Bull 310 – A Higher Law
The team met their match with a client who answers to a higher power.
It’s a bit more complicated than that.
When we’re first introduced to Father Andy, the police pulled him over in a van that matched the description of a vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run. And the priest, while congenial and cooperative to the troopers was apparently drunk.
The episode took a different approach to how the TAC team usually get their cases. A monsignor from Benny’s old parish waited for Benny Colon (Freddy Rodriguez) after mass.
The personal tint to the case added to the episode from the beginning, promising a different Bull episode. And I’m happy to report they delivered.
I just need to get a sense of how big a blind spot it is we’re dealing with here.
The issue at hand is the sanctity of confession versus the court of law. A topic a lot of procedural shows have taken on before.
The show presented the same problems: the drunk driver was protected by Father Andy’s refusal to reveal the real driver because it was done in confession.
The only way to end this happily was to find the real culprit.
Again, a resolution many shows adopted, but Bull added something a bit different to make them stand out.
I can’t defend you if you won’t help defend yourself.
The subject of religion was a tetchy one; kudos to the show’s willingness to tackle the issue and the complications attached to the Confessional Seal in the modern day and age of justice.
Bull was able to pull both sides of the story aptly through its cast. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) was unsurprisingly the skeptic. Benny, a Catholic, respected both the vow and the law. It made for interesting conversations between him and Bull; a dynamic I missed of late.
Fortunately, the show didn’t use their opposing views to throw a spanner in the case.
I don’t have a problem with organized religion. It has a problem with me.
Chunk’s own story as a gay man with the church and his relationship with God was a highlight of the show.
Bull has always been consistent with character development and continuity. I’m glad Bull let Chunk have his say. Father Andy’s response in return was perfect: it showcased his quality of character and didn’t discount the issue with a cheesy line.
While I wished they went further beyond the short yet emotionally charged witness prep scene between Chunk and Father Andy, I get that the subject of homosexuality and religion was hard to explore in a forty-two-minute format. I appreciated the fact they at least acknowledged it.
The other thing I wished the episode did cover, though, was the fact Father Andy had a drink before getting behind the wheel.
Granted, it was explained rather neatly how Father Andy was in haste to find the poor hit-and-run victim. But considering he confessed to drinking (ironic considering the focus in the episode), something more should have been said than just the obligatory comment Father Andy shouldn’t have done that, shame-shame and then moving on.
How bad would you like it?
As usual, the episode resolved the dilemma of an uncooperative Father Andy case by finding the real culprit: a frightened teen Jacob Larson who was on the road to a scholarship and college and just made a terrible choice.
The episode got around the protection of confession by having Larson himself confess on the witness stand. The episode managed to once again skirt the touchy issues.
Despite this, the episode didn’t feel like a cop-out at all. The team’s responses to the topic of religion were multilayered and personal. And we got two sides of the argument through Bull and Benny; opposing views that didn’t interfere with the case.
The TAC team, despite whatever feelings they have about the matter, was still on the job. It’s refreshing to see: professionals acting like professionals. Who would have thought this could exist on television?
I sense some turbulence coming.
In the previous seasons, the audience only got glimpses: the team each had his or her say but only briefly. The episodes were propelled by the next clue or driven by the client-of-the-week.
This episode, we have more cast involvement. More importantly, more cast input and reaction driving the episode’s momentum. I found that made a more compelling drama.
In that sense, we got a strong episode about the topic even if the episode didn’t dig deeper into the subject matter itself.
You know you’re going to hell, right?
Yup. Already booked my suite.
Bull has been taking more chances with every episode. I’m glad to see the show’s making bolder choices in storylines even if they still drop the ball in following through with many of the controversial topics they take on.
By giving the audience more personal interaction with the cast rather than the client, the episodes became more interesting. Sometimes we don’t need answers to those hard questions. We want to see how our characters struggle with them. At that point, I don’t care if we get the answer in the end.
The later hour means the show has the freedom to swing the harder punches and present more exciting storylines. And it looks like they’re finally taking full advantage of it.
I had my concerns after their lukewarm and cautious second season. If Bull continues the direction they’re going for the rest of the third season, Bull may have a prayer after all.
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