Raines: Meet Juan Doe

“I’m the crazy detective. Look out, he’s nuts. Weee!”

I hate this episode. I hate this episode. I hate this episode. But not because it’s bad, because it’s sad. I barely slept after the first time I saw this episode. I’ve only seen one other episode of television that I thought had a more tragic ending than this one. (Futurama’s “Jurassic Bark;” which I do NOT want to talk about).

Raines’s pilot was very well written, with zero awkward exposition. The writers of this episode, no doubt thinking they had to fulfill some sort of quota, have inserted a lot of that awkward exposition into the beginning of this episode. That bit is over relatively quickly, thankfully.

In this episode, we meet Dr. Samantha Kohl (Madeline Stowe), Raines’s new therapist, foisted on him by his captain. Raines handles therapy in a way that very much reminds me of a certain Alias character. Resentful at having to attend therapy, he decides to manipulate his new therapist instead of addressing his problems. Fortunately, she sees through his bullshit. She’s a match for him, intellectually and stylistically. As he’s leaving, she pulls a Columbo on him (“Just one more thing...”), which always makes me smile.

The captain’s concerned about Raines because he is, as he puts it, a Lewis without a Clark. Or, in a metaphor that might be more understandable to those of us who spend more time watching TV and less time reading history, he is a Sherlock without a Watson. There’s no one to reign in the crazy, no watchdog to sound the alarm if Raines crosses the line. It’s a reasonable fear. Raines’s snark aside, seeing hallucinations of murder victims is decidedly not normal and not healthy.

Much of this episode and subsequent episodes takes place, and is in fact shot in, Venice. Although I like the idea of a crime procedural where the cops go outside and interact with their environment, the idea of setting the show in Venice always seemed like an odd one to me. Primarily because the logistics of filming down there seem nightmarish. But I digress.

The noir is dialed down in favor of a more realistic, less glamorous depiction of Los Angeles. MacArthur Park isn’t exactly the stuff dreams are made of. Still, we have some classic noir elements: the ‘killer’ coming out of the shadows, mistaken identity, tragedy with a slight melodramatic flavor.

The case of the week is the most depressing of the series run. Father mistakingly shoots the son he never knew he had? Cue the waterworks (Actually, I’m fine until Maria tells Aurelio that the baby was named for him. Then I lose it.). The story line is a little completely emotionally manipulative, but I don’t always mind that.

As with Sandy Boudreaux, Raines needs to feel that Julio’s life has some closure before he can allow him to disappear. In this case, Julio’s father needs to see his grandson. Also similar, we see Raines connect strongly with the victim and his family. Not only does he go out of his way to unite Maria and her father-in-law, he has Maria and her son stay with him, which seems a bit above and beyond the call of duty to me.

Bits and Pieces

Our first look at the opening titles. I don’t like them. They really tell us nothing about the show and take up valuable time that could be used for sarcasm.

We learn a bit more about Raines’s background: his mother is dead, he’s originally from New York, and he moved to Los Angeles after high school. College isn’t mentioned.

Did you know that Venice’s canals were originally built to drain the marshes upon which the area was built? I didn’t. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Far less moving around in this episode than the last: Venice, Sanchez’s office downtown, MacArthur Park, and Mulholland Drive. Disneyland is mentioned again (multiple times).

Julio accuses Raines of liking Los Angeles, to which Raines replies “Don’t tell anyone.” It’s a local joke that all New York transplants hate LA and all native Angelenos hate New York transplants.


Raines: “I really thought my sarcasm was easier to read.”

Raines: “Who’s Dr. Samantha Kohl?”
Captain: “She’s a therapist.”
Raines: “Oh, yeah. It says it right here on the card: therapist. I thought that was ‘the rapist,’ which would be such a strange thing to put on a card.”

Raines: “This is my life. Watching a hallucination do the Macarena. Doesn’t get any better than that.”

Carolyn: “He looks familiar, like I’ve seen him before.”
Raines: “You have seen him before. On TV. You drew Erik Estrada.”

Raines: “That’s my credo: never inconvenience or upset a weasel who exploits people.”

Raines: “I’m just getting the hang of exactly how it is I’ve lost my mind.”

Julio: “But this is why you still drive along Mulholland when you know the freeway would be faster. You love it here.”
Sometimes Mulholland *is* faster.

Raines: “Did you know that LBJ had Fresca on tap at the White House? That’s true. Maybe you killed him.”
Coyote: “LBJ?”
Raines: “Julio Santiago.”

Coyote: “I provide you with a service, ese.”
Raines: “Me?”
Coyote: “Who cleans your house?”
Raines: “Nobody. It’s an issue with the landlord.”
Coyote: “Mows your lawn?”
Raines: “Grass is all dead.”
Coyote: “Who parks your cars at restaurants, washes them on the weekend? You eat strawberries, ese? Grapes? Guacamole?”
Raines: “I like the guacamole. That’s the good fat.”

Julio: “Two years of high school Spanish and all you remember is something about Lake Titicaca?”
Raines: “It’s a funny word. Titicaca.”

Julio: “Ever stop to wonder what happened to you?”
Raines: “Oh, every single damn day.”

Raines: “Boyer, do you have a Myspace page?”
Boyer: “No, not yet.”
Raines: “Great, so, so when you get one, may I suggest that under likes and dislikes, you put that you like to annoy the living snot out of people when they’re trying to work. And maybe you wanna add a link to www dot what in God’s name is wrong with me, all one word, dot com?”

Captain: “Do you like him for this?”
Raines: “I don’t like anybody.”
Captain: “I was referring to the case.”

Captain: “Close the door.”
Raines: “I find you devastatingly attractive as well, but we must be strong and resist.”

Captain: “You haven’t called Dr. Kohl.”
Raines: “Dan, it’s been one day. I haven’t called my mother in weeks. You don’t hear her complaining.”
Captain: “Your mother’s dead.”
Raines: “That explains it.”

Boyer: “I see people out on the street every day talking to themselves. The one big difference between them and you? They don’t have a license to carry a firearm.”

Raines: “Freud’s only stated goal was to convert hysterical misery into common unhappiness. I’m already unhappy, nothing more a therapist can do for me.”

Dr. Kohl: “You talk to yourself, detective.”
Raines: “Yes, um, I can’t think of anybody more interesting to talk to. Oh my gosh, I’m a narcissist.”

Dr. Kohl: “Tell me about yourself.”
Raines: “I was born in an Aleutian fishing village. My hobbies include making wax models of my favorite internal organs and skee-ball.”

three out of four faded photographs of men with mustaches
sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany


Billie Doux said...

And I cried. (It was the name of the baby that did it for me, too.) Please tell me the end of every episode isn't going to be this heartwrenching!

Madeleine Stowe was fun, and I indeed thought about Sloane and his therapist. :)

sunbunny said...

I had Jack in mind actually! Haha. They were both pretty bad weren't they? Poor Dr. Barnett.

I promise this is the saddest one! No more parents accidentally kill their long lost children, I swear. :)

J.D. Balthazar said...

I just read the synopsis for Jurassic Bark and that short blurb made me tear up, damn the episode must've been heart wrenching.

I have two impossible to re-watch television scenes. The first is a section on Garfield's 9 Lives. It is about a girl that loved to play the piano, and her cat that loved the piano. It was so touching that just thinking about it gives me chills.

The second one is even harder, it is the last ten minutes of the final episode of Six Feet Under, which is possibly the most uplifting and tragic finale of all time.

This episode was manipulative, but not overtly so. I figured it out pretty early on, and that lessened the impact of the reveal, but not by much. I think they telegraphed the mystery on purpose so it wasn't quite as devastating.

I can see why this show never caught on, but I wish it had.

sunbunny said...

JD - After "Jurassic Bark," I cried hysterically on my kitchen floor for about three hours while rocking back and forth squeezing my dog. He did not appreciate this.

ChrisB said...

What a bunch of softies we all are! The ending of this one, which I did not see coming at all, had torrents of tears running. This is the second episode in a row that Raines tears up -- I can't take it!

I love the snark in this show. You mention all the comments I loved, sunbunny. I have to respect a show that makes me laugh out loud and cry, all within the space of forty-five minutes.