Things aren't looking good for Lie to Me. Last night, FOX burned off two episodes of the show, one of which contained a lot of Christmas trees and was probably intended for a December air date. It may seem a little harsh—but the show just isn’t as good as it used to be.
“Funhouse,” the first of the two new episodes, was basically a re-imagining of last season's “Pied Piper”: Lightman (Tim Roth) was again admitted to a mental hospital while working on a case, and ended up confronting some of his own demons in the process. This time, the show took things one step further, and Lightman experienced hallucinations of his dead mother and father after eating a medicine-laced muffin.
I understand that Lie to Me's writers were probably looking for a way to revisit the topic of Lightman’s late mother and father. It isn't really Lie to Me's style to do a flashback episode—the idea of Roth donning a Dexter-like wig to play a young Lightman just doesn’t seem right. But did they really have to send Lightman to a mental hospital and feed him a drugged breakfast pastry in order to work his parents into the storyline? The episode did feature other, legitimately creative elements—including low camera angles and the use of a fish-eye lens to give everything a slow, quiet feel—but they were overshadowed by the all-too-familiar.
“Funhouse” wasn’t a bad episode, but it wasn't exactly inspired. It's clear the writers are running out of ideas, and I'm starting to think it's a real shame that the Lightman Group severed its ties with the FBI. That connection actually made the Lightman Group more important, more high-profile—and more interesting to watch.
“Rebound,” the second episode of the night, was also fine-but-not-great. The underwhelming Detective Wallowski (Monique Curnen) returned to flirt with Lightman and help with the latest case, which involved a background check on political lobbyist George Walker (Sam Page, the man who won’t stop working). The Lightman Group’s intern/assistant Sarah (Shoshannah Stern) also returned for a bright appearance. And Zoe came up in conversation, though she didn’t appear on screen—Emily went to visit her in Chicago. Everything else was business-as-usual: Lightman and Foster (Kelli Williams) exchanged some URST-y banter, the celebrity guest-star was guilty, and this once-dynamic show continued its demise into predictability.
Here's an idea: Bring Emily (Hayley McFarland) to the office. I love it when she outsmarts her dad, and in the last two episodes, she’s been exhibiting clear signs of “reading” ability. She’s picked up skills from both of her parents, she’s insanely mature for her age, and she’s got a great rapport with the rest of Lightman’s co-workers. I think she’s ready for it.
What did you think of last night’s Lie to Me double feature?