Last week, Kelly Cardinal (Alanna Bale) suggested her father, John (Billy Campbell) take up running again. This is the scene we open this week’s episode of Cardinal with: him running. The chase has begun. Cardinal knows the killer will strike again and he feels he is in a race against time. Since the show is holding true to the book, there is likely a good deal of back and forth from here until the end. This was the issue I had with Forty Words for Sorrow. We know very early who the villains are and it is now just a race to the finish. As a novel, this format failed miserably for me. However, on screen, this formula works well, building suspense when we as the viewer know something the protagonist(s) doesn’t. As it stands right now, we have three principle storylines and two subplots, so I will attack each one separately instead of bouncing all over the place.
First, we have the story of Edie (Allie MacDonald) and Eric (Brendan Fletcher), who have selected their latest victim, Keith London (Robert Naylor). He is strapped, naked, to a chair, frequently drugged, and routinely degraded.
We also learn a good deal of backstory about Edie. She is emotionally hampered by her physical appearance and, left to care for an ailing grandmother, she is so entirely desperate for attention that the warped attentions of Eric act as a panacea for her woes. Eric has effectively seduced Edie, and in so doing has created his own little twisted minion, one that is eager to prove her devotion. Even though Eric is ultimately in control of Edie, knowing exactly which buttons he needs to push, Eric goes to the trouble of informing Keith he is deferring to Edie. She is in control and Eric is just there to nudge her along. Edie does so in her own time. With the removal of Keith’s finger, Edie demonstrates that she is not just a “dumb animal” and she made Keith bleed.
The scenes between Fletcher and Naylor were exquisitely performed. The fear is palpable. And can I just say “OW”? That duct tape over Naylor’s mouth HAD to hurt! The chemistry here is really terrific! Even the predatory sexual tension in this relationship despite the degradation is terrifyingly seductive.
I do have a question however, and I had the same one while reading Forty Words. If pharmaceuticals and the knowledge of them is so easy for Edie to procure from the pharmacy where she works, why did Edie never self-medicate her eczema? Why, when she has felt so insecure and angry with respect to her outward physical appearance did she not use her position to remedy herself? What happened that made Edie so incapable of acting on behalf of herself, but so willing to act in exchange for the gratification she seeks from Eric?
Next, we have Delorme (Karine Vanesse) investigating Cardinal on behalf of Corporal Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck). We learn in this episode that Musgrave and Cardinal both worked Corbett’s crime ring raid in Toronto together. According to Musgrave, the raid “went bad” and he lays the blame squarely on Cardinal. Corbett and his crew were tipped off and instead of locating the drugs there was just “a half pound of C4 rigged to a wire there” waiting for them. As a result of the “tip off,” another officer was killed in the explosion. Musgrave is convinced Cardinal warned Corbet and his gang of the raid. I think Delorme’s spidey sense was tingling. She knows something is amiss. Delorme points out to Musgrave that he has no cause. The case was closed, Cardinal was cleared and therefore Musgrave has no reason to investigate Cardinal. So why is he pushing so hard to nail Cardinal? You know that line from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much methinks”? Sub in Musgrave for Queen Gertrude here.
The last of the three story-lines revolves around Cardinal and Delorme’s investigation into the serial murders. The department catches a break on a possible new victim after the Major Crimes Dept. from Toronto Police called. The parents of Keith London notified Toronto Police that their son did not arrive as scheduled. Police know Keith passed through Algonquin Bay, but their trace of Keith’s phone revealed the signal died further east. Cardinal deduces the killer places the cellphones of his victims on the trains as they pass through town. Eventually, the phone goes dead, but long after leaving Algonquin Bay. However, these trains all lead back to Algonquin Bay. Meanwhile, the encrypted texts from Todd Curry’s laptop come back from forensics and Cardinal and Delorme run down the lead. Turns out Curry was lured to town by a man pretending to be a woman, but this was not their killer.
Finally our subplots: John and Catherine (Deborah Hay), and Lise and “Mr Geology” Josh (Alden Aldair). John visits his wife in the hospital again, but this time it is work related. As an artist, with knowledge of the mechanics involved in photography, John questions Catherine about the process of image processing. Despite her condition, Catherine realizes Cardinal is “working” and her resentment is palpable. Anyone else notice these two never appear in a shot together? In fact, they are positioned in opposition to each other and Catherine’s body is even turned away from her husband … indicative of the gulf that exists between them.
Also, it seems Lise is keeping a few secrets of her own. She is hiding the fact she is smoking again AND, she taking birth control behind Josh’s back. Yet it is as though she wants Josh to catch her, smoking in their car, leaving her pills in the glove compartment. Why does she want him to discover her secrets? IS she looking for an out from the relationship?
Questions remaining: What is Corporal Commanda (Glen Gould) doing investigating the hit and run of a horse? And why did Francis (Lawrence Bayne) hit a horse and leave it to die at the side of the road in the first place?
What are your thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the comments below.
Cardinal airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.