Posted by: mikecane | April 19, 2009

The Unusuals Season 1 Episode 2

Update: I know you want to know that song at the end of this episode! I did. See end of post.

Last time I posted about the first episode of this new series. I was impressed enough to want to watch more.

Do I still like it?

Let’s get the credits for episode two out of the way first:

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The first episode — and its promotion — really misrepresented the series. It’s not gonzo at all. The officers aren’t misfits at all.

It’s simply deliciously offbeat.

A family that specializes in crime — the Borlands, with roots in America that are bragged to go back to the original $24 purchase by the Dutch from the natives — is on a spree. Second Squad has to put a stop to them ASAP.

We open with a masterful bit of misdirection:

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Beautiful digital compositing and seamless transition. They got me. I admit to going WTF?! (This redeems the awful green screen in the first episode.)

A running thread in this episode is Walsh …

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… and Beaumont swapping numbers.

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I won’t spoil why.

Creator/writer Noah Hawley makes me very jealous with his lines of dialogue.

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“The Boorlands like to hang out at this ping-pong parlor on Varick Street.”

A ping-pong parlor? Not a pool hall. A ping-pong parlor!

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Which is raided. (Have you ever seen a ping-pong parlor before?)

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Delahoy discusses menu choices. One of them is “Chicken ear in Jade liquid.”

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“My father, he was a great man. He could to talk to anybody into anything. And the ladies — whew — they loved him. He had a two-by-four between his legs. People called him The Lumberjack.”

Absolute proof that The Unusuals is filmed on location in New York City:

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No Hollywood — or other studio — designer could ever come up with such soul-murdering surroundings as a true New York City apartment!

Director Makris does some wonderful shots:

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Shraeger’s portfolio manager visits her at the station and there’s more of writer Hawley having Too Much Fun with this great exchange

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“Do you know the story of Cinderella?”

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“No. I’m an idiot.”

Walsh sees her and she quickly covers:

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“Davis is my lover. We have sex.”

Something tells me Sgt. Brown has a thing about astronauts:

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That spacesuit.

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A photo of him in that 747 known as the Vomit Comet.

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A model of the LEM on his shelf.

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The Space Shuttle on a tabletop.

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Space Shuttle on his desktop too!

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“Tell your guys to get ready. We are go. Alpha-Niner in ten minutes.”

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“That’s not a real code, Sir.”

Hawley ends with an exchange that sounds like it’s out of Warren Ellis:

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“When I met you, you were still married to that miserable bitch, what’s her name, right?”

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“Yeah, she was awful, huh?”

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“She was part Terminator or something. I mean, were her female parts like made of scissors or fists or something?”

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“Move on.”

The B-unit does transition montages that are wonderful. What Miami Vice did for Miami, The Unusuals is doing for New York City. Some samples:

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And bravo to the editors for the cutting on sound, especially during this sequence:

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Wonderful work.

The Unusuals second episode also featured a kick-ass killer rocking score, with both original music and snippets from songs (I want to say “records,” showing my age). It’s really great, great stuff.

I don’t know where the series will go now. I have zero idea. It seemed to me that most of the loose ends from the first episode were wrapped up here. What’s left for the rest of the season?

It’s precisely that unpredictability — along with Hawley’s great scripts and everyone’s excellent acting — that will keep me tuned into The Unusuals. This isn’t conventional television and should be watched!

And if you’ve missed the first two episodes, put some of your fat bandwidth at work to good use and watch it at ABC’s website! (Warning: ABC wants you to download a player to see repeats. That’s a dumb move. But this one is worth it. Go!)

Update: The Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine — hit that link to hear it now! And see the YouTube video.

Note to ABC: When I first found the song, the Google search results were sparse. Since this song aired on The Unusuals, the entire Google search results have changed.

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