SouthLAnd Recap 5.5 – Off Duty
Is it me or has Lydia (Regina King) been getting pie in her face this entire season from people who are unafraid of tearing past her defenses? In this episode she finds herself being invited to the execution of a serial killer from the past, who she caught and who now sees her as his angel of grace. The killer wants to see his pen pal before he dies (yup she’s been writing him) and when he does Lydia throws up the defenses to make it out as if all she was only there for was to find out if a missing couple was one of his secret victims. The man calls her on her bull and after surrendering the name of her baby boy to him (she had wrote him to tell him all about it prior) he gave her what she was looking for… and a final goodbye.
I love the chemistry between Lydia and her partner Ruben (Dorian Missick) and he is becoming funnier and funnier as the show goes on. There is a scene where a woman comes in to turn herself in for allegedly raping a man with a strap-on and when she produced the item Ruben pops up and leaves saying “that is ya’ll thing, I’m out” and I was on the floor laughing. My only gripe with his character is that as a white knight he appears way to clean to be believable – which is more my issue than the writing since there is a chance that there are genuinely good people in the world.
I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop with Ruben.
John Cooper’s (Michael Cudlitz) struggle with the impending ceiling of loneliness forever crushing him into oblivion continues. A drink at the bar with his old trainer gives him much insight into this as the old man practically begs him to stay for another beer and join him at the Basketball game later that week. SouthLAnd always kills it in the way they shoot their characters (pun intended) and the focus on John’s face as he exits the bar and looks back at the man as if he was the Ghost of Christmas Future was for lack of a better word brilliant.
To contrast the gloom of his old teacher John also runs into the young and hungry Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) who unlike John (his old trainer) is never void of company and is making his rounds in screwing every young woman in Los Angeles that catches his eye. The two were once very close in almost a father/son type of bond but now they can’t really talk to one another. The shot of John mulling over a beer by himself at the bar as Ben rushes out to answer a call from a hot, young Latina that he had met earlier was again brilliant.
There were many highlights in this episode that showcased some masterful writing for the show. Sammy Bryant (Shawn Hatosi) is now moonlighting as a bodyguard for celebrities and Dewey (C.Thomas Howell) had a scary heart attack while chasing a man. It was the John Cooper scenes which stayed with me however, and we have to wonder how long he can go before breaking down. There is one scene where he runs into his ex-wife at the hospital and puts his hand lovingly on her cheek for longer than normal and it was as creepy for us audience members as it was for her. Cooper is lonely and it is getting bad.