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'The Firm' Recap: 'Chapter Four' (1.04)

Brittany Frederick Brittany Frederick
January 20th, 2012 3:06am EST

On the side of the bad guys, Alex orders Andrew to start monitoring of Sarah Holt's laptop, which is now in Tammy's hands. She's so busy talking to Abby that she nearly misses the hard drive being remotely wiped. I would love to have Andrew come out from under Alex's shadow and start calling his own shots; I've seen Tricia Helfer play plenty of villains, and I'd prefer to mix it up this time. Plus, Alex has no personal tie to Mitch; even if you believe (as I do) that Andrew's friendship with Mitch was just a ploy, that's still more that can be played with later down the line. (Plus, I just figured out where I recognize Shaun Majumder from: one of my favorite obscure TV series, Once A Thief.)

And on that note, we move forward again, as Andrew goes to meet Mitch, while there are some armed, creepy guys in a nearby car waiting to make his acquaintance, courtesy of Alex. As I mentioned last week, I'm already starting to tire of the flashforwards, if only because I'm worried that at some point soon, we're not going to remember all the information in them. I'm all for narrative-bending, but I'm already having to stop and put things back in sequence in my head, and I don't want to get lost.

"Chapter Four" is my least favorite episode of The Firm thus far, and that's because it's lacking in all the things that I appreciate about the series. The case of the week isn't as strong as the previous ones, and doesn't give us much to think about, either in terms of character or in terms of issues. There's some consideration of the idea of whether or not we should go outside the law when the law is not enough, but it pops up way too late for us to really sink our teeth into the topic. None of the guest characters in the episode hooked me, either, not like the grieving father we met in the two-part premiere.

But I'm not going to call "Chapter Four" a total loss, because what I learned from it is that those things really are what makes this show work. It might have looked like a conspiracy thriller in the promo spots (and I'm sure there's a big conspiracy component that will continue to slowly rear its head), but the series is defined more by its intriguing characters and the issues that they tackle. I like how Ray and Mitch are almost two sides of the same coin, allowing us to consider who may be right or wrong, as we did last week. I enjoy issues and plots that I have feelings about, like I did with the premiere. Not having those things, and seeing the show without them, made me appreciate them more. Let's hope that as we dig deeper into the conspiracy, the show doesn't lose sight of those things it's already doing so well.

I've said it before, but I find myself so intrigued by the potential of The Firm. I mention Glory Road because Josh Lucas's performance in it was so stunning, it affected me on a personal level (true story: it got me into graduate school, and I hope that I meet him someday so I can thank him for that). I know that he can really burn up a screen, and what better role to do so than being a lawyer, where you have to argue and have passion and pontificate on difficult things? I think as he settles into TV and into this character, we're going to see something really fantastic happen. He's surrounded by a distinctive supporting cast and the show seems to have a sense of what its strengths are. I'm waiting for the moment when this show really catches fire. Until then - well, not every chapter of a novel can be a great read, and that's fine by me.

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Photo Credits: NBC