TV Review: Hostages Season One Episode Eleven "Off The Record"

Want to know what happens tonight in "Off The Record"? In short, more of the same. Any good moments in tonight's episode are tainted by the show's horrible understanding of character and the elements that make for a good drama. Sandrine agrees to be a mole and takes two new Canadian passports and 10,000 in cash from Logan the Secret Service guy as payment.

Brian goes on and on to his kids again about "cooperating, not collaborating" while Duncan and his team lock them in a room with a padlock.

Right then and there I knew this episode was going to be terrible - using Stockholm Syndrome to keep them padlocked in a room protected by a wooden door they could clearly kick in is lazy beyond belief.

But don't worry, Hostages took that to an even more insane level.

After Brian refuses to get building schematics for Duncan, he takes Ellen from the room who agrees to help. He then GIVES HER THE KEY TO THE PADLOCK and tells her that if he doesn't prevent the President's assassination, she should free her family and run.

So he leaves Ellen and gives her the opportunity to do what she planned earlier and actually escape.

Only this time, the people who would stop her would be across the country. Again, using Stockholm Syndrome to explain and keep Ellen's family from escaping because that would end the show is uninspired writing to put it mildly.

The side story here is Nina's mother Kate telling Burton she wants to come forward. You know, do the thing she should have done over thirty years ago so this stupid show didn't have to take place. However, think about how Hostages handles potentially game changing stories. They take the easy way out and return things to normal.

So Burton is about to pull a gun on Kate, until she agrees to wait to expose the President and meet Nina instead. Any sort of game changing story like that would only take place in the finale obviously, because this show has no stones.

For a show to impress, they have to push the envelope and burn through plot faster than the audience is expecting. The show is not only moving slowly, but using fake outs to get out of suggested plot points.

The New York assassination stopping had moments, and trip ups. Ellen helping Duncan and the team scout buildings was fun to watch. There was a level of detail there that was impressive and made it easy to see how carefully that sequence was planned out. Unfortunately this wasn't the case for the rest of it.

From a production standpoint, this show is shot in NY, and Washington DC is faked. So why did every single shot that involved characters in the show (except wide angles) end up being green screen? It looked so so bad.

Toni Colette wasn't pregnant, so there's no need to try and shoot around people. Especially since your show SHOOTS IN NYC. Horrible.

Secondly, we get more hairpin turn character development with Sandrine crying that she didn't get to spend more time with stone-face Kramer before they start the mission. Seriously - Sandrine is suddenly a ball of tears when Kramer says he doesn't want to say goodbye to her. What the hell.

To further complicate things, they have Sandrine kill the shooter and spotter despite taking the payoff from Logan.

All while the NSA fails to get any sort of video surveillance on Duncan and his team while they're in the city with the most surveillance in the entire world.

This insane character development is applied to Duncan and Ellen who decide to make out after Duncan comes back and is successful. Because you know, that's what makes a show great. This show is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the audience in hopes it catches on. In the process, they're not treating the audience with the respect they deserve. Think you know two characters? Wrong - they're now star-crossed lovers. Think Ellen is a strong surgeon trying to save her family? Wrong she's going to keep them locked in a room and make out with the "bad guy".

Again, using Stockholm Syndrome or any other excuse similar to that is bad writing, plain and simple. They attempted to explain this kiss throughout the episode with Brian and Ellen disagreeing and becoming further apart from one another. Not only did they fail to do that well enough, it poisoned any character development they had been doing.

Why would Duncan kiss Ellen when he's trying to save his DYING WIFE? Ellen has now gone from blubbering hostage to co-conspirator for no reason other than she disagrees with her cheating husband.


I won't mention the fact that all of this trash is compounded on top of the fact that the premise of Hostages still doesn't make any sense. Nope, definitely won't do that.

The end is near, and it can't come soon enough.

Photo Credit: Metacafe