Airdate: Sundays at 10/9c on A&E
There are times when the storyline of the central characters enhances a show’s main focus, and times when it distracts viewers from it. “Gibtown” was unfortunately a bit of the latter. The sharp banter, clever dialogue, and bait-and-switch techniques that have been this show’s draw from the start were shadowed by the triangular angst between Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore), Callie Cargill (Kiele Sanchez), and Samantha “Sam” Harper (Natalia Cigliuti).
However, the show does make good use of geography. Gibtown, once known as “The Strangest Town in America,” is a settlement of sorts for people who once made their living traveling with the circus, performing side-show acts. Or, as Jim refers to them in his very non-politically correct manner, “circus freaks.” Filming this episode in Fort Lauderdale nicely highlights the location’s historical, lush landscape, framed with swamps and marsh lands.
The interesting thing about this case is how it puts Jim (and us, for that matter) in the middle of a human rights debate of sorts. One of Gibtown’s more diminutive residents is murdered, and she just so happens to be on the side of the debate wanting to showcase the “circus” part of this town. The other side—descendants of the “freaks”—want to be left alone to live their lives in peace. Jim starts the case gawking like a teenager, making cringe-worthy jokes, and asking rather inappropriate questions of his key suspects. But by the end, something about the town has gotten to him (that, or he’s just worn out by his heart being used as a tether ball) and it comes down to a simple matter of the human right to live, “freak” or not.
Before the end, Jim arrests two suspects for the murder before his ever-churning brain picks up the clues necessary to find the true culprit—but this time, I lock in on the killer’s identity before he does. He traverses the eclectic town trying to figure out if the murderer is suspect number one, Ben Pershing (Alias’ Kevin Weisman), the deceased’s business partner and grandson of The Monkey Boy, or suspect number two, Kyle Bertram (Josh Randall), a biologist and son of the Bertram Siamese Twins (which, I wanted to correct as conjoinedtwins).
Jim handles each interview with his usual amount of tact—which is to say, none—but it isfunny watching him try to match wits with the biologist and pronounce the Latin name for raccoon. The thing I’ve noticed is that while his unconventional approach produces results—mainly because it shoves the accused off-balance, forcing them to show their true colors—it also puts Jim at a distance from his friends and co-workers. They may have a grudging respect for him, but I’m not sure if in every case, the ends justify the means.
During the investigation, Jim also manages to run into a burning building, rescuing both the town’s beautiful art teacher Gwen Henley (Amy Gumenick—Supernatural’s young Mary Winchester) and one of her students. Be still my hero-lovin’ heart. That’s the Jim I know—not the guy trying to figure out if he hearts Sam or Callie. He doesn’t bother to change out of the torn, soot-covered shirt throughout the rest of the episode, and the garment serves as a bit of a reminder that he in fact does care about the lives in the town—he did risk his own to save theirs, after all—even if he is asking a 6’4” woman how the weather is up there.
Meanwhile, Jim has a choice: does he make it work with Callie, who is still married despite the Witness Protection angle, or gamble on Sam who is moving 1,500 miles away? While he won’t force Callie to break her marriage vows, it doesn’t look like he’s sure he can get over what his past relationship with Sam did to him. In a very real, unusually vulnerable moment, he confesses, “You really hurt me, Sam.”
It’s evident that Sam broke his heart in Chicago. But now, here she is, flirting with both barrels hot, while Callie is calling Jim to the carpet, angrily asking him if he slept with Sam (which he doesn’t exactly answer, did you notice?) and telling him to “let this thing with Sam play through” before she takes the divorce leap.
As the episode comes to a close, Sam tells Jim she has a job possibility in Florida—within driving distance—and in that moment, Callie calls him. I hope we didn’t see Jim make his choice when he turns his phone over, ignoring Callie’s call. There was friction and attraction with Callie last season. She kept him on his game. Not sure I feel the same way about Sam. I’m waiting to see if Jim can keep his eye on the ball.
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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