Bull Season 3 Episode 14
After last week’s episode, I was apprehensive when it looked like it was going to be yet another personal case for Bull.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the personal slant the TAC team took on with each case all season. But the disconnect of the two plots last week left an impression. I doubted this week’s episode was going to be any different.
This week, Bull reassured me they can still pull out the right stuff.
I decided to play hooky from work.
The opening started serene (echoes the false air of security at the start of a lot of horror movies) at a house by the lake. Nathan Raynor arrived at the lake house to surprise his wife. Ava was a bestselling author who came up there to finish her latest book.
However, no one was home. Nate left her a message—one of many—and then proceeded to go about his day of relaxing and making dinner.
So you haven’t heard from your wife in three days?
The reality of the empty house hits at a door knock a few hours later.
Chris, his wife’s driver, arrived on a previously arranged time to take her into the city. As Nathan reviewed out loud when was the last time he spoke with his wife, both the husband and audience started to realize the significance of Ava’s absence.
Ava once told me she was like a ship and I was the dock.
When Bull (Michael Weatherly) and Benny (Freddy Rodriguez) arrived at the lake house, the police were processing what was now a crime scene. We know Nathan’s a college friend of Bull.
If it’s all sound familiar, then yes: another acquaintance of Bull is a suspect of a crime. Bull was back in the spotlight, caught between the case and his friend.
Benny voiced out loud what Bull was thinking: the evidence didn’t look good. The husband didn’t report her missing until days later. In cases like these, it’s almost always the husband.
Nathan’s explanation about giving Ava space was flimsy. I was relieved Bull wasn’t quick to jump to Nate’s defense. Bull pointed out how suspicious it looked and sounded. Maybe Bull learned from the last time?
Chemicals don’t lie.
From the beginning, we are usually privy to the knowledge that the character was innocent. We don’t have the same steadfast belief from Bull in this episode. Bull repeated Nate was his friend, over and over throughout the episode. I suspected it wasn’t to remind us but to remind himself.
Because there was an alarming amount of blood found after luminol and a black light in the kitchen, Nate was charged with murder, even though there wasn’t a body.
Talk about wreckage.
Nate’s initial insistence that his wife was still alive was different. We usually have the husband as the suspect, loudly insisting he loved his wife and he couldn’t have done this.
Nate was saying the same things but also insisted the blood wasn’t Ava’s. His repeating that his wife was still out there added legitimacy to Nate’s innocence. He was a husband, in shock, in denial and that cloud of denial helped because the evidence started to stack up against him as the story continued.
Maybe you don’t want to lose someone, so you start making compromises with yourself.
Bull’s personal involvement with the case worked in this episode because his responses directly related to the case.
When Bull talked to Benny found out about Nate and Ava’s ‘understanding’ to see other people when they’re apart, Bull’s reaction worked for both his arc and in Nate’s case. And when Bull hid in his office after the case hit a low, his scene still moved the main story along.
The team also had more to do in this episode while still maintaining that close dynamic I enjoyed.
Marissa (Geneva Carr) balanced both job and friend; their banter in the office touched on Bull’s personal worries about his friend and the case’s progress wonderfully.
It was great to see Danny tracking down the clues and offering her theories.
Chunk offered great insight and ideas about using Chris on the stand; his role evolving from his original function to a law student has been a significant contribution to Bull.
Taylor made a great sounding board, asking the questions the audience needed answers for. She’s still relatively new, making her a plausible candidate to ask.