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October 4, 2015

The Closer: Maternal Instinct

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 18th 2009 12:19AM

After last week's show, it was great to see The Closer bounce back with a particularly strong episode. The case itself wasn't overly complicated or multi-layered, as some Major Crimes are, but that's probably because Brenda literally wandered into this one. And she wasn't alone. Charlie, her niece from Atlanta, was in the car. More on the Brenda/Charlie relationship as well as the case, after the jump.

In every way, this episode was a showcase for Kyra Sedgwick. In fact, if she wasn't already nominated for an Emmy, I would have guessed that this was the show they'd have submitted to show her best work. And Kyra did get a chance to shine. We were able to see Brenda in action, the first on the scene of the crime, gun drawn. And we saw her single-mindedness when she bent the rules to get the information from an inadmissible recording included in her case. Stepping on Charlie's feelings was simply the cost of Brenda doing her job. Charlie was disgusted by her tactics, and Fritz disapproved, but Brenda didn't care.

It was Brenda's involvement with Jake, the surviving victim, that was most telling. Brenda fought to remain emotionally detached, but it wasn't quite that simple when he looked to her as a mom-substitute. When Jake ultimately was on the verge of succumbing to his injuries, he was so doped up that she let him believe she was his mother. The cost of that lie was Brenda lowering her guard and letting herself feel the pain of his death.

There was maternal material all over the show, including the contentious relationship between Brenda and Charlie, and early on, Brenda was still smarting over last week's hash brownies to the point of treating Charlie with a major dose of tough love. By the end of the show, though, Brenda realized that tough love can be as harmful as it is helpful. If Vanessa's father had been more understanding, if she hadn't felt the need to lie to him, might Jake have never been killed by Vanessa's brother?

For the rest of the Major Crimes unit, this was mainly a week for support, although Provenza was terrific. I appreciated the subtlety of his offering the chief a hankie, and it was interesting to note that he's carrying an engagement ring to ask Lauren to marry him. Why he would think that Flynn would be gung-ho about his proposing, however, is a mystery!

Next week is the season finale for The Closer, so the story arc with Charlie (Kyra's daughter Sosie Bacon) will be wrapping up.

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Didn't Brenda have a bad first marriage (abusive in some sort of way)? Maybe that's why she's got issues with bonding and being more loving towards Charlie. Look at all poor Fritz went through to finally get the woman down the aisle?

August 18 2009 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sorry but this whole Charlie storyline is out of whack with the rest of the series history. Brenda seems like a completely different character around her. Worst the obvious transference of the crime story lessons to Charlie are either being dragged out or ignored. Looks like a bit of nepotism to get their daughter some easy acting parts.

August 18 2009 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that this ep was a very strong one for Kyra, she rocked it. I was left smarting in the end, though, when she couldn't fully reach out too embrace Charlie as Fritz did. Brenda seems to have great and loving parents herself so am left wondering why it is so hard for her to make that connection. She wasn't willing to give up on Charlie last week (who is a dead ringer for her dad, isn't she) but this week, she couldn't close that gap. Was it just too much on the heels of witnessing Jake's passing?

Provenza always steals my heart and who desn't love Tao's brilliance and enthusiastic reconstructions. I adore her team.

August 18 2009 at 7:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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