As rich and thrilling as this Black Great Depression HBO series was with sublime gameplay all around – especially Matthew Rhys’ turn as a PI turned lawyer who overcompensates his demons and mediocrity with his “eureka!” »Discoveries – the Perry Mason The case of who killed baby Charlie Dodson was rather long.
Of course, we weren’t entirely convinced that Emily Dodson (Gayle Rankin) was completely innocent.
However, through various Byzantine rabbit holes explored by Mason, his daughter Friday Della Street (Juliet Rylance), and his investigative sidekick Pete Strickland (Shea Whigham), our main character discovered that the Radiant Assembly of God was to blame for the Charlie kidnapping. , with Detective Ennis (Andrew Howard) orchestrating all the murders, until eliminating former Seidel (Taylor Nichols) from the church. The church was in debt for $ 100,000, a perfect song to ransom baby Charlie with; his father Matthew Dodson (Nate Corddry) the son of Herman Baggerly (Robert Patrick), a wealthy benefactor of the Radiant Coven.
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As the late 1950s to early 1960s Perry Mason The TV series was known for the main character’s winning cases eliciting confessions from witnesses at the stand, at the start of tonight’s episode we learn there won’t be such a thing in this HBO reboot. . Mason imagines bringing down Ennis and connecting him to all the players of the Radiant Assembly of God. We think it’s a real court scene, but it’s just Mason trained by Della and Hamilton Burger (Justin Kirk; a character who in the original series is DA and Mason’s foil). Burger breaks Mason’s passionate reverie, urging “no one ever goes to confession on the stand”.
The best course of action, according to Della, is to let Emily speak up and hopefully let her sympathies seep into the jury. Emily tells them how George Gannon swept her away from a terrible marriage. Still, George tricked her into calling Emily the night Charlie was kidnapped. Alas, she would never kill her baby. “I’ve only had one love in my life, and it wasn’t Matthew, it wasn’t George, it was my son. He was my heart, ”she said to Mason and the jury at the stand.
Mason puts the case to rest, expressing to the jury that he too wanted revenge for Charlie’s death when he began to investigate.
“If I thought for a second that Emily Dodson was guilty, I would lead her to the gallows myself,” Mason told the jury. A null trial ensues, but as we will learn later, it helps when Strickland paid one of the jurors.
Quite often with HBO drama series, whether it’s David Milch, Terry Winter or David Chase (Perry Mason is co-created by Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones, the former a Westworld co-EP, the latter a Boardwalk Empire co-EP with Timothy Van Patten as Mason EP and director of two episodes), the tendency, and therefore the surprise, is not to intentionally play what the audience yearns and wants in a season’s resolution. However, tonight’s season finale serves us a nice chunk of red meat and dessert, and that’s when we see the villain, Ennis (Andrew Howard), go down. While Mason is able to get a good shot on Ennis in front of the courthouse, in the end, it is the latter’s partner, Detective Holcomb (Eric Lange) who drowned him at the fountain of a mission in California.
Meanwhile, Emily joins the remaining members of the Radiant Assembly of God, now led by Mother Birdy (Lili Taylor) and Sister Alice McKeegan (Tatiana Maslany). Emily drinks their juice, playing with their mock that they really raised Charlie from the dead, even though she knows it’s not hers.
And tying everything into a perfect arc, tonight’s season finale went so far to let us know what happened to Sister Alice after she fled the failed stunt to resuscitate Charlie from the dead ( his coffin empty when it reopens). Mason, thanks to the discoveries of Paul Drake (Chris Chalk) (who left the police force and now works for Perry), follows Sister Alice to the Coastal Mission Town where she works as a waitress. As stuffy at times as the Charlie Dodson affair was last season, resulting in Perry Mason a greater dynamic was the script of Sister Alice, and how a church based on the faith of so-called healers rocked the city. The entire Sister Alice plot is inspired by Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, an early 20th century Canadian Pentecostal evangelist who pioneered the use of radio with church services and even used stage techniques in her weekly sermons at the Temple of the Angelus. Sister Aimee even disappeared, claiming that she had been abducted. As the Temple prepared a memorial service for her, Sister Aimee arrived and her return to Los Angeles attracted 30,000 to 50,000 people, more than President Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 visit to the city.
Mason tells Sister Alice that he knows what happened: that the church was involved in the kidnapping of Charlie Dodson, that Ennis formed a team. Mason still has questions about how the baby’s body was taken from his grave.
“A baby was killed to support your church… can you look at that and still believe?” Mason asks Sister Alice. She still believes in the power of God, while Mason lost all hope of it during the war.
“Did you really think you could bring Charlie back?” He asked him.
“I did, didn’t I? Sister Alice answers, walking away.
While some critics have complained that the HBO series doesn’t really pay homage to the original Raymond Burr show, it does capitalize where it can on some of the iconic IP characters and cases created by Erle Stanley Gardner. Therefore, for those wondering where Season 2 is headed (HBO just picked up with Fantastic Ratings), the show’s creators don’t let us guess. A new client, Eva Griffin, entered Mason’s office this evening. Della says of her “She’s a woman claiming to be Mrs. Eva Griffin. It seems bogus to me. I searched the city directory for all the Griffins. There are a lot of Griffins, but no Eva.
The character is from Gardner’s first Mason mystery The case of velvet claws, in which Eva Belter (aka Griffin) is pictured leaving an illegal gambling club with a politician. Fearing to be subjected to blackmail, she asks Mason for help but she seems dishonest and tries to incriminate him. Her murdered husband is the blackmailer. In the book, Della calls it “all velvet and claws”.
Cue Fred Steiner’s Perry Mason theme song.