Cardinal: Poor “Woody”

Before I dig into this episode of Cardinal, I have to ask one question: WHAT THE HELL is up with Delorme (Karine Vanasse)? Seriously!! Who deliberately burns the upholstery in their car with a lit cigarette, even if you do want to vandalize a relationship? Talk about passive aggressive!

OK, I have that off my chest.

We are on Episode 4; halfway through the series and once again our opening shot harkens back to the very first scene of the series. This time, however, the scene is set at night. It is Woody (Gord Rand), our cocksure career thief sitting in the the very same parking lot as John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) did in the first scene of the series. Woody is selecting his next victim based upon their purchases. And who does he spy, but “White Trash Johnny,” a.k.a. Eric (Brendan Fletcher). He follows Eric and Edie (Allie MacDonald) so he can case the neighbourhood and pick the proper time to strike. Now, correct me if I am wrong but earlier in the series, Gran’s (Amanda Smith) house was set in a little subdivision with lots of other houses nearby. Now it appears  her house is isolated amongst the birch trees. I HATE inconsistencies like this!

Anyhow, after much nagging by his wife, Woody agrees to seek respectable employment driving a snow plow for his brother-in-law. But there is a catch, he must give up his wayward habits. However, *Spoiler Alert* if you watched the entire episode, you know Woody never got the chance. Poor Woody.

Meanwhile, Delorme is still set on investigating Cardinal and seeks assistance from Commanda (Glen Gould). Commanda pays a visit to Francis (Lawrence Bayne) to discuss his connection to the poker chips and the money laundering. Francis supplies some of the bills he received from  Cardinal and Commanda, in turn, hands them over to Delorme. She runs the bills and discovers they are fresh from the bank. A dead end.

On the official investigation side of things, Cardinal and Delorme catch a lead. Keith London (Robert Naylor) arrived in Algonquin Bay via the bus depot and they trace his steps to the local bar. The bartender (James Byron) remembers seeing him because Keith got sick after just two beers. Cardinal once again pieces it together and decides it is time to canvass all hospitals, doctor offices, pharmacies and veterinarian clinics; anyone who could potentially carry the meds that made the cocktail in Curry’s toxicology report.

This is where we depart a bit from the novel. It appears writer Aubrey Nealon tucked in a bit extra for the cat and mouse game between Eric and Edie and Cardinal and Delorme. Here, Keith’s parents pay a visit to the department for an interview with Cardinal and Delorme. Sergeant Dyson (Kristen Thomas) arranges a press conference to appeal to the public for further information leading to the whereabouts of Keith London. Cardinal takes a massive  risk and encourages Keith’s mother to speak at the press conference, hoping the killer will get off on the knowledge that he gets to toy with the family of his victim which, in turn, buys the investigators more time.

In the meantime, Eric forces Keith to watch Curry’s snuff film and  Edie worries Keith now knows their secret. Eric suggests that tonight is the night: Edie can leave the little girl behind and once she kills Keith, she can be whoever she wants to be, no one will hurt her ever again. Eric then tosses Keith’s severed finger out into the woods. I have to ask … WHY would you do this? Will his hubris prove a fatal flaw? At any rate, Eric and Edie do happen to catch Cardinal’s news conference and it seems his little trick worked. Edie admits to Keith that he should be happy “because you were going to die tonight.”

On the home-front, Josh (Alden Adair) pays a visit to John; he apparently needs to talk. Knowing Lise was smoking again “Mr. Geology” did some digging around and instead discovered Delorme’s birth control pills hidden in the car. In spite of his initial suspicions that Lise and John are having an affair, he realizes that is not the case. But, in his drunken state he also lets it slip that Delorme’s transfer from Financial is just temporary.

The episode closes with Woody breaking into Gran’s (Amanda Smith) house. He heads to the basement where he makes the grisly discovery. Sadly, he did not arrive soon enough and Edie and Eric catch him in the process of trying to untie Keith. Woody meets his demise at the hands of Eric. I guess he should have listened to his wife.

Remaining questions: Who is in the white Ford SUV following Cardinal? My guess it is Musgrave (David Richmond-Peck), but I honestly don’t know for sure. And, can we officially ditch Josh? After all, he was not in the original text to start with. What is the point of him other than filler to promote the Delorme/Cardinal tension?

This was another strong episode, nicely pieced together despite the many intertwined storylines. The pace is consistent and is slowly mounting as the suspense level grows. Fletcher is entirely convincing as our psychopathic serial killer; I really don’t want to meet him anytime soon after watching this. I know many of you have serious crushes on Billy Campbell, but I am finding myself bored with his character now. I understand this guy has a lot going on in his head but for God’s sake man, emote just a little bit so we know you are human. I just don’t feel Campbell’s full talents were tapped into during this episode. Karine Vanasse on the other hand is fantastic. She is completely believable as a woman with many faces. Brava!

Let me know what you think so far in the comments below.

Cardinal airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.