Whoa. Holy Moly. Sadness. Amazingness. Wow.
Yesterday, Southland shocked us by killing a very main character in a pretty brutal fashion. It started with Sammy sitting in a hall (later revealed to be a hospital, but we had guessed that), looking depressed and then hearing a woman’s scream. You would think it would be Tammi having baby trouble, but it wasn’t. We were completely unprepared for the actual death. There weren’t any spoilers, the episode didn’t hint at it, the season didn’t hint at it, they didn’t do a whole cheesy episode focused on just that one character (like, say, LOST would have). Meredith Grey didn’t do a voiceover. It happened quickly and we actually didn’t believe it for a few minutes. It was just like when someone really dies (only it’s on TV, so we are a little less sad).
Even without the shocking twist, this episode was fantastic. Sammy moved in with Nate and his family to get away from the cheating Tammi and the restraining order. He lost his temper a lot in the episode. Lydia worked on a murder case, but when she found the killer, the guy claimed that he was working (and killing) for the dead guy’s 14-year-old nephew. Apparently, “Gizmo” is already a crime lord, and he still lives with his mom. In a great scene, Lydia knocked on the door and confronted Gizmo, telling him that the police were onto him, even though they couldn’t prove it yet. LOVE Lydia. Love the absence of her annoying partner.
Cooper thinks Ben is being careless because he thinks he has a handle on this cop thing now. Ben made tons of HILARIOUS mistakes in the episode, causing Cooper to haze him in front of other cops and make jokes. Ben told Cooper that it was getting old, and Cooper came back with something like, “You’re more dangerous now than when you first got out of the academy. Now you are more likely to get someone killed. In 90 days, you won’t have someone to watch your back and the guy who draws the short straw is going to be relying on you to stay alive.” Youch. The picture, by the way, is one of the consequences of a Ben mistake.
Nate and Sammy spent most of the episode trying to get a young, female witness to identify some suspects who murdered a dad on his way to buy his 5-year-old son a birthday cake. They did it for street cred, natch. Nate showed her the victim’s children and wife standing in the yard, told her a little about himself, and finally cracked her. Sammy and Nate were riding home in their car and chatting when someone in a big bunch of gangters threw something at their car. They got out of the car to handle that, and Nate Moretta got bashed in the head, and it looked like he was killed instantly. It took a long time for Sammy to drag Nate into a cop car, because he had to fend off the rest of the gangsters with his gun. Other cops showed up, and Sammy and Nate rode away. The episode cut back to the hospital scene, and Nate’s wife was screaming and crying. She walked out in the hallway and hugged Sammy, and they both just kind of crumbled to the ground. It was really, really sad.
It seemed like it was just going to be a normal episode. So, so wrong. It was totally entertaining, and every storyline and case was right-on and interesting. And then they topped it off with that ending, and they executed it so perfectly and surprised us so much. Southland is going to get the best grade so far of the new year. Sad though. Nate was one of the best characters on the show. He was a really good and funny guy. He will be missed.
Episode Grade: A+
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