We’re heading into home! These last two episodes were hard to watch because…things. We’re calling this post ‘Setup’ as that’s exactly what these episodes are, set up for the big climax of the show and, unfortunately, the set up of the brother. What broke our heart more? The brother’s story being told? Or the idea that Signal is ending in a TWO weeks?
Stephanie: Like I said, these episodes were really hard to watch, I knew where they were going with the story, that these two episodes would lead to all of the things I don’t like—the cover ups the bad guys, and lies—but more importantly, witnessing for ourselves what happened to the Profiler’s brother. It was almost too much for me.
Jacqueline: SHOCK AND AWE good lady; I think this might just be our first “fight,” because I agree with all that you said…but yea, no, I also don’t. It’s ALL of the truth-bombs that episode 12 was big-time setup, but while I confess it was hard as all hell watching all that social injustice play out, I don’t think the setup was executed well. At. All. Episode 11 was much more enjoyable, but that’s likely because it was wrapping up last week’s plot. But 12? 12 was SUCH a major disappointment, because this show has done set-up very well in the past. But here it just felt like an hour of backstory-infodump, with what… maybe 15 minutes of good peppered throughout?
Stephanie: Social injustice! That’s the term I was looking for. I agree with you…but then I don’t. Yes, these episodes were info-dumpy and while I was watching, maybe just maybe, I was scrolling through my phone for parts, but looking back? We got a crap ton of good old fashioned police gumshoein’. But it’s a pretty intricate case and with what’s going on in the other story-lines, we had to get through it to get to where we need to be. For me actually, though I had a hard time looking at the screen while the noose closed in on brother and our past detective, episode 12 was more of an ‘edge of my seat’ episode.
Jacqueline: See, again, I just get the feeling we’re gonna have two different takes on episode 12, because my viewing experience definitely recognizes all that exposition, but there is no reason these bits and pieces couldn’t have been sprinkled throughout previous episodes, or that some of this couldn’t have been truncated because, dude. If Imma sit my cellulose ass through an hour and seventeen minutes of content, you bet your kittens I want writers to give me an episode that’s gonna know how to hold my attention. But ep 12? Ep 12 just…didn’t. I don’t think this is hinting at doom and gloom for future episodes. Rather, I just think we found this scripter writer’s weak spot. Also, AHHH. Man, watching poor brother dearest get shafted by lady justice? THAT WAS SO DAMN OUCHEY!
Stephanie: My initial issue was any time we see the big bad in past or present, my eyes kind of roll over—so 2 episodes filled with him and his hijinks? Hrm. And 2 episodes leading up to exactly where we knew they were heading? Let’s get there all ready! Sidenote: why are the episodes now almost an hour and a half? Dude. Make more episodes! We all want them. I felt so bad for Profiler this episode as we got more information—not only that his brother had killed himself—but that we now know that he’s been aware that the police were responsible since he was a kid. Gah. What a weight! Do you think he became a profiler to get his revenge? To find out what actually happened from the inside?
Jacqueline: Did he as a kid know the police were behind it, though? If memory serves, all I recall is those two dudes busting in to snatch away his brother. Though, they didn’t identify themselves as cops. As is, I definitely think he became a criminal profiler because he has a desire to fight against shitty people in the world, but I think it comes from the need to understand rather than seek revenge. You see elements of this desire spread all over other episodes, like when he was monologuing about the mentally unstable killer, and his reflection that the serial killer was also a victim? Pretty powerful stuff, man!
(Shoutout to ITCROWD fans!)
Stephanie: No, not as a kid then, but as a kid working at the convenience store when he found out about the people turning against his brother and then going and kicking serious ass at the pool hall. Not that he had a great relationship with the cops as at this point he’s seen his brother taken away, then them not listening to him about the murdered girl (from the beginning). I know we didn’t see them say they were cops, but I’m sure they did, they weren’t hiding (at least that), the show just didn’t feel the need to spell it out for us. Question. How did bad guy cop get everyone to go bad all in one go? Or has he systematically getting everyone to take bribes? Except our guy of course.
Jacqueline: Hmmm, well either way I guess we’ll find out in later episodes because my interpretation says he doesn’t know how far the corruption spreads throughout his brother’s case, but when he does find out? Oh lawrd, if I’m right then shit’s gonna hit the spinning blades. That bad guy at the top is SOOOO infuriating (not just because it took me til this episode to research/realize I recognize him as the shitty husband in Secret Love Affair) but also cause sucky dude is sucky! His character isn’t anything new; power hungry ass hat being power hungry, we’ve seen that before. BUT! In how icky he feels as a human every time he’s on screen? It makes me wonder if he is “good” enough to be able to corrupt everyone in one go, because I could so see him pulling the strings to accomplish that. But I also see him like a spider, lying in wait as he tries to get everyone to go to the dark side.
Stephanie: I’m not even sure if that is completely believable. There is, at no point that this man has done good, or cared—or had any shred of decency. Aren’t the most effective villains the ones who have shades of gray? Take his henchman. All this time we’ve seen him hesitating about having to do the bad things. We knew he wanted to be a good cop but for some reason fell in line behind the asshat. This episode we found out why—his dying daughter. Look at us with the serial killer who was caught at the beginning of the episode? We, and the Profiler, actually felt for him, because we were given the other side? How wrong is it that we feel more for a serial killer than we do for a guy who just happens to be a corrupt asshat?
Jacqueline: I actually disagree that the most effective villains are cast in shades of gray; the most interesting villains, absolutely, but effectiveness doesn’t necessarily have to be nuanced. I think it’s a sign of good writing when scripts craft complex characters, like the d’awww-inducing serial killer and the good-guy-turned-bad cop, but I think Signal’s writer did that with purpose. We’re supposed to engage with those questions of evil and good, but my interpretation of Mr. Shity Police Boss Man is that he’s representative of the type of people we know in real life, who aren’t complex or layered or nuanced; who have no better motivation than self-obsession.
Stephanie: You caught me. I used the wrong word. I meant compelling. Compelling villains are the ones with crunchy, crunchy layers. Asshat police leader? No layers. Just evil. It’s interesting and scary at how those connected to him, the detectives and police, those who are there to help people, are able to easily just look aside, to take the lives of innocent people again and again in order to meet their own gains. Going back to the serial killer, I do like the ultimate wrap up of his storyline and what it taught both the past and the present. They can work together and help, but the future can’t just give out information to the past willy-nilly, as this is were the sticky consequences come into play. I love how the past detective realized this and, after being encouraged by the Profiler, refused to be the one who dropped the case. And solved it essentially, on his own, saving all of those people.
Jacqueline: Oh absolutely. I agree that big bad boss man isn’t emotionally compelling, but for me that doesn’t diminish his power or the role he plays in tearing down our beloved characters. He is still unnerving to watch on scene, despite his lack in layers, because you don’t know exactly what he will do to our cops. I agree, too, that that serial killer lesson? THAT WAS SUCH A GOOD PLOT DEVELOPMENT! It really underscores an interesting reality, that cold cases are only cold because someone stopped investigating. I think this might be the first real sign that Mr. Dead Police Cop might get to be undeaded by episode 16. It’s always been a small possibility, what with briefly-dead female cop getting brought back, but this is the first instance of successful timeline altering shenanigans.
Stephanie: Time! It can be changed! I see an ending (in my optimistic mind) with both the past detective, the brother, and the girl from the first episodes all alive, living happily. With, of course, the past and lady detective married—making her mother very happy. They were just too cute in this episode. She admits (to herself at least) that she likes him and he accidentally lets it slip that he thinks she’s pretty. Loved how he stopped her from having to serve the coffee as a pretty mascot.
Jacqueline: OH MY GOD SHAME ON MY STUPID ASS FOR NOT FANGIRL FLAILING OVER THAT FIRST AND FOREMOST! Seriously, how you managed to not screech at me to STFU during that entire adorable exchange about the coffee-getting and the heart-eye making is beyond me! This writer does realistic cute SO damn well that I’m legit praying they’ve got a straight up romance drama either on their resume, or in their back pocket because hot damn I LOVE the emotional nuance given to these characters. I know I’m a broken record, but it is so rare to find a suspense drama that actually devotes time for emotion in their characters!
Stephanie: ….ahem which is why I am disappointed with them for the evil head police man. Have you seen Ghost? Man, that was a good villain. He was the same inescapable evil that our asshat is, with a backstory which is all our poor serial killer. Super effective. Anyway, they are super cute, which of course, was made even more sad considering in like the next moment we finally find his remains. This show sure knows how to make you happy and then make you cry.
Jacqueline: This post is going to be the The Infamous Disagreement, because I find the police chief to be a good character, insomuch as there are people in this world who aren’t layered and nuanced. (*cough*DonaldDrumpf*cough*.) More importantly, I think if every single bad guy came with shades of complexity, it would either be hard to believe or not as impactful. Too many cooks in the kitchen, and all that jazz. I did enjoy the emotional punch that, though, that finally finding police guy’s body gave us, but MAN they drug that scene out to a stupid amount of minutes. I swear we spent like 600 seconds making that “shocking discovery,” which we all saw coming the second our adorable profiler spotter the stairs. Alas, things like that are just part of the reasons why I side-eyed episode 12.
Stephanie: You know what I had an issue with?? The leader who, after telling off the captain, calls the profiler and says “I HAVE LIFE CHANGING INFORMATION? What? No, I can’t possibly tell you over the phone? No, you need to come here, as I inexplicably MUST tell you this in person.” I knew he was going to die. I knew Profiler would find him. I knew he would be framed. In this show so many times when “I’ve known” what will happen next? I’ve been wrong. It was disappointing to be right this time.
Jacqueline: Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaah. I am legit with you on that, because it was Obvious Writing 101, and such a pain that my teeth ached. Let’s all collectively sigh at the number of times we’ve seen that play out exactly as it did. And that we got to top off that Failed Expectation with “character dies before they can reveal all of the information” cliche? Puh-leeze. But, you know, we’ve gotten a LOT of juicy goodness these past 11 hours (hour 12 doesn’t get my go-vote, sorry Signal)…cool story, good plot, interesting male leads, and an asskicking heroine (though yes, she’s sometimes an idiot, but I give her a pass because we’re human; none of us are infallible.)
Stephanie: The only thing that we’re missing is hero on the run. Let’s cross our fingers that this doesn’t happen in the next few episodes. I mean four episodes. I can’t believe we’re almost done here!
Jacqueline: EXCUSE ME WHILST I PUT MY CRY-FACE ON, AND MOURN!