Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 10 Finale

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Day 10 actually opens in the middle of Day 9, but who cares because this is it, the last episode, for sure, ever, in which all (or most, or, like, some) dangling plot threads will be resolved. Let’s get to it.

Bilson takes Jane for a long drive, ostensibly to calm her down before being taken in for child abduction. Jane starts rambling, as if in a disassociated state, narrating her life story, sort of, complete with flashbacks to her fling with Tom, her meeting with Pete, to  Lake as an infant, and to her own childhood. She admits she was a lying liar who lies, and says Lake is the only thing that matters.

Bilson is acting pretty weird herself – she recites a psalm about the Valley of Death, she has her own flashbacks. One implies she killed Quinn shortly after Jane visited him that time at his bar, or maybe she made him kill himself? Another shows Bilson, spattered in blood after killing Casey and her bro-in-law, hand off an unconscious, chloroformed Lake to some white guy we haven’t seen before, the guy who drove Lake to the cabin.  After the hand-off, Bilson goes home to wash away the blood, and is addressed as ‘Red” by her unsuspecting, nice-seeming, MS-stricken wife. Confirming what we would not have guessed, because it’s stupid: that the big bad guy in this story is so-named because of the brand of cigarettes she occasionally smokes. And we learn that when she did these bad things she was working for Police Gomez.

At Casa Jane, Pete, Tom, Ali, and Lake are being cheerily domestic, playing board games, grilling burgers and corn. Pete is still hella angry at Jane, and wants to take Lake home after dinner. Ali sees Tom being playful and affectionate with Lake, and feels a pang of I have no idea what – jealousy, regret, anger, love, annoyance? She calls Bird and asks what’s happening since Bilson took Jane, why is it taking so long to sort things out? Bird suddenly remembers that Bilson transferred over from narcotics when she came to his department, asks Buddy to track Bilson’s car, and goes off in pursuit of it.

Tom apologizes to Ali about trying to use the story of Lake’s kidnapping to further his career, then picks up from the mail a package addressed to Jane, and opens it. It’s a cassette tape wrapped in a note that reads, “Jane. You wanted the truth. Gus.”   Tom still wants a scoop, so he listens to the tape in Jane’s writing shed.

Still on that long drive, Jane mentions to Bilson that Lake recognized someone at the police station. Bilson stops at a gas station and tries to call Gomez, but can’t reach him. Jane spots a pack of Red brand cigarettes in the car, puts two and nothing together, and snaps out of her fugue state. She pretends to Bilson that Lake was probably lying, and didn’t see anybody, but it’s too late. Bilson drives out to a remote cliff-top spot that overlooks the ocean, and they get out of the car. Bilson confesses that she’s Red, and she took Lake. She pushes and shoves Jane until Jane punches her and draws blood. Bilson is about to shoot and kill Jane, and say it was self-defence, but Jane throws a handful of sand at her, takes a crazy dive down the hillside, hits her head hard on a rock, and passes out. Only to flash back while unconscious to when one of her mother’s boyfriends tried to drown her, another molested and possibly raped her, and her hateful mother refused to believe that these things happened. God, I hate the child-abuse-explains-all trope. Especially when it’s supposed to explain that because Jane was falsely accused of lying as a child, she became a liar/storyteller/seeker of truth as an adult. And therefore, it’s her fault Lake was taken?

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Bird drives up and sees Bilson alone on the clifftop. He emerges from the car with his gun out, and roughs up Bilson until she confesses that she killed Casita Victim #1 (real name Rosa Garcia) on Gomez’s instruction. She and Quinn had been raiding and robbing drug dealers and gangs – nicely, without killing anyone –  just trying to make a little mad money on the side, as one does. When Gomez found out about this lick crew, he blackmailed her into being his hit man. Rosa Garcia was killed because after she was paid to falsely testify against Medina, she wanted more money.  And Casey and her bro-in-law were killed because … I’m not sure, actually. Maybe because Gomez wanted to pin the kidnapping on Gus as a way to avoid the truth coming out about Garcia.

Bilson offers to kill herself and swears she will never testify against Gomez, for fear of what he will do to her wife. Bird says too bad, cuffs her and throws her in his car. Then he looks down the hill and sees Jane’s crumpled body lying below. He runs down and fireman-lifts her up to safety.

Back at Casa Jane, Ali & Tom fight over the tape. Tom sees it as his ticket to a career-making story about police corruption. Ali says that to write the story would be to exploit Lake, who has been through too much already. If he writes it and has it published, Ali says they’re done.

Bird and Jane are at the hospital tending to Jane’s head gash. Ali comes in and gives Jane the tape (so Tom is not going to write the story?), which was recorded by Quinn (when was it recorded, how did Gus get it, and did Quinn kill himself, or did Bilson kill him? We’ll never know.) Jane thinks they can use the tape to incriminate Police Gomez but Bird knows Bilson won’t talk, and Quinn’s taped confession won’t be credible. He has another plan.

At home, Pete tells Ali he is too taking Lake home, and he’s going to sue for full custody. Ali blurts out that he is not Lake’s father, Tom is. Pete is devastated but insists Lake is his kid because he raised her. Ali makes a deal with him: she’ll never tell Tom he is Lake’s biological father if Pete sues only for joint custody, and allows Lake to stay at Jane’s tonight.

Jane knocks on Police Gomez’s door and is taken aback when a child answers. Turns out Police Gomez has three kids, and is a widower. Nevertheless, Jane and he hiss at each other. Bird walks up playing Quinn’s tape. Bird offers Gomez a deal to turn himself in, solo, and save his brother’s political career. He refuses until AG Gomez appears and  urges Police Gomez to take the fall so they both don’t. Also so all the cases that AG Gomez prosecuted won’t be invalidated and the criminals freed.

Bird summons some uniformed cops who’ve been waiting in the bushes and they cuff and arrest Gomez. He tells Bird he will come for him when he least expects it, and promises to rain hell on Jane. Were these threats in aid of a possible season 2 of the show, I wonder? So much for that idea.

Would you believe the episode isn’t over yet? Ali is at Jane’s, reading to Lake, who wants her mama. A news alert pops up on Ali’s phone that Tom’s story about police corruption has been published (so he did write it). Ali sighs and tells Lake that this is good news for Tom. But are Ali and Tom still breaking up? Don’t know. Ali asks Lake if she wants to know a secret, and why on earth would she, but sure. Ali is pregnant! And no one knows except Ali and Lake. How will this affect Tom and Ali’s relationship? We’ll never know that either.

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Still more: It’s finally Day 10. Matt is on set, wearing a fetching combo of scarf, shirt, and denim (I know) jacket  in a symphony of blues. He convinces a reluctant Dominic to come out of his trailer and shoot his death scene. Bird and Jane watch the scene from afar. Bird has notes to give on how realistic it was, but Jane doesn’t care. They make a date to have Bird’s Memphis ribs sometime soon. Bird says Jane is like a song.

And STILL more: Jane and Lake are at the beach. Jane says she picked the name Lake because she loves water. Lake is a little afraid of water. Jane says water is good because, “It’s big, it’s deep, it’s everything – like you are, to me.” Yeah, I don’t get it either.

That’s a wrap on this crazy show that started out strong, as a suspense thriller about a TV showrunner, and devolved into a melodramatic cop show. It was entertaining to watch and scoff at, though, and fun to recap. And I loved the gorgeous and various shots of L.A., taken from the hills above.  I will be forever disappointed that the (Chekhov’s) candy so prominently displayed on Police Gomez’s desk on several occasions did not pay off, either in the show’s climax or finale, but I console myself with the thought that those Rockets/Smarties would have recurred for sure, if there had been a season 2.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Here is its book trailer:

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Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 9

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We’re really in the home stretch now, as we  hurtle toward the Ten Days series conclusion, and – spoiler alert – my disappointment in that conclusion.

I take back what I said last time – that Lake being found safe on Day 8 was a deft structural move on the writers’ part. Because no sooner has Lake spent the night at police headquarters with Jane, Pete, a Child Protective Services officer that I will hereafter refer to as  Matron, Bird, and a bunch of other cops, then she and Jane are on the run. Without Jane’s phone, wallet or wits, apparently.

They’re running because Lake recognized Police Gomez from her knothole view in the cabin where she was held captive. She recognized him right after she failed to identify Gus as her kidnapper from a stack of photos that Bird showed her, and evaded Bird’s questions about who drove her to the cabin. Also after Bird left the station to go get yet more info on Cantina Suspect #1, whose real name is Rosa Garcia.

Jane panics, says she’s taking Lake to the bathroom, and runs out of the the building with her. Matron thinks Lake doesn’t feel safe with her mother, so the cops mobilize and go after Jane, who is now being positioned as Lake’s third abductor.

Jane jumps a subway turnstile (nimble work there, Kyra!) and they run onto a subway train. They get off the train when Jane sees some cops, and emerge in sketchy downtown L.A., where Jane makes the TERRIBLE decision to hide out at the home of Sheldon the drug dealer chef, which faithful viewers of this show (all 5 of you) may recall is a cool, large loft with a restaurant-sized kitchen.

Jane has been pretty frantic since the flight from the police station – she’s snapped at Lake several times and lied repeatedly about what they’re doing and when they’ll call Pete and go home. She tries to make Lake play a “game” that consists of inventing a new description of what Police Gomez looks like (she suggests red hair and a jean jacket, as if). Lake balks at this. She doesn’t want to be a liar like Jane.

For no reason I can think of except a need to inject more conflict into the episode, PJ the bike-riding drug dealer is at the loft, having an argument with Sheldon about money. Sheldon starts beating him up (wtf?), Jane expresses alarm, and in the confusion, Lake grabs a portable phone, runs into the bathroom, calls Pete, asks her to come get her, and describes the loft. He heads right over with Ali, Bilson, and some other uniformed cop.

The beating done with, Sheldon cheerily offers to make everyone grilled cheese sandwiches, which is a super weird thing to do under the circumstances. It’s also another nod to Roy Choi, the real-life chef who pioneered Korean taco food trucks in L.A. like the ones the Sheldon character operates, and who’s known for having devised the gorgeous grilled cheese sandwich featured in the movie Chef, the sandwich that I wrote about in this site’s former life as a food blog. (I can only hope Roy Choi is not also a violent drug dealer.) In the post-beatdown lull, Jane borrows PJ’s phone and calls Bird. She tells him Lake identified Police Gomez, and that she thinks Gus was Gomez’s flunky.

P.J., Jane and Lake sit around eating the sandwiches, which do not look anywhere near as good as the movie one, btw. A bleeding P.J. makes a joke about how his scars will help his eventual TV writing career (remember that?) and engages Lake on the topic of hip-hop dancing. I give the writers’ room points for providing continuity here by returning to the one interest Lake has consistently evinced a couple of times since it was established in the pilot, when she danced some hip-hop moves with Jane.

When Jane sees that Pete & co. have arrived, she tries to persuade Lake, if questioned again, to pretend she saw no one. Lake refuses and goes off with Pete, who is appalled that Jane brought her to this den of iniquity and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Ali and PJ exchange awkward hellos before PJ disappears for the remainder of the series. Jane asks Ali to make sure Lake is not interviewed by police. Jane gets cuffed and taken away by Bilson.

Bird visits his ex-wife Chantal at the D.A.’s office, or maybe it’s a courthouse, so she can have her last appearance on the show. He asks her how to find out about someone in witness protection, she tells him that without a warrant his best bet is to sweet talk a young marshal into giving info without one. He intimidates a young marshal instead, and finds out that Casita Victim #1, real name Rosa Garcia, testified against ganglord Vince Medina, and was authorized to be in witness protection thanks to AG Gomez. Oh, and when Bird checked in with forensics, there was no sign of Lake having been in Gus’s cabin.

Police Gomez asks his assistant Amira to tell Matt how the casita story ended – with the killing of Gus AKA Red (wink, wink) – so that the show can be written to reflect the “truth.” She visits Matt and relates the story.  He is suspicious about her motives in telling him, but goes ahead with it as a plot resolution. In a scene meant to be a bit of comic relief (or time filler?), Matt informs Isabel and Dominic, the actors who play the lovers loosely based on Jane & Gus, that Dominic is actually Red, and he is going to die. Isabel thinks that’s way cool, Dominic less so.

Bird goes to Police Gomez and asks him some tough questions. Was his brother sleeping with Casita Victim #1? (No). Then why did he give her a bracelet? (It was a gift, he was grateful to her for testifying.) Was Gus hired to kill CV#1? (maybe, says Gomez  – Gus visited Medina in prison several times). Bird doesn’t believe Gus was Red. Police Gomez tells him to stop fishing, because Police Gomez doesn’t understand that nobody puts Bird in a corner, or, for that matter, tells him where, when and for how long to fish.

What about Tom the intrepid journalist, you ask? Or you would ask, if anyone cared about the Tom character. He spends the night when Lake is recovered writing his version of the kidnapping story, with his phone off and his headphones on -– playing rap, of all unlikely music genres for a guy of his demographic, and more proof of his incompatibility with his Amazing-Grace-singing wife. Hey, what about the missed opportunity that slips by here for him to show his affinity with his biological daughter? He should hip-hop dance with Lake to some of that rap music! Anyway, he has no idea Lake has been found when he emails his story to Jamie the online news site editor. She kills it because it’s worthless now, and she lets slip that she was doing Ali a favour by talking work stuff with him, which pisses off Tom. He snaps at Ali, who is pissed in turn that he would exploit the family drama for a story. These two.

Buddy shows up at the house, he wants to question Lake once more for the case report. Ali tries to stop him, but Lake lets him ask one question – did she see who took her? Lake follows Jane’s instructions (aww?) and lies, says she saw no one.

We close out what is essentially Part 1 of a two-part series finale with Bilson driving Jane somewhere that isn’t the police station. Bilson mentions that her wife has MS, and she has spent years trying to protect her. She also flashes back to taking Lake from Casey’s house and laying her out cold in the back seat of her car.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Here is its book trailer:

Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 8

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Two big events happen on Day 8.

One:  Lake is recovered safely and returned to Jane! With two episodes still to come, yet. I’m calling that a deft structural move on the writers’ part.

Two: While stalling on writing his story, stolid journalist Tom executes an impressive casual handstand in his study, and I finally clue in that Josh Randall, who plays Tom, also played the amusingly roguish Bruce Liddell in Ozark. I much preferred the character in Ozark, but good acting there, Josh! – the miens of the two characters are so different.

Okay, back to the missing child:  The episode opens with Lake singing and jumping around in a carefree manner in a sparsely furnished bedroom of a rustic-looking but not rundown cabin. There is a sandwich and a glass of milk on the floor, so she is not being deprived of food. She removes a small piece of batting that fills a conveniently eye-sized knothole in the baseboard, and looks through it, at… some unidentified pants-clad legs walking by in the adjoining room.

Jane wakes, in Lake’s bed,  from troubled dreams. Pete brings her coffee and is gloaty about how they spooned the night before, but within seconds, they are sniping at each other -– about his drinking, and about her sleeping with the cop (Gus) who they think has Lake.  This reminds Jane of her young adulthood, which we see in flashback, when young Jane’s unevenly crimped hair looks even worse than current Jane’s straw-like do. Jane’s mother calls her a slut and a liar because she had apparently said that the mother’s boyfriend had molested her.  (No more flashbacks to her childhood, please.)

Jane tells Pete if he wants to help he should go to an AA meeting, and she drives off to meet Police Gomez (his given name is Elliot), who has summoned her. On the way, she calls Bird, who suggests she not mention casita victim #1 when she meets Gomez. He also tells her he’s been taken off the case but is still working on it, because no one puts John Bird in a corner. Or on the sidelines.

Ali tries to question Tom about the mysterious story he’s writing, but he’s behind schedule (the story was due 2 days ago, dude) and struggling with it, so he asks if they can ‘pause’ with the fighting and tension until he’s done. He still won’t tell Ali what the story is about or let her read it, which pisses her off further. She goes to Jane’s house to pick up some stuff, and witnesses Jane and Pete squabbling. In Jane’s shed, Ali pokes around and starts drinking what looks like bourbon. When PJ the bike-riding drug dealer shows up, looking for Jane, he and Ali chat. Ali quickly ascertains that PJ is Jane’s dealer and asks to see his wares. She is disapproving of drug-taking in the way that someone who thinks Amazing Grace makes a good lullaby would be, but he defends Jane as taking drugs like Adderall for endurance, not as some kind of creativity booster. While he’s at it, he describes the sexy effects of MDMA to Ali in a fairly creepy manner, and the next thing you know, they’re making out.

Jane & Elliot Gomez meet. He thinks her story – that Gus told her about top secret police corruption shit, knowing she would use it on her show, then kidnapped her child when she did – makes little sense. He likes his narrative better – the one that paints Gus as a madly-in-love PTSD sufferer who kidnapped Lake as an act of reprisal because he felt betrayed that Jane was using him. Nothing to do with police corruption, see? Gomez asks her to give a press conference and speak to Gus through the cameras. He wants her to show the world Gus is a damaged individual and plead with him to return Lake.

Pete is summoned to the press taping to stand by Jane’s side, but he doesn’t stand by her, nor does he speak, so what the hell. On air, Jane goes off script pretty quick, tells Gus she’s knows he’s innocent and implores him to bring Lake back. In retaliation, Gomez confines her to the station for the rest of the day.

While hanging out at Buddy’s desk, Jane flashes back to when her hair was about a foot longer, thanks to some shaggy extensions that were still more flattering than the pyramid-shaped thatch she has now. She mentally relives some of her past seductive moments with Tom and Pete, not sure why. So we could rate her various wigs on a sliding scale, maybe?

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Matt, along with the one other writers’ room staffer (a woman) that this show has allowed to appear in more than a few episodes, come to the station. They want to convince the police to let them keep shooting, for the sake of all the people that the show employs. Jane snaps that Matt has lots of great story ideas but should be writing from a “place of honesty” like she did. He retorts that writing non-fiction hasn’t worked out too well for her. We later hear that Gomez got the studio to agree that they won’t air the show until after Lake is found, but production will be continue in the meantime. On the way out, the female writer sees her girlfriend, who Female Writer thought worked at City Hall or somewhere. What? She’s actually the commissioner’s aide? Hmm.

Remember Gus, the ostensible kidnapper? He stops in at a fishing bait type store meant to be in San Jacinto, but the sign outside clearly says it’s the Rustic Canyon General Store, which is near Malibu and only 30 minutes from L.A. Hey, at least the location they used is in the right state, unlike some shows I recap (cough: Suits). Gus puts a cassette tape in an envelope, seals it, and mails it to Jane at her home in Studio City. When Police Gomez appears on the store TV identifying Gus as wanted by police, Gus gives the clerk $100 to delay calling him in, and goes outside.

In the cabin, Lake eats her lunch. From her spy hole, she sees two pairs of legs, wearing dress pants, walk around in the next room. Then she passes out on the floor, apparently drugged from the milk.

Attorney General Gomez, whose given name is Christopher, drops in on Police Gomez, and complains about how badly Jane’s TV appearance went. He asks who was killed in the damn casita raid anyway. Nobody, Police Gomez says. Bangers. And for the nth time, everything is going to be fine. Chris is not so sure.

Bird goes to visit a police buddy from the evidence department. The buddy gives him Casita Victim #1’s effects, including an expensive bracelet with a Latin inscription. He stops in at the station and tells Jane that Lake’s kidnapping is not her fault – this didn’t happen because of her relationship with Gus. He suggests that the cabin might be registered in Quinn O’Farrell’s name, and when the cops find an address and head there, he’s told by Gomez to stay away and keep out of the case. Yeah, right.

In yet another major breach of police protocol (and story logic), Jane convinces Gomez to take her with them to the cabin.

Bird goes to the jewelry store where the bracelet came from and finds out it cost $10,000, and was purchased by Christopher Gomez and apparently given to one Rosita Gonzalez. The inscription translates to ‘Fortune favours the bold.’ Bird drives out to the cabin.

Pete walks in on PJ and Ali, shirtlessly making out. In this week’s comic segment, he politely backs away and says he’ll leave them to it. Ali is mortified and sends PJ packing.

Police Gomez won’t storm the cabin until the SWAT team arrives. He and his one wordless henchman wait till the SWAT guys are 5 minutes away (why not wait the 5 more minutes?) and go in. He makes Jane promise to stay by the car, but of course she doesn’t. A shootout happens, wherein Gus shoots Gomez in his bulletproof vest. Jane  runs up and starts trying to talk to Gus through the door. He says he doesn’t have Lake and he didn’t do anything. Before he can say any more, the SWAT team arrives and one of them shoots Gus in the middle of his forehead. Bye Gus.

Lake is not in the cabin. Jane is having a full-on breakdown when Bird runs up. They  hear a sound from the trunk of Gus’s car, which is parked at a distance away. Lake is inside. She wants to go home.

Back in Jane’s kitchen, Ali and Pete are about to share a bagel and really talk about shit when Pete gets a call from Jane that Lake has been found, yippee!

Jane and Lake are cuddling, colouring and singing at the police station while Gomez gets his wound attended-to. Lake and Bird meet. Jane thanks Bird for everything he did, and especially for believing her. Bird says goodbye, and tells Gomez he’s coming back to work. He ain’t done yet.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Here is its book trailer: