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 Marie...in 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 to...well...baby 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?

Comments (13)
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This episode was all right. It wasn't as great as the 2 previous episodes. The analogy of performance anxiety fell flat for me. It just wasn't reality. Wes and Travis aren't going spend the rest of their careers not arresting the last 2 people they need to get in order to hit 400. It is inevitable. The plethora of factors that affect the fecundity of the other couple that they were being compared to was silly. Because they literally could go the rest of their lives without being able to conceive a child. So that kind of put me off of the episode.





As for Wes' It was a step in the right direction and it for him, for his character and his characters personality it was sex. He doesn't talk about himself, him doing that is an allegory for sex. Him actually wanting to have sex with the woman was a huge step. But they need to maintain the line that separates Travis from Wes. Travis would have had sex with her. There is nothing about Wes' history that would lead him to have sex with Carina. So that part I liked.



There wasn't the back and forth between the two like over the past two episodes. But it was decent.
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There was so much nothing on this Friday that I caved and watched this episode. This show really is quite lame, they tell us the team has been together 5 years now, that's 260 weeks, yet they've collared nearly 400 crooks? That doesn't sound right. And EVERY building is made of bricks in "Los Angeles", despite them being so quake-unusable? And there's a chance they'd magically find the exact right list of bucket list LA things and somehow even though there's only been 3 crimes our heroes whittle it down to 4 possible hits? And the devious plan to take the money home in the bag was our criminals' out? Just everything about this show is so lazily executed, and it's a shame because there's still a kernel of an idea buried within the sloppy mess. I'm just glad there wasn't a superfluous car chase or action scene... oh wait, the ridiculous beginning was one, and that would have gotten that confession thrown out in a half-second. And if our heroes are leading the investigation, it wouldn't matter what specific cop makes the bust, they'd still get credit for doing the detecting. And we're supposed to believe the California prison medical system is really going to help Jim in any way rather than give him substandard miserable care the way they do everyone.



The worst part is, I wanted to see more of the criminals, another robbery, how they acted and such, and during interrogation, they seemed like sympathetic characters ripe for interesting storytelling, but sadly not.



Last week's episode didn't work for me at all, and neither did this one. The characters are just not passable as written, their relationship isn't so tumultuous that it requires this therapy, the therapy isn't so good that it seems to work, and the duo aren't such great cops that anybody would waste their time on them. I keep hoping this show will be better, and it keeps letting me down, so I suppose the fault is now mine - or as this show's therapy would figure out.... oh, right, nothing because it's terrible. As you pointed out, the reaction at the end from everybody not giving Wes his props for making progress was foul. It also points out another problem I have with this show, that each lead character's flaws are supposed to be balanced against the other so we don't feel one is more in the wrong than the other, yet there was little question in this episode that Travis was worse than Wes.
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I enjoyed the episode, the roof scene was funny.

Glad Wes said no to the sex with an engaged woman, wonder if Travis has any boundaries in such a situation. Would be nice to see Wes break out more, I wanted him to follow up with the girl in the bar. She seemed to have standards, she didn't notice Travis existed.

I'm looking forward to next week, it's a nice fun summer watch.

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we got to see wes happier than ever before which made it my favorite episode so far.
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This episode was so close to an early Flashpoint one that it ruined my viewing (2x8 "Last Dance"). Instead of investing in this show's mythology, I spent the whole hour figuring out where the two episodes were different. While there seems to be no original ideas in TV or movies anymore, I expect some work by the writers to make it sound unique.
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Wasn't my favorite episode, but I'm with you on the pregnant lady ha ha

I love these two guys though, they are pretty awesome
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Love these dudes. Not too much comedy (cant stand slapstick comedy) good script great acting....and I love their stylist!
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The episode was okay. Certainly not as good as the previous two. There wasn't much I found particularly funny... and the case-of-the-week plot was kinda boring.



I guess I kind of thought the final therapy scene was funny... I thought Wes did the right thing and his initial decision to go do the sex with a hot lady was a big step forward, so when everyone started bagging on him for not going through with it, I guess it was kinda funny. I agree though, it was his weird comment about it being an equivalence to sex that threw me and his fellow therapy-folk off.
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They did not forget about the perp, they just tried to freak him out so he would confess - which worked fine, btw. ;)
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Definitely watching next week's episode looks like fun!! Can't wait :D
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Screw engaged, that's not is problem. She lied about it, and that is.
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He's one of the show's MCs. We're supposed to like him. Most people wouldn't like him if he would have done that... which begs the question: why WAS the group giving him such a hard time. Seriously. Did they want him to take part in an extramarital affair? The dudes I can understand, because they're married and probably trying to live vicariously through Wes in that situation... but the women??
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*not his problem
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