TV Review: Hostages Season 1 Episode 7 "Hail Mary"

Hail Mary is a perfect title for this episode.

This episode throws all it can at the audience in a desperate attempt to say "Ah-ha! Look! We're actually a good show!" In the beginning, it had (very) early signs of maybe going in the right direction.

However, like that friend of yours that doesn't know when to shut up, it kept throwing more and more ridiculous things at the audience until the episode takes a nose dive in quality and we're stuck with the same bad show.

With the President's surgery coming up, Duncan wants to make sure everything goes smoothly and Ellen doesn't try and sabotage it again. He tells his father (I guess it's his father-in-law?) that he wants to try and win Brian over. However, there is an issue they have to deal with first: Malik, Archer's accomplice in Angela's abduction, wants to talk to a lawyer. It becomes clear that Archer was put in jail to make sure that doesn't happen. Sandrine comes in as Archer's "lawyer" and gives Archer the heads up that it's time to act.

After an attempt gets interrupted by a prison guard, Archer is beaten by the same prison guard who says he is a friend of Malik's cousin. Later on, Archer confirms a payment with a white guy who starts a prison riot so Archer can kill Malik by choking him out (?).

That prison guard must be the dumbest prison guard in the history of prisons by letting Archer stay in the yard with Malik and the others.

Either that, or he didn't really care about Malik to begin with. Either way it was a bad sequence all together.

Back at the house, Duncan uses a horrible plot device (fixing bullet hole in wall) to preoccupy Brian so Duncan can attempt to brainwash him.

While at the same time, Brian is trying to get at the poison Duncan gave Ellen for the President. More on that later.

Ellen during this episode travels to someone's doorstep - presumably for help. It turns out to be Duncan's father-in-law. Cool. This is the early signs of potential I talked about earlier. After some "I need help, family kidnapped" talk, Ellen runs into Duncan's daughter at the stairs.

Duncan's daughter then proceeds to recall the time Ellen pretended to be a family friend to figure out who Duncan was - even giving out the fake name she used. As the father-in-law escorts the daughter out of the room, Ellen finds a photo of Kramer and the father-in-law. It's revealed later through conversation with the father-in-law that he was the mysterious man who posed as Ellen's lawyer when she killed the rapist - revealing how this all was a plan years in the making.

All these connections started to get me excited. Hostages strung together a chilling connection that turned a previously thought to be known character on his head. Then Ellen asked the following:

"What in the hell are you doing this for?"

I waited in desperate anticipation. Here was the lob pass given to the show - all Hostages had to do was slam it home. Tell us why people want the President dead (besides apparently cheating on his wife). Give the antagonist some motive. What does Hostages do? They make the father-in-law reply with: "the reason isn't important." All together now: Boooooooo. The father-in-law instead tells Ellen that he and Duncan are just "cogs in a much larger machine".

And that if Ellen has Duncan killed, the bosses will kill everyone involved, Ellen and her family included. So Ellen races home just as Brian stabs Duncan with the poison needle. Yawn.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record here. These horrible cliffhangers (anyone remember "killing Brian" in the episode 2 cold open?) where it's all events that clearly wouldn't happen will kill the show.

They're not going to kill off Duncan, just like the Following wasn't going to kill Joe Carroll in the season one finale. These missteps set this episode into a tailspin.

The show gains a little lost ground by revealing that one of the bosses is the First Lady, who is revealed to be a step above the Chief of Staff plotting to kill the President.

Let's hope they don't drop the ball with this in future episodes.

Kramer is lost this entire episode. From going to a Priest for confession, to calling the police department to check up on the status of the guy he killed for Sandrine last episode, he's seen better days. Sandrine finds him in a bar about to drink. Before he can, Sandrine kisses him. Besides some robotic dialogue, this whole action made no sense. Before when she walked in on him calling, she was all "Jeez, calm down weirdo. Everything is going to be okay." Maybe she forgot he saved her life.

Even my best rationalizing doesn't make sense. Right as Kramer and Sandrine leave the bar, Kramer is taken away for questioning in the murder he committed. Hopefully Duncan leaves him there and lets him get convicted.

On one hand a conflicted hostage taker is interesting. On the other, no one wants to watch a bad guy who isn't good at being bad. Kramer's conflicted character only really works if he's the protagonist. Thank god he's not.

Hostages also dropped the ball with the previously planted Social Services angle from last episode. All we got was some poorly written scenes that started a daisy chain of events with the Secret Service worker questioning the daughter, the brother (who is apparently horrible at lying) and later Morgan's ex-boyfriend who we don't get to see.

If it's revealed that he said anything less than "Yeah I went to her house and her father made threats against my life" I'm going to be very disappointed.

Don't threaten a potential complication and then write it off. I want a social worker knocking on that front door.

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