Monday, May 3, 2010

Cold Case: Almost Paradise/Shattered

Before we begin, let’s give a big hand to Meredith Stiehm, who created “Cold Case” and then watched it run for seven years. It’s tough to get a show on the air, and it’s tougher to keep it there.

And yet, she made it to the big seven. How can you not be just a little impressed?

Me, I’m a lot impressed, because these last two episodes had to do double-duty. They had to get solid mysteries out the door, and then, as a bonus, they had to set up two different TV shows.

One where everyone comes back for season eight, and one where Lilly joins the FBI and fires up what I keep calling “Cold Case 2.0.”

It’s all there, really. But I’ll lay it out in a second.

“Almost Paradise”

The big news this episode is, of course, that Lilly’s sister is back, and Lilly kind of doesn’t want anything to do with her. Ultimately, everything that happened to her in this episode is setup for the second round, but they tried to set up a few family dynamics for folks just meeting the bad sister of the family.

As for the death of the prom queen? I couldn’t help but feel like someone was doing this one as a bit of a tribute to John Hughes, the man who gave us movies like “Pretty in Pink” and “Sixteen Candles.” It was, ultimately, an episode that reminded us that high school kind of sucked for everyone, from the nerd on up to the prom king.

While the episode had some nice dynamics from the characters, one of the clues pretty much gave away the murderer well before we got there. But it was a solid John Hughes movie, and it gave me a chance to watch Rob Benedict act a bit, and that’s always a good thing.

(For those not in the know, Rob plays the occasional role of “Chuck” on “Supernatural,” my current favorite show.)

In sub-plot-land, Scotty, worked out a way to hand some final justice to the man who attacked his mom. This played out quickly, but it had a nice “This Isn’t Over” cap-off that clearly said to the audience, “If the show comes back, you’ll hear more.”

And of course, all this was the big lead-in for:


For this one, we got two mysteries for the price of one, as Lilly and Scotty tried to track down Lilly’s sister.

And the rest of the crew? They tried to solve a long-lasting case whose solution proved a little closer to home than they might have liked.

Once again, I was pleased by the choice of guest stars, as I got to see Keith Szarabajka whose work on “Angel” and “Profit” was always great. Though, really, pretty much everything he’s ever done has been terrific.

And how was his story? Well, it was filler, because the writers clearly wanted to give the audience a slam-bang ending to remember the story by. So we got Lilly and Scotty breaking into places, and handcuffing people to things, and in general being a little more action-hero-like than they generally get to be.

Which leads us to the surprise ending – and turn away if you don’t want to know:

Lilly’s sister has a kid.

Once the big reveal happened, I sat back on my couch, and I went, “Yeah, they’re still setting up ‘Cold Case 2.0’”

Which leads me to:

Final Thoughts:

It’s strange to get to what may very well be the end of the series, and watch while the writers of the show throw out a few leads. I may be reading too much into this, but as I watched three members of the Rush family and Scotty tool down the highway, I could see where the show was going.

Lilly, of course, joins the FBI. Her sister and her sister’s child stay with her. And Scotty, best friend of Lilly, gets romantically involved with the sister… an idea that was hinted at more than once in these last two episodes.

Could it work? I think it could.

As for the final episodes themselves, well, I think I tried to accomplish a little too much, what with all the side mysteries. And having done one two-parter just a couple of weeks ago also killed the impact a bit.

What’s worse, of course, is that they blew the last two episodes off tonight, which probably caught more than a few fans off guard. Having finally gotten used to the new time slot, to suddenly change things up and put two episodes on, one at the old time and one at the new?

It just felt unkind to me.

Assuming this really is it, and “Cold Case” doesn’t come back next season, they closed off the major stories pretty solidly, and I think long-time fans can rest easy, without a lot of big what-ifs.

So once again, here’s to you, Meredith Stiehm. You set a show on its feet, did something a little different, and you got the world some face time with a set of memorable characters. Good show. In every sense of the word.

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