When we last left our hero on The Fugitive, Mike Ferro (Boyd Holbrook) unsuccessfully tried to get a burner phone, but the cashier (Tre Hall) had some skills and nearly choked Mike out before getting stabbed in the leg. Afterwards, the cashier gives a statement to Bryce (Kiefer Sutherland) and his padawans, Womack (Genesis Rodriguez) and Stamell (Daniel David Stewart). The cashier says he didn’t realize who it was he was fighting with until later. (Even though he was watching the news when Mike came in, but whatever.)
Bryce asks what Mike said to him, and the cashier guy says that Mike apologized for stabbing him and gave him the whiskey for his wound. (The EMT patching him up says vodka would’ve worked better, just so we all know which booze to choose if we are ever stabbed.) Womack finds that curious, but Bryce shuts her down. Cashier guy says Mike was trying to buy a burner phone, so Bryce proceeds to pull all of the remaining phones and tells Stamell to get with the manufacturer and run down all the serial numbers. He gets all the fun jobs.
Meanwhile, at the TV studio, Pritti Patel (Tiya Sircar) calls her parents to get their seal of approval on her interview. But all her mom says is that she had too much makeup on, and her dad tells her not to “fumble the ball” with this new opportunity. He says he doesn’t want a repeat of the “first chair violin situation,” and Pritti just meekly hangs up. I suppose all that was meant to stir up some sympathy for the intrepid troublemaker, but my heart’s not exactly bleeding.
Anyway, back at the bodega, Stamell relays the information the FBI’s gotten from Allison (Natalie Martinez), her explanations for all the suspicious findings, but Bryce isn’t buying any of it. His padawans gang up on him with their hunches. Mike could’ve shot Bryce in the subway but didn’t, and he tried to help the cashier. Womack says she’s wondering if Bryce’s “100 percent” emotional investment is clouding his judgment (duh), and he angrily shuts her down again. Womack warns him about what’ll happen if he raises his voice to her a third time, so Bryce very softly (and sarcastically) tells her to get in the car– please. Props to Womack for standing up for professional behavior, at least.
Mike arrives at the Federal courthouse where he’s supposed to meet Dale (Brian Geraghty), but he’s not there. He gets a call from Dale, apologizing for Mike’s involvement in the whole thing, that it wasn’t part of his plan. Mike was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. As Mike slowly realizes that Dale’s the bomber, Dale says it’ll “all be over at 6 p.m.” and hangs up. Mike starts yelling for people to run just as the bottom floor of the courthouse explodes.
Meanwhile, the padawans continue to harp on their Jedi Master in the car, still questioning Mike’s guilt. Womack says Mike’s behavior doesn’t match the profile, but Bryce doesn’t want to hear it. Then the call goes out about the courthouse bombing and they speed on over.
Mike starts running when he hears approaching sirens. He finds a patch of weeds to hide in and calls his daughter, Pearl’s (Keilani Arellane), school. He talks to the principal (Andy Buckley) and manages to tell him that the man who called Pearl earlier is “dangerous” before he passes out. The principal then yells to no one in particular to call 911. Meanwhile, Pritti and her intern, Mikkel (David Anthony Hinton) show up at the courthouse, recording on their phones like everybody else. Pritti says, “Michaelangelo, what did you do?” just so we all remember Mike’s full name, and I really wish they’d stop reminding us.
They see LAPD messing with the nearby traffic cameras, but Pritti thinks she can find better footage. She spots a local head shop owner watching the scene and goes after him. She lays it on thick for the dude, saying she knows that he’s got a hidden camera in the front window. Either he gives it up or she’ll run a story about how he started selling illegal drugs after California legalized pot. As the owner reluctantly gives in, Mikkel says what Pritti’s doing is extortion. Pritti just says she’s getting “first f**king chair violin.”
Bryce shows up at the courthouse and barks at the cops standing around to get all the looky-loos with their phones behind a barricade. Why they hadn’t already done it is a good question, but hey, whatever. A bomb tech shows Bryce a servo motor they recovered. They spot Pritti and Mikkel in the crowd, and Bryce goes after her full force. He shouts her down about how she’s “FUBAR’ed” his investigation. Pritti says she’s got video of Mike at the scene right before the explosion and Bryce demands to see it. She says he has to promise her any leads he comes up with. Bryce says he’ll make sure she and Mikkel spend the weekend in county if she doesn’t hand it over. At least she’s smart enough to realize that she’d better not push the issue; she reluctantly hands it over.
They watch the footage, and then Bryce gives the phone to Stamell and tells him to download it. Then he takes Womack aside and tells her that despite the six years of good work she’s put in with him, if she questions Ferro’s guilt again, he’ll torpedo her career– and Stamell’s, too. What a swell guy. This is funny, though– when Pritti asks for her phone back, Bryce just gives her the finger as he walks off.
Meanwhile, Mike’s still passed out in the weeds, having flashbacks to the subway. He remembers seeing an emblem on Dale’s shirt: Laborer’s Union Local 76. He also remembers seeing a Claddagh ring on Dale’s hand. Ah, yes. Time for the clues. Back at the courthouse, Bryce gets on the phone and orders his people to get with the Mayor’s office about setting up a reward with the Feds. Then Womack tells him that the principal at Pearl’s school called 911 (even after yelling for somebody else to do it) and warned him about Dale. But Bryce just laughs it off as Mike trying to throw them off his trail.
Bryce then makes sure to wail on Stamell about not having the info on the burner phones yet. And then he gets in the middle of a brewing fight between the bomb tech and an FBI Agent who’s trying to take the servo motor. Bryce says LAPD has jurisdiction but the Fed’s like, nope, the bombing took place at a Federal courthouse. Hmm. Good point. So Bryce does what anybody else would do in that situation and punches the guy in the face, knocking him down. The Fed’s like, “You’re crazy!” and Bryce just says, “Yup.” Okey-dokey then. The Fed tosses the motor back at him and tells him that it’s his “retirement package.” He’ll be making sure Bryce gets fired– but somehow I don’t think Bryce really cares about job security at this point.
Meanwhile, the Feds in Chicago show Allison the footage of the courthouse bombing and threaten her with a life sentence and never seeing Pearl again. Just then, a message pops up on her confiscated cell phone from a “C. Bravo,” claiming to be her lawyer and saying that he’ll be calling. Remembering that “Carlos Bravo” is their sexy-time code name, Allison tells the Feds to get lost while she talks to her “attorney.” As soon as they leave, Mike calls her and tells her to call the Laborer’s Union. She needs to tell them that she’s from L.A. Transit, and that she’s sending somebody over to get some records. Allison says she saw the footage of him at the courthouse, and Mike just says he’s being framed– but that he knows the bomber and he’s going to “hunt the sonofab*tch down.”
Allison makes the phone call to the Laborer’s Union and Mike does his best to bullsh*t the nice lady who shows him to the records room. Mike enters what he remembers about Dale into the computer and starts going through the records that come up, looking for Irish names (remember Dale wears a Claddagh ring). A janitor walks by and sees him, and then a few seconds later, comes right back, staring at Mike with the “hey-you’re-that-guy” face, and Mike takes off running with the records– and the pen. Meanwhile, back at CTU– I mean, CTB– padawan Womack chases Bryce into his office, yelling at him that he’s “coming unglued” after that incident with the Fed. Bryce looks almost ready to admit that he’s gone a tad over the edge when Stamell comes busting in, saying they might have a hit on the burner phone. Their tech guy tells them about the “C. Bravo” text to Allison and Bryce demands to know where Mike is now.
And while Mike’s locked himself in the basement of some building and keeps going through the records, Bryce shows up with SWAT and starts combing the building. As Womack and Stamell split off to search, Womack suddenly finds herself with a gun pointed at her head, by some random thug who just happens to be hiding among the crates. Bryce uses that silver tongue of his to finagle a way out for his padawan, offering himself up as a hostage instead (using a nice Tombstone reference: “I’ll be your huckleberry”). And as soon as he gets the thug to come close enough to put the gun to the back of his head, Bryce whirls around, disarms the guy and shoots him in a scene that’s not-quite-but-almost-like the ’93 version, where Tommy Lee Jones‘ Gerard shoots a guy who was holding a gun to his youngest team member’s curly red head. And so what was all that for? Well, besides reminding us all that Bryce is a loose cannon and referencing the ’93 flick, I’m not sure.
While Mike walks through a coffee house somewhere and steals another phone from a charging station, Bryce finds out that they ended up chasing down the wrong phone. Yeah, we kinda figured that. The random thug was a drug dealer who did have ties to Chicago, but it wasn’t the phone they wanted. He asks a shaken Womack if she’s alright, and she asks him why he did what he did. And in a line right from the ’93 version, Bryce says that “nobody points a gun at one of my kids.”
Meanwhile, Mike hides in an alley somewhere and keeps looking up the Irish names on his list, and he gets a hit when he plugs the name “Colin Murphy” into the search. “Dale’s” photo comes up in a news article about his being injured in an explosion. Looks like Mike’s got his man, but as he walks away, he doesn’t realize that he’d been standing right under a CCTV camera. D’oh.
One thing that really annoys me about remakes/reboots/reimaginings, and The Fugitive is only one of many guilty parties: the creatives behind them always distance themselves from the source material, implying that somehow they’re better. They change character names and important details enough to make it a different story, but then they use the name of the original source material just to get that instant recognition, and at every turn they copy the original material. They want to have it both ways, and it’s annoying. Not to mention kind of insulting to the original story. I mean, make up your minds, folks– either this is The Fugitive or it’s something else. But in this case, even if it wasn’t The Fugitive, it’d be a ripoff of 24. Which makes this series feel something like a third- or fourth-generation clone, one that’s degraded to the point of almost being pointless.
And being a limited series (unless it gets picked up), I understand that they do need to start the search for the real culprit pretty early on. They still have five more episodes in which to pull off something truly unexpected and amazing, so I might be wrong on this one, but right now, it just seems like the clues to Dale’s real identity are a little too obvious. It’s kind of feeling like an episode of a procedural, where they drop the clues at the half-hour mark so they can wrap the whole thing up by the end of the hour. It’s nice and neat, but it’s also pretty boring.
What’s not boring, though, is Kiefer’s Clay Bryce. Wow. Dude really does not give a sh*t, does he? And that can be cool, but it can also be goofy if it’s overplayed, like that whole thing with him punching out the Fed. That was just a WTF? moment. One thing I did like, though, was his verbally beating down Pritti– that little insight into her the source of her insecurities with her tiger parents did not move me at all. If they’re trying to make me hate her, mission accomplished. I’m hoping she’ll get what’s coming to her by the end, and it’s not first chair violin!