The encyclopedic musical knowledge of U.S. Marshal Annie Frost once again nailed the bad guy on last night’s episode of Chase. If the poor fool hadn’t recklessly whistled “Sweet Caroline” just after he shot the world’s most crooked auto mechanics, our troubled hero might never have been able to connect him to his Boston roots. You see, Annie knows that “only two kinds of people in this world” like that particular Neil Diamond song — drunks and diehard Red Sox fans (the categories are far from mutually exclusive.) “They play it every eighth inning at Fenway Park,” she explains.
Never mind that the fugitive — an Irish gangster named Jimmy Duggan who had moved to Houston and taken the identity of another man — left Boston 17 years ago, and that the Red Sox didn’t start playing the song regularly at games until the late ‘90s. We’ll grant that maybe he’s been back to Fenway frequently in the years since he began living as Frank McClusky, a mild-mannered man from Louisiana.
The self-proclaimed “Slvr Fox” (it’s on his vanity plates) recently turned 50 and had himself a mid-life crisis. When he and his loving girlfriend were mugged, he reached a breaking point and decided to exact revenge on the punks who robbed him (those crooked auto mechanics). The experience gave him a rush of his old life as a bank-robbing criminal, and he decided to reclaim the man he used to be.
Only three weeks in, Chase scripts have made it a habit of repeating the same ideas again and again within the hour — as if they’re afraid that the audience is too dumb to remember. In the pilot, we got to hear that the bad guy thought of himself as an “outlaw cowboy” over and over. This week it was Duggan talking to anyone who would listen that he’d been living for 17 years as a “lamb,” but he was becoming a “lion” again.
We got more hints of Annie Frost’s troubled past. She nearly killed herself in the episode’s opening chase scene by attempting to leap off an apartment balcony in pursuit of a fugitive. Her partner Jimmy knows that her reckless behavior is driven by a desire to distinguish herself from her dad. “You’re not your father. You don’t have to kill yourself to prove that,” he tells her. The producers poured on thick Annie’s mysterious back story this week. Earlier I predicted we’d meet Annie Frost’s father — presumably he’ll be a fugitive that her team is given the task of tracking down — in the second season. But at this pace it seems like he’ll show up by November sweeps.
Turns out Duggan likes to be in the newspaper, so he uses a sense of showmanship as he leaves a trail of murder and destruction behind. He blows up a cop car right outside the Houston hair salon where he tries to convince his girlfriend to run away to a life of crime with him. (Actually it was in a strip center on Main Street in the town of Ferris, southeast of Dallas). Later he guns down some dishonest weapons dealers at what looks like the Galaxy Drive-in in Ennis.
Then he recruits a crew from the halfway house for ex-cons where, as Frank McClusky, he had done volunteer work. Annie Frost’s team discovers that he’s headed to rob a bank in Dallas. After a incredibly short helicopter ride from Houston, they arrive in Big D just in time to hear about a shooting at a local bank. They quickly piece together Duggan’s plan to drive a hijacked armored truck into the depot where the truck’s fleet picks up its cash. We’re told that those depots are far more secure then banks. But this particular depot seems strangely empty of people, besides the single guard sitting at the front gate.
Anyway, there’s a big shootout with assault rifles out front of the place. Annie Frost gets her man by charging at him when she suspects he’s in the midst of reloading his weapon. It’s a stupid, dangerous move, but it works. As he’s being cuffed, Duggan looks at Annie and says, as a way of explaining his own actions, “You’ve got to take the risk.” But see what those clever writers have done? Annie feels like he’s might be talking about her too. There’s an understanding between them. Maybe she’s got some of that criminal blood in her after all.
Until next time, when we might expect that a felon’s fondness for humming old Nirvana tunes will give him away as a former grunge rocker from Seattle or a thief’s penchant for singing “Sweet Home Chicago” during a cross-country rampage will lead Frost and her team to track him to his home in, well, Chicago.