I like this episode’s number a lot. Both because I like her, and because she makes the characters’ moral questions – and the audience’s – a bit harder than usual.
I have watched the whole show before, so SPOILERS MIGHT HAPPEN. Big spoilers will be blanked out but references and irrelevant spoilers are going to be out in the open.
CW: allusion to sexual assault here, and in the episode
The number of this episode is that of Megan Tillman, a workaholic full-time nurse who goes clubbing every night. Why? Slow reveal, friends, slow reveal.
At first we see that Megan runs into a guy, Andrew Benton, twice. He carries roofies, stares creepily at Megan in the club, has an apartment that would make Patrick Bateman proud, and cocaine where most of us would store coffee. He has sleazy asshole perpetrator written all over him.
Carter is still looking into the evidence lock robbery from the previous episode, because there is video of Harold and John having a quick word. So Carter visits Harold, or Norman Burdett, his alias for the episode. This is the first time they meet face to face, but not the last at all, friends, no no. She seems suspicious of what Harold is telling her about not knowing what happened, but has nothing but a hunch to go on, so she drops it for the time being.
Speaking of police, John needs Fusco’s help again. Harold foreshadows a little, warning John that his arrangement with the corrupt cop will bite him back because he is not to be trusted.
Later in the episode, because John steals coke from the cartel that is after Fusco, and refuses to help him get rid of the cartel, Fusco gives John to the cartel. John gets out of it, beating the shit out of everyone while having a zip tie around his wrists, obviously. He warns Fusco to stop with that shit already, and tells the cop he has a new job for him: he is being transferred to the homicide task force, to keep an eye on Carter.
As far as this episode’s number goes, it turns out that while Benton is a serial rapist, a self-involved creep who keeps photos of his victims, and a grade A jackass, the one planning to put the laugh in manslaughter (#sorrynotsorry), is Megan. He raped her sister, and as a result the sister killed herself. So Megan wants to finally rid the world of his existence. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t support the death penalty in general, or revenge. But as far as rooting for people go, survivors who want to kill their rapists get me with full cheerleader outfit and pom poms. I know it’s not sustainable, or a solution to anything, but I feel the feelings, and I don’t care who knows.
This episode, like most episodes that revolve around assault in the history of forever, doesn’t drive any political point home emphatically enough, but it does treat the subject respectfully. John points out how ridiculous it is that he was not convicted just because the survivor didn’t report immediately, and acknowledges the various possible reasons for it. John and Harold don’t judge Megan either, for wanting to kill him. John does point out a thing that is probably true, that killing a man would probably destroy Megan, who is a healer and a super good person. So John decides to take matters into his own hands. First he tries to frame Benton by crashing his car and filling it with cocaine, but his lawyers get him off.
After this, Megan makes her move before John is able to, and kidnaps Benton. Finally, John meets with her and convinces her to hand him to John, who will know what to do. John takes Benton and sits with him, to have a conversation about life decisions.
Most of that conversation is just John rolling around in man-pain and guilt over being relatively okay with killing people, but he does wonder an important thing:
He also says something that parallels (SPOILER AHEAD) Elias in Season 3, when he kills Simmons. They both say that what they do sometimes needs to be done, and can only be done by people already outside of goodness, of civilization, of the law. Which is interesting. I hadn’t caught that parallel, and I like it.
John: Maybe there are no good people. Only good decisions. Andrew, help me make a good decision.
The episode leaves it ambiguous whether John killed Benton or not, on purpose. From what we gather near the end of Season 1 though, in the episode Many Happy Returns, we are led to believe that he wasn’t killed, but sent to a penitentiary in Mexico where he will spend his next forever. I have to say that I would have been okay with John killing him, but that’s not what the show, and his journey of manpain and redemption, is about.