Bull Season 3 Episode 19
Here we go again.
While the case wasn’t the same, the enemy was.
Christopher Lankford, I’m coming for you.
The episode opened up with a bounty hunter capturing his guy that ended with the target in the trunk bound and gagged. It’s a frightening scene, one that shifts our sympathies to the captured rather than the bounty hunter. There’s an inkling the cold opening was pointing to the caught man as the next client.
The bounty hunter got the wrong guy.
I submitted my letter of resignation, booked three months at a rehab, and here I am.
Bull flipped around their MO. Usually, the unfortunate hapless victim, wronged, misunderstood, frauded was the client-of-the-week. However, this time, the client was the aggressor.
The bounty hunter panicked. He had no bounty and an innocent man in the trunk of his car. Suddenly, he didn’t appear as terrifying anymore as he scrambled to fix this. He tried to do the right thing by dropping the man off in the emergency waiting room.
He was my mentor.
Next scene, Danny James (Jaime Lee Kirchner) visited Trent in jail. He was arrested for a list of crimes and Danny promised to get him help.
Let’s just consider this a professional inquiry.
Bull (Michael Weatherly) was reluctant but willing to at least offered to talk to the ADA in hopes of getting Danny’s mentor a deal.
I think Michael Bay would be making a movie about him and your boss, the D.A.
Except for the ADA, smug with the ‘bird in her hand’ and not receptive. A young Conway was confident and smirking at the sure win; she shot down Bull’s suggestion of a deal and told him she would see him in court. Irked by her attitude–which reminded me of Bull–Bull decided he would take the case.
Trent’s case felt like it was more about Bull versus Conway; youth against experience.
So let’s just cut to the chase, Mr. Older and Wiser.
We saw something similar with Walter Franklin and the subplot of age. Only this episode wasn’t as sympathetic as the previous. The conflict felt too contrived.
Frontier pragmatists, huh?
Voir dire wasn’t successful this time when Conway arrogantly figured out Bull’s strategy. Then she pulls a Benny Colon: humanizing the victim to get the jury’s sympathy and turned around Trent’s defense against him.
Barely a dent, more like a ding.
The team realized the way to win the case was to find out how Trent got the bad tip that pointed him to the wrong man in the first place.
The twist, in this case, felt convenient. Trent was hard up for sympathy. What Trent did in the cold opening was scary, violent in a way many of us feared. Trent’s case and the defense had all the makings of a potentially exciting episode.
But as usual, Bull didn’t follow through. The twist of the episode was to turn a 180, flipping Trent into a framed man. The original victim was now one of the perpetrators instead.
What’s everybody so damn happy about?
The solution to the case was suddenly neat and pat: Trent was always innocent because he was misled into grabbing the victim. The victim turned out to not be a victim, but a paid goon acting like a hapless firefighter.
Clichés abound, there was still something darkly satisfying to see ADA Conway flounder as her case against Trent, her surefire win, unraveled in the courtroom with the revelation.
I’m old, and virtually at death’s door, but I’m hoping to live long enough to vote for you when you run for district attorney in five years or so.
Bull stepped in and advised her to call for a recess. Outside, Bull gave her a way to save her win: drop the charges and go after the bails bondsman and the debunked victim instead. Sure enough, Conway agreed.
My recap of this episode was short because the case itself was short. The case here was one of the weaker ones of the season. And the trend to make the prosecutor the inept villain who didn’t bother investigating other angles was starting to feel overused.
Bull doesn’t rely on tropes often. However, going against the unsympathetic and often overconfident prosecutor was becoming a trope of their own.
I feel like I’m being schooled by that child.
In this episode, casting a Millennial-like whippersnapper ADA who mocked Benny and Bull’s experience ended up making the entire episode superficial. While it was nice to see the rest of the TAC team participating, especially Taylor’s commentary when the alleged victim turned out to be a fireman, the episode didn’t have much else to offer.
The case was straightforward. The personal spin the show tried to attach with Trent being Danny’s former mentor fell flat. Danny’s scenes with Trent bookended the episode. If this case was that important to her, where were her scenes? It made her other scene investigating Trent’s case felt obligatory and only filler.
The team’s scenes like Benny’s courtroom moments are usually the standouts. But up against the anemic scenes with Conway or Trent, the episode came off imbalanced and half-hearted. And Trent, as Danny’s mentor, wasn’t convincing.
As a supposedly seasoned FBI agent, Trent came off a bit too sheepish, too chagrined about his situation. Despite his connection with Danny, the episode didn’t give the viewers enough information to see him as anything more than an unlucky guy who bungled his first job.
Echo. Echo. Ech–never mind.
We’ve seen this all before. Experience versus youth. The stereotypical aggressor was the victim. The client linked to one of the TAC team.
This was an episode pulling all the familiar pieces together, gave the elements a shake and gave us basically the same old same old. We’ve seen it before.
It’s a shame it’s a déjà vu not worth repeating.
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