This article may contain spoilers.
It was time for the Carnival of Crime to stir up a bit of trouble.
And they did when they derailed Vince Faraday’s (David Lyons) plan to have Dominic Raoul a.k.a. Scales (Vinnie Jones) unmask Peter Fleming (James Frain) as the villain known as Chess during an exclusive costume party aboard a train. Max Malini (Keith David) and his crew were unable to resist the temptation of ripping off Fleming’s stash of cash right under the noses of his newly anointed Ark police officers and Palm City’s elite. This put Max and Faraday at distinct odds as each tried to achieve their respective goals.
Ultimately, Max was the victor, but Faraday was spared the humiliation of a foiled unmasking – Scales took the brunt of the laughter when no one believed that Fleming was the notorious criminal Chess.
In the public’s mind, Chess died in a fiery inferno unmasked as the corrupt police officer Vince Faraday. Convincing them that Fleming is Chess will take more than one crook’s word for it. Thus, in order for Faraday to clear his name and reveal Fleming as the true villain, he needs to come up with a better plan. He just got lucky that he was not the one being ridiculed.
It was another night of lessons as Faraday learned that Orwell (Summer Glau) is not as reliable as he hoped, Max will stab him in the back if there is money to be had, and relying on other criminals to do his dirty work will never succeed. The game between Faraday and Fleming has only just begun. Fleming is not known as Chess for nothing.
He has mastered the art of gamesmanship and he is enjoying the game with The Cape entirely too much to fold up his illicit operations. Fleming may not yet know who his declared enemy is, but he loves the challenge presented by The Cape. Every villain needs a superhero. Otherwise, it is only too easy for Fleming to do as he pleases with no one stepping up and challenging him. Thus, he relishes having an opponent.
Faraday just needs to stop thinking like a cop and learn to think like a villain – only then will he be able to truly unmask Chess and destroy Peter Fleming.
Points of Interest
1. It may be a bit over-the-top at times, but it is a lot of fun meeting villains who look like villains. Dominic Raoul may not realize his scaly exterior is as noticeable as it is, but there is a reason they call him Scales. Without that mesmerizing green skin, he would just be another thug in a suit. But because of his distinct appearance, he is much more interesting and even a bit sympathetic.
2. It was great to see the Carnival of Crime returning to their roots and showing that they are not the warm-and-fuzzy guys that Faraday had self-deceived himself into believing were his friends. They are not his partners, his back-up crew or even allies – the Carnival of Crime is a self-declared crew of thieves and they enjoy their villainous ways. It will be interesting to see if and when Faraday gets a chance to clean up the streets of Palm City if he includes the Carnival of Crime. Foreshadowing that day, Faraday told Max, "What I believe in and what you believe in, sooner or later that's going to put us on opposite sides of a loaded gun." To which Max mischievously responded, "Well, let's enjoy the time before that day comes."
3. Dressing up Peter Fleming in a white cowboy’s outfit was inspired. He knew he looked ridiculous in it, but it suited his public image and made a mockery of it at the same time. It also made an interesting visual dichotomy – he dressed in white and The Cape dressed in black. It reminded viewers that villains may look like a good guy, but a heart of darkness lurks within; and that a hero may look like a bad guy but has a heart of gold.
With everyone else off their game, this episode belonged to Tripp Faraday (Ryan Wynott) and Peter Portman (Richard Schiff). Two characters one would least expect to dominate and shine, yet they did.
It was Tripp’s 10th birthday and with his mom stuck in traffic and his dad stuck battling villains on the train, Tripp spent much of his birthday on his own. It was touching and surprising that Dana’s boss Travis Hall (Mather Zickel) showed up and gave Tripp the real birthday gift he wanted – reassurance of his dad’s innocence. All Tripp really wanted was to know that his dad was not the criminal that the news had condemned him as. Travis’ clarification on when a person is deemed guilty and innocent was just what Tripp needed to hear. It was also fun watching them as bonded through a locked door, particularly when Tripp tossed Travis a fruit roll-up. It was Tripp’s way of thanking Travis for talking to him about his dad. (As a side-note, it was also good to see a kid being smart enough to not listen to the pleas of someone at the door and kept it locked until his mom got home.)
Then, also taking the spotlight in this episode was Secretary of Prisons, Patrick Portman. The fact that Portman chose to dress up as The Cape was not only hysterical and provided for some fun moments of levity, it also showed his appreciation of The Cape and the symbolize he embodies of hope to the people of Palm City.
What Didn't Work
This was not Orwell’s night. After dazzling viewers with her ingenuity, courage, and precision for detail in prior episodes, she was as she noted “off her game.” Regardless whether Peter Fleming is her father, she took unnecessary risks being so close to him and confronting him.
It showed a reckless side that Orwell had not revealed before. Up until this point, she was so cold, calculating and detached. She may have been driven in her pursuit of destroying her father, but she never took a misstep. It felt out of character to be so out of control and foolish in this episode. The writers need to knock some sense back into her character immediately or she is going to end up stuck in daddy-dearest’s dungeon.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"Scales on a Train" was written by William Wheeler, and directed by Dennie Gordon.
"The Cape" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
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