Review: 'The Chicago Code' - 'Black Sox': Batting for the home team
A review of last night's "The Chicago Code" coming up just as soon as I help you put the white flag back in your pocket...
After last week's episode focused heavily on the Colvin/Gibbons war last week, "Black Sox" puts that on simmer, allowing the two combatants to make some chess moves against each other, but mainly setting up the bigger battle to come in the season's final two episodes. Instead, the episode split most of its time between Jarek and Caleb investigating a murder in the city's gay community, and on the infidelities of the brothers Wysocki.
It was a lot to deal with in one episode - maybe a little too much. Though I've complained in the past both about the cases Jarek works that are unconnected to Gibbons and about Jarek himself, I found myself engaged to a point with both stories, then frustrated when there wasn't quite enough time to deal with either one properly.
There were some good scenes in the murder story, particularly the killer's self-loathing confession, but there also seemed to be more set-up than there was room to pay off. Nothing ever came of Jarek's lie that Caleb was batting for the other team, nor of the gay alderman's threat to insert himself into the investigation. I think there was potential to do a story like the Chinatown one about the unique politics of different Chicago neighborhoods and communities, but this one glanced in that direction and then went with a more straightforward police procedural structure.
And while I thought Jarek was a much less obnoxious character than he was last week or in some other episodes(*), both his half of the personal story and Vonda's were hamstrung by how off and on the show has dealt with both. We didn't hear anything about Jarek's brother for a very long time, and then he was reintroduced as a topic last week, and he still doesn't feel quite real or important enough, even with how much he obviously matters to Jarek and Vonda. Similarly, Jarek's ex-wife has appeared fairly infrequently, and his fiancee only once before; the final confrontation with Elena would have had much more kick if she'd had a real presence on the show rater than as an occasional subject of conversation.
(*) I'm still not sure Jason Clarke has the charisma the role needs, but I liked watching Jarek work last night, where in some previous week's he's come across like a sanctimonious bully with little to back up his attitude.
I know this show has a lot of balls to juggle: Colvin/Gibbons, the case of the week, the personal lives of the characters, Chicago politics, etc. And overall, I thought this was a much more engaging episode than last week's. But 11 episodes into the season, this is a show that's still finding itself. I think there's enough strong raw material here that I really want to see what happens when Shawn Ryan and company do figure out how to make it all work, and I'm hopeful there's a renewal for it on Monday.
What did everybody else think?
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
Let Streaming Genie help you.