Common Law: The Edge of Glory

Common Law S01E06: “Performance Anxiety”

Wes and Travis approached a record 400 arrests, dubbed the “Countdown to Glory” by Captain Mike, complete with an actual physical countdown poster in the office. At 398, the final two required nabs should have been a cakewalk for the duo, but since this week’s therapy theme was “performance anxiety,” we knew that certainly wouldn’t be the case.

There were some fun moments, though I think last week’s “The T Word” was a more satisfying story. I’m a total sucker for backstory.

A thieving couple attempted to emulate Bonny and Clyde during their glamorous Los Angeles vacation but there was more to their story than mere hero worship. Sporting matching bridge-themed bracelets, Jim and Marie Bergen robbed a nightclub, a high-end clothing store on Rodeo Drive, an expensive restaurant, and finally, a museum gala. They probably wouldn’t have made it past Rodeo if Wes and Travis hadn’t been suffering from the aforementioned performance anxiety, but in the end, everything worked out for the best. Jim Bergen had been diagnosed with leukemia and laid off from his job. The once financially secure couple had lost their house and their health insurance. The crime spree was intended to be a sort of last hurrah for Jim and a way of gaining financial security for Marie. The only problem was that, well, they just weren’t very good criminal masterminds and eventually, with the guidance of Dr. Emma, Travis and Wes got over their anxiety.

Speaking of therapy, I was bored with our sessions this week (frankly, I was bored with pretty much everything this week) but I loved the annoyed facial expression on that chick who was trying to get pregnant the whole episode, whose husband was suffering performance anxiety of the bedroom variety. It was pure “I can’t believe my sought-after counseling for this actual problem is being overshadowed by those two morons.” Don’t ever change, annoyed pregnant lady. You keep rolling your eyes. You’re awesome.

So like I said, everything worked out for Jim and a way. Jim ended up in prison, but by going to jail, he was guaranteed the medical care he'd otherwise lost. Travis and Wes cut a deal with Marie, with all parties agreeing that if she returned all the money that she and Jim stole, Travis and Wes would name her as a hostage in their report, rather than an accomplice. So maybe things didn’t really work out for Marie, because she’s still broke and husbandless. And Wes and Travis were bumped back down to 399 in their glory countdown, but they accepted the downgrade because they’re nice like that. Overall, “Performance Anxiety” seemed to suffer from a case of its namesake.

I thought we had rounded a corner last week, that maybe Common Law had started to become a show I can love rather than merely like sometimes. There were hints of greatness in the restrained storytelling, but this week went right back to slapstick and ham-fisted attempts at poignancy. However, we DID get some welcome insight into the dissolution of Wes and Alex’s marriage, as well as some progress toward Wes’s acceptance of the situation, which made me happy. I don’t think Common Law realizes yet that it’s perfectly capable of bringing the drama as well as the silly (and it totally is!).

Anyway, sure enough, a case that Wes worked on as a lawyer affected him deeply and inspired him to join the police force. It was a decision that Alex just didn’t understand.

Wes’s continued residence in a hotel betrayed his inability to understand or accept the divorce as a permanent thing, but a meeting with an attractive and willing potential partner at the hotel bar led steps. It turned out that Carine was engaged and Wes didn’t want to be the Other Guy, but still, he was TOTALLY WILLING TO HIT THAT. He went to therapy pleased with his progress only to have his accomplishment unanimously shot down by Dr. Emma and the entire population of the group, which, personally, I don’t think was fair.

To be fair to Wes’s naysayers, I do think he made a verbiage error by comparing the exchange with Carina to “the emotional equivalent of sex.” As he was told in therapy by a fellow attendee, “sex is sex.” So “sex” was a bad comparison, definitely. Totally. However, the fact that Wes was at least willing to have sex with Carina before he knew she was engaged revealed that he was willing to take that step away from Alex. Some of his loyalty to her was eroding, much like hers to him did when we learned that she was taking advantage of online dating sites. Some might argue that Wes’s decision NOT to go ahead and bang Carina anyway was another example of performance anxiety, and the argument certainly works, but I want to keep liking Wes, so I’m going to assume that he backed out of their liaison because he’s a good guy and SHE WAS ENGAGED.

Case Notes

– Travis and Wes argued so fiercely about track stats that they almost totally forgot about the perp hanging off the side of a building. Them’s my boys.

– I actually thought Wes’s attempts to psych Travis out during their final bet would work. I was pleasantly surprised with it didn’t. Travis is awesome.

– Wes is Elizabeth Taylor and Travis is Richard Burton. I love it.

– The preview for next week's episode indicates that the obligatory role-swap episode might be hilarious. I’m crossing my fingers! You?

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