Maria of the Desert…
I’m not quite sure why, but I didn’t like this episode, anywhere near as much as the last, and yet, it had loads going on. Perhaps it was down to there being a bit less in the way of character development, which I particularly like when the characters are as good as these ones. On reflection (in the last 60 seconds, that is), it’s maybe the fact it was too much like a standard run-of-the-mill cop show, going after the bad guy, which in many ways it is, but we do have endless possibilities, which I hope we get to see fully exploited. The nod to The Godfather in episode 3 was a nice touch, when Charlotte (Annabeth Gish) finds her horse has been killed in a rather dramatic way, in order for the old woman to make a point.
After Charlotte finds her horse dead in the stables, she gets the ranch foreman, Cesar, to contact the woman who is responsible, and tell her the tunnel is to be reopened. She then has an awkward conversation with her stepdaughter, telling her not to smoke at the pool. She explains to Charlotte, she’s staying at the house for the reading of the will. We see an angry Mexican gangster, threaten the old woman horse killer, making it clear he needs to use her tunnel. This is how he intends to get the $1 million to the cops, to ensure the ransom gets paid in time. It’s just as well, because it looks like no one else is interested. It’s pointed out that if it were a white girl staked in the blistering desert, this would have been dealt with differently, and the money would’ve been raised with little problem.
The FBI have taken over the case, and now that they have the badly needed cash, they plan to go ahead with the exchange. Marco has to force his way into getting to go along. One of the two FBI agents is acting very nervous about the whole thing, which is noticed by Marco, who makes comment to Hank. Marco got the cash from a Mexican gangster, who persuade him (by pointing out he knows where the Ruiz family live) to take the ransom money to the FBI, and of course, getting the police out of his hair a lot quicker.
Episode 4, titled Maria of the Desert, is focused mainly on the search for the kidnapped Mexican woman, but there are enough twists to raise it above most other cop shows. Having a long-running whodunit is a good idea, and has endless possibilities, but this episode wasn’t showing us anything we haven’t seen enough of already, even though it was still a good one. I just hope this is a minor bump on the road to a long and interesting series.
Review by E. Blackadder, special to Influx Magazine
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