After last week’s episode successfully introduced the audience to its world, its characters and created story threads that will become important as the show progresses. ‘Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship’ goes about setting the rest of the season up, it answers some of the burning questions we had after the first episode; both on a character level and on a world-building level (are police officers good or bad?) and manages to propose many, many more. Whilst the first episode focuses on how the white supremacist group Seventh Kalvary impacts the world, this second episode focuses on the police impacts the world, and the burden it has upon the police themselves; namely our protagonist Angela Abar. The second episode is an improvement on the first; it definitely feels like the second part of the pilot but it is able to be more creative, mainly because it isn’t held back by the restraints of world-building as that was already achieved in the first episode. As a result, the highlight of the show was the entirety of the ‘American Hero Story’.
Just as the first episode does, ‘Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship’ begins in the past; World War I. The episode then immediately picks up from where the pilot finished, as we see Angela approach an elderly man (Will) under the dead corpse of Chief Judd Crawford who insists he is responsible for his death. Angela takes Will to her Bakery and interrogates him as to what reasons he could have to kill the Chief of Police. Will tells her he is her grandfather and warns Angela of the Chief, telling her: he has many “skeletons in his closet”. After getting the phone call of the Chief’s death, she leaves Will and goes to the crime-scene. Alongside other members of the police force, they go to Nixonville – a known hang-out for the Seventh Kalvary – in the hopes of catching the killer. A massive fight breaks out. as Angela unleashes her anger on a Nixonville resident. Knowing there are bigger questions to ask, Angela goes on the hunt for some answers but might not like where they lead her.
The episode definitely has more highlights than the first, and that is something it manages to do well. It builds upon what the first has already created, strengthening the world and it’s society, whilst adding more character development through flashbacks and more of a story through the introduction of Will (the story is still the weakest part of the whole series, but I’ll get into that later). Firstly, just as last week; Regina King is amazing as Angela Abar and I look forward to seeing more of her performance as we get deeper into her character arc, and her history. I also am really happy we got to see more of Tim Blake Nelson, as we got a great scene between the two of them in the car that showed although they are family, they don’t completely trust each other. I, then really liked the following scene where they rounded up all the suspects and we got to see how much the Chief of Police meant to each one of the main cast. The uses of the flashbacks were great as it built upon Angela’s character and allowed us to see why the Chief was so important to her. I, normally, really don’t like when TV shows go so ‘left-field’ and introduce something I have no idea about. But, I really liked whatever the hell that UFO that took Will was, but that was more because I am just a fan of his arc, I loved the look he gave her in the side mirror, and (weirdly enough) think that if it had been any other character it wouldn’t have been so interesting.
Although this episode built upon the lasts, it still manages to fail in the same way. Bar Will and Angela’s arc, there isn’t much substance to the show. Whatever on earth Jeremy Irons is doing is beyond me, and quite frankly; not in the slightest interesting, and that doesn’t leave much behind. I am now assuming they are building it all up to introduce these heroes but I don’t see how they can connect that to what we have seen in the first two episodes. Furthermore, I said in last week’s review, that the series didn’t seem as though it was going down the superhero route, but this episode completely changes that. It introduces a UFO! And, teases a back story for Dr. Manhattan. I had assumed that the show would be a vigilante drama/mystery based on the first episode, but it seems to have changed that completely now and gone down a more ‘superhero-y’ route.
Although it doesn’t correct the first episodes mistakes, it improves upon its strengths by giving story twists that I couldn’t explain if I tried. Whether I have the patience to continue; I’m not sure, I might just be running out of it and just as last week:
tick tock, tick tock.