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:

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