Blood & Treasure (“Code of the Hawaladar”)

Season 1, Episode 3
Date of airing: May 28, 2019 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 4.232 million viewers, 2.8/6 in Households, 0.5/2 with Adults 18-49, 0.3 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.8 rating with Adults 25-54

I had some hopes for the show after the adventurous and exciting pilot two-parter, but those hopes have been extinguished with this episode, as BLOOD & TREASURE became just another television show with too much excitement going on instead of focusing on what could make the show more interesting. I don’t know if it was good or bad to expect a RELIC HUNTER copy with an ongoing story arc about the hunting of a terrorist trying to create an attack with an artifact and a dead woman inside it, but for some reason the serialized nature added absolutely nothing to the episode, and the hunt for Farouk turned into the recovery of a picture, which only established where the characters are going next. If you need 39 minutes (and that’s how long this episode was) to tell the viewers where the show is heading next, then maybe you weren’t as successful in establishing a narrative, let alone telling an exciting story for an hour. There wasn’t even a greater theme in this episode, something that would happen to the characters and they learn from whatever mistake they were doing, or from whichever lesson they were being taught, but at the end of the day all Danny and Lexi learned is to go to Germany.

The team gets together to investigate.

Okay, maybe they realized that there is a mole in the Egyptian government, and that Asim wasn’t a spy for Farouk, but it’s not like that revelation changed anything. In fact, it was a revelation that there is a mole inside the Egyptian government and maybe Interpol, but neither Danny nor Lexi were impressed about it, and they decide it too keep it for themselves. Because there is nothing more unimportant than a mole inside your investigation, which means you decide to investigate on your own, without giving Gwen any information, and that means Interpol is essentially written out of the story, so why include them in the first place? Except of course it’s your goal to split Danny and Lexi away from Interpol, so they can do their own thing, while Interpol is doing a different thing, and suddenly there are three different parties on the hunt for Cleopatra and it’s all just a global race for a sarcophagus. Maybe that premise is more exciting than what the writers dished us with this episode.

The team gets a criminal to spy on another criminal.

The only interesting plot of the episode involved Asim, and whether he was the mole or not. It seemed like a logical thought from both Danny and Lexi, judging from the flashbacks in the previous episode and Farouk’s escape to Libya, and I do like that the writers literally dropped a hand grenade into that premise and blew it up during the same episode the threat was established, but that doesn’t mean it made the episode more interesting in general. Besides that, Asim isn’t suddenly just an interesting character because he was not the mole, and because he pulled a Steve Trevor pre-serum and dropped his body on a grenade to save the woman in the room, but what it does is extinguish the potential use of the genre trope of a mole in the story. Then again, we now know there is a mole, and that means the threat will always hang above the heads of the characters, until they find out who the mole is — and that is not really an interesting story. This isn’t 24, in which we were looking for moles in every episode, this is supposed to be a fun, sexy and globetrotting adventure action show, and all I want to see is Danny and Lexi banter, flirt, verbally fight, all while physically fight against bad dudes.

The team knows how to get out of fiery situations with weapons.

Meanwhile, BLOOD & TREASURE serves us with all the other tropes of the genre, including television as a whole. You got an Arabic villain? You better make them as evil and ruthless as possible, because it’s how Oded Fehr gets typecast (and apparently he doesn’t have a problem with that). Have his men kill people, and give him the least amount of character depth as you can, because Farouk is supposed to be a villain and there can’t be a moment in which he comes over as a character with a greater agenda, and there is someone more sinister and more evil above him. There is nothing more cliche than that, and that makes the show just a little more boring.

Best part of the episode: At least Lexi is as kickass as she can get. She jumps on an assassin on the roof from behind, she falls through a window with a bad dude and knocks him out that way, and she knows how to dish out G-rated insults covered in normal talk. I guess it was impossible for her to be the lone hero of the show, and she needed to have her white savior ex-boyfriend at her side.
Worst part of the episode: The worst part is that it didn’t take much for the show to become interesting and exciting and then turn into a bore after the two-hour pilot. That’s not an unusual thing in television, but once more I realize I can never really trust television. Yet I’m still watching it…
Weirdest part of the episode: Umm, Chuck and Danny play baseball in the middle of Rome, hitting balls everywhere, and no one bats an eye? Those balls could have flown straight through an apartment window, judging by the force Danny hit them with.
Player of the episode: Asim is a hero, protecting someone by dropping on a grenade. For this sacrifice, he shall deserve a Wikipedia entry.

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