Despite the unforgivable title, this episode of Second Chance is an uptick from recent outings. I’ve been saying for weeks that a superhero show needs a super-villain, and an experienced femme fatale is certainly a step in the right direction. When you’ve got Philip Baker Hall and Rob Kazinsky to play your main character, you need a distaff partner that can more than hold up her end, and veteran Madchen Amick is certainly that.
She’s also a great casting choice because we need flashbacks to Jimmy’s past, which means both getting to see Philip Baker Hall do more than fall off a bridge in every week’s recap, and seeing Madchen work her magic to play every age between 20s and 40s with panache. From Twin Peaks to Sleepwalkers to American Horror Story, she’s a veteran, and even if she could do this role in her sleep, nobody does it quite like her.
I don’t know if the show will ever find its balance between the freaky and the mundane, but we open with a horrific scene of carnage: drug deaths in a suburban neighborhood that includes an innocent mother and child. That’s to let us know the stakes are high, and that it’s Jimmy’s fault, because he covered up a murder years ago by Amick’s character, Joan Solodar (awesome name), and thought she’d gone straight. Instead, she’s been using her car dealership to launder her drug money and is a literal fatale in that she kills men to hide her own crimes.
There’s a fun seduction scene between Joan and Jimmy, using a new car as just the right sort of detailed metaphor (this episode did warn of both sex and violence, though it is all of course much more implied than shown) to set up their palpable sexual tension. Duvall gets to feel betrayed by his dad again, and there’s family business with Helen and Gracie that results in an embarrassing (but very macho) war of words on FBI premises between the “brothers.” Since Duval’s boss is butcher by far than he is (Carmen Moore is basically the Michelle Forbes-iest of all), this is just shrugged off by the cops, a pretty good cover for a lot, actually.
In Lookingglass news, Otto is still getting Arthur to connive against Mary, due to little more than jealousy over the role Jimmy is now playing in saving her life. Since their parents died he’s had no competition for her attention (or at least not anyone real, as he apparently saw Connor as more boy toy than boyfriend) and he doesn’t like that she has developed feelings for their pet Frankenstein. Jimmy hasn’t built any bridges there with his gruff exterior, as he only seems able to soften around female influences, and even then not very much. He may be completely ill-equipped to deal with someone as mentally far from the norm as Otto.
The status changes completely for everyone by episode’s end, and next week looks like we’ll finally get our first super-villain, in the form of a possible earlier experiment of the Wonder Twins gone awry. I’m hoping for Hulk vs. Abomination-level mayhem! Waste that FX budget while you can!