fellow cop. And in the background, Callie (Kiele Sanchez) is dealing with the reality that Palm Glades Hospital is being closed and she has the opportunity of a lifetime waiting for her in Atlanta (a fact she hasn’t shared with Jim yet).
What should feel artificial—completely random events tied together by the same perpetrators—actually works quite well as Jim puts the puzzle together piece by piece as if he’s seeing an additional layer of truth. Either via his natural inclination to suspect everyone, or the way he notices even the most trivial of facts, he is consistently one step ahead of the rest of the FDLE.
As it turns out, Palm Glades Hospital is the axis for this spinning top of an episode when Captain Manus’ prisoner uses it as a means of escape and things go terribly wrong. (I know. You’re shocked.) While trying to identify the dead security guard from the swamp, Jim ends up at Palm Glades where he and Callie discover the deceased was in possession of a key that opens every door in the hospital. At the same time, Captain Manus’ prisoner has a seizure just when they’re passing the hospital and bam! We have ourselves a hostage situation.
The way Jim is able to connect the seemingly unconnected dots is what drives the success of this show. Why does the prisoner, Greg Wheeler (guest star Riley Smith), take such a risk when he only has a few months to go on his sentence? What connection does his more-violent brother, Vince (guest star Erik Eidem), have to Greg’s escape? What’s the significance of the name ‘Junior’ tattooed on Greg’s chest? How does the security guard’s past as an armored car driver fit in?
The answers to these questions offer Jim the fuel he needs to negotiate with the brothers who are holding 13 ER patients—and Callie—at their mercy. Shrugging off a protective vest because he’s “hot and Kevlar doesn’t breathe,” Jim approaches the ER entrance looking non-threatening in jeans and a T-shirt, though his gun and badge are always in plain sight, to negotiate with the brothers.
It is obvious Callie will be taken as a get-away hostage once Jim exposes his complete fear for her safety. The way he pins her with a look before telling Greg, “if you touch one hair on her head I’ll hunt you down like a dog,” had my heart fluttering a bit. It seems like an insane gamble, letting the bad guys get away with a hostage and the $50,000 they’d demanded—even with a GPS tracker—except Jim knows he isn’t taking a gamble at all. The clues he’s been following all along tell him Callie is perfectly safe the moment the helicopter lifts off the roof of the hospital.
Piecing together what the brothers are after, Jim confronts them—once more at a remote location and without backup. The way the body in the swamp ties in to the aborted escape is actually quite good, the plot nicely side-stepping ‘only possible on TV’ contrivance. Jim reveals his knowledge of their plan just before sirens wail behind them, giving him the distraction he needs to disarm Vince, punch Greg, and utter the Best. Line. Ever.
“That’s for scaring the shit outta my girl!”
The thing is, even after all this, Callie still decides to go to Atlanta to interview for the new job, a fact Jim does not find out from her, but from her friend, Dr. Ben Avery (Coby Ryan McLaughlin)—who delivers it with a smarmy “I thought she would have told you”tone that sets my teeth on edge. The writers really had me going, too, following Callie to the airport, through security, even to boarding, while Jim heads home, drinks a beer or three, tries to call her, and basically sits, visibly numb at the thought of having almost lost her to a gunman only to lose her to a job.
But apparently what Callie said to a fellow hostage earlier that day about the events being the “universe’s way of showing us what was really important” hit home for her because when her taxi pulls up in front of Jim’s house (after he’s cruelly teased by some sort of census taker or something ringing his doorbell…really, writers?) I think the entire viewing audience breathed a sigh of relief along with Jim.
It’s hesitant and uncertain, but that reunion is laced with such longing I wanted to reach into the TV and shove them together. Jim’s voice is hope stretched over need as he says, “You’re staying?” And while the kiss isn’t romance-movie, music-crescendo majestic, it’s perfect for these two. We’re left knowing that murders still happen, Jim will still solve them, but now there is a very real chance for these two to finally explore the connection they’ve had since the jump.
Come back next summer for another great season of The Glades 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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