Tonight’s episode of Chase nearly redeemed itself with a scene of hell-bent U.S. Marshal Annie Frost taking a ridiculously wonderful leap from a helicopter onto a speeding semi, then shimmying down the front to reach through the window of the cab to keep a crazy fugitive from driving herself and the little girl that she’d kidnapped right off a bridge.
It was a good reminder that it’s not necessarily a mistake for this show to embrace the over-the-top, since the sequence was far better executed (and more fun to watch) than anything else this series has offered so far. It’s too bad the producers committed some laughably big flubs that prevented the oh-so-earnest plotting of this installment from being taken seriously.
It appears that Chase scripts pick the locations of their events by drawing random names of Texas cities out of a hat, and not really bothering to keep straight what their characters said happened, where or when. This week’s baddie, a foxy-but-crazy blonde named Faith Maples, fatally shot her boyfriend at their home in Conroe before going on the run with her daughter, to Navasota, College Station, Harvey, and Madisonville. At least, that’s what the words that came out of the mouths of Annie Frost and her team led us to believe.
Trouble is, the titles that appeared on the screen to introduce each of the new locations told us a different story. While we started in Conroe, the chase led us to Lampasas, Brownwood, and Abilene, before heading back to Madisonville. What’s it cost to produce a single episode of Chase? Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Probably more? Maybe they should spend a tad more on putting someone in charge of checking continuity.
The episode further ratcheted up Annie’s daddy’s issues. So much so, in fact, that I think I was right last week when I predicted that we’ll get an episode involving a chase for her father (whom we now know is named William Frost) this season, maybe even by the next sweeps month. It’s plain that the old man is a crook and that he dragged Annie along on some of his crime sprees when she was a kid. This is obvious because of Annie’s obsession with making sure that Faith Maples doesn’t harm her own daughter as she runs from the law.
Maples and her girl first head to a convenience store next to a motel. We’re told on the screen that this is in Lampasas. The place is actually here in Mesquite, along Highway 80 where it crosses Town Boulevard. Then they go shopping for Halloween costumes. The store where they cash in their coupon, from yesterday’s issue of “The Texas Times,” is either in College Station (according to what Annie Frost says) or in Brownwood (according to what appears on screen). In actuality, the place is in this strip shopping center in Balch Springs along 635 near Elam Road.
Security camera footage at the store reveals to Annie (and to us) the startling truth — that Maples doesn’t have a daughter at all. She’s gone crazy and has been talking to thin air. “It’s a game changer,” Annie Frost says in the most earnestly-delivered-yet-nonsensical line of the night. It was more like a cheap trick. No, I didn’t see it coming. But that’s because they cheated.
Anyway, fine. They got their Sixth Sense moment. And after Maples visits her former fiancée — the man who caused the death of her real, unborn daughter five years ago when he (horror of horrors!) talked on a cell phone while driving — she too realizes the truth, but not before killing him, as she had the other men who pointed out to her that she’d gone crazy. She takes off back towards home to kidnap the little girl that she’d become obsessed with after meeting her two months before. She’d already broken into that girl’s home and stolen photos of her to feed her belief that this was, in fact, her own daughter.
Enough of this nonsense — let’s get to that chase on a big rig. No, it wasn’t as cool as Harrison Ford climbing along the Nazi truck in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it was far better than I’d come to expect from this show. Maples had stolen the truck from a nice driver who was trying to help the kidnapped girl get back to her real mother. Annie Frost’s helicopter comes swooping in from above, and when the semi looks to be driving rapidly towards a “Bridge Closed” sign, she’s got no choice but to make the jump.
Annie doesn’t succeed in convincing Maples to pull over, but when the rig goes dangling over the side of the bridge, she’s able to rescue the little girl from that precarious perch. Our poor mentally imbalanced fugitive doesn’t fare as well, plummeting into the river below.
It brings to mind what this show should be. Forget the childhood trauma. Forget character banter, or building up the unresolved romantic tension between Annie and her male partner. Just give us chase scenes. The bigger and more implausible, the better. And don’t even bother scripting dialogue or trying to explain the plot points. That stuff has only been getting Chase in trouble.