Second Chance 1×05 – Reaction Post

The last couple of episodes of Second Chance set the bar very high, but this week’s episode did not disappoint! As usual, there was a nice mix of humorous and dramatic scenes, as well as lots of quotable lines. We also got to see some great father-son bonding time between Duval and James, and a wonderful sequence involving “older” Jimmy, perfectly portrayed by the amazing Philip Baker Hall.

So what did you think of “Scratch That Glitch?” Share your thoughts in the comments!

Expect spoilers for the episode – so if you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to be spoiled, you should avoid reading the comments on this post until you’ve watched it.

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10 Comments on “Second Chance 1×05 – Reaction Post”

  1. Good episode, which I liked most for the father/son bonding. More on that later.

    In all fiction, one must suspend belief to varying degrees. This is especially true in movies and television, where stories are constrained by time and money and storyline shortcuts must be taken. In science fiction, where the parameters of reality are more loosely defined, the unbelievable actually becomes possible. I get that. But even in science fiction, some realities are difficult to ignore. The opening scene of beautiful Mary, with healthy muscle tone and flawlessly radiant skin, carefully dressing herself as if for a lover, not showing any visible sign of suffering from an advanced stage of terminal blood cancer (and blood cancers are among the most physically brutal of all cancers)…? Just…no.

    Ignoring that, my favorite aspect of this episode was the genuine bonding which finally began to develop between father and son. Until this point, both characters have processed their new, wholly unexpected circumstances through work-related banter and/or outbursts of frustration, but tonight’s episode softened the tone. Duval carrying Jimmy’s service weapon as back-up, and his father’s badge until the appropriate moment presented itself for Duval to return it, were lovely moments played with gentle warmth. The banter is fun, but, considering the history and antipathy between these two characters, giving the relationship depth is an important step toward genuine reconciliation (assuming that’s the ultimate goal).

    I also liked Duval’s first scene with Mary, in which they began the conversation about how Jimmy’s resurrection came about. I could see the larger questions forming in Duval’s mind, even if he didn’t ask them out loud.

    I missed Gracie in this episode but was glad to see Alexa again. She and Otto humanize the Lookinglass side of the story for me. I expect the audience is supposed to sympathize with Mary, and I do sympathize with her situation, but I also don’t totally disagree with Lady Boss Suit’s harsh assessment of her (though it would be nice to know why she formed that opinion). By the way, have I missed it, or has no character actually called Lady Boss Suit by name? Duval has only referred to her as “ma’am”.

    As skeptical as I was about TDK playing another FBI agent in a TV series, he does it damn well. I think I could watch an entire hour of Tim just doing FBI stuff. He also had my favorite line of the episode, and maybe of the entire series so far: “About my working with the privacy-invading wonder twins and my dead-not-dead dad?”

    1. I agree with you about Mary. And actually with this intro I feel like they missed the perfect occasion to show Mary’s illness. They could have shown that in private, she does look ill, but then she puts on make-up, a nice dress, forces a smile, and does her best to hide it to the world. That would have been a lot more interesting.

      Lady Boss’ name is Sue Adair. It’s in the end credit. And when Duval called her she answered “Adair here”.

      I do hope we’ll see Gracie next week, and that she’ll learn about her grandfather.

  2. Show is developing pretty well. The individual characters get more shape, less stereotype and looks. I like that. Even the twins seem to be human.
    Missed Gracie, too.
    I don’t get warm with the Sheriff. But even I have to admit the father-son relationship develops interesting.
    And I – most obviously – don’t have to state that Tim is just short of awesome.
    I would just hope the ratings would be more encouraging. The show is getting better by the episode and ratings are dropping. Don’t understand that.

    1. Just finished a re-watch of this episode, and I noticed a couple things I hadn’t earlier.

      First, Lady Boss Suit’s last name is Adair. She and Duval respect each other as professionals, but they don’t seem as congenial as Reese and Peter on WC.

      Second, Duval is still wearing his wedding ring. I don’t remember the audience being told he was a widower but I think RR or TDK mentioned it in an interview. I wonder if we’re going to learn about Gracie’s mother.

      So, Mary has a boyfriend. Their conversation was somewhat ambiguous–I couldn’t tell if he was simply a close family friend who was attracted to Mary, or if they were already in a romantic relationship. Either way, he seems like the type who might feel threatened by Mary’s burgeoning relationship with Jimmy.

      I know Mary felt responsible for Otto when their parents died, but she was neither his parent nor even an adult herself. With noble but wrong-headed intentions, she placed him in a protective bubble. Otto seems to be on the autism spectrum, with sensory and/or social disorders, and the Goodwins are rich enough to afford therapies designed to help adults with autism integrate into the larger community. Were Mary to die, I’m glad he might have someone he trusts to depend on, but Otto is very capable of living his own life and I wish Mary would encourage that (assuming she hasn’t).

      Ratings slipped another tenth. It’s not unusual for any show to waver plus/minus a tenth or two from week to week. SC seems to have found its core audience, but I do wish the show could build on that. Ratings growth on Friday night is very difficult because fewer people watch television then, but it can be done. Numb3rs did it. Blue Bloods did it. Second Chance can go it too, if Fox will let it.

      1. Otto seems to be doing pretty well. He accepted Jimmy and Duval rather quickly and did contact Duval (because he has a better reliable quotient 🙂 ). Plus he was willing to make that speech, so he seems to be able to go beyond his own secure bubble if he has to. I actually like the way he’s portrayed. It’s not that often that you see someone like him (either autistic or with social phobia/insecurity) portrayed in a realistic, non caricatural way.

        But no matter what, Mary and Otto have a very strong bond, and Mary being the strongest one, is naturally protective of her brother.

        1. Yes, but Mary’s over-protection of Otto wasn’t entirely the point. Otto does interact well one-on-one or in a small-group situation, especially with people he knows Mary trusts. Where Otto needs assistance is where many individuals on the autism spectrum (of which extreme social anxiety is a common symptom) need help, and that is processing an overload of sensory information. That’s why he struggled at the press conference. He knew to focus on one object in the room (as opposed to the infinite number of sights and sounds bombarding him from the floor), but when that object of that focus was off-kilter, not appearing as he expected, he shut down. If Mary dies, Otto becomes the face of Lookinglass, and he must learn alternate ways to navigate the outside world without relying on her. Mary’s responsibility to him is more than just as his protector.

  3. This was a good episode, though less emotionally intense than the last two. I liked it better on second watch (or maybe just because in one run after a good sleep it’s better than in the middle of a night shift in between analyses).

    It was nice to see more the Lookinglass side of things. See Mary and Otto as who they are – successful CEOs.
    However, they’re still shown in a very positive light, and yet I can’t help but feel a little on edge about all their technology. They have cameras everywhere, including in their own house, they can reach anyone and anything via the internet (and so can Arthur). I don’t know if the writers realize how edgy this actually is. I kinda wish they’d show the darker side of this. There’s potential there.

    So Jimmy is falling apart already ? I was more expecting this for an end of season. No comment about the DNA recoding itself (they must have skipped a few biology classes, there’s no way your DNA from every and each of your cells can mutate all at once…), but I’m curious to see where they’re going to go with this “monster” getting out of control.

    I found interesting that it starts with Jimmy playing cards instead of being there for Mary. He seems to be falling back into his bad habits. I was having a hard time reconciling all the resentment from Duval in the earlier episodes and the fact that Jimmy seemed so determined to help/save his son all the time as soon as he was back from the dead. I guess it shows that Jimmy isn’t a necessarily a terrible person, but maybe too selfish to really be a good person. He tries, but doesn’t always succeed in his good intentions.
    Not sure I totally get Duval’s feelings either. On the one hand he’s full of anger and ressentment, and on the other hand, he keeps his father’s gun as his back-up weapon…

    Of course, I really enjoy the father-son bonding scene at the end, but I wish they had avoided the “miraculously well placed object in the pocket that saved my life”. That’s borderline ridiculous and it’s been done to death.

    The scene with Philip Baker Hall was hilarious!

    And on a more superficial note, Tim looked great once again. 🙂

    1. I so hope the writers explore the Pandora’s box of ethical issues broached in the first few episodes–not just the pervasiveness of the technology used by Lookinglass (which is frighteningly close to reality), but the mere idea that humans can be brought back to life without their consent, as experimental guinea pigs to serve the purposes, whether well-meaning or nefarious, of their handler is vile to me. It’s an interesting idea to explore in a fictional story, but I’m having a difficult time accepting Mary’s apparent nonchalance about playing God. I noticed in this episode she attempted to rationalize the twins’ actions by claiming Mary’s improved blood counts, thanks to Jimmy’s transfusions, could lead to more lives being saved, but they’re a long, long, long way from being cancer killers.

      I think Jimmy loves his family the best he can. The question Jimmy must ask himself now that he has a second chance is, what do I do with my life? Can I be a better person, a better father? In its own way, its not different from Neal Caffrey’s moral dilemma in WC–can I change on a deep enough level to actually transform into the man I’d like to become? For Jimmy, the job always came first. Further, doing his job well meant getting the job done any way he could– the ends justified the means. That’s the fundamental difference between his values and Duval’s.

      The parent/adult child relationship is very complex. Love and hate can be messily and non-discernibly intertwined. Duval is still searching for the things that Jimmy never gave him as a child–attention, pride, respect–and I think that’s why he held on to Jimmy’s service weapon and badge.

      Yeah, the badge was maybe a little too conveniently located on Duval’s person to be believed, but the charm and warmth of the moment superseded my minor incredulity. I’ll take character moments like that any way I can get them.

      Tim always looks great, and I don’t know a TV cop who looks hotter in a bullet-proof vest.

      1. I absolutely agree with about about the ethical issues. I do hope they’ll bring that up. I kinda want Jimmy to protest a bit about it. He didn’t ask for it. For now it seems mostly fun to feel young again, and it’s giving him a chance to make up with his family. But then what?

        Oh I really like that family moment. The family exploration is probably the strongest point of the show. I really hope Duval will let Gracie know soon enough, cause that’s something I want to see. And Helen’s reaction should be fun too. 😉

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