The penultimate episode of Cardinal—written by Russ Cochrane, produced by Jessica Daniel and directed by Daniel Grou—opens with Keith (Robert Naylor), naked and struggling against his restraints as he creeps along the basement floor. Before I go any further, I have to applaud Naylor who has been filmed naked throughout the majority of the series. Carefully angled shots have been the norm but still, for an actor as young as he is and having to spend a good deal of time either naked or near naked while shooting and to reveal that vulnerability while shooting is amazing.
This has got to be the best episode thus far. It is chock full of action, but also delivers a great deal of information. AND we still have another episode to go! We still need to find Keith and Edie (Allie Macdonald) needs to get what is coming to her for stabbing Keith. I guess we have to wait and see how that turns out next week. As for this week, here is the rundown.
Josh “Mr Geology” (Alden Adair) confronts Lise (Karine Vanesse) about the birth control he confronted Cardinal (Billy Campbell) with last week. Lise admits she had no excuse other than she felt pressured due to her transfer. She also admits her guilt and reassures Josh she is still committed to their relationship (WHY, brain is screaming WHY????). Meanwhile, Delorme reports to Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck). It seems Cardinal is exchanging the poker chips for clean money and is not laundering the bills. Delorme believes it is a dead end, but Musgrave thinks this is the proof he needs to convict Cardinal. Musgrave suspects Cardinal is paying someone that he does not wish to be connected to.
And it turns out, Musgrave is right. Cardinal is paying Tammy Lindstrom (Fiona Highet) off. She is extorting money from Cardinal because she knows he somehow tipped off Corbett. But with Delorme’s ongoing investigation of him, Cardinal hands her over his last payment and tells Lindstrom if she walks out of there with that cash, she is never coming back for more. We can read the utter exhaustion on Cardinal. Billy Campbell does carry the weight of the world! We still do not know how John is connected to the Corbett case, but Commanda (Glen Gould) has clued in something is amiss and even he is questioning Cardinal’s integrity as an officer.
Meanwhile, a hunter discovers the body of Woody (Gord Rand) out in the woods. And, just as I suspected last week, the police also find Keith’s missing finger. Now Cardinal and his team know Woody’s death is somehow connected to the serial killer despite the lack of torture on Woody’s body. Their perp is getting sloppy.
Delorme and Cardinal call on Woody’s wife (Trenna Keating) to inform her of Woody’s untimely demise and they learn he researched Ovation guitars online; the same brand of guitar Keith owns. This necessitates a quick trip to the music store at the same mall Woody was casing before targeting Eric (Brendan Fletcher) and Edie. While questioning the store owner, they spot the same charm bracelet found by Katie Pine’s body on Wendigo Island. Cardinal knows Eric Fraser is his man.
Cue the suspense. From here on out it is a whirlwind of action. Campbell is finally given the green light to let loose and Delorme and Cardinal have heated words. He believes Lise is half-assing her way through Homicide and at home with Josh.
In the meantime, Catherine Cardinal (Deborah Hay) goes missing and Kelly (Alana Bale) and Detective Fox (Eric Hicks) head out in search of her. They locate her by the waterfront. Now, other than tossing in a bit more angst for the audience, I am not sure what this scene really accomplishes to further the plotlines but I love the quiet moments Bale and Hay share here. They captured that moment when a mother realizes her baby has grown up. It was another fabulous use of quiet, and the use of winter itself as a character in the show.
And then there is this amazing, extended take that lasted just under five minutes (yes, I timed it). The scene is shot in a style duplicating that of a storytelling transition piece in role-playing and first-person shooter games. Cardinal and Delorme spot Eric’s van near the doors of an abandoned school. The take begins with Cardinal opening the exterior school door, and the two begin their search of the building. Moving from room to room, up and down staircases, through darkened hallways until Delorme takes a shot to her vest. Cardinal continues the pursuit, retracing his pathway back through the school on Eric’s tail. Gunfire is exchanged several times throughout and, finally, Cardinal emerges from the school to jump into the back of Eric’s fan, still in pursuit. The take ends after four minutes and 55 seconds with both Eric and Cardinal in the moving van. Ultimately, the van crashes and Eric takes his own life rather than submitting to the law. I am sure all of my friends are sick to death of me raving about this one take. The choreography and blocking for that scene alone … I cannot imagine how much time and I would love to know how many takes it took. Absolutely brilliant!
In the closing minutes of this action-packed instalment, Delorme gathers a change of clothes from Cardinal’s home, giving her the opportunity to search Cardinal’s home for more evidence against him and Edie arrives at the school to see Eric placed into a body bag. She returns to Gran’s house, whereupon Keith begs for his life but to no avail. Edie stabs him and shuts the trunk. Roll the credits!
One word: WOW! This is the new benchmark for Canadian television!
We are down to one episode! Will Cardinal and Delorme find Keith on time? What will this new lead on Musgrave’s case deliver on Cardinal? How, or will, Cardinal and Delorme figure out that Edie was working with Eric?
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
The season finale episode of Cardinal airs next Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.