Episode 3 “From Darkness, the Sun”
The episode starts out with the murder of protesters at a coal plant. Meanwhile, Jimmy (Rob Kazinsky) and Mary (Dilshad Vadsaria) sit listening to music while he gives her his blood to fight her cancer. He attempts to flirt with her, but it’s flattened by her naivety and by the lack of chemistry between Kazinsky and Vadsaria.
Soon they find out about the murders and the fact that important security footage has gone missing. Mary and Jimmy offer to investigate, much to Otto (Adhir Kalyan)‘s dismay. They find some evidence, but must leave before finding anything solid. Meanwhile, Duval (Tim DeKay) has Jimmy’s blood tested. The blood test confirms that they are indeed related. Another result from the test is that the DNA of the blood is mutated, which puzzles him. He confronts Otto about this, with Otto panicking and calling Jimmy and Mary.
In an attempt to keep Duval from finding out the truth, Jimmy suggests he and Duval co-investigate to find out who the murderer is. They find out the killer is most likely the coal company owner’s son, Asher Davis (Adam DiMarco), who has a bleak criminal history with cover ups from a rich father. Their attempts to arrest him lead to Jimmy getting shot. He insists to be taken back to Mary rather than a hospital, who reveals to Duval the truth: Jimmy is his father.
So this episode is more of a character study for Jimmy; he’s a flawed father, like Ashe’s father Duke Daniels (Martin Donovan), but beyond missing out on his son’s life not much is elaborated on Jimmy’s exact failings before this episode. Sure, he certainly didn’t cover up his son’s obvious crimes like Davis did with his son, but Duval seems to have been a good person throughout his life, with or without Jimmy’s input. In the end, it’s hard to sympathize with either character’s despair at being terrible fathers, since it seems that the solution would be to put more effort into parenting (Jimmy paying more attention to his son, while Davis makes Asher face the consequences of his actions).
Another story being told is how wealth and toxic masculinity warps the idea of responsibility and manhood. Asher is constantly feeling he is above everyone else, including the police and his father, because of his wealth and power (via his crimes and general disregard for human life). He refuses responsibility because he is above that responsibility, unlike every other character in the show, who face the consequences of their actions. His attempt at ‘strength’ and ‘being a man’ put him at odds with Jimmy and Duval as they want to do what’s right versus Asher doing what he wants. Well, that and the murders.
This episode also really highlights a redemption story against a character who wants no redemption. Jimmy was once a man who did what he wanted at the expense of others. His pursuit of justice and his wants cost him a relationship with his son and much of his humanity. Jimmy’s new life gives him a second chance at this, and this episode especially highlights his want to redeem himself in the eyes of his son. His desire for redemption extends to more sacrifice, as he ends up giving up his secret and nearly his life in protecting his son: an action he would have hesitated to do in his previous life.
Asher, on the other hand, is given plenty of second chances through his father, but in the end he throws away any chances in favor of doing what he wants at the sacrifice of his father’s peace. As a result of Jimmy and Asher’s actions, Duke is murdered by his son out of anger and disappointment (also probably out of apathy), while Jimmy apologizes openly to Duval.
Narrative aside, I felt a dislike for many of Duval’s actions in this show, such as intentionally upsetting Otto. I get it, the man’s desperate for information, but intentionally distressing a man with obvious mental disorders (Otto shows signs of OCD and anxiety, possibly Asberger’s) without lawful cause really puts me at unease with the man. It’s a blatant over-stepping of bounds, and he faces no real consequence for it. Combining that with the constant use of illegally obtained evidence, he’s coming off as a very poor FBI agent. At least he now knows the truth and can find some closure and Duval can stop harassing Otto or Mary again.
Overall, while it was better than episode 2, but the show is still a very mixed bag. At least the Matrix reference was funny.
Second Chance airs Friday nights at 8/7c on FOX.