04 “Fredi” (Minority Report season 1) [SPOILERS]


minority report tv series

I hate to say it, but Minority Report has not won me yet.

That isn’t to say that I’m not enjoying it. I haven’t outright hated any of the episodes so far, and there are clearly a lot of worthwhile ideas being proposed here. What I can’t shake, though, is that it lacks a little bit of something holding it together as a series and giving it a spark.

Really, we’ve reached the point where we need to be going beyond pure worldbuilding — which the series has done very well so far — and into building some significance into the narative web and the characters. I like the world, I even like the people we are following around it. But, at the moment, I don’t care if everything goes to hell for them.

Which I really need to.

With Dash and Vega onboard the Hawk-Eye programme officially, they investigate what seems to be a rich socialite murdering his assistant, with Dash falling for the possible victim. Meanwhile Agatha continues her efforts to investigate her vision.

I said last week that the Hawk-Eye programme was a good way of sidestepping the continued problem of explaining how they keep ending up in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. I had thought that they might actually use the system in the investigations, but not so far. This is a shame, to be honest, as there were the issues around the level of surveillance which would have been fun to explore, and it can surely plug some of the gaps in Dash’s visions.

This episode does give Dash a bit of room to develop as a character. Once they discover who the likely victim and killer are, he goes “undercover” by asking the assistant, Fredi, out on a date. It’s charmingly awkward, as he gains her trust whilst a slightly jealous Vega watches through the lenses he is now watching.

Unfortunately he demonstrates that character by falling in love with the obviously ulterior-motivated Fredi, who tells him that she is tailing the socialite because she thinks he abandoned her sister to die of a drug overdose. Vega tells Dash that Fredi has lied about parts of her story and may have killed someone. Predictably he brushes her off, only for Fredi to go in for the kill.

He talks her down, of course, and she escapes just before the police bust in and arrest the socialite. But it all feels a little trite of an ending, after opening up a lot of emotional space. I think I’d like more than for one-episode love interests showing up like it’s 10+ years ago.

Agatha’s story is a bit more interesting and a lot darker. Having last episode used her precognitive powers to bring Charlie and his murky past under her control, she has Arthur give him a fake identify, before he sneaks into a government facility to find information for her. Which he does — specs for a milk bath, in fact. But having seen them, Charlie has an idea of who, and what, Agatha is.

Not that it matters, because Agatha is both a master manipulator and a cold-blooded killer. She almost certainly calls the authorities on Charlie, and then proceeds to give him the impression that they’ll shoot to kill him, and then directs him out of the diner straight into their path. And as he’s gunned down, she calmly walks away.

It’s an ending with massive impact, and surpasses the whole rest of the episode. My first thought was that it was out of place, but actually, I think it ties into Dash’s comments to Vega about having seen murder and murderers all of his life. He means it to back up his belief that Fredi is not a killer, but it applies to Agatha too. She spent most of her life watching people die, and is desperate not to go back to that. So have her own experiences numbed her to killing?

If Minority Report wants to explore that, then it should do so. Nodding at it at the end of an episode is powerful, yes, but only if you follow it up. We had that with the clinic where all the previously-haloed precrime criminals were holed up. It was a fascinating idea, tantalisingly tilted at, only for it to never come up again.

This is the sort of thing which turns people off new TV shows, Minority Report! There’s no point keeping your powder dry for the second season if you’re cancelled midway through your first. And that is a real danger. Constantine was, in all honesty, better than this, and it still got unfairly shitcanned after just the one series.

But as episodes go, this was an improvement. It was in too much of a hurry to stop and think, and fell too often into triteness, but there were glimmers here. Stark Sands got to do some proper acting as Dash, and the relationship between Dash and Vega feels deeper and more complex as a result. If the series can bring this element out, and combining with following up on some of the very heavy issues it has raised, then it might have a chance to survive.

If not, premature cancellation beckons.

Closing thoughts:

  • Obama is on the $500 note. Heh.
  • It’s weird that Hawk-Eye knows almost everything about almost everyone, but takes a f**king age to figure out what Fredi is really up to.
  • Wally and Akeela’s hate-flirting is either adorable or grating. I can’t decide.
  • I really do think that this series might be on its way out.
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