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Aug 01 2011

Review: The Glades, S2, E8 – “Second Skin”

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Airdate: Sundays at 10/9c on A&E

Rating:

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Why did it have to be snakes?’ Actually, that’s probably what Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) is thinking when he’s called to investigate a dead body at a Pentecostal Charismatic Church. With the distraction of Sam Harper (Natalia Cigliuti) gone, Jim is almost like his old self again—scoping out the food at a crime scene, giving the M.E., Carlos Sanchez (Carlos Gomez), a hard time, and keeping witnesses and suspects alike on edge until the case is solved.

Reverend Trent talks with "Brother James" about his faith.

There only seems to be one problem—Callie Cargill (Kiele Sanchez). I have one word for that relationship: awkward. Callie edges around Jim assuming he has (or had) feelings for Sam—though he never confirmed one way or another. Throughout the whole episode, I wanted to lock them in a closet and demand they talk it out. The most frustrating thing about these two is when they’re not thinking about how to define what they are to each other, they work really well together. Jim even finds himself seeking out Callie’s viewpoint (almost subconsciously) during a sticky point in the case.

I can understand Jim being reticent about caring and sharing (he is a guy, after all), and I can understand Callie’s need to protect herself and her son from another love bite gone wrong. But enough is enough! Either stop with the moon-eyed looks and the hesitant almost-confessions of feelings, or get Witness Protection to fast track divorce papers to Callie’s husband. The show might be trying to avoid the Moonlighting syndrome, but they’re almost in danger of going too far in the other direction.

Thwarted love triangle aside, “Second Skin” is much more in line with the solve-the-murder plots of episodes past. Matt Passmore does a great job giving us a layered Jim Longworth in this episode; his expressions as he listens to the impassioned Reverend Trent (Michael O’Neill) and the bitter convict Payton Robinson (C. Thomas Howell – a long way from my first crush as The Outsiders’ Ponyboy Curtis) show us a detective who’s not simply interested in getting the killer, he desperately needs to get to the truth. There were times I was almost willing to swear the Biblical ravings of the Reverend were making an impact on him—up until he confesses he has no idea what the man is talking about.

Payton Robinson doesn't trust Jim.

Still, layered or not, Jim is—at his most basic—a cop who wants to put away bad guys in order to save people. And it’s his focus on keeping others safe that gets him bitten by a cottonmouth snake. After an amazingly quick arrival, Callie and Carlos are able to confirm the snake had either been ‘milked’ before hand or simply hadn’t injected its venom into Jim—despite his rather…theatrical reaction to the bite.

Apparently, these particular Pentecostals handle poisonous snakes to show their faith in God. They also regularly ingest strychnine poison trusting God will protect them. I think I have to go with Jim here on the eight-kinds-of-crazy reaction to that, but these religious practices start the case going in one direction (religious teaching gone wrong?) and Jim’s investigating, coupled with Carlos’ forensics, steer us onto a much different—and more interesting—path.

The remarkable thing about “Second Skin” is the title’s whole ‘shedding’ allusion isn’t limited just to the serpentine elements of the case. In his search for a motive (because it’s his need to know ‘why’ someone did what they did that typically drives Jim to finding the real culprit), Jim uncovers a reverend who is also a legalized killer, a caterer who has ties both to the church and the prison, and a prisoner who finds himself caring more than he thought he could about another human being.

Jim knows it always pays to look deeper.

It makes sense that each of these lives would touch Jim’s in some way—especially since he doesn’t just question and accuse, he hypothesizes and extrapolates. One of my favorite things to watch on The Glades—aside from the way the man wears his shirts tucked behind his gun and badge—is Jim with a suspect in the interrogation room. He owns the room and is comfortable there. And for a few brief moments, he climbs inside the suspect’s skin—whether they want him to or not—and has a look around. He doesn’t lose his snarky personality while doing so, either.

Reverend Trent: “As God is my witness, I did not kill Aaron!”

Jim (with a smirking eye-roll): “Well, too bad that’s not an alibi I can confirm.”

As this season progresses to the mid-way point, things seem to be getting back into a recognizable groove of the crime drama I fell for last season. If they’re able to find a place for Jim and Callie in each other’s lives, and offer Jim some normalcy outside of a case, I may hang around sunny Florida a bit longer. And next week’s episode certainly looks like it might do the trick.

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.

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© 2011, amanda. All rights reserved.

About the author

amanda

On any given day, and in no particular order, I am a writer, a friend, a sister, a mom, a wife, a lover, a daughter, a survivor, a storyteller.

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