Guys. I’m sorry. I know I’ve let you all down. Can I just say, in my defense, that this summer has been crazyballs? Like, completely. Jobs were lost, jobs were found, there were too many cons…just, crazy. But I’m back! And we’re almost done with the series! And I’m coming back to the books! And then we can start a new series together! IT’S VERY EXCITING AND I WANT YOU ON THIS JOURNEY WITH ME.
Whew. Sorry. Let’s recap!
Some dude gets out of a car on a deserted, snowy road in…the middle of the forest? Sure, why not? He takes a body out of the trunk and then unwraps it. Ok, sure. Then he hangs her from a tree by her wrists and shoots her with a shotgun. Because then it’s a hunting accident, I guess? But he leaves her all tied up, hanging from the tree.
Oh, FK. Never change.
We open after the credits with some woman reading an excerpt from a book written by a dude who went to prison for manslaughter. The excerpt is about the dude being a serial killer, and apparently the book is “a first-person novel about a series of murders committed by a poetry-spouting psychopath”.
It’s like the world’s weirdest “who wore it better?”
Anyway. So the lady’s doing an interview with the author, and Reese is watching all of this on a little portable TV in his office. He has on his patented Reese face, which is a combo of that sex-scandal dog and McKayla Maroney, so you know he’s not pleased with wannabe Joe Carroll. He gets a phone call and says, “I’m on my way,” just as Joe Carroll 2, Electric Murder-a-loo, says that writing is “a dirty job, but someone has to do it”, and then goes on to expound on the banality of evil.
Look, I’m not saying he’s not right, or that it’s not a good subject for fiction. But damn, dude. You sound like every other almost-Franzen in the world, jacking yourself off with the perceived greatness of your own words.
Anyway. So Reese was called down to the morgue, because that’s how they do things now? They’ve found the woman from the opening, who’s been in the tree probably a month or so. She’s a black woman between 20 and 30, shot in the face to get rid of her teeth as well as her features so no one could identify her. No fingerprints because of the decomp.
Tracy excuses herself, because bodies are gross, and she’s Canadian. That’s as professional as it gets. Reese says he knows who did it.
Reese says it’s Jordan Manning, aka Joe Carroll. Critics love him, not surprisingly. He’s “the single most violent and racist individual” that Reese has ever met. Knight and Vetter think they’ve seen some shit? No. They haven’t met anyone as evil as Joe Carroll.
Cue Flashback Time!
Nick and Lacroix are on a train, and the guy sitting across from them is hacking up a lung. Lacroix mojos him and tells him in German to get lost. I’m guessing that this is…late 1800s? Early 1900s?
Lacroix complains about the accommodations, and Nick says he couldn’t find anything else, given the current situation. Don’t know what that is, but the other guy across from them lowers his paper and he’s in uniform, so I’m guessing maybe WWI?
Oh. It’s the episode where Nick meets Hitler.
Just…ugh. You guys know how I feel about the whole “vampires know all the famous people EVAR” bullshit, but this – Like, is it Godwinning the whole series? Is that what just happened? If any vampire series goes long enough, eventually someone meets Hitler?
Anyway, Hitler goes on to give us a good ol’ racist rant. Lacroix talks to him like you talk to your awful grandfather after a few drinks on Thanksgiving, and then we’re back to the future.
Reese is explaining all the murders Carroll’s done, but never got caught for. The manslaughter rap was 7 years for killing some dude in a barroom brawl.
Reese sends Tracy to go work with Nat, to make her toughen up. Nick is left to collate missing persons reports, and he asks why Reese is so certain about Carroll being the doer. Reese says he was 95% certain, until Carroll told him he’d done it.
In the lab, Nat and Tracy suit up and pass the Bechdel-Wallace test. Good job, FK. Nat starts the exam, and Tracy tries to keep her lunch down. Tracy says it’s so sad to die like that, and have no one care. Nat reminds her that they care, and they’re going to do something about it.
Reese and Nick go to Carroll’s book signing. This version of Carroll is no James Purefoy, let me tell you. They stare at him, and Reese says that he knows Carroll did it because it’s all in his book – and not in a convenient and legally-binding confession.
Reese talks to Carroll as the signing winds down, and Carroll looks at Nick, saying, “Oh, I see they teamed you up with an Aryan.”
Reese loses his cool and grabs Carroll by the throat. Carroll yells out, “Don’t worry! He’s a police officer! He’s allowed to do this!”
Which…yeah. I really don’t feel like dissecting that through the lens of today’s American police tactics. I mean, do you? Didn’t think so. Moving on.
Reese lets him go, and Carroll’s all, “Oh, are you still suffering that persecution complex?” Um, dude. If you’re a person of color in a racist system, I think that’s actual persecution.
This dude goes online and bitches about “reverse racism”, doesn’t he?
Anyway. Carroll says that Reese is obviously captain because of affirmative action, and that Reese would like to kill him, and then he refuses to go downtown to answer some questions, since Reese doesn’t have a warrant. He leaves, and Nick steps in close to ask Reese, sotto voce, what the hell’s the matter with him.
Tracy and Nat find some fibers under a fingernail and maybe some needle marks on Jane Doe. Tracy seems way more comfortable with helping with the autopsy, and she’s up for it when Nat says it’s time to open.
Back at the precinct, it comes out that Reese arrested Carroll after the barfight. Carroll sends Reese cotton flowers, along with a detailed record of his whereabouts for the last six months.
Cotton flowers. Jesus H. This guy can go straight to hell.
Reese tells Nick to go through the book and match the cases up with the murders in the narrative. Reese says that there are details in the book that only the killer could have known, but somehow that isn’t enough to get Carroll?
Reese also says that he could have shot Carroll at the bar. Carroll came out with a gun, but, you know, he was a white dude, so why on earth would a cop shoot first and investigate himself later?
Anyway. Reese laments not changing the future when he had the chance, and we’re back on the train for the Lacroix and Hitler show. Nick is…jumping off the train, or something? I don’t know, he opens a door somewhere while our little Adolph rants some more, and Lacroix’s face grows more and more disgusted. Hitler sketches a portrait of him, and then invites him to join a political movement. Lacroix politely declines, and all of a sudden Hitler isn’t so friendly anymore. Lacroix is what’s wrong with the country. Lacroix asks what Hitler thinks he can do by himself. Hitler says that the cause consumes him, and he will make it his struggle.
Oh. Nick just slipped away to drink blood from a flask. Between cars. Next to the open door.
Nick thinks he might have found the missing persons report on Jane Doe. He’s sent it out to all the relevant law-enforcement agencies.
God, this episode is a lot of talking. Everyone’s ranting or vowing revenge or whatever. Reese does it again, saying he’s going to get the guy, and he can’t get away with killing people he thinks are poor or who go unnoticed, because Reese has fucking noticed, bitches.
Carroll, meanwhile, is paying some dude he was in the joint with to beat the crap out of him. Because in the 90s, you couldn’t just get some cop to beat the crap out of you for selling loose cigarettes or holding a cell phone or being a dog. And that’s the point – Carroll wants to make it look like Reese beat him up, so he can sue the department and press charges.
Tracy and Nat have found human hairs under Jane Doe’s nails, and those puncture marks are still unexplained, but Tracy says they look self-administered. Jane Doe wasn’t a user and she didn’t have diabetes – so says the prelim tox report – but Tracy suggests vaccinations, like for a trip out of the country. “But who vaccinates themselves?” she says, throwing the idea away.
“A doctor,” says Nat, and you know it’s going to end up being true.
At the precinct, Reese is complaining to Nick that Carroll just wants him out of the way, unable to prove that he did all the murders. Reese thinks he might even be planning another killing.
Nick asks why Reese didn’t bring this up to his superiors. Reese says he did – but no one believed him because he was one black cop, trying to turn attention to a racist. Which is the most believable this show has ever been.
Lacroix goes on the air to read more of the gross book, and it makes Nick, driving around the city, flashback again. Hitler gets up, and Lacroix talks to Nick about how Hitler’s “special”. Lacroix says he’s pondered bringing Hitler across, but – um, no. That facial expression in the last flashback was not the one of someone who thinks this guy should be a vampire. Lacroix seems to like Hitler’s anger and hatred, but that feels false to me, too. Is Lacroix just goading Nick? Being extreme for the sake of argument?
If so, it doesn’t really work. Nick’s too disquieted by Hitler, and he tells Lacroix not to bring him across. Kill him, sure, but don’t make him a vampire.
Nick decides to follow Carroll around, using his vampire powers. The flying scenes are suddenly much better in this episode, zooming us above the city streets to give the impression of speed, instead of floating along above the skyline. Why didn’t we see this earlier? It would have been much better for the series as a whole.
Anyway. Carroll goes to a meeting with Reese. Which Reese showed up for, like a moron. Maybe he arranged this with Nick, so Nick could witness the confession? Because Carroll’s pretty gabby all of a sudden, wanting to tell Reese why he did things.
He’s here to sow the seeds of the apocalypse, of course.
You know, like you do.
Nick watches from the shadows as Carroll admits to wanting to start a race war, but won’t admit to killing anyone. Carroll says that some of “your people” might die, but it will all be for the good of gross, gross sub-humans like himself. Reese snaps and punches him, then puts a gun to his head.
“Go ahead,” says Carroll. “Out of control black cop kills white man. Flagrant display of excessive use of force. That’ll play great on the 11 o’clock news!”
Unfortunately, it absolutely will.
Reese says he’s not going to kill him. He’s going to send him to prison and let all the black guys in there (and why there are so many, we can discuss some other time) what a racist Carroll is. Then Reese walks out.
Nick catches up to Reese outside and says he heard everything. Reese tells him to stay on Carroll – Reese is going to take the hair samples he pulled out of the dude’s head to the lab, so they can run them against the hairs found under Jane Doe’s nails.
Tracy goes to a hospital and finds a nurse who knew Jane Doe – who was a doctor, who was going back to Kenya, where she was from, to start a clinic. Dr. Miriam Nyanda. So of course no one’s reported her missing, because she was off to rural Africa.
She’d done a study at Millhaven prison. One of the participants?
Dr. Nyanda never redeemed her plane tickets to go back to Kenya. She’s the vic. And the hair samples match. So Tracy and Nick can arrest the dude now, thank goodness.
Carroll runs, of course. We’re treated to the world’s most tepid chase scene, including them all running through a kitchen and Nick just sort of herding Carroll toward Reese. They finally catch him and take him in, and Reese totally keeps his cool this time.
In the coda, Carroll hangs himself in his jail cell. Charming. And Nick goes to Lacroix and asks why he didn’t turn Hitler. It came down to a “feeling” Lacroix had after seeing Hitler’s newly shaved face, his lovely new moustache. Instead of turning him, Lacroix says the sketch is incomplete, and only then do we see Hitler’s face as we recognize it. In The Raven, Lacroix pulls the sketch out of his pocket so we can clearly see the “A. Hitler” on it, and then burns it.
He wonders what would have happened if he’d made a different decision.
Next week: Reincarnation! And vampires! Reincarnated vampires! That doesn’t sound awful at all!
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