Series 1, Episode 5
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)
This episode was almost too sweet. James and Alyssa hated each other for leaving one another, then they missed each other like they were a couple in love but not together, and then they found each other again, as if this entire thing is really just one big love story with two weird characters. And in the meantime those two characters are getting embroiled in a murder mystery (for the investigating detectives at least), with the police getting closer to them. Eunice and Teri don’t even suspect James and Alyssa in the murder right now, and considering there are only three episodes left in the season, it begs the question what needs to happen for the inspectors to catch up to the teenagers and if there is time for more character moments for James and Alyssa. Three episodes and a very clear-cut story and imagination of where everything is going — it’s almost like James and Alyssa’s adventure was planned to the tee from the beginning, although for some reason this episode could be seen as a filler, or at least as a pause in James and Alyssa’s journey, so that Eunice and Teri get some time to find out some things about the kids they hope aren’t the suspects.
I liked the idea of James and Alyssa being separated for almost the entire episode. While Alyssa was dealing with the bigger problem of being a young woman and a thief, both characters had the chance to deal with their inner conflicts on their own, and I liked those conflicts. While I have no idea why James was sitting in a police precinct building and suddenly was forced to deal with his reporting of a murder, I liked that he was dealing with his mother’s suicide, even if he didn’t come out of it with a morale. It was expected that something like this happened in his back story, but I do believe that the depiction of the suicide wasn’t quite necessary in the narrative (then again, it says “show, don’t tell,” so I guess the episode did things the right way). All the show needed to do was what it already did, as James was talking to the detective. That his mother killed herself is enough information to accept James’s weird and probably psychotic behavior. After all, suicides tend to do that to t(w)een witnesses in stories like these.
Meanwhile, I loved the story of Alyssa, the thief, doing something good and being awarded for her deed. First of all, I was a bit surprised that she cared enough about returning the 5-year-old girl back to her father, and secondly, I was surprised that she stood there, arms reached out and ready to be “arrested” by the security guy of that crappy store that can’t even check when a little girl runs off, let alone has signals at the door that actually signal someone is coming in or out. That the security guy would show clemency to Alyssa was sweet though. He kind of knew that something awful must have happened to the girl sitting in front of him, and he knew that putting her into police contact might not be the right thing to do for her right now. I’m glad to see that there are people out there who show compassion. Although in reality, Alyssa got that compassion because she returned the little girl, she got that compassion of being told to get out of here and never steal again, because she took on a plot device that allowed this development.
And finally, the thing between Eunice and Teri. I would laugh when it turns out at the end their conflict isn’t at all about their possible sexual encounter, which may have just been a kiss on the lips for all the writers care. I still find those two characters extremely interesting though, and it was lovely to see they got that moment during lunch time, as well as Teri’s weird face when she told Alyssa’s mother that Alyssa isn’t a murder suspect yet. That was almost an evil face Teri produced here, and one I almost laughed about.
By the way, can you even get a fingerprint from a murder weapon that has been in water for more than 24 hours? To end that episode with this scene is pretty neat, but I’m not sure about the scientific reasoning behind it. Then again, the knife could simply have an engraving that connects it to James. Which would make James super stupid, because he left the murder weapon with his name on it at the crime scene. He almost deserves to be captured by the police just for this. But then again, this might be the plot device that propels the story forward by a mile.