Last week, Annie Frost finally had a falliable moment - she was kidnapped. Yet we've seen Chase waste this opportunity before, when she was in the hospital following a bomb explosion in "Havoc."
Annie's kidnapping means that Jimmy and Marco are on a rampage, including confronting Pablo Cordova (Yancey Arias) at his wife's funeral. They move from that to tracking one of her kidnappers to a Houston nightclub and introducing his face to the hood of their SUV. Jimmy has a plan to turn the man over to a rival drug cartel (led by 24's Nestor Serrano) and play them against Cordova and his team. This part of the episode largely consists of Cole Hauser and Amaury Nolasco getting to glare, threaten and throw their weight around. Hauser, in particular, makes me wonder why he's not headlining a series himself. He conveys Jimmy's rage and turmoil in a very controlled performance. As a fan of his, I'm biased, but this is the first time that I've felt the writing has allowed him to perform at the level he's capable of.
While she's in captivity, Annie befriends the son of the U.S. Attorney who was arrested last week, and tries to free them both. This is one time I actually don't mind her being Superwoman, because she's in a desperate situation where she's supposed to be doing anything and everything to get out alive. If she wasn't able to do something to help herself, she wouldn't be very competent. In the end, though, she doesn't have to do too much to save her life - safe passage and all the evidence she needs are literally handed to her by the rival cartel boss that Jimmy struck a deal with. It's a bit of a letdown that after forty-five minutes of tension, the solution appears in two minutes. That said, at least it shows that for once, someone other than Annie can be the hero.
It's almost an afterthought, but we also learn this week that Jimmy and Natalie are officially engaged - yet aside from this giving me another opportunity for Cole Hauser to be eye candy, the subplot's still not interesting enough for me to care. There's one great moment where Cordova notices Jimmy's new engagement band and uses that to subtly threaten him, but it goes nowhere. It's another example of untapped potential on this show.
The full "Narco" storyline - this week and last week - adds up to one of the better plots of Chase's season. It's a vast improvement over listless episodes like "Crazy Love," with one outstanding individual performance in a better than usual episode. It's episodes like this that make me keep holding out hope for this series, even when I know I'm setting myself up for heartbreak.
For more Chase, check out the show category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.