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Bellevue – The Guy With Fire in His Eyes

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By: Maggie Stankiewicz

 

 

Jesse Sweetland’s (Sadie O’Neil) pale and bloated corpse is hastily zipped up into a police-issued body bag while Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) looks on, disgusted by the young teenager’s untimely demise. Peter (Shawn Doyle) watches the gruesome scene alongside his subordinates, Brady (Billy MacLellan) and Virginia (Sharon Taylor). Once the body is loaded up into the van, Virginia informs the group of Jesse’s boyfriend and the evasive white pickup truck. The group disbands, leaving Annie and Peter to discuss their respective findings. Peter quickly turns the tables on Annie and asks how she knew where to find Jesse’s body. She pulls out the tiny bag of fingernails and reveals to Peter that despite their appearance, they are fake. Peter isn’t pleased with her secrecy, and his disappointment only grows when she shows him the messages sewn into her new doll’s cape.

 

Not only are the clues not adding up, but Annie is keeping some big secrets from her superior and confidant. Annie’s mysterious pen pal, AKA The Riddler, certainly played a hand in her finding Jesse, but Peter is convinced that there are some malicious intentions behind the clues they’re dropping. Annie’s insistence on Jesse’s murder being related to Sandy Driver’s cold case only serves to further enrage Peter – which leads us to the question: is Peter hiding something, or is he just negligent? Annie quickly disengages from the conversation and defies Peter’s pleas once more, leaving a present behind for The Riddler in exchange for another clue: What I found beyond the horizon.

 

Annie’s next stop is her desk at the police station where she spots a pensive Brady, who is trying to process his emotions after informing Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) about the discovery of Jesse’s body. His vulnerability is enough to steer Annie away from making any humorous or sarcastic comments – a true testament to the emotional brevity of the situation. Peter soon busts in with a lab and autopsy report. Jesse’s body was wiped clean of DNA by the water, but the cause of death was found to be blunt force head trauma. The cause of death might be indicative of a crime of passion, yet another cog in the convoluted murder machine.

 

Maggie Sweetland is a woman in mourning, who unabashedly sucks on cigarettes in the house of God. Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) doesn’t care too much about her smoking habits, especially after he notices that a portrait of Joseph and Jesus has been defaced with red paint. He calls the detectives over to the scene of the crime, where they speculate on a possible father-son relationship. Unfortunately, Jesse’s father is dead. This leaves too much room for interpretation. Annie decides to convene with Maggie away from the church to further discuss Jesse’s relationship with his father and flip through an old photobook.The relationship was strained, adulterated by his father’s affinity for the bar. Maggie expresses regret at giving Jesse a lack of a father figure, but remediates her comment by mentioning Tom’s (Vincent Leclerc) role as a paternal figure. Tom just so happens to drive a white pickup truck.

 

Elsewhere, Daisy (Madison Ferguson) is dabbling in the occult in an attempt to call upon Sandy Driver.

 

Following up on her lead, Annie pays a visit to Tom during hockey practice. She observes that Jacob (Robert Naylor) and Max (Ryan Doherty) are out on the ice, despite their suspensions from school. Tom’s wife writes it off and leaves. After practice, Annie finds Tom crying in the locker room about Jesse’s death and…his gender expression. She asks Tom if he was home the night Jesse disappeared, he claims that he was but his alibi is yet to be validated. The conversation is cut short and Annie races home to find Daisy with Peter. Daisy was caught by Mr. Driver in the middle of her séance and needed to be escorted home. Annie scolds her daughter, who sweetly and strangely says that she did it just in case Sandy could offer insight on Jesse’s whereabouts. Annie gently breaks the news about Jesse’s body to Daisy – but their heart to heart is interrupted by a furious Eddie (Allen Leech). Eddie isn’t just mad at Daisy, he’s mad at Annie for pulling Daisy into the fold. Annie defends herself against his verbal attack, but he thinks she might be heading down the same path as her father.

 

Peter pulls up to the city limits and meets with Mayor Mother Mansfield (Janine Theriault), who is more concerned about the town’s employment rates than murdered teenagers. Peter pulls her into his SUV and they discuss matters in private – hidden away even from the audience.

 

The town of Bellevue is full of chaotic activity these days. Tom has invited four of his players (including Jacob and Max) into the woods for a little demonstration of toxic masculinity. He encourages the boys to release their aggression on one another, which results in bloody noses, black eyes, and a strange sense of camaraderie. Annie is sensing something is off about the boys and their doting coach, but she can’t quite put her finger on it. Instead, The Riddler entices her with an abandoned truck and another clue, one that sends her into the woods to find a paper man strung up in the trees. She retrieves the note and emerges from the thick woodlands where she meets up with Peter. Peter accuses her of forming an attachment to the trickster, but a pack of howling young men cuts the intervention short.

 

Tom and his four hockey players continue howling as they also emerge from the thicket and walk directly into the two detectives. Annie and Peter are confused by the bloodied war-paint on the boy’s faces. They cover up for Tom and insist that he stopped them from fighting, though neither detective believes the story. Even so, they let them go to exchange theories and spar over the other’s methods. Peter accuses Annie of lying to him to feed into her own ego (something that her father had done), and Annie explodes. Her father is certainly a trigger, despite the fact that she does appear to be closely following in his footsteps.

 

Annie barges into Eddie’s house for some comfort, but he’s still too riled up from Daisy’s experiment with black magic to cater to her needs. Eddie loves Annie, but he refuses to watch his daughter become her. They bicker over conflicting parenting styles until the conversation takes a turn to their relationship, which is strained at best. Annie storms off, a typical reaction from the fiery cop, and picks up a stranger at the Rattlesnake. Together they sway and slur until Eddie enters the bar and pulls Annie outside. Under the cloak of darkness, the apologize to each other, deeply, against the back of his truck. They pull the fly of their pants up one notch at a time, just like everyone else, and then Annie flips back into cop mode and notices a singular payphone.

 

Recognizing the payphone’s significance, she calls Peter and tell him to pull payphone records for the nights surrounding Jesse’s disappearance. Peter validates her hunch and apologizes for the things he said to her earlier in the day, but he’s still up to no good. His dumps a container of gasoline on and around a shed, and tosses a bag of fingernails into the flammable concoction. He appears to be only setting the stage, as he does not choose to light his gasoline soaked masterpiece.

 

The next day Annie and Virginia meet up with Jesse’s boyfriend to discuss their runaway plans. Even his boyfriend doesn’t seem to know too much about Jesse’s life or aspirations, but it’s enough to give Virginia a lead. She leaves to follow up on some information while Annie meets up with Tom’s wife, just to verify the extent of Tom’s involvement in Jesse’s life. Tom had taken Jesse to a hotel, not to sleep with him, his wife reveals, but to engage with a prostitute whom he had previously been involved with. His wife is visibly upset by the discovery, but recognizes the importance of sharing that information with Annie.

 

Annie makes her way over to the hotel to meet with Tom’s favorite sex worker. The prostitute is extremely cooperative, letting Annie know that Tom brought Jesse there with the intention of setting him “straight”. Tom had told Jesse to “man up” before leaving him alone with the prostitute. Jesse, however, had been too uncomfortable to proceed. Jesse expressed his frustrations with the prostitute, and they both let Tom believe that they had sex. Annie reports back to Peter, but the hockey coach’s questionable antics are not enough to add up to murder…yet. Within seconds a report comes in that suggests Tom received a call from the Rattlesnake’s payphone the same night Jesse went missing. They call him in for questioning, but Tom plays the role of innocent victim.

 

Tom’s motive is becoming more and more apparent through his abhorrent demonstrations of primal masculinity. He invested time and money and manhood into Jesse, who, in his eyes, threw it all away to express femininity. Annie and Peter suggest this triggered his temper, throwing him into a heat-of-the-moment violent outburst in the form of a blow to the head. He denies it, but it’s not over yet. Brady and Virginia are busy conducting their own searches, and find a plethora of MDMA in Jesse’s closet where they were expecting to find a stash of getaway cash. The victory of their discovery is soured by the suggestion that Annie was manipulated by Tom, his wife, and the prostitute.

 

Annie revisits the prostitute who informs her that Tom refuses to let go of his past, and relives his glory days vicariously through his players. This aligns with a clue Annie received from The Riddler on where heroes go to relive their victory. After a little bit of digging it is revealed that Tom may have thrown himself in front of a car and ruined his career around the time that Sandy Driver was killed. This is too convenient to dismiss – but Peter is still hell-bent on redirecting Annie’s attention. In the midst of this conversation, Annie discovers that Tom, once upon a time, played Joseph in a town play.

 

With her phone signal fading, someone locks Annie into the room that she’s investigating. She talks to the Riddler through the door, insisting that she trusts him and that he can trust her. Her pleas are met by the titular phrase, “Don’t trust the guy with fire in his eyes.” With that – she is released to tend to an arson call. When she arrives, Peter stands before a shed that has been set ablaze. “Damn kids,” he mutters…but there’s a fire in his eyes that Annie cannot deny.

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