Monday, May 18, 2015

Battle Creek - The Hand-Off

In an episode that flips the roles of Russ (Dean Winters) and Milt (Tad Hamilton), and finally offers some real character development for Russ, the Battle Creek Police Detective fights for the innocence of a suspect in a murder whose estranged husband was shot down while standing next to her in a public park. With Russ, who obviously bonds with the woman while fighting to keep her husband alive as the pair wait for the paramedics, looks for alternate explanations for the crime in falls on the suspended Milt (who, in uncharacteristic fashion blackmails his old boss to use a secret NSA program to identify the hitman hired to carry out the crime) to offer the pessimistic view.

Although you could easily argue the episode goes overboard in switching out the two lead's roles, and Holly (Aubrey Dollar) subplot gets a bit too goofy for its own good, "The Hand-Off" at least shakes up the staus quo and offers something different. The writers never quite make me buy Milt's actions (why does this random crime force him into such drastic action?), but having the pair reverse roles actually makes each of them come off more human than they have at any point during the show's run.

I wish this episode had aired earlier in the series and been the catalyst for change. As we know Battle Creek has been cancelled by CBS meaning next week's season finale will also be the final episode of the series. Making Milt a bit of a jerk, allowing Russ to be more than just one, and finally putting Russ and Holly together, "The Hand-Off" is the kind of episode I want more of. Now I'm kind of sad the show isn't getting a longer run.

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