Last week saw Kane finding the SD card hidden in the picture a’la The Purloined Letter. In The Player this week, L.A. Breakdown, the mystery of Ginny deepens. While Alex goes after a No Country for Old Men type of hitman hired by a cartel to kill people from a five year-old theft of drug money, Mr. Johnson steps in and muddies the water in Kane’s search for his “dead” wife.
On top of the two plot threads of Ginny and the main one dealing with super sniper Suarez, Detective Brown (Damon Gupton) is approached by a new character, FBI agent Rose Nolan who calls him into a search for the former Player (whose body we see Johnson standing over in the season pilot episode).
As Kane enters the next bet (Can Alex Kane stop the sniper from killing his next victim [sic]) more backstories are revealed and characters, like Donovan, who Kane asks to help him get all the data off the Ginny SD card. Johnson, who last week promised his player help in finding Ginny, intercepts Donovan and after combing through all he found on the card, takes a large amount of it.
After explaining the penalties of telling his friend about the intercepted data, Donovan then lies to Alex about what he found. Brown learns from Agent Nolan that his old friend Kane is another in along list of former special forces, NSA, FBI, et al men who were all acting strangely before falling off the grid.
Cassandra King (Charity Wakefield) has more of her character revealed, SAS, British Royal Marines and a crack shot herself with a sniper rifle. Kane proves that he can think outside the box, in a stand off with Suarez he drops his weapon and says, “Take the shot.” A confused cartel sniper stands still while King places a shot in the killer’s back from an amazing distance.
This episode allows Philip Winchester a chance to show off some pretty impressive chops. While Wakefield’s King is still the stronger, and more interesting, character of the three main protagonists, Kane is approaching a cool second place. The tears of frustration and loss for Ginny adds a huge amount of depth to this reluctant player.
Snipes still comes across as cooler than cool although he is still bit too aloof. His pit boss feels like Blade without the vampiric powers and Whistler. It still remains to be seen whether this star’s presence will increase in the show or stay in the periphery as shadow. The fact that he personally intervenes twice, in two episodes, seems to indicate that Johnson will move to the fore as he continues to orchestrate Kane’s personal life.
The interplay between Kane and Suarez lacked the panache of the Coen Brothers’ killer, although the cartel assassin did have a pretty impressive kill record. Sadly, there is not enough Suarez to make this part of the plot too interesting.
It is Mr Johnson’s systematic tearing down of Donovan McDowell, Alex’s techno expert friend, that takes center stage in terms of character development. The pit boss’s calm demeanor while threatening all that Donovan holds near and dear speaks volumes about Snipes’ Johnson. This is stepping up out of the periphery and showing what this man is willing to do for the “game.”
There is a nicely paced running gunfight and car chase, although there are only two vehicles actually chasing Alex in his Jeep, an RPG is used repeatedly so kudos to making a tight budget work well. Kane and King interact interestingly in this sequence with the Dealer proving that in terms of cold-blooded, she holds all the cards.
As the season progresses, The Player is starting to impress more and more. It is difficult to find fault with a series that includes references to Edgar Allen Poe and the Coen Brothers. Not to mention the “shooting the target” to save his life and the interaction afterward between Alex and “Baahb.”
The Player airs Thursdays on NBC. Tune in and see some high octane action against a thumping musical score with the blindingly beautiful Charity Wakefield making her co-stars disappear each time she is on screen. Of course, Winchester is entertaining and Snipes is convincing as the chap who can make cartel’s “eat it.”