Thursday, October 3, 2019

Stumptown - Forget It Dex, It's Stumptown. / Missed Connections

Cobie Smulders stars as a good, if slightly fucked-up, former soldier who falls into the life of an unlicensed private investigator over the first two episodes of Stumptown. "Forget It Dex, It's Stumptown." introduces us to Dex Parios (Smulders), her best-friend Grey (Jake Johnson), and her brother Ansel (Cole Sibus). When the daughter (Blu Hunt) of the love of her life, whose death Dex still blames herself for, goes missing, the grandmother (Tantoo Cardinal) hires Dex to find her. What Dex discovers first looks like a pair of teens running off together but turns out to be something far more sinister as the boy's boyfriend turns out to be one of three criminals wanting to ransom the girl back to her grandmother for a big payday.

Smulders earns her starring role in the first two episodes providing Dex with both outward strength and innerward vulnerability as the soldier struggles with inner demons and PTSD while simply trying to take care of her brother and stay afloat one day at a time. There's a lot to unpack with the character and Smulder offers enough charm for me to want to stick around and see how things go. While explaining the origins of Dex's friendship with Grey, and the story of Dex's car, the show's second episode involves another case with unexpected ramifications. Hired by a lovesick man to find a girl he met, Dex learns that the woman and her partner are both con artists (and killers) and that her client is their next target. The small supporting cast, including Michael Ealy as a police detective (and possible love interest) and Camryn Manheim as a disapproving police lieutenant are nice complementary pieces (though Manheim's character needs to continue to thaw towards Dex to avoid becoming a cliche).

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