(WARNING! CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SEASON 1 EPISODE 2 OF THE ENEMY WITHIN!)
I'll admit it, maybe I was a little bit hard on The Enemy Within last week. To be fair, it was very hard for me to not compare the show to things that I already love like Blindspot and The Blacklist. I'm not backing down on seeing those similarities, but I am starting to see the focus become a bit clearer. Let's find out what has changed this week in "Black Bear".
The main story centers around a CIA operative that was murdered after what was an apparent robbery on a train. To cut right to the chase, it turns out that he was one of Shepard's operatives and that he may have also been investigating Tal. This excites the team, because that means that they are clearly getting close. That means Shepard gets to tag along when they go check out a storage facility that may contain some intel. We'll get to how the team feels about that in just a minute. Of course there was someone watching the facility and a shootout ensues. The most important thing that happens here is that, not only does Shepard save Keaton from a bullet, she does not run away when she has the chance. You can clearly see that Keaton is surprised by this, and it definitely went a long way to gaining a little bit of trust (or at least respect.)
While they try to find clues in what they recovered, Zain is still trying to break Nemec to get information on Tal. Watching Zain work is becoming one of my favorite parts about this show. It reminds me of Homicide: Life on the Streets when someone would go into "the box". His slow and deliberate approach really has grown on me. He does manage to find out that Nemec wants some sort of visitation. We would find out more about that later. Meanwhile, the team is off to yet another location after tracking down a woman who worked with the victim at a private security/intelligence firm.
This is when the classic "it can't be that easy" part of a show like this comes into play. Of course, the bad guys got there to try and kill her first, but this is their chance to get a huge batch of files that they need to track down Tal. Shots are being fired all over the place as we see the percentages count down. Of course, the data was destroyed and there were no back-ups. This seemed like a fairly obvious outcome, but the intrigue lies in how the bad guys seems one step ahead.
As we saw at the end of last week's show, Anna Cruz is working with Tal and she is essentially becoming a mole inside this investigation. The way they are going about this is actually pretty clever now that I've seen it more. The trick is, she isn't officially a part of this investigation at all. She just keeps using her position in the CIA to get herself just within earshot enough to get information that she needs. Cruz keeps finding new ways to insert herself either in or near the situation, and it's annoyingly brilliant. I also like that we know who the mole is already. This is something that could have been made part of the mystery, but instead, we get to see how she works every angle that she can to funnel info to Tal's operatives and keep them one step ahead. She even ups her game by going in to talk to Nemec (after disabling the cameras, of course.) It turns out that she is the one that he wanted to see, for what seems like more than just assurance that Tal would be getting him out. She appears to share his affection, that is until she chokes him out and makes it look like a suicide.
Another major part of this episode was Shepard finally getting to see her daughter. It was a nice moment at first, but quickly set up an internal conflict for Shepard. Her daughter asks the inevitable question about why her mom did what she did. Obviously, she can't tell her daughter that, so the daughter gets mad and leaves. So now Shepard has to wonder if she is doing this all for nothing and if her daughter will only end up hating her. If you're a parent, this definitely makes you ask yourself what you would have done in that situation. You also have to wonder of her ulterior motives will now change with this revelation. Like any parent, I doubt that she is going to give up on her daughter that easily.
Now let's talk about Agent Keaton for a minute. He's lost the love of his life, he has to work with the woman who is responsible for that and now his team his questioning him for it. As I watched Keaton during this episode, I realized something. Morris Chesnut is playing this exactly the way he should be. Of course he's going to come off as a bit flat, because that's how he feels like he has to be to get through it all. Whether we know it or not, we are constantly seeing a man struggle with pretty much everything going on in his life right now. Keaton is not a man who wears that on his sleeve, so this is how he presents himself. Shepard seems to be the only one that can push him and get him to drop the facade. It'll be interesting to see how that continues to play out, especially if the team continues to lose faith in him because of her.
All in all, I definitely feel better about The Enemy Within after this episode. There are still a few elements that feel a bit predictable, but it didn't feel that way as much this week. The team dynamic still doesn't jump out at me still, but I am starting to finally develop a favorite character or two. Hopefully this upward trend continues, because this show is still loaded with potential.
What did you think of this week's episode?
(Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC)