Thursday, December 7, 2006

Day Break—What If They're Stuck

This show just gets better and better, making me even sadder about what seems to be imminent cancellation. But maybe if it does get cancelled, it'll get a break, like Smith, which just showed up on iTunes. I haven't watched Smith at all, but at $12.99 for the entire series plus a booklet outlining the last five unaired episodes, it's damned tempting.

Anyway, back to Day Break.

Day One this week is a quickly executed series of missteps. Hopper takes the hourglass to the police lab to have the print pulled. Unfortunately, his timing goes awry, and not only is he unable to get any information about the print, he's arrested and again ends up at the quarry. This time Rita is there, and is executed within his hearing.

On Day Two, Hopper prepares better, getting Dodgers tickets to bribe the lab guy with so he can get his information. Trying to get his hands on the murder book for the case, Hopper ends up pulling a gun on Chad.

The rest of Day Two revolves around this hostage situation. He demands that Rita and Jennifer and her kids be brought to the station so he'll know they're safe. In the process of trying to get Chad to tell him where the book is, Hopper ends up spilling his whole story--that he's repeating this day, that he's seen Rita die three times and can't bear to see it happen again. That he's afraid that if he just decides to give up and let a day reset so he can try again, it'll turn out to be the last day, and Rita will end up dead forever. Chad doesn't buy this crazy story...but maybe he does. Completely calm through his ordeal, but visibly sheened with sweat, Chad seems to gradually begin to believe, particularly after Hopper's impassioned speech about not wanting to lose Rita. And, at the very last, Chad tells Hopper that, if he's right about the day repeating, the murder book is in the front seat of his car.

Several tidbits are dropped, pieces to add to the expanding puzzle. Something bad happened with Hopper's father back in the day--the clues tonight seem to indicate some kind of mental illness. Was Hopper Sr. caught in a repeating day, as well? This would be a bit like Tru Davies (Tru Calling) finding out her mother also repeated days, so maybe that's not where they're going. But obviously the 1991 case and Hopper Sr.'s involvement in it is an important part to Hopper Jr.'s story. The fingerprint from the hourglass, however, proves to be that of a criminal who's been in prison since 1989, so the connection there isn't immediately clear.

Another interesting note--the crazy guy from lock-up in the police station, whom Hopper's encountered before, seems to recognize Hopper the third time they run into each other. Is he tuned in to the repeating day somehow? Just because he's off his nut, or because he's part of the unfolding conspiracy?

And at this point, some kind of conspiracy seems likely. The first time the SWAT team moves in on Hopper, Chad spies a .45 leveled at Hopper's head and pushes him out of the way, saving him from death at the shot. When Hopper asks him why he did it, Chad says because the hostage team wasn't following protocol. The second time the SWAT team converges, a gun has been trained on Rita, and the targeting light doesn't disappear until Hopper confesses to Garza's murder. All this implies to me that the police are deeply involved in whatever's going on.

On Day Three, Hopper gets the book out of Chad's car, setting off the alarm. In a nice touch, he also leaves the money Chad said Hopper owed him, because when they were partners, Chad bought coffee twice as often as Hopper did.

So Chad has come around, just a bit. And may I take a moment to wax fangirlish about Adam Baldwin? Because he's just doing a bang-up job with this role. I was a bit disappointed at first, because it seemed like they'd just tossed him into another brutish bad guy part, but damn, Chad actually has layers. He's rough and arrogant and more than a bit of a prick, but tonight we finally got to see exactly why Hopper trusts him to take care of Rita, and why Rita would have fallen in love with him in the first place. I applaud some well-written character development, executed nicely by a very underrated actor.