Early Edition (“Bat Masterson”)

Season 1, Episode 16
Date of airing: February 22, 1997 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 12.8 million viewers, 8.3/15 in Households

Ah, those 1980s and 90s shows that have a two or three-headed cast and focus a lot on the guest stars of the week in a story that might be interesting for a hot second or two, but become one amongst the forgotten after a week, right before the main characters gets into a new adventure. There is probably some high rewatch value in shows like these (if the stories are intriguing), and it turns out the EARLY EDITION writers were planning to carry that kind of show into the twenty-first century. I don’t really mind, since there is always room for anthology television with regular characters, but maybe the stories should in fact be a little more interesting. This episode wasn’t, thanks to Bat Masterson, also known as Mike, not being an intriguing-enough character for me. Or the fact that the story was pretty much a predictable snoozer midway through, when even I came to realize that Ike was the guy who shot Mike’s partner, and that all of this is just a way for Mike to get out of his urges to play the role of Bat Masterson and see it as his one and only life. By the way, is there a medical term for Mike’s condition? Dr. Feinstein definitely wasn’t going into the psychological aspects of her patient, which is probably because the writers decided not to put too many research hours into it. But maybe it would have made this hour a little better if the writers had delivered a more scientific and medical back story for Mike, his decision to step into the role of Bat, and believing that he is Bat.

Mr. Masterson was not the only cop on a horse chasing bad guys in the 1990s.

But oh well, Gary made himself known as the guy who wants to help other people, and his co-stars of the week tend to notice now. Before this episode, the paper directed him to help the people in need and sometimes he stuck around, because he knew there was still trouble to come and his help was still needed (best example would be the episode “Gun”). But in this episode he genuinely wanted to hang out with Bat/Mike and kind of watch over him, just to make sure the old Sheriff doesn’t get int any more trouble. For the first time, Gary became the protector and helper for someone without looking into the paper first, to see if there is new trouble brewing. For the first time Gary became something of a counsellor, for people to talk to when they need someone, because maybe their lives are a little more interesting on an emotional level. Maybe this is an intended change after the ending of “The Wall, Part 2,” which said that Gary is now a changed man because of the events depicted in that episode, but maybe it’s also just a coincidence. EARLY EDITION is after all a 1970s/80s proceduralized show with focus on guest stars, which happened to air in 1997 when shows were about to change and television was about to step into the next century.

Meanwhile, the actual story of the episode was… yeah, it definitely was a snoozer. I could have taken a nap instead, but here was a guy who thought of himself as a hero of the Wild West, a genre I was never really interested in to begin with (too many macho men who have guns and shoot people like there’s no tomorrow is not really my thing), and never was Bat a more aggressive or angry person, as if everything was picture perfect and happy-go-lucky in the 1800s. If Bat Masterson of this episode really existed in 1800s, then the guy would have been murdered by whichever gang came through town first, because there is no way that Bat could have ever survived in the job by being nice and correct and lawful and always choosing the right-sounding words. I’m actually impressed that no one in Chicago during the two weeks Bat/Mike was out on the street found this crazy dude and decided to either beat him up or mug him. I mean, wouldn’t he be a perfect target for a little nightly crime by some random gangster thinking himself as the coolest bandit in town?

Why did this guy have a gun at this place of employment?

The story also made some ridiculous choices. Mike was living in something of a mental institution, so why does one of the orderly guys Dr. Feinstein has hired a pistol for Mike to steal and potentially wave around? When the guy said that Mike stole his gun, all I could do was roll my eyes into the Andromeda galaxy, being shocked about the fact that someone in this joint was actually packing loaded heat. That’s one crazy plot convenience, and one that doesn’t make the episode look better at all. Also, it doesn’t make gun-crazed America look better when the muscle men of mental institutions carry anything more than a night stick. Imagine if the rapey fat bastard from TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY had a gun and was all alone with Sarah Connor, as he was licking her face…

Early Edition (“The Wall”, Part 2)

Season 1, Episode 15
Date of airing:
 February 8, 1997 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 12.1 million viewers, 7.9/14 in Households

As expected, there weren’t a lot of surprises in this episode, as things were going along as they were planned from the beginning. That might be wonderful in retrospect, because the writers clearly kept their sanity and locked their insanity away by removing all twists from this episode and let the story flow in a natural way. Although maybe the storytelling was kept on the downlow a little too obviously, since by the end of the episode I was wondering why Marley, also known as Dobbs, wanted the President dead (okay, explanations aren’t really needed, but killing JFK and this fictional president must mean something, especially when you most likely haven’t attempted another assassination between 1963 and 1997), and if he was the only one involved in this conspiracy or if Marley was hired by another country or even cartel to execute the assassination. If Marley was the only person involved in the whole thing, it means it was the typical lone man terrorist attack, the crazy guy deciding that the world must change, and the only way it can be changed is through violence and death. It’s not at all a government conspiracy, and in a way a kick in the balls for all the people who believe in the conspiracy theory. No, it wasn’t Oswald, it was Marley. Though maybe I don’t think it’s such a good idea to tell your audience that in your show, which isn’t really historical to begin with, Oswald was not the shooter. Not that we are interested in even more JFK conspiracy theories, but EARLY EDITION just created another one. And I was about to get used to the notion that the killer was the cigarette-smoking man.

This should have been the end of the story, but the show went on for three and a half more years.

Anyway, the episode was solid. A little more streamlined than the previous one, since all Gary needed was to find out who framed him, but also a little more serious when it comes to … seriousness and tense drama. Even if you knew that Dobbs was Marley, there still was the potential of Gary being caught by the police, and for Dobbs’s plan to blow up in his face like Hawks and Crumb were supposed to feel the letter bomb in their faces, and from here on, everything could have been possible. But at the end of the day, this episode only had one purpose, and it was to depict what the JFK assassination would have looked like in 1997, and what a different conspiracy (this being a one-man job) would have looked like, if perfectly executed. Maybe Gary was even useless in this plot, as his reason for being here was only to show that one-man plan, and to depict a presidential assassination either succeed or fail. The writers had fun with the premise for sure, but it also meant that the character had to take a few steps back. They became pawns in the story they were in and Marley was running the show from the back of the room. At least it’s logical how Marley was hinging on Gary being in the building at the time, since Marley knew all about tomorrow’s paper and Gary being the next Lucious Snow.

To prevent the characters taking steps back to let Marley run the show, there could have been moments of character drama. At the end there was a sense of the paper having changed Gary (and not just because of Chuck’s voiceovers), but other than that the story didn’t do anything for Gary at all. Chuck became something of a hero here, but only because the writers figured they needed to rewrite his character to suit the story. And Marissa was basically left out of it, only being a voice of … I don’t know what kind of voice she was, but because the police decided not to maybe call her into the precinct and ask some questions about her friend, the suspected killer on the run, makes me think the writers not only used the characters as pawns for the story, but also forgot to actually use them as characters as a whole.

Gary is in the room with the device that could change the future.

Meanwhile, the winter version of Chicago was shown, which was lovely, and it’s all I have been waiting for. The Christmas episode was a little void of snow, thanks to the fact that the episode wasn’t shot during the winter months, but I’m glad that the producers continued to use the setting as part of the show, and have EARLY EDITION look like it isn’t a soundstage show. There is a different feel in watching a show which uses its outdoor settings, to have Chuck run through the snow, and to have Gary and Marissa meet up between whiteness that was left on the streets. All of this almost makes me want to wish living in Chicago and just enjoy the freezing cold and chaos on the streets after the snow has fallen. I do like depressing weather. I am after all a depressed soul.

Early Edition (“The Wall”, Part 1)

Season 1, Episode 14
Date of airing: February 1, 1997 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 12.6 million viewers, 8.4/15 in Households

One might have wondered how long it will take for Gary to be involved in a conspiracy that leads to a repeat of the JFK assassination plot, or alternatively to the reveal of the crash of an unidentified flying object, together with its deceased unidentified humanoid pilots. One might have wondered how often Lucius Snow went through Kennedy-like situation and how many he was able to prevent, and how often he failed. You know all the tragic accidents and events in American history, but without Snow there might have been a lot more, and that is usually something you don’t tend to think about when watching a show about characters changing the future and preventing catastrophes. And now Gary gets the chance to prevent an American tragedy from happening, and it might even be the event that turns the guy into a true silent heroic character, always in the background, waiting to spring into action and prevent your death, and then going back to his hotel room and bitching about the fact that he still hasn’t gotten a job, let alone a life to live. No girlfriend, no real friends who are not pushing him to get to the race track and make some money, instead just the newspaper from tomorrow and an assassination plot against the president every once in a while.

Gary is a little behind on reading his way through breaking news coverage.

This episode also want a tad bit further in things regarding the paper. The smeared title page headline showed that the paper was warning Gary of what’s to come, which means the paper was giving Gary not only the future of today, but the future of two days from now, meaning the paper could easily be from the day after tomorrow, if the writers wanted to get down that route. Granted, it was just a plot device to have Gary figure out the headline of the day of tomorrow the day before tomorrow, and to end this episode with him on a run before everyone even figures out that the president might be in some crosshairs, but it’s also a good plot device for a two-part episode, and to dump Gary into a seemingly inescapable situation, during which he will have to face the villains to save the day, and maybe even risk his life to do so. And when the story even goes so far as to giving some back story involving Snow, then there even is a way to enjoy this episode and give some back story to its fantastical premise. Who knows, maybe we will know a lot more about Snow by the end of the series.

But I didn’t enjoy the episode much, because it happens to be extremely predictable. Even without having seen the episodes once many moons ago, there is reason to believe that J.T. Marley is indeed alive, and listens to the name of Dobbs; that Crumb might be suspicious of Dobbs already, as well as Gary’s innocence in the whole thing Crumb might not even know anything about, and that Snow’s way of trying to prevent Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 pretty much has nothing to do with the story now, because all the 1963 back story wants to tell Gary is that he has to face the same adversaries today as Snow probably had to face 33 years ago. Who knows, maybe in this weird and messed-up series universe, it was Lee Harvey Oswald who received tomorrow’s newspaper and it was him who was framed for the assassination, and after Oswald got assassinated, Snow was given that duty. Of course that wouldn’t explain Snow’s decision to fly to Dallas the day of the assassination, but wouldn’t that be a fascinating headscratcher, even if it happened to distort well-known American history on a fictional television show, especially when it comes to making Oswald the scapegoat in the show, when he was the assassin in the undistorted version of real-life history. I don’t know, if the writers would have brought that twist in EARLY EDITION, might the show have gotten some criticism, similar to how FRINGE got some words about depicting the twin towers in its first season finale?

Chuck gets arrested for bad behaviour on a television show.

In a way, this episode was just a big setup. A lot of back story regarding Lucious Snow, and a lot of preparations to lead Gary into the conspiracy and to have the viewers figure out how he is going to prevent the president’s murder, as well as the ongoing frame job against Gary. Maybe without the Snow back story, the premise would have been enough for a one-hour story only, but the thing is, the back story helps to put a spotlight on the narrative, and I found it fascinating to learn what Snow was doing to prevent an American tragedy, as Gary was going through his very own American tragedy. But yeah, there were some stupid moves being executed here. First of all, the terribleness that is Dobbs’ character, and secondly, the way Crumb wasn’t even fully invested in what was happening here. Getting persuaded by the Secret Service to order a search warrant for Gary? I’m pretty sure you need a super compelling reason to raid someone’s hotel room, and Crumb definitely did not have anything more to call a compelling reason than a hunch that wasn’t even his own to begin with. Even the raid on Michael Cohen’s offices and homes in April of 2018 started off with compelling reason and evidence for his actions that were against the law. Gary should sue, because his hotel room was definitely raided due to a hunch.

Early Edition (“Mob Wife”)

Season 1, Episode 13
Date of airing: January 25, 1997 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 13.5 million viewers, 8.7/15 in Households

This being a family show, the ending of the episode became a game of predictability. Family shows don’t tend to show how characters are killed on-screen, like it is an unwritten rule about fictional sitting US presidents getting killed (COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF and DESIGNATED SURVIVOR being notable examples, due to their pilot premises, but they weren’t killed off-screen), so when Theresa was apparently shot (notice how the show did not depict bullet wounds or blood) and then fell into the river, it was pretty obvious that this was just Frank’s way of making sure he is “killing” Theresa for her own good, instead of another mob family killing Theresa for real to make a statement. This being a family show, not only was Theresa unable to die, but Frank was unable to be the real villain of the episode, while the Feds were unable to be actual Feds here, being mean to Gary and all that stuff. Sometimes, being a family show hampers you in making sure that characters are actually characters and adversaries can be antagonists. At the end of the day, the only one who had actual control over everything was Gary, because of his magical newspaper.

In Chicago, gangsters don’t have to worry about the time of day to pull out their pistols.

The episode was kind of boring and entertaining at the same time. Sticking the characters into a mob story could have been a good idea, but for a family show it’s kind of a crappy idea, considering mob characters are usually killers who dump you into the ocean with a brick of cement at your feet, yet nothing of it could be depicted in this show due to its family-friendly nature. Then again, I’m not so sure if Gary would have been able to stand the test of time against actual mobsters, even with tomorrow’s paper, because Chicago mobsters should be as evil as Italian mobsters in New York, or so I’ve seen on THE SOPRANOS, of which I have never seen more than the first season of, because I never got into it (yet every time I hear the HBO stinger, I imagine that “Woke Up This Morning” is about to play). Anyway, the mob premise stuck the characters in a weird story, one that didn’t fit with the characters, especially when Chuck became the central figure here, who decided to fall in love with a pretty young woman, because Hollywood and male writers. If there is ever a story, written by men, about a man who does not fall in love with the female guest star of the episode, especially on 1990s shows and earlier, please tell me. This episode is just another one in the long list of television episodes that promotes male wish-fulfillment. Only the male central characters are allowed to fall in love with the female guest star and no one else.

But hey, at least Theresa wasn’t a boring character. Pauley Perrette must have been somewhat of a household name even in the 1990s or otherwise she would have not been given a role like this, let alone being credited as “Pauley P,” which I found to be enough of a weird fact. That Theresa would fall in love with Chuck of all people was maybe just a little bit ridiculous, but it did good things for Chuck as a character, who for once was not the jerk or the idiot of the story. It almost looked good on him that he was in love and I would almost consider this episode’s version of Chuck to be the one I would love to see all throughout the show, but knowing the show, and seeing how the character has been treated by the writers so far, it’s probably going to be a “never gonna happen” situation, and I can get myself prepared for another episode in which Chuck is the jerk and the idiot of the story, making me question why Gary is still friends with the guy.

The receiver of tomorrow’s newspaper should smell the inside of an interrogation room more often.

One can hope that Chuck has an opportunity to get back to being the character he was in this episode. After all, the writers gave Meredith two episodes, and with her an opportunity for Gary to flirt with the guest character of the week. The same could happen for Chuck, and Theresa seemed like she would be the right character — she is snappy, she can take care of herself, and for a moment she actually looked like she wasn’t just a plot device for Chuck’s story. It’s almost like she is made for a return in a future episode.

Early Edition (“Frostbit”)

Season 1, Episode 12
Date of airing: January 11, 1997 CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 14.2 million viewers, 9.0/15 in Households

I always remembered this episode for some reason. Maybe it’s because Gary was generically wandering from one place to the next, helping someone out. Maybe it’s because the writers managed to put Gary’s heroic adventures into display and turn it into a dramatic story of Gary not able to be someone else, doing something else. Maybe it’s because Chuck has been the worst of his character in this episode. Or maybe it’s because this episode turned the show more into a fantasy, creating a whole different aspect of the paper that comes to Gary, and making it something of a tool to save him, instead of a tool for Gary to save others.

It’s too cold to read the paper with your mouth uncovered.

It has become clear by now that the paper likes to change headlines, so that Gary notices them later, the plane crash from “The Choice” being the most prominent example. Gary hasn’t even affected anyone, yet the paper changes into something big, and he springs into action. It’s probably the paper’s way to lead Gary to places, to have him notice those headlines, and have him think about things a certain way. And maybe the paper continued to “form” Gary this way, by leading him towards the runaway kid, and not towards the people who need saving. Like Marissa said, the paper wanted him to be somewhere at a certain point in time, and a normal newspaper usually doesn’t have a place for runaway teenagers’ deaths, as told by the desk sergeant, which begs the question if the paper decided to give Gary the burned news clipping, because Gary needed to be there for the kid especially, and not because it was just another life he needed to save. It begs the question if the paper is actually the paper of tomorrow, or if it’s just the future Gary needs to see to interact, no matter whether it was ready to be in tomorrow’s newspaper. It’s certainly a question to ask yourself this, although it makes the show extremely convoluted, and almost a bit too complex, maybe. After half a season, maybe it’s not a good time to ask yourself if the paper is actually a newspaper, or the work of a higher being to form Gary into whoever he must become.

Maybe the writers wanted it to be the latter, because the show simply couldn’t just be about a guy who receives tomorrow’s paper today. Who knows, maybe Gary was about to be turned into a superhero and protector of the world, because he will be the only one able to stop the nuke from exploding (or something like that), and maybe it’s the way the writers approached this show at this point — maybe Gary wasn’t just a random person receiving the paper, but he was destined to become the recipient, and had to go through all the annoyances and frequent denials, before accepting the hero complex. Because if you consider yourself the hero, would you then become a real one by stopping big and even bigger threats? In this episode, Gary was saving a runaway teenager — is he gonna fight terrorism in the next season? Well, so much for using the word “maybe” maybe a little too often.

Chuck is best at stopping traffic where there’s no traffic.

Back to Chuck. Yes, the guy was an asshole, and I imagine it was intended for him to become an asshole in this episode. But the way he became unlikable in this episode was beyond any reasonable understanding. All I wanted was for Gary to punch his “best friend” in the nose, but no, this is Gary we’re talking about, and he has a hero complex (which could have been a bigger plot device in this episode, but it seemed to have been a running joe during the opening minutes only). Of course Chuck needed to contradict Gary’s behavior by being the absolute opposite, so Chuck had to be angry about his own mistake of leaving his fish in the toilet. But every once in a while, all I want is for Chuck to disappear and not give Gary this kind of trouble. It would mean there is one less comedic foil and asshole in the show, and it would mean Marissa gets some more screentime, which might be necessary. Having a blind character accompany Gary in his hero complex deeds might be more interesting, just because of the obstacles. Besides that, isn’t it one of those well-liked television tropes that the blind character sees the most? It was established in this episode as a fact, when Marissa knew that Gary would go out, before he said it out loud.

Fun fact: Sometimes I freeze-frame the articles in the paper and I start reading the texts under the headline. The first time Gary saw the article of the pedestrian struck by the car, some of the text was about Pritchard’s murder. I’m weirded out by the way the props are handled for this show, and it’s a certainty that EARLY EDITION will never receive an HD master, because then those faulty articles will be all over the internet and they would make the show look a little more ridiculous. Which is a shame, because I would love to see Chicago in HD.

Early Edition (“Christmas”)

Season 1, Episode 11
Date of airing: December 21, 1996 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 9.1 rating in Households

Here is another example of how the show was turned into a weekend family entertainment product: The story of a serial bomber turned out to be tamed and toned-down, just so it can be part of a PG-rated show, and the tension of the story (a mad bomber terrorizing Chicago) was anything but utilized, especially when the premise was relocated from random places in Chicago to the standing set of McGinty’s, where the mad bomber not only showed up for some inexplicable reason, but also turned out to not be mad at all — just crazy, with a bomb, and with the inability to actually pull the trigger and blow everyone up with him in the center of it all. Any other show would have turned this idea into an hour-long thriller, but on EARLY EDITION, a show for the entire family, the premise of a mad bomber was a way to make Detective Crumb look like an asshole and a fool by not listening to the tips of a concerned citizen, and to make the scene in the bar more ridiculously hilarious and weird than horrific and tense. Also, the mad bomber seemed like a nutcase himself, only bringing pain and torture and fear to the people for whatever reason, because the writers decided to forego his motives, because this is still a family show, and delivering any kind of motive would turn this episode into something else that isn’t suited for families.

Maybe Chuck could get locked up forever and spare me with his arrogant and greedy behavior.

In a way, this hour wants to be an episode that wants to be on your Christmas must-watch list, because the spirit of the holiday still somewhat comes over thanks to Chuck’s weird prison break story with a Santa Clause who is either real or just another nutcase of Chicago, Illinois during the winter time. But at the end of the day, this seemed like an episode pushed to become the first-best EARLY EDITION Christmas episode, because this is the first season of the show and this is the first Christmas episode of the show, but it also happened to be a weird Christmas episode.

The execution of the story was the thing that made the hour weird. Gary and Crumb were like oil and water, so I’m not so sure this was even close to comfort for the writers if they ever planed to bring realism to the show and have the events depicted in it be grounded in that always usable realism. The way Crumb was negative about everything Gary told him became annoying quickly, and at one point I wished for the absent Mayor to just fire Crumb’s ass, since he wasn’t doing his job. Gary came along with a tip and some worry in his face, but because Crumb was pissed for whatever reason (the holidays, probably — notice that he was at a bar on Christmas eve, and not with his family, making me wonder if the guy even has a family), the whole story turned into a “Gary wants to help, but Crumb wants to not listen to this crazy fool” story, in which there wasn’t even an interesting or funny back and forth between the two, just to push the narrative of a unlikely duo in a buddy cop film. Maybe Crumb was the character of the story here, since Gary always managed to stay calm and not flip out, but then again we need to remember that the mad bomber wasn’t given a motive or a reason why he followed Crumb. If Crumb would have been the center of the story, the writers would have delivered a motive. But hey, at least Gary was in the heat of the situation for once, including what he thought was a bomb, which he took in his hands and threw away. A few more of these, and Gary is an action hero.

He always has to ready the paper, even when he’s lying on ice.

In the meantime, Chuck went through all the necessary weirdness, making this show super annoying for an hour. First of all, he doesn’t give a damn about the hundreds of parking tickets he has gotten over what maybe the past few months? He did not expect to be caught at some point? He did not realize he might be in a bit of a legal pickle? It sounds to me like Chuck was even dumber than the real or fake Santa Clause and the mad bomber combined. It doesn’t help his character though, as Chuck has gone through yet another episode in which he was not given an opportunity to be a hero himself, or to at least be a little less of an egoistic asshole. And let’s forget Santa Clause, because this surely wasn’t a character from any of the magical Christmas stories in existence.

This was an episode that wanted to deliver the Christmas spirit, but all it did was go far away from what EARLY EDITION has been for the first ten episodes and instead become something else. I guess the writers were still experimenting here and there, but this episode wasn’t working out for me. And please, can we do something about Chuck?

Early Edition (“The Wrong Man”)

Season 1, Episode 10
Date of airing: December 7, 1996 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 15.1 million viewers, 10.0/18 in Households

The show started with the inexplicable separation of Gary and Marcia. It was fascinating, because either the writers never cared to give a reason why the divorce happened or they didn’t give a reason on purpose, because every once in a while, not having all the information is better. Also, maybe Gary didn’t even know why he was divorced, and this was all just a plot to get into the head space of the character during the pilot? Yes, the throwing out of Gary’s belongings in the pilot doesn’t fit into the narrative at all, but at least now you could think about how Phil might have been the reason for the divorce. Who knows, maybe Marcia and Phil had a thing going during the last few months of her marriage with Gary, or the fact that she fell for Phil was the reason to divorce Gary and go with Phil. Or that might just be me bullshitting here, and there still isn’t a reason why Marcia and Gary split up after three-or-so years, but this episode gives you a few bullet points and you can form your own thoughts about what really happened here. Even if EARLY EDITION is clearly something of a show not giving a damn about a timeline or character-based mythology.

Ex-lovers still have arguments way after their relationship has concluded.

This episode was quite good. Instead of Gary Hobson, guardian angel, this episode was all about a character arc for him, and considering how the show started, it might have even been necessary and important, although the divorce didn’t really come through and made Gary unhappy or confused or distraught or sad every time the writers didn’t mention Marcia or the divorce. What currently screws up his life is the paper, which means he has a good chance of getting over Marcia immediately, while still being emotional about being the recipient of the paper, as well as being lonely because he doesn’t have a wife (or anyone else he could be in love with) to fallback on when things get a little too hard every once in a while. Still, it was a good-enough hour of television to just have Gary get over Marcia and maybe turn her into a forgotten character after this. After all, she has been a recurrence in the show and in Gary’s life since the premiere, and maybe the writers planned something with the character, yet the show turned out to be a little different, so the character needed to be retired properly. The fact that the writers care this much shows you how good the show actually is. Normally you wouldn’t waste an entire episode just to write out a recurring character who hasn’t even had more than three minutes of screentime before this. Then again, all of this could have been on purpose, to show the viewers that the writers still care about Gary’s character arc every once in a while, and that he isn’t saving lives in every episode without moving forward with his own life. Does it mean a new job will come soon, as well as a move out of the hotel room?

Pritchard under fire.

Phil Pritchard was a terrible character though. I’m drawing a blank as to what Marcia would see in him, and I have no idea why the guy needed to be like a Nazi around his staff. One can only hope his entire staff was making it like Harrison and quitting after this, otherwise Phil will have to watch over his shoulder eight hours a day for the rest of his life. It was fun to see Gary handling the gun at the end, even pointing it at Phil, and seeing the car explode, although it’s pretty much getting weirder when it becomes clear that Sam wasn’t the only one interested in offing his boss. Hell, two staff members had thoughts of murdering the hell out of Phil – the guy should be running out of Chicago, not looking back ever. But yeah, it was obvious that Harrison wasn’t the one about to murder Phil. The “anonymous” part of the news clipping prepared the story, especially after Harrison was already predicted to jump to his death, and since the episode only introduced Sam as another character in the office, there was no surprise at all that he was standing above Phil and ready to put bullets into Phil’s body. I guess you could file that under “lazy storytelling,” but is it really when the majority of the episode was about Gary moving on?

At the end of the day, even the bad guy has a lightbulb go on in his mind about how bad he was.

I would have hoped for Gary and Marcia to have had a talk at the waterfront instead of Gary and Phil. Maybe with Marcia it would have made the story more permanent for the both, especially since it was Marcia who was involved in Gary’s life and Phil was just here for the episode. Who knows, maybe with Marcia by his side he would have been abler to move on from her, but then again, it might have just been another moment on purpose. Maybe Gary was supposed to have a guy moment with his greatest enemy? Even when his ex-wife turned out to be something of an enemy in this episode as well?

Best part of the episode: Wonderful, there was no B plot that had Chuck involved in any kind of shenanigans. I suddenly feel much more refreshed, sort of like Sam after deciding he would quit the job as day trader and forever be freed from the Nazi that is Phil Pritchard.
Worst part of the episode: Seriously, how did Marcia see something in Phil to consider marriage? Phil is anything but a desirable bachelor in Chicago – does Marcia have certain standards that took her away from Gary for some reason and then pushed her to Phil of all people?
Weirdest part of the episode: It was just a vision thingy, but Phil’s staff celebrating his death with his body in his office chair was freaking morbid. I am not so sure if a scene like that belongs in a family show like EARLY EDITION.
Player of the episode: Marcia wins, simply for the reason of not having to marry the guy that is Phil. She got lucky. Or who knows, maybe her standards just weren’t ready to go down for a guy like Phil. Maybe Phil is the player of the episode?