02 “Mr. Nice Guy” (Minority Report season 1) [SPOILERS]


minority report tv series

So the first episode of the TV adaptation of Minority Report nobody asked for was actually quite good. Certainly it had potential, in the idea of peeling back the world not just of precrime, but 10 years on from precrime.

No sequel, in whatever form, should ever be even attempted if there isn’t some purpose for it, something for it to do. In that respect maybe a TV series set 10 years after the film might have some meat on its bones. The world building was one of the high points of the film, and there were a number of unanswered questions which remain to be excavated.

That said, it takes more than world-building to build a good TV series. That rich setting is worth nothing if it’s not populated with engaging characters doing interesting things.

Vega and Dash investigate the future murder of a young woman, from a frustratingly vague vision. Meanwhile Vega tries to avoid scrutiny on how she foiled last episode’s terrorist attack, and Dash comes to terms with having taken a life.

So there’s a definite episodic format emerging here. Dash has a vision, they pull it out of his head, and then they run around trying to find who’s gonna do it. Around which, presumably, the meat of the overarching story will play out.

For the first time around, we have a murder that takes the duo to a singles club. Which brings in all sorts of weird ideas, including the DNA-coded matching software which tells punters how likely they are to get along. It reminds me of the kissing planet in Farscape, but maybe that’s just me. And, predictably, Vega and Dash hit the no-mans land of 51%.

There’s a lot of back and forth here, as they misread the signs initially House-style and chase around after a pick-up artist. Which gives plenty of opportunity to see Dash being incredibly gawky and socially awkward. It grates a bit after a while, but there is an edge of humour, especially when Vega gives him a sick stick for protection, and he uses it to try and stop the murder. Except it’s the wrong victim and the wrong murderer. Almost, though.

There’s an interesting bit where they go to Arthur, in pursuit of a name for the victim, but unlike the first time around big brother isn’t working for free. He wants an old police file, which Vega can — and does — deliver to him. The case, interestingly, is that of the death of the twins’ mother, and seems to have been more of a test for Vega.

Thing is, at the police station there are a lot of inconvenient questions being tossed at Vega. The forensics show that Rutledge didn’t fall, as she said, but was pushed. On top of that, her boss wants to know all the details of her mystery informant, and whether she really did foil the terrorist attack all on her own. Digging up old case files is not helping.

This murder, though, is not the creepy conman, but the creepy barman, the titular “Mr Nice Guy”. Sick of being overlooked by his female patrons, he takes it out on one of them returning for her purse after hours, just as Dash and Vega turn up. Dash, Vega reckons, is still coming to terms with his having taken a life — something which Agatha was none too happy about — and wants him to wait behind. He doesn’t. And in doing so, he helps a flash-blinded Vega to take out the barman non-lethally. Which is not too bad a job.

So that’s another would be murder foiled, and this time nobody died in the process. Though that poor girl did take an almighty crack to the head. It’s a good start, but given that the authorities are already suspicious, it’s going to rack up quickly. This is very quickly going to become unsustainable.

The vaguely defined plot that Agatha is so worked up about, though, is gaining a little definition. At the close of the episode we see her vision, of the three returned to the milk bath of the precrime days, with Vega looking down at them. It’s a creepy closing image, giving a little flesh to the threat creeping up on them all. But if we’ve learnt anything about clairvoyance in Minority Report so far, the visions are never straightforward.

The second episode, then, was stronger than the first. Inevitable, I suppose, given that it will gather in confidence the further down the path it gets. But even so, it seems to be wearing its concept well, and frankly revelling in the world it’s created. And well it should, really, I’m very impressed with the effort put into the futurology, to the extent that it might as well have been designed by Apple.

We’re still a distance off giving it any sort of endorsement, but with a strong second episode another big piece has slotted into place.

Closing thoughts:

  • The “sick stick” was a fun feature in the film, too, but it’s a bit of a daft weapon if you think about it.
  • Second episode, second nostalgic reference to Tindr. Which, actually, is probably what the future will be like.
  • Lieutenant Blake offered Vega the Hawkeye pilot, so I presume Peter Van Eyck won his election.
  • I’m calling it on Agatha’s vision. Vega isn’t putting them in the milk bath, she’s rescuing them from it.
  • Though what Minority Report really needs is a Tom Cruise cameo.
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