This week on Southland, we have the first half of an unlabeled two hour season finale.
Mostly this episode is a set up for the pay off in the finale: Coop hits rock bottom, Lydia meets a guy but that’s going to ruin the hard-won camaraderie with Ochoa, Sammy’s finally figuring himself out.
A list of observations since most of the commentary will have to wait for the actual finale review:
There was a helluva lot of lens flare in this episode, especially in the scene between Lydia and Martin (the boy whose father killed his mother). JJ Abrams is suddenly working on this show?
Tammy shows up and reminds us immediately why she’s so loathsome. Bitch, you what? You WHAT? You took his phone and jacked that shit? Do you know the definition of d-i-v-o-r-c-e? If I knew her in RL I would seriously considered putting shrimp shells under the paneling of her car. Her appearance is particularly jarring because the scene otherwise is one of those comically tragic ones the show gets so right. The church lady is wondrous to behold in her righteous vim, and who doesn’t love that beat cop that they’ve foisted on Sammy to keep him on the rails? Then, ugh, TAMMY APPEARS, kind of like when you’re walking barefoot in soft grass and you step on a turd. And why is she there? Some co-parenting paint mumbo-jumbo. Ef back off the the burbs, she-creature.
On Lydia and Morales: he doesn’t look all that young to me, plus if he’s some kind of training officer he can’t be 20 damned years old, what gives? Ok, I just did a little research and his rank would indicate that he’s got several years on the job, seven and a half years at least according to one (sketchy ass) source. How old do you have to be to be a cop? This is not my strong suit, can I go back and call hearts as trumps?
Special round of applause for the uterus-theft call.
There are special training classes for how to put your baby in a car seat? Are there ones for how to use a flush toilet, too? But who won’t endure Cooper sleeping in the car for the gratuitous sexiness of Ben with a baby doll and car seat?
The interlude with the old man in the land yacht was funnier than it should have been since this was the John Has Lost It moment. Maybe it’s Cudlitz’s delivery of the “just shoot ’em” line. Maybe it’s just that old people who can’t drive are funny until they run over you/your cat/your beloved hibiscus. For the record, I agree with John that after a threshold, the DMV should test every year, but that’s cost prohibitive.
This child services theme must be a special agenda for someone on the show. This isn’t a complaint, more of a generalized observation. I can’t remember a television show that fought so hard for a social agenda in this sort of relentless, nitty-gritty way. (Sorkin doesn’t count as his agenda is how awesome his opinions are.) John and Lydia have both consistently struggled with the system with no pat answers, no sitcom outcome. Parenthood is a theme in general, of course (John and his dad and his refusal to have a child with his ex even for an easy fix, the Sammy/Tammy train wreck, Lydia period, and Ochoa and Morales). But the subset of the parenthood theme that is the DCFS has been bleak all the way around.
What can one say about Lydia and how badass she is? I think most of the commentary about her would have to made in light of the fact that she’s a black woman on television who is routinely the smartest, fastest, cleverest, most competent person in the room. Yet the show still manages to hang together, television executives! The world has not imploded! I think you should remember that there’s a very dedicated audience for this show, a good chunk of which are law enforcement officers as indicated by a simple google search of the show and how many law enforcement-themed blogs/message boards come up. Lydia being a BAMF as a feature, not a flaw. Now go to time out and sort your shit out.
Next week: they wrap everything up in case they get canceled again.