Medium Watch: The Match Game

What I have always loved about Medium is that has always come up with such creative ways to tell immeasurably similar stories, so I guess the kudos for that go to show creator Glenn Gordon Caron, executive producer Kelsey Grammer and the writers. You know that you’re going to get a juicy murder or other form of deviance, but you never know just how it’s going to manifest itself.

Tonight’s ODS (Opening Dream Sequence) is set to “True”, the incredibly sappy 80’s ballad by Spandau Ballet. We see actor Tony Hale (who you may remember as bureaucratic goon Emmett Milbarge from Chuck), locking eyes with a woman on a park bench as he walks past. A connection is there, but the man is too shy to pursue it. But then Allison’s voice hits the reset button, the tape rewinds, and we see both “Emmitt” and the woman with pink CGI hearts floating in front of their heads. The connection is made, the couple smiles and then we immediately flash to their wedding. They kiss, and then… Allison’s cell wakes her up. A female jogger has been killed in a park, apparently the latest in a string of strangulations. Darn, that sucks, usually her dreams are so gloomy.

This episode, on its face, does remind me a little of a previous episode during which Allison saw floating numbers attached to people’s foreheads, ostensibly the number of days that that person had left to live. Wonder how the writers’ll spin it.

Did you know that the role of the youngest DuBois daughter Marie has been alternately played by twin girls, Miranda and Madison Carabello? I didn’t. Anyway, Marie is absolutely adorable as she relates to Joe, Ariel and Bridgette a bad dream the night before. She saw a man trying to kill a woman in a hotel, but as she describes the dream, it seems that the couple were just knockin’ boots, but what else is a five-year-old going to think? The raised eyebrow on Bridgette’s “do you wanna tell her, or should I?” face is just priceless. And I should tell you right now, I adore Maria Lark. She has made Bridgette my favorite character over the last three seasons.

Allison greets Scanlon in the park, and notices that he, along with everyone else, has some kind of symbol or icon on their forehead. Lee has a yellow sun, Devalos has a silver crescent moon, you get the picture. And suddenly I have a craving for a bowl of Lucky Charms. It’s worth noting that Lee’s wife Linda has the same symbol as he does, and this week’s theme begins to dawn. Allison then sees Mr. Pink Heart observing the cops, and he introduces himself as Gil, a local restaurant owner who is concerned that the name the killer has been given – the “Centennial Park strangler” – is bad for the local economy. Um, yeah, that would kinda suck.

Joe is a little concerned that Allison’s abilities now include symbology, and given that her near-death experience was not that long ago, orders her to be checked out. One lightning-fast check up later, she is informed that she’s fine. Of course, the only reason this matters is that the doctor delivering this news is the same woman from Allison’s dream, the one destined to become Mrs. Pink Heart. Allison recognizes her immediately, of course, and cattily asks her if she’s seeing anyone. And, presumably, likes Italian food, since Allison’s matchmaking wheels are already turning. The next day, the doctor, Judy, meets Allison at Gil’s restaurant, confessing that she’s frankly fascinated by Allison’s abilities, which are borne out when Gil and Judy get in a fender bender in the restaurant parking lot. Gil is all apologies and invites Judy to dinner, and a connection is made. Gee, I hope Gil isn’t the killer!

The next dream sequence doesn’t reveal much; Allison witnesses the strangulation of the woman whose body they found at the beginning of the episode. Naturally, we don’t see the killer’s face yet (could it be… Gil?), but we do see him dispose of his gloves and his garrotte in a doggy-doo bag from a nearby park dispenser. This turns out to be helpful, as Scanlon is able to locate the evidence in fairly short order, including fingerprints.

Of course, this wouldn’t be Medium if something tragic didn’t happen; we see Gil and Judy together, canoodling at a spot overlooking the city. Things seem to be going great… that is, until Gil whips a wire around Judy’s neck and chokes the life out of her. Allison wakes with a start, and lo, there’s a call from Scanlon, who confirms that Judy is indeed dead.

Allison is understandably distraught by this turn of events, as one might expect. Wracked with guilt about having brought together this charming woman with her perceived killer, she sics the cops on Gil. And whaddaya know, his prints don’t match those of the killer and he has a fairly solid alibi for Judy’s murder. So despite Allison’s protestations, Devalos is forced to let Gil go. And if this makes no sense to Allison, neither does her next dream: she sees the jogger get strangled, and the strangler turns out to be… Judy?! Huh?

There was also a sub-plot revolving around Joe this week. Some big project that his engineering team is working on gets dicey when a disagreement between two of her underlings ends with the female suing the company for sexual harassment. We find out later that there isn’t an ounce of truth in this suit, as the woman turns out to be a greedy opportunist who just wants to blackmail the company into a quick settlement. And THEN it turns out that she and the male underling are secretly lovers, a fact revealed by another dream from little Marie. This is excellent news for Joe, who the next day tells the two underlings that not only do they no longer have a legal leg to stand on, but that their fraudulent asses can find a new job. Ya know, I just love those moments when the bad guys realize their best laid plans have been s**t-canned. It never gets old.

Judy is indeed confirmed as the murderer of the jogger, though her motive remains unclear. At least Allison can sleep better. Evidence has cleared her of the other two murders, so the new theory is that Gil is still the Centennial Park strangler who got lucky enough to kill his own copycat. Scanlon is able to arrest him for a multitude of unpaid parking tickets, which gives them less than a week to build a case against him while he stews in jail.

Allison’s final dream this week shows a rough-looking guy, also with a Pink Heart icon on his head, robbing a liquor store with a shotgun and killing the clerk. Allison wakes to find Judy’s ghost in the room. Judy relates the story of how the jogger was her patient, and was about to ruin Judy’s life because of a misdiagnosis she made. She also relates that the holdup man was in quick order, arrested, became Gil’s cellmate, and then murdered him in a meth-induced rage, thus explaining the symbolism of the hearts. Three killers finding each other, and two end up dead. Wow, I have to admit, I was kind of in Allison’s mindset here, hoping that her dreams could be used to foster love instead of the criminal justice system. But then, that would make for a pretty sappy show, wouldn’t it?