Review: Flashpoint – Follow the Leader

Teams One and Four suit up when a 911 call comes through the line from someone claiming that a Neo-Nazi cult is planning a mult-bomb threat across the city. But things don’t go as planned when some of them escape after the initial raid. Now it’s up to the SRU to not only take down the cult, but find the bombs and defuse them before all hell breaks loose.

Major developments: Jules may have a new love interest.

What worked: The best episodes of South Park are the ones where the boys are just being boys. The best episodes of House are the ones where House just being a genius doctor. The best episodes of Futurama are the ones where the crew is just going on a wacky adventure. And the best episode of Flashpoint are the ones where the team is just doing their jobs, and that’s what this episode was all about.

Multi-team hot call, 911, Neo-Nazi raids, shootouts, and that’s all before the opening title sequence. I said that last week’s episode lacked in action, well this episode made up for it big time. Between Parker getting shot (which I did not see coming), a massive warehouse shoot out and a multi-level bomb threat, this episode is jam packed with action. And more importantly, quality action. Action you don’t see much on TV anymore now that shows like 24 are off the air.

This episode also taught me something I didn’t know, Canada has eerily similar race problems that the US has. Neo-Nazis? D-Day references? If I didn’t know this show was Canadian I would of thought it was a great US history lesson. But knowing what I know about the show’s production and country of origin, I was rather surprised. I’m upset that not many people within the USA will feel the same way.

The episode also had some of the best writing we’ve seen from the series (and as we all know, the writer is king on TV). The opening speech by the bad guy alone was great and one that really sets up this amazing episode.

Also on the writing front, this episode kept me guessing. Specifically in the final act when Sam is 20 feet away from a kid that has a bomb with a 100 foot radius. I knew that Sam was going to survive, that’s just a given on television. But based on the kids behavior I really didn’t think he was going to make it, so I was very relieved when he was able to jump away from the explosion at the last second. This episode did a phenomenal job at making me forget I was watching a TV show.

There’s also some great character development going on, specifically from Sam. The last time he was tasked with talking a subject down (see my review for “Behind The Blue Line”) it ended with the subject committing suicide. So this was his chance to step up and prove he IS the SRU member he was always meant to be. And yah know what, he did, and for that, I’m extremely happy.

I also like that Jules will be getting a love interest that isn’t Sam. As I stated last week, Sam and Jules should not get back together. That bell has been rang once, and ringing it again would really lead to some cliche writing for the show. So to have a new love interest that is not a member of the SRU (or the police force for that matter) is a sign of relief as far as I’m concerned.

This is also a great episode for representing the meaning behind the title. “Flashpoint” has to do with the fact that every situation the team is in can change in an instant – or flash. This was represented greatly at various points such as Parker being shot, the bomb being put in Kelly’s bag, and the second shooter on the roof. Every time, the team has to change their tactics on the fly and it really helps reinforce the kind of cohesive unit that they are.

The final quick positive note is that this episode is now my, what I’ll call “watch it!” episode. In other words, this is the episode I’ll show to people who have never seen the show, as it’s now the bench mark for representing what Flashpoint is.

What didn’t: I have two gripes, one from a logic stand point, and one from a marketing stand point.

As far as the marketing goes, CBS advertised this episode as “the most controversial of the season.” That simply isn’t true. This episode really isn’t that controversial. If you wanted to be controversial you would of had the Neo-Nazi’s headquarters be the target of the bomb threat and the team has to save them. Now that would of been controversial. Or you have the Neo-Nazi’s succeed with one of the bombs at the end of the episode… but it is TV at the end of the day.

As for logic, how the hell is Kelly unaware that there’s a freaking bomb in her bag?! Now, her dialogue to Ed would lead one to believe that the bomb was made to look like a gift, but based on the fact that Ed just pulls it right out of the bag, that seems highly unlikely. Check your freaking bags people, you never know when there might be a bomb in it!

Final thoughts: An absolutely excellent episode of Flashpoint. I have a feeling this is going to be the last GREAT one for a while. But I’m also sure there is plenty of good stuff coming down the line.

Episode: “Follow the Leader” (Season 3, Episode 12) [According to CBS numbers]

Airs: CBS, Fridays, 10pm

What’s next: I don’t know exactly. But there is a basketball team, and a suicide jumper involved.

To listen to Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.

From a young age, TV guru Merrill Barr has been obsessed with the small screen. And one day he decided to put that obsession to good use.

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